The US dollar was on the back foot, suffering some political issues among other factors. The meeting minutes from the Fed stand out, alongside updates on US and UK GDP but perhaps the biggest event is the testimony of James Comey. Here are the highlights for the upcoming week.
The Trump Administration has suffered from major scandals. The worst was a memo by now former FBI Director James Comey suggesting that Trump tried to obstruct justice. For markets, these scandals divert attention away from tax reforms. The dollar weakened across the board, with EUR/USD reaching 6-month highs.Updates:
- US New Home Sales: Tuesday, 14:00. Sales of new homes trigger wider economic activity and are correlated with the economic cycle. The data for March showed a rise to 621K in annualized sales. A level of 611K is on the cards now.
- Canadian rate decision: Wednesday, 14:00. The Bank of Canada held its interest rate unchanged at 0.5% since the middle of 2015 and no change is likely now. The Canadian economy is suffering from worries about housing, uninspiring oil prices and most recently, a disappointing jobs report. However, conditions are not ripe for a rate cut, not yet. The weaker C$ is helping balance things out. The tone of the statement will make a difference. Any hint of a rate cut could weigh on the loonie.
- US Existing Home Sales: Wednesday, 14:00. Sales of second-hand homes consist the vast majority of the housing market, but trigger less activity around them. The annualized level of sales hit 5.71 million in March. A similar number of 5.68 million is predicted now.
- James Comey testifies Wednesday, 13:30 (tentative). The former FBI Director returns to Capitol Hill for the first time after he was fired by President Trump. Comey’s memo included a passage suggesting that Trump tried to intervene in the investigation of Michael Flynn, the disgraced National Security Advisor about the connections between Russia and the Trump campaign. We have witnessed how the scandals have affected the US dollar. If Comey clearly says that Trump tried to obstruct justice, the dollar could fall. If he denies it or plays Trump’s comments down, the dollar could rise.
- FOMC Meeting Minutes: Wednesday, 18:00. In the May meeting, the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and shrugged off the recent slowdown. Since then, we learned that wages have decelerated to 2.5% y/y and we have also learned about unimpressive retail sales and lower inflation. Since the meeting minutes document can be revised to send signals to markets, we might get a more dovish message than the statement suggested.
- UK GDP (second release): Thursday, 8:30. The first release of UK GDP showed a significant drop in growth, 0.3%. Brexit is beginning to bite and consumption has softened as prices rise. The number will likely be confirmed now.
- US jobless claims: Thursday, 12:30. The weekly barometer of the US jobs market has been very stable of late but they are going in the right direction: a drop to only 232K in the past week.
- US GDP (second release): Friday, 12:30. The first estimate of US GDP showed a poor growth rate of 0.7% annualized. This is less than 0.2% q/q. While also some of the previous years have begun with a slow first quarter, the report comes after sluggish growth in 2016. A small upgrade is likely.
- US Durable Goods Orders: Friday, 12:30. Coming at the same time as the GDP release, we get a sneak preview on investment in Q2. According to the revised data for March, headline orders rose by 0.9%. This is still below expectations for the initial release. Core orders, which the Fed eyes, were flat after the revision.
*All times are GMT
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