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    The week ahead: US data back in the driving seat

    US data is back in the driving seat where the calendar is presented with FED rate decision, GDP for Q4, Markit PMI readings and durable goods orders. 

    United States: A big week ahead in the US calendar. Q4 GDP will be of particular interest having seen FED Atlanta's GPDnow index predict it to be 2% five weeks ago, yet now down to 0.7% today. With the stock market remaining fragile then a weak data set here should send it below key break levels. The FED are unlikely to be making any rate hikes this week when you consider the market turmoil that has been seen since their last rate hike, oil printing multi-year lows and global growth concerns persisting. Initial jobless claims may have seen a cyclical low and durable goods orders, which is expected to contract, is yet more data that shows a disinflationary environment right the beginning of the FEDs rate hike cycle. How the FED communicates with the markets will be of more importance than the rate decision (assuming it is to hold) where any suggestions of FED getting cold feet just one month since their first hike will put the markets firmly back into turmoil. Ironically this could even help support stocks which benefited from the near-zero rates and USD Index may retrace further. 

    China: Chinese data is almost non-existent this week, with only the leading indicator to be released on Wednesday. So traders are more likely to take market sentiment from the daily FIX (9:15am Beijing) to look for signs of any intervention from the PBoC. The relationship between onshorre and offsore Remnimbi (CNH and CNY) will continue to be monitored as it require some form of intervention for them to move in sync. 

    United Kingdom: UK BoE Governor Mark Carney speaks on Tuesday but, judging from his dovish speech last week, is unlikely to be feeling particularly hawkish this week. So the main focus will be on GDP for Q4 which is expected to be a mere 0.5%.

    Australia: Tuesday celebrates 'Australia Day' so we need to wait until Wednesday to see the calendar come into focus. CPI data kicks off where traders will be watching to see if the RBA trimmed mean CPI read remains above the lower boundary of 2%. Currently sitting at 2.1% then a drop below the threshold will surely see traders short AUD in anticipation of a further rate cut this year. Quarterly import and export prices are on Thursday will reveal if there has been a pick-up in demand since the Australian Dollar has now dropped to the 60s recently. Producer Prices on Friday are an important inflationary read which will be of more significance if CPI data is soft. 

    CanadaAll data is released on Friday with GDP being the highlight of the week. BoC held interest rates at 0.5% and had a surprisingly hawkish (or less dovish) outlook, which helped USDCAD sustain its most bearish 2-day run in many months. The fact that oil prices rebounded form multi-year lows also played its part but, unless there is a severe contraction in GDP, then CAD should remain supported this week. Last month's GDP hit -0.5%, a rate of contraction that has now been seen since March 2014. So traders will be watching this figure to see if a trend becomes established and build a case for a further rate cut in 2016.

    New Zealand: Wednesday's rate decision is the highlight of the week. Currently with a cash rate of 2.5% there is plenty of room left for further cuts when compared with the remaining nine economies of the G10. However recent PMI and PSI reads (business and services surveys) show strength remains in the economy, albeit at a slower rate than 2013 and 2014. So domestically this is a good argument to keep rates on hold, with the question of a rate cut coming from RBNZ's likelihood of cutting due to global growth concerns. I suspect we will see a hold on this occasion but RBNZ have shown their ability to get ahead of the curve in recent months so do not take anything for granted.  

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