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The fundamentals underpinning our forecast of solid first half growth in consumers' spending remain robust.
2019 is a year many in the construction sector would prefer to forget.
The September consumption data were a bit better than median expectations, with real spending rebounding by 0.6%, led by an 15.1% leap in the new vehicle component.
Retail sales data later today will provide further support for the upbeat consumer story in the Eurozone. We expect a third monthly gain in a row, taking retail sales to a 0.8% expansion quarter-on-quarter in Q4, the fastest since the end of 2006. We are seeing clear signs of improvement in the Eurozone economy, and the data are forcing us to recognise upside risks to our Q4 GDP forecast of 0.3-to-0.4%
Consumption remains an important source of economic growth in LatAm.
Consumers' spending in Brazil slowed at the start of Q4, but we don't see this as the start of a downtrend.
The next few months, perhaps the whole of the first quarter, are likely to see a clear split in the U.S. economic data, with numbers from the consumer side of the economy looking much better than the industrial numbers.
The 0.8% jump in nominal November retail sales is consistent with a 0.4% rise in real total consumption, which in turn suggests that the fourth quarter as a whole is likely to see a near-3% annualized gain.
On a headline level, last week's European Parliament elections were an excellent occasion for the EU.
In the wake of April's 0.2% increase in real consumers' spending, and the upward revisions to the first quarter numbers, we now think that second quarter spending is on course to rise at an annualized rate of about 3.5%.
We now have consumption data for two-thirds of the first quarter, making it is easy to see that a near-herculean spending effort is required to lift the quarter as a whole into anything like respectable territory. After February's 0.1% dip, real spending has to rise by at least 0.4% in March just to generate a 2.0% annualized gain for the quarter, and a 2.5% increase requires a 0.7% jump.
A pair of closely-watched reports today will confirm that business and consumer confidence is tanking in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
Today's wave of economic reports are all likely to be strong. The most important single number is the increase in real consumers' spending in July, the first month of the third quarter.
The plunge in Russia's financial markets, in response to targeted U.S. sanctions--see here--against Russian oligarchs and government officials, was the main EU news story yesterday.
On the face of it, the February consumer spending data, due today, will contradict the upbeat signal from confidence surveys. The dramatic upturn in sentiment since the election is consistent with a rapid surge in real consumption, but we're expecting to see unchanged real spending in February, following a startling 0.3% decline in January.
Yesterday's advance data from Germany and Spain suggest that today's Eurozone inflation report will undershoot the consensus. In Germany, headline inflation slipped to 1.6% in March from 2.2% in February, and in Spain the headline rate plunged to 2.3% from 3.0%.
December's consumer price figures, released on Tuesday, likely will show that CPI inflation fell more than most analysts expect.
Today's local elections are more important than usual, because they will enable investors to assess if the Conservatives really are on track for a landslide victory in the general election, as suggested by the opinion polls and priced-in by the forex market.
Evidence that the U.K. economy has slowed significantly this year is starting to come in thick and fast. Following the Markit/CIPS manufacturing PMI on Monday --which signalled that growth in production declined in March to its lowest rate since July--the construction PMI dropped to 52.2 in March, from 52.5 in February.
Taken at face value, the retail sales data in the euro area suggest that consumers' spending hit a brick wall at the end of 2018.
Consumers' spending in the Eurozone slowed in the second half of 2017, providing a favourable base for growth in H1 2018.
Data yesterday showed that EZ consumers' spending was off to a bad start in the third quarter.
Eurozone consumers had a slow start to the second quarter. Retail sales increased a modest 0.1% month- to-month in April, but the March headline was revised up by 0.3 percentage points, and the year-over-year rate increased by 0.2pp to 1.7% due to base effects.
EZ consumers' spending slowed at the start of Q3. Retail sales slipped 0.3% month-to-month in July, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 2.6% from an upwardly revised 3.3% in June.
Our chief economist, Ian Shepherdson, set out our initial thoughts on the rising tensions between U.S. and Iran here.
We expect the Budget today to underwhelm investors who are eager to see a quick and powerful government response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Following the publication of Korea's preliminary Q4 GDP report last month--see here--we said the consensus-beating print would be susceptible to downgrades, unless the economy had a miraculous end to 2018
Evidence of slowing growth in Eurozone consumers' spending continues to mount. Retail sales in the euro area fell 0.5% month-to-month in March, pushing the year-over-rate down to 2.1% from a revised 2.7% in February. The headline likely was depressed by the early Easter. March had one trading day less than February, which was not picked up the seasonals.
February's Markit/CIPS construction survey brought further evidence that the economy is being weighed down by Brexit uncertainty.
November's Markit/CIPS construction report brings hope that the sector no longer is contracting. The PMI increased to a five-month high of 53.1 in November from 50.8 in October, exceeding the 52-mark that in practice has separated expansion from contraction.
Over the summer, both Chancellor Javid and PM Johnson appeared to be repositioning the Conservatives, claiming that the era of austerity was over and that higher levels of spending and investment were justified.
The President's threat to impose tariffs on imported Chinese consumer goods on September 1 might yet come to nothing.
The opening gambits in the post-Brexit trade negotiations were played earlier this week, in speeches from U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.
Yesterday's EZ consumers' spending data were mixed. Retail sales in the euro area fell by 0.3% month-to-month in May, extending the slide from a revised 0.1% dip in April.
In the last two months, we have suggested that monetary conditions have turned the corner, but have cautioned that Lunar New Year distortions make the March data critically important.
The flow of downbeat business surveys continued yesterday, with the release of the Markit/CIPS construction survey.
We have revised up our third quarter GDP forecast to 25% from 15%, in the wake of last week's data. Consumers' spending is on course to rise by 36.6% if July's level of spending is maintained, though we're assuming a smaller 33% increase, on the grounds that the expiration of the enhanced unemployment benefits on July 31 will trigger a dip in spending for a time.
The headlines from Catalonia are as confusing as ever, but we are sticking to our view--see here--that regional elections are the only reasonable outcome of the chaos.
We were expecting the pandemic in the Andes to reach a plateau over the coming weeks, given the quick response of regional governments to fight the virus.
While businesses--and farmers--fret over the damage already wrought by the trade war with China and the further pain to come, consumers are remarkably happy.
Yesterday's data don't significantly change our view that first quarter GDP growth will be reported at only about 1%, but the foreign trade and consumer confidence numbers support our contention that the underlying trend in growth is rather stronger than that.
We aren't convinced by the idea that consumers' confidence will be depressed as a direct result of the rollover in most of the regular surveys of business sentiment and activity.
Consumption has been a serious weak spot in Brazil over the past year. After reaching record growth rates in 2010, it has gradually slowed to its lowest pace in more than ten years.
The national accounts for the fourth quarter showed that the economy relied on households slashing their saving rate to a record low in order to spend more. Now, growth in consumer spending will have to fall back in line with real incomes, which will increasingly be impaired by rising inflation.
We fear that private spending in the EZ slowed in Q1, despite rocketing survey data. This fits our view that household consumption will slow in 2017 after sustained above-trend growth in the beginning of this business cycle.
Survey data in the Eurozone were mixed yesterday. In Germany, the advance GfK consumer sentiment index slipped to 10.0 in October, from 10.2 in September, marginally below consensus forecasts. The details, reported for September, also were soft.
The preliminary estimate of a 0.5% quarter-on-quarter rise in GDP in Q4 slightly exceeded our expectation and the third quarter's growth rate, both 0.4%. Nonetheless, there was little to console the optimists in the figures. The recovery remains unbalanced, with industrial production and construction output falling by 0.2% and 0.1% respectively, while services output rose 0.7% quarter-on-quarter.
Household sentiment in France continues to improve, consistent with tailwinds from low energy prices and accommodative monetary policy. INSEE's measure of consumer confidence rose to 94 in April, up from 93 in March, the highest since November 2010.
The outlook for French consumers' spending improved this month, at the margin. The headline consumer sentiment index was unchanged at 98 in November, but most forward-looking indicators rose. Consumers' spending in was flat in Q2 and Q3, following a 1.1% jump in the first quarter.
French consumers remained in great spirits midway through the fourth quarter. The headline INSEE consumer confidence index jumped to a 28-month high in November, from 104 in October, extending its v-shaped recovery from last year's plunge on the back of the yellow vest protests.
All the evidence indicates that growth in Mexican consumers' spending is slowing, despite the better- than-expected November retail sales numbers, released yesterday.
We expect September's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, to show that CPI inflation held steady at 1.7%, below the 1.8% consensus.
Yesterday's French INSEE consumer confidence data provided a fascinating glimpse into the reality for households during these strange times. The headline index fell by "just" eight points in April, to 95 from 103 in March, comfortably beating the consensus for a crash to 80.
History is repeating itself in France. When the Republican Nicolas Sarkozy defeated the Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal in April 2007, consumer sentiment briefly soared to a six-year high, before plunging to an all-time low a year later.
It's hardly surprising that the consensus forecast for month-to-month growth in November GDP, released on Friday, is a mere 0.1%, given the flow of downbeat business surveys.
April's consumer price figures, released on Tuesday, look set to reveal that CPI inflation jumped to 2.7%--its highest rate since September 2013--from 2.3% in March. Inflation likely will be driven up entirely by a jump in the cor e rate to 2.3%, from 1.8% in March.
Households' inflation expectations have fallen again over the last few months, but we doubt they will constrain the forthcoming rebound in actual inflation. Past experience shows that inflation expectations are more of a coincident than a leading indicator of inflation. In addition, inflation is weakest right now in sectors where demand is relatively insensitive to price changes, so, when retailers' costs rise, they won't pay much heed to households' expectations.
The rate of growth of third quarter consumers' spending was revised up by 0.3 percentage point to 3.3% in the national accounts released yesterday.
Leading indicators for consumers' spending in France are sending conflicting signals. Survey data suggest that households are in a spendthrift mood. Data yesterday showed that the headline consumer sentiment index was unchanged in March at 100, the cycle high.
The recovery of consumer confidence in Korea remains undeterred by the lingering risk of a second wave.
Retail sales data released yesterday for Brazil confirmed that weakness in private consumption remains a key challenge for the economy. Retail sales plunged 0.9% month-on-month in May, equivalent to a 4.5% fall year-over-year, the lowest rate since late 2003. On a quarterly basis, sales are headed for a 2% contraction in Q2, pointing to a -0.5% GDP contribution from consumer spending.
The costs of the government's failure to lock down quickly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, ultimately necessitating long-lasting restrictions, were visible in May's GDP figures.
Neither the strength in October consumption nor the softness of core PCE inflation, reported yesterday, are sustainable.
Mexican economic growth was subdued during the first half of the year, and we expect it to remain weak over the coming months. The economy has been held back largely by external headwinds, especially low oil prices and disruptions to activity in the US, its main trading partner.
Chile's economy is showing the first reliable signs of improvement, at last. December retail sales rose 1.9% year-over-year, up from 0.4% in November, indicating that household expenditure is starting to revive, in line with a pick-up in consumer confidence and the improving labor market.
Private consumption remains resilient in Brazil and recent data suggest that growth will continue over the coming months.
Don't write off the outlook for the construction sector purely on the basis of June's grim Markit/CIPS survey.
German retail sales always have to be taken with a pinch of salt, given their monthly volatility and often substantial revisions, but the preliminary Q2 data don't look pretty.
While we were out, the data showed that consumers' confidence has risen very sharply since the election, hitting 15-year highs, but actual spending has been less impressive and housing market activity appears poised for a marked slowdown.
