US Dollar Surges Amidst Volatility

BoE Signals Higher Interest Rates in the UK

The US dollar had its strongest week against major currency pairs in twelve months. Even as the United States is suffering a bout of political uncertainty the dollar became a safe haven as stocks and bonds saw massive moves this week. The signing of a federal budget by US President Donald Trump boosted the dollar ahead of the release of retail sales and inflation data next week. Central banks are moving away from record low interest rates around the globe.

  • UK inflation expected at 2.9 percent
  • US inflation potential rise has markets worried
  • EU Brexit negotiator warns UK about transition risks

The EUR/USD lost 1.77 percent in the last five trading days. The single currency is trading at 1.2235 after heavy losses were registered by European equities to follow in line with the drop in American markets. The rise in wages in the latest U.S. non farm payrolls (NFP) report triggered a surge of the US dollar as investors are buying the currency as higher rates are in the horizon. Higher inflation is expected and will be one of the economic indicators under review this week. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics will publish the Consumer Price Index (CPI) on Tuesday, February 13 at 8:30 am EST. Core inflation is expected to have gained 0.2 percent in January with anything above could drive the US currency even higher.

European politics have reached some stability with the German coalition now in place but with the upcoming Italian elections in March the boat is sure to rock. Economic fundamentals have been strong in the eurozone with Germany leading the way as usual. The gap between the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB) is closing with regarding monetary policy. The ECB is expected to end its QE program and could even lift interest rates later this year. The week will bring minor indicator releases in Europe with the German central bank chief Jens Weidmann speaking in Frankfurt on Wednesday, February 14 at 3:00 am EST. Earlier that day the GDP figures for Germany will be released with a 0.6 percent growth expected.

The market will be following US releases more closely after a strong week for the USD. Producer Price Index data will be released on February 15 at 8:30 am EST with a forecasted gain of 0.4 percent after the prices of goods fell last month.

Data released on Friday by the CFTC showed short positions of the US dollar shrank for the first time in six weeks signalling a change in investor sentiment towards the greenback.

Canadian dollar weekly graph February 5, 2018

The USD/CAD gained 1.52 percent in the last five days. The currency pair is trading at 1.2613 after the start of Monday trading at 1.2416. The stock market sell off has seen a growing appetite for US dollars as well as the end of some short USD positions. Canadian data was few and far between and it overall did not help the loonie. The Trade balance grew from 2.7 billion last month to 3.2 as imports grew by 1.5 percent in December, while export only did so by 0.6 percent. Canadian employment data was released on Friday and did not paint a pretty picture. Canada lost 88,000 positions well below expectations of a 10,000 gain in January. There was a slowdown anticipated after two back to back 70,000 plus gains, but the drop surprised even the more pessimistic analysts. The fact that most of the losses came in part time positions took some of the sting from the report and could be explained in part by the rise of minimum wages in Ontario.

Next week will be quiet in the Canadian economic calendar with the relatively new ADP non farm report due out on Thursday, February 15 at 8:30 am EST. and Foreign purchases of securities on Friday, February 16 at 8:30 am EST.

The GBP/USD lost 2.17 percent this week. The currency pair is trading at 1.3814 despite a hawkish Bank of England (BoE) singling a rate hike sooner rather than later. The biggest downwards pressure comes from comments by the EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Brussels as disagreements between the UK and the European Union remain. The words: “A transition is not a given”, was a shock after the Brexit divorce appeared to be headed to a more amicable end. The fragile situation of the conservative government after their narrow triumph in the snap elections they themselves triggered has left them in a position of weakness at this stage of the negotiation.

The Bank of England (BoE) hosted its first super Thursday of the year on February 8. The central bank was openly hawkish about inflation and its willingness to hike sooner than later. The BoE could move interact rates higher as soon as May. The release of the Consumer Price Index on Tuesday, February 13 at 4:30 am could validate the strong messaging from the BoE if inflation stay above the 2 percent target.

