Central bank minutes and growth prospects in focus this week
By Michael Hewson (Senior Market Analyst at CMC Markets UK)
As suspected the weekend G20 statement on currencies proved to be every bit as bland as markets expected it might be. The statement urged countries to refrain from competitive devaluations, and instead focus on measures to boost growth and price stability.
Recent Japanese actions escaped specific reference, broadly reflecting the rather neutral statement of the G7 of early last week, which brought quite a bit of volatility to currency markets, due to anonymous briefings. The communiqué also referenced a commitment to credible medium term fiscal strategies; however no specific targets were set.
This lack of action pretty much guarantees that the recent status quo will be maintained with respect to monetary policy in the US, Japan and the UK, and this week?s minutes of the latest policy meetings of all three central banks will likely reflect that.
In the UK the latest Bank of England minutes on Wednesday this week are likely to focus on whether anyone else joined David Miles in calling for further QE, while the latest FOMC minutes are likely to focus on new members Bullard and George and whether the three way split on the committee seen in the December minutes was maintained or whether the dynamics changed in anyway.
Before that we have the minutes from the January meeting of the Bank of Japan later tonight which saw the central bank adopt an open-ended monetary easing program from 2014 and a 2% inflation target.
The Australian central bank will, the RBA, also be publishing its latest minutes amidst growing concerns about the high value of the Australian dollar and could shed some light on the central banks thinking with respect to the timing of further easing of rates over the coming months.
Given the market reaction last week to the awful Q4 European GDP numbers last week attention this week is likely to switch back to economic data of the fresher variety with the latest German ZEW and IFO data, from February as well as preliminary manufacturing and services PMI data from Germany and France on Thursday.
Last month we saw an extremely strong rebound in both German ZEW and IFO surveys and markets will be looking for evidence that the strong rebound seen in January has been carried over into February, and reinforce optimism that ,at the very least, the German economic contraction seen in Q4 was just a one off.
There is though a growing concern about the growth trajectory of the French economy and this week?s manufacturing and services PMI?s for February could reinforce those, especially if they continue to diverge away from Germany?s.
EURUSD ? trend line support from the 16th January lows appears to be holding for now at 1.3315 on our potential head and shoulders. While below 1.3520 and the 200 week MA keeps the bias for a move lower and also keeps the bearish weekly candle scenario of two weeks ago alive.
The long term trend line support at 1.3190 from the 1.2045 lows remains the major line in the sand for this uptrend.
GBPUSD ? despite a marginal new low around 1.5460, the pound continues to find an element of support around the 1.5470/80 area. Even so the direction of travel suggests we are likely to head towards 1.5270 and the June 2012 lows. We need to see a recovery back through 1.5580 to target the 1.5700 level and to stabilise in the short term.
EURGBP ? the euro continues to find support around the 0.8580 area and while this level holds the risks remain for a push back towards the highs of last week at 0.8680. We need to get back below 0.8580 to retarget a move lower towards the lows of last week at 0.8460.
USDJPY ? the US dollar appears to be trading in a corridor between 92.20 and 94.20 with a break out either side likely to suggest a sharp 200 point move higher or lower.
Below 92.00 suggests a move towards the 90.30 level and 29th January lows. A move through 94.00 targets the 95.00 area and 2010 highs.
Equity market calls
FTSE100 is expected to open unchanged at 6,328
DAX is expected to open 4 points higher at 7,597
CAC40 is expected to open 2 points lower at 3,658