USD/CAD – Loonie Rallies on Inflation Data

Statistics Canada data this morning showed that headline inflation in Canada slowed last month, while measures of underlying prices strengthened to their highest level in 18-months.

Canada’s consumer-price index rose +1.7% y/y in January, following a +1.9% advance in December.

Market expectations were for a +1.5% lift. On a month-over-month basis, prices rose +0.7% in January versus an expected print of +0.4%.

Digging deeper, today’s report indicated underlying, or core, inflation strengthened in the month. Underlying prices rose in a range from +1.8% to +1.9%, for an average of +1.83% – the highest level since mid-2016. The average in the previous month was +1.76%.

The ‘loonie’ is up +0.51% against the U.S dollar, trading atop of C$1.2659. The CAD was trading north of C$1.2712 just before this morning’s release.

Fed Rhetoric to Dictate Dollar Direction

Friday February 23: Five things the markets are talking about

Ahead of the U.S open, Euro equities are struggling for direction after a positive Asian session as the market debates the outlook for central banks ‘normalizing’ their policies.

Euro bonds have gained along with Treasuries, while the dollar steadies after yesterday’s drop.

With no U.S data on the docket today, the market will shift its attention towards a plethora of Fed speakers doing the rounds.

First up will be New York Fed Chief, William Dudley, who kicks off proceedings at 10:00 am EDT as he addresses the “Monetary Policy Forum” in Chicago.

Note: Dudley is making his final rounds of appearances before his retirement.

Appearing at the same conference shall be Boston Fed President Rosengren, who is one of the Fed’s more “dovish” members, but who is not a “voter” this year.

Ms. Mester, the President of the Cleveland Fed, will be speaking at the same conference this afternoon at 1:00 PM EDT. She is a “voter” this year and a “hawk.”

Finally, Mr. Williams, the President of the San Francisco Fed, a “voter” on the FOMC this year and generally considered a “moderate,” will be speaking to a group on the west coast on the economy and monetary policy at 03:40 pm EDT.

1. Stocks gain in thin trading

In Japan, stocks rallied in light trade as receding fears of more aggressive U.S interest rate hikes boosted sentiment. The benchmark Nikkei ended +0.7% higher. For the week, it was up +0.8%.The broader Topix gained +0.8%.

Down-under, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed +0.8% higher to cap its best week since Oct. In S. Korea, the Kospi had its best day since Oct. 10 rising +1.5%.

In Hong Kong, stocks rose overnight, capping a holiday-shortened trading week, as main indexes managed to recover much of the damage done during the recent rout. The Hang Seng index rose +1.0%, while the China Enterprises Index gained +1.7%.

In China, shares extended their rebound overnight, on sign’s that the Chinese government is once again supporting the stock market. The blue-chip CSI300 index ended up +0.5%, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained +0.6% in a holiday-shortened week. Both indexes have rebounded over +7% from a low print on Feb. 9.

Note: One of China’s largest insurance companies, Anbang Insurance Group, was seized as it violated laws and regulations that could seriously endanger the solvency of the company.

In Europe, regional indices trade mixed this morning with strength in the Italian MIB offset by weakness in the Spanish Ibex and FTSE.

U.S stocks are set to open in the ‘black’ (+0.3%).

Indices: Stoxx600 flat at 380.4, FTSE -0.2% at 7238, DAX +0.1% at 12470, CAC-40 flat at 5310, IBEX-35 -0.2% at 9858, FTSE MIB +0.4% at 22541, SMI -0.6% at 8917, S&P 500 Futures +0.3%

2. Crude oil prices rally, gold little changed

Crude oil prices remain better bid and range bound following the release of this week’s EIA inventory report, which showed a somewhat surprising decline in crude oil inventories on the order of -2.3m barrels compared to the average increase of +3.4m barrels in the previous five-years.

U.S oil production last week was steady at +10.27m bpd, a record level, while crude exports jumped to more than +2m bpd, close to a record +2.1m hit in October.

Crude bulls are beginning to ask if the “bull” rally could fade away as the U.S. oil production undermines the OPEC production cut commitments.

Note: The decline in crude inventories was particularly acute in Cushing. U.S oil refineries averaged approximately +15.8m bpd during the week ending February 16 or about -330k fewer bpd than last week previous.

Ahead of the U.S open, gold prices are little changed, but the ‘yellow metal’ remains on track for its sharpest weekly drop in nearly three-months. Spot gold is down -0.1% at +$1,329.16 an ounce.

