ECB’s Interest Rate Decision Awaited, U.K. General Election Under Spotlight

U.S. shares closed at fresh record high on Friday with the dollar plunging after a highly-awaited job report that came worse-than-expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 62 points, or nearly 0.3 percent, to close at 21,206.29. The S&P 500 gained 0.37% while the NASDAQ Composite index added 0.94% to close at 6305.80.

Gold futures for June delivery soared nearly 1 percent to trade around $1278.67 a troy ounce as dollar lost ground versus most of its major rivals. The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.55% at 96.63 on Friday after the Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy added 138,000 jobs in May. The reading was well below forecasts of 185,000 new jobs. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to a 16-year low of 4.3%.

In the week ahead, the U.S. is to release data on factory orders and the Institute for Supply Management is to publish its manufacturing index on Monday.

Former FBI director James Comey is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election on Thursday – his first public appearance since Trump fired him on May 9.

Turning to the Euro, the single currency surged 0.61 percent on Friday to trade at the highest level since November 09th, 2016. On Thursday, the European Central Bank’s latest interest rate decision will come out, followed by President Mario Draghi’s press conference.

British Pound closed with a small gain on Friday, contributing to a weekly gain last week. Also on Thursday, U.K voters will cast their ballots with voters set to elect 650 members to the Lower House of Parliament from which a government will be formed. Opinion polls in recent days show a tightening gap between the Conservatives, led by Prime Minister Theresa May, with the Labour Party, under left-winger Jeremy Corbyn.

Before the election, the UK is to release data on manufacturing activity on Monday, which is expected to show a small decline to 55.1 in May from 55.8 recorded in April.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is scheduled to publish its latest interest rate decision on Tuesday with markets anticipating the central bank to keep rates unchanged at the current record-low of 1.5% for the tenth straight meeting. RBA’s neutral policy stance is also expected to be maintained. On Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is due to release first-quarter growth data, followed by trade figures on Thursday.

Australia’s largest trading partner, China, is to release trade figures for May on Thursday. China’s trade surplus is forecast to widen to $47.8 billion last month from a surplus of $38.0 billion in April with exports may have climbed 7.0% in May from a year earlier, following a jump of 8.0% a month ago. Meanwhile, imports are expected to rise 9.0%, after increasing 11.9% in April.

After trade balance data, China is to publish data on May consumer and producer price inflation. The former are expected to rise 1.5% last month, while the latter is forecast to increase by 5.7%.

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