Coincidence or not, early Monday has seen steep declines in Asia as financial institutions across the globe brace for the first day of full volume since the beginning of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. As of this morning the JPY has gained slightly against the USD and the EUR is slumping a bit. It must be noted however that both of these currencies continue to be near the top of their ranges against the Greenback. JPY weakness has been apparent even before the election of Abe and continues to ruminate, and the Single Currency’s strength has been given foundation because of the ECB’s ‘confidence game’ while the Fed has essentially been viewed with the belief that they would print money endlessly. As of today most investors are finally returning from their holidays and will begin to prepare for the piles of data and news that await. And the conclusion of the returning skeptics among these investors may be that while ‘risk taking’ is the latest fashion, it does not have the strongest of backbones.

Gold is at an interesting juncture standing near 1661.00 USD as of this morning. Crude Oil continues to linger around highs with WTI near 92.00 a barrel. The question is what will take place with a boat load of trading this week? Gold saw plenty of volatility as last week closed out, suffering declines and then making its way back to its current consolidated perch. Crude Oil on the other hand is maintaining a rather high value without clear signs of increased demand.

The U.K. will see the BRC Retail Sales Monitor report today, tomorrow the German Trade Balance numbers will be published, along with German Factory Orders, and broad European Retail Sales data. The States will provide little economic data today or tomorrow.

Last Friday the Non-Farm Employment Change numbers were published and came in around expectations. Some held up the numbers as a sign that the American economy is continuing to improve, but many investors will want to see this month’s coming data to draw a real conclusion, and likely more important will be the coming Congressional theatrics concerning the debt ceiling. Also from the Americas a rather interesting political saga is underway in Venezuela regarding the health of Hugo Chavez.

This week will see a return to the norm, meaning that with full participation – forex, equities, and commodities may see price volatility as ‘corrections’ take hold in the marketplace.