The U.S. Dollar is trading lower against most major Forex
markets ahead of todayâ€™s Consumer Price Index, Retail Sales and Business
Inventories Reports. In addition, investors are awaiting the testimony of Fed
Todayâ€™s Consumer Price Index report is expected to show
little or now inflation for the month. February Retail Sales are expected to
show a rise of 0.3 percent after a 0.1 percent rise in January. If one takes
out auto sales, the report should show a rise of 0.8 percent. This number
should be the market mover today. Business Inventories are forecast to be
unchanged in January after a slight decline in December.
Fed Chairman Fed Bernanke testifies before the Joint
Economic Committee on the economic outlook at 9am CT. Traders are expecting
Bernanke to say the economic recovery is taking hold but that the recovery
remains sluggish. One key to his speech will be his commentary on the U.S.
unemployment situation. Most analysts expect him to say that the recovery is
not yet strong enough to drastically improve employment.
In addition to the weak employment market, Bernanke is
expected to say that the U.S.
still faces problems with stagnant wages, weak home values, rising foreclosures
and hard-to-get credit.
Bernankeâ€™s biggest problem remains how to sustain the
recovery after massive government stimulus ends later this year. To help keep
the economy on the path to recovery, the Fed continues to pledge low interest
rates for an â€śextended periodâ€ť. Traders will be looking to see if he hints the
Fed is getting ready to alter this phrase in any way. Some feel the Fed may
begin to hint at a more specific time period when rates are likely to begin to
rise. Analysts have been critical of the phrase â€śextended periodâ€ť lately
because of its ambiguity.
Volatility could return to the Forex markets today after
several days of inactivity. The past few days, traders have had no major U.S.
reports to react to, but todayâ€™s slew of economic report should have an impact
especially if Bernanke give clear signals that interest rates are set to change
sooner than previously expected.
news will continue to dominate the news regarding the Euro. The week started
with a pledge by the European Union to provide loans to Greece. On
Tuesday Greece auctioned
T-Bills and the news today is that Moodyâ€™s warned of a ratings downgrade for Greece.
Some traders believe that Greece is in a death spiral and
that no amount of aid will be able to stop the decline in the economy and its
negative effect on the Euro. Even after Tuesdayâ€™s favorable auction, traders
are still unsure as to how much Greece
will need to finance its economy over the short-run. Most feel that Greece will
have to tap some of the money pledged by the EU to run the government. How much
they borrow and how often they do it will dictate the direction of the Euro. At
this time, hedge funds continue to stand ready to sell the Euro on rallies.
Until something happens to force these traders to cover their massive short
positions, continue to look for downside pressure.
The British Pound is trading better overnight. Recent
improvements in the economy have been helping to boost the Sterling, but gains have been capped by
concerns regarding the upcoming May 6th election. Traders seem to be hesitant
to drive this market higher until either political party provides a clear plan
as to how it will handle the current budget deficit.
The USD CHF is trading higher following early overnight
weakness. Talk is circulating that the Swiss National Bank intervened to weaken
its currency. Until the Euro is on a clear path to recovery, continue to look
for the SNB to manipulate the value of its currency from time to time. The SNB
is trying to weaken the Swiss Franc in order to protect its important export
Demand for higher risk is helping to boost the USD JPY. Firm
equity markets overnight are helping to encourage Japanese investors to move
money into the higher yielding U.S.
Stronger gold and crude as well as the outlook for higher
interest rates helped the USD CAD reach a new low for the year. Canadian
financial markets indicate that traders are betting that there is a 50%
probability of an interest rate hike by the Bank of Canada on June 1st. Previous
reports indicated that traders had been looking for a rate hike on July 1.
The AUD USD is recovering overnight following a two-day
setback triggered by weaker than expected mortgage approval reports. Traders
lightened up positions as this report signaled potential problems in the
housing market in the future. The current move has to prove itself by taking
out the previous main top at .9387.
The NZD USD is also trading higher, but still glued to a key
50% area at .7124. This price is acting as a pivot. The Kiwi could firm if the
market can establish support at this price. The charts indicate the potential
for a massive rally should this pair close over .7200.
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