Note: Prices gained +0.6% Thursday, their biggest one-day percentage rise since Feb. 14. The precious metal remains on track for its biggest weekly fall since the week ended Dec. 8, 2017.

3. Sovereign yields fall

Capital markets remains somewhat sceptical that the recent streak of data on wage growth, consumer prices and producer prices points to a rapid acceleration in inflation on either side of the Atlantic.

Data this morning from the Eurozone showed that consumer price growth slowed slightly last month (see below), but the core-measure edged a tad higher for the first time in months.

The ten-year U.S yield has eased, but remains atop of their 2014 high print, while those on German bunds dropped to the lowest since early January.

The yield on 10-year Treasuries decreased -2 bps to +2.90%. In Germany, the 10-year Bund yield has fallen -2 bps to +0.70%, the lowest in four weeks. In the U.K, the 10-year Gilt yield has declined -2 bps to +1.546%. In Japan, 10-year JGB’s yield has dipped less than -1 bps to +0.05%, the lowest in more than seven-weeks.

4. Dollar on the back foot

The U.S dollar is modestly weaker as the market is apparently ready to accept as a given that the Fed shall move at least three times this year to tighten monetary policy and to raise the overnight fed funds rate. The only question is whether the Fed shall move for a fourth time and by how much?

For the ‘single’ unit, it’s not only next weekend’s Italian general election (Mar 4) that poses a risk to the EUR (€1.2313), but also Sunday week is the same date that Germany’s SPD party members will vote on the proposed CDU/SPD coalition. The market is currently pricing in a +40-50% chance of a rejection, a result that could see Chancellor Angela Merkel step down.

Elsewhere, the pound (£1.3950) has edged a tad higher after U.K’s PM Theresa May won the backing of her divided Brexit “war cabinet” to ask for an ambitious trade deal with the E.U.

The SEK (€10.0388) is a tad softer outright as the market felt that the Riksbank Feb minutes this morning were on the softer side with concerns lingering over inflation and the exchange rate given the recent negative surprise with Jan CPI data.

5. Eurozone Jan CPI unrevised, but still a distance from target

Eurostat said consumer prices in the 19 countries sharing the ‘single unit’ fell -0.9% m/m in January for a +1.3% y/y increase.

Ex-food and energy, or core-inflation, fell -1.3% m/m and rallied +1.2% y/y, accelerating from +1.1% in the previous three months.

An even broader measure of core inflation, which in addition excludes alcohol and tobacco prices, also increased to +1.0% y/y in January from +0.9% in the previous three-months.

Forex heatmap

Gold Gains Ground, Puts Brakes on Dollar Rally

Gold has posted gains in the Thursday session, erasing the losses seen on Wednesday. In North American trade, the spot price for an ounce of gold is $1331.17, up 0.50% on the day. On the release front, unemployment claims dropped to 222 thousand, well below the estimate of 230 thousand.

Gold prices remain continue to fluctuate. The base metal has lost 1.3% this week, erasing much of last week’s gains. Concerns that strong US numbers could stoke inflation and more rate hikes sparked the recent turbulence in global stock markets. This has triggered volatility in gold, as gold prices are sensitive to moves (or expected moves) in interest rates. The Fed is currently projecting three rate hikes this year, but if inflation continues to move upwards, many analysts are expecting that the Fed could press the rate trigger four, or even five times in 2018.

The Federal Reserve released the minutes of its January meeting, and as expected, the benchmark rate was left unchanged at a rate between 1.25% and 1.50%. The message from policymakers was that further rate hikes could be in the cards, due to strong economic conditions in the US. In the words of the minutes, policymakers “anticipated that the rate of economic growth in 2018 would exceed their estimates of its sustainable longer-run pace and that labor market conditions would strengthen further”. At the December meeting, the Fed penciled in three rate hikes in 2018, and there was no reference to a quicker pace of hikes in the January minutes. As for inflation, the minutes did not reveal any concern. Most Fed members were of the opinion that inflation would rise towards the Fed target of 2 percent.

