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APR 22: Watch Out for This Week’s US GDP and PCE Data

April 22, 2024

As we gear up for the release of key economic data from the United States, including Q1 GDP and March Core PCE figures, the financial markets are poised on the edge of their seats. These statistics are critical as they not only shed light on the current economic standing of the U.S. but also have the potential to steer the Federal Reserve’s upcoming decisions on inflation and interest rates.

Economic Data and Currency Impact

In this case, the EUR/USD, USD/JPY, and GBP/USD pairs are especially reactive to U.S. economic forecasts. Any variation from expected GDP and PCE outcomes could lead to volatility in these currency pairs. Historically, unexpected figures in GDP or Core PCE have led to sharp movements in the forex market. For example, a stronger than anticipated economic report tends to bolster the USD against its counterparts.

Easing of Conflict in Middle East

We have already seen how tensions in the Middle East affect the markets.

There appears to be a temporary calm in Middle Eastern tensions, which might contribute to market stability in the short term. If this stabilization persists, it could bolster investor confidence, influencing global market fundamentals positively.

Tech Earnings Season

In the corporate arena, the continued flow of Q1 earnings reports from tech giants like Tesla, Meta, Alphabet, Amazon, and Microsoft will likely play a crucial role in shaping market sentiment. Strong earnings from these firms can uplift the economic outlook, while any disappointments could dampen the mood considerably.

Bank of Japan’s Policy

The Bank of Japan’s upcoming policy decision is also on the radar. Changes in the BoJ’s rate decisions could affect the Japanese yen and ripple through global markets. A dovish stance by the BoJ might weaken the yen but could boost stock prices as cheaper financing becomes more accessible.

Federal Reserve’s Forecasting

In the U.S., the Federal Reserve’s current forecasting methods are under scrutiny. The Fed’s recent revision of growth projections upwards by 0.7 percentage points for 2024 and the acknowledgment of persistent inflation indicate a potential shift away from previously anticipated interest rate cuts. Former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke advocates for a scenario analysis approach, which could provide a more dynamic and comprehensive framework for predicting and communicating potential economic scenarios. This method may decrease market volatility by offering a clearer projection of future economic conditions and policy directions.

Historically, the implementation of such analytical improvements by central banks, as seen in the late 1990s under Greenspan’s Fed, helped in enhancing public understanding and market stability during economic transitions.

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