FX& CFD TIRDZNIECĪBAI IR AUGSTS RISKA LĪMENIS
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I. Market focus:
At the beginning of Thursday’s session, the U.S. dollar corrected after the growth observed at the end of the previous trading session. Positive impact on the dynamics of the U.S. currency was provided by the remarks of several Fed officials, who expressed different opinions about the pace of further monetary policy tightening, but fully agreed that the U.S. economy is doing well.
The release of the Australian labor market data was the main event of the morning session, but since they turned out to be mixed, they did not have a significant influence on the dynamics of the Australian dollar.
At the beginning of the European session, the focus of market participants was on China’s data on GDP, industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investment, scheduled to be released at 07:00 GMT. Economists forecast that the PRC’s economy expanded by 6.7 percent y-o-y in the fourth quarter after growing 6.8 percent y-o-y in the previous quarter. At this writing, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has already reported that the country's GDP rose by 6.9 percent y-o-y in 2017.
Other important events today will include the speech of German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann (08:00 GMT), the U.S. statistics on housing market (building permits and housing starts, 13:30 GMT) and crude oil inventories (16:00 GMT), as well as New Zealand data on the index of business activity in the manufacturing sector (21:30 GMT).
The stock market participants continue to assess the quarterly reports of companies, as the fourth-quarter earnings season picked up steam in the U.S. Today, the focus will be on the quarterly reports from Morgan Stanley (MS), American Express (AXP) and IBM (IBM). The first name will publish its Q4 financials before the market opens, while the rest will reveal their earnings after the close of today's trading.
II. The market highlights are:
The Federal Reserve revealed Wednesday that the U.S. industrial production rose 0.9 percent in December after a downwardly revised 0.1 percent m-o-m decline in November (originally a 0.2 percent m-o-m gain). Economists had forecast industrial production would increase 0.3 percent m-o-m. According to the report, utilities output advanced 5.6 percent m-o-m and mining output increased 1.6 percent m-o-m, while manufacturing production only edged up 0.1 percent m-o-m. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.7 percentage point m-o-m in December to 77.9 percent. That was 0.6 percentage point above economists expectations, but 2.0 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2016) average. For the fourth quarter as a whole, total industrial production jumped 8.2 percent y-o-y after being held down in the third quarter by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. That was the biggest gain since the second quarter of 2010. For all of 2017, industrial output rose 1.8 percent, the first and largest advance since 2014.
The Bank of Canada (BoC) announced Wednesday that it decided to hike its benchmark interest rate by 0.25 basis points to 1.25, as most economists expected. In its statement, the BoC noted that the “recent data have been strong, inflation is close to target, and the economy is operating roughly at capacity.” The Monetary Policy Report (MPR) revealed the Canadian regulator upgraded its expectations for how the domestic economy will perform this year and next as well. The BoC now forecasts Canada's economy to grow by 2.2 percent this year and 1.6 percent in 2019. Previously the bank was projecting gains of 2.1 and 1.5 percent respectively. But while broadly optimistic about the economy's prospects, the BoC cited "uncertainty surrounding the future of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)" as a factor “clouding the economic outlook.”
The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) announced Wednesday its housing market index (HMI) fell two points to 72 in January from an unrevised December reading of 74, which was the highest score since July 1999. Economists forecast the HMI to come in at 72. A reading over 50 indicates more builders view conditions as good than poor. All three HMI components recorded relatively minor losses in January. The indicator gauging buyer traffic fell four points to 54, while current sales measure dropped one point to 79, and the index charting sales expectations in the next six months decreased a single point to 78. NAHB Chairman Randy Noel said that “builders are confident that changes to the tax code will promote the small business sector and boost broader economic growth. Our members are excited about the year ahead, even as they continue to face building material price increases and shortages of labor and lots.” At the same time, NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz noted that “the HMI gauge of future sales expectations has remained in the 70s, a sign that housing demand should continue to grow in 2018. As the overall economy strengthens, owner-occupied household formation increases and the supply of existing home inventory tightens, we can expect the single-family housing market to make further gains this year.”
The Federal Reserve's Beige Book, which collected information on economic conditions on or before January 8, 2018, from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts, indicated that the economy in almost all districts continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace in late November through the end of 2017. The document also noted that prices rose modestly to moderately in most regions. Several districts noted increases in manufacturing, construction, or transportation input costs, while firms in some districts noted an ability to increase selling prices. Employment continued to grow at a modest pace, with most districts reporting on-going labor market tightness and challenges finding qualified workers across skills and sectors, the report said. At the same time, wage growth was described modest in most districts, and only a few districts said firms were raising wages across more industries and positions. The Beige Book also noted the outlook for 2018 remains optimistic for a majority of contacts across the country.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported Thursday that the country’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 5.5 percent in December from 5.4 percent in November, which was the lowest jobless rate since February 2013. Economists had expected Australia’s unemployment rate to stay at 5.4 percent in December. According to the report, seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate rose to 65.7 percent in December from 65.5 percent in November, while the number of unemployed persons increased 20,500 to 730,600. In the meantime, employment rose by 34,700 to 12,440,800 in December versus economists’ expectations of a rise of 9,000 following the addition of 63,600 jobs in the prior month (revised up from 61,600).
