The US dollar had a blockbuster week, breaking ground against all currencies apart from from the other safe haven: the yen, as euro-zone issues became more severe. In addition to the ongoing troubles in the euro-zone, US housing data, Japan’s rate decision and US unemployment claims are the major events on out list this week. Here is an outlook on the main market-movers.
Greece is facing new elections in June. Even if a pro-bailout government is elected, the situation there looks bad and talks of a bank run could be a self fulfilling prophecy. The situation in Greece and in Spain has a huge impact on all the world. In the US, things remain OK, with jobless claims unchanged at 370,000 claims, although retail sales figures disappointed with a lower than anticipated increase. Worries about the Chinese economy rise again. G-8 leaders are meeting in Camp David. Will they announce some kind of coordinated effort to boost the global economy?
- UK Inflation data: Tuesday, 8:30. UK CPI continues to drift further away from the BoE benchmark target of 2%, rising to 3.5% in March compared to 3.4% in February. The main causes for this rise were higher food and energy prices. The recent increase was in line with predictions. A drop to 3.1% is expected now.
- US Existing Home Sales: Tuesday, 14:00. Existing home sales disappoint in March with 4.48 million units following 4.60 million in February while economists expected an increase to 4.62 million. The unsteady job market and tight credit conditions could explain the recent slowdown in the housing industry. An increase to 4.64 million is expected now
- Japanese rate decision: Wednesday. The BOJ board members decided to extend their asset purchase program by an additional ¥5 trillion ($61.9 billion), in line with expectations and voted to hold overnight rate at 0-0.1%. The BOJ commented that the EU debt crisis effect on international markets has subsided and believes Japanese economy will return to moderate growth once the pace of recovery in foreign economies picks up. The rate is expected to be maintained.
- Canadian retail sales: Wednesday, 12:30. An unexpected drop in car sales during February, led to a disappointing 0.2% drop inCanada’s retail sales following 0.2% gain in the previous month while economists expected 0.1% gain. Meantime Core sales excluding the auto sector increased 0.5% compared to a 0.8% fall in January. Nevertheless, retail sales will contribute to GDP growth. Core sales is predicted to rise 0.6%, while retail sales is anticipated to rise 0.4%.
- US New Home Sales: Wednesday, 14:00. Sales of new homes slowed less than predicted in March, to 328,000 from353,000 in February. But the overall figures suggest the housing market is on a modest recovery path with a lower inventory of new homes for sale. A small rise to 335K is anticipated this time.
- German Ifo Business Climate: Thursday, 8:00. German business sentiment improved moderately in April, reaching 109.9 after109.8 in the previous month indicating a more optimistic view on current economic situation. But the fresh ZEW figure was a disappointment. ZEW President Wolfgang Franz noted that Germany faces downside risks from its trading partners, from higher prices of crude materials and the EU debt crisis. Business Climate is predicted to decline to 109.5.
- UK Revised GDP: Thursday, 8:30.The first release of British GDP showed a that the UK is in recession – a second consecutive quarterly decline. The contraction of 0.2% will likely be confirmed now, adding pressure on sterling after the dovish words of BOE Governor Mervyn King.
- US Durable Goods Orders: Thursday, 12:30. Durable orders softened unexpectedly in March dropping 1.1% from a 1.9% gain in the previous month. This drop was much worse than the 0.6% rise predicted by analysts. Nonetheless durable orders are notoriously volatile and cannot indicate a substantial trend. An increase of 1.2% is predicted now.
- US Unemployment claims: Thursday, 12:30. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits remained unchanged last week at 370,000, indicating a rebound in the job market. The decline suggests better hiring in May following a decline in the previous two months. A small rise to 374,000 is predicted now.
*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 the New Zealand dollar (kiwi), read the NZD forecast.
- For USD/CAD (loonie), check out the Canadian dollar
- For the Swiss Franc, see the USD/CHF forecast.