December 2021 Macro Market Commentary

Bitcoin -

Bitcoin remained weak in December and is holding above $42,000 which was almost traded on 2nd December when price spiked to $42,500 and closed the year at $46,333. The overall trend higher has not been compromised with prices having held the September low maintained at $39,600. Many large investors have taken advantage of these lower prices over the last two months including El Salvador which purchased 150 bitcoins at an average price of $48,670 on 4th December, and MicroStrategy with purchases of 1,914 bitcoins at an average price of $49,229 between 9th to 29th December.

  • The Head of Fidelity Digital Assets Europe, Christopher Tyrer wrote a blog post earlier this month where he compared the macro context and approach of institutional investors’ allocations to digital assets to be similar to what was seen for commodities in the early 2000s. Tyrer highlighted similarities in the development of commodities markets with the current digital asset markets, where access to these markets through institutional custody and derivatives allowed institutions to access the markets in a familiar and regulated environment. Further, inflationary concerns within developed economies and continued low interest rates have caused investors to look for inflationary hedges and have considered using digital assets as part of their portfolios for that purpose.
  • Marathon Digital Holdings, a Nasdaq-listed bitcoin mining company based in Las Vegas, has ordered new machines worth $879 million made up of 78,000 units of Bitmain's Antminer S-19 XP mining machines, to be delivered through 2022. The United States has a 35% share of the bitcoin mining average monthly hashrate according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance taking the lead from China since the mining ban was imposed by Chinese authorities in June.


Source: ICE Connect

On 4th December, Bitcoin spiked down towards $42,500 and traded between $53,000 and $45,000 for the remainder of the month.

XBT held under the 50 EMA giving some resistance around $52,000 and could find support around $42,000, which it will have to hold to maintain its upward trend.

XBT closed the month at $46,333 with a - 18.9% change.


  • Spring 2024 bitcoin halving event

US Dollar -

The U.S. Dollar Index ® (USDX) closed to end December at 95.59 (-0.40%) after almost reaching the November high during early December trading. The month saw the market trading within a range between 96.94 (November high) and 95.51 (small pullback formed in November as the market paused on the way to creating the high).

  • Nonfarm Payrolls data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on 3rd December showed November payrolls dropped dramatically indicating 210,000 jobs were created which was significantly below expectations which estimated an increase of 550,000 jobs. On the negative news the USDX in the following 30 minutes of trading had a 0.12% fall, before pulling back to close with no change for the day.
  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) data released on 10th December showed CPI all items at 6.8% for 12-months ending November, posting the largest 12-month increase since the period ending June 1982. Prices for all items less food and energy rose to 4.9% over the last 12 months, an increase on the previous release at 4.6% and if this upward trend continues to be, persistent it may influence future decisions by the Fed. The USDX reacted negatively to this news with the USDX closing down for the day at 96.10 (-0.14%).
  • On 15th December the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Funds Rate remained at <0.25% maintaining the current target range. The FOMC press conference held shortly after the announcement where Chair Powell stressed that they are “strongly committed to achieving the monetary policy goals that Congress has given; these are maximum employment and price stability”. The market rallied on this news and hit a pocket of weekly resistance where selling pressure stepped in and the USDX closed the day at 96.48 (-0.01%).


EUR 57.6% | JPY 13.6% | GBP 11.9% | CAD 9.1% | SEK 4.2% | CHF 3.6%

Source: ICE Connect

The U.S. Dollar Index ® began the month of December on a positive note for the first day of trading after above expected data came out of the U.S. in relation to ADP employment change and ISM Manufacturing PMI. ADP employment change showed an increase in private sector jobs for November at 534,000 versus an expectation of 525,000, albeit a drop on the prior month's figures of 570,000. ISM Manufacturing PMI data for November came in at 61.1 against 61.0 (expected) publishing an increase on the prior month (60.8) suggesting continued expansion which has been seen for the past 18 months (June 2020 43.1). The market closed up for the day at 96.02 (+0.04%).

The bulls came out for the second day of trading in December as the market continued to climb higher and the U.S. Dollar Index ® closed up for the day at 96.16 (+0.09%) with the bulls back in control.

