The DAX Index has edged higher in the Monday session. Currently, the DAX is at 12,055.65. On the release front, it’s a quiet start to the week in the eurozone. German CPI slipped to 0.2%, well off the forecast of 0.7%. We’ll also hear from German Buba President Jens Weidmann.
Last week’s Dutch election was good news for backers of the EU. There had been fears that the far right-wing Freedom Party of Geert Wilders would make substantial gains. Wilders is a fierce critic of the EU and pledged to hold a referendum on the Netherland’s membership in the EU (with the catchy slogan "Nexit"). Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte won the election handily, bringing a sigh of relief from governments in Western Europe. Still, Wilders commands the second largest party in the country and his party will be a major player on the Dutch political scene. Next stop is France, which goes to the polls in April. Polls have far rightist Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron and running neck-and-neck in the first round of the presidential election on April 23. Still, Macron is expected to win in the second-round vote in May.
As widely expected, Federal Reserve raised rates by a quarter-point last week. However, the US dollar responded with broad losses. Why the negative response? Firstly, there was disappointment in the markets with the Fed policy statement, which was more dovish than expected. The rate move was priced in at over 90 percent, and there had been speculation that a red-hot US economy would propel the Fed to accelerate its pace of monetary tightening, with possibly four rate hikes this year. Instead, Fed Chair Janet Yellen reiterated that further rate hikes would be "gradual" and the Fed made no changes to its "dot plot", with a projection for three rate hikes in 2017. As well, the US dollar may have lost ground due to traders and investors acting on "buy on rumor, sell on fact". What’s next for Janet Yellen & Co? Analysts don’t expect another rate move in May, while a hike in June is currently priced in at 50%. The markets will be looking for clues about the Fed’s monetary plans. A host of FOMC members will be speaking this weak, highlighted by Janet Yellen’s speech on Thursday at an event in Washington. The market will be looking for clues regarding monetary policy. In the past, Fed policymakers have presented conflicting positions, and if the market senses divisions within the Fed, the US dollar could lose ground.