The Economic Week Ahead

Main Macro Events This Week

Global markets can benefit from some early Christmas presents as major political uncertainties seem to be resolving. The U.S. Congress is expected to pass the tax reform package and send it to President Trump before the weekend. Agreement between the EU and U.K. will move Brexit talks to the second stage. And, Germany’s SPD party agreed to exploratory talks on renewed cooperation with Chancellor Merkel. About the only hurdle could be Thursday’s elections in Catalonia. For bonds, the dovish policies from the ECB and BoJ, a less hawkish BoE, and still benign inflation, should keep a ceiling on rates. Trading will quiet into the weekend with early closes on Friday ahead of Christmas on Monday, with many markets still off Tuesday.

United States: As the year starts to wind down, attention will remain on the tax bill. After much wrangling, it appears a bill will be passed after several GOP Senators indicated they would vote yes on the compromise version. The House is slated to vote Tuesday, with the Senate likely on Wednesday to give ailing Senator McCain time to get to Washington. As for data, all of the crucial reports are out of the way. Housing reports headline the economic calendar, which also includes revised GDP, December manufacturing numbers, income/spending, and durable goods orders. But the reports won’t really alter current outlooks for solid economic gains and still low inflation. Also, several of the reports, especially housing and durables, will still be impacted by disaster whiplash.

Canada: In Canada, the data slate provides another round of figures for the Bank of Canada’s data driven approach to policy, which was back in the spotlight last week after the Governor said “caution” in not a code word for on hold.Hence the anticipation remains that they will hold steady in January, hike 25 basis points in March to 1.25% and implement two more moves later in 2018 to gradually lift the policy rate to 1.75% by the end of 2018. The economic data this week will be scrutinised for clues that conditions will be/won’t be ripe for a rate hike at the January 17 announcement. Wholesale shipment values (Wednesday) are seen rising 0.5% in October after the 1.2% drop in September. October average weekly earnings, part of the establishment survey, are also due Wednesday. The CPI is expected to rise 0.2.% in November (m/m, nsa) after the 0.1% gain in October, as higher gasoline prices impact. Retail sales (Thursday) are projected to rise 0.5% in October after the weak 0.1% gain in September. October GDP has the privilege of being the last report released this year and expected to rise 0.2% after the 0.2% m/m pick-up in September.

Europe: Political events were relatively positive in Europe last week.  The elections in Catalonia on December 21 provide a last focus on the political arena this week, especially as polls suggest a head to head race between the parties in favour and those against independence from Spain. This week’s round of date releases include the German Ifo Business Climate (Tuesday), which we expect to nudge higher to 107.5. The German economy is bursting at its seems and the Bundesbank just upped its growth forecast significantly at least for this year and warned to sizeable wage growth ahead. ECB’s Draghi meanwhile continues to see not insufficient progress on inflation and wages and indeed, November Eurozone HICP inflation (Monday) is expected to be confirmed at 1.5%, up from the previous month, but far below the ECB’s objective. More importantly, the breakdown is expected to confirm that higher energy prices were the main driving factor behind the uptick in the headline rate in November and core inflation is still at just 0.9% y/y. So plenty for Draghi to argue with, although whether the central bank can risk seeing inflation running away in the largest economy remains to be seen. More importantly perhaps, while growth forecasts have been revised up, the growth profile in Germany and the Eurozone suggests a peak in annual rates this year, so the ECB will start to scale back support when growth is already slowing down. The calendar also has German producer (Wednesday) and import price inflation (Friday) for November, where energy prices are expected to lift headline rates. Eurozone current account and BoP data as well as consumer confidence readings for Germany and the Eurozone are also on the agenda, as are French consumer spending and national confidence indicators for Italy and France.

UK: Sterling markets, as others, will be winding down for the Christmas and New Year holiday period while still digesting the less hawkish than anticipated guidance the BoE delivered following its MPC meeting last week. The calendar this week kicks off with the December CBI industrial trends survey (Monday), which expected to show a modest decline in the headline total orders reading, to +15 from +17 of the November survey. The CBI also releases its December distributive sales report (Wednesday). The third and final release of Q3 GDP data is up (Friday), along Q3 current account data.

Japan: In Japan, the BoJ meets (Wednesday, Thursday). No changes are expected to rates or QE. Despite a much improved economy, inflation is subdued. Chief Kuroda is expected to remain patient for now. The October all-industry index (Wednesday) is expected up 0.2% versus the 0.5% decline in September. .

Australia: The Reserve Bank of Australia releases the minutes to its December meeting (Tuesday). Rates were held at 1.50%, as expected. The calendar contains no top tier data this week.

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Andria Pichidi

Market Analyst


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