Nonfarm Payrolls released on 3rd December reported 210,000 jobs were created in November dramatically falling short of the expected 550,000 and the prior month's data (546,000). During the first 30 minutes of trading after the announcement the bears regained control of the markets, although this was short lived. The U.S. Dollar Index ® found a pocket of support on a 30 minute chart at 95.94 - 95.85 combined with a small gap up in price where buyers were waiting for an opportunity to go long the U.S. Dollar and the market quickly retraced to claw back some of the early losses. ISM Services PMI data for November came out later in the day above expectations at 69.1 against 65.00 which again helped lift the markets creating the high of the day at 96.45 before weakness crept in. The U.S. Dollar Index ® eventually closed where it opened the day at 96.11.

For the following two consecutive trading days the U.S. Dollar Index ® closed higher, although it struggled to gain much traction and after reaching a high of 96.59 on 7th December selling pressure returned. The U.S. Dollar Index ® dropped throughout the majority of the U.S. Session on 8th December slicing through the Daily 20 SMA that had been acting as support for the past five weeks as the bears were in control for much of the day. However, towards the end of the U.S. trading session, the market reached a support area on a 4-hour chart where buyers were waiting and the U.S. Dollar Index ® began to consolidate as this area held. The market closed for the day at 95.88 down 0.39% and closing below the Daily 20 SMA, the first time since 3rd November 2021.

During the Asian session, the market eventually started to lift and this momentum continued throughout the 9th December closing up at 96.25 with a 0.29% gain, recovering some of the losses made throughout the prior trading day.

Consumer Price Index data released on 10th December provided some movement in the U.S. Dollar Index ® as the data for all items came out at 6.8% for 12-months ending November, posting the largest 12-month increase since the period ending June 1982. Prices for all items less food and energy came out as expected as it rose to 4.9% over the last 12 months (ending November), an increase on the previous release at 4.6%. The first 30 minutes of trading saw the U.S. Dollar Index ® drop from 96.40 to close at 96.20 down 0.21%. The market after a small bounce to the upside could not overcome the weakness, as the bears stepped in over concerns of the long-term impact inflation will have. Even positive Michigan Consumer Sentiment data released later in the day (70.4 against an expected consensus of 67.1%, which would ordinarily be positive news for the U.S. Dollar) could encourage the buyers back in volume and the U.S. Dollar Index ® closed at 96.10 printing 0.14% loss for the day.

The 13th and 14th December trading was more positive with two consecutive higher closes for the day as the bulls gained control driving the market higher in anticipation of the 15th December with a lot of data being released from the U.S. due to the holiday season approaching.

First on the agenda for the 15th December was the Retail Sales data Month on Month for November publishing disappointing sales data at 0.3%, not only falling short of expectations of 0.8% but also significantly below October’s 1.8%. However, the initial negative reaction was short lived as the U.S. Dollar Index ® fell within the first 30 minutes after the release only to recover 30 minutes later and close higher than where the market was trading at the time of the announcement.

The Fed Interest Rate Decision issued later in the day with no changes to the 0.25% and issued the Monetary Policy Statement. In addition, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) shared further information on their Economic Projections and ended the day with a Press Conference. Initial reactions to the Interest Rate announcement, policy statement and projections saw the U.S. Dollar Index ® rally to close with a 0.16% gain within 30 minutes of the release.

The market rallied straight into an area of resistance on a Daily chart at 96.66 - 96.94 which was nested inside a bigger picture Weekly area of resistance at 96.61 - 97.81 formed in July 2020. Whilst the wider area had been tested previously in November (forming the high of the month at 96.94 and a 16-month high), selling pressure was still evident. The bears stepped in and the market started to fall, this decline continued as the FOMC Press Conference began and further details emerged.

The FOMC kept interest rates near zero and updated the assessment on the progress the U.S. economy was making. The economic activity for the U.S. remained on track to expand and progress had been made in the vaccine program helping the economy to continue to move forward. The improving labour market with strong demand for labour meant the target toward maximum employment (one of the policy goals set by Congress) was on track and unemployment numbers continued to fall. The Committee referred to the concerns around inflation and that this is likely to remain above the target of 2% well into 2022, although they were hopeful that the levels will begin to decline towards the end of the year.

