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Based out of Auckland, New Zealand, we bring an institutional trading experience to the retail market.

You might think that the economic news might be slowing down this week after the week we have just had. Alas, that is not so; this week's forex market might be just as choppy with some critically important reports emanating from Japan, China, Europe, and the UK, in particular.

What Are Forex Traders Watching At Week's End?

Wednesday

Due on Wednesday, US Retail Sales growth for October is anticipated to increase by 0.7%, the same as September's Retail Sales growth. However, with supply constraints potentially inspiring people to complete some Xmas shopping early, a surprise beat might be on the cards for this report.

Back over the Atlantic, the UK releases its CPI data for October. The YoY CPI for the UK currently stands at 3.1%, after edging down from 3.2% in September. Septembers CPI dip might be temporary, and several factors indicate that CPI could rise with Octobers data. Chief among them is the flow-on effect expected from the UK factory gate prices rise to 6.7% in September, from 6.0% in August.

Thursday

On Thursday, it is Canada's turn to release CPI data. After Septembers data, Canada's inflation rate was running at an 18-year high of 4.4%. Market consensus is pointing toward a fifth straight increase in the CPI, to 4.6%, while TradingEconomics predicts an even more significant leap to 4.9%.

Friday

We end the week with Japan noting its CPI data for October. Sustainable price growth in Japanese consumer prices is in doubt moving forward. Last month, CPI hit 0.2%, after remaining below 0.0% since the latter half of 2020. However, Japanese businesses are largely absorbing the rise in their input costs, whether temporary or permanent, rather than passing them onto consumers.

This week ahead: Interest Rate Decisions, GDP

We have a relatively fair number of economic events this week ahead. However, they are relatively significant in their effect on the financial markets and further fundamental guidance.

We've seen risk-on in currency markets recently, with many pairs against the U.S Dollar rallying on confidence that the economy will fare better in 2021. GBP/USD. Broke 1.40, while NZD/USD and AUD/USD both broke 0.78 and 0.73, respectively. Oil has been rallying on supply restriction due to middle east tensions and the snowstorm currently taking over Texas. Here is your week ahead.

Monday, 22nd February – People's Republic of China's Interest Rate Decision

PBoC's 1-Year Interest Rate Decision

With China stomping the virus faster than any country, their road to recovery has been patchy. With a couple of flare-ups in community transmission similar to that of New Zealand, China acted swiftly to secure the cases, ready emergency and hospital units, and shut the Coronavirus. With their economic recovery fully underway, Yi Gang has stated that China's central will not "prematurely" exit from its supportive monetary policies. "Looking forward, I think our monetary policy will continue" and that "we will keep a delicate balance between supporting the economic recovery, at the same time, preventing risk."

With the strength and the interest in the Chinese Yuan skyrocketing in 2020, the PBOC will introduce some measures to bring down the Yuan's strength as it is fundamental to their exports. With that said, analysts predict the PBOC to lower the headline 1-year rate from 3.85%.

Monday, 22nd February and Wednesday, 24th February – NZ Retail Sales & Reserve Bank of New Zealand

RBNZ's Interest Rate Decisions

With strict lockdowns imposed earlier in 2020, New Zealand has stomped the virus, China has, and life for its citizens has returned to a relative normal. With a flare-up in Auckland's community cases last week, Auckland was put in a snap lockdown for three days for the government to assess the situation. They had come out of that lockdown after the three days but still face social distancing and capacity constraints in level 2.

However, with the domestic economy has been in full swing before the snap lockdown, analysts predict retail sales to stay healthy at 26.7% growth, slightly lower from the 28% growth the previous quarter.

REINZ Housing Report January 2021

Regarding the RBNZ's interest rate decision, the mandate for the central bank of New Zealand is like many other central banks: Employment and Price Stability. A mandate they do not have is the control of house prices. However, with house prices skyrocketing almost 20% the past year, there has been pressure from politicians and analysts for the RBNZ to implement pricing controls.

The bank has reinstated loan-to-value ratios from first home buyers and investors, requiring investors to front up 40% of the house price as a deposit when purchasing a house, stating that the initial removal of LVR's has done its job.

The initial optimism on negative rates has subsided on the New Zealand economy's incredible bounce bank. Many banks are now rescinding their calls on negative rates, with banks such as ANZ calling a 15-basis point cut from 0.25% to 0.1%. ANZ's economists stated that "If the housing market and domestic economy maintains momentum well into autumn, the RBNZ will not cut again at all." However, they further stated that "If Covid-19 returns to our shores in a significant way, a negative OCR will once more be game on."

Tuesday, 23rd February – U.K's Unemployment Rate

United Kingdom's vaccination program is leading the charge for their recovery. With their seven-day average way down from all-time highs, the start of the recovery is near for the United Kingdom. Nearly 18 million people in the United Kingdom had received at least one Coronavirus Vaccine dose, around 27 doses per 100 people. These were aimed at citizens aged 70 and higher, alongside healthcare workers, who have accounted for 88% of the United Kingdom's Coronavirus deaths. Analysts predict
the 3-month rolling unemployment rate to rise slightly from 5% to 5.1% this week ahead.

