The pound traded range-bound as market participants await official U.K. industrial production data for December. Preliminary January data have already confirmed slower growth in the fourth quarter of 2015. U.K. GDP expanded by 0.5% in Q4 2015 on a quarterly basis. Some economists are concerned that weak industrial data could lead to a downward revision of economic growth. Nevertheless many analysts believe that activity rose in the industrial sector at the end of the previous year.
Investors are also waiting for Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen to speak later today and on Thursday. If Yellen signals that the central bank is unlikely to raise rates this year the dollar would most probably decline. Analysts expect neutral comments from Fed Chairwoman. According to a survey by Bloomberg, only 30% of analysts expect a rate hike in March compared to 93% at the end of 2015.
The Australian dollar climbed after Westpac reported consumer confidence rose in February. The corresponding index advanced by 4.2% to 101.3 in February compared to 97.3 in January. A reading above 100 suggests that there are more optimists than pessimists. The index has been above 100 for only five months in two years.
EUR/USD: the pair fluctuated within $1.1280-10 in Asian trade
USD/JPY: the pair fell to Y114.25
GBP/USD: the pair traded within $1.4455-75
The most important news that are expected (GMT0):
(time / country / index / period / previous value / forecast)
07:45 France Industrial Production, m/m December -0.9% 0.2%
07:45 France Industrial Production, y/y December 2.8%
09:30 United Kingdom Industrial Production (MoM) December -0.7% -0.1%
09:30 United Kingdom Industrial Production (YoY) December 0.9% 1%
09:30 United Kingdom Manufacturing Production (MoM) December -0.4% 0.1%
09:30 United Kingdom Manufacturing Production (YoY) December -1.2% -1.4%
12:00 U.S. MBA Mortgage Applications February -2.6%
15:00 United Kingdom NIESR GDP Estimate January 0.6%
15:00 U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen Testifies
15:30 U.S. Crude Oil Inventories February 7.792 3.6
19:00 U.S. Federal budget January -14 45
21:30 New Zealand Business NZ PMI January 56.7