Hawkish or dovish? Fed Chair Janet Yellen speech in focus

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Image via International Monetary Fund / Flickr

Today’s Economic events

  • Japan Household Spending y/y 1.20% vs. -1.80%
  • Japan Unemployment Rate 3.30% v. 3.20%
  • Japan retail sales y/y 0.50% vs. 1.60%
  • Eurozone M3 money supply y/y 5.0% vs. 5.0%
  • Eurozone private loans y/y 1.60% vs. 1.40%
  • BoE releases FPC statement
  • Canada RMPI m/m -2.60% vs. -0.80%
  • Canada IPPI m/m -1.10% vs. -0.20%

Coming Up

  • S&P/CS HPI
  • CB Consumer Confidence
  • Fed Chair Janet Yellen speech
  • New Zealand building consents

The US dollar continued to slip into early Asian trading today following yesterday’s PCE data which was soft. The Dollar eased back despite late comments from Fed’s Williams, who kept up the hawkish narrative that the US economy was on the right track. Equity markets were also under pressure with the Nikkei closing -0.18% and the Shanghai Composite down -1.26% for the day. In Japan, unemployment data released today showed a 3.30% increase up from January’s 3.20% unemployment rate. Retail sales data remained soft but showed some upward traction. Retail sales increased for the first time in February in the past four months, rising 0.50% on a year over year basis, reversing the contraction of -0.20% in January. However, retail sales failed to beat market forecasts of 1.60%. Household spending data was also released showing a 1.20% in February, marking a first in six months. USDJPY managed to seek out some gains in the Asian session, rising to session highs of 113.795 before falling back.

The commodity risk currencies were mixed with AUDUSD down -0.26% as prices posted a strong decline since the start. AUDUSD opened higher to test session highs above 0.7562 but slipped soon enough. The NZDUSD was faring better today with prices gaining 0.49% to test session highs above 0.6763, to trade currently at 0.675.

In Europe, the markets opened with the EURUSD posting a steady decline following yesterday’s late rally to 1.12165. EURUSD touched session lows of 1.117 before managing to trim some of the losses. EURUSD is currently up 0.08% at the time of writing.

GBPUSD continued its gains for a second day today, currently up 0.19% after posting a session low below 1.42025 briefly. The Bank of England’s financial policy committee report released today showed tighter conditions for the Buy to let scheme to stem the rise in the housing market sector. The report also outlined the risks as a result of the Brexit referendum while the Bank announced stress tests for seven of the largest British banks.

European equity markets are mixed today with German DAX flat while the London FTSE100 is down -0.07% at the time of writing.

The NY trading session opened with Canada’s RMPI and IPPI data, both of which fell -2.60% and -1.10% respectively. USDCAD was unchanged on the data released and managed to post steady gains despite Oil prices moving lower. USDCAD is down -0.10% at the time of writing. US equity market futures are pointing to a weaker open following Oil prices. Dow Jones futures are down -0.34% and the S&P500 futures are down -0.27% ahead of the opening bell.

On the commodity front, Gold prices are down -0.16% with prices trading at $1219 an ounce, staying flat for the most part. WTI Crude oil prices are down -2.14% at the time of writing following reports that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were re-opening production at an Oilfield which is expected to add over 300,000 barrels per day. US API Crude Oil inventories are due out as well later today.


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