The latest CFTC data showed that investors continued to build up USD longs ahead of the Fed meeting in August. Given the downside in USD last week, this dynamic was quite unexpected. It can be assumed though that by selling dollars after the Fed, market participants were either taking profits or pursuing short-term speculative goals. The data also showed that more long positions of speculators were closed in CAD and NZD futures, i.e., in currencies that have a relatively high correlation with the recession-recovery cycle of the world economy. This fact, of course, does not inspire optimism.
Aggregated data on the currencies of the G10 countries showed that net long position on the dollar increased in the week ending July 27 from 1.5% to 3.0% of open interest. The dollar increased its advantage against all G10 currencies except for the CHF.
The changes in the CFTC positioning data indicate an increase in bullish sentiment for the dollar, despite the negative reaction of the US currency to the July Fed meeting. This may indicate that underlying drivers of the weakness could be short-lived as Fed tightening is in cards despite relatively dovish message last week, which should offer broad support to USD.
The July ISM Manufacturing Activity Report showed improvements in two key components - prices and employment. The purchasing managers said that hiring of workers increased compared to the previous month while the situation with high prices for raw materials also changed for the better. The hiring sub-index rose from 49.9 to 52.9 points:
At the same time, the prices sub-index fell from an extremely high reading of 92.1 to 85.7 points:
Despite the broad indicator fell short of forecasts, the details of the report pointed to the dynamics favourable for a strong NFP report on Friday, and hence the stronger dollar. Recall that the major constraint in the expansion of US jobs was the labor shortage. It is clear from the ISM report that the manufacturing sector has begun to see positive shifts for job growth.
The leading ISM new orders declined for the first time in several months (from 66 to 64.9), which may be an early sign that activity in the sector will soon plateau.