Euro recovered broadly today as EU raised both growth and inflation forecast. Meanwhile, the Japanese Yen stays the weakest one on solid risk appetite. EU raised growth forecast for both EU and Eurozone in its Winter forecast released today. For EU growth is projected to be 1.8% in 2017 and 2018, up from November estimate of 1.6% and 1.8%. For Eurozone, growth is projected to be 1.6% in 2017 and 1.8% in 2018, up from November estimate of 1.5% and 1.7%. Inflation is also expected to pick up. For EU, inflation is projected to rise for 0.3% in 2016 to 1.8% in 2017 drop back to 1.7% in 2018. For Eurozone, inflation is expected to rise from 0.2% in 2016 to 1.7% in 2017 and drop back to 1.4% in 2018.
Risk appetite extends to Asian markets, following the records close in US last week. At the time of writing, Japan Nikkei is trading up 98 pts or 0.5%, HK HSI is up 120 pts or 0.5%. Yen trades broadly lower on risk appetite, together with Swiss Franc. On the other hand, Sterling and Dollar are trading mildly higher. In other markets, Gold dips back to 1230 on Dollar strength and it looks like recent pull back from 1246.6 would extend lower. WTI crude oil is still bounded in range of 50.8/55.3, without any direction. Released in Asian session, Japan Q4 GDP rose 0.2% qoq, below expectation of 0.3% qoq. GDP deflator dropped -0.1% yoy, above expectation of -0.2% yoy.
US stocks soared to new record high last week on resurgence of talk of president Donald Trump's expansive policies. In particular, bulls regained control after Trump said he would announce "phenomenal" tax reforms within two or three weeks. DJIA closed the week up 197.9 pts, or 0.99% at 20269.37. S&P 500 gained 18.7 pts or 0.81% for the week to close at 2316.10. NASDAQ rose 67.4 pts or 1.19% to close at 5734.13. All three major indices closed at record highs. The developments helped lift treasury yield from intra-week selloff. 10 year yield closed at 2.409 after dipping to 2.325, comparing to prior week's close at 2.491. Dollar was given a boost and ended as the second strongest major currency, next to Sterling. The Dollar index closed at 100.71, up from prior week's close at 99.73. Fed chair Janet Yellen's testimony to Congress will be a major focus this week. But Trump's tweets and any economy-related announcements will be the things that move markets.
Canadian dollar are lifted by solid job data and strength in oil prices today. The Canadian job market expanded by 48.3k in January, much better than expectation of 0.0k. Unemployment rate also dropped 0.1% to 6.8%. Meanwhile WTI crude oil is gaining 1.7% at the time of writing and is pressing 54 handle. It's possible that WTI is heading to retest recent resistance at 55.24 based on current momentum. On the other hand, the greenback is also strong, except versus Aussie and Loonie. Trump trades as back in force and Donald Trump said he will deliver a "phenomenal" tax overhaul within two or three weeks. From US, import price index rose 0.4% in January.
US equities' up trend resumed overnight with all three major indices closed at new record highs. Sentiments were lifted by news that US president Donald Trump will deliver a "phenomenal" plan to overhaul taxes on business without "two or three weeks". DJIA jumped 118.06 pts, or 0.59%, to close at 118.06. S&P 500 rose 13.2 pts, or 0.58%, to close at 2307.87. NASDAQ rose 32.73 pts, or 0.58%, to close at 5715.18. Treasury yields followed with 10 year yield gained 0.044 to close at 2.395. 30 year yield rose 0.050 to close at 3.011. Dollar also strengthened some what but the dollar index lost momentum after hitting 100.73, limited by 55 day EMA (now at 100.66). In the currency markets, Yen is the biggest loser for the day and with USD/JPY, EUR/JPY and GBP/JPY took out minor resistance level, suggesting more upside.
Dollar trades mixed in early US session despite positive job data. Initial jobless claims dropped 12k to 234k in the week ended February 4, below expectation of 250k. Four week moving average dropped to 244.25, lowest since 1973. Continuing claims rose 15k to 2.08m in the week ended January 28. Also released in US session, Dollar index is hovering in tight range around 100.32 at the time of writing. Near term outlook is mixed. On the negative side, it's still struggling below 55 day EMA (now at 100.65). On the positive side, daily MACD crossed above signal line. We'd maintain that there is prospect of a rebound after getting firm support from 100 handle.