 

XAU/USD Fundamentals

Thursday (February 22)

  • 00:15 US FOMC Member Randal Quarles Speaks
  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 230K. Actual 222K
  • 10:00 US CB Leading Index. Estimate 0.7%. Actual 1.0%
  • 10:00 US FOMC Member William Dudley Speaks
  • 10:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate -121B. Actual -124B
  • 11:00 US Crude Oil Inventories. Estimate 2.2M. Actual -1.6M
  • 12:10 US FOMC Member Raphael Bostic Speaks 

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

 

XAU/USD for Thursday, February 22, 2018

XAU/USD February 22 at 12:40 EST

Open: 1324.57 High: 1331.37 Low: 1321.03 Close: 1331.17

 

XAU/USD Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1260 1285 1307 1337 1375 1416
  • XAU/USD showed little movement in the Asian and European sessions. The pair has posted gains in North American trade
  • 1307 is providing support
  • 1337 is the next resistance line
  • Current range: 1307 to 1337

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1307, 1285 and 1260
  • Above: 1337, 1375, 1416 and 1433

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

XAU/USD ratio is showing strong movement towards long positions. Currently, short positions have a slim majority (51%), indicative of a lack of trader bias as to what direction XAU/USD will take next.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

GBP/USD – Pound Shrugs Off Soft GDP Report

The British pound has posted slight gains in the Thursday session. In North American trade, GBP/USD is trading at 1.3943, up 0.18% on the day. On the release front, British Second Estimate GDP for the fourth quarter remained unchanged at 0.4%, shy of the estimate of 0.5%. Preliminary Business Investment for Q4 dropped to 0.0%, missing the estimate of 0.5%. In the US, unemployment claims dropped to 222 thousand, well below the estimate of 230 thousand.

British GDP for Q4 was a disappointment, but the pound has managed to hold its own against the dollar. GDP was revised downwards to 0.4%, down from 0.5% in the initial estimate. Looking at growth for all of 2017, GDP was revised lower from 1.8% to 1.7%, its worst showing since 2012. The weak readings are being attributed to lower production and weaker consumer spending. Consumers are being squeezed by a weaker British pound as well as high inflation, which is running at a 3% clip, compared to the BoE target of 2%.

The Bank of England has been hinting that it could accelerate the pace of rate hikes, and this was further reinforced on Wednesday, as BoE Chief Economist Andy Haldane said that interest rates might need to climb faster than previously expected, in order to bring down inflation to the BoE’s target of 2 percent. The Bank has been reluctant to raise rates in order to lower inflation, but may be running out of options, as inflation hovers at 3 percent and continues to erode the purchasing power of consumers. The Bank has taken pains to be transparent with the markets, stating recently that the pace of rate hikes could be accelerated and larger hikes than previously forecast could be on the way.

 

GBP/USD Fundamentals

Thursday (February 22)

  • 00:15 US FOMC Member Randal Quarles Speaks
  • 4:30 British Second Estimate GDP. Estimate 0.5%. Actual 0.4%
  • 4:30 British Preliminary Business Investment. Estimate 0.5%. Actual 0.0%
  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 230K. Actual 222K
  • 10:00 US CB Leading Index. Estimate 0.7%. Actual 1.0%
  • 10:00 US FOMC Member William Dudley Speaks
  • 10:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate -121B. Actual -124B
  • 11:00 US Crude Oil Inventories. Estimate 2.2M. Actual -1.6M
  • 12:10 US FOMC Member Raphael Bostic Speaks 

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

 

GBP/USD for Thursday, February 22, 2018

GBP/USD February 22 at 11:55 EDT

Open: 1.3917 High: 1.3959 Low: 1.3857 Close: 1.3939

 

GBP/USD Technical

S1 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1.3744 1.3809 1.3901 1.4010 1.4128 1.4271

GBP/USD ticked lower in the Asian and European sessions. The pair has reversed directions and moved higher in North American trade

  • 1.3901 is providing support
  • 1.4010 is the next resistance line

Current range: 1.3901 to 1.4010

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1.3901, 1.3809 and 1.3744
  • Above: 1.4010, 1.4128, 1.4271 and 1.4345

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

GBP/USD ratio is almost unchanged in the Thursday session. Currently, short positions have a majority (55%), indicative of trader bias towards GBP/USD continuing to move to lower ground.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Gold in Holding Pattern Ahead of Federal Reserve Minutes

Gold is steady in the Wednesday session, following sharp losses on Tuesday. In North American trade, the spot price for an ounce of gold is $1329.08, down 0.05% on the day. On the release front, all eyes are on the Federal Reserve, which will release the January minutes later in the day. Earlier, Existing Home Sales disappointed, dropping to 5.38 million. This was well short of the estimate of 5.61 million. On Thursday, the US will release unemployment claims.

