January 14, 2014
Today’s U.S. retail sales report is this week’s headliner – it is the definitive measure of consumer spending during the holiday shopping season on this side of the Atlantic. Investors require a relatively strong distraction from last Friday’s disappointing job numbers. So far, they have been kept awake by a parade of Federal Reserve speakers, and today is no different with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President, Charles Plosser (2014 voter, hawk), and Richard Fisher, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (voter, hawk), due to hop on separate soapboxes this afternoon. The danger is that American retail sales data may not be enough to appease the dollar bulls. They certainly do need a win, with weaker USD longs beginning to waver, and especially now that the 18-member single currency has surpassed its nonfarm payrolls (NFP) report highs earlier this morning.
It’s early in the New Year and already investors are buying into the theory that nasty winter weather has more to do with grim U.S. jobs numbers than what was expected. True, the weather can play a distorting role despite seasonal adjustment procedures. But was last month’s employment report an aberration or not? Other employment data has been more favorable, including the ADP National Employment Report, and various other surveys. If investors are to suddenly take their cues from meteorologists, it would imply that the foreign exchange (forex) market should be expecting an unpredictable but sluggish January.