The Federal Funds Rate projection had been adjusted and increased to 0.9% by the end of 2022. The Committee also decided to double the pace of reductions in the asset purchases beginning mid-January 2022. The market closed the day at 96.48 down 0.01%.

This bearish tone continued the following day with the market again closing with -0.37% change from the open, although fortunes changed on 17th December when the bulls reappeared and took charge sending the U.S. Dollar Index ® rallying to close the day up by 0.59%. However, towards the close, the U.S. Dollar Index ® approached an area of resistance at 96.66 - 96.94 once more and the selling pressure returned with the bears fully asserting control and subsequently the market closed lower for four straight trading days. On 28th December the buyers returned and the day ended with U.S. Dollar Index ® printing its first gain in seven days of trading recording a gain of 0.15%.
The remaining days of the month were slightly choppy as the buyers and the sellers both had their time to shine, however overall the U.S. Dollar Index ® ended December down closing at 95.59 (-0.40%). Both the weekly and daily uptrend remain.


  • Tue 4 Jan ISM Manufacturing PMI (Dec)
  • Wed 5 Jan ADP Employment Change (Dec)
  • Wed 5 Jan FOMC Minutes)
  • Thu 6 Jan ISM Services PMI (Dec)
  • Fri 7 Jan Nonfarm Payrolls (Dec)
  • Wed 12 Jan CPI (Dec)
  • Fri 14 Jan Retail Sales (Dec)
  • Fri 14 Jan Michigan Consumer Sentiment (Jan) PREL
  • Wed 26 Jan Durable Goods Order (Dec)
  • Wed 26 Jan Fed Interest Rate Decision
  • Wed 26 Jan Fed Monetary Policy Statement
  • Wed 26 Jan FOMC Press Conference
  • Thu 27 Jan GDP Annualized (Q4) PREL

South Korean Won -

The South Korean Won closed the month at 1,187.96 KRW against the U.S. Dollar, which resulted in another month of losses for the KRW against the U.S. Dollar.

  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) data released on 1st December showed inflation reached 3.7% for 12-months ending November, an increase on the previous data released for 12-month ending October which was at 3.2% and above the expected level.
  • Gross Domestic Product data released for Q3 on 1st December was at 0.3% (Quarter on Quarter data), showing a continued decline in GDP throughout the year.


Source: ICE Connect

After a selloff in the final few days of November trading (29th and 30th) and into the start of December (1st) the USDKRW found some stability from a pocket of support created on a Daily chart between 1,174 - 1,166, first tested back on 9th November 2021.

The market held this area on both 1st and 2nd December retests which combined with a Weekly 20 SMA saw buyers stepping in. However it took until on 3rd December before the bulls were finally able to drive the market higher to recoup some of the early losses the U.S. Dollar had made against the Korean Won (-1.85% from 29th November trading).

However, the USDKRW struggled to gain much traction and by 6th December, the Korean Won again put pressure on the U.S. Dollar and the USDKRW dropped with the bears regaining control showing U.S. Dollar weakness and Korean Won strength (Quote currency).

On 9th December, the pair found itself back in the area of support 1,174 - 1,166, but this time round the bulls appeared with more strength and the USDKRW closed higher for four consecutive trading days with an overall gain of 1%.

After a brief pause the pair continued higher but fell short of November highs after the USDKRW reached a pocket of resistance on 20th December between 1,190.64 – 1,193.66 (from a 4-hour chart created 29th November) where selling pressure came in.

The USDKRW closed the month and ended the year at 1,188 with a +0.44% change for the month.


  • No major events listed

Singapore Dollar -

The Singapore Dollar closed the month at $1.3478 against the U.S. Dollar after the USDSGD reached an area of resistance from September 2020 at 1.3601 - 1.3796.

