• US jobless claims rise 276k v 265k forecast; labor market still strong remains below 300k (55th cons month).
• US Chicago Mar PMI 53.6 vs forecast 50.0, well above Feb’s 47.6.
• Longer-dated U.S. bond prices rise on month-end buying.
• Fed's Evans nods at possible June rate hike.
• Fed's Lockhart sees 'scope for three' rate hikes this year: Nikkei.
• ECB’s Villeroy: ECB could act further to provide “favorable” financial conditions if needed.
• SNB's Maechler: Forex interventions still important for weakening franc.
• Moody's changes Mexico's outlook to negative from stable; affirms A3 rating.
• Brazil central bank raises ’16 inflation forecast to 6.6% from 6.2%, says not considering rate cut; ’16 GDP -3.5%.
• Gold heads for biggest quarterly rise (+16.5%) in nearly 30 years on low rate outlook.
Looking Ahead – Economic Data (GMT)
• 22:30 Australia AIG Manufacturing Index * Mar 53.5-previous
• 23:50 Japan Tankan Big Mf Index* Q1 forecast 8.00,12- previous
• 23:50 Japan Tankan Big Mf Outlook DI Q1 forecast 6.00,7- previous
• 23:50 Japan Tankan Small Mf Index Q1 forecast -3.00,0- previous
• 23:50 Japan Tankan Sm Mf Outlook DI Q1 forecast -5.00,-4- previous
• 23:50 Japan Tankan Small Non-Mf Index Q1 forecast 4.00,5- previous
• 23:50 Japan Tankan All Sm Capex Est Q1 forecast -21.00%, -0.20%- previous
• 01:00 China NBS Non-Mfg PMI* Mar 52.7- previous
• 01:00 China NBS Manufacturing PMI* Mar forecast 49.30, 49- previous
• 01:45 China Caixin Mfg PMI Final * Mar forecast 48.20, 48- previous
• 02:00 Japan Nikkei Mfg PMI* Mar 49.1- previous
Looking Ahead – Events, Other Releases (GMT)
• No Significant Events
EUR/USD is likely to find support at 1.1315 levels and currently trading at 1.1378 levels. The pair has made session high at 1.1410 and hit lows at 1.1373 levels. Euro rose against US dollar on Thursday as the traders continued with their bullish bets on euro as they continued to digest dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. The pair inched higher to hit high at 1.1410 levels after the release of US Initial Jobless Claims, which came negative at 275k worse than previous figures 265k and forecast of 265k. The dollar was weaker on the day against major currencies, as continuing weakness spurred by the Federal Reserve's dovish statement on Tuesday. The euro continued four straight sessions of gains against the dollar and hit $1.1411, marking the first leap above $1.1400 in 5-1/2 months. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, hit its lowest level since mid-October of 94.319.
GBP/USD is supported in the range of 1.4310 currently trading at 1.4364 levels. It reached session high at 1.4425 and hit low at 1.4341 levels. The British pound edged higher against US dollar from 1.4331 in early European session on Thursday to hit high at 1.4430 levels before pausing to trade around 1.4395 levels in the Mid New York session. However in late New York session the pair slipped lower towards 1.4354 as the pair retreated from overbought condition. Meanwhile data from the Office for National Statistics showed the British economy grew by 2.3 percent in 2015, higher than a previous estimate of 2.2 percent and safeguarding Britain's position as one of the fastest-growing developed economies. Though growth slowed a little towards the end of the year, GDP was 2.1 percent bigger in the last three months of 2015 than in the fourth quarter of 2014, stronger growth than the previous estimate of 1.9 percent.
USD/CAD is supported at 1.2852 levels and is trading at 1.3000 levels. It has made session high at 1.3010 and lows at 1.2852 levels. The Canadian dollar surged to hit new five-month high against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday as better-than-expected domestic GDP scaled back expectations for further rate cut by Bank of Canada rate. Data from Statistics Canada showed Canada's economy grew by a much larger-than-expected 0.6 percent in January. It was the fourth straight monthly gain and the biggest since July 2013. The currency has rallied 7 percent since the start of the year and 13 percent since hitting a 12-year low in January at C$1.4689. It has been helped by recovery in crude oil prices, stabilization in financial markets and reduced expectations for Bank of Canada rate cuts. The currency's weakest level of the session was C$1.3012, while it touched its strongest since Oct. 16 at C$1.2851.
AUD/USD is supported around 0.7614 levels and currently trading at 0.7660 levels. It hit session high at 0.7722 and made session lows at 0.7652 levels. The Australian dollar rose to hit nine-month high against dollar on Thursday as continued bullish bets and weaker dollar supported Aussie bulls. The Australian dollar rose to $0.7594, from $0.7464 late on Thursday. Heavy selling of the U.S. dollar in the early US session briefly sent it to $0.7724, the highest since June 28th last year. It has leapt 7.1 percent so far this month and if sustained, it would be the largest such increase since late 2011. Yet, strength in the Aussie, could test the patience of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). The central bank holds its policy review on April 5 and while it is widely expected to keep rates at a record low of 2 percent, some analysts see increasing risks of an easing.
European shares fell on Thursday after solid gains in the previous session, with French telecoms and Italian banks underperforming.
UK's benchmark FTSE 100 closed down by 0.47 percent, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 ended the day down by 1.04 percent, Germany's Dax ended down by 0.83 percent, France’s CAC finished the day down by 1.25 percent.
Wall Street was set to end the first quarter with a whimper on Thursday after a month-long rally that rescued the S&P 500 from its worst start to a year since 2009.
Dow Jones closed down by 0.17 percent, S&P 500 ended down by 0.20 percent, Nasdaq finished the day up by 0.01 percent.
Longer-dated U.S. Treasury prices rose modestly on Thursday as fund managers added these debt maturities to match the expected month-end changes of benchmark indexes tracked by their portfolios.
Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were up 3/32 in price to yield 1.819 percent, down 1 basis point from Wednesday.
The 30-year bond was up 11/32, yielding 2.640 percent which was 2 basis points lower from late on Wednesday.
Oil prices jumped more than 10 percent in March in the best quarter since mid-2015 although some analysts said the rally could fade soon as an output freeze plan by major crude exporters fails to alleviate worries of a glut.
Brent crude for May delivery, which expired as the front-month contract, settled up 34 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $39.60 a barrel. June Brent closed 0.7 percent higher at $39.75.
Gold edged up on Thursday as the dollar and stock markets retreated, locking in the metal's biggest quarterly gain in nearly 30 years amid reduced expectations for U.S. interest rate hikes.
Spot gold was up 0.6 percent at $1,232.06 an ounce at by 2:55 p.m. EDT (1855 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled up $7 an ounce at $1,235.60.
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