The Calm Before the Storm

Tomorrow is the one for all the marbles. The single most important economic announcement for the USD takes place tomorrow: Non-Farm Payrolls (NFPs). Despite today’s very important announcement of US GDP for Q2, the EUR/USD essentially stood pat around 1.56. What is special about NFPs is that, unlike announcements such as rate decisions or GDP results, predicting the outcome is often like finding a needle in a haystack. The unpredictability of this announcement, coupled with its importance, generally make it the largest “market-moving” announcement for the USD.

Given the hazy future of both the USD and the US economy, tomorrow’s results take on added importance. Good results could potentially enable the Federal Reserve to make market movements in the coming months. If, however, the news mirrors the tone of today’s disappointing results, then the Fed is likely to be stuck for the near future. The last time NFPs were announced, Bernanke pushed the results aside, as employment was not his paramount concern. However, should the numbers approach dangerously high levels, actions will likely need to be taken to curb rising unemployment.

The current expectations are around 75,000 new lost jobs. Should that number turn up around 100,000, there could be a rapid reaction by the government. If unemployment starts creeping towards 6% and beyond, we could witness a further crunch in the credit market, as the unemployed usually have more difficulties in repaying their debts. That problem would reverberate through the financial sector, weakening an already fragile industry. And as Bernanke has declared that the strength of that sector is his top priority, it would be in his best interests to do what he can to combat rising unemployment numbers in the coming months.

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