Investors prepare for volatility to pick up on key data releases

Choppy action continues in financial markets in the second half of the week but investors prepare for volatility to pick up later in the day. Business and consumer sentiment data from the Eurozone, March inflation data from Germany and fourth-quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reading from the US will be featured in the economic docket. Participants will also pay close attention to comments from Federal Reserve officials, including Richmond Fed President Thomas Barking and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari.

Risk flows dominated the markets in the second half of the day on Wednesday and the US Dollar’s rebound following a two-day slide remained limited. Early Thursday, the US Dollar Index fluctuates in a tight channel at around 102.50 and the benchmark 10-year US Treasury bond yield stays in weekly range above 3.5%. Meanwhile, US stock index futures trade modestly higher in the early European session. In the final revision, Q4 GDP in the US is expected to match the previous estimate of 3.9%. The US Department of Labor will release its weekly Initial Jobless Claims data as well.

Earlier in the day, the data from Spain showed that the annual Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) declined sharply to 3.1% in March from 6% in February. This reading came in much below the market expectation of 4%. In Germany, annual HICP is forecast to drop to 7.5% from 9.3%. Despite the soft inflation data from Spain, EUR/USD continues to trade in its daily channel at around 1.0850 in the European morning.

Following Wednesday’s pullback, GBP/USD has regained its traction and climbed to the 1.2350 area in the European session. The UK’s FTSE 100 Index opened marginally higher.

USD/JPY took advantage of the risk-positive market environment on Wednesday and registered impressive gains. The pair seems to have gone into a consolidation phase early Thursday and was last seen trading in negative territory below 132.50.

Gold price edged lower on Wednesday but didn’t have a difficult time holding above $1,960. With the US yields staying indecisive on Thursday, XAU/USD continues to move up and down in its daily range slightly below $1,970.

Supported by the improving market mood, Bitcoin gained nearly 4% on Wednesday and reclaimed $28,000. BTC/USD holds its ground on Thursday and continues to edge higher toward $29,000. Ethereum registered small gains on Wednesday and was last seen moving sideways near $1,800.

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