Forex Weekly Outlook – June 5-9 2017

The US dollar was on the back foot throughout most of the week as data remained mixed and speculation about the Fed decision mounts. A rate decision in Australia, the ECB’s critical decision and the UK elections stand out in the first full week of June. Here are the highlights for the upcoming week.

Fed members sent mixed messages. It seems that they are trapped in the expectations they created for a June hike, but they may make it a “dovish hike”. Their favorite inflation figure continued falling[1]. In the UK, some opinion polls showed a tightening of the race[2], causing the pound to slide. But not polls are equal and the only that counts is the vote coming this week. Reports about an upgrade to the ECB’s assessment helped the euro, winning over weaker inflation[3]. Commodity currencies resumed their falls as China’s PMI slipped to contraction territory[4] and oil prices are grinding lower.

Updates:

  1. US ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI: Monday, 14:00. Most of the US economy is in the services (non-manufacturing) sector. The publication usually serves as a hint towards the Non-Farm Payrolls. This time, the sting is gone, but the report still has merit on its own. Back in April, the score beat expectations with 57.5 points[5].
  2. Australian rate decision: Tuesday, 4:30. The Reserve Bank of Australia last changed interest rates in August but has adopted a neutral stance since then. The Cash Rate is expected to remain unchanged at 1.50% for another month and the Aussie will move on the tone of the statement. On one hand, the Australian economy is doing fine, with solid jobs growth and consumption. However, worries about China weigh on the outlook. In the past, the RBA took advantage of downfalls in the exchange rate to push the currency even lower. Will they hit the A$ when it’s down once again?
  3. US JOLTS Job Openings: Tuesday, 14:00. If the Federal Reserve needs yet another jobs report in order to make its decision, the number of job openings serves as a hint. Despite being a laggard (the data is for April against May for the NFP), the publication still moves the needle as the Fed eyes it. In March, job opening stood at 5.74 million annualized.
  4. Australian GDP: Wednesday, 1:30. Australia publishes its GDP report only once per quarter, without any revisions. The economy enjoyed a strong finish to 2016, growing by 1.1% q/q. Q1 will already be different. Treasury Secretary Morrisson hinted that we see some “fluctuations”.
  5. Crude Oil Inventories: Wednesday, 14:30. The weekly measure of oil inventories has an immediate impact on oil prices but also reflects on the global economy. Lower supply and marginally higher demand pushed inventories lower, helping oil prices stabilize.
  6. UK elections: Thursday-Friday. Brits are going to the polls less than a year after the EU Referendum after PM Theresa May called a snap election[6]. At first, it seemed that her Conservative Party is set for a landslide victory. A wide majority in parliament would help her move to a soft Brexit, as she wouldn’t have to worry about the hardline “Brexiteers”. Since the announcement, her party is ceding ground to the opposition Labour Party. A small majority for May would be slightly disappointing while a hung parliament (as suggested in this poll[7]) could hit the pound quite hard. Polls have a big impact on the pound. They vary quite a bit: those showing a big victory for the May’s Tories rely on a high turnout for older people, as seen in previous campaigns. Those showing a tighter race rely on an upswing in youngsters coming out to vote. During the day, we will get turnout numbers. A low turnout will help the pound and a higher one will keep it under pressure. Initial exit polls are due at 21:00 GMT and real result will drip drop from 23:00. These are the most illiquid hours of trading and movements could be significant. The full results should be clear before European markets open at 7:00 GMT.
  7. ECB rate decision: Thursday, the decision is at 11:45, Draghi’s press conference at 12:30. Will the ECB stop seeing risks as tilted to the downside? Will they hint at the beginning of the end of QE? After reducing the amount of monthly buys of bonds from 80 to 60 billion euros, the ECB is still on course to continue with the money-printing scheme through 2017. The big question is what’s next. Given the recent improvement in the economy and expectations for higher inflation, the ECB might provide an upgraded outlook, setting the scene for an announcement about tapering QE in September. Note that this is an important ECB meeting, where they also release new forecasts for growth and inflation. In many past events, Draghi dragged down the euro. Will it be different this time? According to some reports, the ECB is set to ignore the most recent drop in inflation[8] and upgrade its assessment[9].
  8. Canadian jobs report: Friday, 12:30. This time, Canada’s job report gets the full stage as the NFP is behind us. In April, the Canadian economy gained only 3.2K jobs[10] and the unemployment rate stood at 6.5%.

*All times are GMT

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