New Zealand Dollar weakens after RBNZ left the Official Cash Rate (OCR) unchanged at 1.75%. More importantly, the central bank adopted a more dovish outlook for the OCR. RBNZ now forecast interest rate to stay at around 1.8% through June 2019 and move up to 2.0% in 2020. The markets were nearly pricing in full chance of a rate hike by November this year. But after the release, such pricing dropped to around 50%. Meanwhile, RBNZ trimmed inflation forecast too. Inflation is projected to be at 1.5% this year, soften to 1.3% at the start of 2018 and then climb back to 2% by mid-2019. Technically, NZD/USD dips through 0.7240 support which now indicates near term reversal. Near term outlook in NZD/USD is now turned bearish for 55 day EMA (now at 0.7150).
Euro weakens broadly today as is trading in red against all other major currencies for the week. The common currency was weighed down by comments from ECB president Mario Draghi that the central bank won't react to recent spike in inflation. Meanwhile, markets are starting to get cautious on political uncertainties. Recent news from France are reminding traders there are two rounds of French presidential election on April 23 and May 7, as well as elections in the Netherlands and Germany. In addition, UK is set to trigger Article 50 for Brexit by the end of March. And there are uncertainties over US president Donald Trump's protectionist policies. Mild risk aversion is lifting the Japanese yen across the board.
The financial markets are lacking clear direction for the moment. DJIA hit new record high at 20155.35 overnight but pared back much gain to close at 20090.29, up only 0.19%. Treasury yields dropped rather notably with 10 year yield closed down -0.024 at 2.389 as recent consolidation extends. Dollar index reached as high as 100.72 but failed to break through 55 day EMA and retreated, currently at 110.40. Dollar's rebound lost momentum as weighed down mildly by dovish comments from a Fed official. Meanwhile, Sterling regained footing after hawkish comments from BoE policy maker. Some more time is needed for the markets to seek clarity on the directions. .
Dollar's rebound gathers some momentum today as dollar index regained 100 handle and hit as high as 100.72 so far. Hawkish comments from Philadelphia Fed president Patrick Harker is seen as a factor supporting the greenback. Meanwhile, weakness in European majors is providing further lift. Technically, GBP/USD leads the way with break of 1.2411 minor support, which is seen as sign of near term reversal. USD/CAD also took out 1.3168 minor resistance which indicates near term bottoming. The near term focus will now turn to 1.0619 in EUR/USD, 1.0043 in USD/CHF and 113.44 in USD/JPY. In other markets, gold retreats mildly after hitting 1237.5 and is back at around 1230 at the time of writing. But there is no clear sign of topping yet and that mildly dampens the case for reversal in Dollar. WTI crude oil is staying in recent range between 50/55.
Dollar recovers mildly today but momentum stays weak. Philadelphia Fed president Patrick Harker said that he's open to a March hike, but markets thought otherwise. Harker noted that he's "supportive of three rate hikes" this year depending on how the economy and policies evolve. And, more importantly, "March should be considered as a potential for another 25 basis point increase". While he said the Fed is not behind the curve now, he wants to "make sure we don't get behind the curve". Meanwhile, fed fund futures are pricing in just 8.9% chance of a March hike, down from prior day's 13.3% and nearly 30% last month. Dollar index continues to hover tight range around 100 handle. Technically, as it's close to key support level between 99.0/99.5. There is prospect of a short term rebound.
Euro trades mildly softer today in rather quiet markets. Eurozone Sentix investor confidence dropped to 17.4 in February, down from 18.2, but beat expectation of 17.4. Sentix noted in the release that "investors are reacting to Donald Trump's first official acts and see in these a burden for the global economy." Eurozone PMI dropped 0.3 pt to 50.1 in January. German factory orders rose 5.2% mom in December, versus expectation of 0.7% mom. German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble blamed ECB for making Euro's exchange rate "too low" and monetary polices that are "too loose" for Germany. He said that "when ECB chief Mario Draghi embarked on the expansive monetary policy, I told him he would drive up Germany's export surplus.... I promised then not to publicly criticise this [policy] course. But then I don't want to be criticized for the consequences of this policy."
The forex markets are generally staying in tight range today with Dollar, Euro and Aussie trading with a soft tone. Recent developments in the US is prompting some analysts to push back their expectations on Fed's hike this year. According to a Reuters poll of dealers, all 14 respondents expected Fed to stand pat in March meeting too. 12 our of 14 expected Fed to hike 0.25% by the end of second quarter. 10 expected interest rate to hit 1.00-1.25% by the end of the year. But only 2 expected interest rate to hit 1.25-1.50%. That is, the majority is expecting Fed to hike only twice this year.
