Forex Weekly Outlook Dec. 14-18 – Brexit, FOMC in focus

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There was positive news last week as Covid vaccines are being rolled out, but political crises such as Brexit and US fiscal stimulus continues to preoccupy the market. The upcoming week has inflation reports and central bank decisions in the US and Canada.

In the UK, the monthly GDP report continues to slow, and fell to 0.4% in October, its lowest level in six months. The Brexit negotiations are in full gear, but the sides have not been able to thrash out a deal, and the pound took it on the chin this week as a  result.

Eurozone GDP rebounded 12.5% in Q3, just shy of the forecast of 12.6%. At its final policy meeting of the year, the ECB maintained its main interest rate at 0.00% but implemented further easing. The bank increased its pandemic recovery fund by EUR500 billion, to a total of EUR1.85 trillion. German CPI fell by 0.8%, its fourth decline in five months.

The BoC delivered a message of “more of the same” at its monthly policy meeting. The bank kept rates at 0.25% and made no change to QE. Bank members hinted that rates would remain in ultra-low territory until the economy picked up. This stance means that we could see these rate levels for the next 2-3 years.

In the US, headline and core inflation both rose slightly, from 0.0% to 0.2%. PPI was also weak, with the headlined and core releases coming in at a negligible 0.1%. Unemployment claims surged to 853 thousand last week, up from 712 thousand. This points to weakness in the labor market, as the economy continues to struggle. The week wrapped up on a positive note, as UoM Consumer Sentiment improved to 81.4 in December, up from 77.0 beforehand.
  1. UK Employment Report: Tuesday, 7:00. Wage growth has been steadily improving and posted a gain of 1.3% in September, its first gain in five months. The upswing is expected to continue in October, with an estimate of 2.2%. Claimant Count fell by 29.8 thousand in October but is expected to rise by 10.5 thousand in November. The unemployment rate is forecast to rise to 5.2%, up from 4.8%.
  2. French Final CPI: Tuesday, 7:45. Inflation remains very low in the eurozone. The second-largest economy in the bloc has not posted a gain in inflation in four months. The estimate for November stands at 0.2%.
  3. UK inflation Report: Wednesday, 7:00. Inflation has been moving higher and reached 0.7% in October. The estimate for November is 0.6%. The core reading is expected at 1.4%, little changed from the previous read of 1.5%.
  4. FOMC Meeting: Wednesday, 19:00. The Federal Reserve could keep a low profile at the final policy meeting of the year. No change is expected to interest rate levels, which are at the ultra-low level of 0.25%. Investors will be scanning the rate statement, which could provide insights into the Fed’s view of the US economy.
  5. Eurozone Inflation Report: Thursday, 10:00. The specter of deflation remains a major headache for eurozone policymakers. Headline inflation has fallen by 0.3% for the two past months, and an identical drop is projected in November. Core inflation has been in positive territory, and is expected to post a gain of 0.2% for a third successive month.
  6. BoE Rate Decision: Thursday, 12:00. The last policy meeting of the year could be a quiet one for the BoE. Policymakers are expected to keep the Official Bank Rate at 0.10% and maintain the current level of QE at GBP895 billion.
  7. Canada ADP Non-Farm Employment Change: Thursday, 13:30. Canada’s labor market has shown some strong gains in job creation, but the ADP report has registered three straight declines. Will we see a reading in positive territory in the November release?

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About Author

Kenny Fisher - Senior Writer A native of Toronto, Canada, Kenneth worked for seven years in the marketing and trading departments at Bendix, a foreign exchange company in Toronto. Kenneth is also a lawyer, and has extensive experience as an editor and writer.

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