The Economic Week Ahead

Main Macro Events This Week

Wall Street soared to record highs again last Friday and outperformed most global indices. The bullish impacts of U.S. tax reform and deregulation have manifested in signs of stronger growth and have led to expectations for improved earnings. The momentum has helped boost European and Asian shares as well.

United States: U.S. markets are closed Monday for the Martin Luther King holiday. The hefty rally on Wall Street has helped lead global markets higher so far in 2018. While there’s plenty of unease to go around at these lofty levels, the underlying optimism suggested by earnings expectations, the bullish momentum, and the forecasts for sustained economic growth ahead suggest the rally can be extended. Earnings should be the guiding force in the markets this week, with some impact from economic data. The spending bill will be monitored ahead of a partial government shutdown on Friday as the spending bill runs out. Deal making could get contentious, particularly after President Trump remains at odds with the Democrats on “Wall” funding, while the kerfuffle over the President’s language last week add to the divisive environment.

This week, Manufacturing and production data headline the economic calendar. The January Empire State manufacturing index (Tuesday) should rise 1 point to 19 after falling 1.4 points to 18.0 in December. Industrial production for December (Wednesday) is expected to rise 0.4% after the 0.2% November gain, to bring capacity utilization up to 77.2% from 77.1%. The Philly Fed index (Thursday) should fall to 25.0 in January from the upwardly revised 27.9 in December. The NAHB homebuilder sentiment index is due Wednesday. Housing starts (Thursday) should fall to a 1.275 mln pace in December after November’s 3.3% surge to 1.297 mln. Preliminary January consumer sentiment (Friday) is expected to rise to 97.0 after the index slid 0.8 points to 95.9 in December, supported by the bull run in equities and the passage of the tax bill.

Canada: The BoC is in the spotlight this week, with Wednesday’s announcement expected to reveal a 25 basis point (bp) rate hike to 1.25%. The Monetary Policy Report, also due Wednesday, should reveal a still cautiously upbeat growth outlook that is consistent with a gradual normalization path. The data slate is thin, leaving the focus firmly on the Bank of Canada: December existing home sales are expected Monday, while November manufacturing is due Friday. The manufacturing shipment values expected to rise 1.0% m/m after the 0.4% dip in October.

Europe: After Draghi failed to deliver the expected tweak in the forward guidance in December, the minutes from the meeting reminded investors that “postponed” is not “canceled” and that the ECB is still on the way to phase out net asset purchases after the end of the current program in September. However, gradualism remains the order of the day and this week’s data releases could help the markets settle down further, with final HICP readings for the Eurozone coming with a slight risk to the downside after downward revisions to Spanish and French readings. ECB speakers include Weidmann and Nowotny and are likely to come in on the hawkish side, however, so a balanced picture. Meanwhile political risks seem to be receding somewhat with Germany finally heading for a functioning government after Merkel reached a preliminary agreement with the Social Democrats in the exploratory talks for a rerun of the grand coalition, although the SPD’s party conference still has to clear the talks.

The European calendar focuses on the remaining final inflation numbers for December. We are looking for German HICP (Tuesday) to be confirmed at 1.6% y/y and the Italian HICP (Tuesday) at 1.0%, which should leave the overall Eurozone CPI reading at 1.4% y/y unchanged from the preliminary number and down from November. European calendar has also has November PPI data for November, seen falling back to 2.3% y/y, from 2.5% y/y. The Eurozone schedule includes November trade as well as current account data and supply also continues to flood in with Spain and France auctioning bonds on Thursday and Germany selling 30 year Bunds on Wednesday.

UK: The week ahead brings some key data releases, highlighted by December inflation and retail sales data. Brexit-related developments of significance have been in short supply so far in the new year, but are likely to pick up. Talks between the UK and EU on a transition deal are due to start presently, although negotiations on a future trading relationship with the EU are not due to begin until March. As for this week’s data calendar, UK CPI for December (Tuesday) expected to have a moderation to 3.0% y/y after November’s 3.1% y/y clip, an outcome which would square with BoE projections. December retail sales are also due (Friday), where a decline is expected of 0.8% m/m, which would correct some of the 1.1% m/m gain that was seen in November. Overall, data in-line with expectations shouldn’t cast much bearing on sterling markets.

Japan:December PPI (Tuesday) is penciled in at a 3.1% y/y pace, slightly slower than the 3.5% previously. The November tertiary index (Tuesday) is forecast rising 0.5% from the prior 0.3% bounce after slipping slightly in August (-0.1%) and September (-0.2%). November core machine orders (Wednesday) should fall 2.0% m/m from the 5.0% increase in October. The index has bounced around on a monthly basis but posted a 3.9% 3-month change in October, and is up 2.3% y/y. However, there’s risk of a deeper slide in November given the firmer yen. Revised November industrial production is due Thursday. Production posted a 0.6% gain initially, for a second straight monthly gain (0.5% in October).

China: December industrial production (Thursday) is forecast to rise 6.1% y/y, unchanged from November. December retail sales are anticipated to have risen 10.3% y/y from 10.2%, while December fixed investment is seen up 7.0% y/y from 7.2%.

Australia: Housing investment (Wednesday) is seen rising 1.0% in November after the 0.6% dip in October. Employment (Friday) is expected to expand 25.0k in December after the 61.6k bounce in November. The unemployment rate is projected to hold steady at 5.4%. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s has another clean slate this week. Indeed, the Bank’s event schedule is empty until the policy meeting on February 6, where no change to the current 1.50% setting for the cash rate,is expected.

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Andria Pichidi

Market Analyst


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