In the United States, Unemployment Claims rose by 313,000 in the previous week, compared to the 288,000 forecast. Meanwhile, the February CB Consumer Confidence declined to 96.4 while the previous reading was revised higher, from 102.9 to 103.8.
Federal Reserve Chair Yellen provided written testimony to both the Semiannual Monetary Policy Report before the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee, in Washington DC on Tuesday and Wednesday. She gave similar remarks and noted that, given the improving employment conditions, the Fed is now waiting for the right balance of inflation date before raising the federal funds rate.
The US National Association of Realtors reported that Existing Home Sales cooled in January to 4.82 million, after a revised-better reading of 5.07 million for December. New Home Sales grew 481,000 in January, just a thousand less than December’s reading. Pending Home Sales climbed 1.7 percent.
US Consumer Price Index was a mixed bag in January. Bureau of Labor Statistics said the headline CPI was -0.7 percent, while the core CPI edged up 0.2 percent.
Surprising contraction in the US Midwest is seen as the Chicago PMI proved very weak at 45.8 in February, its 5.5-year low, the ISM-Chicago revealed on Friday.
In other news, UK CBI Realized Sales plunged in February to +1, from +39 back in January, as lower sales plagued department stores and supermarkets. February’s reading is its weakest since November 2013.
This week, Gold’s decline to $1,190 was met by buyers easily, and these buyers brought price back up through the $1,200 level. Resistance lies shortly ahead, from $1,250 through $1,300. Moreover, there is a descending trendline, which could pose as additional ceiling.
Oil remained glued to the $50 level this week, and price garnered considerable volatility, between $47 and $51 for the most part, on Wednesday and Thursday. The weekly close at mid-$49 might be a signal that price would do another attack on the recent lows.
EURUSD fell to its weakest weekly close in five weeks as 1.1400 capped bulls’ efforts to advance. Like Oil, the EURUSD seems ready to revisit its own lows. A bullish move through 1.1500 is necessary to prevent further declines from happening.
As expected, the 118 area proved to be supportive of bulls’ efforts and this week USDJPY clinched its third bullish weekly close in the last four weeks. Immediate resistance comes at 120 and 120.50.
GBPUSD posted its fourth bullish weekly close in the last five weeks. However, this week’s upmove proved weaker than it shows, after the pair dropped nearly 160 pips on Thursday, which erased the week’s bullish efforts. A wide band of resistance is seen at 1.5500 to 1.5600.
The Week Ahead
Monday will be quite active with New Zealand’s Overseas Trade Index; Australia’s Company Operating Profits and HIA New Home Sales; China’s HSBC Final Manufacturing PMI; Manufacturing PMI for Spain, Italy and the UK; UK Net Lending to Individuals; Eurozone CPI Flash Estimate and Jobless Rate; Canada Current Account; and US Core PCE Price Index, Personal Income, Personal Spending, and ISM Manufacturing PMI.
Tuesday will be compact but quite hectic with Australia’s Building Approvals, Current Account and RBA Cash Rate Announcement and Statement; Japan’s Average Cash Earnings; Spain’s Unemployment Change; UK’s Construction PMI; Euro-area PPI; BOE Gov. Carney’s speech; and Canada’s RMPI and IPPI.
Wednesday will stay busy with Australia’s GDP; UK Halifax HPI and Services PMI; Eurozone Retail Sales; Services PMI for Spain, Italy, the UK; US ADP Non-Farm Employment Change, Beige Book, and ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI; Bank of Canada Rate Announcement and Rate Statement.
Thursday’s action starts early with Australia’s Retail Sales and Trade Balance; Germany’s Factory Orders; BOE Rate Announcement and Statement; ECB Rate Announcement and Press Conference; Canada’s Ivey PMI; and US Unemployment Claims and Factory Orders.
Finally, on Friday, there will be Switzerland’s Foreign Currency Reserves and CPI; Germany’s Industrial Production; UK Consumer Inflation Expectations; Eurozone Revised GDP; Canada and US Trade Balance; Canada’s Labor Productivity; and US Employment data.