Week in Review: Strong NFP number but wages weak in February

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Forex forecast

The markets opened into a new trading month with the week starting off with various PMI numbers. Manufacturing remained a concern across the board with the US ISM manufacturing still remaining below the 50 index level which denotes contraction. However for the month of February, manufacturing in the US picked up rising to 49.5. In the UK, Markit manufacturing PMI fell to 50.8 falling below estimates of 52.3, while Canada’s manufacturing continued to trend below the 50 index level. China’s manufacturing data released this week showed a similar theme, as the PMI’s came out at 49.0 and the Caixin manufacturing was at 48.0.

The Australian dollar, however, saw a strong week with overall data supportive of the currency. The broad set of data saw a weak start with company operating profits falling -2.80% for the quarter while building permits continued to decline to fall -7.50% for the month. The RBA met this week and left interest rates unchanged. The statement was mostly neutral as the Central Bank opted to assess more data before further policy decision making. Quarterly GDP data was a surprise as the Australian GDP surged 0.60%, beating estimates of 0.50%. AUDUSD is currently the top performing currency pair gaining over 3.62% at the time of writing for the week.

From the Eurozone, flash CPI estimates were weaker than expected building pressure on the ECB to act next week. Manufacturing and services PMI were broadly higher but nothing big a print to write home about. The Euro continued to trend weaker across the board and more so against the Dollar, but the single currency got some boost early Friday as news wires reported on the extent of ECB’s easing showing that there still no consensus. The Euro spiked on the news and briefly traded near 1.099 before giving up its gains to the US NFP release.

[Tweet “The British Pound saw a rebound this week after prices fell to 7-year lows last week”]

The British Pound saw a rebound this week after prices fell to 7-year lows last week. GBPUSD managed to rally back above the 1.41 handle in a week which saw PMI numbers coming out broadly weaker, with the services PMI, especially weak hinting that the first quarter GDP in the UK could be weaker than expected.

The Yen was on the back foot this week as prices remained flat for the most part. USDJPY was seen trading near the highs of 114.

In the US, economic data was limited to the PMI numbers with the main focus of the week being the February jobs report. Released a while ago, the data released by the BLS showed that the US economy added 242k beating estimates of 195k. Earlier in the week, the ADP private payrolls showed a strong print of 214k, beating estimates of 185k. Wages, however, continued to contract sharply in February, falling -0.10% but the unemployment rate was steady at 4.90%. The markets are still digesting the news with the EURUSD slipping sharply to trade near 1.09 at the time of writing.

Economic events this week

  • Japan retail sales y/y -0.10% vs. 0.20%
  • Australia company operating profits q/q -2.80% vs. -1.70%
  • Germany retail sales m/m 0.70% 0.30%
  • Eurozone CPI flash estimates y/y -0.20% vs. 0.0%; y/y 0.70% vs. 0.90%
  • Japan unemployment rate 3.20% vs. 3.30%
  • Australia building approvals m/m -7.50% vs. -2.90%
  • China manufacturing PMI 49.0 vs. 49.4
  • China Caixin manufacturing PMI 48.0 vs. 48.4
  • China non-manufacturing PMI 52.7 vs. 53.5 previously
  • RBA leaves cash rate unchanged at 2.0%
  • Switzerland retail sales y/y 0.20% vs. -1.20%
  • Switzerland manufacturing PMI 51.6 vs. 49.6
  • Eurozone final manufacturing PMI 51.2 vs. 51.0
  • UK manufacturing PMI 50.8 vs. 52.3
  • Canada GDP m/m 0.20% vs. 0.10%
  • Canada manufacturing PMI 49.4 vs. 49.3 previously
  • US ISM manufacturing PMI 49.5 vs. 48.5
  • Australia GDP q/q 0.60% vs. 0.50%
  • Switzerland GDP q/q 0.40% vs. 0.20%
  • UK construction PMI 54.2 vs. 55.5
  • US ADP private payrolls 214k vs. 185k
  • Eurozone final services PMI 53.3 vs. 53.0
  • UK services PMI 52.7 vs. 55.1
  • US weekly unemployment claims 278k vs. 271k
  • US ISM non-manufacturing PMI 53.4 vs. 53.2
  • US factory orders m/m 1.60% vs. 2.10%
  • Australia retail sales 0.30% vs. 0.40%
  • US average hourly earnings m/m -0.10% vs. 0.20%
  • US nonfarm employment change 242k vs. 195k
  • US unemployment rate 4.90% vs. 4.90%
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John has over 8 years of experience specializing in the currency markets, tracking the macroeconomic and geopolitical developments shaping the financial markets. John applies a mix of fundamental and technical analysis and has a special interest in inter-market analysis and global politics.

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