The Economic Week Ahead

Main Macro Events This Week

Volatility had mostly expired under the boot of the Federal Reserve QE policy stance and that of its central banking brethren. But as central bankers have begun to take their foot pedal by undertaking quantitative tapering and tightening, vol has proven that it’s “not dead yet,” but merely dormant until the appropriate moment.Looking ahead, input from around the globe should be mixed this week, with stock markets overseas taking their cue from a suddenly reflexive Wall Street.

United States: U.S. economic calendar starts out at a snail’s pace, with the Treasury budget (Monday) forecast to post a $51 bln surplus (median $47 bln) for January vs -$23.2 bln. The NFIB small business optimism index (Tuesday) will provide the main entertainment. MBA mortgage market indices (Wednesday) are due, along with a potentially key update on January CPI, and January retail sales. The calendar really loads up (Thursday) with PPI, Philly Fed, Empire, claims, production, NAHB housing market index, and TIC data. The week will round out (Friday) with an update on January housing starts, which are expected to rise 0.6% to a 1.20 mln unit pace. Fedspeak will be unusually limited this week, with just Cleveland Fed hawk Mester on tap (Tuesday) to discuss the economic outlook and monetary policy before the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce from 8 ET.

Canada: In Canada, the data and events docket is sparse. The December manufacturing report (Friday) is expected to reveal a 0.5% gain in shipment values after the 3.4% surge in November. The Teranet/National HPI for January is due Wednesday, while January existing home sales (Thursday) are on tap. ADP publishes its payrolls report for January (Thursday). BoC Deputy Governor Schembri (Thursday) speaks to the Manitoba Association for Business Economics in Winnipeg. His remarks will be available on the BoC’s website at 13:30 ET.

Europe: Market volatility seems to be here to stay as investors adjust to the prospect of higher yields and less central bank support, and so far at least officials seem to be viewing developments with calm. Bundesbank President Weidmann played down both the strength of the EUR as well as the sell-off in stocks. Meanwhile data releases this week including Q4 GDP numbers and some final January inflation numbers, though they are unlikely to challenge the ECB’s baseline assumption of robust economic expansion amid a sanguine inflation environment that only gradually starts to move toward the ECB’s target. Eurozone GDP growth (Wednesday) is expected to be confirmed at 0.6% q/q , in line with the preliminary number. The German Q4 GDP (Wednesday) is expected at 0.7%, down from 0.8% in the previous quarter and Italy GDP growth at 0.6% q/q (median 0.5%). German HICP inflation (Wednesday) meanwhile is expected to be confirmed at just -0.7% y/y and the Spanish headline reading also at just 0.7% y/y, both far below the ECB’s upper limit for price stability. However, recent German wage deals suggest a gradual build in domestic price pressures going ahead as the labor market continues to tighten. The data calendar also has Eurozone production (Wednesday), and trade numbers (Thursday), as well as ECB speakers including Weidmann and Mersch. Supply comes from Spain and France on Thursday, while Germany auctions 30 year Bunds on Wednesday.

UK: The BoE last week upgraded its assessment for economic growth while at the same time acknowledging that productivity has been lackluster, the sum of which led to an unexpected ratchet in hawkish guidance, leading to a possible rate hike from November to May. However, Brexit-related concerns — an area of emphasized contingency for the BoE — were soon to resurface. Brexit negotiations have entered a crucial phase, with both the EU and UK seeking to make a tentative accord on both a post-Brexit transition period and the form of a post-Brexit trading relationship, all in time for the EU leaders’ summit in late March. The data calendar this week is highlighted by the release of January inflation data (Tuesday), along with retail sales figures for the same month (Friday). The headline CPI expected to dip to 2.9% y/y after 3.0% in December, which would continue a modest climb down from the 3.1% cycle peak that was seen in November. An as-expected outcome would comfortably fit BoE projections, with the central bank forecasting CPI to have retreated to 2.2% at the two-year forecasting horizon in Q1 2020.

Japan: Japan will be closed Monday from National Foundation Day. The markets will reopen Tuesday to he January PPI report, for which a 2.8% y/y reading is expected, slowing from the 3.1% pace previously. Preliminary Q4 GDP (Tuesday) is seen rising 1.1%, versus the previous 2.5% clip. December machinery orders (Thursday) are pencilled in posting a 2.0% m/m decline after climbing 5.7% in November. Revised December industrial production is also on deck Thursday.

Australia: the employment report (Thursday) is the focus.  The total employment is expected at 20.0k gain during January after the 34.7k gain in December. The unemployment rate is seen holding steady at 5.5%. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s Assistant Governor (Economic) Ellis speaks from Sydney (Tuesday). Governor Lowe appears before the House of Representatives’ Standing Committee on Economics (Friday).

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Andria Pichidi

Market Analyst


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