Calm ahead of US payrolls and ECB meeting

It’s non-farm payrolls week in the US, with currencies treading water until Friday when the report is released. Ahead of the data there are several other releases on tap which will give clues to the outcome of the April jobs report, including the ISM manufacturing survey and ADP jobs report. The USD has taken a softer tone as risk appetite improved and US bond yields dropped further.

Given the Fed kept open the door to more easing it will act as a restraint on the USD unless markets become convinced that there will no further Fed balance sheet expansion over coming months. In the meantime unless risk aversion spikes again the USD is set to find it difficult to sustain any gains.

It’s always the same story with the EUR, a tale of ongoing resistance to bad news. Weaker Eurozone confidence surveys as well as a downgrade to Spain’s credit ratings did little to weaken the EUR. The key event is the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting on Thursday but despite growing growth worries, a policy rate cut is unlikely as the ECB remains in wait-and-see mode.

Data releases will not be too damaging for the EUR, with monetary and credit aggregate set to rise and German retail sales set to rebound in March. The EUR looks poised to edge higher against this background in the short term, but will be constrained by uncertainty ahead of the US jobs report. Technical resistance to the upside will be found around the 1.3265 area.

The JPY barely flinched when the Bank of Japan announced an expansion of its asset purchase fund by JPY 10 trillion in its aim to reach a 1% inflation goal. Unfortunately for the BoJ the ongoing narrowing in the US Treasury yield premium over Japan JGB yields overwhelmed the negative impact of its action on the JPY.

Overall, my quantitative models continue to show USD/JPY lower over the short term, with a move below 80.00 on the cards. If as I expect, risk aversion also creeps higher, it will imply more short term upside JPY pressure. Trading will be relatively quiet, with no major data on the calendar due to Golden Week holidays in Japan.

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