WEDNESDAY IS FED DAY
The month of January is going out with a bang on Wednesday, as investors monitor a deluge of economic data and a key rate announcement from the US Federal Reserve.
In terms of economic data, the German government will get the ball rolling at 07:00 GMT with its monthly report on retail sales. Receipts at retail stores are forecast to fall 0.3% in December, following a 2.3% increase the month before.
Over the next several hours, reports on French producer inflation, German unemployment and Italy’s labour market will make headlines. The European Commission’s statistical agency will also report on unemployment and consumer inflation for the 19-member currency zone.
The Eurozone consumer price index (CPI) is forecast to fall to 1.3% annually in January, down from 1.4% the previous month. So-called core inflation, which strips away volatile goods such as food and energy, is projected to slip to 1% from 1.1% in December.
In North America, ADP Inc. will release its preliminary US jobs report at 13:15 GMT. ADP is expected to show the creation of 185,000 private sector jobs in January, following a gain of 250,000 the month before.
Other US reports on Wednesday include pending home sales and the Chicago purchasing managers’ index.
The US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will hand down its policy statement at 19:00 GMT. Although interest rates are expected to hold steady at 1.5%, officials could provide clues about the pace and timing of future adjustments. Last month, the FOMC forecast three additional rate hikes for 2018.
Earlier in the session, China’s official manufacturing PMI survey showed slight weakness in factory output. The manufacturing PMI slid to 51.3 in January from 51.6 the month before.
A separate PMI gauge tracking service activity strengthened to 55.3 from 55.0.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address In Washington, where he promoted his infrastructure plan and indicated an intent to work with Democrats on immigration. Trump’s first year in office was highly contentious politically but was very well received by Wall Street.
The euro has carved out a rangebound pattern against the dollar this week, with prices fluctuating between 1.2400 and 1.24500. The outlook remains firmly positive after the common currency surged to multi-year highs last week.
Cable has ebbed slightly lower this week, as prices peeled back from multi-year highs. The GBP/USD exchange rate was last seen trading at 1.4149, having declined roughly 150 pips from last week’s highs.
The dollar put up a mild rally against the yen on Tuesday but failed to hold gains above 109.00. The USD/JPY was last seen trading around 108.80, where it continued to face firm downside pressure.