Macro Events & News for December 16, 2015

December 16, 2015

FX News Today

Today’s main event is the long awaited U.S. Interest Rate Decision. My view is that the U.S. Fed will raise interest rates today. I believe that the Fed understands that if they fail to hike today, the U.S. Fed’s credibility will most certainly be challenged. Let’s not forget that the U.S. Fed has been holding the markets hostage for many months, thereby creating a large amount of uncertainty in the markets with constant talk about the pending interest rate adjustment higher, only to disappoint the markets with no action during the previous meetings. Today’s “potential” rate hike will open the door, in my opinion, for further rate hikes over the coming year. Most professional traders are very aware of this fact and have already been adjusting positions accordingly.

In overnight stock market trading and ahead of today’s important U.S. Fed Interest Rate Decision, global stock markets surged higher, with solid gains in Asian, Europe and Wall Street yesterday. The “pending” increase in U.S. Dollar borrowing cost is viewed by the stock markets as a net positive that the economy is healthy and that growth will continue to follow despite the higher cost of borrowing.

So far today, the USD has consolidated yesterday’s gains, after core CPI data out of the U.S. provided a final conformation of market expectations for the Fed to deliver a long-awaited rate hike later today.

The general market mode for today, I would see it as swinging between “risk-on” and “risk-off” as traders jockey for positions, with high volatility especially during the U.S. FOMC Press Conference scheduled for later tonight at 7:30PM GMT. The heavy price action will be around the FOMC Economic Projections, the FOMC Statement followed by the FOMC Press Conference. Traders will have a long night of trading with plenty of action expected. I wish you all good luck on this historic trading day!

Main Macro Events Today

• EUR CPI data: the final reading of CPI data for November, which should confirm the headline rate at 0.1% y/y (med same) and core inflation at 0.9% y/y. The decline in oil prices remains the main factor weighing on CPI, although core inflation also eased slightly last month, as the drop in basic goods prices is feeding through the production chain. Still, the ECB already reacted to this by easing policy further and ECB’s Coeure said deflation risks are off the table now with the latest set of measures, so the numbers won’t change the policy outlook.

• USD U.S. Industrial Production: November industrial production is out on today and should reveal a 0.2% (median -0.2%) decline which would mark the third strait month of 0.2% drops. Despite the firm November employment report there is some downside risk to industrial production as factory employment declined by 1k and mining employment was down by 11k for the month. We expect capacity utilization at 77.3% (median 77.4%) from 77.5% in October.

• USD U.S. Housing Starts: November housing starts are out today and analyst expect a 1,130k (median 1,133k) headline following a 1,060k headline in October which marked an 11.0% decline from September. Analyst expect permits at 1,150k from 1,161k and completions should rise to 1,000k from 965k in October. The warmer weather through November should lend some upside risk to the release despite the slow down in the already released November NAHB which declined to 62 from 65 in October.

• USD Interest Rate Decision: FOMC made two key changes in the policy statement that put a Fed hike on the table for today, even as it left rates unchanged in October. Fed removed the comment from the September statement that “recent global economic and financial developments may restrain economic activity somewhat” and replaced it with “monitoring” developments. Also said “in determining whether it will be appropriate to raise the target range at its next meeting” Those two changes reversed the dovishness from the September meeting and ostensibly reduced the concerns over the slowdown in China that Chair Yellen mentioned in her presser Statement somewhat at odds with slowing in recent data, however, but acknowledged job gains had slowed while unemployment rate held steady Inflation continues to run the below the Committee’s long run target.

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