  • Singapore Purchasing Manger’s Index (PMI) data for November published on 2nd December reported a slight drop on the previous month coming in at 50.6, although still in expansion territory the margin has reduced.
  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) data released on 23rd December showed inflation continues to rise with figures released showing CPI - all items 12-month ending November at 3.8% up from 3.2% in October. This gain was largely due to an increase in private transportation (increase in car prices), services inflation (influenced by increased airfares) and Energy prices (increase in electricity and gas prices).
  • Industrial Production data released on 24th December by the Singapore Department for Statistics showed a fall in manufacturing output for November data although still showing a healthy number with an increase of 14.6% Year on Year surpassing expectations.


Source: ICE Connect

The USDSGD started the month neutral before the pair closed higher for the following two successive trading days showing continued strength for the U.S. Dollar and Singapore Dollar weakness (Quote currency in the pairing). Gaining 0.5% from the open of December trading.

However this initial move was short lived as the pair reached a pocket of resistance previously tested on 28th November between 1.3729 - 1.3795 (formed 25th September 2020 on a Daily chart). Here the bears took control as the selling pressure came in sending the market lower for three consecutive trading days wiping out the earlier December gains.

On the 8th December the USDSGD once again found further buyers as the market retested a small pocket of support found on the 4-hour chart at 1.3623 - 1.3600 (from 22nd November) where buyers were willing to get into the market and buy the U.S. Dollar against the Singapore Dollar. The timing also aligned with the USDX finding a 4-hour support area for added confluence.

The market rallied from this area but was unable to reach the highs seen in the month so far set on 3rd December, which ultimately became the high of the month.

On 23rd December the USDSGD convincingly broke through the 4-hour area of support showing the Singapore Dollar was gaining strength against the U.S. Dollar and this continued throughout the remainder of the month.

The final trading day of the year the USDSGD reached another pocket of support 1.3485 - 1.3454 (formed 9th November on a Daily chart) where the market closed.

The market trend also changed as the Singapore Dollar gained strength throughout the month. The USDSGD is now in a confirmed downtrend on the Daily chart.

The USDSGD closed the month at 1.3478 with a -1.3% change.


  • No major events listed

Chinese Yuan -

The Chinese Yuan Renminbi continued to gain strength against the U.S. Dollar for the sixth consecutive month, closing at 6.3638 CNY against the U.S. Dollar.

  • Caixin Purchasing Manger’s Index (PMI) data released on 1st December came out slightly worse than expected with results for Manufacturing PMI at 49.9 and Service PMI posted later in the week at 52.1, both slightly down on the prior months data.
  • China’s trade surplus pulled back slightly in November as the data released on 7th December showed the trade surplus at $79.72 billion. Exports rose by 22%, which was beyond expectations and was the second highest increase of 2021. China’s foreign reserves rose to $3.222 trillion by the end of November, an increase of $4.8 billion on the prior month.
  • Retail Sales data released on 15th December saw an increase at 3.9% for 12-months ending November, falling short of expectations and down on October data of 4.9%.


Source: ICE Connect

The USDCNH started the month sitting in a previously defined support area on a Daily chart at 6.3746 - 6.3526 which had held after several earlier retests observed in October and November.

During the first three days of December trading the USDCNH struggled to lift from this area and eventually after heavy selling pressure on the 7th and 8th the market dropped through and closed below, the Yuan gaining strength as the quote currency in the pairing of 0.44% from the open on 7th December to the close on the 8th.

After breaking below this area the pair found further support from a pocket of buyers which left their footprints on both the Weekly and Daily charts where we have two areas of support combined. The daily area of support is 6.3412 - 6.3198. On the 9th December the USDCNH had the biggest daily rise for the month +0.54% as the pair reacted from this support area combined with CPI data in China falling below expectations creating some weakness in the Yuan.

The following two weeks of trading we saw little movement in the USDCNH as the market traded sideways on a Daily chart. The biggest move subsequent to this occurred on the last trading day of the month where the Yuan gained strength once more as the bears took control and the pair dropped significantly (Yuan strengthens as it is the Quote in the pairing) during the early European trading session only to find itself reach an area of support.

The confluence from a daily support area 6.3412 - 6.3198 sitting within a weekly support area was strong enough to see buyers step in and regain some control driving prices back up.

The Weekly and Daily downtrend continues.