Dollar spiked higher after much stronger than expected headline non-farm payroll number. But the greenback quickly retreated back into established range after looking at the details. NFP showed 227k growth in the job market in January versus expectation of 175k, up from prior month's 157k. However, unemployment rate rose 0.1% to 4.8%, above expectation of 4.7%. The bigger disappointment is seen in wage growth. Average hourly earnings rose 0.1% mom in January, much lower than expectation of 0.3% mom. Dollar is set to end the week as the second weakest major currency, next to Sterling.
Dollar trades mildly higher in Asian session today but remains the second weakest major currency for the week, next to Sterling. Main focus is turning to employment data from US. Markets are expecting non-farm payroll report to show 175k growth in January while unemployment rate would be unchanged at 4.7%. Average hourly earnings are expected to grow 0.3% mom. Looking at other employment related data, ADP report showed 246k growth in January, much stronger than December's 151k. Four week moving average of initial jobless claims dropped 10k to 248k during the period. Employment component of ISM manufacturing surged to 56.1, up from 52.8. Conference board consumer confidence, however, dropped to 111.8, down from 113.3. Overall, other employment data points to a strong NFP report today. But the question is, based on current market sentiment, it's unsure if Dollar will respond positively to a set of good numbers.
Sterling tumbles sharply today even though BoE upgraded growth forecasts in the quarterly Inflation Report. The central bank kept key interest rate unchanged at 0.25% and held the asset purchase target at GBP 435b, as widely expected. The central bank maintained a neutral stance and noted that "monetary policy can response, in either direction". Also, it noted that some policy makers are "closer to those limits" referring to the tolerance of overshooting the 2% inflation target. In the latest projections, BoE forecasts inflation to average 2.7% in 2017, 2.6% in 2018 and 2.4% in 2019, November forecast of 2.8% in 2017, 2.7% in 2018 and 2.5% in 2019. Growth is projected to be 2.0% in 2017, 1.6% in 2018, 1.7% in 2019, comparing to November's forecast of 1.4% in 2017 and 1.5% in 2018, 1.6% in 2019. Sterling bulls are clearly dissatisfied with the announcement as the pound weakens notably against Euro and Yen..
Dollar's decline extended overnight after Fed left interest rates unchanged as widely expected. The dollar index reaches as low as 99.42 so far is is pressing 99.43 key near term support level. Markets continued to pare back expectation on Fed higher. Fed fund futures are pricing in 17.7% chance of March hike an 69.0% only. Nonetheless, treasury yield was steady with 10 year yield closed up 0.023 to 2.474. Stocks also stabilized with DJIA closed up slightly by 26.85 pts, or 0.14%, at 19890.94. S&P 500 rose 0.68 pts, or 0.03%, to close at 2279.55. In the currency markets, Dollar remains the weakest major currency this week. On the other hand Yen stays the strongest , followed closely by Aussie and Loonie. In other markets, Gold rides on Dollar weakness and surges to as high as 1210.2 so far today, and is set to take on 1220.1 resistance. WTI crude oil stays in familiar range and hovers around 53.5.
Dollar remains generally weak today after a rather weak recovery attempt. And, much better than expected ADP job data seems providing little inspiration. FOMC rate decision will be the main focus today but would likely be a non-event. Firstly, there practically no chance for Fed to adjust monetary policy at today's meeting. Secondly, after some hawkish Fedspeaks back in January, there were a little speculation of a March hike. And Fed could make use of today's statement to signal this.
Dollar is trying to recover today but remains the weakest major currency as markets turn their focus to FOMC rate decision today. The greenback has been under much selling pressure since the start of drama of US president Donald Trump's executive order on immigration ban. And more certainties are added after Trump called China and Japan playing their money markets. Also, his trade adviser Peter Navarro complained that the Euro was "grossly undervalued". Markets' enthusiasm over Trump's expansive policies diminished much this week and that can clearly be seen in the sharp pull back in stocks. DJIA ended down -107.04 pts or -0.54% at 19865.09, moving further away from 20000 handle. 10 year yield also lost 0.032 to close at 2.451. Dollar index is back below 100 handle, trading at around 99.8 at the time of writing.
Euro surges broadly today on much stronger than expected inflation reading. Flash CPI rose 1.8% yoy in January, up from prior month's 1.1% yoy, and beat expectation of 1.5% yoy. That's also the highest reading since February 2013. Core CPI, on the other hand, was unchanged at 0.9% yoy, in line with consensus. Eurozone Q4 GDP showed 0.5% qoq growth, up from 0.3% qoq, beat expectation of 0.4% qoq. Eurozone unemployment rate also dropped to 9.6% in December, better than expectation of being unchanged at 9.8%. That's also the lowest level since mid-2009.