Some cracks appeared in the global divergence trade following repeated reports that the ECB is clandestinely mulling the possibility of hiking the deposit rate before ending QE. In contrast, the first Fed hike of 2017 was well discounted in advance and accompanied by the “gradualist” mantra and one dovish dissent. A hawkish dissenter from steady BoE policy emerged as well, riling up the bond markets. Into this mix, the G20 over the weekend attempted to spackle over yawning differences on global trade and protectionism; omitting references to open, free or rules-based trade, rejection of protectionism and climate change financing in its communique’.

United States: In the U.S., economic calendar starts slowly and then peters out from there, with the Chicago Fed National Activity Index out (Monday), followed by the current account (Tuesday), whose gap is seen widening to -$131.4 bln in Q4 from -$113.0 bln. MBA mortgage market data picked up last week into the teeth of higher rates (Wednesday). FHFA home prices and February existing home sales are on tap as well, seen easing back 0.7% from a solid 3.3% January gain. Initial jobless claims may rebound 6k to 247k (Thursday) for the March 18 week. The week winds down with durable goods orders estimated to rise 1.4% in February vs 2.0% in January.

Canada: In Canada, the February CPI and Federal budget compete for top billing this week. The CPI (Friday) is expected to rise 0.1% m/m in February after the 0.9% surge in January. Wholesale sales (Monday) are seen rising 0.5% in January after the 0.7% gain in December. The Federal budget is scheduled for Wednesday. The government has pitched this budget as more of a preliminary plan than is usually the case, given uncertainty over the Trump trade agenda. Hence, the fall fiscal update could see lager than usual changes as the projected impact of the known U.S. trade policy can be included. According to media reports, Budget 2017 will provide details on the billions in spending outlined in the 2016 budget, as opposed to introducing new spending initiatives. The Fall update projected a C$25.1 bln deficit in FY2016/17, deepening to C$27.8 bln in FY2017/18. Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Schembri speaks to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (Tuesday).

Europe: The focus is to the data calendar, which this week includes the preliminary round of March PMI readings. Brexit talks are also back in focus, although reports suggest that U.K. PM May will wait until the last week of March before officially triggering Article 50 that starts divorce proceedings. EU leaders are set to meet for a regular summit on March 25. Eurozone Finance Ministers meet Monday, with Greece a perpetual topic and ECBspeak from Weidmann, Lautenschlaeger and Nouy is likely to confirm that while the official easing bias remains in place. Tthe official ECB bulletin (Thursday) will confirm the official line that rates are expected to remain at current or lower levels for an extended period of time and well past the QE schedule.The calendar also has Eurozone current account and BoP numbers as well as German PPI inflation, with the latter expected to confirm that base effects from energy prices feed through the product chain. Supply includes a German 10-year Bund offering on Wednesday.

UK: Sterling has been volatile over the last several weeks, and more of the same seems likely as the UK heads into the business end of the Brexit process, with the government expected to invoke Article 50 by the end of the month. PM May has signaled that she is prepared to call “no deal” if the leaving terms are unsatisfactory and new trading terms can’t be agreed upon within the two year negotiation period, which in the event would mean the UK adopting WTO trading rules and taking a likely hit on its terms-of-trade position as a consequence. The UK data calendar brings February inflation (Tuesday) and February official retail sales data (Thursday), along with the March CBI surveys on industrial trends (Tuesday) and distributive sales (Thursday).

Japan: Japan will take Monday off for the Vernal Equinox Day holiday. Trade data are always interesting for the island nation and the February report (Wednesday) is expected to flip to a JPY 700.0 bln surplus, versus the JPY 1,087.6 bln deficit in January, thanks in part to the slightly weaker yen. The January all-industry index (Wednesday) is penciled in at -0.2% m/m from -0.3% previously. BoJ minutes to the January 30-31 policy meeting are also on tap (Wednesday).

Australia: Australia’s calendar has the Reserve Bank of Australia’s minutes to the March meeting (Tuesday). The Bank left policy unchanged, as expected, but the door remains open for an easing later this year as inflation remains below target. Economic data is in short supply, with the Q4 house price index due Tuesday.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s calendar is highlighted by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand meeting (Thursday). The February trade (Friday) balance is expected to shift to a NZ$200 mln surplus in February from the -NZ$285 mln deficit in January.

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Andria Pichidi

Market Analyst


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