The USDCNH closed the month at 6.3638 with 0.01% change.


  • Mon 10 Jan CPI (Dec)
  • Mon 17 Jan Retail Sales (Dec)
  • Tue 18 Jan GDP (Q4)
  • Thr 20 Jan PBOC Interest Rate Decision
  • Mon 31 Jan Non–Manufacturing PMI & NBS–Manufacturing PMI (Jan)

Asia Tech -

ICE Asia Tech 30 Index (ATI) held below a resistance area which was prior support around $4,619 in the early weeks of December and has struggled since then to gain a foothold towards higher prices in the index and formed a monthly low at $4,346, which is above the double bottom at around $4,250. The ATI closed the month marginally higher at 0.6% and will need to clear resistance at $4,900 to break clear of the range it had traded since late-August. Country composition of the index is made up of around 37% China, 23% Japan, 23% Taiwan and 17% South Korea and we continue to see the performance of the Chinese market weigh on the overall ATI performance.

  • Chinese stocks continued to channel lower in December with the hardest hit Bilibili Inc ending 31% lower from the prior month. JD.COM and Kuaishou Technology faced a tough month, closing weak 19% and 15% respectively. The only Chinese stock that supported the ATI was Sunny Optical Technology Group, which ended 5% higher for the month.
  • Taiwan components of the index remained positive as semiconductor firms United Microelectronics and Taiwan Semiconductor traded slightly higher 2% and 3% respectively versus November, while Mediatek closed the year at a new all-time high at NT$1,200 and 18% higher for the month.
  • With a few exceptions, the Japanese firms in the ATI generally closed higher with Tokyo Electron having reached its all-time high at ¥66,990.
  • Korean stocks were a mixed bag with a strong monthly ending for SK Hynix which finished 15% and Samsung Electronics 10% higher while Kakao closed 8% lower.


Source: ICE Connect

ATI continued the move lower in December and had traded around the midpoint of the trading range between $4,900 and $4,200 for most of the month.

ATI closed the month at $4,517 with a +0.6% change.


  • Mon 10 Jan China CPI (Dec)
  • Thr 20 Jan PBOC Interest Rate Decision
  • Mon 17 Jan Retail Sales (Dec)
  • Tue 18 Jan Gross Domestic Product
  • Mon 31 Jan China Non-Manufacturing PMI

Oil -

Despite the sharp spike to $66.00 in the opening days of December, Brent crude oil recovered almost 71% of the move from the three-year high to that spike low, as risk sentiment in financial markets remained buoyant amid the festive season with many equity indices recovering from the negative news brought on by the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, though COVID-19 caseloads were still a concern in many countries. Brent crude oil closed the month 12.4% higher versus November’s close at $77.78.

  • Brent crude oil rose towards $80 on Wednesday in the final week of the year on hopes that the Omicron COVID-19 variant will have a limited impact on global demand in 2022, early data suggested that Omicron could cause a milder level of illness.
  • Talks resumed with Iran on 27th December that included China, the European Union, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom on reviving Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal. Iran continues to press on the lifting of United States sanctions which will allow the resumption of oil exports and they are seeking verification of the lifting of U.S. imposed sanctions to ensure funds are received in Iran’s bank accounts.
  • On investors' radar at the start of 2022, is the next OPEC+ meeting on Tuesday 4th January, in which the producer alliance will decide whether to go ahead with a planned 400,000 barrels per day production increase in February as it did in January despite the increasing spread of Omicron and its impact on decision makers policies to battle the disease.


Source: ICE Connect

Brent price traded down sharply on 2nd December to $65.48 ending the strong move down in November. Price recovered to the 50% Fibonacci retracement mark and attempted to retest the early December low before recovering further towards $80.00.

The prior low at $63.00 remained unbroken in the fourth quarter. Were prices to trade below that level it could indicate further weakness in Brent ahead and confirm a change in trend.

Brent closed the month at $77.78 with a +12.1% change.


  • Tue 4 Jan OPEC+ policy meeting to decide on whether to increase supply of oil in February by 400,000 barrels per day

Key Figures -

Source: ICE Connect, ~30 Days

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TRADDICTIV · Research Team

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