III. Market Situation
The currency pair EUR/USD resumed its rise after a sharp fall the day before, which was caused by optimistic comments by several Fed policymakers about the prospects of the U.S. economy as well as Apple’s (AAPL) announcement that it will make a one-time tax payment of $38 billion to repatriate cash holdings overseas and will spend over $30 billion in the U.S. on domestic jobs, manufacturing and data centers over the next five years. The company said its decision was the result of recent changes to the U.S. tax legislation. However, experts doubt that the Fed’s forecasts of three additional rate increases in 2018 and Apple's decision will reverse a long-term downward trend in the U.S. dollar, as the synchronous growth of the economies of other countries will support their currencies. Today, the dynamics of the pair is expected to be influenced by the general market sentiment toward risky assets, as well as the U.S. statistics on building permits, housing starts, weekly initial jobless claims and Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey. Resistance level - $1.2322 (high of January 17). Support level - $1.2092 (MА 200 Н1).
The currency pair GBP/USD traded in a narrow range, remaining near the opening level. Investors took a breather after yesterday's fluctuations in the pair (initially, it jumped to its highest level since the Brexit referendum in June 2016, but then retreated to the opening level), while awaiting new catalysts, which could help them decide on the pair’s further direction. With an empty economic calendar in the UK ahead, investors will focus on the latest news on the Brexit talks, as well as the dynamics of the U.S. currency and the general market sentiment toward risky assets. Resistance level - $1.3942 (high of January 17). Support level - $1.3730 (low of January 15).
The currency pair AUD/USD demonstrated mixed dynamics but remained near the opening level. Investors digested the December data on the Australian labor market. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that the country’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 5.5 percent in December from 5.4 percent in November, which was the lowest jobless rate since February 2013. Economists had expected Australia’s unemployment rate to stay at 5.4 percent in December. According to the report, seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate rose to 65.7 percent in December from 65.5 percent in November, while the number of unemployed persons increased 20,500 to 730,600. In the meantime, employment rose by 34,700 to 12,440,800 in December versus economists’ expectations of a rise of 9,000 following the addition of 63,600 jobs in the prior month (revised up from 61,600). Resistance level - AUD0.8022 (high of January 17). Support level - AUD0.7847 (low of January 12).
The currency pair USD/JPY fell slightly, retreating from the high of January 12, due to partial profit-taking after strong growth the day before. The yen was also slightly impacted by the data from Japan. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reported its final estimates showed Japan's industrial production in November increased less than initially reported. According to final figures, industrial output rose 0.5 percent m-o-m in November, slightly below the 0.6 percent increase reported earlier. That was the second straight month of gains in industrial production. Meanwhile, shipments rose 2.3 percent m-o-m, revised down from a 2.4 percent m-o-m advance estimated initially. Inventories dropped 0.8 percent m-o-m, slower than the 1.0 percent m-o-m decline reported in the advanced data. In y-o-y terms, Japan’s industrial production rose 3.6 percent in November after growing 5.9 percent in October. Resistance level - Y111.87 (high of January 11). Support level - Y110.20 (low of January 17).
U.S. stock indexes closed higher on Wednesday, notching new record highs, as investors’ expectations for higher earnings lifted stocks across sectors. The focus also was on the U.S. data on industrial production for December, the NAHB housing market index for January, and the Fed's Beige Book. The Federal Reserve revealed that the U.S. industrial production rose 0.9 percent in December after a downwardly revised 0.1 percent m-o-m decline in November. Economists had forecast industrial production would increase 0.3 percent m-o-m. For the fourth quarter as a whole, total industrial production jumped 8.2 percent y-o-y after being held down in the third quarter by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. That was the biggest gain since the second quarter of 2010. For all of 2017, industrial output rose 1.8 percent, the first and largest advance since 2014. The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) announced its housing market index (HMI) fell two points to 72 in January from an unrevised December reading of 74, which was the highest score since July 1999. Economists forecast the HMI to come in at 72. A reading over 50 indicates more builders view conditions as good than poor. The Fed's Beige Book showed that the economy continued to expand in all 12 Federal Reserve Districts from late November through the end of 2017, and the outlook for 2018 remained optimistic across the country.
Asian stock indexes closed mixed on Thursday as investors took stock of the stellar gains seen since the start of the year. Chinese shares surged, buoyed by data showing China's economy grew 6.8 percent y-o-y in the fourth quarter, the same rate as the previous quarter and slightly better than most economists had expected. Japan's Nikkei stock index reached its highest level since late 1991 earlier before ending down 0.4 percent, due to profit-taking and yen’s recovery.
European stock indexes are expected to trade mixed in the morning trading session.
Yields of US 10-year notes hold at 2.59% (0 basis points)
Yields of German 10-year bonds hold at 0.50% (0 basis points)
Yields of UK 10-year gilts hold at 1.31% (0 basis points)
Light Sweet Crude Oil (WTI) futures traded higher. Crude oil for delivery in February settled at $63.99 (+0.04%). The crude oil prices rose slightly, helped by the latest data from the American Petroleum Institute (API), which showed the U.S. crude oil inventories fell 5.1 million barrels for the week ended January 12. Analysts had forecast a drop of 3.6 million barrels in crude oil inventories. At the same time, gasoline stockpiles rose by 1.8 million barrels, and inventories of distillates increased by 609,000 barrels. Market participants are now awaiting weekly data on U.S. crude inventories from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Gold traded at $1,327.10 (+0.03%). Gold prices were little changed as investors awaited new drivers. The growth of gold prices was limited by the positive dynamics of the U.S. currency as well. The index, measuring the value of the U.S. dollar relative to a basket of six major currencies, rose 0.21 percent to 90.73. Since gold prices are tied to the dollar, a stronger dollar makes the precious metal more expensive for holders of foreign currencies.
IV. The most important news that are expected (time GMT0)
German Buba President Weidmann Speaks
Continuing Jobless Claims
Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey
Initial Jobless Claims
ECB's Benoit Coeure Speaks
Crude Oil Inventories
Business NZ PMI
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