Week Ahead

Central banks in the US, Japan and the UK will be deciding on monetary policy in the coming week, while flash PMI surveys for the US, UK, Eurozone, Japan and Australia will give an insight about the state of the global economic recovery. Other important releases to follow include US and China industrial output and retail sales; Canada and UK inflation data and retail trade; Japan’s tankan survey and inflation; Australia employment figures; and India consumer and wholesale prices.

The US Federal Reserve is seen holding the target range for the federal funds rate steady at 0-0.25 percent at the end of its two-day meeting on Wednesday, with investors focusing on Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference for clues about how long the bank will keep buying bonds. In September, the central bank anchored expectations that it will keep interest rates near zero until full employment returns, and inflation rises to 2 percent and is on track to moderately exceed 2 percent for some time. On the economic data front, the Markit PMI survey will probably show the US private sector economy expanded at a robust pace in December, although at a slower pace when compared with November. Other notable publications are retail sales, industrial production, building permits and housing starts, producer and foreign trade prices, third-quarter current account, NY Empire State Manufacturing Index, Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index, NAHB Housing Market Index, business inventories, and overall net capital flows.

Elsewhere in America, the central banks in Mexico and Colombia will probably leave interest rates at the current levels when they meet next week. Key data to follow include Canada inflation rate, retail sales and housing data; Brazil current account and consumer morale; Peru monthly GDP figures and unemployment rate; and Argentina third-quarter GDP, jobless rate and consumer prices.

Across the Atlantic, Britain and the EU continue post-Brexit trade negotiations, amid pessimism on both sides that an agreement can be reached. Meanwhile, investors turn their attention to the Bank of England’s meeting at which policymakers are expected to leave monetary policy unchanged after increasing the size of the bond-buying program by £150 billion last month. The UK economic calendar is also packed with key updates on inflation data, retail sales, labor market indicators, consumer confidence, and CBI factory orders. Also, the flash Markit PMI survey will probably show Britain’s private sector returned to growth in December after the government lifted England’s national lockdown.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Eurozone’s flash Markit PMIs should point to a renewed contraction in the bloc’s private sector output as several countries across the region extended restrictions due to rising coronavirus cases. Other important releases include Eurozone industrial production and trade balance; Germany and France business survey; Spain and Switzerland foreign trade data; Poland employment growth; and Turkey industrial output. Also, central banks in Switzerland, Norway, Russia and Hungary will be deciding on monetary policy.

In Asia, the Bank of Japan is expected to keep its policy interest rate at -0.1 percent and the 10-year Japanese government bond yield target at around zero when it holds a policy meeting on December 17-18. Also, the bank’s quarterly tankan business sentiment survey is set to show an improvement in Japanese big manufacturers’ confidence. Data on foreign trade and inflation rate will also be keenly watched. Elsewhere, all eyes turn to China’s industrial production, retail sales, unemployment rate, fixed asset investment and house price index for November.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will be releasing the minutes of its latest monetary policy meeting. Investors in Australia will also focus on employment figures and December’s Markit flash PMIs. Other highlights for the Asia-Pacific region include: New Zealand Q3 GDP and current account; India consumer and wholesale prices; Indonesia trade balance; and South Korea and Hong Kong unemployment rates. Central banks in Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan will be deciding on interest rates.

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