Despite a slow start to the week there are plenty of events and data this week for markets to chew on for further direction including in the US the February Empire and Philly Fed manufacturing surveys, January housing starts and existing home sales, as well as CPI and PPI inflation and FOMC meeting minutes. Overall the data will look relatively unimpressive, with softer manufacturing confidence, weaker housing data and benign inflation readings likely.
In the Eurozone, the flash purchasing managers’ indices will capture most attention. A slight softening is expected but this will not alter the picture of gradual recovery in the Eurozone economy. Indeed, last week’s better than expected Eurozone GDP release revealing broad based growth of 0.3% in Q4 highlighted the positive recovery path, in turn maintaining positive sentiment for the EUR.
On the policy front the Bank of Japan decides on policy tomorrow but no change is expected despite a disappointing Q4 GDP release this morning, which revealed that growth came in at a paltry 0.3% QoQ compared to 0.7% expected. Nonetheless, the weaker GDP data highlights that the BoJ and government has a big job to do in the months ahead especially given the risks to growth from the upcoming consumption tax hike. USD/JPY may find some support if the data translates into expectations of more aggressive BoJ action.