The US dollar had a terrible week, falling across the board. Can it stabilize now, or will the sell off continue? US retail sales, German ZEW Economic Sentiment, US Inflation data, Janet Yellen and US Haruhiko Kuroda speeches, Unemployment Claims and the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index are the highlights of this week. Here is an outlook on the main market movers coming our way.
The greenback took a big hit following the relatively dovish FOMC minutes release where forward guidance was forsaken for a promise of low rates after the bond buying program ends. Fed Chair Yellen also surprised markets by saying that bond buying will finish in 6 months. However, later that week, the Jobless claims release was a positive surprise, plunging 32,000 to 300,000 claims, the lowest level since December 2013, indicating the US job market is on a solid growth trend. Will the US economy continue its growth trend after the QE is over? In the euro-zone, weak inflation data from France was dismissed. Strong industrial data from the UK boosted the pound, upbeat Australian data energized the Aussie and the lack of action from the BOJ fueled the yen. Let’s start,Updates:
- US Retail sales: Monday, 13:30. U.S. retail sales expanded more than expected in February, after harsh weather conditions slowed activity in recent months. Retail sales edged up 0.3%, following a revised 0.6% decline in January. The reading was higher than the 0.2% rise anticipated. Meanwhile Core sales, excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services increased 0.3% after a 0.3% decline in the previous month. Analysts anticipate retail sales would improve further in the coming months. U.S. retail sales are expected to rise 0.8%, while core sales are predicted to gain 0.5%.
- UK inflation data: Tuesday, 9:30. The UK inflation rate fell to a four-year low of 1.7% in February, amid a sharp decline of 0.8% in petrol prices. This was the second consecutive reading falling below the BOE’s 2% inflation target. Prime Minister David Cameron noted that the figures support the government’s economic strategy to provide stability and security for hard-working people. But Labour’s Shadow Treasury Minister Catherine McKinnell said prices are still rising faster than wages badly affecting household consumption. CPI is expected to rise 1.6%.
- German ZEW Economic Sentiment: Tuesday, 10:00. Investor sentiment in Germany continued to decline in March, falling for the third consecutive month to 46.6 points, from 55.7 in February. The release came in below forecasts of a 52.8 points reading. The possible reasons for this weak reading could be, a softer outlook for emerging market activity, a strong euro and mounting deflation risks and tensions in the Ukraine. Investor climate is expected to reach 46.3.
- US Inflation data: Tuesday, 13:30. U.S. inflation stayed mild in February. Consumer Price Index inched 0.1% for the second month consecutive month after a drop in gasoline prices offset the largest rise in the cost of food in nearly 2-1/2 years. On a yearly base, consumer prices increased only 1.1%, weaker than the 1.6% rise in January. Meanwhile Core prices, excluding volatile energy and food components increased 0.1% for a third straight month and remained steady at 1.6% on a yearly base. However, the stable state of inflation is positive for business planning for hiring and capital spending. Both CPI and Core CPI are expected to gain 0.1%.
- Janet Yellen speaks: Tuesday, 13:45, Wednesday 17:15. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will speak in Stone Mountain and in New York. Yellen may speak about the recent improvement in the US job market as well as the ongoing tapering process, its duration and its effects on the US economy. Volatility is expected, especially after her previous important comment triggered a big USD rally.
- UK employment data: Wednesday, 9:30. The UK’ unemployment rate remained stable at 7.2% for the third consecutive month, however, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits declined more than expected, reaching 34,600, indicating the labor market continues to improve. The BoE revised its forward guidance policy, which linked interest rate decisions to the unemployment rate, since the rate fell unexpectedly towards the 7%, marking the start of rate hikes. The Bank hinted that the first rate hike will occur in the second quarter of 2015. UK number of unemployed is expected to decline by 30,200, while the unemployment rate is expected to remain 7.2%.
- US Building Permits: Wednesday, 13:30. The number of building permits surged in February to 1.018 million units from January’s total of 945,000. These four-month high topped analysts’ predictions for 970,000 units. Contrary to this release, U.S. housing starts declined by 0.2% in February a seasonally adjusted 907,000 units from January’s total of 909,000, disappointing expectations for an increase of 3.4% to 910,000 units. Nevertheless the rise in the number of permits ensures the continuation of growth in the housing industry. The number of building permits is expected to reach 1 million.
- Canadian rate decision: Wednesday, 15:00. The Bank of Canada was concerned about the soft inflation rate on its last meeting in March, despite the rise in consumer prices occurred in January. The bank noted that a rate change is possible in the next policy meeting however analysts do not expect a rate change until the third quarter of 2015. The rate report was nearly unchanged from January when Governor Stephen Poloz said the door was “slightly more open to a rate cut. Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar, dipped in value against its U.S. counterpart in recent months which may help to boost exports, business confidence and investment. Interest rates are expected to remain unchanged at 1.00%.
- Canadian inflation data: Thursday, 13:30. Canadian consumer prices edged up 0.8% in February, following a 0.3% rise in the previous month. The rise was better than the 0.6% predicted by analysts. However, on a yearly base, the index dropped to 1.1% from 1.5% in January. Canadian Core prices rose 0.7% while expected to reach 0.5%. The year-over-year core rate moderated to 1.2% from 1.4% in January. The sharp rise indicates that seasonal factors were involved. However, despite the recent increase, inflation remains rather tame. CPI is expected to edge up 0.4% and Core CPi is expected to increase by 0.3%.
- US Unemployment Claims: Thursday, 13:30. The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped sharply last week to the lowest level since December 2013, reaching 300,000, signaling a pick-up in the US job market. Positive weather and stronger growth boosted the labor market causing the 32,000 drop. This stronger than expected release will also contribute to the second quarter growth rate. Unemployment claims are expected to increase to 316,000.
- US Philly Fed Manufacturing Index: Thursday, 15:00. Manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia-region soared in March, reaching 9 points after posting minus 6.3 in February, easing concerns over the U.S. economic outlook. Analysts had forecasted the index to rise to 4.2 in March. The survey’s showed new orders, and shipments increased and recorded positive readings indicating growth trend is returning following weather-related weakness in February. Manufacturing activity is expected to improve further to 9.6 points.
That’s it for the major events this week. Stay tuned for coverage on specific currencies
*All times are GMT.
- 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 kiwi, see the NZDUSD forecast.