The downside surprise in April payrolls reflected weakness in just three components--retail, construction, and government--compared to their prior trends. Of these, we think only the construction numbers are likely to remain soft in May. Had it not been for the Verizon strike, then, we would have expected payrolls to rise by just over 200K in May, but the 35K strike hit means our forecast is 170K.
Barring some sort of miracle, or substantial upward revision to prior data--it happens--first quarter consumption spending growth is unlikely to reach 3%, despite the robust 0.3% gain reported yesterday for January. Part of the problem is a basis effect.
In the wake of the robust July data and the upward revisions to June, real personal consumption--which accounts for 69% of GDP--appears set to rise by at least 3% in the third quarter, and 3.5% is within reach. To reach 4%, though, spending would have to rise by 0.3% in both August and September, and that will be a real struggle given July's already-elevated auto sales and, especially, overstretched spending on utility energy.
On the face of it, yesterday's German consumption data were disappointingly weak.
Today's consumer credit report for April likely will show that the stock of debt rose by about $15B, a bit below the recent trend. The monthly numbers are volatile, but the underlying trend rate of increase has eased over the past year-and-a-half, as our first chart shows. The slowdown has been concentrated in the non-revolving component, though the rate of growth of the stock of revolving credit--mostly credit cards--has dipped recently, perhaps because of weather effects and the late Easter.
We've been hearing a good deal about the slowdown in the rate of growth of consumer credit in recent months, and with the April data due for release today, it makes sense now to reiterate our view that the recent numbers are no cause for alarm.
Consumers' spending in the second quarter is still set to be less than great, thanks in part to unfavorable base effects from the first quarter, but a respectable showing of about 2¾% now seems likely. The core May retail sales numbers were a bit stronger than we expected, with gains in most sectors, and the upward revisions to April and March were substantial.
In one line: Consumers are mostly still quite happy, but no sustained improvement is likely.
Brazil's consumer recession seems never-ending. Retail sales fell 0.8% month-to-month in October, pushing the headline year-over-year rate down to -8.2% in October, from -5.7% in September. Recent financial market volatility, credit restrictions and the ongoing deterioration of the labour market continue to hurt consumers.
In one line: Expectations are softening as the trade war continues, but housing is the bright spot.
In one line: Confidence high and stable; inflation expectations steady.
In one line: Recovering consumer confidence should stabilise car sales in 2020.
The robust July retail sales numbers, coupled with the substantial upward revisions to prior data, should finally put to bed the idea that consumers have chosen spontaneously to raise their saving rate, accelerating the pace of deleveraging seven years after the financial crash. People just don't behave like that unless interest rates are soaring and the economy is rolling over, and that's not happening.
In one line: Sentiment still very elevated; inflation expectations dip.
In one line: The consumer is just fine; recent softness in spending is temporary.
In one line: Trade wars have consequences.
In one line: Poor capex in Q3, and consumer confidence is deteriorating.
Legislative and presidential elections in Colombia will be held on March 11 and May 27, respectively, with a run-off presidential election on June 17 if no candidate secures more than half the votes.
In one line: Consumers remain gloomy.
In one line: Pronounced weakness in Q2 likely a consequence of the original Brexit deadline.
In one line: Volatility caused by regulations; still trending down slowly.
In one line: Mexico tariff fears hit sentiment and raised inflation expectations; expect a reversal.
In one line: Rising domestically-generated inflation limits the MPC's options.
The reported rebound in January retail sales was welcome, but the overshoot to consensus was matched, more or less, by the unexpected downward revisions to the December numbers.
In one line: Collapsing, despite no mandatory closures of construction sites.
Monthly manufacturing and retail sales data point to upside risk to the consensus expectation of 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q1 Eurozone real GDP growth. Advance country data indicate that industrial production was unchanged month-to-month in March, equivalent to a 0.9% increase quarter-on-quarter.
The underlying health of the construction sector isn't as poor as today's official output figures likely will imply. Nonetheless, growth in construction output, which accounts for 6% of GDP, probably won't return to the stellar rates seen in 2013 and 2014, and the sector can't be relied upon to provide much support to overall growth.
We expect July's consumer prices report, due on Wednesday, to reveal that CPI inflation dropped to 1.8% in July, from 2.0% in June.
This week's EZ construction report--data released on Wednesday at 11.00 CET--will close the book on the second quarter in the euro area economy, providing further evidence that private sector activity rebounded as lockdowns were lifted.
December's consumer prices report looks set to show that CPI inflation was stable at 1.5%--in line with the consensus--though the risks are skewed to the downside.
June's consumer price figures, released on Wednesday, probably will be overshadowed this week by data for May for GDP--see our detailed preview here--and the labour market.
Yesterday's economic data in Brazil suggest that retailers suffered in the second quarter, hit by the effect of the truckers' strike, but private consumption remains somewhat resilient.
Whatever happened to consumers' sentiment in March, the level of University of Michigan's index will be very high, relative to its long-term average.
Households remain the key driver of the cyclical recovery in the Eurozone. We have seen, so far, little sign that investment will be able convincingly to take over the baton if momentum in consumers' spending slows. The average rate of growth of investment since 2013 has been 0.5%, about two-thirds of the pace seen in previous cyclical upturns. Weakness in construction--about 50% of total euro area investment--has been one of the key factors behind of the under performance.
In one line: Horrible, and consumer confidence likely has further to fall.
The Andean countries were quick to implement significant measures in response to the initial stage of the pandemic, adopting a broad range of economic and social policies to ease the effects.
In one line: Boeing constrains Chicago PMI: Consumers happier, for now.
In one line: Housing surge continues, but consumers' confidence is fraying.
President Trump blinked again yesterday, delaying tariffs on some $150B-worth of Chinese consumer goods until December 15.
Brazil's retail sales data undershot consensus in August, falling by 0.5% after four straight gains. But we think this merely a temporary softening, following the strong performance in recent months.
Data released yesterday in Brazil are consistent with our view that private consumption will continue to drive the recovery over the second half, offsetting the ongoing weakness in private investment.
In one line: Stable; consumers still fear high unemployment.
In one line: Held up by soaring inflation expectations.
In one line: Marginally better in manufacturing; upturn in consumer sentiment halted, for now.
In one line: French consumers roared back mid-way through Q2; deflation ahead for the CPI?
The second estimate of Eurozone GDP confirmed that the economy grew 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in the final three months of last year, up slightly from 0.2% in the third quarter. Gross fixed capital formation and household consumption both rose 0.4%, but the improving trend in euro area GDP growth is almost exclusively driven by consumer spending.
We're expecting to see the sixth straight drop in initial jobless claims this week, though we think the 2,500K consensus forecast is too ambitious.
In one line: EZ construction is stalling.
The consumer in Brazil was off to a strong start to the first quarter, and we expect household spending will continue to boost GDP growth in the near term.
In one line: Don't panic over the dip in consumer sentiment; net trade likely lifted Q4 GDP growth.
People don't like to see the value of their portfolios decline, and it is just a matter of time before the benchmark measures of consumer sentiment drop in response to the 7% fall in the S&P since mid-August. Sometimes, movements in stock prices don't affect the sentiment numbers immediately, especially if the market moves gradually. But the drop in the market in August was rapid and dramatic, and gripped the national media.
Economic activity data in Chile have been soft and uneven this year, due mainly to the hit from low commodity prices and uncertainty surrounding the reform agenda, which has badly damaged consumer and investor sentiment. The latest Imacec index, a proxy for GDP, increased just 1.7% year-over-year in October, down from the 2.7% gain in September, and below the 2.2% average seen during Q3 as a whole.
We have two competing explanations for the unexpected leap in November payrolls. First, it was a fluke, so it will either be revised down substantially, or will be followed by a hefty downside correction in December.
Mortgage applications have risen, net, over the past couple of months, despite the 70bp surge in 30-year mortgage rates since the election. Indeed, we'd argue that the increase in applications is a result of the spike in rates, because it likely scared would-be homebuyers, triggering a wave of demand from people seeking to lock-in rates, fearing further increases.
Consumer spending has been the main locomotive of the economic recovery over the last couple of quarters, as investment and net trade have dragged on growth. Signs are emerging, however, that consumption is slowing too.
Retail sales have lost steam over the past couple of months, even if you look through the headline gyrations triggered by swings in auto sales and gasoline prices.
Household sentiment in Mexico continues to improve, consistent with tailwinds from low inflation, accommodative monetary policy, and the improving labor market. The consumers confidence index rose to 94.7 in June from 92.0 in May, with four of the five components improving, especially big-ticket purchasing expectations and expectations for the economy.
Consumer sentiment in Mexico continues to improve, consistent with tailwinds from the relatively strong labour market and the president's rising approval ratings.
In our Friday Monitor, we came to the conclusion that prescriptions arising from Modern Money Theory have been designed primarily with the U.S. in mind.
Our below-consensus 125K forecast for today's February payroll number is predicated on two ideas.
In one line: Only a modest Q3 rebound for consumption in France?
In one line: A slow start to Q4 for the consumer; headline inflation is now rising.
In one line: Lukewarm ... but still consistent with decent growth in spending.
In one line: Soft, but still consistent with solid growth in consumption.
In one line: Core inflation is overshooting; construction set to remain soft in Q4.
In one line: The French consumer looks o.k.; in Germany, surveys now point to slower growth.
In one line: French consumers' spending was slowing before the virus-hit.
In one line: Consumers on track for a solid Q2; services inflation on the rebound?
In one line: Core inflation will fall back this month; construction jumped in Q1, but a setback looms in Q2.
Construction accounted for the entire 1.1% quarter-to- quarter expansion of the Korean economy in Q1, but the sector is now set to slow.
Evidence of a modest upturn in Brazilian consumers' spending continues to mount. Retail sales rose 1.0% month-to-month in April, pushing the year-over-rate up to +1.9%, from an upwardly-revised -3.2% in March.
In one line: Still too early to take the core CPI at face value; construction collapsed during lockdown.
In one line: French consumers' spending crumbled under Covid-19.
In one line: A good start to Q3 for French consumers; German inflation likely fell in August.
In one line: Rebound in the CPI confirmed; the rebound in construction will be short-lived, but Q4 now looks solid overall.
In one line: Covid-19 finally hits EZ consumer sentiment; worse is to come.
It's unrealistic to have a repeat of the second quarter's 4.2% leap in consumers' spending as your base case for the third quarter. It's not impossible, though, given the potential for the saving rate to continue to decline, and the apparently favorable base effect from the second quarter.
In one line: EZ construction is plummeting; ZEW is euphoric.
We have questioned the reliability of the recent consumer confidence numbers, and are very skeptical of their signal that spending is set to accelerate rapidly, but we see no real sign yet of any significant reversal of the post-election spike.
Consumer sentiment data yesterday from the major economies were mixed, signalling that support to Eurozone GDP growth from surging German household consumption is waning. The key "business outlook" index--which correlates best with spending--plunged to a 30-month low in October, while the advance GfK sentiment index dipped to 9.4 in November from 9.6 in October. We see little signs in retail sales data of slowing momentum, and also think consumers' spending rebounded in Q3. But our first chart shows that the fall in the GfK index implies clear downside risks in coming quarters.
Markets tend to ignore Eurozone construction data, but we suspect today's report will be an exception to that rule. Our first chart shows that we're forecasting a 8.5% month-to-month leap in February EZ construction output, and we also expect an upward revision to January's numbers.
Lending conditions in the EZ economy continued to improve in Q1, according to the ECB's bank lending survey. Business and consumer credit supply conditions eased, but mortgage lending became more difficult to come by as standards tightened sharply in Germany, France, and the Netherlands. Demand for new loans also rose, but the increase was due entirely to gains in the mortgage and consumer credit components.
The Japanese government's plan to smooth out the consumption cliff-edge generated by October's sales tax hike is either going too well, or consumers now are facing fundamental headwinds.
The upward revisions to real consumers' spending in the fourth quarter, coupled with the likelihood of a hefty rebound in spending on utility energy services, means first quarter spending ought to rise at a faster pace than the 2.2% fourth quarter gain. Spending on utilities was hugely depressed in November and December by the extended spell of much warmer-than-usual weather.
Markets reacted strongly to yesterday's consensus-beating data, with the ISM manufacturing survey drawing most of the attention as the industrial recession thesis took another body blow. But we are more interested in the strong construction spending data for January, which set the first quarter off on a very strong note.
Data yesterday suggest Eurozone consumers' spending rebounded towards the end of Q4. Retail sales rose 0.3% month-to-month in December, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 1.4%, from a revised 1.6% in November. A +0.3 percentage point net revision to the month-to-month data added to the optimism, but was not enough to prevent a slowdown over the quarter as a whole.
The revival in the construction sector is slowing on all fronts as the fiscal squeeze intensifies, business confidence fades and the recovery in housebuilding loses momentum. These headwinds are likely to ensure that construction output only holds steady this year, thereby contributing to the broader economic slowdown.
One of the most surprising features of the economic recovery has been that households have not responded to the surge in house prices by releasing housing equity to fund consumption. Housing equity rose to 4.2 times annual disposable incomes in 2015, up from 3.7 in 2012. It has more than doubled over the last two decades.
Consumers' demand for cars slowed in the Eurozone at the end of the second quarter. New car registrations in the euro area rose 3.0% year-over-year in June, slowing dramatically from a 10.3% rise in May.
The recent sell-off in Treasuries has not yet reached significant proportions.
Data on EZ consumption were soft while we were enjoying our Christmas break. The advance EC consumer confidence index slipped to a three-year low of -8.1 in December, from -7.2 in November, breaking its recent tight range.
July's consumer price figures--published on August 15th, while we are on vacation--look set to show that June's drop in CPI inflation was just a blip. We think that CPI inflation ticked up to 2.7% in July, from 2.6% in June, on track to slightly exceed 3% toward the end of this year.
The Q1 Tankan survey headlines were close to our expectations, chiming with our call for year-over-year contraction in Japanese GDP of at least 2%, after the 0.7% decline in Q4.
Perhaps the single strongest U.S. economic data series in recent months has been construction spending, which has risen by more than 1%, month-to-month, in four of the past five months.
We have revised up our second quarter consumption forecast to a startling 4.0% in the wake of yesterday's strong June retail sales numbers, which were accompanied by upward revisions to prior data.
Earlier this week the New York Times bleakly suggested--see here--that people in Italy are too depressed to care about this weekend's parliamentary elections.
Markets weren't impressed by the sub-consensus consumption numbers for April, reported yesterday, but the undershoot was all in the we ather-related utility component, where spending plunged 5.1% month-to-month. The process of post-winter mean reversion is now complete.
The single most important number in the housing construction report is single-family permits, because they lead starts by a month or two but are much less volatile.
Production in the EZ construction sector slumped at the end of Q4. Data yesterday showed that output slid by 3.1% month-to-month in December, comfortably reversing the 0.7% increase in November.
We expect April's consumer price figures, due on Wednesday, to show that CPI inflation leapt to 2.3%, from 1.9% in March, exceeding the MPC's 2.2% forecast in the latest Inflation Report.
Construction in the EZ stumbled at the start of the year.
Promises of new money to facilitate construction on public sector land from the Chancellor and the pick-up in the construction PMI have fostered optimism that the sector's downturn is over.
The recent increases in single-family housing construction are consistent with the rise in new home sales, triggered by the substantial fall in mortgage rates over the past year.
Construction in the Eurozone had a decent start in the third quarter. Output rose 0.5% month-to- month in July, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 1.9% from 2.8% in June.
We still don't have the complete picture of what happened to the EZ construction sector in Q2, but we have enough evidence to suggest that it rolled over.
August's retail sales figures, released today, look set to show that growth in consumers' spending has remained subpar in Q3, casting doubt over whether the MPC will conclude that the economy can cope with a rate hike this year.
We have argued for some time that investors began much too soon to look for stronger consumption in the wake of the drop in gasoline prices. Typically, turning points in gas prices trigger turning points in the rate of growth of retail sales with a lag of six or seven months.
The Eurozone construction sector ground to a halt at the start of 2017. Data on Friday showed that output plunged 2.3% month-to-month in January, pushing the year-over-year rate down to -6.0%, from a revised +3.0% in December. The weakness was broad-based across the major economies, but it was concentrated in France and Spain where output fell by 3.5% and 3.8%, respectively.
The rate of growth of Brazil consumers' spending is perhaps beginning to stabilize, though at a very low pace. Core retail sales volumes were flat in Q4 after a 2.7% contraction in Q3, and sentiment data suggest this improving trend should continue, at least in the very near term.
We were happy to see upside surprises from both sides of the domestic economy yesterday, but we doubt that the August readings from both the Conference Board's consumer confidence survey and the Richmond Fed business survey can hold.
Construction in the euro area stumbled at the end of last year. Output fell 0.2% month-to-month in December, but the year-over-year rose to 2.4%, from a revised 1.6% in November.
Expectations that the MPC will cut Bank Rate at its meeting on January 30 received a further shot in the arm at the end of last week, when December's retail sales figures were released.
Yesterday's EZ construction data confirmed that capex in the building sector plunged in the second quarter. Construction output fell 0.5% month-to-month in May, pushing the year-over-year rate up trivially to -0.8%, from a revised -1.0% in April. Our forecast for construction investment in Q2 is not pretty, even after including our assumption that production rebounded by 0.5% month-to-month in June.
The vote in the House of Commons today on whether MPs should effectively take control of Brexit negotiations, if Theresa May can't strike a deal by mid-January, looks finely balanced.
We continue to see signs of a strengthening upturn in Eurozone construction. Output in construction rose 0.3% month-to-month in April, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 3.2%, from an upwardly revised 3.8% in March.
The Fed's strategic view of the economy and policy has not changed since last December, when it first said that "The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run.
The market for new cars in the Eurozone remained red-hot last month. New registrations surged 18.4% year-over-year in May, up from a 9.4% rise in April, and pushing the 12-month average level of registrations to a post-crisis high of 843K units. Accelerating growth in Italy and France was the key driver.
The Eurozone construction sector took a step back at the end of Q1, but only temporarily. Construction output fell 1.1% month-to-month in March, after a revised 5.5% jump in February. The year-over-year rate slipped to +3.6%, from a two-year high of 5.5% in February.
Evidence of slowing growth in Brazil consumers' spending continues to mount.
Demands that Germany pay reparations from the Second World War, and the apparently deteriorating relationship between Messrs. Varoufakis and Schauble, have further complicated talks between the Eurogroup and Greece in recent weeks.
China's two-tier post-lockdown economic revival continued in April. Industrial production beat expectations easily, rising by 3.9% year-over-year, after slipping by 1.1% in March.
Inflation pressures in LatAm are moderating, and governments have been taking steps to pursue fiscal consolidation. These factors, coupled with a relatively favourable external environment, are providing policymakers with the opportunity to start relaxing monetary policy.
Growth in new EZ car sales remained brisk last month, growth slowed in Q3. New registrations rose 9.4% year-over-year in September, marginally lower than the 9.6% increase in August. Growth in France fell most, sliding to 2.5% from 6.7% in August, but sales in Germany picked up to 9.4%, from 8.3%.
In the wake of the September retail sales report, we can be pretty sure that real consumers' spending rose at a 2¾% annualized rate in the third quarter, slowing from the unsustainable 4.3% jump. That would mean consumption contributed 1.9 percentage points to headline GDP growth.
We expect August's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, to reveal that CPI inflation dropped to 1.8% in August, from 2.1% in July, thereby undershooting the consensus, 1.9%.
Growth in new EZ car registrations slowed last month, but the data continue to tell a story of strong consumer demand for new cars. New registrations in the euro area rose 6.9% y/y in June, down from a 16.9% jump in May, mainly due to slowing growth in France. New registrations in the euro area's second largest economy rose a mere 0.8% year-over-year, after a 22% surge in May.
Yesterday's November EZ construction data offered little respite to the gloomy outlook for the Q4 GDP headline.
Today's economic data will add to the evidence that construction in the Eurozone slowed in the first quarter.
Spain heads to the polls on Sunday, but unlike the chaos that descended on Europe following Greece's elections earlier this year, we expect a market-friendly outcome. The key political story likely will be the end of the two-party system, as polls indicate neither of the two largest mainstream parties--Partido Popular and PSOE--will be able to form a majority. Markets' fears have been that the fall of the established parties would allow anti-austerity party, Podemos, to lead a confrontation with the EU, but this looks very unlikely.
Consumer confidence surveys have risen since the elections to levels consistent with very rapid growth in real spending.
Mortgage applications appear to have recovered from their reported February drop, which was due mostly to a very long-standing seasonal adjustment problem
Our forecast that CPI inflation will return to the 2% target by the end of 2018 sets us apart from the MPC and consensus, which expect a more modest decline, to 2.4%.
We became more confident last week in our call that GDP growth will hold up better than widely feared in the first half of 2019, following signs that consumers have maintained their happy-go-lucky mentality, despite the ongoing political crisis.
Fourth quarter construction activity in the Eurozone was much better than in Q3, despite a dip in December. Output fell 0.6% month-to-month in the final month of the year, pushing the year-over-year rate down to -0.4% from a revised 0.3% in November.
The PBoC probably will start soon to run modestly easier monetary policy, but conditions have been tightening consistently for over a year, so a slowdown in economic growth likely is already locked in.
If we're right in our view that the strength of the dollar has been a major factor depressing the rate of growth of nominal retail sales, the weakening of the currency since January should soon be reflected in stronger-looking numbers. In real terms--which is what matters for GDP and, ultimately, the lab or market--nothing will change, but perceptions are important and markets have not looked kindly on the dollar-depressed sales data.
The construction sector in the Eurozone probably stumbled in March. Advance data for the major economies suggest that output fell 1.2% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 1.6% from 2.4% in February.
Today's construction data in the Eurozone will inject a dose of optimism amid the series of poor economic reports at the start of Q2.
June's retail sales figures provided a timely reminder that consumers aren't being haunted by the warnings of the damage that a no -deal Brexit would entail.
Demand for new cars in the Eurozone bounced back strongly last month. Accelerating growth in the major economies lifted new registrations by 14.6% year-over-year in February, up from a 6.8% increase in January. Surging growth in Italy was a key driver, with new registrations jumping 27.3%, up from an already sizzling 17.4% in January.
The construction sector in the Eurozone remains moribund. Output fell 0.4% month-to-month in September, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 1.8% from a revised 1.4% fall in August. Declines were recorded in France, Germany, and Italy, with a small increase in Spain. These data could, in theory, lead to revisions in the final Q3 Eurozone GDP data released December 8th, but we very much doubt they will move the needle. Our first chart shows the relationship between construction and GDP growth has broken down since the crisis.
Construction data in the Eurozone usually don't attract much attention, but today's July report will provide encouraging news, compared with recent poor manufacturing data. We think construction output leapt 2.1% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 2.3%, from 0.7% in June. This strong start to the third quarter was due mainly to a jump in non-residential building activity in France and Germany.
The upturn in the Eurozone construction sector likely paused in Q3. Yesterday's August report showed that output fell 0.2% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-year rate down to +1.6%, from a revised +2.8% in July.
The closer we look at the data, the more convinced we become that the rollover in CPI physicians' services prices, which has subtracted nearly 0.1% from core CPI inflation since January, is a response to sharply higher Medicare part B premiums, especially for new enrollees.