Gold prices remain under pressure, as the metal has lost 1.5% this week, erasing much of last week’s gains. Concerns that strong US numbers could stoke inflation and more rate hikes sparked the recent turbulence in global stock markets. This has triggered volatility in gold, as gold prices are sensitive to moves (or expected moves) in interest rates. The Fed is currently projecting three rate hikes this year, but if inflation continues to move upwards, many analysts are expecting that the Fed could press the rate trigger four, or even five times in 2018. Traders should be prepared for some movement from gold later in the North American session, as the minutes could provide some clues regarding future rate policy.

It’s been a busy start for Jerome Powell, who has just commenced his stint as chair of the Federal Reserve. Strong US data in recent weeks has raised speculation that the Fed may need to accelerate the pace of interest rate hikes in 2018.  Meanwhile, concern over higher inflation and more rate hikes sent the stock markets into a frenzy earlier in February. Powell sought to reassure the markets that the Fed was monitoring the situation, but it’s doubtful that the Fed can do much to prevent volatility in the markets.

XAU/USD Fundamentals

Wednesday (February 21)

  • 9:45 US Flash Manufacturing PMI. Estimate 55.4. Actual 55.9
  • 9:45 US Flash Services PMI. Estimate 53.8. Actual 55.9
  • 10:00 US Existing Home Sales. Estimate 5.61M. Actual 5.38M
  • 14:00 US FOMC Meeting Minutes

Thursday (February 22)

  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 230K

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

XAU/USD for Wednesday, February 21, 2018

XAU/USD February 21 at 12:35 EST

Open: 1329.66 High: 1333.04 Low: 1325.27 Close: 1329.08

 

XAU/USD Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1260 1285 1307 1337 1375 1416
  • XAU/USD posted losses in the Asian and European sessions. The pair continues to lose ground in North American trade
  • 1307 is providing support
  • 1337 has switched to a resistance role following losses from XAU/USD on Tuesday
  • Current range: 1307 to 1337

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1307, 1285 and 1260
  • Above: 1337, 1375, 1416 and 1433

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

XAU/USD ratio is showing slight movement towards short positions. Currently, short positions have a majority (60%), indicative of trader bias towards XAU/USD breaking out and moving lower.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

GBP/USD – Strong UK Employment Numbers Fail to Rally Pound, Fed Minutes Loom

The British pound has posted losses in the Wednesday session. In North American trade, GBP/USD is trading at 1.3946, down 0.37% on the day. On the release front, British employment numbers were solid. Wage growth remained at 2.5%, matching the forecast. Unemployment rolls declined 7.2 thousand, crushing the estimate of a 2.3 thousand gain. However, the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4%, above the estimate of 4.4%. In the US, the key event is the Federal Reserve minutes from the January meeting. Earlier, Existing Home Sales disappointed, dropping to 5.38 million. This was well short of the estimate of 5.61 million. On Thursday, the UK releases revised GDP for the fourth quarter as well as Preliminary Business Investment. The US will publish unemployment claims.

The Bank of England has been hinting that it could speed up the pace of rate hikes, and this was further reinforced on Wednesday, as BoE Chief Economist Andy Haldane said that interest rates might need to climb faster than previously expected, in order to bring down inflation to the BoE’s target of 2 percent. The Bank has been reluctant to raise rates in order to lower inflation, but may be running out of options, as inflation hovers at 3 percent and continues to erode the purchasing power of consumers. The Bank has taken pains to be transparent with the markets, stating recently that the pace of rate hikes could be accelerated and larger hikes than previously forecast could be on the way.

It’s been a busy start for Jerome Powell, who has just commenced his stint as chair of the Federal Reserve. Strong US data in recent weeks has raised speculation that the Fed may need to accelerate the pace of interest rate hikes in 2018. The Fed is currently projecting three rate hikes this year, but if inflation continues to move upwards, many analysts are expecting that the Fed could press the rate trigger four, or even five times in 2018. Meanwhile, concern over higher inflation and more rate hikes sent the stock markets into a frenzy earlier in February. Powell sought to reassure the markets that the Fed was monitoring the situation, but it’s doubtful that the Fed can do much to prevent volatility in the markets.

