Mexican Peso slips below key technical support against the US Dollar

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  • Mexican Peso opens the session soft as traders trim positions awaiting Powell and Co.
  • Prices paid by producers in the US cooled down, adding to the dovish narrative around the Federal Reserve.
  • USD/MXN could aim towards 18.00 if the Fed delivers a hawkish message.

Mexican Peso (MXN) weakened against the US Dollar (USD) early during the North American session on Wednesday, with traders bracing for the release of the US Federal Reserve’s (Fed) monetary policy decision. Speculations suggest the Fed will keep rates unchanged, but “some” uncertainty surrounds Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference. At the time of writing, the USD/MXN is trading at 17.42, gaining 0.64% on the day.

Mexico’s economic docket remains scarce, yet on Thursday, the Bank of Mexico (Banxico) will announce its verdict on monetary policy and is expected to keep rates unchanged. The latest Mexican economic indicators show the economy remains resilient, with inflation above the central bank’s target. In addition, PMIs remained at expansionary territory, and Industrial Production smashed estimates, portraying an optimistic economic outlook for the country.

Daily digest movers: Mexican Peso at the mercy of the Federal Reserve

  • The USD/MXN main driver for the day will be the Fed’s decision, but traders' focus will be on the Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) and the dot plot.
  • In September, the SEP showed that most Fed officials estimate the federal funds rate (FFR) to be at around 5.6% by the end of 2023. If policymakers keep the projections unchanged, that could be perceived as hawkish, and the USD/MXN could aim higher.
  • Fed Chair Powell is expected to push back against speculations of looser monetary policy. Instead, he would stick to its previous stance of “we are prepared to tighten policy further if it becomes appropriate to do so.”
  • The US Producer Price Index (PPI) inflation for November dipped in annual and monthly readings, in contrast to consumer inflation, which delivered mixed readings. The core Consumer Price Index (CPI) stands stubbornly at around 4%.
  • Money market futures estimate the Fed will slash rates by 113 basis points toward the end of next year.
  • A Reuters poll showed that 23 of 25 analysts expect the Bank of Mexico would keep rates at 11.25% unchanged, while one estimates a rate cut to 11%. Annual inflation ticked up to 4.32% in November, though it didn’t dent policymakers' intentions to ease policy next year if data confirms the disinflation process.

Technical analysis: Mexican Peso loses a step as the USD/MXN rises toward the 100-day SMA

The USD/MXN is neutral to upward biased despite sitting below key technical levels, like the 100, 200, and 50-day Simple Moving Averages (SMAs). Given the fundamental backdrop, if the Fed struck a hawkish message, the pair could rally and break each of the previously mentioned levels at 17.40, 17.54, and 17.64, respectively. Once cleared, the next resistance level would be the psychological 18.00 figure.

On the other hand, failure to reclaim the 100-day SMA could see sellers drag prices toward the 17.20 area, ahead of a strong demand region at around the 17.00/05 range. Once hurdled, the USD/MXN could test the year-to-date (YTD) low of 16.62.

Central banks FAQs

Central Banks have a key mandate which is making sure that there is price stability in a country or region. Economies are constantly facing inflation or deflation when prices for certain goods and services are fluctuating. Constant rising prices for the same goods means inflation, constant lowered prices for the same goods means deflation. It is the task of the central bank to keep the demand in line by tweaking its policy rate. For the biggest central banks like the US Federal Reserve (Fed), the European Central Bank (ECB) or the Bank of England (BoE), the mandate is to keep inflation close to 2%.

A central bank has one important tool at its disposal to get inflation higher or lower, and that is by tweaking its benchmark policy rate, commonly known as interest rate. On pre-communicated moments, the central bank will issue a statement with its policy rate and provide additional reasoning on why it is either remaining or changing (cutting or hiking) it. Local banks will adjust their savings and lending rates accordingly, which in turn will make it either harder or easier for people to earn on their savings or for companies to take out loans and make investments in their businesses. When the central bank hikes interest rates substantially, this is called monetary tightening. When it is cutting its benchmark rate, it is called monetary easing.

A central bank is often politically independent. Members of the central bank policy board are passing through a series of panels and hearings before being appointed to a policy board seat. Each member in that board often has a certain conviction on how the central bank should control inflation and the subsequent monetary policy. Members that want a very loose monetary policy, with low rates and cheap lending, to boost the economy substantially while being content to see inflation slightly above 2%, are called ‘doves’. Members that rather want to see higher rates to reward savings and want to keep a lit on inflation at all time are called ‘hawks’ and will not rest until inflation is at or just below 2%.

Normally, there is a chairman or president who leads each meeting, needs to create a consensus between the hawks or doves and has his or her final say when it would come down to a vote split to avoid a 50-50 tie on whether the current policy should be adjusted. The chairman will deliver speeches which often can be followed live, where the current monetary stance and outlook is being communicated. A central bank will try to push forward its monetary policy without triggering violent swings in rates, equities, or its currency. All members of the central bank will channel their stance toward the markets in advance of a policy meeting event. A few days before a policy meeting takes place until the new policy has been communicated, members are forbidden to talk publicly. This is called the blackout period.

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