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The Economic Week Ahead

Market Analysis

Main Macro Events This Week

The financial markets are always subject to risks, be they interest rate, credit, currency, monetary, or geopolitical — but it’s the sensitivity to the uncertainties that waxes and wanes. Last year was a virtual one-way trip higher for global equities as many possible hazards were ignored amid bullish momentum and surging optimism. But that tone has given way to a much more nervous and volatile climate, especially as key central banks are discussing, or are in the process of, exiting QE, while political headwinds abound.

The markets will open Monday with ongoing focus on President Trump’s decision to impose import tariffs on steel (25%) and aluminium (10%), with details and implementation expected this week.The tariff news also took central banks off the front page for a time. But worries over the changing dynamic to less stimulative postures will again be at the forefront with policy meetings this week from the BoJ and ECB, and the key U.S. nonfarm payroll report on tap, which will be a guide for the March 20, 21 FOMC.

United States: U.S. markets have a lot on their plate this week. Much of the early focus will be on any details of the import tariffs President Trump plans to impose. Though the direct effects on the U.S. would be limited, the bigger consequence would be from global repercussions and any retaliatory measures. Meanwhile, data and Fedspeak will be scrutinized this week ahead of the upcoming FOMC meeting, as they could factor into outlooks on the Fed’s economic projections to be released then, along with the dot plot for 2018 and 2019, after Chairman Powell’s upbeat assessment of the economy and his confidence in rising inflation in his Monetary Policy Report boosted expectations for a shift from 3 to 4 tightenings this year. The February employment report (Friday) tops the data calendar this week. Remember it was the acceleration in average hourly earnings to a 2.9% y/y in the January, the strongest since 2009, that was a catalyst for much of the bond selloff which pushed the 10-year yield over the 2.90% mark, a four year high. That statistic, along with the payroll gain, will be the scrutinized. Other important data this week includes the ISM nonmanufacturing report, along with January trade and revised Q4 productivity. The January trade deficit (Wednesday) should post its 5th consecutive month of widening, to -$55.3 bln From December’s -$53.1 bln, amid declines in imports and exports. Q4 Productivity in Q4 (Wednesday) should be unrevised at -0.1% (, after firming to 2.7% from Q2’s 1.5% in the Advance numbers. Other reports on the week include the February ADP private payroll survey, the precursor to the BLS jobs report, along with January factory orders and wholesale trade.

Canada:It promises to be a busy week in Canada for both data and events. The main event is the BoC’s rate announcement (Wednesday), which is expected to result in no change to the current 1.25% rate setting. Uncertainties remain elevated, especially after the proposed steel and aluminum tariffs from President Trump raised the specter of a trade war while lending a bit of pessimism to the ongoing NAFTA talks. The economic data slate is highlighted by employment (Friday), projected to show a 25.0k gain in February after the 88.0k tumble in January. The January trade deficit (Wednesday) is seen narrowing to -C$3.0 bln from -C$3.2 bln in December. Productivity (Wednesday) is expected to edge 0.1% higher in Q4 (q/q, sa) after the 0.6% drop in Q3. Housing starts (Thursday) are seen edging lower to a 215.0k pace in February from 216.2k in January. Building permits (Thursday) are anticipated to slip 1.0% in January after the 4.8% gain in values during December.

Europe: The focus this week is on the ECB meeting on Thursday and given the weak round of confidence and inflation data coupled with ongoing market volatility,  only minor tweaks to the guidance are expected, with the cautious camp still in the majority and even previously hawkish members like Coeure apparently concerned by recent market moves. The hawks meanwhile can take solace in the fact that even after the recent dip in yields, they are still considerably higher than back in December. The current QE schedule is set to run until the end of September and there is no need for the central bank to commit to an end date for QE before June at the earliest, more likely July, although if the hawks become too insistent Draghi could take out the reference to the possibility of a renewed increase in size – i.e. monthly purchase volumes, something that at this juncture, nobody expects anyway.

With February confidence data as well as preliminary inflation out of the way the calendar calms down this week. The Eurozone has the 3rd releases of Q4 GDP, which is expected to confirm the quarterly growth rate at 0.6% q/q , leaving the annual rate at 2.7% y/y and the focus on the full breakdown, which will be published for the first time. German manufacturing orders are likely to attract more attention and should support the doves at the ECB, as we are looking for a correction of -1.5 m/m in January , after the surprising December jump of 3.8% m/m. German industrial production for January, meanwhile, is seen rising 0.2% m/m, after a dip of -0.6% m/m in December.The calendar also has Eurozone retail sales as well as German trade data, and French industrial production numbers for January. Supply comes from Germany, which auctions 5-year Bobls on Wednesday.

UK: The calendar this week brings the February Markit services PMI (Monday), the February BRC retail sales report (Tuesday), and January industrial production and trade figures (Friday). The pound under-performed last week, losing an average 1.3% versus dollar, euro and yen. Brexit related news has been think in the news the British government hurries to come up with a clear negotiating position ahead of the March 22 EU leader’s summit. Prime Minister May gave a keynote speech last Friday, which is one of a series of speeches by herself and senior cabinet members laying out what the government hopes to achieve with the EU in a future trade agreement, including ideas on how to accommodate deep-seated Irish concerns about the post-Brexit border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. It remains uncertain, if not unlikely, that the EU will agree to May’s idea for a new customs partnership and the bespoke sector-by-sector deals that she is looking for. EU officials have repeatedly and consistently stated that there can be no “cherry picking,” so there remain a lot of known unknowns as to how Brexit will unfold. May’s speech was notable for the fact that she finally admitted that the UK will have less access to the single market, implying that a “soft” Norway or Swiss-like deal is off the cards. The pound has continued to trade at about an average discount of between about 12% and 15% versus levels seen ahead of the vote to leave the EU in 2016.

Japan: the markets will await the BoJ meeting (Thursday, Friday) for any fresh insights on QE after Governor Kuroda told parliament last week he could see ending stimulus in fiscal 2019.  Meanwhile, the second release of Q4 GDP (Thursday) should see an upward revision to a 1.1% q/q annualized growth rate from the 0.5% pace in the Advance release. February bank loans (Thursday) are expected to accelerate slightly to a 2.5% y/y rate from 2.4%. January personal income and PCE (Friday), should see the latter down 0.5% y/y from -0.1% previously.

China: the National People’s Congress kicks off its two-week meeting on Monday and will be monitored closely for new developments and especially in the wake of possible U.S. tariffs. The February trade report (Thursday) should see the surplus widen to $25.0 bln from $20.3 bln. February CPI (Friday) is penciled in firming to a 2.1% y/y clip from 1.5%, with PPI seen slowing slightly to 4.0% y/y from 4.3%. There could be some distortions in all of the data from the week-long Lunar New Year holidays

Australia: The Reserve Bank of Australia (Tuesday) is expected to hold rates steady at the current 1.50% setting. The Q4 current account (Tuesday) is seen widening to a -A$11.0 bln deficit from -A$9.1 bln in Q3. Retail sales (Tuesday) are projected to rise 0.5% in January after the 0.5% m/m drop in December. GDP (Wednesday) is expected to rise 0.6% in Q4 (q/q, sa) after the matching 0.6% gain in Q3. The trade balance (Thursday) is anticipated to shift to a A$0.5 bln surplus in January from the -A$1.4 bln deficit in December. RBA Governor Lowe speaks (Wednesday) on “The Changing Nature of Investment” to the AFR Business Summit in Sydney.

Click here to access the HotForex Economic calendar.

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Andria Pichidi

Market Analyst


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