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Week ahead: US PCE data to nudge Fed tapering?
On the agenda this week: We bid farewell to Angela Merkel as Germany faces a future without her leadership for the first time in over a decade. We’ve also a range of big data releases from the US including the Fed’s preferred inflation metric – and Canadian GDP stats. Will it backslide again?
We all know the Fed loves PCE data. Personal Consumption Expenditures is its favourite inflation metric – and one that could force that ever-discussed tapering through earlier, depending on August’s print.
The broad market consensus is that the Fed will begin pulling back its economic support in either November or December, so the question now is one of liftoff for rates. The Fed has already raised its core CPE inflation forecast for 2021 to 3.7% from 3% in June – they know it’s hot. Chair Powell has also pretty much announced that the Fed will start tapering this year. The question now is whether the Fed has to revise these expectations still higher, and what that might mean for the path of interest rate hikes. An expectation-beating print this week would stoke concerns that this is the case.
Of course, there are other external factors at play. It should also be pointed that July’s 0.4% jump was in line with expectations and showed a cooling off against June’s figures.
In July, the overall rate of inflation reached 4.2%. Going by the Consumer Price Index data reported recently, the cost of consumer goods rose 5.3% in August. This was in line with expectations. It may also be an indicator of where PCE data is headed.
The Fed is on record as saying its content to let inflation run above its 2% target as it considers the current high levels as “transitionary”.
The United States, like pretty much all major economies, is moving out of the pandemic economy and attempting to find some semblance of normality. It could be the case that hot inflation continues to singe the economy before burning out in 2022 and fading away.
The latest PCE reading comes on Friday.
Tethered to this is US consumer confidence. Logically, higher prices suggest a lowering in consumer sentiment. This has been reflected in August’s data, and it may be the case when we get September’s data on Tuesday afternoon.
In August, consumer confidence dropped to a six-month low. The Conference Board’s index fell to 113.8 from a revised 125.1 reading in July.
“Concerns about the Delta variant — and, to a lesser degree, rising gas and food prices — resulted in a less favourable view of current economic conditions and short-term growth prospects,” Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in a statement, explaining the dip.
Over 39 million COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the US across the course of the pandemic so far.
Moving away from the US, Germany closes the book on Angela Merkel’s tenure as Chancellor. After 16 years, Merkel is stepping aside, which gives today’s elections an air of exciting new change.
By the end of play today, Germany will have a brand-new Chancellor. SPD leader Olaf Scholz was the front runner in the build-up to election, outstripping rivals from the CDU and the Greens.
That said, the belief is the Greens, who were on course to their best-ever results prior to Germans hitting the polls, may become the SPD’s chief partner in a brand-new coalition.
Our macroeconomics and political guru Helen Thomas previewed Germany’s latest federal elections. Have her predictions been proved correct?
Speaking of elections, Canadians recently voted in a fresh wave of political changes, with PM Trudeau holding onto the reins for a third term. The Liberals’ majority was compromised – which could make the nation’s economic moves interest.
Canada’s month-on-month GDP figures are released this month, following a 1.1% contraction. Estimates called for 2.5% growth, so even with the snap election keeping Trudeau in power, the same challenges he was facing before are his same challenges once again.
Economic recovery will “continue to require the same extraordinary level of support”, according to Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem. No changes to economic policy are expected – despite the lacklustre GDP showing from last month. Perhaps we’ll see a reversal this month, or a possible muddying of the waters caused by election fervour.
Major economic data
|Sun 26-Sep||All Day||EUR||German Federal Elections|
|Tue 28-Sep||2.30am||AUD||Core Retail Sales m/m|
|3.00pm||USD||CB Consumer Confidence|
|Wed 29-Sep||3.30pm||OIL||US Crude Oil Inventories|
|Thu 30-Sep||2.00am||CNH||China Manufacturing PMI|
|Fri 01-Oct||8.55am||EUR||German Final Manufactuing PMI|
|1.30pm||USD||Core PCE Index m/m|
|3.00pm||USD||ISM Manufacturing PMI|
Week Ahead: Bumper week with FOMC, ECB, FAANGS & GDP
Welcome to your guide to the week ahead in the markets. Remember you can now find all the key events affecting the markets in our new Events Calendar in the platform.
European Central Bank rate decision
Last week ECB president Christine Lagarde allegedly told EU leaders during a private video summit that the bloc could be facing a drop in GDP of up to 15%, and that their efforts to contain the outbreak have been both too little and too late. Monetary policy can only go so far, but the ECB does still have room to manoeuvre. Expansion of QE will likely be the first port of call if policymakers decide more needs to be done, but minutes from the March 18th meeting show that cutting rates was floated, too.
FOMC decision – has the Fed got any ammunition left?
