Forex Major Currencies Outlook (Mar 1, 2018)
The US dollar was able to take advantage of risk-off flows despite weaker than expected US data. Chicago PMI and pending home sales both disappointed while the preliminary GDP was downgraded from 2.6% to 2.5% in Q4 2017 as expected. US core PCE price index is due today and a 0.3% uptick is eyed, slightly stronger than the earlier 0.2% increase. Personal spending and income numbers are also lined up, along with the ISM manufacturing PMI, which is expected to dip from 59.1 to 58.7.
The euro was in a weak spot as resurfacing Brexit concerns also weighed on the shared currency. Flash CPI estimates came in line with expectations of 1.2% for the headline figure and 1.0% for the core figure. Final manufacturing PMI readings from the top euro zone economies are due today.
The pound was one of the biggest losers for the day when the EU released its draft withdrawal agree-ment that specified a common regulatory area with Northern Ireland. This is a key point of contention for several UK officials, which suggests that tensions could flare again. There were no major reports from the UK then, which explains the extra focus on Brexit-related updates. UK manufacturing PMI is due today and a dip from 55.3 to 55.1 is expected.
The franc was also able to take advantage of risk-off flows in recent sessions, especially since other European currencies were on weak footing. Swiss data was also mostly stronger than expected, with the KOF economic barometer up from an upgraded 107.6 reading to 108.0. However, the Credit Suisse economic expectations index fell from 34.5 to 25.8. Swiss GDP, retail sales, and the UBS consumption indicator are due today.
The yen was the biggest winner for the day as it also managed to outpace the safe-haven dollar. Japanese data actually came in below expectations in yesterday’s Asian session but today’s set was in the green. Capital spending is up 4.3% versus 3.1% for the latest quarter, also a notch higher than the earlier 4.2% gain. Consumer confidence index and the bond auction are scheduled next.
Commodity Currencies (AUD, NZD, CAD)
The comdolls gave up ground across the board as traders dumped higher-yielding currencies. The Aussie was actually in a good spot earlier on but soon gave up ground on risk aversion. The Loonie was also hit by weaker oil prices after the EIA reported a larger than expected build in stockpiles. Australia’s private capital expenditure disappointed with a 0.2% drop versus the estimated 1.0% gain.
By Kate Curtis from Trader’s Way