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Calm Before the Storm: Euro, US Dollar Steady Ahead of ECB, NFPs

Calm Before the Storm: Euro, US Dollar Steady Ahead of ECB, NFPs

2017-03-08 13:00:00
Christopher Vecchio, CFA, Senior Strategist

Talking Points

- DXY Index continues to meander higher before the 'cherry' on top of the March rate hike cake, the February NFP report on Friday.

- EUR-crosses stable ahead of what should be a rather dull ECB rate decision tomorrow.

- 'Hard Brexit' woes continue to plague GBP/USD, which remains in a weak position as retail net-long positioning remains elevated.

It's another quiet morning on the DXY Index front, as market participants await tomorrow's ECB rate decision and Friday's US Nonfarm Payrolls report. While the European Central Bank rate decision is expected to be rather dull - no change in rates or the QE program are anticipated - the Euro has shown a proclivity to experience a bump in volatility during ECB President Mario Draghi's press conference (even if direction is nary found).

French election headlines remain the main focus, and with recent polls showing that the odds of a Marine Le Pen victory in a second round runoff are falling, traders seem to be limiting their attention to the tail risk outcome of the EU suddenly being thrust into an existential crisis regarding its existence. It's EUR/GBP's move higher that's garnering attention today, as the combination of the aforementioned risk receding plus the odds of a 'hard Brexit' increasing - the House of Lords' vote yesterday increases the probability of a hasty exit from the EU - have all but eliminated the potential for a head & shoulders pattern to play out in the near-term.

Before the ECB tomorrow and the NFP report on Friday, there are few good reasons (if any at all) for market participants to commit to a directional move in either the Euro or the US Dollar.

Our second peek at what we should be expecting on Friday will come today, with the release of the February US ADP Employment Change report. Using a 10-year rolling model, the ADP report and the ISM Services report can account for 92% of the changes in the NFP figure (R^2 = 0.92). With the February US ISM Services report having registered at 57.6, and the ADP report due in today at +185K, barring a significant letdown in the latter, the odds seem very high that we'll have another NFP report within a stone's throw of +200K.

With respect to the NFP report on Friday, so long as it comes in above +100K, the jobs data will merely be the 'cherry' on top of the March rate hike 'cake' that Fed Chair Janet Yellen (among other Fed policymakers) put the 'icing' on last week. As the Atlanta Fed Jobs Calculator shows, for the US economy to maintain its current 4.9% unemployment rate (U3) through the end of 2017, no more than +108K jobs need to be added per month.

See the above video for technical considerations in DXY Index, EUR/USD, EUR/GBP, GBP/USD, GBP/CHF, USD/JPY, AUD/JPY, AUD/USD, and the Nikkei 225.

Webinar Schedule for Week of March 5 to March 10, 2017

Monday, 7:30 EST/12:30 GMT: FX Week Ahead: Strategy for Major Event Risk

Wednesday, 6:00 EST/11:00 GMT: Trading Q&A

Thursday, 6:00 EST/11:00 GMT: Central Bank Weekly

Thursday, 7:30 EST/12:30 GMT: Live Event Coverage: ECB Rate Decision

Friday, 8:15 EST/13:15 GMT: Live Event Coverage: US NFPs

Read more: GBP/JPY, GBP/USD in Vulnerable Positions; EUR/GBP Looks Higher

--- Written by Christopher Vecchio, Senior Currency Strategist

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