Search ForexCrunch

The first holiday week ended up being not that quiet, with some strong movements and new lows for the yen. US Pending Home Sales, consumer confidence, unemployment claims are the highlights of this week. Here is an outlook on the major events closing 2013 and starting 2014.

In the last days before the year ended, the US released a batch of positive indicators,  backing the Fed’s decision to taper its asset purchase program just before the holidays. The first piece of good news came from durable goods orders, surging 3.5%, amid growing demand for a range of goods. The high reading was way above the 1.7% increase predicted by analysts. Meanwhile core durable goods orders also climbed above market consensus rising 1.2% in November after a 0.4% gain in the previous month. Another good reading came from the housing sector where new home sales reached a five-year high of a 464,000 annualized pace, following a revised 474,000 rate in October. The massive increase came despite the high mortgage rates and may be attributed to the improvement in the labor market conditions and the relatively low housing prices. The final piece of good news came from the labor market where the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped 42,000 to a seasonally adjusted 338,000.Although claims tend to be volatile around the holiday season, the overall picture is encouraging and the US economy is ending 2013 in a positive note.  Let’s start,

[do action=”autoupdate” tag=”MajorEventsUpdate”/]
  1. US Pending Home Sales: Monday, 15:00. Signed transactions for acquisitions of existing homes fell 0.6% in October posting the fifth straight monthly decline. Economists expected a 2.2% rise. On a yearly base the reading was down 1.6% from October 2012. The government partial shutdown contributed to this decline deterring potential buyers. However limited inventory and high mortgage rates continue to weigh on the housing sector. Pending home sales are expected to rise 1.1% this time.
  2. US CB Consumer Confidence: Tuesday, 15:00. The Conference Board confidence index among U.S. consumers unexpectedly fell in November to a seven-month low, posting 70.4 points, following an upwardly revised reading of 72.4 in October. This decline came amid fresh concerns over the labor market outlook. Economists expected a minor drop to 72.2. The Conference Board’s barometer of consumer  expectations  for the next six months declined to 69.3, the lowest since March, from 72.2 a month earlier. A gauge of  present  conditions dropped to 72 from 72.6 in October. The slow pace of recovery in the US economy is a drag on consumer confidence, a pickup in employment conditions may spark household confidence in the coming months. Consumer Confidence  is expected to climb to76.5.
  3. US Unemployment Claims: Thursday, 13:30. The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment benefits declined by 42,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 338,000, the biggest drop registered since November 2012. However seasonal volatility may still be blamed since figures around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays tend to be unsteady. The four-week average increased 4,250 to 348,000. Nevertheless the Fed tapered its stimulus in December claiming the job market has improved. The economy expanded at a 4.1% annual pace from July through September, the fastest rate since late 2011 and much greater than previously expected. A further decline to 334,000 is expected now.
  4.  US ISM Manufacturing PMI: Thursday, 15:00. U.S. factory activity hit a 2-1/2-year high in November reaching 57.3 following 56.4 in the previous month amid pick up in construction  spending in October. Following this release, Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in New York said US economic recovery is gaining momentum despite the fiscal headwinds and the tapering threat. The ISM report was in line with a separate index released by financial data firm Markit, suggesting a solid improvement in the manufacturing sector. Factory activity is expected to reach 56.8.

*All times are GMT.

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

More:  FX Outlook 2014 – Conditional Dollar Strength

Further reading: