Capital markets had to swerve geo-political risk at the beginning of the week and on Friday it had to come to terms with economic event risk. U.S. non-farm payroll and Canadian jobs report could not be further apart.
NFP rose +175k last month, beating the street consensus of around +150k. It's undoubtedly a plus for Yellen and company - a number that certainly supports her case to continue tapering asset purchases. Friday's headline print-beating consensus would suggest that the U.S. economy has underlining strength despite the adverse weather conditions experienced in January and February. Even better were the revisions to the prior months, they were modestly positive with January up +16k to a revised +129k and December up +9k to +84k. However, the unemployment rate, that was expected to be flat, actually ticked up to +6.7% from +6.6% for the first time in nearly eight-months. The markets initial reaction certainly favored the dollar, higher U.S. treasury yields and an equity market in the black.
What about the EUR? Now that the market is realizing that it's near impossible that the Fed would ease their modest pace of tapering, they also seem to be coming around to the idea that Draghi and company at the ECB will not be cutting rates or taking more simulative action any time soon. Draghi's relatively upbeat press conference this week supports that. If the dollar cannot go higher after NFP then the impatient EUR shorts will want to get out.
The naysayers will focus on the actual headline being below last year's monthly average of +190k. They will argue that sustainable or stronger growth favors a print at least matching the 12-month average. Despite the average hourly earnings increasing (+0.4% vs. +0.2% - the strongest gain in two-years) the workweek fell to 34.2 hours from January's downwardly revised 34.3.
In Canada, the loonie was flogged after the release of a weak February Canadian jobs report. Canada lost -7k jobs (expected +15k), mostly due to a decline in the part-time positions in the month. The unemployment rate remained steady at +7%. The USD/CAD is closing out the week encroaching on last Tuesday's high $1.1119.