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Forex Major Currencies Outlook (February 13, 2013)

USD: Bullish

Dollar-buying resumed lately as the G7 leaders issued a joint statement saying that currency movements should reflect fundamentals and that monetary policy should be targeted at supporting growth and not devaluing the currency. This put the recent currency war talks to rest as it triggered a sharp selloff in USD/JPY prior to the upcoming BOJ statement and G20 summit. Today's focus could be on the US retail sales report, which could post another increase in consumer spending. Both core and headline figures are expecting 0.1% upticks but an upside surprise might be in the cards as the January employment report printed strong results. The Greenback has been reacting to fundamentals these days, which suggests that a strong report could trigger dollar strength.

JPY: Bullish

The Japanese yen rallied sharply after a G7 official was quoted saying that the leaders were very concerned about the yen's rapid selloff. He reiterated that exchange rate movements should mirror the country's fundamentals and that monetary policy shouldn't be used to manipulate the currency's value. This sets the tone for a careful BOJ statement in Thursday's Asian session, possibly resulting to more traders easing off their short yen positions. This also sets the stage for the upcoming G20 Summit this weekend, during which world leaders could criticize the yen's depreciation.

EUR: Bullish

EUR/USD bounced off the 1.3350 area yesterday as currency war talks seem to have been put to rest by the recent G7 statement. European Central Bank head Mario Draghi also dismissed the possibility of an ECB intervention in the currency market as he said that the central bank's job is to manage monetary policy and spur growth, not engage in exchange rate manipulation. With that, the euro could resume its ongoing uptrend against its counterparts as the central bank seems to be in no rush to change its monetary policy. An ECB member remarked that the central bank's forecasts haven't been changed so far as the euro zone shifts its focus from financial stability back to economic growth.

GBP: Bearish

Weaker than expected inflation data from the UK, which suggests that there is enough room for the BOE to implement further easing measures if needed. Take note that the British economy is facing the possibility of a triple-dip recession after posting negative growth in the last quarter of 2012. Since the annual CPI came in at 2.7% though, there is no need for the BOE to release its inflation report, which is required only if the inflation rate overshoots the 3% target. BOE Governor Mervyn King is set to deliver a speech today though and could have comments on the UK's inflation outlook.

CHF: Neutral

Currency war speculations seem to have very little effect on the Swissy these days, despite the SNB's successful implementation of its EUR/CHF peg last year. In fact, SNB head Thomas Jordan emphasized that the EUR/CHF peg would still remain this year at 1.2000. The pair barely reacted to the Swiss CPI report which came in line with consensus at -0.3% for January so it might also have a limited reaction to the PPI report due today.

CAD: Neutral

Aside from being able to take advantage of the overall U.S. dollar weakness resulting from the G7 statement, the Canadian dollar also benefitted from hawkish comments from exiting BOC Governor Mark Carney. He may have pushed back the time line for BOC rate hikes as he delivered a less hawkish statement last month but he did reiterate that higher rates are still needed sooner or later. He pointed out the improved inflation outlook in Canada and the positive developments in the euro zone as reasons for his upbeat assessment, leaving the BOC as one of the more hawkish central banks around.

AUD: Bearish

The Australian dollar was able to rebound in the recent trading sessions, thanks to the G7 statement which triggered a broad-based dollar selloff. However, the Australian dollar doesn't have a lot of fundamental support as economic figures from Australia have hinted at a rate cut for the RBA's March monetary policy statement. There are no major reports from Australia today, suggesting that interest rate expectations could continue to drive their currency lower.

NZD: Bearish

Just like the Australian dollar, the Kiwi was able to take advantage of the dollar selloff that took place after the G7 committed to market-determined exchange rates. Only the quarterly retail sales release is on New Zealand's agenda for the rest of the week and, judging from the weak labor report we saw for Q4 2012, we could see a downside surprise or even a negative consumer spending report for the same period.

by Kate Curtis from Trader's Way