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The US dollar retreated against most currencies as the chances of QE3 seem higher and the mood in Europe improved. Will we see a follow through or a correction? German Ifo Business Climate, US and Canadian GDP figures and most importantly Bernanke’s speech in Jackson Hole are the highlights of this week. Here is an outlook on the major market-movers ahead.  

The FOMC minutes were quite dovish, and gave the notion that the Fed is ready to print more dollars in a third round of quantitative easing quite soon. The markets seemed to ignore the publication date and the improvement seen since then. In Europe, the preparations of the ECB for a new bond buying scheme, the German approval and reports about intense negotiations about this matter raise expectations that relief for Spain is around the corner, even as uncertainty about Greece is still present.  

  1. German Ifo Business Climate: Monday, 8:00. The Munich-based  Institute for Economic Research revealed German business sentiment continued to decline for the third month in a row reaching 103.3 in July after posting 105.2 in June, placing business climate in Germany and the EU is at the lowest point in 28 months. Economists anticipated a higher score of 104.8. The survey demonstrates that worsening   debt crisis is weighing on European businesses. Germany’s PMIs remained mixed.
  2. US CB Consumer Confidence: Tuesday, 14:00. US households’ confidence increased unexpectedly in July reaching 65.9 after dropping to 62.7 in June amid improvement in short term expectations. Economists expected a lower reading of 61.5. Regardless of July’s rise the overall index remains at historically low levels.
  3. US GDP: Wednesday, 12:30. The first report of GDP for Q2 came out within expectations: an annual growth rate of 1.5%, after an updated rate of 2% in Q1. The first revision for GDP in Q2 will likely be to the upside, given the favorable trade balance figures. A final version is also released, but it’s important to note that further revisions often appear later on.
  4. US Pending Home Sales: Wednesday, 14:00. US housing market is showing positive signs most of the time, leading experts to proclaim the housing market had finally “turned the corner. Pending home sales contracted 1.4% in June following a 5.4% gain in the previous month. Although buyers are interested, limited housing inventory leading to fewer contract signing opportunities caused the slowdown in the housing market. However foreclosure starts are becoming more attractive to prospective buyers with the current shortage in houses and can lead to a renewed rise in housing sales.
  5. US Unemployment Claims: Thursday, 12:30. The level of weekly jobless claims has stabilized on lower levels than before the summer. The recent figure of 372K is still below the 400K mark which is considered the border between drops and rises in unemployment. A similar figure is predicted now.
  6. Canadian GDP: Friday, 12:30. Canada’s economy grew at a slower than expected rate in May with a 0.1% growth rate following 0.3% increase in April. Estimates called for a 0.2% expansion rate. The major causes for this slowdown were weak manufacturing and construction activity but mining and oil and gas extraction industry continued to expand.
  7. Bernanke talks at Jackson Hole: Friday, 14:00. The chairman of the Federal Reserve will have an opportunity to provide hints about future monetary policy in the annual Jackson Hole Symposium. In 2010, Bernanke gave hints about QE2, but in 2011 he didn’t provide any hints and disappointed. Given the high expectations for QE3 after the meeting minutes, the improvement in the economy and the various opinions within the FOMC, there’s a good chance that Bernanke won’t meet the high expectations. In such a case, the dollar will leap. If Bernanke does say that the Fed is about to act soon (even if this doesn’t turn into QE3 eventually, the dollar will fall. Note that Mario Draghi will also speak in Jackson Hole, but on Saturday, when markets are closed.

*All times are GMT.

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

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