Next Week’s News Today: Will The US Dollar Climb?

Markets, with the exception of Europe, will return to some sense of routine next week with many countries back to work after the Easter break. Most of Europe that include Germany, the UK and Switzerland, will still be closed though for Easter Monday holidays. The markets in Australia and New Zealand will also be shut on Monday.

The US dollar is likely to be in focus next week, following recent comments from St. Louis Fed President, James Bullard, that another rate hike “may not be far off.” That sent the US dollar higher and commodity prices lower. Other influential people who might give their two cents’ worth include, Janet Yellen the Fed chair, William Dudley of the Federal Bank of New York and Robert Kaplan of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

The basis for Bullard’s comments could be viewed in context of next week’s labour market data. These include the closely-watched Non-farm Payroll and the unemployment rate for March. US employment gains have been robust at around 200,000 jobs per month. The unemployment rate has fallen from a recent high of 5.5% in May 2015 to 4.9% last month.

Japan will report unemployment numbers too. But those numbers are likely to play second fiddle to household spending and retail sales numbers. Consumer spending in Japan has been weak at best, as the Japanese government look for novel ways to stimulate the domestic economy.

There are no key economic figures expected from China, save for a couple of manufacturing and non-manufacturing numbers. Last month’s Caixin Manufacturing PMI indicated that the factory activity has been contracting, while the services industry has been expanding.

The health of Singapore’s economy could be under the microscope when the Monetary Authority of Singapore reports bank lending figures for February. In January, a respectable S$600 billion was lent to consumers and businesses. Healthy lending numbers could give the likes of DBS Group (SGX: D05), Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (SGX: O39) and United Overseas Bank (SGX: U11) a leg-up.

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