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The US dollar eventually saw some gains in a week where currencies sought a direction. The all-important EU Summit as well as retail sales, inflation figures and Philly Fed Manufacturing Index in the US are our top events for this week. Here is an outlook on the major events coming our way.

US jobless claims in the US dropped to 339K, the lowest since February 2008, down 30,000 from the previous week. This could suggest a recovery trend but may also occur due to seasonal adjustments since the figures at the beginning of a quarter are highly volatile. Is this a statistical error or the beginning of a major change I the US economy? In Europe, the Nobel Prize cheered many in the continent, but uncertainty regarding Spain remains high and perhaps a bailout request will only be seen if yields jump.

  1. US Retail sales: Monday, 12:30. Retail sales in the U.S. topped expectations in August by rising 0.9% amid a boost in demand for automobiles.  The gain followed a downwardly revised 0.6% increase in July. Economists expected a 0.7% rise. Meanwhile retail sales excluding autos edged up 0.8% the same as in July. Economists predicted a 0.7% gain. The retail sales figures suggest the US economy remains stable.Retail sales as well as Core sales are expected to gain 0.7%.
  2.  UK inflation data: Tuesday, 8:30. Consumer price inflation slowed down in August to 2.5% from 2.6% in the preceding month, but higher petrol and energy prices imply inflation would rise above the Bank of England’s latest forecast. Meanwhile Core inflation excluding energy, food, alcoholic beverages and tobacco dropped to 2.1% in August from 2.3% in July, below the 2.2% forecasted. BOE Governor Mervyn King said inflation is broadly balanced only a bit below the BOE’s forecast, therefore further monetary stimulus is not required at this time. A drop to 2.3% is forecasted.
  3. German ZEW Economic Sentiment: Tuesday, 9:00. German Investors sentiment brightened for more than predicted in September reaching -18.2 after posting-25.5 in August. Analysts forecasted a weaker reading of -19.2. The relative positively reading came in light of improvements in Germany’s economic outlook for the next six months. However the EU’s debt crisis still threatens Germany’s economic outlook. A further improvement to -14.6 is expected this time.
  4. US inflation data: Tuesday, 12:30. Consumer prices increased 0.6% in August, better than the 0.5% rise predicted, while core prices increased less than expected with a modest 0.1% climb. Energy prices were the major factor for CPI rise. CPI is predicted to increase 0.5% while Core CPI is predicted to edge up 0.2%.
  5. UK Employment data: Wednesday, 8:30. The number of people claiming unemployment benefits plunged unexpectedly by 15,000 in August, mainly due to temporary hiring for the Olympics, but still a good figure forUK’s labor market. The reading was well below forecasts. The rise in employment was evenly split between part-time and full-time employment. Another decline of 2,200 is forecasted.
  6. Chinese GDP: Thursday, 2:00. The world’s No. 2 economy is closely watched these days, and the talk of a significant slowdown is intensifying. After reporting a growth rate of 7.6% in Q2, a slightly slower growth rate of 7.4% is expected now. It’s important to remember that there are always many doubts about the official figure, especially as it is compiled so early after the quarter ends. The Aussie dollar needs a strong figure, while the safe haven dollar and yen will enjoy a weaker one.
  7. EU Summit: Thursday and Friday. Both Spain and Greece will dominate the agenda of European leaders. This is yet another deadline for Greece. On this front, things look better after Merkel’s visit to Athens. The troika could eventually write a relatively positive report about the debt hit country – a report that will open the door to more aid. However, nothing is certain and every statement towards the summit and during the event will shake the euro. Regarding Spain, things are more complicated, especially as regional elections are held on Sunday, October 21st, and they could postpone a request from the zone’s fourth largest economy. Other topics are the Financial Transaction Tax and a separate budget for the euro-zone. Also in this summit, the UK will likely move a bit further away from its euro-zone peers.
  8. US Unemployment Claims: Thursday, 12:30. The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a four-year low last week, reaching 339,000. The 30,000 drop is a likely reflection of the difficulty in adjusting the data for seasonal swings. Analysts predicted a reading of 370,000. Unadjusted claims usually surge at the beginning of a quarter since people receiving benefits reapply to continue, but one large state reported a drop instead of an increase which affected the overall employment picture. However despite this over optimistic drop, there may be recovery trend in the labor market. A rise to 367,000 is anticipated.
  9.  US Philly Fed Manufacturing Index: Thursday, 14:00. Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region contracted for a fifth straight month in September, down by 1.9 following a 7.1 decline in August. However the reading was better than the 4.1 decline predicted by analysts. The EU debt crisis combined with weaker business investments are the main causes for the slowdown in manufacturing activity, increasing uncertainty both domestically and globally. An improvement to 0.1 is expected now.
  10.  US Existing Home Sales: Friday, 14:00. US existing home sales increased to an annual rate of 4.82 million units in August from a 4.47 million-unit rate in the previous month. Economists expected a lower figure of 4.57 million units indicating the housing sector recovery is gathering momentum. A small decline to 4.73 million units is anticipated.

*All times are GMT.

That’s it for the major events this week. Stay tuned for coverage on specific currencies

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