The US dollar is higher across the board against major pairs on Thursday. The first estimate of second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) in the US will be published on Friday, July 27 at 8:30 am EDT by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The dollar gained ground on the euro after the European Central Bank (ECB) held interest rates unchanged as expected but said rates would be steady a year from now. The first release of GDP data for the second quarter is released 30 days after the end of the quarter with economists and analysts expecting it to be one of the best quarters in recent years. How good will the final number be has been the subject of commentary from President Trump and other members of his administration while some forecasters are lowering their estimates after a disappointing durable goods order data point.
- US 2Q GDP forecasted at 4.1 percent
- President Trump has told associates GDP is around 4.8 percent
- Some forecasters have cut their estimates due to recent soft data
EUR Lower as ECB Plays it Safe
The EUR/USD lost 0.57 percent on Thursday. The single currency is trading at 1.1661 after the central bank kept rates and the quantitive easing program unchanged. The July meeting was almost a beat for beat replay of the June meeting, leaving investors with almost no new information. There was no clear guidance on the vague meting of summer of 2019 as the time horizon to lift rates.
The US GDP release will be the main market event of the week as it could come in above 4 percent. There is an open debate between economists on how much did the Trump tax cuts influenced the positive momentum. The U.S. Federal Reserve is scheduled to meet for two days next week. There are no expectations of a rate lift, but the data has so far validated the two rate hikes and more to come.
The meeting between Donald Trump and Jean-Claud Juncker was a win for the USD as it seemed Europe had conceded to American demands even if the goal is to reach zero tariffs. With trade tensions easing the market turned to monetary policy and growth divergence ahead of the Q2 GDP release on Friday morning.
The USD will face a serious challenges in August. Central banks are expected to close the monetary policy gap and retaliations from China on trade could end up hurting the American economy in the long term. Politics will also add some uncertainty to the US dollar as midterm elections approach with a forecasted Democratic win that change the power dynamics in Washington.
Brexit Fears Overpower BoE Rate Hike Expectation
The GBP/USD lost 0.59 percent on Thursday. The currency pair is trading at 1.3110 as the USD rebounded from yesterday’s losses. The Bank of England (BoE) is heavily anticipated to lift rates next week after the last monetary policy committee had three members who dissented from holding rates. Investors are pricing in a 81 probability of higher interest rates on Thursday but the divorce between the United Kingdom and Europe put more pressure on sterling.
The lack of an unified front within the Conservative party on which Brexit to pursue has left Prime Minister Theresa May with just eight months to figure out a lot of issues. The GBP has fallen as more uncertainty grips investors hopes of a comprehensive trade deal that keeps the UK as a participant of the single market.
Loonie Lower Despite NAFTA Optimism
The USD/CAD gained 0.20 percent in the last 24 hours. The currency pari is trading at 1.3072 ahead of the release of the second quarter GDP data in the US. The pair almost touched 1.32 at the at the beginning of the week, but a rebound from the loonie took the currency to near 1.3050. The optimism surrounding the NAFTA renegotiation was behind most of the move with the Canadian currency touching a six week high. The meeting between US President Trump and EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker had a positive outcome although it was scarce on details and did not directly address the tariffs on steel and aluminum that will remain in place.
The change in leadership in Mexico gave the locked NAFTA negotiations a chance for a fresh start. The comments from advisors to elected-president Andres Manuel Lopez Abrador have been pro-NAFTA and the Trump administration came out in support of a quick resolution. It is unclear if the US is willing to drop the two more contentious issues it has pushed on the table, the sunset clause and the higher American percentage of US parts on autos. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has said that the negotiation is in its finishing stages, but so far the biggest issues remain up in the air.
Market events to watch this week:
Friday, July 27
8:30am USD Advance GDP q/q
*All times EDT
For a complete list of scheduled events in the forex market visit the MarketPulse Economic Calendar