Week Ahead – March 20th

After last week’s turmoil, investors will continue to monitor the situation in the banking sector and await monetary policy decisions from major central banks including Fed, BoE, SNB, and Norges Bank. Also, in the spotlight will be inflation figures for Japan, the UK, and Canada; and Zew Economic Index for Germany. Finally, PMI data for the US, Japan, UK, Euro Area, Germany, and France should provide some details about the health of the manufacturing and services sector in March.

In the US, all the attention will turn to the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary decision after recent turmoil in the banking sector added another level of uncertainty. Policymakers are seen raising the interest rate by 25 basis points to 5% to cool the economy and bring down elevated inflation despite the recent turmoil in the banking sector. Investors will also look for updated economic projections and dot plot estimates for cues on the Fed’s insight into the terminal level, inflation, economic growth, and unemployment outlooks. Also, the Commerce Department will post February durable goods orders and new home sales figures. S&P Global will publish March purchasing manager surveys measuring US manufacturing and services sector activities. At the same time, the National Association of Realtors will report sales of previously owned US homes in February.

In the United Kingdom, the Bank of England is expected to hike interest rates by 25bps to 4.25%, bringing borrowing costs to a level not seen since November 2008 in an attempt to curb inflation. The headline inflation has likely risen 0.6% month-on-month in February, resulting in the annual rate slowdown to 9.8% from 10.1%, well above the 2% target. Also, traders await flash S&P Global PMIs, Gfk consumer confidence, producer prices, retail trade, public sector net borrowing, and CBI gauge for factory orders.

Elsewhere in Europe, central banks in Switzerland, Norway, and Turkey will be deciding on interest rates. Also, flash S&P Global PMIs are anticipated to show private sector business activity across the Eurozone expanded for a third successive month during March, mainly due to a weaker contraction in the manufacturing sector, including that in Germany and France. Additionally, consumer confidence in the Euro Area has likely improved for a sixth month while the German investor sentiment is seen edging down from a 1-year high. Other key economic data feature Eurozone’s construction output and current account; Germany’s producer prices; Switzerland’s foreign trade, and final Q4 GDP figures for Spain and the Netherlands.

In Asia, the People’s Bank of China is expected to leave its loan prime rates unchanged following fresh liquidity injections as the entity aims to support the country’s economic rebound further. Investors will monitor the BoJ’s Summary of Economic Opinions for insights on Governor Kuroda’s last meeting. Japan will also release CPI data for February and flash PMI figures for March. Elsewhere, the central bank of the Philippines will set its interest rate, while Malaysia will divulge its February CPI print. In Australia, all eyes will be on PMI data for March and the minutes from the RBA’s latest meeting, as it might signal how close the cash rate is to its peak.