6 Forex Market Event Risks Over the Holidays

Planning on taking off early for the holidays but leaving some forex positions open? Better make sure you’ve made the necessary adjustments for these potential catalysts lined up for the next couple of weeks. After all, low liquidity and maybe too much champagne might be a recipe for volatile market moves!

1. US Final GDP

Uncle Sam is set to print the final GDP reading for Q3 2015 on December 22, 2:30 pm GMT. Keep in mind that the second version of this GDP report already featured an upgrade from the initial 1.5% estimate to 2.1% so any additional upward revisions would be icing on the Christmas cake.

Aside from that, any major revisions could have implications on the Fed’s forward guidance, as a large downgrade could convince forex traders that another rate hike ain’t happening anytime soon while a significant upgrade could spur expectations for more tightening moves early next year.

2. New Zealand Trade Balance

Since the New Zealand economy is heavily dependent on its commodities exports, the country’s trade balance is bound to trigger a reaction from Kiwi forex pairs. This report is up for release on December 22, 10:45 pm GMT.

The October trade balance wasn’t so upbeat, as the components of the report indicated a 4.5% drop in exports and a 2.2% decline in imports. However, New Zealand appears to be getting back on its feet lately and the ongoing rebound in dairy prices might help boost their November trade numbers, underscoring the RBNZ’s less downbeat outlook.

3. Canadian Retail Sales

Next up, we’ve got Canada’s retail sales figures due December 23, 2:30 pm GMT. This report is up for release along with the country’s monthly GDP reading for October, although the consumer spending reports tend to carry more weight.

Note that three out of the last five releases have fallen short of expectations for the core version of the report, reflecting underlying weaknesses in Canada’s consumer sector. But according to BOC Governor Carney, their interest rate cuts earlier this year are just starting to take effect so let’s see if the numbers are a bit more cheery this time.

4. Crude Oil Inventories

Commodity price movements have been hogging the spotlight in the past couple of weeks, with the recent oil price slump dragging the Loonie and its comdoll buddies lower against their forex peers. The latest oil inventories report from the U.S. has managed to ease fears of an oversupply, as stockpiles fell by 3.6 million barrels.

Still, several energy agencies have been warning of a potential supply glut accompanied by weaker demand so any large gains in inventories could set off another drop in oil prices and the positively correlated Canadian dollar. Watch out for this report on December 23, 4:30 pm GMT.

5. Japanese data dump

On Christmas Day itself, Japan is set to print its November CPI and household spending data so any open yen forex positions might be in for a surprise depending on whether the actual numbers turn out naughty or nice! Hey, that rhymes!

Most banks are closed for the holidays then, but markets might be in for some gaps when they reopen on Monday since Japan still has a few more data points lined up. The November retail sales report and preliminary industrial production reading are due on December 28, 12:50 am GMT which means that yen pairs won’t be taking much of a vacation then.

6. Chinese PMI

China is set to welcome the New Year with some fireworks, as its official PMI readings are due on January 1, 2:00 am GMT. Keep in mind that the readings from the manufacturing sector have been slowly falling back into contraction since September while the non-manufacturing PMI has actually seen a strong jump to 53.6 in December. Any significant moves could set the tone for overall risk sentiment when most forex traders return to their desks the following week.

If you’re not comfortable keeping money on the table with these event risks lined up over the next couple of weeks, that’s totally understandable and I strongly recommend that you allow your forex account to take some time off during the holidays, too! If you’ll be on vacation mode like most of the FX-men, just don’t forget to check back on your forex calendar to see how the top-tier reports turned out and get back in sync with the markets before taking your first few forex trades for 2016.