What’s left for the Federal Reserve to do? Rates have been slashed to zero, and that’s where futures markets see them staying well into 2021 at least. And it’s hard to announce more QE when you’ve already committed to unlimited asset purchases. The key question is what the FOMC has left in reserve in case its vast stimulus measures aren’t enough. Will policymakers set negative rates? Will they buy corporate stocks? Will they explicitly target yields on government bonds? Markets will be looking for reassurance that policymakers still have plenty of ammunition left.
Bumper week of earnings with Apple, Alphabet, Facebook reporting
Netflix has already reported earnings, but this week sees the rest of the FAANG group offering up their quarterly figures. Tesla and Microsoft are also amongst the heavy hitters providing updates this week.
US, Eurozone GDP
We’ve seen piecemeal evidence of the impact COVID-19 has had on the US and Eurozone economies thanks to industrial data, PMIs, and business sentiment figures. But now it’s time to get the full picture, as the US and Eurozone will both publish estimates of Q1 growth. It was initially believed that moderate growth in January and February would have softened the blow from social distancing and widespread lockdowns that went into effect in March. Now the consensus is that the recession expected in Q2 arrived much earlier. Estimates vary wildly, but no matter how dire the results, the figures for Q2 are likely to be way worse.
Heads-Up on Earnings
|After-Market||28-Apr||Alphabet – Q1 2020|
|After-Market||29-Apr||Microsoft – Q3 2020|
|After-Market||29-Apr||Facebook – Q1 2020|
|After-Market||29-Apr||Tesla – Q1 2020|
|After-Market||30-Apr||Apple – Q2 2020|
|After-Market||30-Apr||Amazon – Q1 2020|
|03.00 UTC||28-Apr||BOJ Rate Decision & Outlook Report|
|07.00 UTC||28-Apr||Spanish Unemployment Rate Q1|
|14.00 UTC||28-Apr||US CB Consumer Confidence|
|01.30 UTC||29-Apr||Australia Quarterly CPI|
|12.00 UTC||29-Apr||Germany Preliminary CPI|
|12.30 UTC||29-Apr||US Advance GDP QoQ|
|14.30 UTC||29-Apr||US EIA Crude Oil Inventories|
|18.00 UTC||29-Apr||FOMC Rate Decision|
|09.00 UTC||30-Apr||Eurozone Flash GDP|
|11.45 UTC||30-Apr||ECB Rate Decision and Statement|
|12.30 UTC||30-Apr||US Initial Jobless Claims|
|14.30 UTC||30-Apr||US EIA Natural Gas Storage|
Cable drops as UK economy contracts
The UK economy contracted by 0.2% in the second quarter of the year, its worst performance since 2012.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the surprise contraction, which was significantly lower than the flatline economists expected. It also follows strong growth of 1.8% seen in Q1.
“PMI data had indicated we were set for a contraction, albeit not so severe,” explained Neil Wilson, Chief Markets Analyst at MARKETS.COM.
Much of the growth in the first quarter was attributed to panic buying and stockpiling before the original March Brexit deadline. Indeed, Head of GDP Rob Kent-Smith, also blamed the 2.3% drop in Manufacturing output in the Brexit delay. The initial strong start to the year included production brought forward ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU.
The services sector was the only positive contributor to GDP growth in the quarter to June 2019 – but only just at 0.1%. This marks the weakest quarterly growth in this sector since Q2 2016.
Output from the production and construction sectors also contracted at -1.4% and -1.3% respectively.
Cable dropped sharply on the news, before recovering slightly. Having fallen below 1.2090, GBPUSD was last recovering above 1.21 but remains under pressure and a good 30 pips away from its highs of the day. Having breached yesterday’s lows we may see further testing of the downside.
“Clearly the unwind of stockpiling carried out in Q1 ahead of the aborted March 31st Brexit deadline has had an impact. Also, we can point to plenty of data around the world that shows we are in the middle of a broad global slowdown,” Wilson said.
“But you do have to admit that the pervasive uncertainty around Brexit is acting as a brake on the economy.”
Rolling three-month growth was negative 0.2% in the three months to June 2019, the first time since Q4 2012. This continued a steady decline in three-month growth since the start of the year.
So, was there anything positive in the latest GDP figures?
“Well, a lot of the decline seems to be down to the fall in car making as companies brought forward usual summer shutdowns of factories. The sharp fall in manufacturing output was led by a 5.2% decline transport equipment, which the ONS says largely reflected the partial closures of various car manufacturing plants. This may be partially recovered in the second half, while we may see further stockpiling ahead of the October 31st deadline that leads to a boost to Q3 numbers,” said Wilson.
However, he added, “but on the whole the figures make for worrying reading”.