Yesterday's ECB bank lending survey suggests that credit conditions remain favourable for the EZ economy. Credit standards eased slightly for business and mortgage lending and were unchanged for consumer credit.
In the short-term, all the housing data are volatile. But you can be sure that if the recent pace of new home sales is sustained, housing construction will rise.
October's retail sales figures confirm that consumers have adopted a more cautious mindset since the summer, when retail sales increased at a faster rate than incomes.
It would be a serious mistake to conclude from July's retail sales figures that consumers' spending will be immune to the fallout of the Brexit vote. Households have yet to endure the hiring freeze and pay squeeze indicated by surveys of employers, or the price surge signalled by sterling's sharp depreciation. The real test for consumers' spending lies ahead.
The consensus for retail sales volumes to rise by a mere 0.3% month-to-month in November, after falling by 0.4% in September and 0.5% in Oc tober, looks too downbeat.
January's retail sales figures, released today, look set to indicate that consumers are keeping the recovery going, amid deteriorating business sentiment and faltering external trade.
Judging by the monthly production data, construction in the Eurozone slowed sharply in the second half of 2018.
Data today will show that the EZ construction sector finished 2017 on a decent note.
The construction sector remains a stand-out performer in the Eurozone economy, despite stumbling at the end of Q2.
EZ households' demand for new cars was off to a strong start in 2017. Car registrations in the euro area jumped 10.9% year-over-year in January, accelerating from a 2.1% rise in December. We have to discount the headline level of sales by about a fifth to account for dealers' own registrations. Even with this provision, though, the January report was solid. Growth rebounded in France and Germany, and a 27.1% surge in Dutch car registrations also lifted the headline. We think car registrations will rise about 1.5% quarter-onquarter in Q1, rebounding from a weak Q4. But this does not change the story of downside risks to private spending.
Consumers' spending in Mexico was relatively resilient at the end of Q1, but we think it will slow in the second quarter. Data released this week showed that retail sales rose a strong-looking 6.1% year-over-year in March, well above market expectations, and up from 3.6% in February.
When Fed Chair Powell said last week that the "surprise" weakness in the official retail sales numbers is "inconsistent with a significant amount of other data", we're guessing that he had in mind a couple of reports which will be updated today.
Looking beyond the potential hit from the lockdown in North Rhine-Westphalia, German consumer sentiment is improving steadily.
Hong Kong delivered a resounding landslide victory to pro-Democracy parties in district council elections over the weekend.
The Conservatives have continued to gain ground over the last week, with support averaging 43% across the 13 opinion polls conducted last week, up from 41% in the previous week.
Korean real GDP growth rebounded to 1.1% quarter-on-quarter in Q1, after GDP fell 0.2% in Q4. Growth in Q4 was hit by distortions, thanks to a long holiday in October, which normally falls in September.
Output in EZ construction rebounded sharply in February, erasing a slip at the start of the year.
Economic news in the Eurozone, and virtually everywhere else, has been mostly downbeat in the past few months, but French consumers are doing great.
On the face of it, the timing of the drop in the E.C.'s measure of consumers' confidence, to its lowest level since July 2016 in April, is peculiar.
The slowdown in retail sales in the first quarter and the recent pick-up in the number of retailers seeking protection from creditors begs the question: are consumers retrenching, or just spending their money elsewhere?
The minutes of the Banxico's monetary policy meeting on February 7, when the board unanimously voted to keep the reference rate on hold at 8.25%, were consistent with the post-meeting statement.
A downbeat French INSEE consumer sentiment report yesterday continued the run of poor survey data this week. The headline index fell to 95 in February from 97 in January, indicating downside risk f or Q1 consumers' spending. But we remain optimistic that private consumption will rebound solidly, following a 0.4% quarter-on-quarter fall in Q4.
Eurozone consumers' spending jumped in Q2, but we are pretty certain that a slowdown in retail sales constrained growth in Q3.
Markets cheered soaring business surveys in the Eurozone earlier this week, and recent consumer sentiment data also have been cause for celebration. The advance GfK consumer confidence index in Germany rose to a record high of 10.4 in June, from 10.2 in May.
Improving consumer fundamentals continue to underpin growth in private spending in Mexico, according to retail sales and inflation reports published this week. March retail sales were much stronger than expected, jumping 3.0% month-to-month, after averaging gains of 0.8% in the preceding three months. And sales for the three months through February were revised up marginally.
Recent consumer confidence numbers have been strong enough that we don't need to see any further increase. The expectations components of both the Michigan and Conference Board surveys are consistent with real spending growth of 21⁄2-to- 3%, which is about the best we can expect when real income growth, after tax, is trending at about 21⁄2%.
The ramifications of continued disappointing Asian growth, particularly in China, and its impact on global manufacturing, are especially hard-felt in LatAm.
The headline INSEE consumer confidence data in France have become unmoored from reality.
Yesterday's consumer sentiment data in the two major euro area economies were mixed, but they still support our view that a rebound in EZ consumption growth is underway.
Don't be alarmed by the second straight jump in consumers' inflation expectations, captured by the Conference Board's May survey, reported yesterday.
German retail and consumer sentiment data for March have been mixed this week, but broadly support our call that growth in consumption should pick up soon.
Whichever way you choose to slice the numbers, consumers' spending is growing much more slowly than is implied by an array of confidence surveys.
Data today will likely show that consumer sentiment in the Eurozone remains firm. In Germany, we expect a slight dip in the advance headline GFK confidence index to 9.8 in June, from an all-time high of 10.1 in May.
We think today's consumer sentiment survey in France will show that the headline index was unchanged at 94 in May. The survey's forward looking components have weakened modestly in recent months, due to declines in households' outlook for their financial situation and standard of living in the coming 12 months.
Yesterday's consumer confidence report in Germany was soft, in contrast to surging business sentiment data earlier in the week.
Yesterday's sole economic report in the EZ showed that consumer sentiment in Germany improved mid-way through the fourth quarter.
July's retail sales figures--the first official data for Q3--provided a reassuring signal that consumers can be counted on to drive the economy as the Brexit deadline nears.
The Conservatives successfully have defended their average poll lead over Labour of 10 percentage points over the last week.
China's annual "two sessions" conference is due to start on Sunday, with the economic targets for this year set to be made official over the course of the meetings.
Demand for new cars rebounded strongly last month, following the dip in October. Registrations in the EU27 rose 13.7% year-over-year in November, up from 2.9% in October, lifted mainly by buoyant growth in the periphery. New registrations surged 25.4% and 23.4% year-over-year in Spain and Italy respectively, while growth in the core was a more modest 10%. We also see few signs of the VW emissions scandal hitting the aggregate data. VW group sales have weakened, but were still up a respectable 4.1% year-over-year. This pushed the company's market share down marginally compared to last year. But sizzling growth rates for other manufacturers indicate that consumers are simply choosing different brands.
Last fall and winter, when the weather was warmer than usual--thanks largely to El Nino--construction employment rocketed. Between October and March, job gains averaged 36K, compared to an average of 20K per month over the previous year. When these strong numbers began to emerge, we expected to see a parallel acceleration in construction spending.
Brazil's economic activity data have disappointed in recent months, firming expectations that the Q1 GDP report will show another relatively meagre expansion.
Yesterday's consumer sentiment data provided further evidence of a strengthening French economy, amid signs of cracks in the otherwise solid German economy.
The surge in July core retail sales was flattered by the impact of the Amazon Prime Event, which helped drive a 2.8% leap in sales at nonstore retailers.
July's retail sales report signalled a good start to the third quarter but also implied that second quarter spending was stronger than previously thought. The upward revisions--totalling 0.5% for total sales and 0.4% for non-auto sales--were the biggest for some time, but we were not unduly surprised.
Last week's consumption releases were the first data from the real economy in the second quarter. In Germany, retail sales jumped 1.7% month-to-month in April, equivalent to a 1.0% rise year-over-year, an impressive start to the quarter. But our first chart shows that this still points to a moderate slowdown in Q2, consistent with mean-reversion following rapid gains in Q4 and Q1.
Mexican consumers started the third quarter strongly, supporting our relatively upbeat view for the economy in the near term. Private consumption represents about 70% of Mexico's GDP, one of the consumption shares in the EM world, so the strength of spending is hugely important.
Taken at face value, the GDP data continue to suggest that the Brexit vote has had no adverse consequences for the economy. The official estimate of quarter-on-quarter GDP growth in Q4 was revised up yesterday to 0.7%, from 0.6%. The revision had been flagged earlier this month by stronger industrial production and construction output figures.
Economic data in the Eurozone auto sector remain under the influence of the aftershock from the EU's new emissions regulation--WLTP-- introduced in September.
Dire warnings that the plunge in s tock prices would depress consumers' confidence and spending have not come to pass. It's too soon to draw a definitive conclusion--the S&P hit its low as recently as the 11th--but peoples' end-February brokerage statements are on track to look less horrific than the end-January numbers, provided the market doesn't swoon again over the next few days.
Brazil's central bank is finally decisively facing its demon, persistently high inflation. The eight-member policy board, known as Copom, decided unanimously on Wednesday to increase the Selic rate by 50bp to 12.25%, the highest level in more than three years, in line with the consensus.
The acceleration in real consumption over the past year reflects the upturn in real after-tax income growth. This, in turn, is mostly a story of falling gasoline prices, which have depressed the PCE deflator. Gross nominal incomes before tax rose 4.2% year-over-year in the three months to September, exactly matching the pace in the three months to September 2014. But real income growth, after tax, accelerated to 3.3% from 2.5% over the same period, as our first chart shows.
The Eurozone has come under the spotlight for its growing external surplus, but domestic households have been doing the heavy lifting for GDP growth in this business cycle. During the last four quarters, consumers' spending has boosted year-over-year GDP growth by an average of 1.0 percentage points, in contrast to a 0.4pp drag from net exports.
Friday's economic data added to the evidence of a Q1 rebound in EZ consumption growth.
The first look at real consumers' spending for the second quarter will be discouraging, at least at the headline level. We expect to see a 0.1% month-to-month decline in real consumers' spending in April, below the +0.1% consensus.
Data released on Monday showed that Chile's external accounts remained under pressure at the start of the year, and trade tensions mean that it will be harder to finance the gap.
October's retail sales figures, published last Thursday, extended the month-long run of near consistent downside data surprises.
Yesterday's report on October private spending in Mexico was downbeat, suggesting that consumption started the fourth quarter on a weak footing.
The markets' favorite story of the moment, aside from the Fed, seems to be the idea that overstretched corporate finances are an accident waiting to happen. When the crunch comes, the unavoidable hit to the stock market and the corporate bond market will have dire consequences, limiting the Fed's scope to raise rates, regardless of what might be happening in the labor market. We don't buy this. At least, we don't buy the second part of the narrative; we have no problem with the idea the finances of the corporate sector are shaky.
Consumer sentiment in the euro area has slipped this year, though the headline indices remain robust overall.
High interest rates and inflation, coupled with increasing uncertainty, put Mexican consumption under strain last year.
The softness of the headline September retail sales numbers hid a decent 0.5% increase in the "control" measure, which is the best guide to consumers' spending on non-durable goods.
The consensus forecast of a mere 0.3% month-to-month decline in retail sales volumes in December, following the 1.7% surge in November, looks far too timid. We anticipate a much bigger decline, about 1%, bringing volumes back in line with their underlying trend. We can't rule out a bigger fall.
We see considerable downside risk to the consensus forecast that GDP increased by 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, the same as in Q3.
We still don't have the complete picture of what happened to EZ consumers' spending in Q1, but the initial details suggest that growth acceleretated slightly at the start of the year.
