Markets

Key Events This Week: Dollar still slumbers on hawkish Fed rhetoric?

Written by Han Tan

Here are the key economic events for investors and traders in the days ahead:

Monday, February 14

  • EUR: ECB President Christine Lagarde speech

Tuesday, February 15

  • JPY: Japan 4Q GDP, December industrial production
  • GBP: UK December unemployment, January jobless claims
  • EUR: Eurozone 4Q GDP, Germany February ZEW survey expectations

Wednesday, February 16

  • CNH: China January CPI and PPI
  • GBP: UK January CPI and PPI
  • EUR: Eurozone December industrial production
  • US crude: EIA crude oil inventory report
  • CAD: Canada January CPI
  • USD: FOMC minutes, January retail sales and industrial production

Thursday, February 17

  • AUD: Australia January unemployment
  • JPY: Japan January external trade
  • EUR: ECB publishes economic bulletin, ECB Chief Economist Philip Lane speech
  • USD: US weekly jobless claims
  • USD: Fed speak – Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard

Friday, February 18

  • GBP: UK January retail sales
  • EUR: Eurozone February consumer confidence
  • USD: Fed speak – Fed Governor Lael Brainard, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans

Inflation concerns continue to persist around the globe after the scorching US CPI print last week put even more pressure on the Fed to act aggressively to tame rampant prices pressures. Markets are now pricing in over six interest rate hikes by the Fed for this year and are very close to fully pricing in a 50bp hike by March. Although more centrist Fed officials have cautioned at moving too fast, a well-known hawk has upped the ante by arguing it may be necessary to hold an emergency meeting to get started before.

An intra-meeting rate move is a rare event, though some analysts are citing the time the Fed hiked 100bps in 1979 from 11% to 12% in response to disorderly 12% inflation. The current probability of a rate move in the next three weeks is now certainly non-negligible, but it would be quite a shock when many Fed members are more cautious about faster and bigger rate moves.

Geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West may also have a say in the near-term direction of policy, especially if the war of words becomes even more aggressive.

Dollar nonplussed (so far) by potential Fed action

The greenback has been relatively unmoved by the commotion in bond markets. Choppy swings were seen in FX immediately after the historic US inflation data, with traders aware that the Fed is still buying assets as part of its bond buying program. But higher than expected, stickier inflation and very tight labour markets point to Fed tightening soon. This should, all things being equal, provide a support base for the dollar, at least against the low yielding currencies who have dovish central banks behind them. Safe haven buying of the dollar could also be a feature if the Ukraine tensions get worse.

The February lows in the dollar index should provide some support, along with the 100-day simple moving average and the long-term upward trendline.

Any more hawkish rhetoric from Fed members this week will be watched closely.

This has contrasted somewhat with their ECB counterparts recently, with President Lagarde recently warning against the ECB acting too quickly on rates and hurting activity and jobs.

UK data deluge to inform on BoE hikes

It’s the middle of the month so we get a busy UK data week.

The job market has stood up well to the pandemic and unemployment is now virtually where it was pre-virus. Inflation will grab the headlines, but if only because it is heading higher, to 7% in April due to the upcoming utility price hikes.

The Bank of England appears on track to hike rates again at both its March and May meetings with EUR/GBP potentially targeting 0.83 if the data comes in stronger than expected.

Disclaimer: The content in this article comprises personal opinions and should not be construed as containing personal and/or other investment advice and/or an offer of and/or solicitation for any transactions in financial instruments and/or a guarantee and/or prediction of future performance. ForexTime (FXTM), its affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees do not guarantee the accuracy, validity, timeliness or completeness, of any information or data made available and assume no liability as to any loss arising from any investment based on the same.

About the author

Han Tan

Tan Chung Han (Han Tan) joined the Exinity Group in 2019.
A highly experienced financial journalist and news presenter with an in-depth understanding of global markets, Han provides valuable insights into market news, as well as macroeconomic trends to clients and the international media.

Over the course of his career, Han has interviewed a wide range of key figures, ranging from top EU officials to Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus. He is regularly quoted by leading media outlets including CNN, Reuters, Dow Jones and S&P Global Platts.

Han is already well-known to those who tune into Bloomberg TV Malaysia, BFM 89.9 and NTV7, and has a sterling reputation for his incisive analysis on currencies, stocks and commodity markets.

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