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06.03.2014 06:21

Asian session: The yen touched a one-week low

00:30 Australia Retail sales (MoM) January +0.5% +0.5% +1.2%

00:30 Australia Retail Sales Y/Y January +5.7% +6.2%

00:30 Australia Trade Balance January 0.47 0.11 1.43

The yen touched a one-week low against the dollar after a Japanese government advisory panel said the world’s largest pension fund no longer needs to focus on domestic bonds given quickening inflation.

Australia’s dollar jumped by the most in 1 1/2 weeks after data showed retail sales climbed three times faster than economists estimated and the trade surplus was the widest in more than two years. Exports from the South Pacific nation exceeded imports by A$1.43 billion ($1.3 billion) in January, the most since August 2011, compared with the A$100 million surplus forecast by economists, a Bureau of Statistics report showed. Retail sales increased 1.2 percent.

The dollar held losses against a basket of major peers after a private report showed hiring rose less than forecast, adding to concern harsh winter weather hampered economic growth. U.S. companies added 139,000 workers in February following a revised 127,000 increase the prior month that was less than initially reported, according to the ADP Research Institute. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 155,000 gain.

Labor Department figures due tomorrow will show U.S. payrolls rose 146,000 last month, compared with a 113,000 advance in January, economists forecast. The unemployment rate is projected to remain at 6.6 percent, the lowest level since October 2008.

EUR / USD: during the Asian session the pair fell to $ 1.3720

GBP / USD: during the Asian session, the pair traded in the range of $ 1.6705-25

USD / JPY: during the Asian session, the pair rose to Y102.75

There is a full calendar on both sides of the Atlantic Thursday, with the central bank policy decisions from both the ECB and BOE to the fore. The European calendar kicks off at 0630GMT, with the release of the French fourth quarter unemployment data. At 1100GMT, the German January manufacturing data will be released. At 1245GMT, the ECB will publish their March policy decision, to be followed at 1330GMT by President Mario Draghi's monthly press conference. The ECB is likely to stand pat following inline inflation data in recent days and an easing of tensions in the Ukraine. Early UK data is expected at 0800GMT, with the release of the February Halifax house price index, likely to show continued strength in the housing market. At 0900GMT, the SMMT UK February new car sales numbers will be published. The first of the day's central bank policy decisions comes at 1200GMT, when the Bank of England's March Monetary Policy Decision crosses the wire. Across the Atlantic, the US calendar gets underway at 1230GMT, when the February Challenger Layoffs data will be released. At 1330GMT, jobless claims data for the March 1 week and the Q4 non-farm productivity numbers will be released. The level of initial jobless claims is expected to fall by 13,000 to 335,000 in the March 1 week after rising by 14,000 in the previous week. Fourth quarter productivity is expected to be revised down to a 2.0% rate of growth from the +3.2% preliminary estimate, due in large part to an expected downward adjustment to the output component. New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley will hold a breakfast conversation in New York, also starting at 1330GMT. At 1430GMT, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testifies before the House Ways & Means Committee on the FY2015 budget. The US January Factory Orders numbers will cross the wires at 1500GMT.

Market Focus

  • The eurozone started the third quarter on a solid footing, according to PMI survey data
  • Earnings Season in U.S.: Major Reports of the Week
  • German private sector output growth slowed for the second month running in July
  • ECB's Mersch says as conditions normalise, it is unlikely that uncoventional policies will remain necessary
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