If, like us, you have been cheered by the upturn in mortgage applications since November, you don't need to worry about the apparent drop in activity in the past couple of weeks. The numbers don't look great: The MBA's index capturing the number of applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase has dropped from a peak of 237.7 in the third week of January--ignoring September's spike, which was triggered by a regulatory change--to 213.3 last week.
Mexican consumers' spending improved toward the end of Q2. Retail sales jumped by 1.0% month-to-month in June, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 9.4%, from an already solid 8.6% in May. Still, private spending lost some momentum in the second quarter as a whole, rising by 2.5% quarter-on-quarter, after a 3.8% jump in Q1. A modest slowdown in consumers' spending had to come eventually, following surging growth rates in the initial phases of the recovery.
It's tempting to conclude from the recent decline in consumers' confidence that growth in real spending will continue to weaken over the coming quarters, from the already modest 1.8% year-over-year rate in Q3.
We think of recessions usually as processes; namely, the unwinding of private sector financial imbalances.
The weekly mortgage applications numbers have been wild recently, but our first chart shows that the trend underneath the noise is solid.
Eurozone consumer confidence remained at its low for the year at the start of Q3.
All the evidence indicates that growth in Eurozone consumers' spending is slowing. We think data today will show that the advance GfK consumer sentiment index in Germany was unchanged at 9.5 in April, but the headline index does not correlate well with spending. The "business expectations" index is better, and while it likely will increase slightly, our first chart shows that it continues to signal a slowdown in consumers' spending growth.
The political limbo in Italy currently appears to have three possible solutions, in the short term. The 5SM and Lega can try to form a coalition, again.
Mexico's private spending stumbled at the start of the second quarter. Retail sales fell 0.3% month-to-month in April after three consecutive increases, hit by an unexpected 1.6% drop in both supermarket and apparel sales, and a surprising 1.2% fall in food sales. In year-over-year terms, total sales rose 4.6% in April, down from 5.6% in March.
On the face of it, the surge in retail sales volumes in September suggests that the U.K. consumer is in fine fettle and can prevent the economic recovery from losing momentum as exporters struggle and government spending retrenches. But the underlying picture is less encouraging and consumers won't be able to sustain the recent robust growth in real spending when inflation revives next year.
Consensus forecasts expect further gains in this week's key EZ business surveys, but the data will struggle to live up to expectations. The headline EZ PMIs, the IFO in Germany, and French manufacturing sentiment have increased almost uninterruptedly since August, and we think the consensus is getting ahead of itself expecting further gains. Our first chart shows that macroeconomic surprise indices in the euro area have jumped to levels which usually have been followed by mean-reversion.
Japan will host the Olympics in 2020 and the preparatory surge in construction investment makes 2017-to-2018 the peak spending period.
The collapse in business activity and consumer confidence since the referendum has sealed the deal on policy easing from the MPC on Thursday. The Committee has cut Bank Rate by 50 basis points when the composite PMI has been near July's level in the past, as our first chart shows.
We're inclined to place little weight on July's E.C. Economic Sentiment Survey, which showed that consumers' confidence has picked up to its highest level since October 2016; see our first chart.
The Monetary Policy Committee chose to keep its options open in the minutes of this week's meeting, rather than signal as clearly as it did last year that interest rates will rise very soon.
The big story in global macro over the past 18 months or so has been the gigantic transfer of income from oil producers to oil consumers. The final verdict on the net impact of this shift--worth nearly $2T at an annualized rate--is not yet clear, because the boost to consumption takes longer than the hit to oil firms ' capex, which began to collapse just a few months after prices began to fall sharply. But our first chart, which shows oil production by country as a share of oil consumption, plotted against the change in real year-over-year GDP growth between Q2 2014 and Q2 2015, tells a clear story.
Yesterday's advance consumer sentiment index in the Eurozone confirmed the upside risks for consumers' spending in Q4. The headline index rose to a 17- year high of +0.1 in November, from -1.0 in October.
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on U.S. Consumer Confidence
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on U.S. Consumer Confidence
This week, Mexico's government unveiled its 2020 fiscal budget proposal.
Brazil's recession has been severe, triggered by the downturn in the commodity cycle, which revealed the underlying structural weaknesses in the economy. This set off an acute shock in domestic demand, but it has bottomed in recent months and we now expect a gradual recovery to emerge.
The bad news in German manufacturing keeps coming thick and fast.
Today's March CPI ought to provide further support for the idea that the trend rate of increase in the core index is running at about 0.2% per month, an annualized rate, if sustained, of about 2.5%.
Japan's labour cash earnings rose by 1.5% year-over- year in July, a strong result in the Japanese context, if it hadn't been preceded by the 3.6% leap in June.
As we reach our Sunday afternoon deadline, Hurricane Irma is pounding Florida's west coast with an intensity not seen since Andrew, in 1992.
Recent economic indicators in Mexico have been relatively positive.
November's inflation data in Mexico, showing a modest increase in the headline rate, have strengthened the case for further monetary tightening. But we stick to our long-standing view that the Board will leave rates at 7.0% on Thursday.
Oil prices remain sticky, poised to hover close to a four-year high for the rest of the year.
It's pretty easy to dismiss back-to-back 0.3% increases in the core CPI, especially when they follow a run of much smaller gains.
Yesterday's industrial production numbers in Germany were similar to Friday's confusing new orders data.
Monetary policy loosening over the last year implies that China's M1 growth already should be picking up.
Friday was a busy day in the Eurozone economy. The third detailed GDP estimate confirmed that growth was unchanged at 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, pushing the year-over-year rate down by 0.4 percentage points to 2.1%, marginally below the first estimate,2.2%.
The escalation in the U.S.-Chinese trade wars has understandably pushed EZ economic data firmly into the background while we have been resting on the beach.
EZ equity futures predictably fell out of bed as the news of the Trump victory gradually became clear overnight yesterday. The reaction was less violent than after the U.K. Brexit referendum, though, and Mr. Trump's balanced victory speech appears to have calmed nerves for now.
Advance country data suggest that EZ inflation fell less than we expected last month, though we are still looking for a significant undershoot in the August core rate.
Brazil's economic news this week remained bleak at the headline level, but some of the details were less terrible in than in recent months. Industrial production fell by a worse-than-expected 11.9% year-over-year in December, marginally up from the 12.4% drop in November.
Yesterday's national accounts showed that the downturn in the economy on the eve of the Covid-19 outbreak was sharper than first estimated.
Taken at face value, September's money supply data suggest that the economy is ebullient, quickly recovering from the shock referendum result. Year-over-year growth in notes and coins in circulation has accelerated to its highest rate since June 2002.
A rebound in quarter-on-quarter growth in households' spending in Q2, following the slowdown to just 0.2% in Q1, looks less likely following April's money data.
The entire 10.5% increase in personal income in April, reported on Friday, was due to the direct stimulus payments made to households under the CARES Act.
The pitiful 0.7% expansion of the economy in the fourth quarter is not, in our view, a sign of things to come. It is also not, by any means, a definitive verdict on what happened in the fourth quarter; the data are subject to indefinite revision. As they stand, the numbers are impossible to square with the 2.0% annualized increase in payroll employment over the quarter, so our base case has to be that these data will be revised upwards.
Households have been a rock of stability over the last two years, increasing their real spending at a steady rate of 1.8% year-over-year, while the rest of the economy collectively has ground to a halt.
Leading indicators all point to a solid August payroll number. Survey-based measures of the pace of hiring signal a 200K-plus increase, and jobless claims--a proxy for the pace of gross layoffs--are at a record low as a share of the workforce.
December's money data brought clear signs that the economy's growth spurt in the second half of 2016 is about to come to an abrupt end. Growth in households' money holdings and borrowing slowed sharply in December, and the pick-up in corporate borrowing shortly after the MPC cut interest rates and announced corporate bond purchases, in August, has run out of steam already.
The MPC was relatively bullish on the outlook for households' spending when it signalled its view, in February's Inflation Report, that the case for raising interest rates before the end of this year had strengthened.
Last week's official data unequivocally indicated that the Brexit vote has not had a detrimental impact on the economy yet.
The collapse in oil prices was the immediate trigger for the 7.6% plunge in the S&P 500 yesterday, but the underlying reason is the Covid-19 epidemic.
Friday was a busy day in the Eurozone. The final and detailed GDP report confirmed that growth in the euro area slowed to 0.2% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, from 0.4% in Q2, with the year-over-year rate slipping by 0.6 percentage points to 1.6%, just 0.1pp below the first estimate.
The government's decision to shelve plans to reopen primary schools fully later this month will ensure that GDP remains greatly below its precoronavirus level throughout the summer months.
Friday's economic data in the euro area provided the first piece of evidence of the slump in Q2 GDP, but added to the picture of a relatively resilient German economy.
The IBC-Br index, a monthly proxy for Brazil's GDP--rose 0.5% month-to-month in November, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 2.8%, from an upwardly-revised 3.1% in October.
In one line: The downtrend resumes, but take the headline with a pinch of salt.
In one line: Decent headline, even better details.
In one line: Soft headline, but the details were better.
In one line: Positive details, but Q2 as a whole will be grim.
In one line: Encouraging, but the details were mixed.
In one line: Upside risk to EZ core inflation today?
In one line: More poor Q2 data; EZ core inflation rebounds, but it is not going anywhere fast.
In one line: The smaller-than-expected reversal in the CPI; momentum in spending is now likely slowing.
In one line: Terrible.
In one line: No virus here.
In one line: Robust spending in France through Q3; the German labour market is rolling over.
In one line: Lockdowns hurt the economy, substantially!
In one line: Who are the new women, and man, at the top of the EU's hierarchy?
In one line: Terrible, but more-or-less as expected.
In one line: No letup for Germany.
In one line: Don't extrapolate low EZ inflation; both the headline and core will rise into year-end.
In one line: Solid.
In one line: Ignore; the collection period was pre-Covid-19 lockdown.
In one line: More to come.
In one line: Calamitous, but the core won't keep falling at this pace.
In one line: Still on track for a near-zero rate in Q3.
In one line: Core inflation was stable--maybe nudging up a bit--before the virus. Expect it to slow over the next few months
In one line: Rents and healthcare lift the core; they are the key risks for 2020
In one line: The last Covid-driven monthly drop in the core?
In one line: Mean-reversion in the core, but rent increases are slowing sharply.
In one line: Pick-up driven by volatile computer game prices; the headline rate has further to fall.
In one line: The end of imputation reveals significant inflation.
In one line: "Go To Travel" discounts cancel the non-core price lift.
In one line: Still overall robust.
In one line: Upwards and onwards.
In one line: A big leap towards zero by the summer.
In one line: The headline rate will remain sub-1% in the remainder of this year.
In one line: Rising services inflation strengthens the case against a rate cut.
In one line: Marginal decline a prelude to a big drop ahead.
In one line: The trend in goods spending is now rising; energy inflation rose further, but the core rate dipped.
In one line: Another soft headline at the start of Q4.
In one line: Disappointingly unchanged.
In one line: The first glimmer of light in the official data; more is coming.
In one line: Soft, but not a major shift in the key story.
In one line: The Eurozone was a bit better than the EU 28, but still poor overall.
In one line: No sales when showrooms are closed.
In one line: A very slow recovery is now underway.
In one line: Ugly, but mostly mean reversion from a leap in December.
In one line: Robust.
In one line: Great headlines, but households' longer-term outlook remains depressed.
In one line: The rebound is stalling.
In one line: The rebound strengthens, but the road back to normal is long.
In one line: Not pretty, but partly driven by volatility around government incentive schemes.
In one line: The rebound continues, but it is slowing.
