The US dollar managed to make a comeback of sorts, mostly against the euro. The Doha Oil Summit, the ECB´s rate decision and housing figures in the US stand out. These are the highlights of this week. Here is an outlook on these main events.
U.S. consumer prices registered a modest rise in March indicating inflation slowed. Also retail sales missed and growth remains very poor. China’s growth looks OK and other figures from the world’s second largest economy also seem promising. And while the IMF did raise forecasts for China, it certainly painted a “doom and gloom” picture of the global economy in general. Will the mood remain sour?Let’s start,Updates:
- OPEC – Non-OPEC meeting: Sunday. Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran are the protagonists in a gathering of oil producing nations from OPEC and outside OPEC in the Qatari capital of Doha. The goal is to reach a deal on freezing oil production in order to raise prices. However, there is no love lost between these countries and also trust is lacking. Iran, that recently came back online, is not really willing to slow down production and neither is Libya which is embattled in a civil war. Russia and Saudi Arabia, the biggest producers, have actually upped production lately. In order for prices to rise, we would need a bold deal and then it must face implementation. Oil prices have dropped on Friday, anticipating some kind of a disappointment, but the full reaction will arrive once we have the news. The ramifications go well beyond the Canadian dollar, but impact the mood. A big failure will boost the safe haven yen.
- German ZEW Economic Sentiment: Tuesday, 9:00. German business climate increased in March despite global slowdown, amid stronger consumer sentiment. The ZEW index rose to 4.3 points from 1.0 in the prior month, but was lower than the 6.3 forecast. Concerns about future global economic development continued to weigh on responders. Analysts expect German economic growth would not exceed last year’s 1.7% expansion rate. Business sentiment is expected to improve further to 8.2.
- US Building Permits: Thursday, 12:30. US building permits came a bit lower than the1.20 million expected, reaching 1.17 million. The reading was weaker than January’s 1.20 million unit pace. Meanwhile, US housing starts edged up more than expected in February rising to 1.15mn reaching an annualized rate of 1.18mn for February. Single-home starts registered a 7.2% gain indicating increased confidence in the residential construction sector. The number of permits is expected to remain at 1.2 million.
- Glenn Stevens speaks: Tuesday, 13:30. RBA Governor Glenn Stevens will speak at the Global Macro Conference in New York. He may talk about RBA’s recent decision to keep interest rates steady unlike the “aggressive monetary policy” conducted by central banks in the US, Europe, Japan and China which affects the value of their currencies. In regards to inflation, Stevens expects it will remain subdued over the next year or two.
- UK Employment data: Wednesday, 8:30. UK employment market continued to improve in February as the number of people on the claimant count fell by 18,000 to 716,700. Unemployment fell to 1.68 million between November and January, declining 28,000 from the previous quarter. The unemployment rate remained at a ten-year low of 5.1%.The recent job figures suggest a growth trend in the UK employment market. The number of people on jobless claims is expected to decline by 11,900 in March.
- US Crude Oil Inventories: Wednesday, 14:30. U.S. crude stocks soared last week to 6.6 million barrels, almost tripling expectations. Analysts expect crude oil will continue to rally during the summer. U.S. crude imports rose last by 686,000 barrels per day last week.
- Eurozone rate decision: Thursday, 11:45. The European Central Bank continued to fight the risk of deflation in its March meeting deciding on various stimulus measures such as reducing its benchmark rate to zero, cutting the rate on cash parked overnight by banks to minus 0.4% and increasing bond purchases to 80 billion euros ($87 billion) a month from 60 billion euros. ECB officials noted they do not expect further rate cuts at the foreseeable future. Draghi told reporters, the ECB had cut GDP growth estimates for 2016 to 1.4% from 1.7%, also lowering its 2017 forecast from 1.9% to 1.7%. Likewise, inflation expectations were reduced from 1% to a mere 0.1%. Furthermore, the ECB announced a fresh round of targeted refinancing operations in June.
- US Philly Fed Manufacturing Index: Thursday, 12:30. The manufacturing survey in the Philadelphia area climbed sharply in March, exiting a 7-month long negative territory to a reading of 12.4. The data was far better than the minus 2.8 forecast, posting the highest reading since January 2015. It was a huge improvement across the board; new orders index surged 21 points to 15.7; shipment index rose 20 points to 22.1. The only weakness appeared in the employment index rising only four points, remaining in negative territory at -1.1. Future activities edged up to 28.8 in March, from 17.3. The manufacturing sector in the Philadelphia area is expected to reach 8.1 this time.
- US Unemployment Claims: Thursday, 12:30. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected reaching levels seen last in 1973 showing continued strength in the US labor market. The number of claims declined by 13,000, reaching 253,000. Economists expected claims to register 270,000. Jobless claims remained below 300,000 for 58 weeks, the longest period since 1973. The four-week moving average of claims fell 1,500 to 265,000 last week. The number of jobless claims is expected to rise to 265,000.
That’s it for the major events this week. Stay tuned for coverage on specific currencies
*All times are GMT.
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