FX Week Ahead: Central bank meetings

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Fed meeting minutes and US inflation

The markets head into a busy week that sees some of the major central bank monetary policy meetings lined up. This week, the RBA, the Bank of Japan, the ECB and the BoC will be holding their monetary policy meetings. Despite the line up of the central bank meetings, no major changes are expected from either of the central bank monetary policy decisions.

The European Central Bank which meets on Thursday will of course stand out. The ECB will be releasing the quarterly economic projections which could offer more insights for the markets on the forward guidance. However, some risks still remain for a dovish view from the ECB.

On the economic front, the line up this week includes Friday’s nonfarm payroll report as well as the monthly unemployment report from Canada. China will be releasing its annual inflation figures for the month of February while manufacturing and industrial production figures from the UK along with GDP numbers from Japan will keep the week busy.

Here’s a quick recap of the key economic events due this week.

 

ECB: Will Draghi maintain the status quo?

Officials at the European Central Bank will be meeting this week for their monetary policy meeting. No changes are expected at this meeting as the Eurozone interest rates and QE purchases are widely expected to remain unchanged.

With a broadly improving economic picture in the Eurozone, investors will be no doubt shifting focus to the forward guidance from the ECB and the language in its statement. While the ECB officials initially toyed with the idea of changing the language in its statement to be more in tune with an expanding economy, the previous ECB meeting minutes revealed the opposite. The minutes showed that officials were hesitant to change the language amid inflation staying below the ECB’s target rate.

This could lead to some potential dovish comments from the ECB as the euro currency which has risen to strong levels in recent weeks takes a breather. The higher exchange rate is also expected to impact inflation.

The ECB will also be releasing the quarterly economic projections at this week’s meeting. As a result, market watchers will be closely looking at how officials at the central bank perceive the current strength in the Eurozone economy and especially inflation. Past estimates from the ECB and the EU Commission show that inflation is expected to not reach the 2% target rate until 2019.

 

BoJ: No changes expected as Kuroda expected to reiterate easing bias

The Bank of Japan will be meeting this week for the monthly monetary policy meeting. According to the markets and the economists, no changes are expected from the BoJ with interest rates unlikely to be changed. The central bank is also expected to keep its QE purchases unchanged as it attempts to keep the yields on the short term bonds near zero.

Any speculations of hawkish rhetoric from the BoJ Governor Kuroda were washed away last week when the governor commented that the central bank was committed to maintaining the QE. Officials within the central bank have expressed concerns about the risks of prolonging the QE purchases.

On the economic front, there was some respite for officials as data from last week showed that consumer prices in Japan rose 0.8%. This was the BoJ’s measure of inflation that is seen as a benchmark.

 

U.S. Nonfarm payrolls to cement expectations for March rate hike

On Friday, the highlight of the week will be the February payrolls report. This comes ahead of the March 26th FOMC meeting. With rising speculation that the Fed will be hiking the short term interest rates once again, the payrolls report could potentially bring more conviction for the markets.

Economists are hoping that the U.S. economy added 190k jobs during the month of February. Forecasts are also hawkish on the U.S. unemployment rate which is expected to fall to 4.0% as wage growth is expected to remain stable, rising at a pace of 0.3% on the month.

 

 

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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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