The Economic Week Ahead

Main Macro Events This Week

February is starting off on an optimistic front after a solid beat from the January jobs report, and generally good news from the ISMs. Data calendars are pretty light around the world, though there will be a number of central bank meetings in Asia. Trade reports will highlight globally, especially from Germany, which has caught the ire of President Trump. The UK will also continue to wrestle with its Brexit dilemma, with the focus on the freshly published white paper on its negotiating stance before Article 50 is invoked next month.

United States: The economic calendar is a relatively lean one this week, with GDP and payrolls in the rear-view mirror now. Monday is empty, while the trade deficit is forecast to narrow to -$45 bln (Tuesday). JOLTS job openings and consumer credit are also due (Tuesday), with credit seen expanding by $20 bln in December from $24.5 bln in November. The MBA mortgage applications and EIA energy inventories are the only offerings (Wednesday). Initial jobless claims may rise 249K from 247K for the week ended February 2 (Thursday), while wholesale sales may rise 0.7% in December and inventories increase 1.0%. The Spartan week rounds out with import prices and export prices forecast unchanged in January (Friday), while preliminary Michigan sentiment is expected at 97.9 vs 98.5 last time. The January’s Treasury budget will also come out on Friday. The earnings season is coming to an end, but there are still a few key announcements due. So far 66.4% of the 274 S&P500 companies that have reported have revealed positive earnings news, while 20.8% have given negative surprises, with 12.8% in line.

Canada: The Canadian calendar is one of the few with a hearty spread of economic data this week after the paltry offerings last week. The employment report (Friday) is the main course, with total jobs projected to rise 5.0k in January after the 46.1k surge in December. The trade report (Tuesday) is expected to show a further expansion in the surplus to $1.2 bln in December following the surprise shift to a $0.5 bln surplus in November. Crude oil prices were sharply higher in December, which should provide a hefty boost to export values. The usual pairing of building permits (Tuesday) and housing starts (Wednesday) is expected to show moderation in Canada’s housing sector as Federal government measures impact. The Ivey PMI (Tuesday) is expected to fall to 58.3 in January on a seasonally adjusted basis from 60.8 in December. A 0.1% increase in the new housing price index (Thursday) is anticipated following the 0.2% gain in November.

Europe: The data calendar dries up this week and with the central bank meetings out of the way, the markets will have plenty of time to focus on the political risks that seem to be hitting the Eurozone from the inside and the outside. The French presidential election (first round April 23) remains a factor for markets, and it will be key to see how the Eurozone and the EU will react to the fact that the number of those who would love to see the unions fail is rising. Against that background and with the U.S. administration criticizing the weak EUR, which in turn is adding to Germany’s push for QE tapering, Eurozone spreads are likely to remain volatile and to continue to widen. Ironically that in turn puts Draghi in a difficult position and fears of a revival of the debt crisis will mean the ECB president will continue to send dovish signals at his comments at the European Parliament hearing next week.

The highlight of the data calendar is German manufacturing orders today (Monday), which came out at 5.2% from the -2.5% m/m decline in November. The sharp correction in orders in November, will likely keep a lid on December industrial production numbers (Tuesday) which are expected to rise to 0.2% m/m, following the 0.4% m/m in November. German December trade data (Thursday) may attract more attention than usual, not because of the monthly figure, but because it will likely show that Germany is the world’s leading exporters, which at the current juncture will only add to the arguments of German critics, especially Mr. Trump. Interestingly though, GDP numbers for this year already indicated that net exports detracted from overall growth and that the German recovery has been mainly underpinned by domestic demand and consumption. Additionally, the event calendar has ECBspeak from Draghi, Mersch, Weidmann and others and a German 10-year Bund sale on Wednesday.

UK: The calendar is fairly quiet this week, highlighted by industrial production and trade figures for December (Friday). The January BRC retail sales report is also up (Tuesday), along with the RICS house price balance for the same month (Thursday). The narrower manufacturing production gauge is expected to expand by 0.3% m/m from 1.3% last time. Data in-line with expectations should not affect sterling markets. Brexit focus will be on the government’s freshly published white paper on its negotiating stance before Article 50 is invoked. The paper will be subject to parliamentary approval, and is widely expected to pass without too much trouble. The government has pledged that Article 50 will be triggered by the end of March.

China: The January services PMI missed expectations since came out at 53.1 from forecast 53.6, while the January trade surplus is expected to balloon to $49.8 bln from 40.8 bln. January loan growth and new yuan loans are due Friday.

Japan: Japan’s docket kicks off with the December current account (Wednesday), where the surplus is expected to narrow to JPY 1,100 bln from 1,415,5 bln. January bank loan data are also due. December machine orders (Thursday) should rise 3.2% m/m from the prior 5.1% decline. January PPI (Friday) is penciled in at -0.1% y/y from -1.2% in December, while the December tertiary industry index is also due Friday.

Australia: The calendar has the Reserve Bank of Australia’s meeting (Tuesday) where we expect the rate setting to hold at 1.50%. RBA Governor Lowe speaks at the A50 Australian Economic Forum Dinner (Thursday). The RBA publishes the Statement on Monetary Policy on Friday. Economic data features. December housing investment (Friday) is expected to rise to 1.0% relative to November after the 0.9% m/m gain in November.

New Zealand: This week’s calendar has the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s meeting (Wednesday), expected to result in no change to the 1.75% rate setting. At the last meeting, way back in early November, the RBNZ cut the OCR to 1.75% from 2.00%, as inflation continued to run below the target range. Governor Wheeler kept an easing bias in place at the time.

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Andria Pichidi

Market Analyst


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