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U.S. Dollar in the Market’s Crosshairs Next Week as Investors Eye Growth Data

U.S. Dollar in the Market’s Crosshairs Next Week as Investors Eye Growth Data

2011-02-18 23:07:00
Christopher Vecchio, CFA, Sr. Currency Strategist

Next week will prove to be an important week for the U.S. Dollar, as investors will eye important releases which will give insight into how sustainable the recovery might be. The consumer is in the crosshair across the globe, with Canadian retail sales and U.S. consumer confidence is expected on Tuesday. While the figures are expected to show continued growth, rising inflationary pressures could trim growth forecasts for future releases. U.S. durable goods orders are expected on Wednesday, and growth in line with expectations will further support the notion that manufacturing remains a key component of recovery. Finally, on Friday, gross domestic product data for the fourth quarter are expected from Britain and the U.S. While these data are important events, because the components that comprise the GDP figure are released beforehand, the figures should not come in as big of a surprise to investors.

  • Canada Retail Sales (MoM) (DEC): February 22 – 13:30 GMT

Retail sales data surprised economists last month, advancing 1.3 percent versus a forecast of 0.5 percent. The gains in November were boosted by an unexpected surge in sales from carmakers, an event that is expected to fall by the wayside before becoming a trend. As such, retail sales forecasts for December are significantly lower: in fact, retail sales are not expected to increase or decrease at all. Weaker retail sales will likely be the result of slow wage growth and increasing inflationary pressures, which have reduced consumers’ disposable income. An unchanged figure could have ramifications, however, as it is widely considered a leading indicator to forecast economic developments. With Canadian GDP data due out on February 28, a softer sales figure could result in a weaker growth figure.

  • U.S. Consumer Confidence (FEB): February 22 – 15:00 GMT

Following a revision in January’s data, in which the Conference Board’s index climbed to nearly a three-year high at 65.6, consumer expectations remain in a similar range, with the mean forecast at 65.0. However, the revision upward may have more to do with the reporting standards rather than a significant increase in underlying economic conditions: different groups now collect the data for the Conference Board. Nonetheless, conditions overall remain weak, and are expected to for quite some time as consumers remain downtrodden over a weak labor market, and a housing market that hasn’t quite yet regained footing since the subprime market collapse.

  • U.S. Durable Goods Orders (JAN): February 24 – 13:30 GMT

An improving manufacturing sector may be one of the more important sectors needing to expand at a steady pace in order to have a sustainable recovery going forward. Last month’s reading disappointed, showing that durable goods orders declined by 2.3 percent in December. Survey figures, though, suggest that consumption is picking up, with durable goods orders forecast to expand by 3.0 percent in January. Demand stripped of the transportation component is less promising, forecast to have risen by 0.5 percent after declining by 0.8 percent in December. The differential in the reading could create a mixed reaction among investors, which would limit the data’s impact on price action.

  • U.K. Gross Domestic Product (QoQ) (4Q): February 25 – 09:30 GMT

Growth in Britain is forecasted to have deteriorated by 0.5% in the fourth quarter, slowing from 0.7% growth the quarter. A disappointing retail sales figure for December has led to the expectation that British consumers have started to save amid austerity measures set forth by the government, coupled with increasing inflationary pressure that has sapped purchasing power. The British economy appears to be entering a period of stagflation, in which is expected to remain low while prices push higher. The way in which the Bank of England plans to deal with this will be detailed earlier in the week, when the BoE Minutes are released from their previous meeting.

  • U.S. Gross Domestic Product (Annualized) (4Q S): February 25 – 13:30 GMT

An adjustment of the reading in January, the gross domestic product data due on Friday will be important, but not as market moving as the original release. The revision presented is expected to show 3.3 percent in fourth quarter GDP at an annualized pace, as opposed to the 3.2 annualized rate presented in January. Accordingly, that would mean consumer spending growth, which is at its fastest pace in four years, has buoyed the recovery in the U.S. Nevertheless, the 3.3 percent growth reading would still be short of the original forecast, of 3.5 percent. Considering the data underpinning GDP has been known for quite some time, the impact on the Dollar will likely be limited, though if the figure strays significantly from the forecasted number, then expect an impact on the capital markets.

See the DailyFX Calendar for a full list, timetable, and consensus forecasts for upcoming economic indicators.

Written by Christopher Vecchio, DailyFX Research.

To contact the author of this report, please send inquiries to: instructor@dailyfx.com

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