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Forex Major Currencies Outlook (Feb 17 – Feb 21)

Employment data from UK and Australia as well as preliminary February PMI numbers from EU, UK and Japan will take the centre stage, US markets will be closed on Monday due to President’s day so the liquidity will be thin.

USD

CPI in January came in at 2.5% y/y vs 2.4% y/y as expected and up from 2.3% y/y the previous month. The rise in headline number was caused by the rise in energy prices. Core CPI came in unchanged from previous month at 2.3% y/y. Chairman Powell stated that Fed needs to see inflation over 2% for prolonged period before deciding to act and raise rates. He was referring to PCE and divergence between CPI, above 2% and PCE, below 2%, rises. In addition, due to low demand for oil from China caused by coronavirus outbreak energy prices have fallen which will put downward pressures onto inflation.

Retail sales in January came in at 0.3% m/m as expected with previous month’s reading being revised down to 0.2% m/m. Core retail sales, control group that is used for GDP calculation, came in flat with prior reading being revised down to 0.2% m/m from 0.5% m/m. Negative revisions and miss in control group will prompt downward revisions to Q4 GDP.

This week we will have housing data and minutes from the latest FOMC meeting.

Important news for USD:

Wednesday:

  • Housing Starts
  • Building Permits
  • FOMC Minutes

Friday:

  • Existing Home Sales

EUR

Industrial production for Eurozone in December came in at -2.1% m/m vs -2% m/m as expected and -4.1% y/y vs -2.5% y/y. The reading reaffirms weak conditions shown in the German and French readings. The slump in manufacturing activity accelerated EURUSD downfall to the lowest levels since 2017. ECB’s chief economist Lane stated that impact of coronavirus may be pretty serious short-term and that they expect gradual pick up in inflation. ECB member de Cos confirmed that rates will stay low and accommodative policy will remain for prolonged period of time. The EU confirmed their forecast of GDP at 1.2% in both 2020 and 2021.

Germany reported flat Q4 GDP vs 0.1% q/q as expected and 0.4% y/y vs 1.1% y/y as expected. Eurozone Q4 GDP seemed undisturbed by Germany’s reading and came in at 0.1% q/q as expected and 0.9% y/y vs 1% y/y as expected. Trade balance in December for Eurozone came in at EUR22.2bn vs EUR19.3bn as expected. Exports grew 0.9% m/m while imports fell -0.7% m/m.

This week we will have sentiment data, final January inflation data and preliminary February PMI numbers.

Important news for EUR:

Tuesday:

  • ZEW Economic Sentiment Indicator (EU and Germany)

Thursday:

  • Consumer Confidence Index

Friday:

  • Markit Manufacturing PMI (EU, Germany and France)
  • Markit Services PMI (EU, Germany and France)
  • Markit Composite PMI (EU, Germany and France)
  • CPI

GBP

Preliminary Q4 GDP number came in flat as expected but yearly figure came in stronger than expected at 1.1% y/y on the back of positive revision to Q3 reading. GDP in December came in at 0.3% m/m vs 0.2% m/m as expected and helped keep the economy from contracting in Q4. Net exports and government spending were the biggest contributor to Q4 GDP while business investment was a drag. Government spending showed the biggest increase since Q1 of 2012. Industrial and manufacturing production rebounded from the previous month’s lows but recovery was weaker than expected. Trade balance in December came in at £0.8bn on the back of astonishing rise in exports of 17.4% driven by exports of precious metals. Exports are a fickle category so danger for contraction in Q1 2020 is present considering the highest drop in business investment since 2016.

Prime minister Johnson made a cabinet reshuffle which lead to the resignation of Sajid Javid, Chancellor of Exchequer (minister of finance). He declined to sack his top advisors and will be replaced by Rishi Sunak and this move is seen as positive for pound as Sunak will boost infrastructure spending and investments, thus stimulating the British economy.

This week we will have employment, inflation and consumption data as well as preliminary February PMI numbers.

