The School of Pipsology tells us that a country’s interest rate is arguably the single biggest determining factor in the perceived value of a currency. Since central banks are in-charge of calling the shots on interest rates, forex traders are always on their toes for announcements. More often than not, they communicate their future monetary policy decisions through their rate statements.
It’s for that particular reason that I think the upcoming week will be an action-packed one. Heck, with the RBA, BOC, BOJ, BOE, and ECB scheduled to announce their rate decisions, how can it not be? Here’s a quick look at what we can expect from five of the world’s major central banks:
RBA Rate Statement, Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 12:00 am GMT
In its last statement on February 5, 2013, the central bank hinted that there’s more room for easing. Central bankers from the Land Down Under felt that inflation was not high enough to pose a threat to the economy should the bank ease monetary policy even further.
However, it would seem that RBA Governor Stevens has changed his mind since then. In a speech last week, he said that the level of stimulus available in the economy is appropriate enough.
Traders will be looking for more clarity from the central bank. Hints at future rate cuts could send AUD/USD spiraling below 1.0200.
BOC Rate Statement, Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 3:00 pm GMT
In the latter part of 2012, the BOC had been the most hawkish central bank among the G7 nations. While others had been talking about easing, BOC Governor Carney and his crew were thinking about raising rates.
However, it would seem that the Canadians’ excitement about raising rates ended along with 2012. In its January statement, the central bank held back from talking about tightening monetary policy. The BOC said that it doesn’t see any need to hike rates anytime soon since inflation is still low and household debt has stabilized.
With the CPI report for January printing a puny 0.1% uptick and disappointing forecasts for a 0.3% rise, I wouldn’t be surprised if the BOC refrains from mentioning rate hikes again.
BOJ Rate Statement, Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 12:00 am GMT
The upcoming statement will be BOJ Governor Shirakawa’s last one. And so, not many are expecting to hear anything new from the outgoing BOJ head. Interest rates will likely remain steady at 0.00%-0.10% and no changes to asset purchases are seen.
Some market analysts warn that it could be the calm before the storm. If rumors are true, the newly-nominated BOJ Governor Kuroda could spark a massive yen sell off in the coming weeks. Talk around the FX hood is that the BOJ could announce further easing in its April statement.
BOE Rate Statement, Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm GMT
The actual rate statement by the BOE in early February caused very little action on pound pairs. Incoming BOE Governor Mark Carney stole the spotlight, hinting that he won’t shake things up when he comes into office, while the BOE kept interest rates and asset purchases steady as expected.
However, the minutes of the said meeting was pretty surprising. It showed that one member of the bank’s monetary policy committee shifted sides and voted for an increase of 25 billion GBP to the bank’s asset purchases. To make it all the more interesting, the report showed that it was none other than BOE Governor Mervyn King!
Remarks from the BOE head honcho that would affirm his shift in stance to the doves’ side would most likely be bearish for the pound.
ECB Rate Statement, Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm GMT
The euro was hit hard following the ECB’s last rate statement. Despite the ECB keeping rates steady, ECB President Mario Draghi hinted that the central bank is open to further easing.
Draghi said that the ECB is keeping a vigilant eye on economic developments and is willing to act if necessary to make sure things go as planned. This seems to imply that he is prepared to make further interest rate cuts if the need arises.
He reiterated his stance last week in a speech in Munich, saying that there’s no need to raise rates anytime soon. We’ll probably hear the same rhetoric with growth in the euro zone still a concern and the risk of a political gridlock in Italy.
There ya have it, folks! Five rate statements for the upcoming week, which one will you trade?