The US dollar did not lick honey against most currencies despite some OK data. The focus now moves to the all-important Fed decision. In addition we have housing and inflation numbers in the US, rate decisions in Japan and Switzerland and the ongoing Greek crisis. These are among the main events on forex calendar for this week. Here is an outlook on the market movers coming our way.
The released positive economic data with better than expected retail sales figures. American consumers increased their purchases in May, especially for autos, clothes and building materials, suggesting the improvement in the labor market boosted sales. Also consumer sentiment for June beat expectations, but most market analysts doubt this is enough for an early rate. In the euro-zone, Greek headlines had a growing impact on the common currency as the clock is ticking. The Aussie enjoyed a good employment report while the kiwi fell sharply on a rate cut. Where will currencies move next? Let’s start,Updates:
- UK Inflation data: Tuesday, 8:30. UK inflation turned negative in April, reaching -0.1%. This was the first negative figure ever recorded. Bank of England governor Mark Carney forecasted low inflation in the coming months, but expects a gradual pick up towards the end of 2015. The sharp fall in oil prices is the major reason for low inflation. However, this global trend is positive for UK households despite concerns of weaker business investments. UK inflation is expected to rebound in May and rise 0.1%.
- German ZEW Economic Sentiment: Tuesday, 9:00. German investor sentiment plunged in May, amid the Greek debacle and lack of growth. Economic sentiment fell to 41.9 from 53.3 in April considerably lower than the 48.8 estimated by analysts. Responders were concerned about the sluggish growth data of only 0.3% growth in the first quarter compared to 0.7% in the last quarter of 2014. Furthermore, Greece’s inevitable default raises fears over the Eurozone economic outlook. German investor climate is expected to decline further to 38.6.
- US Building Permits: Tuesday, 12:30. U.S. building permits edged up to their highest level in nearly 7-1/2 years in April, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.14 million units, following 1.04 million in March. Additional positive construction data suggest a possible rebound in the housing sector. The rise in demand for new houses is a positive trend following the harsh winter of 2015. The strong housing data is expected to have a positive effect on GDP growth in the second quarter. The number of building permits is expected to reach 1.10 million units this time.
- UK Employment data: Wednesday, 8:30. The UK labor market continued to improve in April. Unemployment fell and the number of people employed continued to rise. The number of people claiming jobless benefits declined by 12,600 in April to 764,000. Government officials were pleased with the positive data, claiming their government is working. Rising demand for workers pushed regular pay growth to 2.2%. Weak inflation and higher wages are welcome news for the UK households. This will also have a positive effect on consumer spending and economic growth.
- Fed decision: Wednesday, 18:00, press conference at 18:30. This is the first meeting that does not carry any forward guidance regarding rates. In addition, it is accompanied by fresh economic forecasts, the “dot plot” and of course, a press conference by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, all making this meeting a very big event. The baseline scenario is that the Fed will wait just a bit more before raising the rates, with economists focusing on the September meeting. However, a rate hike is possible already now and in July. On on hand, the Fed would like to start the “lift off” and prevent bubbles. On the other hand, it would not like to act prematurely, choking the recovery and having to reverse. Every word in the statement and every word that Yellen will say carry a lot of weight. Worries could send down the dollar while upbeat sentiment about the positive data in the spring could be dollar positive. A repeat of the “hike in 2015” stance would be generally positive.
- NZ GDP: Wednesday, 22:45. New Zealand economy expanded 0.8% in the fourth quarter of 2014, in line with market forecast, following a 0.9% growth in the third quarter. Retail and accommodation edged up 2.3% in the last quarter of 2014 while international tourist spending increased by 15%. Retail trade also climbed 1.8%. Year-on-year, the economy grew 3.5%, the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2007. New Zealand Q1 GDP is expected to reach 0.6%.
- Switzerland: rate decision: Thursday, 7:30. The Swiss National Bank decided to keep interest rates at negative 0.75%, waiting to see the full impact of its unexpected move in January. The change in the monetary conditions was made in an effort to depreciate the Swiss franc, but had a negative effect on household savings and pension funds becoming a matter of concern for the Swiss population. SNB President Thomas Jordan noted that the franc was still overvalued and that there was room for an even lower rate in the future. The Swiss National Bank is expected to maintain the negative rate of -0.75%.
- US inflation data: Thursday, 12:30. U.S. inflation excluding energy costs edged up 0.3% in April amid a rise in shelter and medical care costs. Analysts expected a 0.2% climb as in March. Meanwhile, the overall CPI climbed 0.1% after rising 0.2%in March. The rise was held back by a 1.7% decline in gasoline prices and no change in food prices. April’s figures support the Fed’s decision to raise rates, showing signs that inflation was moving toward the Fed’s target. CPI is forecasted to rise 0.5% while Core CPI is expected to gain 0.2%.
- US Unemployment claims: Thursday, 12:30. The number new claims for unemployment benefits increased mildly last week, reaching 279,000, still remaining below 300,000. This was the 14th week that claims held below the 300,000 threshold, indicating the labor market continues to strengthen. Economists expected the number of claims will reach 277,000. The four-week average of claims increased 3,750 to 278,750 last week. The number of jobless claims is forecasted to reach 278,000 this week.
- US Philly Fed Manufacturing Index: Thursday, 14:00. Manufacturing in the Philadelphia area weakened in May, according to responders. Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing business outlook fell to 6.7 in May from 7.5 in April. New orders rose 0.3% following 0.7. Current shipments index also rise 3 points to a reading of 1 and Employment conditions weakened by 5 points to 6.7, from April’s reading of 11.5. The manufacturing sector in the New York region found some momentum late last week with the Empire State manufacturing survey bouncing back into positive territory. However, the 3.1 reading in May remained weaker than expected. Manufacturing sentiment in the Philadelphia area is expected to rise to 8.1.
- Japan rate decision: Friday. the Bank of Japan voted to maintain its monetary policy stance unchanged in May and continue implementing money market operations to ensure a monetary base of JPY 80 trillion a year. The decision, which was in line with market forecast. The BOJ noted that Japan’s economy is continuing to improve. Exports increased boosting growth in the manufacturing sector and increasing business investments. However, the Bank also stated that inflation is likely to remain close to 0% in the near term due to the energy price decline. No change in rates is expected.
*All times are GMT.
That’s it for the major events this week. Stay tuned for coverage on specific currencies
- For EUR/USD, check out the Euro to Dollar forecast.
- 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.
- For USD/CAD (loonie), check out the Canadian dollar
- For the Swiss Franc, see the USD/CHF forecast.