While US markets closed lower for the third week in succession last week, European markets enjoyed their best weekly performance since November, with the German DAX hitting a new record, ahead of this week's European Central Bank rate meeting
, with Swiss markets a notable exception, as suffered its worst weekly decline since September 2008.
As the dust continues to settle after last week's shock action from the Swiss National Bank to abandon its currency peg, attention this week now shifts this week to one of the potential catalysts for last week's Swiss central bank about turn,
namely a widely anticipated decision by the European Central Bank to start a sovereign bond buying program that would have swept away the SNB's currency cap.
The main speculation now is likely to be around the flavour of any action at Thursday's meeting, with German resistance likely to present a significant obstacle
to any large scale action, with any decision unlikely to be unanimous, which could well cause problems further down the line, particularly if, as seems likely the program needs boosting.
Furthermore with a Greek election only three days later the likelihood of any bond buying program including Greece remains highly unlikely
given the prospect of a Syriza victory in just under a weeks' time.
While the main event of this week is likely to be this ECB meeting
we do have some other important economic announcements to mull over this week, which are particularly important in light of last week's downgrade of global economic forecasts by the World Bank.
Recent Chinese economic data has shown some recent signs of stabilising
in the wake of some recent limited stimulus measures from the People's Bank of China, and this week we get the latest economic data for December.
The recent decline in copper and crude oil prices
have largely been as a result of slowing Chinese demand, and this week's release of the latest December economic data, including Q4 GDP, could well help underpin the recent rebound seen at the end of last week in crude oil prices.
Also on the agenda this week, we have the latest Bank of England minutes
as well as the latest unemployment and wages data,
along with the December retail sales numbers.
The wages data is expected to see further evidence that the fiscal squeeze seen on UK households since the financial crisis, continues to ease as wages start to show signs of moving further away from the inflation rate after underperforming the headline rate consistently, with the odd exception for the last nine years.
- last week's low at 1.1465 has seen a rebound, but the risk still remains for further losses towards 1.1205, which is 61.8% retracement of the entire move from the 0.8230 lows and the 2008 highs at 1.6020. Any rebound looks likely to find resistance at 1.1750 and 1.1880..
- the pound has held up fairly well despite the lack of upward momentum and while we hold above 1.5090 the prospect of a move back towards 1.5320 remains. A move below 1.5090 targets the lows this month at 1.5035, with a break below 1.4980 targeting 1.4810.
- the euro has so far managed to hold above the March 2008 lows at 0.7590, but if it were to break through we could well see further losses towards 0.7255, which had originally been the peaks seen in 2003. For the euro to show any signs of stabilisation we would need to see a move back through the lows last year at 0.7754.
- we look to be closing on the 115.60 area, a break of which could well see a sharp fall towards 110.00. Any pullbacks look likely to find resistance at 118.00. We would need to see a recovery in US 10y yields above 2% to suggest a turnaround and return towards the peaks.
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