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After the whopping Non-Farm Payrolls, the new week starts slowly but becomes intense later on. Rate decisions from New Zealand, Europe and Britain, and American retail sales and consumer confidence are the highlights among other events. Let’s see the major market movers this week.

European news has been slower in the past week, with no major credit downgrades or depressing statements. But the crisis is far from over. Traders understand that the austerity measures that flood the continent are a serious damage to growth. These worries can be reflected in the European rate decision. OK, let’s begin:

  1. Ben Bernanke talks: First appearance due on Tuesday at midnight GMT, at a conference in Washington; the second event is an official testimony in front of the House Budget Committee on Wednesday at 14:00 GMT, and the last one is later that day, at 20:00 GMT, at a conference in Richmond. Almost every public appearance provides some headlines that move the markets. With questions expected in most events and the growing pressure to raise the rates, it will interesting to see what wording Bernanke will use, and what delicate balance he’ll find behind hope of recovery and worries about Europe.
  2. American Beige Book: Published on Wednesday at 18:00 GMT. Two weeks before the FOMC meeting that decides on the rates, this report about the current economic conditions will shed some light on the state of the US economy, and might provide hints for the rate decision, now that some members are expressing the need to raise the rates.
  3. New Zealand Rate decision: Published on Wednesday  at 21:00 GMT. The RBNZ will probably be the third Western central bank to raise the rates. In his previous rate decision, Alan Bollard hinted about raising the rates. Fundamentals in New Zealand have been stabilizing. While they haven’t been superb, this could be enough to follow Australia and Canada and raise the Official Cash Rate from 2.5% to 2.75%. It’s important to notice the rate statement that accompanies the event.
  4. Japanese Final GDP: Published on Wednesday at 23:50 GMT. More bad news is expected in Japan after the resignation of the government. GDP for the first quarter will probably be revised to the downside – from 1.2% to 1.1%, pushing the yen lower.
  5. Australian employment data: Published on Thursday at 1:30 GMT.  Australia continues to enjoy economic growth and has a good outlook for the future. This will probably be reflected in another gain in jobs. Australian employment change is expected to rise by 16K and the unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 5.4% – lower than most countries.
  6. British rate decision: Published on Thursday at 11:00 GMT. Mervyn King, head of the BoE continues to face a dilemma – on one hand, inflation continues to pick up, making a rate hike necessary, but the fragile state of economy, that hardly emerged from the recession, means leaving the stimulus measures unchanged. King dismissed inflation so far. Consensus is for another month of unchanged rates – 0.5%. It’s important to watch the MPC Rate Statement. Any concern about inflation could boost the Pound.
  7. European rate decision: Published on Thursday at 12:45 GMT. Jean-Claude Trichet of the ECB faces a similar problem, but in Europe the inflation is softer and the economic issues are harder, making it easier for him to leave the European Minimum Bid Rate unchanged. There are even calls for lowering the 1% interest rate. His words regarding the debt issues and the economy in general at the press conference (45 minutes later) will also shake the markets.
  8. American and Canadian Trade Balance: Published on Thursday at 12:30 GMT. This double-feature release of the trade balance in both countries always shakes USD/CAD. The Canadian surplus is expected to rise to 0.7 billion, while the American deficit is expected to remain almost unchanged around 40 billion.
  9. American Unemployment Claims: Published on Thursday at 12:30 GMT. The first release of jobless claims after the whopping Non-Farm Payrolls is expected to be rather stable – a drop from 453K to 447K, still within the same range that this weekly indicator showed us in recent months.
  10. American Retail Sales: Published on Friday at 12:30 GMT. Sales volume is advancing steadily. The pace of growth is expected to ease this time, from 0.4% last month to 0.2% this time. Also core retail sales, which are closely watched by the Federal Reserve, are predicted to slow to 0.1% from 0.4% last month.
  11. American Consumer Sentiment: Published on Friday at 13:55 GMT. The last event of the week is very important – consumer sentiment is expected to edge back up from 73.6 to 74.9, indicating that the drop we saw recently was only temporary. The university of Michigan publishes this preliminary report close to the market’s close, in a very volatile timing.

That’s it for the major events for this week. Specific currency updates will follow.

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