Main Macro Events This Week
U.S. imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs caused consternation and hand wringing for much of last week. But, news of an agreement to meet between the leaders of the U.S. and North Korea, possible carve-outs on the tariffs, and the a stellar U.S. jobs report helped revive global equities, even as bond yields resumed their rise too. Meanwhile the threat of another government shutdown could put a wrinkle into trading The continuing resolution passed in early February that kept the government open expires on March 23.
United States: The U.S. economic calendar will be slow to warm up, but will end the week with a crescendo. None of the reports will change the immediate Fed outlook, however, where a March hike is basically a done deal. The Treasury budget gap (Monday) set to widen to -$216 bln for February from the -$192 bln year-ago gap. The likely culprits are a pick up in refunds and a small decline in withheld receipts, in large part due to the tax law changes. CPI (Monday) could be the most important statistic of the week since it’s crucial to the FOMC’s rate trajectory. MBA mortgage market applications are due (Wednesday) with the average 30-year mortgage rate topping 4.65% — the highest level in over 4-years — refis may continue to ebb. PPI (Wednesday) is forecast sinking 0.1% in February. with core seen rising 0.2%. Retail sales (Wednesday) are seen returning a healthy 0.5% or 0.6% ex-auto after sluggishness around the turn of the year. January business inventories (Wednesday) are expected to rise 0.6% from 0.5%.
Data gears back up (Thursday) with Empire State seen rising to 16.0 in March vs 13.1, while the Philly Fed index may slide to 21.0 in March from 25.8 and initial jobless claims may mean revert 8k lower to 223k for the March-10 week. Import prices are projected (Thursday) to gain 0.1% in February, while export prices rise 0.3%, down from 0.8% and the NAHB housing market index is also seen rising to 73 in March from 72. The back end of the week winds down with February housing starts (Friday) forecast to shrink 5% to a 1.26 mln pace (median 1.29 mln) from 1.326 mln in January. Industrial production should rise 0.2% in February from -0.1% (Friday), while capacity use increases to 77.6% from 77.5%. Preliminary Michigan sentiment may top 100.0 for March from 99.7 previously.
Canada: In Canada the data and events calendar shifts to the slow lane this week after the busy docket seen last week. Manufacturing shipments (Friday) are expected to fall 1.0% in January (m/m, sa) after the 0.3% dip in December. Q4 net worth (Thursday) will be closely watched, as the report contains the debt-to-disposable income ratio. The ratio saw a record high 171.1% in Q3, and could move even higher in Q4 to underpin the elevated degree of sensitivity household have to higher interest rates. The report should underpin the BoC’s go-slow approach to policy normalization. February existing home sales are due Thursday. The ADP jobs tally for February is also due Thursday. The Teranet/National Bank HPI for February is scheduled for Wednesday. International securities transactions for January are out Friday.
Europe: With the ECB meeting out of the way, and a lull in data releases, this should be a relatively quiet week that will give markets and investors time to settle down, digest the tweak in the ECB’s guidance on QE and watch geopolitical events unfold. The dovish leaning triumvirate – Draghi, Constancio and Praet is scheduled to speak on Wednesday and will have further opportunity to play down the importance of the change in guidance that took out the option to lift monthly purchase levels, while keeping the possibility of a program extension in place. The tweak in the statement merely had a signaling character and confirmed that the central bank is inching toward an exit from net asset purchases at a snail’s pace. The data calendar focuses mainly on final February inflation numbers, which are unlikely to bring major surprises. The Spanish reading expected (Tuesday) to be confirmed at 1.2% y/y, German HICP (Wednesday) also at 1.2% y/y, the French (Wednesday) at 1.3% y/y, the Italian CPI (Friday) at just 0.7% y/y, leaving the overall Eurozone CPI (Friday) also at 1.2 %y/y.
UK: The calendar this week is devoid of top-tier data. The next release of note is the inflation data on March 20th. Brexit-related noise will continue to spout forth, though is likely to remain too inconclusive to impart much directional bias on sterling. The ECB is in the process of formalizing a response to the laid-out UK position on Brexit. The next key juncture is the EU leaders’ summit on March 22nd, and following that, the two sides will look to hammer out a concrete agreement (on a future trading relationship, the Irish border and a transition period) before October this year, which would leave the 27 EU countries time to ratify it before March 29th next year, when the UK formally leaves the EU and, most likely, when a two-year transition period starts before the UK will fully break free of the single market, customs union, and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. It’s more than probable that a new trade deal will need much more time to be agreed on (the Canadian-EU trade deal was seven years in the making).
Japan: the March MoF business outlook survey (Monday) is seen improving 7 from 6.2 in February. But, February PPI (Tuesday) should dip to a 2.6% y/y pace from January’s 2.7%. The January tertiary industry index (Tuesday) is penciled in falling another, the same decline that was registered in December. January core machine orders (Wednesday) are forecast rebounding 6.0% m/m from -11.9% in December. Revised January industrial production will be released on Friday.
China: February industrial production and retail sales (Wednesday) will be important for the overall growth outlook. The former is estimated holding at the 6.2% y/y pace previously registered. February retail sales are seen slowing marginally to a 9.3% y/y rate from 9.4% in December. Note the data jump from December to February as there were no January reports due to the Lunar New Year holidays. February fixed investment (Wednesday) is seen little changed at 7.1% y/y from 7.2% in January.
Australia: a trifecta of Reserve Bank of Australia speeches highlight the week. Assistant Governor (Financial System) Michele Bullock speaks (Tuesday) at the Seamless Australia Payments Conference. Assistant Governor (Financial Markets) Christopher Kent addresses the Kanga News DCM Summit (Wednesday). Deputy Governor Guy Debelle speaks (Friday) at the Financial Risk Day in Sydney. The data calendar has housing finance (Tuesday), seen slipping 0.5% in January after the 2.3% drop in December.
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