US dollar helped by higher yields

The dichotomy between hard economic data and asset market performance continues but unlike over past weeks at least there was some justification for the rally in equity markets following the stronger than expected US April jobs report. US non farm payrolls rose by 165k while revisions added 114k to previous months and the unemployment rate dropped further to 7.5%.

The data will offer the Fed some comfort perhaps reducing the need to expand further asset purchases in the months ahead. Nonetheless, the jury is still out and following the shift in Fed language at the FOMC meeting last week, in which they opened the door to increasing quantitative easing, it may take more than one, albeit important data release to completely erase expectations of more QE.

Further Fed thoughts on the jobs data as well as the plethora of disappointing data releases over previous weeks could emerge from the Chicago Fed conference this week, with several Fed speakers including Chairman Bernanke scheduled to speak. Given that there is little else on the data front market direction will take it cue from Fed comments.

Aside from central bank meetings in the UK and Australia the data slate is similarly thin elsewhere. No change is expected from both the Band of England and Reserve Bank of Australia but the latter is a much closer call given weaker data both domestically and in China. If the RBA does not move AUD will find some further support after rallying on the back of the jump in copper prices last week although gains will be limited as markets may just push back Australian easing expectations to the next meeting.

In the Eurozone, the final services confidence indices and German industrial data will be on tap and will add more evidence of the weaker economic trajectory and likely restrain the EUR and keep Eurozone core bonds supported. EUR/USD will find little else to give it direction, with higher US yields also likely to help keep any gains in EUR/USD capped, with resistance seen around 1.3220.

Japan has little on the data front too with trade and current account data in focus. The jump in the USD/JPY following the US jobs report will mean that attention will be on whether the 100 level can finally be cracked, with the spike in US 10 year Treasury yields likely keeping the USD supported versus JPY. I suspect that this level will not be breached unless US yields rise further.


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