 

GBP/USD Fundamentals

Wednesday (February 21)

  • 4:30 British Average Earnings Index. Estimate 2.5%. Actual 2.5%
  • 4:30 British Claimant Count Change. Estimate 2.3K. Actual -7.2K
  • 4:30 British Public Sector Net Borrowing. Estimate -11.5B. Actual -11.6B
  • 4:30 British Unemployment Rate. Estimate 4.3%. Actual 4.4%
  • 9:15 British Inflation Report Hearings 
  • 9:45 US Flash Manufacturing PMI. Estimate 55.4. Actual 55.9
  • 9:45 US Flash Services PMI. Estimate 53.8. Actual 55.9
  • 10:00 US Existing Home Sales. Estimate 5.61M. Actual 5.38M
  • 14:00 US FOMC Meeting Minutes

Thursday (February 22)

  • 4:30 British Second Estimate GDP. Estimate 0.5%
  • 4:30 British Preliminary Business Investment. Estimate 0.5%
  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 230K

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

 

GBP/USD for Wednesday, February 21, 2018

GBP/USD February 21 at 12:10 EDT

Open: 1.3996 High: 1.4009 Low: 1.3994 Close: 1.3946

 

GBP/USD Technical

S1 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1.3744 1.3809 1.3901 1.4010 1.4128 1.4271

GBP/USD edged lower in Asian trade and posted stronger losses in the European session. GBP/USD has posted small gains in North American trade

  • 1.3901 is providing support
  • 1.4010 is the next resistance line

Current range: 1.3901 to 1.4010

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1.3901, 1.3809 and 1.3744
  • Above: 1.4010, 1.4128, 1.4271 and 1.4345

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

GBP/USD ratio is almost unchanged in the Wednesday session. Currently, short positions have a majority (57%), indicative of trader bias towards GBP/USD continuing to move to lower ground.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

US Home Sales Fell in January

U.S. home sales unexpectedly fell for a second straight month in January, weighed down by a persistent shortage of houses that is pushing up prices and keeping first-time buyers out of the market.

The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday that existing home sales dropped 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million units last month. December’s sales pace was revised down to 5.56 million units from the previously reported 5.57 million units.



Economists polled by Reuters had forecast existing home sales rising 0.8 percent to a rate of 5.60 million units in January. Sales fell in all four regions last month. Existing home sales, which account for about 90 percent of U.S. home sales, declined 4.8 percent on a year-on-year basis in January.

via CNBC

USD Higher Ahead of Minutes

The dollar rose to its highest level in a week on Wednesday and world stocks fell for the third day as investors braced for minutes from the Fed’s last policy meeting to see if they would herald more rises in interest rates and global bond yields.



Wall Street looked set for a weaker session, with equity futures down around 0.2 percent and the VIX volatility gauge up for the third day in a row.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of peers, rose 0.2 percent. The index has bounced almost 1 percent so far this week, after slumping 1.5 percent the previous week to its lowest level in three years [FRX/].

MSCI’s world index of stocks was down 0.1 percent, set for its third straight decline this week, as a down day in Europe offset earlier gains in Asia.

Investor attention is on the minutes of the Fed’s last policy meeting in late January, due at 1900 GMT. The last readings of U.S. wages and inflation came in higher than expected, with some blaming the numbers for a violent sell-off in stocks earlier this month.

via Reuters

UK Posts Strong Quarterly Productivity Growth in December

The UK has seen the strongest two quarters of productivity growth since the recession of 2008, according to the latest data.

Output per hour rose 0.8% in the three months to December, the Office for National Statistics said. It follows growth of 0.9% in the previous period.



There was also a better than expected rise in wages. Excluding bonuses, earnings rose by 2.5% year-on-year.

However, unemployment edged higher, but still remains low at 4.4%.

The growth in productivity – as measured by the amount of work produced per working hour – will provide encouragement to policy makers who have wrestled with the challenge of low productivity growth since the financial crisis.

via BBC

Eurozone Growth Cools Down But Remains Steady

Eurozone business activity continued to rise at a steep pace in February, albeit with the rate of expansion cooling from the near 12-year high recorded in January. Price pressures and employment growth also remained elevated, though likewise saw rates of increase ease slightly.



Business optimism about the coming year meanwhile ticked higher.

The headline IHS Markit Eurozone PMI fell from 58.8 in January to 57.5 in February, according to the estimate, which is based on approximately 85% of usual final replies.

The slower growth of business activity reflected an easing in the rate of increase of new orders which, while elevated, slipped to a five-month low.

By country, growth in Germany came in at a three month low, while in France the composite PMI moderated to the weakest for four months.

However, in both cases the PMI readings remained at levels indicative of strong growth, close to recent seven-year highs. Business activity growth meanwhile also slowed across the rest of the eurozone, though still registered the second-largest expansion in nearly 12 years

via Market Flash Eurozone PMI