USD Struggles Ahead of Jobs Report

USD Struggles Ahead of Jobs Report

US expected to add 184,000 jobs in January

The US dollar fell against a basket of currencies on Thursday. The greenback has failed to gain traction in 2018 and is awaiting the first US jobs report of the year looking for a shot in the arm. The U.S. non farm payrolls (NFP) will be published on Friday, February 2 at 8:30 am EST. Economists are expecting the US to add 184,000 positions and keep the unemployment rate at 4.1 percent. Last month’s report came in lower than expected but the saving grace for the USD was that hourly wages grew 0.3 percent as expected. There are similar gains forecasted for January wages with a special emphasis on inflationary data as the Fed ponders what to do with stagnant wages despite a strong job component.

  • European manufacturing gathered steam in January
  • Unemployment claims fell last week in evidence of strong US labour market
  • Higher growth expectations outside of US putting pressure on dollar

Dollar Lower Despite Support from Central Bank



The EUR/USD gained 0.82 percent on Thursday. The single currency is trading at 1.2515 a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept rates unchanged and ahead of the release of the January’s U.S. non farm payrolls (NFP) report. Strong manufacturing data out of Europe continued to make the case for accelerated growth. The European Central Bank (ECB) did not make any changes to its QE program or interest rate in January, but with higher growth and inflation expectations are rising that its bond buying program could end this year with a possible rate hike.

US economic growth continues to soldier on, with the U.S. Federal Reserve forecasted to lift interest rates 3 to 4 times in 2018. Strong fundamentals and a supportive central bank should have the USD higher versus the euro, but political uncertainty going into the midterms has impaired the dollar. Employment has been the pillar of the economic recovery, but at near full employment there is little that even a monster jobs report can do to boost the dollar. The ADP private payrolls report released on Wednesday saw 234,000 jobs added in January, and while there is no perfect correlation between the ADP and the NFP, after the disappointing jobs report in December an improvement is anticipated which could help the USD finish the week higher versus other currencies.

The USD has fallen 3.25 despite so far this year and comments from the Fed that inflation is expected to rise helped only a little. The FedWatch tool by the CME is showing a 83.1 percent probability of a rate hike in March after the release of the FOMC January statement. Growth and interest rate rises have all been priced in, but for some investors the threat of higher political uncertainty during the midterms is a cause for concern.

Next week will offer the USD less opportunities to shine as the main indicator release will be the non manufacturing PMI related by the ISM. Services have slowed down since reaching a reading of 60.1 in October with the forecast for the January figures to be around 55.9.



US bond prices have fallen as a result of higher growth and inflation expectations this year and yields are higher seeking to attract investors that have been tempted by fixed income alternatives overseas.

The USD has been on the back foot against major currencies for most of 2018. The rally that followed the victory of Donald Trump in the November 2016 elections was driven by tax reform and infrastructure promises. The 12 month period before the promise and the reality proved to be too much for a market that was expecting a quicker turn around and the greenback depreciated in 2017. This year follows a similar trend with the euro hitting three year highs and even the pound recovering to pre-Brexit levels thanks to a softer dollar.

Market events to watch this week:

Friday, February 2
4:30am GBP Construction PMI


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

Dollar Struggles Despite Fed Optimism

Eurozone Manufacturers Still Extremely Bullish Despite Stronger Euro

It’s been a positive start to trading on the first day of the month, with markets in Europe trading well in the green and US futures ticking a little higher as well.

It’s been a busy morning of economic releases and broadly speaking, the data is very positive for the eurozone economy. The region carried some strong momentum into the new year and the latest manufacturing PMIs suggest confidence in the recovery is showing no signs of faltering. The survey for the region as a whole remained at 59.6, slightly shy of last month’s high of 60.1 while still signalling a strong growth outlook for the sector.

The weak euro has played a big role in the strong performance of the sector which has led many to speculate about whether its resurgence over the last year will hinder output going forward. The survey’s we’re seeing suggest manufacturers are not particularly concerned at this stage and are continuing to see strong demand, despite the 20% increase in the value of the euro over the dollar over the last year. The rise against the pound has been far more modest though.

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UK PMI Slips But Sterling Continues Push Higher

The UK data has been less encouraging as of late and the manufacturing PMI for January was no different, slipping to 55.3 from 56.2 in December. The sector has actually benefited in the post-Brexit world, with the sterling depreciation driving more demand for UK manufactured goods. Unfortunately, it still remains a very small part of the UK economy and the boost seems to be wearing off.

That said, a weaker PMI number this morning did little to shake the pound which is heading back to last week’s highs against the dollar. Cable now finds itself back it pre-Brexit territory, although much of this can be attributed to the greenbacks decline over the last year. The pair found some resistance around 1.4350 but there’s clearly still some bullish appetite there. A break through here could see the pair testing 1.45, which isn’t a million miles from the 2016 highs.

US Data Eyed as Optimistic Fed Fails to Lift the Greenback

The dollar is continuing to have a rough time, even a more optimistic sounding Fed did little to lift the greenback which continues to languish around three year lows. Yields on near-term US debt have risen in the aftermath of the Fed statement, with a rate hike in March now almost entirely priced in and a further two this year around 65% priced in. This would typically be positive for the dollar any gains were short-lived.

There’s plenty more data still to come today, with two manufacturing PMIs from the US as well as unit labour costs, non-farm productivity and jobless claims. Earnings season remains a key focus for investors and some big names are due to report after the close on Thursday, including Amazon, Apple and Alphabet.

Bitcoin Below $10,000 and Looking Vulnerable

Bitcoin is coming under pressure once again today and is trading back below $10,000, a level that has proven difficult to hold below. It’s currently trading down more than 5% on the day though and should we close below here, it could be yet another bearish signal for the cryptocurrency which is already more than 50% below its peak.

