The Economic Week Ahead

Main Macro Events This Week

It was a wild ride last week which ended with a devilish 666 point drop on the Dow and a 6.5 bp surge in the 30-year Treasury bond rate. The bearish tone was not isolated to Wall Street as all almost indexes were down with losses ranging from 1% to nearly 5%. Bond yields were generally higher too, led by the 30-year Treasury’s 15 bp climb to 3.08%. Factors weighing on the markets were worries over central bank tightening, potentially rising inflation, disappointing earnings, technical, and bearish momentum. However, selloffs have been expected given record highs on equities and still low rates on bonds, so it’s no time to panic. Fundamentals remain bullish and the FOMC isn’t going to panic by accelerating its policy path. However, all is not lost. Friday’s 666 point decline pales in comparison to the near 7200 point gain since President Trump’s election. Fundamentals point to strong economic growth this year, with the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow estimate pointing to a 5.4% rate of growth in Q1.

United States: Markets are likely to remain shaky as the new week begins with buyers waiting for the dust to settle before stepping back in. Though the “Nunes memo” wasn’t the catalyst for the plunge on Wall Street, it did keep potential dip buyers away. The most important indicator will be the January services ISM (Monday), expected to edge up to 57.0 (median 56.6) from a revised 56.0 in December. The trade deficit (Tuesday) should widen for a fifth straight month, to -$52.7 bln (median -$52.0 bln)from -$50.5 bln. Net exports were a big drag in the recent Q4 GDP report, though which was a function of a large increase in imports, reflective of the strength in consumption. Other releases include December JOLTS (Tuesday), consumer credit (Wednesday), jobless claims (Thursday), and wholesale trade (Friday). earnings season continues with Pharma’s, Disney and BP taking centre  stage. Fedspeak continues and new Chair Powell takes the hot seat officially.

Canada: January employment (Friday), expected to show a 20.0k gain after the 78.6k surge in December and 79.5k rise in November. The unemployment rate is projected to hold steady at 5.7%, which is the lowest for the current series that goes back to 1976. Wages will again be in the spotlight, with the average hourly wage projected to 3.0% y/y from 2.7% y/y in December. The trade balance (Tuesday) is expected to narrow to -C$2.1 bln in December from -C$2.5 bln in November. Export values are seen growing 2.0% m/m after the 3.7% surge in November. Housing starts (Thursday) are anticipated to slow further to a 210.0k unit pace in January from 217.0k in December. Building permits (Wednesday) are projected to expand 2.0% in December after the 7.7% tumble in November. The December new home price index (Thursday) is expected to rise 0.1% m/m after the 0.1% gain in November. The January Ivey PMI is due (Tuesday).

Europe: The calendar quiets after last week’s flurry of releases, giving traders a lot of time to assess the volatile market conditions. And the few reports on tap won’t change the overall outlook for the economy, or the ECB. Growth surprised on the upside in 2017 and while confidence data remains robust, we expect a slowdown in momentum this year with political risks, including Italian elections and Brexit talks, looming on the horizon. The European calendar has German manufacturing orders (Tuesday), seen rebounding in December and rising 0.4% m/m (median 0.7%) after correcting -0.4% m/m in November. German industrial production for December (Wednesday), meanwhile, is seen falling -0.8 m/m (median -0.6%) after much stronger than expected growth of 3.4% m/m in November. Finally, Germany has December trade (Wednesday) and overall data are expected to confirm a slight deceleration in the quarterly GDP growth rate in Q4. For the Eurozone as a whole, the final readings of services and composite PMIs are expected to confirm preliminary readings of 57.6 and 58.6, respectively, signaling a robust pace of expansion at the start of 2018. The calendar also has Eurozone December retail sales, French and Italy production numbers, French trade and Italian inflation.

UK: The pound closed out January with just over a net 5.0% gain against the dollar, the biggest monthly advance Her Majesty’s currency has seen since July 2010. The outperformance was driven by expectations for the BoE to make a hawkish shift in policy guidance at its MPC meeting this week. the February meeting of the BoE’s Monetary Policy Meeting (announcing Thursday), which will be accompanied by the release of the central bank’s quarterly inflation report. While the BoE is widely expected to leave the repo rate at 0.5% and QE totals unchanged, the meeting is likely to mark a sea change in approach after BoE Governor Carney last week forewarned that the central bank is beginning to turn its focus to a more conventional stance of limiting inflation. The inflation report is likely see the BoE upgrade its growth assessment, particularly the scope for self-sustaining private sector growth while highlighting a tightening labour market and rising wages. As for inflation, the marked ascent in the pound will likely see the BoE downgrade nearer-term CPI projections, but at the same time note increasing risk for second round inflationary pressures as labour markets tighten and spare capacity shrinks. The BoE will also likely point to factory selling prices having hit their highest rate of gain since 1984.Data this week includes the release of the January services PMI (Monday), which will follow sub-forecast construction and manufacturing PMI surveys for the same month. We expect the headline services PMI to dip slightly, to 54.0 (median same) from 54.2 in December. Production data for December is also up this week (Friday), where we anticipate a 0.9% m/m decline

Japan: The December current account surplus (Thursday) is expected to narrow to JPY 1,000 bln from 1,347 bln. January bank loan figures are also due Thursday. The December tertiary industry index (Friday) should rise 0.5% m/m from the prior 1.1% rise.

China: The January trade report (Thursday) should reveal a narrowed $53.0 bln surplus, from $54.7 in December. January CPI (Friday) is penciled in at up 1.6% y/y from 1.8%, while January PPI (Friday) should ease to 4.3% y/y from 4.9%.  Services PMI was up significantly earlier at 54.7.

Australia: The Reserve Bank of Australia meeting (Tuesday) is the focus. We expect no change to the current 1.50% rate setting. The Bank’s quarterly statement on monetary policy will be released (Friday), which will detail the current growth and inflation projections. Governor Lowe speaks (Thursday) at the A50 Australian Economic Forum dinner in Sydney. The trade deficit (Tuesday) is expected to improve to -A$100 mln in December from -A$628 mln in November. Retail sales (Tuesday) are seen falling 0.5% (m/m, sa) in December after the 1.2% bounce in November. Housing investment (Friday) is projected to drop 2.0% (m/m, sa) in December after the 2.1% jump in November.

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Stuart Cowell

Senior Market Analyst


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