Forex - EUR/USD weekly outlook: February 17 - 21

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Investing.com - The euro rose to three-week highs against the dollar on Friday as stronger-than-forecast euro zone fourth quarter growth data bolstered the outlook for the recovery in the euro area.

EUR/USD hit 1.3715, the strongest since January 27 and was last up 0.09% to 1.3691. For the week, the pair gained 0.35%.

The pair was likely to find support at 1.3640 and resistance at 1.3775, the high of January 2.

The common currency was boosted after data showed that the euro zone economy expanded 0.3% in the three months to December and expanded 0.5% from the same period a year earlier.

Market expectations had been for quarterly growth of 0.2% and a year-over-year increase of 0.5%.

Germany's gross domestic product rose 0.4% in the fourth quarter, ahead of expectations for 0.3% growth, while France avoided falling back into a recession, posting growth of 0.3% in the final three months of 2013.

The data eased concerns that the European Central Bank could tighten monetary policy at its next meeting, after President Mario Draghi said last week the bank would wait for more information before taking any action.

The dollar came under pressure after data on Friday showed that U.S. factory output fell unexpectedly in January, clouding the outlook for the economic recovery.

U.S. industrial production fell 0.3% from a month earlier in January, compared to expectations for a 0.3% gain.

The unexpectedly weak data fuelled concerns that inclement winter weather is acting as a drag on growth.

A separate report showed that the preliminary reading of the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for February came in at 81.2, unchanged from the final reading in January. Analysts had expected the index to tick down to 80.6.

The mixed data did little to alter expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue to scale back its stimulus program.

In her first Congressional testimony since her appointment as Fed Chair, Janet Yellen said Wednesday that the central bank would continue to gradually reduce the pace of its asset purchase program.

She also reiterated that the Fed plans to hold interest rates at zero "well past" the time the jobless rate falls below 6.5%.

In the week ahead, euro zone data on private sector output and the ZEW index of German economic sentiment will be closely watched. Meanwhile, the U.S. is to publish data on inflation, as well as reports on the housing sector and manufacturing activity.

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

Monday, February 17

In the euro zone, the eurogroup of finance ministers is to hold a meeting in Brussels.

Markets in the U.S. are to remain closed for the Presidents Day holiday.

Tuesday, February 18

The euro zone is to publish data on the current account. Meanwhile, the ZEW Institute is to release its closely watched report on German economic sentiment, a leading indicator of economic health.

The U.S. is to release data on manufacturing activity in the Empire State.

Wednesday, February 19

The U.S. is to publish reports on building permits, housing starts and producer price inflation.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is to publish the minutes of its most recent policy setting meeting.

Thursday, February 20

The euro zone is to publish closely watched data on manufacturing and service sector activity, while Germany and France are to publish individual reports. Germany is also to publish data on producer price inflation.

The U.S. is to release the weekly report on initial jobless claims and data on consumer price inflation. The nation is also to release data on manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region.

Friday, February 21

The U.S. is to round up the week with private sector data on existing homes sales.

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