Market events to watch this week:

Tuesday, February 13
4:30am GBP CPI y/y
9:00pm NZD Inflation Expectations q/q
Wednesday, February 14
8:30am USD CPI m/m
8:30am USD Core CPI m/m
8:30am USD Core Retail Sales m/m
8:30am USD Retail Sales m/m
10:30am USD Crude Oil Inventories
7:30pm AUD Employment Change
Thursday, February 15
8:30am USD PPI m/m
Friday, February 16
4:30am GBP Retail Sales m/m
8:30am USD Building Permits

*All times EDT
For a complete list of scheduled events in the forex market visit the MarketPulse Economic Calendar

Dollar Rebounds After Strong Jobs Report

US added 200,000 positions in January

The US dollar rose against major pairs on Friday. The release of the U.S. non farm payrolls (NFP) proved to be the much needed shot in the arm after the greenback was under pressure for most of 2018. The job gains were above expectations but more importantly the hourly wages came in higher, giving the Fed a potential green light to hike 3 or 4 times in 2018. The market is estimating a 77.5 percent probability of the first rate lift to come in March.

  • The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will publish its rate statement on February 5
  • the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) will follow on February 7
  • The Bank of England (BoE) will host a super Thursday on February 8

USD surged after wages rose more than expected

The EUR/USD gained 0.22 percent in the last five days. The single currency is trading at 1.2424. The USD was having a week to forget but a jobs week is not done until the U.S. non farm payrolls (NFP) report is released. The gain of 200,000 jobs in January was the boost the dollar needed after the Fed and the ADP did now sway the market. The USD reversed most of the losses of the week, gaining 0.43 percent against the EUR. The biggest boost came from the hourly wages growth at 0.3 percent for an annualized gain of 2.9 percent.

The disappointing December jobs report played a part as investors were estimating 180,000 positions and instead got pleasantly surprised by both strong gains and positive inflation signals. The move in the USD could be under threat next week as there are few economic released of note in the US and the political drama in Washington has not been beneficial to the greenback.

Fundamentals indicators and monetary policy has been supportive of the USD, but political uncertainty has hurt the dollar’s status as a reserve currency. The upgraded growth expectations around the world have also shrunk the gap between the US and the rest of the world.

The GBP/USD lost 0.31 percent during the trading week. The currency pair is trading at 1.4120 ahead of the Bank of England (BoE) monetary policy meeting on Thursday, February 8 at 7:00 am EST. The central bank is not expected to change its benchmark rate but it could signal a hike sooner rather than later specially as expectations of a softer Brexit and economic growth has been encouraging. The BoE made its first rate rise in a decade back in November. The data released on Super Thursday, so called because of the sheer number of announcements, will guide the market and shape the monetary policy expectations going further into 2018.

Canadian dollar weekly graph January 29, 2018

The USD/CAD gained o.86 percent during the week. The currency pair is trading at 1.2421. The USD appreciated against the loonie and put the Canadian currency at weekly lows. The greenback rose 1.22 versus the CAD on Friday after the release of the U.S. non farm payrolls (NFP). The U.S. Federal Reserve meeting and positive employment numbers earlier in the week did little for the USD, but with the release of the biggest indicator it all turned.

The economic data releases form Canada will start with on Tuesday, February 6 at 8:30 EST with publication of the trade balance. Later that same day the Ivey Purchasing Managers Index will be posted at 10:00 am EST. Employment data will be the highlight of the week on Friday, February 9 at 8:30 am with a 2,000 job loss report expected after the back to back gains of 70,000 positions in the previous months.

Market events to watch this week:

Monday, February 5
4:30am GBP Services PMI
10:00am USD ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI
7:30pm AUD Retail Sales m/m
7:30pm AUD Trade Balance
10:30pm AUD Cash Rate
10:30pm AUD RBA Rate Statement
Tuesday, February 6
8:30am CAD Trade Balance
4:45pm NZD Employment Change q/q
NZD Unemployment Rate
Wednesday, February 7
10:30am USD Crude Oil Inventories
3:00pm NZD Official Cash Rate
3:00pm NZD RBNZ Monetary Policy Statement
3:00pm RBNZ Rate Statement
4:00pm NZD RBNZ Press Conference
Thursday, February 8
4:00am AUD RBA Gov Lowe Speaks
7:00am GBP BOE Inflation Report
7:00am GBP MPC Official Bank Rate Votes
7:00am GBP Monetary Policy Summary
7:00am GBP Official Bank Rate
7:30pm AUD RBA Monetary Policy Statement
Friday, February 9
4:30am GBP Manufacturing Production m/m
8:30am CAD Employment Change
8:30am CAD Unemployment Rate

*All times EDT
For a complete list of scheduled events in the forex market visit the MarketPulse Economic Calendar