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Forex: Markets Breathlessly Await FOMC, Pound May Fall on BOE Minutes

By , Currency Strategist
19 March 2014 06:54 GMT

Talking Points:

  • Major Currencies Treading Water as Markets Await FOMC Announcement Outcome
  • US Dollar May Rise if Fed Forecasts, Yellen Rhetoric Support QE “Tapering” Cycle
  • British Pound Vulnerable if BOE Minutes Hint at Longer Delay of Interest Rate Hikes

The major currencies are treading water in late Asian trade as traders withhold directional conviction ahead of today’s much-anticipated FOMC monetary policy announcement. This time around, the statement following the sit-down will be accompanied by an updated set of official economic projections from Federal Reserve official and the first press Chairman’s press conference from Janet Yellen.

The markets have grappled with a difficult conundrum since mid-January: on one hand, US economic news-flow increasingly underperformed relative to consensus forecasts; on the other, the Federal Reserve remained steadfastly committed to “tapering” its QE stimulus effort. Central bank officials have argued that the soft patch in US performance looked to be transitory and did not warrant altering the course of policy. Having now monitored the situation for some time, the Fed will have an opportunity to express its views in hard numbers and explain its thinking.

An upbeat set of economic forecasts that belies a firm commitment to continued stimulus reduction couched in similarly-themed rhetoric from the Fed Chair is likely to put the disparity between the direction of US monetary policy and that of most G10 central banks in stark relief. Indeed, investors’ priced-in expectations show that only the RBNZ is expected to deliver greater cumulative tightening than the FOMC over the next 12 months. Such an outcome is likely to scatter doubts about “tapering” continuity and boost the US Dollar. Needless to say, worried rhetoric from the US central bank stands to yield the opposite result.

Minutes from this month’s Bank of England policy meeting may put downward pressure on the British Pound if policymakers sound off on the recent soft patch in UK news-flow. Indeed, data from Citigroup shows economic releases began to notably deteriorate relative to expectations late last month. The latest revision of the BOE’s forward guidance framework stressed “absorbing spare capacity”, undermining the hawkish significance of crossing the 7 percent unemployment rate threshold set in August. Weakening performance and its acknowledgement by the central bank may push traders to speculate that this will delay interest rate hikes for a relatively longer period than currently priced in, pressuring Sterling downward.

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Asia Session

GMT

CCY

EVENT

ACT

EXP

PREV

21:45

NZD

Current Account Balance (4Q)

-1.434B

-1.530B

-4.880B

21:45

NZD

Current Account Deficit-GDP Ratio (4Q)

-3.4%

-3.4%

-4.1%

23:30

AUD

Westpac Leading Index (MoM) (FEB)

-0.1%

-

-0.1%

23:50

JPY

Adj. Merchandise Trade Balance (¥) (FEB)

-1133.2B

-907.0B

-1763.0B

23:50

JPY

Merchandise Trade Balance Total (¥) (FEB)

-800.3B

-600.9B

-2791.7B

23:50

JPY

Merchandise Trade Exports (YoY) (FEB)

9.8%

12.5%

9.5%

23:50

JPY

Merchandise Trade Imports (YoY) (FEB)

9.0%

7.2%

25.1%

0:00

AUD

Skilled Vacancies (MoM) (FEB)

0.2%

-

1.4%

4:00

JPY

Tokyo Condominium Sales (YoY) (FEB)

-24.1%

-

6.1%

4:30

JPY

All Industry Activity Index (MoM) (JAN)

1.0%

1.1%

-0.3%

5:00

JPY

Leading Index (JAN F)

113.1

-

112.2

5:00

JPY

Coincident Index (JAN F)

115.2

-

114.8

5:30

JPY

Nationwide Dept Store Sales (YoY) (FEB)

3.0%

-

2.9%

5:30

JPY

Tokyo Dept Store Sales (YoY) (FEB)

3.9%

-

5.4%

European Session

GMT

CCY

EVENT

EXP

PREV

IMPACT

9:30

GBP

Bank of England March Meeting Minutes

-

-

High

9:30

GBP

Jobless Claims Change (FEB)

-25.0K

-27.6K

High

9:30

GBP

Claimant Count Rate (FEB)

3.5%

3.6%

Medium

9:30

GBP

Average Weekly Earnings (3M/Y) (JAN)

1.3%

1.1%

Low

9:30

GBP

Weekly Earnings ex Bonus (3M/Y) (JAN)

1.2%

1.0%

Low

9:30

GBP

ILO Unemployment Rate (3M) (JAN)

7.2%

7.2%

Medium

9:30

GBP

Employment Change (3M/3M) (JAN)

110K

193K

Low

10:00

EUR

Euro-Zone Construction Output (MoM) (JAN)

-

0.9%

Low

10:00

EUR

Euro-Zone Construction Output (YoY) (JAN)

-

-0.2%

Low

10:00

EUR

Euro-Zone Labor Costs (YoY) (4Q)

-

1.0%

Low

10:00

CHF

ZEW Survey (Expectations) (MAR)

-

28.7

Medium

Critical Levels

CCY

Supp 3

Supp 2

Supp 1

Pivot Point

Res 1

Res 2

Res 3

EUR/USD

1.3793

1.3856

1.3895

1.3919

1.3958

1.3982

1.4045

GBP/USD

1.6392

1.6494

1.6543

1.6596

1.6645

1.6698

1.6800

--- Written by Ilya Spivak, Currency Strategist for DailyFX.com

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19 March 2014 06:54 GMT