Heads up, forex traders! The annual Jackson Hole Summit will be held from Thursday to Saturday this week, which means that central bankers and financial leaders from all over the globe will be ditching their suits and power dresses to don fur coats and snow boots for a few days. But after cruising down the icy slopes of the ski resort and huddling with warm mugs of cocoa near the fireplace, these top dogs of the economic world will be spending some time to talk serious business and discuss monetary policy.
With all the market surprises we’ve been seeing lately, I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to brace ourselves for any major announcements coming from this event, right? Heck, we might even see another round of weekend gaps across the forex board after this!
Why is this event important?
For one, the fact that this economic event is held only once a year makes it a pretty huge deal. Apart from that, this forum is also an opportunity for economic decision-makers to coordinate their plans for monetary and fiscal policies. Nobody likes those sneaky moves (cough, PBOC, cough) that wind up putting the global recovery at risk!
It was during this event that former Fed head Bernanke dropped hints about QE2 back in 2010 and gave more deets on their taper plans a couple of years ago. ECB head Mario Draghi has previously shared his ideas on boosting liquidity in the euro zone during Jackson Hole meetings as well.
What’s expected this time?
Central bank officials are expected to zoom in on China, which has been blamed for causing the market ruckus lately and might be the catalyst for an impending global economic slowdown. Financial leaders could weigh in on the repercussions of yuan devaluation and the commodity price slump on their respective economies and probably come up with ideas on how to weather the storm.
Speaking of commodities, attendees could also focus on the oil price slide and how another downturn in inflation could be avoided. One way is to delay the timing of the Fed liftoff, but it looks like we won’t be hearing from Fed head Yellen herself since she won’t be making a ski trip to Jackson Hole this week. Even ECB Governor Draghi will be a no-show.
Won’t this just be a non-event then?
The absence of Yellen and Draghi definitely dampened expectations of hearing a major policy announcement in this year’s Jackson Hole Summit, although there’s still a pretty good chance that other central bank officials might be more chatty.
Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer will be present and forex junkies are counting on him to shed more light on the U.S. central bank’s rate hike timeline. Keep in mind that Fisher has already remarked on how potentially weaker inflationary pressures might lead to a delay in tightening – a point that he might emphasize in Jackson Hole. Fisher is scheduled to have a panel discussion on Saturday with BOE Governor Mark Carney, ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio, and Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan.
How might forex pairs react?
At this point, it looks like forex market participants are hoping for some kind of reassurance from the leaders of the economic world that everything isn’t falling apart. Risk appetite has significantly weakened in the past few days, as equity indices have crashed while commodity prices continue to tumble. Remarks suggesting that central bank officials are still confident about global economic prospects could restore confidence in the markets while cautious comments warning about another possible downturn in inflation could allow risk aversion to extend its stay.
If you think that things can go either way and you’re not willing to expose your trading account to this type of event risk, don’t forget to make the necessary adjustments to your forex positions ahead of the weekend. Be careful out there!