The European Central Bank and the Bank of Canada both decided to leave rates unchanged (0.05 percent and 0.75 percent, respectively) this week.
A barrage of news came out of China this week. Trade Balance surplus shrunk by a huge margin to CNY3.1 billion in March. New Loans surged past expectations at CNY1,180 billion while M2 Money Supply came in below forecast. Forecast for the China GDP was spot on at 7 percent while Industrial Production came in weaker at 5.6 percent. Finally, Fixed Asset Investment and Retail Sales were slightly lower than forecast at 13.5 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively.
In other news, UK Jobless Rate was as expected 5.6 percent. Meanwhile, Australia enjoyed a slight improvement in Jobless Rate (6.1 percent versus 6.2 percent previously).
Statistics Canada revealed Retail Sales surge 1.7 percent in February, while the core reading also surged 2 percent. CPI was higher than expected at 0.7 percent.
In the United States, Jobless Claims for the prior week jumped to 294,000, higher by 20,000 compared to its median estimate. Philly Fed Manufacturing Index for the month of April came in better than anticipated at 7.5. The Preliminary UoM Consumer Sentiment was much better at 95.9 compared to its 93.8 median estimate.
Gold was in range mode and spent most of its time below $1,200. Bulls still have a chance to keep Gold in their control by pushing it toward $1,250.
Oil managed to move through the resistance area and reach the low-$57s before ending the week just below the $56 level. It would be interesting to see if the $53 to $55 area would hold in the next few days. If it does, we could see higher prices soon.
It was a good week for EURUSD bulls as the pair rode the short-term oversold trend higher by about 330 pips. There is still a lot of work to do as they have to break past 1.100 very soon. Downside risk remains high.
Pip-wise, GBPUSD did much better again this week compared to EURUSD. Cable rose nearly 500 pips and managed to close right at the short-term range resistance area at 1.4957 after reaching as high as 1.5052. The next major hurdle is 1.5500.
USDJPY printed nearly 230 bearish pips last week as expected sellers at the 120 level kept a lid on this pair. Bulls need to recapture the 120 level.
The Week Ahead
Monday will be very quiet in terms of economic releases. There will only be New Zealand’s Consumer Price Index; Japan’s Tertiary Industry Activity; German Bundesbank’s Monthly Report; and BOC Governor Poloz’s speech.
On Tuesday, news activity would pick up slightly with Australia’s Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes; Germany and Eurozone ZEW Economic Sentiment; Canada’s Wholesale Sales and Annual Budget Release.
Wednesday will have as much activity as Tuesday. The list includes Japan’s Trade Balance; Australia’s Consumer Price Index and Trimmed Mean CPI; UK MPC Official Bank Rate and Asset Purchase Votes; Italy’s Retail Sales; US Existing Home Sales.
Thursday will have the most activity this week. The list includes Australia’s NAB Quarterly Business Confidence; China’s HSBC Flash Manufacturing PMI; Switzerland’s Trade Balance; French, German, and Euro-area Flash Manufacturing PMI and Services PMI; UK Public Sector Net Borrowing and Retail Sales; Spain’s Jobless Rate; US Jobless Claims, New Home Sales and Flash Manufacturing PMI.
Finally, Friday will cap off the week with Germany’s Ifo Business Climate; Eurogroup meetings; US Durable Goods Orders; and BOC Governor Poloz’s speech.