Overall: The small gains seen in the early part of the Asian session were transformed into huge gains for the majors when Europe began trading, as traders continued to speculate the U.S. Non-Farm Payroll report would continue to show weakness in the job sector. S&P futures actually improved after the report was released and the dollar weakened against the better-yielders as it gained on the yen, but the cash markets reversed this move within the first two hours of trading. Currencies traded in a relatively tight range thereafter, following the equity markets going into the last hour of trading.
In U.S. economic news, Nonfarm payroll employment continued to fall sharply in February and the unemployment rate rose from 7.6% to 8.1%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.
Since the recession began in December 2007, about 4.4 million jobs have been lost, with more than half (2.6 million) of the decrease occurring in the last 4 months alone. January’s loss was revised up to 655,000. For December, the revision was to a drop of 681,000, the most since 1949 when a huge strike affected half a million workers. The household survey data showed the number of unemployed persons rose by 851,000 to 12.5 million last month and that over the last year, the number of unemployed persons has risen about 5.0 million and that the unemployment rate has gone up by 3.3 percentage points.
The Euro (Eur/Usd) rose 170 pips and broke above the high seen during the last four days of trading as traders speculated on a poor NFP report. Traders sold the dollar after the report, which helped push S&P futures higher, but the cash markets reversed the move and the dollar made up some of its loss to the single currency.
The Pound (Gbp/Usd) gained 160 pips as traders bet against a better-than-expected NFP, but retreated as it approached the 20-day simple moving average. The pound managed to break above the 1.4200 area, something that the pair has not succeeded in doing in the last three days of trading. As with the euro, the pound gained on the dollar after the report but fell as the cash markets declined to 11:30 EST.
Factory prices increased for a second consecutive month, after plunging lower for six months. The input prices, or the price at which producers and manufacturers buy materials and fuel, rose in February by 0.6%, much more than expected. The output price, or the prices at which manufacturers sell, gained 0.1% for a second consecutive month. Input prices are up 0.5% from one year ago, but down from 1.5% in January, while output prices reached 3.1% in February from one year earlier.
The Aussie (Aud/Usd) gained steadily after Thursday's close at 17:00 EST until about an hour after DAX futures opened. Traders took profits at that point until about an hour after London got going and from there, the pair pretty much moved with euro and pound.
The Australian construction sector contracted again in February to 29.5 from a 34.1 reading seen during January. The index fell at a fast pace as weak market demand and diminished confidence led to further cutbacks in new project work. The seasonally adjusted rate fell 4.6 points and remains below the crucial 50 level which denotes expansion from contraction. The worst conditions were faced in the apartment and commercial construction sectors
The Cad (Usd/Cad) fell 100 pips overnight, but retraced half of the move back during the European session. In the last few days, the cad has traded between 2 very important areas, the 1.3000 resistance and the 1.2700 support. The cad rose during most of the N.Y. session after crude stayed relatively flat on the NYMEX.
The Swissy (Usd/Chf) fell 220 pips and broke briefly below TheLFB S3 (1.1515) during the Asian session. However, the European traders erased some of the declines, helping the swissy recover as much as 50 pips. In the Asian session, the swissy broke below both the 20 and the 100-day simple moving average, and touched 2 week low. The pair traded very flat in N.Y. although it looked to be making a modest gain heading into the Wall Street close.
In February, the Swiss CPI rose for the first time since December. The released number of 0.2% is higher than the forecasted rate of -0.1%, while the year-over-year read rose to 0.2%. Inflation is set to continue its decline even more in the coming months, as the huge drop in energy prices and the lower demand should dampen price increases.
The Yen (Usd/Yen) plunged 90 pips in the overnight session to TheLFB S1 (97.30). The pair moved lower as the entire market sold dollars, and U.S. futures traded mostly flat. Tonight was the second consecutive time that the yen declined. The pair rose after the NFP but fell when the S&P opened, then spent most of the day in a range as stocks slowly declined.