European Outlook: Stock markets headed south overnight as the Fed hiked rates and maintained the rate outlook for next year, despite lifting growth projections. A surprise hike in short term interest rates by China’s central bank added to pressure. U.K. futures are also heading south as the focus switches to European central banks with ECB, BoE and SNB all seen on hold. The ECB in particular could sound more hawkish than at the last meeting as council members are increasingly divided over Draghi’s open ended QE policy amid signs of capacity constraints in the economy. Data releases include preliminary Eurozone PMI readings for December, U.K. retail sales, as well as final November inflation data for a number of Eurozone countries. EU heads of states will start to gather for the start of the summit that is hoped to finally pave the way for talks and trade and transition agreements with the U.K.
FOMC hiked 25 bps and left the dots at three tightenings in 2018. The rate increase from a 1.25% to 1.50% policy band was universally expected, and the three tightenings next year was largely anticipated too. There were two dissents, with Evans and Kashkari dissented and voted for no change in rates. The Fed’s statement said the labor market continued to strengthen while economic activity was seen rising at a solid rate. On inflation, the Fed said overall and core inflation on a 12-month basis had declined this year and are running below 2%, , which may have provided the weight on the dollar.The dollar fell after the as-expected 25 basis point Fed rate hike, then quickly headed above levels just prior to the announcement, before dipping again.
Main Macro Events Today
- SNB Monetary Policy – Expectations – SNB expected to continue to highlight the need for negative rates and reiterate the line from its previous policy meeting that it “will remain active in the foreign exchange market, as necessary, while taking the overall currency situation into consideration.”
- UK Retail Sales – Expectations – 0.4% m/m rise after a 0.3% m/m gain in the month prior
- BoE Preview – The BoE’s two-day December MPC meeting concludes today. No change decisions on the repo rate, which would leave it at 0.50%, and QE totals (both gilts and corporate bond purchases) are widely expected, which we anticipate will be by unanimous votes at the nine-member committee.
- EU Services PMI – Expectations – a dip in the services reading to 56 from 56.2 and a decline in the manufacturing number to 59.8 from 60.1 in the previous month.
- ECB Preview – Data releases since the October meeting, when Draghi wrapped a reduction of net asset purchases form January onwards in a dovish guidance, have shown stronger than expected growth momentum that will likely see upward revisions to growth and inflation forecasts. Against that background calls for Draghi to finally commit to an end date for QE are getting louder as are warnings that the ECB’s policy may remain too accommodate as the output gaps closes faster than anticipated. Indeed, the event risk for today’s press conference is a more hawkish tone than markets expect, especially after yesterday’s Fed hike, as the move will give Draghi more room to manoeuvre without putting undue upward pressure on the EUR.
- US Retail Sales and Jobless Claims – Expectations – Headline Retail sales are projected to increase 0.3% for November from 0.2%. Initial jobless claims are seen at 239k from 236K last week.
Charts of the Day
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