In one line: Further evidence of a rebound, but slowly does it.
In one line: The rebound continues, but will the NRW lockdown reverse this trend?
In one line: Rebounding energy inflation masks weakness elsewhere.
In one line: A slow recovery is underway
In one line: Solid, but base effects flatter the headline.
In one line: French households are doing great.
In one line: Great headline, great details.
In one line: Still rising...
In one line: Solid, but the coronavirus is a threat for the rest of Q1.
No change; overall robust.
In one line: Like watching paint dry.
In one line: Biggest m/m increase since mid-2017; no kidding! No coronavirus here.
In one line: Still improving.
In one line: Ouch; not the best send-off for the Christmas holiday.
In one line: Weak, and Q2 as a whole likely will be bleak.
In one line: Solid numbers in Germany, but grim elsewhere.
In one line: Solid, but boosted by base effects.
In one line: Ugly, but it was well telegraphed by the advance data.
In one line: Old news, but great all the same.
In one line: Strong finish to Q3, but the quarter as a whole was poor.
In one line: Flatlining at the end of a weak quarter.
In one line: Fernández victory presages dramatic change in Argentina; but a balanced Congress gives slight room for optimism.
In one line: Sentiment remains resilient, but that won't last.
In one line: Hit by election-related indecision in the public sector; expect a recovery 2020.
In one line: A total collapse.
In one line: Low inflation entirely due to non-core components.
In one line: The election has given housebuilding a new lease of life.
In one line: A big step in the right direction.
In one line: Still weighed down by Brexit uncertainty, but next year should be better.
In one line: Starting to recover, but facing a long uphill journey.
In one line: A logical rebound, but builders are bracing for an incomplete recovery.
In one line: Still on track for a near-zero rate in Q3.
In one line: Pick-up driven by volatile computer game prices; the headline rate has further to fall.
In one line: Still hit be regulatory changes; demand should stabilise in 2020.
In one line: On course for a 15-to-20% shortfall in car sales in H2.
In one line: Brace for a year-long slump in sales.
In one line: A big leap towards zero by the summer.
In one line: Driven lower by the volatile airline fares and hotels components; expect a rebound in Q1.
In one line: Rising services inflation strengthens the case against a rate cut.
In one line: Marginal decline a prelude to a big drop ahead.
In one line: Could have been worse. Will be worse
In one line: Lifted by the stock market.
In one line: The calm before virus storm.
In one line: Core inflation is stable for now, but will rise in H1.
In one line: The last Covid-driven monthly drop in the core?
In one line: Thank the S&P.
In one line: Bottoming-out.
In one line: Could have been a great deal worse.
In one line: Sentiment supported by the July/August surge in stock prices.
In one line: Mean-reversion in the core, but rent increases are slowing sharply.
In one line: More to come.
In one line: Still solid, but vulnerable to the drop in stock price and virus fears.
In one line: The first clear virus hit in the macro data.
In one line: Sentiment is solid, but job openings are softening.
In one line: Still very solid overall, but auto buying plans weak.
In one line: The second wave has hit confidence.
In one line: Calamitous, but the core won't keep falling at this pace.
In one line: Housing still strong, but confidence data point to slowing spending growth.
In one line: Pent-up demand is starting to be released, but the underlying picture remains weak.
In one line: A recovery should emerge soon.
In one line: Ignore the downward impact of lower energy prices; DGI is rising.
In one line: Rising "underlying" services inflation points to the MPC retaining its tightening bias.
In one line: No case for cutting Bank Rate based on the outlook for inflation.
In one line: Crisis? What crisis?
In one line: Brace for a general election and a weaker pound.
In one line: Work is continuing to dry up as no-deal Brexit risk mounts.
In one line: The downturn is deepening, through a rapid rebound will emerge if no-deal Brexit risk subsides.
In one line: The wage-price link is firmly intact; the MPC's hands are tied.
In one line: The inflation outlook still does not warrant lower interest rates.
In one line: Surprisingly strong.
In one line: An inevitable pull-back after Q1's pick-up.
In one line: A worrying step change in the impact of Brexit uncertainty.
In one line: Probably still artificially low due to the original Brexit deadline.
In one line: Payback for the Brexit-related surge in Q1.
In one line: Downside surprise due to unsustainably low core goods inflation.
In one line: Still depressed by new testing procedures.
In one line: Brexit uncertainty is still hurting, but a boost from lower borrowing costs is coming.
In one line: Still struggling, but a recovery in 2020 is in sight.
In one line: The headline rate will remain sub-1% in the remainder of this year.
In one line: Strength reflects the release of pent-up demand, which soon will be sated.
In one line: The trend is softening; blame the trade war.
In one line: The end of imputation reveals significant inflation.
In one line: Overall stagnation masks sub-sector divergence.
In one line: The post-election recovery in confidence should support car sales soon.
In one line: Stalled; expect a slow restart.
In one line: Expect a rebound in the October core; too late to prevent a Fed easing this month.
In one line: Tariffs, labor costs, and tight rental home supply pushing up core inflation, plus some noise.
In one line: Both better than expected, but downside risk is not over.
In one line: Holding up, but for how much longer?
In one line: The downturn is accelerating; Brexit uncertainty still to blame.
In one line: Grim all round.
In one line: Details indicate that downside pressure is much less than headlines suggest.
In one line: Not yet an accelerating trend, but labor cost and tariff pressures are visible.
In one line: Looks bad, but the trend is not--yet--running at 0.3% per month.
In one line: The recovery is stalling, but retail sales don't care.
In one line: Deflation in Japan is looming, due to the collapse in oil prices
On the face of it, June's retail sales figures suggest that households have splurged in Q2, re-energising GDP growth after its slowdown in Q1. Sales volumes rose by 0.6% month-to-month in June, completing a 1.5% quarter-on-quarter jump in Q2.
Data released on Friday confirmed that Colombian activity lost momentum in Q4, following an impressive performance in late Q2 and Q3. Retail sales rose 4.4% in November, down from 7.4% in October and 8.3% in Q3.
The Andean economies haven't been immune to the turmoil roiling the global economy in the past few weeks.
On the face of it, Japanese GDP came thumping home in Q1, rising 0.5% quarter-on-quarter, after the 0.4% increase in Q4.
This is the final U.S. Economic Monitor of 2017, a year which has seen the economy strengthen, the labor market tighten substantially, and the Fed raise rates three times, with zero deleterious effect on growth.
Yesterday's economic data provided the first glimpse of the crash in EZ sentiment at the start of Q2, ahead of today's more substantial barrage of numbers, including French INSEE data, GfK confidence numbers in Germany and the advance PMIs.
After the strong Philly Fed survey was released last week, we argued that the regional economy likely was outperforming because of its relatively low dependence on exports, making it less vulnerable to the trade war.
Yesterday's barrage of survey data in France suggests that business sentiment in the industrial sector remained soft mid-way through Q4, but the numbers are more uncertain than usual this month.
In Friday's Monitor, we warned that Moody's would soon cut Mexico's credit rating; in a matter of hours, it was a done deal.
The BoJ kept all policy measures unchanged at its meeting yesterday.
Japan's Tankan survey continues to paint a picture of a contracting economy.
March auto sales were much weaker than expected, falling by 5.5% month-to-month to a 25-month low, 16.5M. The average for the previous six months was 17.8M. The sudden drop in March likely was driven in large part by the huge snowstorm which tracked across the Northeast in the middle week of the month, so we think a decent rebound in April is a good bet.
We think today's ADP private sector employment report for May will reflect the impact of the Verizon strike, which kept 35K people away from work last month, but we can't be sure. ADP's methodology should in theory only capture the strike if Verizon uses ADP for payroll processing--we don't know--but there's nothing to stop them from manually tweaking the numbers to account for known events. Indeed, it would be absurd to ignore the strike.
Last week's national accounts were a setback for the hawks on the MPC seeking to raise interest rates at the next meeting, on November 2.
Yesterday's economic data added further evidence that GDP growth in the EZ will slow in Q2.
This week economic data highlighted the severity of Brazil's economic recession and the huge challenges it will face next year to return to growth. The recession further deepened in the third quarter with the economic activity index--a monthly proxy for GDP--surprising, once again, to the downside in September. The index fell 0.5% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 6.2%, the steepest fall on record. The series is very volatile on a monthly basis, but the underlying trend remains grim.
Yesterday's headline economic data in the euro area were solid across the board, though the details were mixed.
It's going to be very hard for Fed Chair Powell's Jackson Hole speech today to satisfy markets, which now expect three further rate cuts by March next year.
Korea's preliminary Q4 GDP report was stronger than nearly all forecasters, including ourselves, expected.
The INSEE's manufacturing sentiment data in France are slightly confusing at the moment.
The preliminary estimate of a 0.5% quarter-on-quarter rise in GDP in the fourth quarter of 2015 was left unrevised, but that was the only nugge t of good news from yesterday's second GDP release. The expenditure breakdown hardly could have looked more troubling.
India's GDP report for the second quarter, due on Monday, will be a bloodbath.
The tumultuous political and economic crises in Brazil continue to feed off each other, grabbing most of the LatAm headlines. Sentiment will remain depressed, and volatility and uncertainty will persist, hampering any real signs of stabilization in the near-term. The Pacific Alliance countries, by contrast, managed to grow at relatively solid rates during the first half of this year, after absorbing the hit from falling commodity prices.
The slide in global long-term bond yields, and flattening curves, have spooked markets this year, sparking fears among investors of an impending global economic recession.
The preliminary estimate of GDP showed that the economy finished 2016 on a strong note. Output increased by 0.6% quarter-on-quarter, the same rate as in the previous two quarters. The year-over-year growth rate of GDP in 2016 as a whole--2.0%--was low by pre-crisis standards, but it likely puts the U.K. at the top of the G7 growth leaderboard. We cannot tell how well the economy would have performed had the U.K. not voted to leave the EU in June, but clearly the threat of Brexit has not loomed large over the economy.
Sterling has appreciated sharply over the last two weeks and yesterday briefly touched its highest level against the euro since May 2017.
The hefty upward revision to Q3 inventories means we have to lower our working assumption for fourth quarter GDP growth, because the year-end inventory rebound we previously expected is now much less likely to happen. Remember, the GDP contribution from inventories is equal to the change in the pace of inventory accumulation between quarters, and we're struggling to see a faster rate of accumulation in Q4 after the hefty revised $90B third quarter gain. Inventory holdings are in line with the trend in place since the recession of 2001; firms don't need to build inventory now at a faster pace.
If we had known back in June 2014 that oil prices would drop to about $30, the collapse in capital spending in the oil sector would not have been a surprise. Spending on well-drilling, which accounts for about three quarters of oil capex, has dropped in line with the fall in prices, after a short lag, as our first chart shows. We think spending on equipment has tracked the fall in oil prices, too.
The sharp decline in Mexico's leading indicators highlights the dramatic scale of the economic and financial hit from the coronavirus. High frequency data and the PMIs are the first numbers to capture the lockdown, and they signal that the services activity-- the bulk of Mexico's GDP--dropped sharply.
Sterling rallied to $1.25 last week--its highest level against the dollar since Boris Johnson became PM in mid-July--amid growing speculation that a Brexit deal still was possible in the next couple of weeks, enabling the U.K. to leave the E.U. on October 31.
China's September activity data, released at the end of last week, back up our claim that GDP growth weakened in Q3, on a quarter-on-quarter basis.
The 1.4% month-to-month rise in retail sales volumes in February is not a game-changer for the economy's growth prospects in Q1. The increase reversed just under half of the 2.9% decline between October and January. The 1.5% fall in retail sales in the three months to February, compared to the previous three months, is the worst result in seven years.
