European Outlook: Stock markets moved higher in Asia overnight, with Japan outperformed as the Yen weakened following indications from BoJ Governor Kuroda that he will keep the accommodative policy in place. Hopes of progress on Trump’s tax reform following comments from Treasury Secretary Munchin helped to underpin gains elsewhere. The move higher in Asia followed gains in the U.S. yesterday, but it remains to be seen how European markets, which mostly managed to close slightly higher, while the French CAC rallied on hopes that Macron will emerge as the winner in Sunday’s election, will react to the latest shootings in France. The EUR seemed little phased, but to close to the election, the incident could underpin support for Le Pen’s hard line stance in what already looks like a very tight race. US. and U.K. stock futures are higher and oil prices are also extending gains with the front end WTI future at USD 52.75 per barrel. Today’s calendar focuses on preliminary PMI readings out of the Eurozone, which also has current account and BoP data. The U.K. releases retail sales for March.
FX Update: The majors have continued to hold narrow ranges into the risk event that is Sunday’s French presidential election, which presents polarized risks for the euro. EURUSD is holding in the lower 1.07s, consolidating after failing to sustain yesterday’s run to a three-week high at 1.077. USDJPY has settled around 109.00. The yen was briefly bid following news of the terrorist attack in Paris, which left two police dead, though impact proved limited. The yen subsequently dipped after BoJ’s Governor Kuroda made dovish remarks during an interview with Bloomberg TV, where he said, “we will stick with yield curve control” and that “we think the current pace of purchases and monetary base increase will continue for some time.” The reaffirmation that the BoJ is sticking to its dovish course, which contrasts with the Fed, and even the ECB, was enough to prompt a wave of yen selling, with USDJPY logged an intraday high at 107.42 before impetus faltered, leaving yesterday’s nine-day peal at 109.49 untested.
U.S. reports: initial jobless claims rose 10k to 244k in the week ended April 15 after slipping 1k to 234k previously, which followed the 24k plunge to 235k for the April 1 week. Continuing claims declined 49k to 1,979k in the April 8 week after dropping 7k to 2,028k previously. That’s a 17-year low. Claims may have been impacted by the Good Friday holiday. Meanwhile, despite the uptick in jobless claims, the data remain near historic lows and reflect a strong labor market, as noted in the Fed’s April Beige Book. U.S. Philly Fed manufacturing index fell 10.8 points to 22.0 in April following the 10.5 point drop to 32.8 in March. Those follow the surprisingly strong 19.7 point surge to 43.3 in February which was the highest level since January1984, and compares to the record high of 49.5 in July 1983.
Main Macro Events Today
EU PMI – The Easter effect may also have an impact on preliminary PMI readings for April, and manufacturing and services sector numbers differently. Eurozone’s manufacturing readings expected at 56.3 from 56.2, while the services sector number expected to be remain unchanged at 56.0, which should leave the composite marginally at 56.3 from 56.4 in March.
UK Retail sales – Retail sales for March, expected to decline 0.3% m/m and February’s 1.4% m/m gain. Meanwhile, total Retail Sales are seen slowing to a 3.4% y/y pace in March from 3.7% in February.
Canadian CPI – CPI, expected to expand 0.4% m/m in March after the 0.2% gain in February. Gasoline prices tracked higher through March. Meanwhile, total CPI is seen slowing to a 1.8% y/y pace in March from 2.0% in February. The Bank of Canada expressed cautious optimism that underlying CPI will gradually move back towards the 2% target.
US PMI & Existing Home Sales – The week rounds out with April Markit PMI and March existing home sales data expected at 2.5% increase in the headline pace to 5.60M from 5.480M in February.
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