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Weekly Outlook: April 16 - 20

Geopolitical and trade developments to remain front and centre - Traders will be keeping a close eye on geopolitical developments in the coming week amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia in the wake of U.S.-led missile strikes on Syria and the latest round of U.S. sanctions on Russia.

Concerns over a U.S.-China trade spat will also remain in focus as the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank get underway on Monday.

The dollar ended the week little changed against a basket of the other major currencies on Friday as investors awaited more clarity on possible Western military strikes in Syria.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, was steady at 89.51 in late trade. The index ended the week down 0.31%.

The dollar was a touch higher against the yen, with USD/JPY last at 107.37, having pared earlier gains. The pair ended the week with a gain of 0.42%.

Against the Swiss franc, the dollar was steady with USD/CHF at 0.9622 in late trade, for a weekly gain of 0.3%.

The yen and the Swiss franc are often sought in times of market turmoil and political tensions and the weakening of the perceived safe haven currencies indicated that investors were less worried after a week during which a spike in Syria tensions and concerns over a trade conflict with China rattled markets.

The euro traded flat late Friday, with EUR/USD at 1.2330 after ending the previous session down 0.32%, snapping four days of gains.

The single currency still notched up a weekly gain of 0.48% after comments by European Central bank officials reinforced expectations that the bank is on track to normalize monetary policy.

Sterling was a touch higher against the dollar, with GBP/USD settling at 1.4238 after rising to a ten-week high of 1.4297 earlier amid expectations for a rate hike by the Bank of England as soon as next month.

The pound hit a nine-month high against the euro on Friday, with EUR/GBP falling as low as 0.8628 before pulling back to 0.8662 in late trade.

Meanwhile, Russia’s ruble was steady against the dollar on Friday, with USD/RUB last at 62.0141. For the week the dollar was up 6.63% having retraced some of its gains.

In addition to geopolitical and trade developments investors will be looking ahead to economic reports this week with data on U.S. retail sales and Chinese first quarter growth topping the bill.

UK inflation data will also be closely watched for fresh indications on the possible path of monetary policy.

Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.

Monday, April 16

The week long spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank Group are due to get underway in Washington.

Switzerland is to publish data on producer price inflation.

The U.S. is to release data on retail sales and manufacturing activity in the New York region.

Meanwhile, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic is to speak at an event in Alabama.

Tuesday, April 17

The Reserve Bank of Australia is to publish the minutes of its latest policy setting meeting.

China is to release data on first quarter economic growth, fixed asset investment and industrial production.

The UK is to publish its latest employment report.

The ZEW Institute is to report on German economic sentiment.

Canada is to produce data on manufacturing sales.

The U.S. is to report on building permits, housing starts and industrial production.

San Francisco Fed President John Williams is due to speak at an event in Madrid while Fed Governor Randal Quarles is to speak in Washington.

Wednesday, April 18

The UK is to publish data on inflation.

The euro zone is to release revised inflation data.

The Bank of Canada is to announce its latest monetary policy decision and publish its rate statement. The announcement is to be followed by a press conference.

New York Fed President William Dudley is to speak at an event in New York while Fed Governor Randal Quarles is to speak in Washington.

Thursday, April 19

New Zealand is to release inflation data.

Australia is to publish its latest employment report.

The UK is to produce data on retail sales.

The U.S. is to release the weekly jobless claims report along with data on manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region.

Fed Governor Lael Brainard and Fed Governor Randal Quarles are due to appear at separate events in Washington.

Friday, April 20

Canada is to round up the week with data on retail sales and inflation.

San Francisco Fed President John Williams is to speak at an event in California.

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