Important news for GBP:

Tuesday:

  • Unemployment Rate
  • Average Weekly Earnings

Wednesday:

  • CPI

Thursday:

  • Retail Sales

Friday:

  • Markit Manufacturing PMI
  • Markit Services PMI
  • Markit Composite PMI

AUD

January CPI from China came in at 5.4% y/y vs 4.9% y/y as expected. Food inflation has increased exponentially to 20.6% y/y, mainly due to rise in pork price which were up 8.5% m/m for a total of more than 100% y/y, while non-food items were up 1.6% y/y. Core CPI ticked up to 1.5% y/y. PPI came in at 0.1% y/y for a first rise in 7 months. China’s oil imports are down due to economic stoppage caused by Coronavirus. This in turn has pushed the price of WTICrude below $50 at the beginning of the week.

This week we will have minutes from the latest RBA meeting as well as employment data.

Important news for AUD:

Tuesday:

  • RBA Meeting Minutes

Thursday:

  • Employment Change
  • Unemployment Rate

NZD

RBNZ has left the cash rate unchanged at 1% as widely expected. According to their forecasts no rate cuts are expected this year which boosted NZD. They assessed the impact of coronavirus on New Zealand as short lived with risk of potential bigger impact present. Governor Orr assumes that coronavirus impact will last for 6 weeks. He added that fiscal boost eases pressures on monetary policy. RBNZ sees low interest rates as necessary to keep inflation and employment levels close to target and expect economic growth to accelerate over the second half of 2020. Electronic card spending in January came in at -0.1% m/m vs 0.4% m/m as expected.

This week we will have bi-monthly GDT price auction as well as Q4 retail sales which are expected to come higher than previous quarter.

Important news for NZD:

Tuesday:

  • GDT Price Index

Sunday:

  • Retail Sales

CAD

Housing data showed an improvement compared to last month and expectations with building permits coming in at 7.4% m/m for the month of December and housing starts at 213.2k for the month of January.

This week we will have inflation and consumption data.

Important news for CAD:

Tuesday:

  • Manufacturing Sales

Wednesday:

  • CPI

Friday:

  • Retail Sales

JPY

Preliminary machine tool orders in January continued their decline from already low levels coming in at -35.6% y/y vs -33.5% y/y the previous month. Lackluster start of the year. Although Olympic Games are in late July questions slowly arise whether it will be possible to held the games due to the virus threat. Cancellation of games would be a devastating blow to Japanese economy.

This week we will have preliminary Q4 GDP reading which is expected to come in negative due to sales tax hike and problems caused by weather (typhoon). We will also have final industrial production data for December, core machinery orders, trade balance, national inflation data and preliminary February PMI numbers.

Important news for JPY:

Monday:

  • GDP
  • Industrial Production

Wednesday:

  • Core Machinery Orders
  • Trade Balance

Friday:

  • CPI
  • Markit Manufacturing PMI
  • Markit Services PMI
  • Markit Composite PMI

CHF

January seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at the low level of 2.3% showing very tight labour market conditions. Headline CPI for the same month came in at 0.2% y/y same as the previous month, however very concerning is the drop in the core number which also came in at 0.2% y/y but down from 0.4% y/y the previous month. Switzerland is struggling with missing inflation for years now and the situation is deteriorating. CHF has been gaining strength due to its safe haven status, especially against EUR which may prompt SNB to react in order to weaken it.

This week we will have trade balance data.

Important news for CHF:

Thursday:

  • Trade Balance

You can follow all economic events on the Economic Calendar page on our Website. MT4 server time is set to GMT+2 and if you need assistance converting MT4 server time to your local time you can use some of the online time converters such as WorldTimeBuddy.

Please note that this analysis should not be used as investing advice as it is only an overview of the economic events influencing the markets. Please remember that MT4.VAR. and MT4.ECN. accounts have Market Execution. Please note how Execution works during high impact news and other times of low liquidity.

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