The euro has edged lower in the Monday session, as EUR/USD trades at 1.0970. On the release front, there are no eurozone indicators on Monday. In the US, today’s highlight is the Empire State Manufacturing Index. On Tuesday, we’ll get a look at Eurozone Flash GDP and German ZEW Economic Sentiment. The US will release Building Permits and Housing Starts.
The first quarter of 2017 has seen improved numbers in the euro area, largely due to strong numbers from Germany, the locomotive of the eurozone. Germany’s economy expanded 0.6% in the first quarter, compared to a 0.4% gain in Q4 of 2016. What was particularly encouraging was that the expansion was broadly based, with strong consumer and state spending, and an upsurge in the construction and manufacturing and export sectors. However, inflation levels continues to recede, after some strong numbers in the first quarter. In April, German Final CPI dropped to 0.0%, marking a 3-month low. This trend has also characterized inflation in the eurozone, as weaker inflation levels has lessened pressure on the ECB to tighten monetary policy.
The EU released its Spring 2017 Economic Forecast, and the report gave the eurozone a passing grade. The report noted that the European economy is in its fifth year of recovery, and forecast eurozone GDP growth of 1.7% in 2017 and 1.8% in 2018. On the inflation front, the report stated that inflation had risen in recent months, but this was mainly due to an increase in oil prices. Still, inflation was expected to reach 1.6% in 2017 and 1.3% in 2018, compared to just 0.2% in 2016. Stronger growth has led to lower unemployment, and the report projected that eurozone unemployment rate would drop to 9.4% in 2017 and 8.9% in 2018. At the same time, economic risks remain tilted to the downside, including US economic and trade policy under President Trump, the European banking sector and Brexit. This forecast was considerably more optimistic than the Winter 2017 forecast, as is apparent from the captions in the press releases for these two reports: The Winter forecast was entitled “Navigating through choppy waters”, while the caption for the Spring forecast reads “Steady growth ahead”.
US consumer spending and inflation numbers improved in April, but still fell short of estimates. CPI came in at 0.2%, short of the estimate of 0.3%. Core CPI, which excludes the most volatile items, posted a small gain of 0.1, shy of the estimate of 0.2%. Retail Sales came in at 0.3%, compared to the forecast of 0.5%. Retail Sales rose 0.4%, short of the estimate of 0.6%. Consumer confidence remained strong, as the reading of 97.7 beat the forecast of 97.0 points. These numbers underscored a troubling trend where strong consumer confidence has failed to translate into increased consumer spending.
Donald Trump has been embroiled in a number of controversies in his short presidency, but the political earthquake he has now stirred could become political quicksand for the new president. Trump abruptly fired FBI director James Comey last week, stunning lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Congress. Comey, who has been conducting an investigation into possible collusion between Trump and Russia during the presidential campaign, clearly has been a thorn in Trump’s side. The White House has claimed that it fired Comey over his handling of an email scandal involving Hillary Clinton, but the move has been roundly condemned by the Democrats, and some key Republicans have also voiced opposition as well. The firestorm could heat up further, with calls in Congress to appoint a special prosecutor into Trump’s connections with Russia. Has Trump gone one step to far? This latest controversy could cause some jitters among investors and hurt the US dollar.
Monday (May 15)
- 8:30 US Empire State Manufacturing Index. Estimate 7.2
- 10:00 US NAHB Housing Market Index. Estimate 68
- 16:00 US TIC Long-Term Purchases. Estimate 68.3B
Tuesday (May 16)
- 5:00 Eurozone Flash GDP. Estimate 0.5%
- 5:00 German ZEW Economic Sentiment. Estimate 22.3
- 8:30 US Building Permits. Estimate 1.27M
- 8:30 US Housing Starts. Estimate 1.26M
*All release times are EDT
*Key events are in bold
EUR/USD for Monday, May 15, 2017
EUR/USD Monday, May 15 at 6:25 EDT
Open: 1.0931 High: 1.0968 Low: 1.0923 Close: 1.0967
EUR/USD was flat in the Asian session and has ticked higher in European trade
- 1.0873 is providing support
- 1.0985 is a weak resistance line
Further levels in both directions:
- Below: 1.0873, 1.0708, 1.0616 and 1.0506
- Above: 1.0985, 1.1122 and 1.1242
- Current range: 1.0873 to 1.0985
OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio
EUR/USD ratio continues to drift, and is unchanged in the Monday session. Currently, short positions have a majority (61%), indicative of EUR/USD reversing directions and moving higher.