The US dollar did not get support from the US economy and retreated. A busy week awaits us at the turn of the month: GDP from the UK, the US and Canada and three rate decisions. The Federal Reserve stands out. These are the major events lined up for this week. Join us as we explore the market movers for this week.
US data ran below expectations, with a 1,000 rise in the number of jobless claims, reaching 295,000, Another disappointing release came from the housing market where new U.S. single-family home sales recorded their sharpest fall in more than 1.5 years, down 11.4% to 481,000 units in March. Core durable goods orders were also quite worrying. In the euro-zone, data was unconvincing as well and Greece provided only confusion. The UK is nearing the elections but the data still has its impact and it didn’t look too good. The Aussie was pressured by China and the kiwi by its central bank. Let’s start,Updates:
- UK GDP: Tuesday, 8:30. Britain’s recovery lost momentum in the fourth quarter of 2014, expanding 0.5% while posting 0.7% growth in the third quarter. Economists expected the economy would expand 0.6%. The main drop occurred in the construction sector. UK’s service sector gained 0.8% in the last quarter. However, despite the slowdown, 2014 growth was the strongest growth since before the financial crisis with an annual expansion of 2.6%. Economists expect the first quarter growth will reach 0.5%.
- US CB Consumer Confidence: Tuesday, 14:00. U.S. consumer confidence edged up in March to 101.3 from 98.8 in February amid renewed optimism over the labor market. The harsh winter weather and softer global demand, weakened growth early in the first quarter. But consumers continue to be optimistic regarding the labor market. Some analysts believe the soft growth may cause the Fed to delay the planned rate hike. However, positive housing data together with healthy employment reports indicate the US economy is on a growth trend. Consumer sentiment is expected to growth further to 102.6 in April.
- US GDP: Wednesday, 12:30. The US economy slowed more than expected in the fourth quarter of 2014 as government spending declined sharply and business investment halted. Gross domestic product reached an annual rate of 2.2% from a strong 5% rise in the third quarter. Economists expected 3% growth. The economy grew 2.4% in 2014 compared to 2.2% in 2013. Analysts forecast a boost in growth amid the collapse in energy prices increasing consumer spending power. Analysts forecast a 1.1% expansion in the first quarter.
- US rate decision: Thursday, 18:00. The Federal Reserve inched closer to hiking rates in its March meeting, but downgraded its economic growth and forecasts, indicating they’re in no hurry to normalize rate levels. The word “patient” was removed from the central bank’s statement, increasing prospects for a rate hike but at the same time not providing a specific date. Yellen told reporters that a June move could not be ruled out. Analysts do not expect the Fed to raise rates this time. Concerns about the economy will be closely scrutinized.
- NZ rate decision: Wednesday, 21:00. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand left the official cash rate on hold, noting it will not cut rates as did the rest 18 central banks around the world and promised a “period of stability” for up to two years. Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler still voiced his concern about the strength of the dollar and the immediate need to depreciate its value. The Bank projects inflation will remain low for the rest of the year. Rates are expected to remain unchanged, but could repeat the dovish comments heard recently.
- Japan rate decision: Thursday. The Bank of Japan has kept its monetary policy unchanged in its April meeting, even though the two year deadline for its 2.0% inflation target has passed and inflation remained near zero. BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda stated inflation expectations are positive despite the temporary fall due to the oil price crush and that the Central bank is on the right track and easing measures will continue as planned. Economists do not expect any policy changes this time.
- Canadian GDP: Thursday, 12:30. Canada’s economy shrank 0.1% in January, following 0.3% gain in December. Economists expected a 0.2% expansion in January. Oil and gas production increased 2.6% as well as oil extraction despite low prices. However, economists believe low oil prices will have a negative effect on inflation and growth, which may compel the central bank to cut another 25 basis points in the near future. Canadian economy is expected to contract 0.2% in February.
- US Unemployment Claims: Thursday, 12:30. The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment benefits increased by 1,000 last week to 295,000. Despite expectations for a lower figure of 288,000, the number of firing is near a 15-year low, indicating the recent decline in hiring is only temporary. The four-week average dropped 22,000 to 2.31 million; the lowest level since December 2000. The number of claims is expected to reach 297,000 this week.
- US ISM Manufacturing PMI: Friday, 14:00. US Manufacturing PMI fell in March for the first time in 14 months to 51.5 from 52.9 in February. The reading was below market forecast of 52.5. The employment index declined 1.4 points to 50. Exports contracted more strongly to 47.5 from 48.5. Production expanded, but new orders growth slowed to a reading of 51.8. Manufacturing PMI is expected to rise to 52.1 in April.
*All times are GMT.
That’s it for the major events this week. Stay tuned for coverage on specific currencies.
- For EUR/USD, check out the Euro to Dollar forecast.
- For the Japanese yen, read the USD/JPY forecast.
- For GBP/USD (cable), look into the British Pound forecast.
- For the Australian dollar (Aussie), check out the AUD to USD forecast.
- For USD/CAD (loonie), check out the Canadian dollar
- For the Swiss Franc, see the USD/CHF forecast.