Currencies consolidated before March data
Last week, investors were waiting for economic news representing March, thus market moves were rather muted. In the next couple of weeks, number of important economic data pieces will be announced, which will reflect activity through the lockdown period. Until now, most of the news reflected situation mostly in February, when virus was just beginning to spread in Europe and was very limited in the U.S., what kept economic data relatively good and stable compared to previous years and periods.
Coronavirus figures were mixed. The situation in Europe was improving, primarily in Italy and Spain, were numbers of new cases were on a slide. The epicentre shifted to the U.K. and France, where a spread of the virus started a bit later than in southern countries. In the U.S. situation remained intense, when new cases remained elevated around 30 thousand per day and still did not show signs of a slowdown. Interestingly, Donald Trump started to shift his position for coronavirus, as recently he said, that state governors will be granted a decision right to open their states from lockdown, but when last week Georgia governor announced easing on existing restrictions, D. Trump said he strongly opposes the decision, as new cases are still growing.
Economic data in the U.S. did not show any positive signs. Initial unemployment claims remained in the spotlight, as 4.4 million jobs were lost last week, a slightly better result than 5.2 million a week before. Overall, the job market lost all jobs that were created since 2008 over a decade long expansion period. Also, preliminary purchasing managers indexes were announced – the manufacturing sector dropped to 36.9 points, while service slipped 27.0, what show material deterioration in economic activity.
Major currency pair EUR/USD primarily reflected U.S. dollar moves and by the end of the week was around 1-month lows. Key piece of economic data was preliminary purchasing managers indexes: manufacturing dropped to 33.6 points and services reached 11.7, what was a record low since index inception. Other sentiment indexes, Ifo and ZEW, decreased materially as well, what signals worsening situation among businesses. EUR/USD finished trading week -0.5% lower.
Key Asian currency pair USD/JPY remained muted and traded below a 200-day moving average. Among economic data was preliminary April purchasing managers indexes, which was 43.7 for manufacturing and 22.8 for the service sector, the lowest in history. Composite results of the index were worse than through the 2008 financial crisis and the 2011 tsunami disaster. Also, there was speculation, that the Bank of Japan this week will launch unlimited quantitative easing and joining the club together with American and European banks. USD/JPY finished the trading week unchanged.
British pound followed U.S. dollar sentiment and GBP/USD pair's volatility was relatively low. Among economic data was labour market news, which showed that only 12 thousand employees lost their jobs over the last months, which was a better result than expected. Unemployment level was 4.0%. Annual inflation was 1.5%. Preliminary purchasing managers index was 32.9 for manufacturing and 12.3 for service. GBP/USD finished trading week -1.3% lower.
This week no important data is planned on Monday. Tuesday will start with the Bank of Japan meeting, which promises news for monetary policy. Also, consumer confidence will be announced in the U.S. On Wednesday investors will focus on the first-quarter GDP numbers, which may surprise market participants. Also, FED will hold a meeting and press conference, which may bring news to the market. On Thursday, Japan's industrial production will be announced and later German labour market and retail sales data. Also, preliminary European inflation and ECB will hold a meeting. Friday is a holiday in most of the countries, only purchasing managers index ISM will be announced in the U.S.
According to Admiral Markets market sentiment data, 44% of investors have long positions in the EUR/USD pair (up 2 percentage points from last week's data). In the main Asian pair USD/JPY, 49% of investors have long positions (increased 9 percentage points). In the GBP/USD pair, 50% of participants expect a rise (increased 10 percentage points). Such market data is interpreted as a contraindicator, therefore EUR/USD is expected to rise, while USD/JPY and GBP/USD are balanced. The analysis of positioning data needs to be combined with fundamental projections and technical analysis.
Sources: bloomberg.com, reuters.com, Admiral Markets MT4 Supreme Edition, investing.com
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