European Outlook: Asian stock markets are narrowly mixed. The Fed confirmed the launch of QT and kept rates unchanged, but left the rate hike for December on the table, along with consensus for three more hikes next year. The BoJ meanwhile left policy on hold, as expected, but one dissenter signalled that further easing may be necessary to bring inflation back to target. The Nikkei is up 0.16%, after a narrowly mixed close on Wall Street, the Hang Seng managed to recover some of its early losses, but at 5:37GMT was down -0.07% and the ASX underperformed with a -0.84% loss. FTSE 100 futures are slightly higher, U.S. futures marginally in the red and it seems investors are still digesting central bank decisions and are reluctant to push world markets even higher for now. Bund futures dropped sharply in after hour trade on the Fed announcement and Bund yields, which closed down yesterday, are likely to push higher in opening trade, resuming the new uptrend, as the ECB is heading for an announcement on QE reductions. The local calendar has U.K. public finance data as well as the ECB’s latest economic report. ECB’s Draghi, Praet and Smets are all set to speak.
New Zealand’s GDP grew 0.8% in Q2 (q/q, sa) following an upwardly revised 0.6% gain in Q1 (was +0.5%). The increase in Q2 matched expectations. But GDP grew at a 2.5% y/y pace in Q2, only matching the growth rate in Q1 and falling short of the 2.6% to 3.5% annual rates seen in 2016. Indeed, growth is on track to slow to a 2.5% pace for all of 2017 from the 3.6% pace in 2016. Of course, the economy continues to grow, supported by low interest rates. Yet inflation growth remains in the target range (CPI slowed to 1.7% y/y from 2.2%) and the RBNZ expects a decline in coming quarters as the effects of higher food and fuel prices dissipate.
FOMC: announced balance sheet runoff in October and left rates unchanged, as expected. The vote was 9-0. The FOMC also left a rate hike on the table for December, with 12 of 16 FOMC members projecting such. Also, 11 of 16 see at least three hikes next year. The hurricanes are not expected to have much impact on the medium term. The FOMC did lower the long run outlook on rates to 2.8% from 3.0%. The median funds rate for 2018 is at 2.1%, the same as in June’s outlook, though the 2019 median slipped to 2.7% from 2.9%, suggesting a slower path of tightening. The policy statement the Fed noted the labor market continued to strengthen while economic activity had been rising moderately. Fed Chair Yellen reiterated the FOMC statement noting the economy will continue to expand at a moderate pace over coming years. Meanwhile, the labor market remains healthy and payroll gains are well above the rate needed to absorb entrants. Inflation has continued to run below the 2% goal, but the low rate doesn’t reflect broad economic conditions. In Q&A she noted that FOMC has hiked rates this year on the belief the economy is performing well. She added the balance sheet runoff has begun too, as such stimulus is no longer needed to such an extent. The improvement in the labor market has been “substantial” and “vast,” she stressed and including a number of data points supporting her case, including jobs, the unemployment rate, the quit rate, etc. The Fed also sees sufficient strength in spending and growth to keep the job market strong over the medium term, hence the rate hikes are “well justified.” The Fed is committed to the 2% inflation goal, and they will balance the risks of potentially tightening too much and undermining the inflation objective, or not tightening enough and letting inflation get out of control. She finished her presser with these comments.
Main Macro Events Today
- UK Public Borrowing – UK expected to post a deficit on Public Sector Net borrowing at 6.5B from the surplus seen last month at -0.8B.
- CAD Wholesale Sales – Wholesale sales are expected to fall 1.0% in July (m/m, sa) after the 0.5% drop in June.
- US Jobless Claims & Philly – The Philly Fed manufacturing index is expected to be little changed at 18.0 in September. The index has fallen in the last three months after surging 16.8 points to 38.8 in May. Meanwhile Jobless Claims should post a rise of 16K up to 300K for last week.
- ECB – ECB President Draghi is due to speak at the European Systemic Risk Board annual conference, in Frankfurt at 13:30 GMT.
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