Rate decisions in the US, Japan and New Zealand, and the first GDP release from the US for 2010 are the highlights of this week, which begins slowly and then explodes. Will the dollar index break to a one year high?
Greek hopes turned into worries once again, as more credit downgrades for Greece were released and the talks of a possible default became louder. This story continues to accompany us, as well as the indicators. OK, let’s start:
- American CB Consumer Confidence: Published on Tuesday at 14:00 GMT. This broad survey of 5,000 households had a big dip in February but recovered quickly in March and reached 52.5 points. It’s now expected to take one step higher and rise to 54.2 points. EUR/USD is quite sensitive to this release.
- Ben Bernanke talks: Starts speaking before the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform on Tuesday at 14:00 GMT. In this official public appearance, Bernanke will definitely move the markets. He will testify on the challenge of achieving fiscal sustainability and will comment about the economy.
- Australian CPI: Published on Wednesday at 1:30 GMT. Australia published its consumer prices only once every quarter, making this event an important release – an important indicator towards the next rate decision. After rising by 0.5% in Q4 of 2009, an acceleration is expected this time – 0.9%. A rise above 1% might push the Stevens to another rate hike. He seems reluctant to make another move soon.
- American rate decision: Published on Wednesday at 18:15 GMT. Ben Bernanke isn’t expected to make any surprises with the Federal Funds Rate – it’s expected to remain unchanged at a maximum level of 0.25%. Maybe the discount rate will be mentioned. As usual, the FOMC Statement will be closely watched – every change in the wording might have hints, especially the clause about holding interest rates at a low level for an extended period of time.
- New Zealand rate decision: Published on Wednesday at 21:00 GMT. New Zealand didn’t follow Australia with a move on the rates, and isn’t expected to move them now as well. The Official Cash Rate is expected to stay at 2.5%. Given the unconvincing rise in prices and weak retail sales, this won’t happen soon. The RBNZ Rate Statement that accompanies the rate decision will have a strong impact on the currency, especially if the economic forecast is updated.
- American Unemployment Claims: Published on Thursday at 12:30 GMT. After rising to alarming levels, last week’s numbers were back to normal, at 456K. This time, a drop down to 440K is predicted. A break under 430K is necessary for seeing serious growth in the job market. Note that this is the best indicator for the Non-Farm Payrolls. Up to now, jobless claims indicate that no fireworks will be seen at the next NFP.
- Japanese rate decision: Published on Friday morning. Japan’s Overnight Call Rate won’t move from 0.1%, not in the near future. The focus will be on the easing steps that the BOJ will make, and on the updated economic forecasts. Japan declared a war on deflation and could take more steps to stimulate the economy and move prices. Note that the Tokyo Core CPI, the best inflation indicator, is published just before the rate decision and will probably show an annual drop of 2% in prices, worse than previous months.
- Swiss KOF Economic Barometer: Published on Friday at 9:30 GMT. This important Swiss indicator, based on 12 basic ones, is a good reflection of the Swiss economy, and its moves go hand in hand with the Swissy’s strength. After rising to 1.93 points, a rise to 1.99 is predicted this time, the highest since December 2007.
- European Unemployment Rate: Published on Friday at 9:00 GMT. The European unemployment rate and flash CPI are published together. Unemployment is flirting around 10% for a few months. This is a big burden on Europe, and prevents Trichet from moving the rates, despite improvements various surveys.
- European Flash CPI: On the other hand, inflation is slowly picking up. The CPI Flash Estimate is expected to show an annual rise of 1.4% in prices, exactly like last month and the highest level since the end of 2008. German PPI unexpectedly leaped last week. A rise above 1.5% will be problematic for Trichet – fighting inflation with higher rates will endanger the fragile recovery.
- Canadian GDP: Published on Friday at 12:30 GMT. Canada’s monthly GDP is expected to rise by 0.5% in February, slightly lower than the 0.6% in January, but still in the same good rate as in Q4. Another nice month of growth will support the Canadian dollar in its battle on parity, which is still going on. GDP helped the loonie last month, and after the weak CPI and retail sales, it’ll sure need another boost.
- American Advance GDP: Published on Friday at 12:30 GMT. After a very strong fourth quarter, that wasn’t accompanied with the same recovery in jobs, economists expect Q1 to show slower growth – an annual rate of 3.4%. Note that these expectations aren’t low, and that exceeding them will be a big boost for the dollar.
That’s it for the major events this week.
- For the Euro, read the EUR USD Forecast.
- For the British Pound, look into the GBP/USD forecast.
- For the Australian dollar, read the AUD/USD forecast.
- For USD/CAD, check out the Canadian dollar forecast.
- For the kiwi, here’s the NZD/USD forecast.
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