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Friday May 14, 2004 - 17:35:18 GMT -

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Euro area prints solid Q1 GDP growth


EURUSD remains in 1.1760 – 1.1940 range although price action here and across the majors is choppy as market-makers square up and liquidity falls ahead of the weekend. Eurozone GDP expanded by 0.6% in the first quarter as reports from Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands all showed strong gains. ECB President Trichet noted that recently improved data has proved the Bank right in standing pat rather than easing rates. Talk in the market has now turned to an ECB rate hike. Euribor futures contracts are currently pricing in 25 to 50 basis points worth of rate increases by the end of the year, in stark contrast to calls from the OECD earlier this week for an immediate 50 bp cut. Early on in the US session, softer than expected CPI data and a flat University of Michigan consumer confidence reading both conspired to push EURUSD briefly above the 1.1900 level before retracing.


CHF ended a relatively volatile week slightly higher against the dollar, a combination of rising geopolitical risk and increasing expectations of Swiss rate hikes in 2004. Recent policymaker comments have suggested that while the SNB will embark on a tightening cycle this year, rate rises do not appear imminent this quarter. The SNB’s Hildebrand put the market on notice Friday, asserting that the central bank stands ready to raise interest rates should the real economy continue to improve. This marks a recent shift in the Bank’s rhetoric, as SNB President Roth noted last month that the time “has not come yet” for tightening policy. Next week the market will be looking to a speech from Roth on Friday for further clues, while Swiss trade data released Wednesday provides another important signal on the recovering economy’s strength.


Sterling ranked among the worst performing G7 currencies for the week, losing approximately 2% against the dollar, its biggest drop in nearly a month. Despite robust labor market growth and Bank of England’s Inflation Report forecasting price increases above target, GBP sold off on expectations of narrowing interest rate differentials between the UK and US, as well as poor manufacturing output data earlier in the week. With Fed rate hike expectations ratcheting higher, sterling has come under increasing pressure: a June 30 25 basis point hike has been completely discounted, and speculation of a 50-basis point rise in a single meeting continues to grow. Like EURUSD, cable rallied and came off Friday during the US morning after US consumer prices increased by a smaller than expected 0.2% in April, and consumer confidence recorded a flat reading in May. Next week sees a batch of UK data—CPI, retail sales, and MPC minutes—that will be key to maintaining the market’s expectations of BoE rate increases.


USDJPY ends the week nearly two big figures higher as investors pile out of Asian equities; in its worst week for the year, the Nikkei was down a sizable 5.2%, plagued by rate hike concerns in the US, reduced demand for Japanese imports from China and all-time traded highs in crude oil. Although the yen enjoyed a slight bounce Friday following mildly dollar-negative CPI and consumer confidence releases, it continues to retrace its gains into the New York afternoon. Near to medium term, political risk provides an additional headwind for the yen as calls grow louder for PM Koizumi to resign over missed pension fund payments. In a scandal that forced both Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda and opposition leader Kan to resign, Koizumi has also admitted to skipping state pension fund payments, though for a far longer period of nearly seven years. With the Japanese economy having begun to recover during the publicly popular Koizumi’s tenure, the PM’s resignation could prompt a renewed bout of yen selling.


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GVI Trading. Potential Price Risk Scale
AA: Major, A: High, B: Medium

Mon 10 Sep 2018
AA 08:30 GB- GDP, Trade, Output
Tue 11 Sep 2018
AA 08:30 GB- Employment Decision
A 09:00 DE- ZEW Survey
Wed 12 Sep 2018
A 12:30 US- PPI
A 14:30 US- EIA Crude
A 18:00 US- Beige Book
Thu 13 Sep 2018
A 1:30 AU- Employment
AA 11:00 GB- Bank of England Decision
AA 11:45 EZ- European Central Bank Decision
A 12:30 US- Weekly Jobless
AA 12:30 US- CPI
Fri 14 Sep 2018
A 08:30 GB- GDP
AA 12:30 US- Retail Sales
A 13:15 US- Industrial Production
AA 14:00 US- prelim University of Michigan

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