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NFP Report: What To Expect?

May 06, 2011 5:29 AM ET
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Forex Gump's Blog
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We've had our fair share of odd news in the past few days. First, we witnessed a commoner get married to a prince, then we received news of the death of the world's most wanted villain! Sounds a lot like a Disney movie to me!

Though these major world events did have an impact on the markets, don't you think it's about time that we get back to business and focus on economic fundamentals, rather than Disney-esque storylines?

So join me, fellow pipsters, and let's shift our attention back to the U.S. and its number one headache - employment!

Tomorrow at 12:30 pm GMT, the U.S. is scheduled to publish its market-shaking NFP report.

Survey says that April probably saw an increase in employment of 185,000, a figure slightly lower than the previous month's uptick of 216,000. On the other hand, economists say the unemployment rate probably stayed steady and remained at 8.8% during the month.

Overall, the report is expected to support the Fed's thesis that the labor market is still improving. Actually, one need only to look as far as McDonald's, which tried to hire 50,000 workers (not all pimply teenagers) last April 19, to see that the Fed may be on to something.

But does the rest of the U.S. share the same confidence to hire as McDonald's? To answer that question, let's consult the latest economic indicators!

The employment aspect of the ISM manufacturing index ticked down from 63.0 to 62.7 in April. Likewise, unemployment claims painted a not-so-pretty picture as it surged to a three-month high just last week.

And lest we forget, just yesterday, we received word that the U.S. didn't add as many jobs in April as most had expected. The ADP Non-Farm Employment report, which is widely considered a preview of the NFP, showed that employment was only up 179,000, instead of 200,000 as forecasted.

I don't know about you, but it seems to me like the latest economic indicators are revealing quite a bit of downside risk in tomorrow's NFP!

How will the report affect the dollar?

This particular release holds more weight than the usual NFP report because of its heavy implications on the dollar.

If it undershoots expectations, it will probably keep the Fed on the dovish end of the spectrum and push rate hike expectations even further into the future, which in turn, will probably weaken the dollar. However, risk aversion may also rear its ugly head back into the markets and highlight the dollar's safe haven reputation.

Meanwhile, in the event that results exceed expectations, it could help tilt the balance in favor of FOMC hawks and give the dollar a boost. But don't get too excited buying the dollar when you see a better-than-expected figure!

Based on how the currency reacted to the positive NFP report for March, there may not be enough buyers for the dollar sustain its rally!


EUR/USD 15-minute chart


GBP/USD 15-minute chart

The dollar initially surged against the pound and euro when the report printed 25,000 more jobs than the forecast. EUR/USD broke below its consolidation and dropped 80 pips. Meanwhile, Cable fell another 70 pips after it slid earlier on in the day with a disappointing manufacturing PMI report.

However, the Greenback gave back its gains as quickly as you could say, "Da bomb diggity!" as risk appetite kicked in. So be careful if you're planning to root for the dollar as we may see a repeat of the price action we saw last month if the NFP figures beat consensus.

Then again, that's just me. What do you think? Let me know what your thoughts are by writing them in the comment box below or by giving me a holler on Twitter or Facebook!


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