Economic Calendar

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

USD/CAD Canadian Dollar Higher After Strong GDP and Persistent USD Weakness

The Canadian dollar is higher on Wednesday after the economy accelerated its growth in November. Canadian GDP is posted monthly and showed a gain of 0.4 percent in November. The Canadian economy started 2017 with a bang which led the Bank of Canada (BoC) to raise rates twice before a slowdown in the third quarter. The two 25 basis points rate hikes, the overall strength of the economy, recovery energy prices and a soft US dollar continued to boost the loonie. In 2018 the BoC has hiked once more leaving the benchmark rate at 1.25 percent.

The Canadian currency has enjoyed a strong start to 2018 and is more than 2 percent higher than the USD year to date. The political uncertainty in the US that delayed pro-growth policies until the end of 2017 remain. The fate of NAFTA has kept the Canadian dollar under pressure as the end of the original timeline fast approaches. The negotiations have shown little progress and with only two rounds to go, the end result could be all parties walking away empty handed. Elections in Mexico and the United States this year will further complicate negotiating in such a divisive topic as trade.


usdcad Canadian dollar graph, January 31, 2018

The USD/CAD lost 0.24 percent on Tuesday. The currency pair is trading at 1.2304, a four month high, after the release of the monthly gross domestic product in Canada for November. The 0.4 percent gain is the biggest gain since May 2017 and a signal that growth is back on track after a slowdown in the third quarter.

The U.S. Federal Reserve kept its benchmark interest rate at 1.25 – 1.50 percent on Wednesday. The meeting will mark the last time for Janet Yellen as Chair of the central bank. Jerome Powell will take over next week and with no meeting scheduled for February the Fed is expected to lift rates in March to mark the start of the Powell era.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the CBC earlier that he does not think the US will pull out of NAFTA. The PM is aware that it is a possibility and his government is working on contingency plans. Also today US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said that the renegotiations are far from being completed at this point. He did recognize that progress has been made, but very little of it in the hard issues.

During his first State of the Union address President Trump mentioned that the US had entered into unfair trade deals and his goal was to turn that page on that period. Pro-growth policies were late to arrive, but after the tax reform gave Trump his first policy victory he intends to build on it by proposing a 1.5 trillion dollar infrastructure spending legislation.


West Texas Intermediate graph

Oil prices are recovering from a drop earlier in the session. West Texas Intermediate is trading at $64.55. The weekly US crude inventories report by there Energy Information Administration (EIA) surged by 6.8 million barrels. The forecast was a mild 100,000 barrels, but it appears the cold weather has slowed down refineries in the south resulting in the buildup. The surprise to the upside was balanced with a larger than expected drawdown of gasoline stockpiles.
Market events to watch this week:

Thursday, February 1
4:30am GBP Manufacturing PMI
10:00am USD ISM Manufacturing PMI
Friday, February 2
4:30am GBP Construction PMI


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

US Jobs and Fed to Guide Dollar

Dollar Lower Awaiting Employment Data and Fed Statement

Chair Yellen’s Last Fed Meeting as Chair

The USD is trading lower versus most majors ahead of US President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address, January’s monetary policy statement from the US Federal Reserve and the ADP private payrolls report. Strong economic data from both sides has seen the EUR/USD gain in the last 24 hours with a little bit of help from the US Treasury secretary who said today that a strong dollar would be in the country’s best interest.

  • Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address
  • US private payrolls forecasted to have added 191,000 jobs
  • Fed expected to keep rates unchanged on Janet Yellen’s last meeting as Chair



The EUR/USD gained 0.12 percent on Tuesday. The single currency is trading at 1.2396 after strong eurozone data was released today. The yearly GDP growth was higher than the estimate at 2.7 percent and validating the forecasts for an end of QE and higher rates by the end of the year. The European Central Bank (ECB) has tried to tone down optimism but the market is buying EURs as political uncertainty remains in the US despite strong fundamentals and tighter monetary policy.

European inflation has remained subdued and one of the main talking points by ECB President Mario Draghi. The European Consumer Price Index (CPI) estimate will be released by Eurostat on Wednesday, January 31 at 5:00 am EST. A higher than the expected 1.3 percent reading could further pressure the central bank to act sooner rather than later to shift from stimulus to tightening.

The U.S. Federal Reserve hiked three times in 2017 and is on track to do the same in 2018. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will step down later this week with Jerome Powell ready to assume the reigns of the central bank. With no press conference in the January meeting the market will be left to scan the statement looking for clues, but more will come in March when Powell helms his first Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and faces the financial press.

The ADP non farm payrolls report will be published on Wednesday, January 31 at 8:15 am EST. Economists are anticipating a gain of 191,000 jobs slowing down from the 250,000 gains in December. The ADP report will set further expectations for Friday’s release of the U.S. non farm payrolls (NFP) expected to add 184,000 jobs after the disappointing 148,000 at the end of last year.

The USD has been on the back foot against major currencies for most of 2018. The rally that followed the victory of Donald Trump in the November 2016 elections was driven by tax reform and infrastructure promises. The 12 month period before the promise and the reality proved to be too much for a market that was expecting a quicker turn around and the greenback depreciated in 2017. This year follows a similar trend with the euro hitting three year highs and even the pound recovering to pre-Brexit levels thanks to a softer dollar.

Market events to watch this week:

Wednesday, January 31
8:15am USD ADP Non-Farm Employment Change
8:30am CAD GDP m/m
10:30am USD Crude Oil Inventories
2:00pm USD FOMC Statement
2:00pm USD Federal Funds Rate
Thursday, February 1
4:30am GBP Manufacturing PMI
10:00am USD ISM Manufacturing PMI
Friday, February 2
4:30am GBP Construction PMI


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