Mexico's retail sector is finally improving, following a grim second half last year.
Korean real GDP growth--to be published on Thursday--should bounce back in Q1 to 1.0% quarter-on-quarter, after the 0.2% drop in Q4.
Japan's CPI inflation jumped to 1.3% in August, from 0.9% in July.
For the record, we think the Fed should raise rates in December, given the long lags in monetary policy and the clear strength in the economy, especially the labor market, evident in the pre-hurricane data.
The Fed headlines yesterday carried no real surprises; rates were cut by 25bp, with a promise to take further action if "appropriate to sustain the expansion".
This week's wave of data starts today, but most of the attention will fall on just one report, February retail sales. We expect weak-looking numbers, thanks to the plunge in gas prices, which likely will subtract some 0.6% from the non-auto sales number.
Brazil's recession carried over into the middle of Q2, but with diminishing intensity in some economic sectors.
Upbeat survey data, a competitive MXN, and the strong U.S. manufacturing sector indicate that Mexican industry should be rebounding.
Brexit talks will dominate the headlines this week, with the focal point set to be a meeting of the European Council on Wednesday, where E.U. leaders might give the green light for an extraordinary summit next month to formalise the Withdrawal Agreement.
The Chinese activity data published yesterday were much weaker than expected; growth rates fell resoundingly. Did analysts really get it wrong, or is this just another example of erratic Chinese data?
The recent surge in equity prices is not a game- changer for the outlook for households' spending. Like last year, slowing growth in real disposable incomes and house prices will have a far greater impact on spending than rising paper wealth.
More evidence emerged yesterday of the fading impact of the severe winter on the data, in the form of the strength of the NAHB survey and the weakness of the headline industrial production number.
The Eurozone economy was resilient at the end of last year, but yesterday's reports indicated that growth was less buoyant than markets expected. Real GDP in the euro area rose 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, the same pace as in Q3, but slightly less than the initial estimate 0.5%.
Hard data for Brazil and Mexico, released last week, support the case for further interest rate cuts.
Brazil's economic situation has improved this year, and we still expect the recovery to continue over the second half, despite recent political volatility and soft Q2 data.
The surge in gasoline prices triggered by refinery outages after Hurricane Harvey came much too late to push up the August PPI, but gas prices had risen before the storm so the headline PPI will be stronger than the core.
Japanese PPI inflation continues to be driven mainly by imported metals and energy price inflation. Metals, energy, power and water utilities, and related items, account for nearly 30% of the PPI.
Chinese M2 growth was stable at 8.3% year- over-year in May, despite favorable base effects.
Unemployment in France remains high, but the trend is turning. The mainland rate of joblessness fell to a five-year low of 8.6% in Q4, and yesterday's employment report continued the good news.
Chile and Peru faced similar growth trends in 2018, namely, a solid first half, followed by a poor second half, particularly Q3.
Data released last week in Brazil reinforced our view of a modest, final, interest rate cut this week, despite the recent strength of the USD and volatility in global markets.
Swap markets currently price-in RPI inflation falling to 3.0% this time next year, from 3.2% in November, before recovering to 3.8% at the start of 2020.
Today's brings the June retail sales and industrial production reports, after which we'll update our second quarter GDP forecast.
Recession, rising unemployment and disinflation remain the main themes for economists in the context of charting the course of the Covid-19 crisis.
"Disappointing" is probably the word that most EZ equity investors would use to describe their market so far this year.
As we go to press, Mr. Draghi is set to give the opening remarks for the 2019 ECB central banking forum in Sintra, and later today, at 09:00 CET, the president delivers his introductory speech.
The Eurozone economy all but stalled at the start of Q4.
Colombia's GDP growth was a poor 1.6% year-over- year in Q4, down from 2.3% in Q3, despite the oil recovery and the COP's rebound since mid-year. GDP rose a modest 0.3% quarter-on-quarter, after a 0.8% increase in Q3.
This week sees the release of most of the key May surveys. The prospect of mean reversion following a very strong start to the year, coupled with the impact of recent market volatility, points to a modest loss of momentum, especially for surveys of investors.
Following our note yesterday about upside risks to wage growth and the question of how the Fed will respond, given their sensitivity to labor cost-push inflation risk in the past, we want to address a question raised by readers.
The imposition of 25% tariffs on $50B-worth of imports from China, announced Friday, had been clearly flagged in media reports over the previous couple of weeks.
The declines in headline housing starts and building permits in June don't matter; both were depressed by declines in the wildly volatile multi-family components.
Economic activity in Mexico during the past few months has been improving gradually, as external and domestic threats appear to have diminished.
Colombia's economy defied rising political uncertainty at the start of the year. Retail sales growth jumped to plus 6.2% year-over-year in January, up from -3.8% in December and -1.8% in Q4.
We were surprised by the weakness of the April housing starts report; we expected a robust recovery after the March numbers were depressed by the severe snowstorms across a large swathe of the country. Instead, single-family permits rose only trivially and multi-family activity--which is always volatile--fell by 9% month-to-month.
We are still waiting for the promised rebound in EZ car sales.
AMLO unveiled on Saturday Mexico's budget plan for 2019, calling for a moderate increase in spending, focused mainly on social programs, without raising taxes or the country's debt.
Yesterday's economic data provided further evidence that GDP growth in the EZ economy slowed in Q2.
Momentum in the EZ auto sector rebounded at the end of the second quarter.
Developments over the last month have heightened our concern about the near-term outlook for households' spending.
Today's preliminary estimate of Q3 GDP looks set to indicate that the Brexit vote has had little detrimental impact on the economy so far.
The slump in the Markit/CIPS services PMI in November to its lowest level since July 2016 provides the clearest indication yet that uncertainty about Brexit has driven the economy virtually to a stand-still.
Yesterday's detailed Q3 growth data in the Eurozone offered no surprises in terms of the headline.
The rise in the Markit/CIPS services PMI to a nine-month high of 51.4 in July, from 50.2 in June, isn't a game-changer, though it does provide some reassurance that the economy isn't on a downward spiral.
It's hard to overstate the geopolitical importance of Friday's assassination of Qassim Soleimani, architect of Iran's external military activity for more than 20 years and perhaps the most powerful man in the country, after the Supreme Leader.
October's Markit/CIPS services survey suggests that the PM's new Brexit deal has had a lukewarm reception from firms.
The final Monitor before our summer break is characterized by great uncertainty.
The PMI survey points to a slight loss of momentum in Eurozone growth towards the end of Q3. The composite index fell to 53.6 in September from 54.3 in August, trivially lower than the initial estimate of 53.9. This is not enough to move the needle on the survey's signal for Q3 GDP growth, though; our first chart shows it pointing to stable growth of 0.4% quarter-on-quarter.
We've always said that China's first weapon, should the trade war escalate, is to do nothing and allow the RMB to depreciate.
Headline GDP growth in Korea was revised down, to a seasonally-adjusted 0.6% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, from 0.7% in the preliminary report.
China's official non-manufacturing PMI rose further in May, hitting a four-month high of 53.6.
Colombia's BanRep stuck to the script on Thursday by leaving the policy rate on hold at 4.25%.
A general election this year now looks inevitable, after the defection of Phillip Lee MP from the Tories to the Lib Dems, and the PM's threat to seek an election if MPs take control of the Order Paper on Tuesday evening.
The Fed's unscheduled 50bp cut on Tuesday opens up some space for Asian central banks to follow suit.
Friday's economic data in Germany suggest that households had a slow start to the year.
Japan's Nikkei services PMI dropped to 51.0 in September from 51.6 in August, continuing the downtrend since June. For Q3 as a whole, the headline averaged 51.5, down from 52.8 in Q2; that's a clear loss of momentum.
Yesterday's economic reports in the Eurozone will rekindle the debate on hard versus soft data. The final composite PMI rose to 56.7 in September, from 55.7 in August, in line with the first estimate.
The jump in oil prices over the past two trading days eventually will lift retail gasoline prices by about 35 cents per gallon, or 131⁄2%.
Recent economic indicators in Mexico have been terrible. The worst of the recession seems to be over, but recent hard data have underscored the severity of the shock and made it clear that the recovery has a long way to go.
The trade-off between the timeliness and accuracy of the data is fundamental to macroeconomic analysis. Coincident data such as GDP, industrial production and retail sales are the most direct measures of economic activity, but their first estimates don't always tell the full story.
We're among a small minority of economists forecasting that GDP rose by 0.1% month-to-month in March.
New orders data released yesterday for Germany confirmed that weakness in the manufacturing sector remains a key challenge for the economy. Factory orders fell 2.4% month-on-month in November, equivalent to a 0.4% fall year-over-year.
In one line: "Go To Travel" discounts cancel the non-core price lift.
In one line: Non-core crosscurrents cancel each other out.
In one line: The lagged oil drag is now receding
In one line: Not a sign of an economic turnaround.
OPEC's decision at the weekend to turn the oil market into a free-for-all means that the rebound in headline inflation over the next few months will be less dramatic than we had been expecting. Falling retail gas prices look set to subtract 0.2% from the headline index in both November and December, and by a further 0.1% in January. These declines are much smaller than in the same three months a year ago, so the headline rate will still rise sharply, to about 1.3% by January from 0.2% in October, but it won't approach 2% until the end of next year or early 2017,
The release of October's GDP report on Tuesday likely will be overshadowed by campaigning ahead of Thursday's general election.
Data released last week confirmed that Mexico's economy stumbled in the first half of the year, hurt by a temporary shocks in both the industrial and services sectors, and heightened political uncertainty, due to policy mistakes at the outset of AMLO's presidency.
Colombia was the fastest growing LatAm economy in 2019, due mostly to strong domestic demand, offsetting a sharp fall in key exports.
The release yesterday of the weekly Redbook chainstore sales report for the week ended Saturday August 4 means that we now have a complete picture of July sales.
India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, yesterday held his last cabinet meeting before the general election.
The recent slowdown in labour cash earnings growth in Japan halted in September.
In Friday's Monitor we analysed the draft Japanese budget, as reported by Bloomberg. We suggested that the GDP bang-for-government-expenditure- buck is likely to be less than that implied by the authorities' forecasts.
Friday's GDP report likely will fuel concerns the economy has little underlying momentum. Granted, quarter-on-quarter growth probably sped up to 0.6% in Q3--exceeding the economy's potential rate--from 0.4% in Q2.
The news-flow in the Eurozone was almost unequivocally bad over the summer.
September's Markit/CIPS PMIs indicate that the economy still is stuck in a low gear.
In previous Monitors, we have outlined our base case that the direct impact of tariffs on Chinese GDP will be minimal this year.
The MPC likely will vote unanimously to keep Bank Rate at 0.75% on Thursday.
Media reports suggest that the underlying trends in retailing--rising online sales, declining store sales and mall visits--continued unabated over the Thanksgiving weekend.
May's E.C. Economic Sentiment survey was a blow to hopes that the six-month stay of execution on Brexit would facilitate a recovery in confidence.
The picture of the economy's recent performance will be redrawn today, when the national accounts are published.
Once again, MPs failed to coalesce around any way forward for Brexit in the indicative votes process on Monday.
We'd be very surprised to see a material weakening in today's March ISM manufacturing survey. The regional reports released in recent weeks point to another reading in the high 50s, with a further advance from February's 57.7 a real possibility.
The deadline for registering to vote in the general election passed on Tuesday, with a record 660K people registering on the final day.
CPI inflation last Friday gave Japanese policymakers a break from the run of bad data, jumping to 0.9% in April, from 0.5% in March.
Data and events have gone against the idea of further BoK policy normalisation since the November hike.
