EUR/USD has climbed higher in the Thursday session. Currently, the pair is trading at 1.1419, up 0.42% on the day. In the eurozone, the focus is on German CPI, which is expected to rebound with a gain of 0.5%. In the U.S., Advance GDP is projected at 2.2%, after a gain of 2.3% in the fourth quarter. Chicago PMI is expected to rise to 57.3 and unemployment claims is forecast to rise to 221 thousand. Friday will also be busy. Germany releases retail sales and manufacturing PMI, while the eurozone releases CPI estimates. In the U.S., we’ll get a look at ISM Manufacturing PMI and the UoM Consumer Sentiment.
The ECB has finally terminated its massive stimulus program, but any speculation that the bank will raise rates in the near term appears remote. The ECB has held rates at a flat 0.00% since March 2016, and there are two main factors weighing on a rate hike. First, the eurozone economy is grappling with a slowdown, and the German locomotive has also posted sluggish numbers. As well, inflation levels remain well shy of the ECB target of 2 percent. Unless the economic conditions show a sharp improvement, we may not see a rate hike before 2020.
The Federal Reserve is in dovish mode, and this stance was reinforced by Fed Chair Powell’s testimony on Capitol Hill on Tuesday and Wednesday. Powell preached patience with regard to changes in interest rate levels. The Fed chair stated that the Fed was in “no rush to make a judgment” and made reference to “conflicting signals in the economy”. The labor picture remains bright, with strong hiring and low unemployment. At the same time, consumer spending and business investment have been soft. Powell was optimistic about the U.S. economy, but said that the lower global growth and uncertainty over trade was weighing on the economy. The markets are expecting the Fed to remain on the sidelines in May and June, meaning that the first hike of 2019 may be on hold until the second half of the year.