With Inflation Soft, How Key is US Jobs Data?

Friday to Cap Off Another Eventful Week For Markets.

The week started with a missile launch from North Korea and tropical storm in the US but attention has gradually been diverted to the fundamentals, with numerous pieces of data being released over the last couple of days. Risk appetite has gradually improved throughout the week following a rather shaky start, which is normal during periods of heightened geopolitical risk, but the data we’ve seen has been a bit of a mixed bag.

US Jobs Report Today’s Main Event

The US jobs report headlines today’s releases but with yesterday’s inflation numbers once again highlighting the subdued price pressures in the country, you wonder how great an impact today’s numbers will have on the Federal Reserve. The central bank has already achieved its target of maximum employment, at least as far as the headline figures suggest, and yet inflation has been gradually declining this year – as per the core PCE price index. This is also happening despite the dollar index having fallen almost 10% since the start of the year to hit its lowest since the start of 2015.

USD/CAD Canadian Dollar Higher After Strong Q2 GDP

Still, the jobs data does tend to generate a lot of hype and therefore volatility and I expect the same will be the case today. While the most important release at the moment is the average earnings number – as without improvements here, the Fed’s 2% target will be difficult to achieve – it’s the NFP and unemployment figures that tend to grab traders attention initially. Market expectations are for 180,000 jobs to have been created last month leaving unemployment at 4.3%, although it should be noted that ADP reported 237,000 on Wednesday. While not always accurate, the number may suggest expectations are far too low.

Eurozone PMIs Could Provide a Further Headache for the ECB

Prior to this, we’ll get manufacturing PMIs from across the eurozone this morning. While these are revised figures, which typically means the market impact is lessened, the improvement in the economy and confidence in the recovery has been impressive. With the euro trading around its highest levels in more than two and a half years against the dollar, inflation building – albeit from low levels – and the ECB considering tapering, traders may be watching today’s figures quite closely. The euro is potentially looking a little overbought at the moment and responses to the data can often provide a signal of this.

Dollar Awaits US Jobs Report

Ahead of the European open, markets are trading relatively flat and equity markets are expected to open in much the same way. It will be interesting to see whether weekend risk is seen as we head into the close today, given the heightened geopolitical risk environment.

Economic Calendar

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Currency Analyst at OANDA
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Sky News, Bloomberg, CNBC and BBC. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.