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Majors, US Dollar Forecast

Forex Weekly Outlook August 4-8

The US dollar was the star during most of the week, although it lost some of its shine towards the end.  Rate decisions in Australia, the UK, Japan and the Eurozone, Employment data, in Australia, Canada and US trade data are some of the highlight events on Forex calendar. Here is an outlook on the main market movers for this week.

The US dollar was on a roll in the past week: the excellent GDP report that showed 4% Q2 growth (annualized) and speculation about an upcoming rate hike (despite a not-too hawkish Fed) boosted the greenback. The below expectations Non-Farm Payrolls report took out some of the shine of the greenback, but the US economy continues doing well. In the euro-zone, inflation fell deeper, to 0.4%, and cast a dark cloud on not-too-shabby employment and consumption data. The pound continued falling on more weak data in what looks like a u-turn rather than a correction. Weak data in Japan helped USD/JPY move higher and weak Australian data finally sent the Aussie below 0.93. The kiwi and the loonie were not spared, but also managed to stage a recovery in an exciting week. What’s next?

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  1. Australian rate decision: Tuesday, 4:30. The Reserve Bank of  Australia  maintained rates at 2.5% on its last meeting in July, despite rumors of a possible rate cut. RBA Governor Glenn Stevens declared the currency was “overvalued” but kept monetary policy unchanged. Stevens noted the growth signs and the pickup in demand saying accommodative policy would continue to boost economic activity. It is unlikely that the RBA would step in again with further stimulus measures. No change in rates is expected this time.
  2. US ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI: Tuesday, 14:00. Service sector activity expanded slower than expected in June, reaching 56 after posting 56.3 in May, amid bleak economic outlook. Economists expected a smaller drop to 56.2. New Orders Index increased by 0.7 points to 61.2. Employment Index increased 2.0 points to 54.4. Overall, the non-Manufacturing sector reported growth in June. A rise to 56.6 is expected now.
  3. New Zealand employment data: Tuesday, 22:45. Unemployment in New Zealand remained unchanged at 6% in the first quarter, with an increase in labor force and the highest participation rate in New Zealand’s history. Economists expected the unemployment rate to fall to 5.8%. However, the participation rate edged up 0.4% to 69.3%, reaching a record high for New Zealand. Wages increased an annualized 1.6% (including overtime) in the March quarter, unchanged from the previous quarter. New Zealand job market is expected to rise by 0.7%, while the unemployment rate is predicted to tick down to 5.8%.
  4. US Trade Balance: Wednesday, 12:30. The U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $44.4 billion in May as U.S. exports expanded to an all-time high of $195.5 billion, while, imports declined slightly. The trade deficit narrowed 5.6% in May after hitting a two-year high of $47 billion in the prior month. The low trade deficit ensures better growth rate. The U.S. trade deficit is expected to shrink further to 44.2B this time.
  5. Australian employment data: Thursday, 1:30. Australia’s jobless rate increased to 6.0% in June following 5.9 registered in the previous month. However the labor force increased by 15,900, beating forecast for a 13,200 job addition. The number of full-time jobs declined by 3,800, and part-time employment edged up by 19,700. Australia’s participation rate climbed to 64.7% in June from 64.6% in May. Australia is expected to add 13,500 jobs, while the unemployment rate is expected to remain at 6%.
  6. UK rate decision: Thursday, 11:00. The  Bank of England  maintained its benchmark interest rates at a record low of 0.5% in July. However economic activity has greatly improved, bouncing back from a long period of stagnation, raising calls for a rate hike at the end of this year or in early 2015. BoE’s Quarterly Inflation Report will be released this month and may act as a catalyst for the more hawkish members of the committee to contemplate voting for a tightening. The BOE is not expected to change its monetary policy this time.
  7. Eurozone rate decision: Thursday, 11:45. The ECB kept rates on hold in July’s meeting after cutting them to boost economic growth. Mr. Draghi said interest rates will remain put for an “extended period of time in view of the current outlook for inflation“. Inflation remained at the “danger zone” below 1% in June, reaching 0.5%. However Markit’s survey shows a pickup in new orders suggesting economic activity will grow in the second half of the year. No change in rates is forecasted.
  8. US Unemployment Claims: Thursday, 12:20. The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits edged up by 23,000 last week reaching 302,000. The reading was broadly in line with market forecast while remaining at pre-recession levels. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell 3,500 to 297,250, posing the lowest average since April 2006. Fewer layoffs and strong confidence in the US economic outlook strengthens the US labor market. The number of jobless claims is expected to rise to 305,000.
  9. Japan rate decision: Friday. The Bank of Japan decided to continue increasing monetary base at an annual pace of ¥60 trillion to ¥70 trillion and lowered its growth forecast for the fiscal year of 2014 to 1%.  The pace of recovery was in line with forecasts, despite a decline in domestic demand following the consumption tax hike. The BOE forecasts economic growth will increase in the coming months. Rates are expected to remain unchanged.
  10. Canadian employment data: Friday, 12:30. Canadian workforce narrowed by 9,400 jobs in June after a 25,800 addition registered in the previous month. The unemployment rate increased to 7.1% following 7.0% in May. On a yearly base, Canada’s labor market increased 0.4%, the lowest growth rate since February 2010. Canada added 33,500 full-time jobs, while part-time jobs and positions held by youths aged 15-24 dropped 43,000. Youth unemployment  remains a major problem. Canadian workforce is expected a job gain of 25,400, while the unemployment rate is expected to reach 7%.

That’s it for the major events this week. Stay tuned for coverage on specific currencies

*All times are GMT.

More:  Market Movers Podcast Test Episode #9: where inflation is hiding and a preview for the top-tier movers

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Anat Dror

Anat Dror

Anat Dror Senior Writer I conceptualize, design and create multi-lingual websites. Apart from the technical work, my projects usually consist of writing content for these sites in English, French and Hebrew. In the past, I have built, managed and marketed an e-learning center for language studies, including moderating a live community of students. I've also worked as a community organizer