The euro is quiet in the Thursday session, as EUR/USD trades at 1.0880. On the release front, German WPI posted a gain of 0.3%, beating the estimate of 0.1%. The EU released its Spring 2017 Economic Forecast, which presented a generally optimistic picture of the economies of EU members. In the US, PPI is expected to show a slight gain of 0.2%, and unemployment claims is forecast to climb to 245 thousand. On Friday, Germany releases Preliminary GDP. It will be a busy day in the US, which will publish retail sales, CPI and consumer confidence.
The eurozone received its semi-annual report card on Thursday, as the European Commission released its Spring 2017 Economic Forecast. The report noted that the European economy is in its fifth year of recovery, and forecast eurozone GDP growth of 1.7% in 2017 and 1.8% in 2018. On the inflation front, the report stated that inflation had risen in recent months, but this was mainly due to an increase in oil prices. Still, inflation was expected to reach 1.6% in 2017 and 1.3% in 2018, compared to just 0.2% in 2016. Stronger growth has led to lower unemployment, and the report projected that eurozone unemployment rate would drop to 9.4% in 2017 and 8.9% in 2018. The report reiterated what ECB president Mario Draghi has long been saying, namely, that risks to the eurozone economy remain tilted to the downside. These risks include US economic and trade policy under President Trump, the banking sector in Europe and the UK’s exit from the EU. This forecast is considerably more optimistic than the Winter 2017 forecast, as is apparent from the captions in the press releases for these two reports: The Winter forecast was entitled “Navigating through choppy waters”, while the caption for the Spring forecast reads “Steady growth ahead”.
Donald Trump has been embroiled in a number of controversies in his short presidency, but the political earthquake he has now stirred could become political quicksand for the new president. Trump abruptly fired FBI director James Comey on Tuesday, stunning lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Congress. Comey, who has been conducting an investigation into possible collusion between Trump and Russia during the presidential campaign, clearly has been a thorn in Trump’s side. The White House has claimed that it fired Comey over his handling of an email scandal involving Hillary Clinton, but the move has been roundly condemned by the Democrats, and some key Republicans have also voiced opposition as well. The firestorm could heat up further, with calls in Congress to appoint a special prosecutor into Trump’s connections with Russia. Has Trump gone one step to far? This latest controversy could cause some jitters among investors and hurt the US dollar.