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Majors, US Dollar Forecast

Forex Weekly Outlook February 1-5

The month and the week ended with quite a bit of volatility. Will it continue in February? Rate decisions in Australia and the UK, Employment data from New Zealand, Canada and the US, including the all-important NFP release, stand out. These are the main highlights for this week. Here is an outlook on these important events.

Last week the U.S. Federal reserve acknowledged at the end of its two-day meeting that the U.S. economy lost momentum at the final month of 2015, despite the continued growth in the labor market. The Fed did not change its plans to continue raising rates in 2016, but cooled expectations for a close by rate hike.  The fall in oil prices and weak global markets continue to concern the Fed. Many economists believe it would not be realistic to expect four rate hikes in 2016 as indicated by the Central Bank. What do you think?  Let’s start:

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  1. Chinese Caixin Manufacturing PMI: Monday,1:45. This independent measure of the Chinese economy  caused worries in recent months as it reflected contraction. even after rising from the lows. A score of 48.1 is expected to follow 48.2 seen last month.
  2. US ISM Manufacturing PMI: Monday, 15:00. The manufacturing PMI continued its contraction in December after a disappointing reading of 48.6 in the previous month. This was the lowest reading since July 2009 with declines across the board. The New Orders Index increased 0.3 points reaching 49.2. The Production Index registered 49.8% from 49.2% in November. The Employment Index declined 3.2 to 48.1. The manufacturing PMI  is expected to remain at 48.6 this time.
  3. Australian rate decision: Tuesday, 3:30. The Reserve Bank of Australia maintained the official cash rate at 2.0% on its December meeting. Governor Glenn Stevens  noted a certain improvement in economic conditions, but the outlook for may require further monetary easing. Stevens  said he is willing to cut rates if economic data worsens. With recent inflation figures beating expectations, no cut is on the cards.
  4. NZ Employment data: Tuesday, 21:44. New Zealand employment market unexpectedly contracted for the first time in three years in the third quarter, mainly due to a decline in part-time workers. Employment fell 0.4% after rising 0.3% in the previous quarter. Economists expected employment to grow 0.4% in the third quarter. Furthermore, the unemployment rate increased to 6% from 5.9 in the second quarter. Economists expect New Zealand’s labor market to expand by 0.8%  while the unemployment  is predicted to rise to 6.1%.
  5. US ADP Non-Farm Payrolls: Wednesday, 13:15. US private sector employment expanded by 257,000 jobs in December according to the ADP report.  The reading pointed to underlying strength in the economy and followed a 211,000 gain in the previous month. Labor market strength suggests the economy’s condition remains solid, and may prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates again in March. US private sector is expected to gain 191,000 in January.
  6. US ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI: Wednesday, 15:00. US service sector expanded less than expected in December with the slowest growth pace in almost two years. The index declined to 55.3 from 55.9 in November, missing market forecast for a reading of 56.0. The New Orders Index posted 58.2, rising 0.7 points; the Employment Index increased 0.7 points to 55.7, while the Prices Index declined 0.6 points from November. However the majority of respondents’ comments remain positive about business conditions and the overall economy. US service sector activity is expected to decline to 55.2.
  7. UK Rate decision: Thursday, 12:00. The  Bank of England  maintained interest rates in January amid volatility in global markets and a continuous fall in oil prices slowing inflation even further. Only Ian McCafferty voted for a rise to 0.75%. MPC members believed “the outlook remained unchanged from the previous economic forecasts in November. But the minutes also noted the volatility on financial markets, and in share prices in particular. Furthermore, the MPC highlighted a 40% fall in the oil price which would badly affect inflation growth.
  8. Mark Carney speaks: Thursday, 12:00.  BOE Governor Mark Carney will speak about the Inflation Report, in London. Carney said at a speech in London that the Bank of England should not begin raising interest rates in the coming months, stating the weak condition of the global economy and the slowed growth in the UK. He also said that the  MPC will watch for signs of renewed downturn in inflationary pressures before offering another round of monetary easing.
  9. US Unemployment Claims: Thursday, 13:30.   The number of new US claims for unemployment benefits declined last week from a six-month high of 294,000 to 278,000, reaffirming the strength  of the US  labor market. Economists forecasted a drop to 282,000 in the latest week. The four-week moving average is now 23,750 above its post-recession low of 259.250 from last October. The number of new claims is expected to be 286,000 this week.
  10. Canadian Employment data: Friday, 13:30. The Canadian labor market expanded unexpectedly in December adding 22,800 jobs, amid a large gain in part-time work. The number of full-time employment actually declined in December by 6,400 while the economy added 29,200 part-time jobs. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.1%. The overall picture is less appealing; indicating hiring in the private sector is weak. The 2015 employment growth rate was slightly stronger than in 2014 and 2013, when the overall number of jobs expanded by just 0.7% in each of those years.
  11. US Non-Farm Payrolls: Friday, 13:30. U.S. payrolls surged in December by 292,000 following 252,000 in the previous month. Hiring got a boost from unseasonably warm weather and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at a 7-1/2-year low of 5%. The firm employment data indicates the economy sustains growth while the recent weakness could be attributed to the manufacturing and export-oriented sectors. U.S. payrolls for October and November were revised up to show 50,000 more jobs created than previously reported, adding to the report’s upbeat tone. US private sector is expected to expand by 192,000 in January, while the unemployment rate is estimated to remain at 5%.
  12. US Trade Balance: Friday, 13:30. US trade deficit contracted in November to a nine-month low of $42.4 billion as a sharp decline in imports outweighed a decline in exports.  However, the overall picture shows both exports and imports are now falling due to the dollar’s strength and the weakness in global economy. Exports fell 0.9% to US$182.2 billion, more than a four-year low. US trade deficit is predicted to inch up to $42.8 billion in December.

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

*All times are GMT.

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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