The "Protest Epidemic" in the United States continues to influence the mood of traders. The dollar index shows a downward movement (with slight upward pullbacks), reflecting the vulnerability and weakness of the US currency. Rallies have not ceased for the eighth day in a row, and this fact allows us to compare current events with the events of 50 years ago, when Martin Luther King was killed. There was also a riot back then and an epidemic, though not of the coronavirus, but of the flu. But in general, the current situation is similar, but the consequences can be much unfortunate.
According to the latest data, at least 11 people were killed during the protests. According to the associated press, the victims were from nine different cities in the country: St. Louis, Louisville, Auckland, Indianapolis, Davenport, Minneapolis, Omaha, Detroit and a suburb of Chicago. Some became victims of a "stray bullet", others - harsh police actions, others died at the hands of looters. The number of detainees is approaching the 8,000th mark. In addition, the geography of protests is expanding - a curfew regime has been introduced in more than 40 cities, and the National Guard has resorted to help from 15 states. Moreover, according to local journalists, many protesters used the death of African-American Floyd only as a reason to express dissatisfaction with the policy of the state as a whole amidst rising unemployment and a slowing economy. The stratification of such problems contributes to the rise of protest moods - in fact, for this reason, mass rallies do not cease throughout the country.
Donald Trump, in my opinion, only aggravated the situation, saying that he could use the army to suppress riots. This initiative was criticized by many governors (mainly from the pool of Democrats) and, of course, by Joe Biden. Trump's future rival in the presidential election warned that the head of the White House cannot, by his sole decision, direct the army against his own people. The fact is that according to the law "Posse Comitatus Act", which was adopted in 1878, the armed forces cannot operate inside the country without the permission of Congress. In turn, Trump threatens to use the Insurrection Act (it was passed even earlier, in 1807), which has never been applied in the United States.
In other words, recent events in the United States have gone beyond the scope of the predicted scenario, and this fact in itself is causing concern for participants in the foreign exchange market. But there is another main reason for the weakening dollar. Traders fear a second outbreak of coronavirus in the United States, after which the country will be forced to quarantine again. Such prospects really look scary against the backdrop of recent macroeconomic reports. Nevertheless, there are all prerequisites for the development of such a scenario: in protests, no one thinks to maintain social distance or use masks (with rare exceptions), while the country is still in first place in terms of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 . According to the latest data, the number of infections there reached 1,831,821, while 106,180 Americans died. If mass protests provoke the second wave of the epidemic in the country, then the possible consequences can be easily predicted: a further increase in unemployment, a further slowdown in the economy and a protracted recession. Such prospects put pressure on the dollar index, which is moving to the bottom of the 97th figure.
One of the main beneficiaries of this situation was the Australian dollar, which received an additional reason for its growth today. The fact is that key data were published on the growth of the Australian economy for the first quarter during the Asian session on Wednesday, and this supported the aussie, despite the fact that the data recorded a slowdown in GDP growth. So, in quarterly terms, the indicator fell to the level of -0.3%, while according to the general forecast it should have fallen to -0.4%. On an annualized basis, the indicator came out at a predicted level at around 1.4%.
Let me remind you that according to the results of the June meeting of the Reserve Bank of Australia, the regulator was rather optimistic about the prospects for the recovery process. According to RBA Chief Philip Lowe, the "coronavirus strike" was weaker relative to earlier forecasts. The numbers published today served as an additional confirmation of these words.
In addition, very good data from China was released during the Asian session on Wednesday, which again reminded the market of the restoration of the largest economy in the world. So, the index of business activity in the services sector from Markit (Markit Services PMI) sharply rose in May, reaching 55 points. This figure went below the key 50-point mark over the past three months, so such a sharp and most important unexpected (forecast was at 47 points) leap had an impact on the dynamics of today's trading.
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