The US dollar had a rough week, suffering from weak data. A rate decision in Japan, German business sentiment surveys, UK job data, US housing and employment data as well as the FOMC Meeting Minutes are the major events on our calendar. Here is an outlook on the main market movers for this week.
Janet Yellen gave her first official testimony, stressing that the central bank will continue to taper its asset purchases as planned as long as the labor market continues improving. Yellen assured markets that the Fed’s policy will continue in line with the policy approach taken by her predecessor, Ben Bernanke. US retail sales disappointed, dropping 0.4% with disappointments also in the core number and with downgrades for December. It seems that the bad weather might have a significant effect on the economy, and that not all the weakness is due to bad weather. The importance of the NFP is growing. And there are lots of things going on elsewhere: In Europe, stronger than expected GDP outweighed growing fears of ECB action. In the UK, the new forward guidance seems to hint of a UK rate hike earlier than thought and the pound reached new multi-year highs. Things are not looking so good everywhere: In Australia, terrible job figures halted the currency’s recovery.Updates:
- Japan rate decision: Tuesday. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said in the last BOJ press conference that overseas risks have subsided and domestic economy is progressing in line with the banks projections, therefore no change is required in monetary policy or in rates. Rising inflation and stronger economic activity may induce companies to spend more on wages and investment.
- UK inflation data: Tuesday, 9:30. UK consumer price inflation, reached the BOE target of 2% in December, pushed down by lower computer games and food prices. CPI’s return to the BOE’s comfort zone will ease the pressure on the MPC enabling them to leave monetary policy unchanged. UK consumer price inflation is expected to remain at 2.0%.
- German ZEW Economic Sentiment: Tuesday, 10:00. German business climate declined unexpectedly in January reaching 61.7 from 62 in December, however remained elevated suggesting an upward trend in German economic activity. Analysts expected the index to rise to 63.4. Germany’s economy grew by a mere 0.4% in 2013, however stronger expansion of about 1.5% is expected this year. A small drop to 61.3 is forecasted this time.
- UK employment data: Wednesday, 9:30. The UK unemployment rate declined more than expected in the November, dropping to 7.1%, after a 7.4% reading in the second quarter. This low release moved closer to the BOE’s threshold, below which the bank will start raising rates. Jobless claims continues to fall, dropping 24,000 in December after a 36,700 decline in November, below the 33,800 drop anticipated by analysts. Total workforce increased by 280,000 to 30.2 million in the third quarter. Jobless claims are expected to decline by 18,300 for January. The unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 7.1% for December.
- US Building Permits: Wednesday, 13:30. Building permits in the US declined more than expected in December, reaching 986,000, below the revised November rate of 1,017,000, suggesting construction activity lost momentum in the early part of 2014. Analysts expected an annual rate of 1.015 million. Nevertheless, despite the recent decline, 2013 showed a positive upbeat to housing permits authorizations. Economists expect the housing market to improve further in 2014. Building permits are expected to go down to 980,000.
- US PPI: Wednesday, 13:30. U.S. producer prices jumped 0.4% in December posting their largest gain in six months amid sharp rise in gasoline prices. This rise was preceded by a 0.1% drop in November. Nevertheless inflation remains rather subdued from a year ago. In light of the current growth in 2014, prices are expected to continue their modest rise. Meanwhile Core CPI excluding volatile food and energy costs advanced 0.3%, the biggest gain since July 2012, after climbing 0.1% the prior month. Since the Fed is planning to end its asset purchases in 2014, low inflation will enable the Fed to keep interest rates near zero for a longer period of time. Another climb of 0.6% is expected now.
- FOMC Meeting Minutes: Wednesday, 19:00. In its January decision, the U.S. Federal Reserve continued to scale back their bond-buying stimulus program but declared that future decisions will depend on continuous evaluation of economic conditions. While economic indicators have soured since, the details that will be provided by the minutes are expected to shed some light on the thoughts of the members. It is important to note that the composition of the voting members has changed in 2014.
- Chinese HSBC Flash Manufacturing PMI: Thursday, 1:45. This independent measure of Chinese strength has a significant effect on global markets. The previous release kicked off the emerging markets’ rout after it dropped to the contraction zone, below 50 points. A small slide from 49.5 to 49.4 is expected.
- US inflation data: Thursday, 13:30. Core inflation in the US remained unchanged at 0.1% in December in line with market consensus after climbing 0.2% in November. Lower energy prices were offset by a rise in other products. Since Consumer prices are the main indicator for inflation, the Fed closely monitors its releases. The small rise in prices indicates inflation is subdued. Core inflation is expected to rise by 0.4%.
- US Unemployment Claims: Thursday, 13:30. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits declined 2,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, indicating the job market remains strong and that the number of layoffs is decreasing. The reading was higher than the 331,000 forecast by analysts but the average figures have stabilized getting closer to pre-recession levels. Economists believe unemployment rate will drop by a quarter of percentage point due to an emergency federal program, which expired last week. However the general condition of the US job market is constantly improving, household confidence is and income have increased and the manufacturing sector keeps expanding. Unemployment claims are expected to decline to 335,000.
- US Philly Fed Manufacturing Index: Thursday, 15:00. Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region gained momentum in January climbing to 9.4 after 6.4 in December. This reading topped predictions for 8.8 points. However the future orders fell to 5.1 from 12.9 in December while prices paid reading rose to 18.7 from 16.4. Nonetheless the index has been positive for eight consecutive months indicating continues growth trend in the manufacturing sector. Factory activity is expected to decline to 9.2.
- US Existing Home Sales: Friday, 15:00. U.S. existing home sales advanced in December to an annual rate of 4.87, after posting 1.82 million in the previous month, reaching the highest level in seven years. Sales in 2013 totaled 5.09, up 19.5% since 2011. However economists expect the housing boom to cool off in 2014 and return to normal levels of a 5.1% growth. Existing home sales is expected to reach 4.73 million.
That’s it for the major events this week. Stay tuned for coverage on specific currencies
*All times are GMT.
- For a broad view of all the week’s major events worldwide, read the USD outlook.
- For the Japanese yen, read the USD/JPY forecast.
- For GBP/USD (cable), look into the British Pound forecast.
- For the Australian dollar (Aussie), check out the AUD to USD forecast.
- USD/CAD (loonie), check out the Canadian dollar forecast
- For the kiwi, see the NZDUSD forecast.