The US dollar was on the back foot during most of the week, but managed to recover towards the end. Employment data in NZ, Australia and Canada, a rate decision in the UK and Ben Bernanke’s speech are the highlights of this week. Here is an outlook on the top events awaiting us.
The ECB rocked the markets: it cut the main lending rate to 0.50% as expected and this helped the euro. But then Draghi left the door open for setting a negative deposit rate, and this already sent the euro tumbling down. The US Non-Farm Payrolls report for April 2013, edged up more than expected pushing unemployment rate to a 4-year low of 7.5%. Revisions to previous numbers were excellent. The strong set of numbers suggest the US economy is not as weak as it may have seemed in earlier data. Will the improvement in the US job market continue ? Let’s Start
- Mario Draghi speaks: Monday, 14:00. Mario Draghi President if the ECB will be awarded an honorary degree at the Luiss Guido Carli. He will also give a speech, where he may comment about the ECB rate decision held last week. His words cause volatility in the markets. Any talk about negative rates will hurt the euro.
- Australian rate decision: Tuesday, 5:30. Australia’s central bank maintained interest rates at a record low of 3.0% to spur growth. But downside risks such as a high local dollar and sluggish mining investment continue to weigh on the Australian economy. Inflation is close to target and the housing sector growth started to pick up. No change in rates is expected.
- NZ employment data: Wednesday, 23:45. New Zealand’s labor market weakened in the last three months of 2012, with the lowest participation rate in almost none years. Employment shrank 1% following -0.4% in the third quarter of 2012, Unemployment rate dropped to 6.9% from 7.3% amid a sharp increase in the number of people leaving the workforce. Economists expected a smaller decline to 7.1%. Nevertheless some improvement was demonstrated in the labor market after the close of the fourth quarter. An increase of 1.1% is expected in the number of jobs with a further drop in unemployment rate to 6.8%. More: Strong kiwi justified, but may backfire.
- Australian employment data: Thursday, 2:30. Australia’s unemployment rate edged up in March to the highest level in more than three years, rising to 5.6% from 5.4% in February, while analysts expected no change from February’s reading. The labor market shed 36,100 jobs in March, nearly five times more than predicted by analysts. These weak readings suggest that the transition from the mining to non-mining economy will not be easy and may prompt a rate cut in the coming months. A rise of 11,500 jobs is expected with no change in unemployment rate.
- UK rate decision: Thursday, 12:00. The Bank of England (BoE) kept a steady monetary policy, leaving QE at £375 billion, maintaining the base rate of interest at its record low of 0.5%. This decision came following soft manufacturing and service sector data. Inflation has more than halved to 2.5% from 5.2% last September, but is expected to increase again by the end of the year. However some optimism was shown regarding GDP growth for the third quarter from the part of industrial production and a rise in output in the service sector. No change in rates is forecast. More: AUD/USD Drops to Retest Short-Term Lows
- US Unemployment Claims: Thursday, 13:30. The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid plunged to a 5-year low of 324,000 last week following another positive reading of 339,000 in the previous week. The low figures suggest fewer layoffs and more hiring. A small rise to 333,000 is predicted.
- G7 Meetings: Fri-sat. The G7 meetings hosted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and the Governor of the Bank of England Sir Mervyn King, will meet in the UK and discuss the ongoing debt crisis in Europe and the challenges that face the global economy. The meetings are attended by finance ministers and central bankers from 7 industrialized nations.
- Canadian employment data: Friday, 13:30. Canada’s economy shed 54,500 jobs in March, missing predictions for a 6,800 addition, losing the 50,700 gain achieved in the previous month. This was the biggest monthly loss since February 2009. Meanwhile unemployment rate edged up to 7.2% from 7.0% in February. These weak readings indicate a slow start for Canadian economy amid an ongoing uncertainty in key foreign markets. An increase of 13,500 jobs is expected. And Unemployment rate is expected to remain at 7.2%.
- Ben Bernanke speaks: Friday, 13:30. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak at the Federal Reserve Bank’s 49th Annual Conference on Bank Structure and Competition, in Chicago. His words cause volatility in the market. In the recent decision, the Fed pointed a finger at politicians.
- US Federal Budget Balance: Friday, 19:00. The Federal Budget deficit narrowed to $106.5 billion in March from $203.5 billion in the preceding month. President Barack Obama suggested a $3.77 trillion budget which includes controversial cuts to social safety net programs with tax increases on the wealthy as an attempt to start the deficit-reduction process. The budget forecast a reduction of deficit to $744 billion in 2014, intending to shed 1.8 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years. A surplus of $93.9 billion is anticipated this time.
*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