green shoots

The new month begins on Monday and we may already be signs of what's to come. There are strong seasonal trends in April with a great backdrop for risk trades. It's a month that has consistently delivered on seasonal patterns that reflect the optimism of the emergence of springtime.

The arrival of positive seasonals at the same time that the bank crisis is ebbing combines to make a powerful argument for listening to the seasonals in 2023.

1) AUD/JPY strength

AUDJPY daily chart
AUDJPY daily

It's the best month for AUD/JPY and for AUD/USD, so take your pick. The AUD/JPY gain has averaged 1.4% over the past 20 years and is easily the best month for the pair. A revival of commodity prices and continued improvement on the Chinese economy would bode well for this pair. Technically, a return to late-February levels would entail a 300-pip rally.

2) Cable gains

Over the past two decades, the GBP/USD pair has increased 17 times in April, boasting an average gain of 1.48%—more than triple the performance of the next best month (July). This strong pattern dominates the FX market, but be prepared to secure profits towards the end of the month since the trend tends to reverse in May. Notably, this pattern didn't work last April in a reminder that even the strongest trends call for risk management.

3) Every stock market, everywhere, all at once

Global stock markets typically perform very well in April. For instance, the FTSE 100 has only experienced a single decline in April over the past 10 years. Similarly, the MSCI world index has seen gains for in 9 of the past 10 Aprils. In the past 16 years, the S&P 500 has recorded 14 April gains, with the sole exceptions being a 0.75% drop in 2012 and last year's 8% rout. The average 2.53% increase marks the highest for any month.

4) A three-month rally for oil

WTI crude oil monthly
WTI crude oil monthly

From April to June, oil typically enjoys its most prosperous period. Over the past 20 years, the average gain in April has been 3.19%. During the two previous oil bull markets in 2008 and 2011, oil surged by 11.7% and 6.8%, respectively. In the past two decades, oil has advanced 13 times in April and retreated 7 times. Last year, oil rallied through April, May and early June only to peak at $123.68 and begin a reverse back to the current $74.29 level. Oil has declined in 9 of the past 10 months.

5) USD/CAD losses

The US dollar often softens in April, with USD/CAD displaying one of the most pronounced trends, which can be partly attributed to the seasonal strength of oil, copper, and stocks. Over the past 20 years, the pair has experienced an average decline of 1.27% in April. Currently, USD/CAD is trading at 1.3518 after touching a five-month high of 1.3861 earlier this month.