The United States and United Kingdom shone as both countries saw a slew of favorable economic news releases this week.
The latest US JOLTS Job Openings data showed a 4.17 million increase following January’s revised 3.87 million gain. Jobless Claims for the prior week was lower at 300,000 (versus 314,000 forecast) while the Federal Budget Balance came out to be just -$36.9 billion when analysts expected -$76.5 billon. Meanwhile, PPI stood at 0.5 percent and the preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment came in at 82.6.
In the United Kingdom, the latest Manufacturing & Industrial Production came out much better than forecast at 1 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively. UK Trade Balance also came lower than expected at -9.1 billion. Meanwhile, the latest data from the Bank of England showed the Asset Purchase Facility was maintained at GBP375 billion and the Official Bank Rate stayed at 0.50 percent.
Gold had a good run as price climbed on the final four days of the week. Now that bulls regained control of the $1,300 level, they must try to aim for a move through $1,350. This area could present itself as the first tough resistance ahead.
Oil had roughly the same action as Gold this week, climbing nearly 4 of the 5 days and creating 5 consecutive higher highs. Price closed in on March 3’s $105.20 high in the process ($104.40 high on Friday), but sellers quickly stepped in and hold down price to close the week close to $103. Bulls should expect more selling toward $102-$103.
EURUSD had a decent run-up following what seemed like an imminent drop due to Friday’s bearish price action. The pair’s action started off on Monday in the upper-1.3600s and closed the week just off the 1.3900 level. Bulls may try to challenge the 1.4000 level again soon.
GBPUSD nearly mimicked EURUSD’s price action this week, except the former retraced about 30 percent of the week’s uphill climb during the last two days. To keep the ball firmly in bulls’ hold, 1.6700 should hold in the coming week.
A follow-through decline was seen in USDJPY, coming off a 90-pip drop seen on Friday. The pair cut through 103 and 102 easily and proceeded to challenge the low-101s. A break of 101 could open up 97-99.
The Week Ahead
Monday will have a dearth of news releases, namely China’s New Loans and M2 Money Supply; Euro-area Industrial Production; and US Retail Sales and Business Inventories.
Tuesday will get a lot more active with UK’s BRC Retail Sales Monitor; RBA’s Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes; UK CPI, PPI Input, RPI, and HPI; Germany and Eurozone ZEW Economic Sentiment; Canada’s Manufacturing Sales; US CPI, Empire State Manufacturing Index; NAHB Housing Market Index, and Federal Reserve Chair’s Yellen’s speech.
Wednesday will be very busy and start quite early with New Zealand’s CPI, followed by China’s Industrial Production, GDP and Fixed Asset Investment; BOJ Kuroda’s speech; UK Claimant Count Change and Jobless Rate; Euro-area CPI; Canada’s Foreign Securities Purchases, BOC Monetary Policy Report and Rate Statement and Announcement; US Building Permits and Housing Starts.
Thursday will have lower news activity, with news releases such as BOJ Kuroda’s speech; Australia’s NAB Quarterly Business Confidence index; and New Motor Vehicle Sales; Euro-area Current Account; Germany’s PPI; US Jobless Claims and Philly Fed Manufacturing Index.
Friday will only have Japan’s Tertiary Industry Activity as sole news release. New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, the UK, and Canada will be on holiday (Good Friday).