Dollar pairs are stuck in consolidation so far as EUR/USD keeps testing the 1.2950 minor psychological resistance while GBP/USD is still moving sideways around the 1.5100 area. The recent FOMC statement seemed to be a non-event as the Fed kept rates on hold and asset purchases unchanged as expected while Fed head Bernanke didn't announce anything out of the ordinary. He did reiterate that the central bank would continue to watch employment and inflation very closely in order to determine whether the U.S. economy could survive without monetary policy easing or not. The Fed also lowered their growth forecasts for the year but also predicted slightly lower unemployment later on. For today, jobless claims, existing home sales, and the Philly Fed index are set for release and these reports could spark some volatility among dollar pairs.
EUR/USD has been stuck below the 1.2950 minor psychological resistance lately as the weekend gap still hasn't been filled. EUR/JPY, on the other hand, is making another test of the 124.00-124.50 area as the pair bounced off its previous lows yesterday. Today's euro zone PMIs could be big movers for the euro pairs as these reports tend to post nearly the same results. Both German manufacturing and services PMIs are expecting to show improvements for February while staying above the 50.0 mark indicating expansion. French manufacturing and services PMIs are projected to stay below 50.0, but the contraction is expected to slow down in February.
The recently released BOE meeting minutes did spark a bit of volatility during yesterday's trading but failed to push GBP/USD in a clear direction. The pair remains stuck just above the 1.5100 mark and it appears that the U.K. retail sales report might be the major catalyst for today. Retail sales are projected to rebound by 0.5% in February after slumping by 0.6% during the previous month. Stronger than expected data could eventually push GBP/USD to break to the upside.
The yen sold off against most of its counterparts during yesterday's trading and might be in for another round today. BOJ Governor Kuroda is scheduled to give his first speech as central bank today and he could outline their plans regarding monetary policy. Remember that Kuroda is a fan of aggressive monetary policy easing, especially since Japan needs to ward off deflation and keep the yen low. Watch out for additional volatility among yen pairs during Kuroda's speech around 10:00 am GMT.
USD/CAD has been consolidating inside a symmetrical triangle on the 1-hour chart as traders await the release of Canadian retail sales today. The report could show that headline consumer spending rebounded by 0.4% this January after slipping by 0.9% in December while core retail sales could recover by 0.6% after dropping by 2.1% in December. Strong figures could push USD/CAD to break to the downside while weak data could trigger an upside breakout.
There are no major reports due from Australia today as Aussie pairs could simply react to the recent Chinese PMI release or any changes in risk sentiment. The HSBC flash manufacturing PMI in China came in stronger than expected at 51.7 versus 51.2 and the previous 50.4 reading, reflecting stronger expansion in their manufacturing sector. Since China is Australia's largest importer, improved manufacturing activity could translate to higher demand for Australia's commodities.