US DATA HEADLINES SLOW DAY FOR ECONOMIC CALENDAR
A steady stream of US economic data will headline an otherwise uneventful day for the global financial markets on Thursday. Trade volumes are expected to remain muted ahead of the new year.
There are no major data releases scheduled for Europe on Thursday. At 09:00 GMT, the European Central Bank (ECB) will release its Economic Bullet, which is published two weeks after the central bank’s Governing Council meeting. The ECB is embarking on a long path to policy normalization, beginning first by reducing the pace of monthly bond purchases.
In the United States, the Commerce Department will get the ball rolling at 12:30 GMT with a report on the goods trade balance. The November deficit is expected to dip to $67.6 billion from $68.3 billion the month before.
Separately, the Department of Labor will issue its weekly report on jobless claims at 12:30 GMT. The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits is expected to fall by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 240,000 for the week ended 22 December. Continuing claims, which reflect the number of people still receiving unemployment benefits, is expected to fall to 1.9 million in the period ended 15 December.
A report on wholesale inventories will also be released at 13:30 GMT. Inventory levels are forecast to rise 0.4% month-on-month following a 0.5% drop the month before.
Later in the morning, ISM-Chicago Inc. will release the December edition of the Chicago purchasing managers’ index (PMI). The monthly gauge is forecast to show a drop to 62.5 from 63.9 in November.
Energy traders will be keeping close tabs on the weekly crude inventory report courtesy of the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA is expected to show a draw of 3.9 million barrels for week ended 22 December, following a drop of nearly 6.5 million barrels the week before.
In currency news, the US dollar index (DXY) declined on Wednesday, as energy and precious metals commodities rallied. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six currencies, fell 0.3% to 93.03.
Europe’s common currency retreated from three-week highs on Wednesday, a sign that investors were booking profits after the sharp rally. The EUR/USD was last seen trading at 1.1900, where it was little changed compared to the previous close.
The Cable traded at nearly two-week highs on Wednesday as the dollar declined across the board. The GBP/USD is still holding 1.3400, with key resistance levels expected at 1.3450 and 1.3500.
The dollar-yen exchange rate fluctuated within a narrow range in mid-week trade, as low volumes and a lack of trading catalysts kept investors on the sidelines. The pair remains rangebound, with price action between 113.20 and 113.35.