Thursday, 25th February – U.S' GDP 4th Quarter

Like that of the United Kingdom, the vaccine has led the charge for the recovery in the United States. Seven-day averages are nearly three months now, with over 61 million doses of the vaccine, or around 18.6 doses per 100 people. With Jerome Powell continuing to pledge his unwavering support for the American economy, alongside an optimistic 1.9 trillion-dollar stimulus, the potential for a rebound in the U.S economy may be on its way. Analysts predict a slight nudge higher in GDP growth at the end of the 4th quarter, up 0.1% to 4.1%, compared to 4% in the previous quarter.

A light week ahead events-wise. However, the events are heavy. Stay say, and trade safe.

Week ahead - Trump, Uncertainty and Volatility

It is officially five weeks out until the United States Election. Expect an increase in volatility in the markets as we get closer to the official election dates. It is interesting to note that New Zealand's elections will be held two weeks after the US elections – throwing an extra spanner in the works. Here is your week ahead.

Trump and Biden are set to clash it out

Dates are in NZDT.

Wednesday, 30th September – First U.S Presidential Debate

Usually hosted in front of a crowd, the Coronavirus has put this tradition on top of its head like many other in-person events. There will only be one moderator, with Joe Biden and President Donald Trump going at it for one hour. A crowd? Possibly, Possibly not. If so, it would be strictly limited. The first moderator will be Chris Wallace, the anchor of "Fox News Sunday." It is predicted that the topics will revolve around the financial record for both Trump and Biden, the Supreme Court, the Pandemic, the economy, race and violence in cities, and the election's integrity. Both candidates will have 15 minutes to answer each question. Traders and Investors should be careful trading around this time, as markets are bound to shift either direction depending on the topic in question.

Wednesday, 30th September – China's Non-Manufacturing PMI

After flattening the curve, China has set an example of how a large population deals with the Coronavirus. (I'm assuming they're not lying about their results.) This has enabled the country of almost 1.4 Billion to start restarting their economy a lot earlier than their peers. For comparison, India continues to rack up daily Coronavirus cases with a population similar to China. They currently sit at around 6m Coronavirus cases, in contrast to China's stated 85k cases. China's Non-Manufacturing PMI is set to soften, from 55.2 last month to 52.1. Look for movements in the offshore USD-CNY pair in the week ahead.

Wednesday 30th September – UK's GDP Quarter over Quarter

UK's Coronavirus cases

If there is an example of a "second wave" of the Coronavirus, The United Kingdom exemplifies it. With Prime Minister Boris Johnson forcing drastic measures to stop the Coronavirus, including forcing pubs to close at 10 pm, urging workers to work from home, and many limits regarding groups. GDP is expected to drop -20.4%, similarly in the last quarter. Boris insists that there will not be a second lockdown.

Wednesday 30th September - Europe CPI

Europe has had a relatively valiant effort with regards to the Coronavirus. Although many countries have seen spikes in cases in the past couple of weeks, government and central bank stimulus have supported the European economy as much as possible. With fears of a strengthening in the Euro slowing the recovery, it is to be seen whether the ECB or Government will weaken the Euro. The CPI is set to rise this month from 0.4% last month, to 0.7% this month.

Wednesday, 30th September and Friday 2nd October – United States GDP Q2 and Non-farm payroll

US Coronavirus cases

We talked about the United Kingdom having a second wave – it seems like the United States hasn't even finished its first one. Cases continue to pile up, with total cases at 7.1 Million. Furthermore, it looks like the President has fully put the Coronavirus on the side as he focuses on the upcoming debates and elections. Furthermore, with his tax returns being released by the New York Times, more pressure is being placed on the President to answer – diverting even more of his attention away from the mounting deaths in the United States. GDP in the second quarter is set to contract 31.7%. Furthermore, even as citizens in the United States slowly go back to work, Non-farm payrolls are set to fall from last month, with a 1.371 Million Non-Farm Payroll's previous month to an estimated 875k this month.

Friday, 2nd October – Australian Dollar Retail Sales Month over Month

Australia, too, experienced a second wave just like the United Kingdom. However, Australia's second wave was larger than the first, as the State of Victoria saw a massive spike a couple of weeks ago. This forced the state to go into a second lockdown, which brought daily numbers down to more manageable levels. Their swift control of the second wave has the Trans Tasman bubble between it and New Zealand revived, with reports stating that it could be just weeks before Australians and New Zealanders can travel to either country. Total Coronavirus Cases in Australia is 27,040, with 872 deaths. With the Australian Government provided 80% wage subsidies, Retail Sales should not take a massive hit this week ahead as citizens continue to online shop. A surprise uptick in retail sales should see a spike in the Australian Dollar against the greenback.

An exciting week ahead. Stay Safe, Trade Safe.