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NFP Still Important Despite Upcoming Rate Hike

Rate Hike Expectations for December Have Not Devalued November Jobs Data

It’s been another rollercoaster year for the US that has so far failed to deliver on any of the four rate hikes forecast by the Fed at its meeting almost 12 months ago, when it embarked on its first monetary tightening cycle since the financial crisis.

While the central bank has fallen well short of its own projections, not helped by a number of predominantly external shocks, it is widely expected to deliver on one of those hikes at the meeting in just under two weeks’ time.

In fact, markets have priced in a 99% chance of a hike at the meeting in December, a move that has sent the US dollar to a 13 and a half year high against a basket of currencies.

FedWatch [1]

Source – CME Group FedWatch Tool [2]

With that in mind, one may wonder whether the November jobs report will actually influence the outcome of next meeting and whether we should therefore expect the same kind of volatility we’ve become accustomed to.

XAU/USD – Gold Slips to 10-month Lows, Nonfarm Payrolls Ahead [3]

The first thing to consider here is the fact that with a rate hike so heavily priced in, the market is vulnerable to downside shocks in the jobs data on Friday. While it would take something pretty dramatic for investors to reconsider a December hike, a weak report could see a hike priced a little lower which would be bearish for the dollar and Treasury yields.

More importantly though, investors don’t just look ahead to the next meeting and as it stands, markets are only pricing in a single rate hike up to November next year, with the next coming in June. This suggests to me there’s still plenty of room to manoeuvre on expectations beyond this month, which means potentially more upside in the dollar and US 10 year yields, and downside in Gold.

With this in mind, the November jobs report will be just as important as the others. Not only will it tell us when the economy is slowing but also when it is vulnerable to overheating, which could encourage the Fed to up the pace of rate hikes.

Trumps Dollar Surge to Die in December? [4]

With the average number of jobs created this year standing at just above 180,000 – well above what is necessary to remove the remaining slack in the labour market – unemployment at 4.9% and average hourly earnings rising at 2.8% annually in October, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the pace of tightening will need to pick up. Especially not if Donald Trump carries through on his fiscal stimulus pledge, which would likely bring additional inflationary pressures.


For more insight on what we can expect from the charts, check out our NFP Preview video below.

NFP Template [6]

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam [10]

Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA at OANDA [11]
Based in London, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a market analyst. With many years of experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while producing macroeconomic commentary. His views have been published in the Financial Times, Reuters, The Telegraph and the International Business Times, and he also appears as a regular guest commentator on the BBC, Bloomberg TV, FOX Business and SKY News. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and is recognised as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.
Craig Erlam
Craig Erlam

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