European Outlook: Asian stock markets moved mostly higher, going into the Jackson Hole meeting of central bankers, where Draghi and Yellen will take centre stage. The ASX underperformed and fluctuated between gains and losses, while the Nikkei managed to move higher, lifted by automakers, as the yen is heading for a weekly loss. Hang Seng and CSI 300 outperformed. U.K. stock futures are down, but U.S. futures are posting gains. Oil prices are down and the front end WTI future is trading at USD 47.76 per barrel. Today the real focus will be on Yellen and in particular Draghi, with the latter unlikely to lay out a full tapering schedule, but it will be interesting to see whether he is laying the groundwork for a change in focus in the policy communication as the central bank heads for a gradual reduction of additional stimulus measures.
Today’s German Q2 GDP was confirmed at 0.6% q/q, as expected. The breakdown showed that growth rested on domestic demand, with investment remaining robust, while Q1 investment data was revised up markedly. A further confirmation that the current recovery is unusually for Germany as it is not the export led recovery that we have seen in previous cycles. Rather it is domestic demand that is propping up growth, also thanks to the ECB and the policy of easy money, which is underpinning consumption as well as investment. The robust data will also back Weidmann’s calls for an end to QE though. German import price inflation came in lower than anticipated, with the annual rate falling back to 1.9% from 2.5% y/y in the previous month. Prices were down -0.4% m/m. The strong EUR is leaving its mark and will likely to continue to bring import price inflation down, with the annual rate now back below the ECB’s 2% mark.
US reports: U.S. reports revealed a weak round of July existing home sales figures but a firm set of initial claims data through mid-August, hence slightly trimming forecasts for the residential component of Q3 GDP, but adding to the upside risk for 190k August nonfarm payroll estimate. We saw a 1.3% July existing home sales drop to a 5.44 mln pace that undershot estimates, alongside smaller downside surprises for median prices and inventories after downward revisions for all three in June. For claims, we saw a 2k rise to a still-lean 234k in the third week of August that left a lean trajectory into the month. Claims are averaging juste 236k in August, versus higher prior averages of 242k in July, 243k in June, 241k in May, and 243k in April, while the 232k BLS survey week figure undershot recent BLS survey weak readings of 234k in July, 242k in June, 233k in May, and 243k in April.
Main Macro Events Today
- German IFO – German Ifo Business Climate, should still benefit from the strong orders inflow and therefore a small fall back is expected from record highs to 115.7 in August from 116.0.
- US Durable Goods- Durable goods data for July expected at a -5.7% headline with shipments down 0.3% and inventories at 0.2%. This follows June data which had orders up 6.4%, sales unchanged and inventories up 0.5% for the month. There were significant dips in vehicle assemblies and Boeing orders for the month which could weigh on the release.
- Jacksol Hole – Fed Chair Yellen will speak at Jackson Hole today at 10 ET. Her topic is “financial stability.” ECB’s Draghi was confirmed to speak at 13:00 ET.
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