Retail sales in Mexico fell in Q4, but we think households' spending will continue to contribute to GDP growth in the first quarter, at the margin.
Mexican GDP plunged 17.1% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, according to the final report, close to the first estimate.
The ECB will receive most of the credit for the recent gain in stock markets, but the main leading indicator for the stock market, excess liquidity, was already turning up late last year. With the MSCI EU ex-UK up 21%, in euro terms, since October, a lot is already priced in, but in the medium term the outlook is upbeat, and we look for further gains this year.
Data released yesterday in Mexico highlighted the volatility in international trade resulting from the pandemic.
The Prime Minister's resignation and the stillborn launch of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill last week has forced us to revise our Brexit base case, from a soft E.U. departure on October 31 to continued paralysis.
The latest E.C. survey shows the gap between firms' and households' confidence levels has remained substantial.
The data in LatAm were all over the map while we were out.
The end of Korea's first Covid-19 wave, coupled with the government's economic support measures, has been a boon for the retail industry.
Today's October ADP measure of private payrolls likely will overshoot Friday's official number.
The widespread view, which we share, that GDP will rebound in Q2 following the disruption caused by bad weather in Q1, was supported yesterday by the E.C.'s Economic Sentiment survey.
Today's advance EZ CPI report likely will show that inflation pressures eased in May. We think inflation slipped to 1.5% year-over-year, from 1.9% in April, as the boost to the core rate from the late Easter faded.
The continued gradual rise in new confirmed cases of Covid-19 lends more weight to the idea that the economy already has reopened as much as possible while containing the virus.
Brazil's December industrial production and labour reports, released late last week, confirmed that the recovery was struggling at the end of last year.
India's GDP report for the fourth quarter surprised to the upside, with the economy growing by 4.7% year-over-year, against the Bloomberg median forecast of 4.5%.
Economic prospects in the Andes have deteriorated significantly in recent weeks, due mainly to the escalation of the trade war.
Yesterday's BoJ statement, outlook and press conference raised our conviction on two key aspects of the policy outlook.
The value of Japanese retail sales bounced back strongly in December, rising 0.9% month-on-month, after a 1.1% drop in November.
The Bank of England issued a statement yesterday that it is "working closely with HM Treasury and the FCA--as well as our international partners--to ensure all necessary steps are taken to protect financial and monetary stability".
April's money and credit figures show that relatively few firms suffered from a lack of liquidity at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis.
We're expecting ADP today to report a 10M drop in private payrolls in May, but investors should be braced for surprises, in either direction, because ADP's methodology is not clear.
The startling 5.5% drop in auto sales in March left sales at just 16.5M, well below the 17.4M average for the previous three months and the lowest level since February last year. A combination of the early Easter, which causes serious problems for the seasonal adjustments, and the lagged effect of the plunge in stock prices in January and February, likely explains much of the decline.
ADP's report that September private payrolls rose by 135K was slightly better than we expected, but not by enough to change our 150K forecast for tomorrow's official report.
Price action in Italian bonds went from hairy to scary yesterday as two-year yields jumped to just under 3.0%.
Yesterday's data in the French economy provided the final confirmation that growth remained sluggish in Q2, and showed that households had a slow start to the third quarter.
When Park Geun-hye came to power in Korea 2013, it was to cheers of "economic democratisation". At the time, I wrote a report with a list of reforms that would be needed for Korea to "economically democratise".
The slowdown in quarter-on-quarter growth in households' real spending to 0.4% in Q1--just half 2016's average rate--was driven entirely by a 0.1% fall in purchases of goods. Households' spending on services, by contrast, continued to grow briskly. Indeed, the 0.8% quarter-on-quarter rise in households' real spending on services exceeded 2016's average 0.5% rate.
The headline employment cost index has been remarkably dull recently, with three straight 0.6% quarterly increases. The consensus forecast for today's report, for the three months to December, is for the same again.
Colombia's second quarter GDP data, released Monday, revealed a dismal 2.0% year-over-year growth rate, down from 2.5% in Q1. GDP rose by a very modest 0.2% quarter-on-quarter, for the second consecutive quarter. The year-over-year rate was the slowest since the end of the financial crisis, but it is in line with our 2.1% forecast for this year as a whole.
Yesterday's advance Eurozone Q4 GDP report conformed to expectations. Headline GDP increased 0.6% quarter-on-quarter, slowing trivially from an upwardly-revised 0.7% rise in Q3, and nudging the year-over-year rate down marginally to 2.7%.
The Prime Minister achieved a rare victory yesterday, when the Commons passed the government-backed Brady amendment.
In our Monitor of January 10, we argued that the market turmoil in Q4 was largely driven by the U.S.- China trade war, and that a resolution--which we expect by the spring, at the latest--would trigger a substantial easing of financial conditions.
The release of pent-up Japanese consumer demand in June was emphatic, with retail sales values jumping by 13.1% month-on-month.
Downbeat sectoral data and weakening consumer spending numbers indicate that the Mexican economy remains in bad shape.
Today's balance of payments figures for the second quarter likely will underline that the U.K. has financed strong growth in domestic consumption by amassing debts with the rest of the world at a breakneck pace.
October's money data show that households and firms have regained the appetite for borrowing that they lost immediately after the referendum. But the recent rise in swap rates and the deterioration in consumers' confidence likely will cut short the revival in consumer lending, while persistent Brexit uncertainty likely will continue to subdue firms' investment intentions.
Yesterday's advance inflation data in Germany fell short of forecasts--ours and the consensus--for a further increase. Inflation was unchanged at 0.8% year-over-year in November, but we think this pause will be temporary.
The stage is set for the Fed to ease by 25bp today, but to signal that further reductions in the funds rate would require a meaningful deterioration in the outlook for growth or unexpected downward pressure on inflation.
French consumer confidence and consumption have been among the main bright spots in the euro area economy so far this year.
Yesterday's EZ manufacturing data were slightly underwhelming, at least compared to expectations.
Data released yesterday showed that gross fixed investment in Mexico started Q4 on a decent note, increasing on the back of healthy purchases of imported machinery and equipment and construction spending.
Economists are evenly split on December's consumer prices report, due on Wednesday, with half expecting CPI inflation to fall to 2.1%, from 2.3% in November, and the other half expecting a 2.2% print.
The EU's negotiations with the U.K. over Brexit are off to a bad start. The position in Brussels is that negotiations on a new relationship can't begin before the bill on the U.K.'s existing membership is settled. But this has been met with resistance by Westminster; the U.K. does not recognise the condition of an upfront payment to leave.
The clear message from the fourth quarter's national accounts, released last week, is that the economic recovery rests on unsustainable foundations. The U.K. has returned to bad habits and is financing expenditure today by borrowing. As this undermines future spending, it is only a matter of time before the U.K.'s recovery loses steam.
Japan's July adjusted trade surplus rebounded to ¥337.4B from ¥87.3B in June, far above consensus. On our seasonal adjustment, the rebound is slightly smaller but only because we saw less of a drop in June.
Yesterday's economic reports added to the evidence the euro area economy as a whole is showing signs of resilience in the face of still-terrible conditions in manufacturing.
Under normal circumstances, sustained ISM manufacturing readings around the July level, 54.2, would be consistent with GDP growth of about 2% year-over-year.
The Chancellor's decision immediately to spend all the proceeds from the OBR's upgrade to its projections for tax receipts appears to leave his plans exposed to future adverse revisions to the economic outlook.
The ONS published provisional new weights for the main components of the CPI on Tuesday. The changes boost our forecast for the average rate of CPI inflation this year by a trivial 0.03 percentage points.
The national accounts look set to show that GDP growth in the fourth quarter was even stronger than previously estimated. Earlier this month, quarter-on-quarter growth in construction output in Q4 was revised up to 1.2%, from 0.2%. As a result, construction's contribution to GDP growth will rise by 0.07 percentage points.
China's import growth in dollar terms slowed sharply to 4.5% year-over-year in December from 17.7% in November, significantly below the consensus forecast.
The recent narrowing of the Conservatives' opinion poll lead suggests that investors, particularly in the gilt market, now must consider other parties' fiscal proposals.
Defaults by Chinese companies have been on the rise lately. Most recently, China Energy, an oil and gas producer with $1.8B of offshore notes outstanding, missed a bond payment earlier this week. We've highlighted the likelihood of a rise in defaults this year, for three main reasons.
The biggest surprise in the revisions to first quarter GDP growth, released yesterday, was in the core PCE deflator.
Political volatility is a recurrent theme in Brazil. Six members of President Michel Temer's cabinet resigned last Friday due to allegations of conflict of interest on a construction deal. Rumours that President Temer was involved in the affair stirred up market volatility and revived political risk concerns
Yesterday's November inflation reports from Germany and Spain suggest that today's data for the Eurozone as a whole will undershoot the consensus.
The pressure on Theresa May from Brexiteers within her own party intensified yesterday, when 60 Conservative MPs signed a letter arguing that they could not back a proposal for a "customs partnership".
Survey data point to a very strong headline, 0.6%-to-0.7% quarter-on-quarter, in today's Q1 advance Eurozone GDP report. But the hard data have been less ebullient than the surveys. A GDP regression using retail sales, industrial production and construction points to a more modest 0.4% increase, implying a slowdown from the upwardly-revised 0.5% gain in Q4.
Modern Money Theory has come up at two consecutive BoJ press conferences.
Policymakers in Colombia last Friday took aim at inflation by hiking interest rates by 50 basis points to 7.0%. The consensus expectation was for a 25bp increase. BanRep's bold move, which came on the heels of six consecutive 25bp increases since November, took Colombia's main interest rate to its highest level since March 2009.
Last week's advance EZ GDP data for the first quarter suggest the economy shrugged off the volatility in financial markets. Eurostat's first estimate indicates that real GDP in the euro area rose 0.6% quarter-on-quarter in Q1, up from 0.3% in Q4, and above the consensus, 0.4%.
The CPIH--the controversial, modified version of the existing CPI that includes a measure of owner occupied housing, or OOH, costs--will become the headline measure of consumer price inflation when February's data are published on March 21.
The German inflation rate soared at the start of 2017, but it likely will fall in the next few months. Final February data yesterday showed that inflation rose to 2.2% in February, from 1.9% in January, consistent with the initial estimate. Since December, headline inflation in Germany, and in the EZ as a whole, has been lifted by two factors. Base effects from the 2016 crash in oil prices have pushed energy inflation higher, and a supply shock in fresh produce--due to heavy snowfall in southern Europe--has lifted food inflation.
The collapse in capital spending in the oil sector and poor construction spending have constrained aggregate Mexican industrial output in recent months, despite the strength of the manufacturing sector. Total production fell 0.1% year-over-year in January, though note this was a clear improvement after the 0.6% drop in December, and better than the average 0.4% contraction over the second half of 2016.
Don't worry about the weakness of the recent retail sales numbers. The three straight 0.1% month-to- month declines tell us nothing about the underlying state of the consumer.
Data released over the last few weeks have confirmed that Colombia's economic performance in Q2 was grim, adding weight to our below-consensus GDP forecast.
This week's economic reports have provided clear, and uplifting, evidence that EZ consumers came out swinging as lockdowns were lifted.
Korea's economy is shaping up largely in line with our expectations for the second quarter, with private consumption recovering, but exports and investment tanking.
After a week--yes, a whole week!--with no significant new developments in the trade war with China--it's worth stepping back and asking a couple of fundamental questions, which might give us some clues as to what will happen over the months ahead.
The Brazilian economy enjoyed a decent Q2, with GDP rising 0.2% quarter-on-quarter, despite the disruptions caused by the truck drivers' strike, after a 0.1% decline in Q1.
The massive hit from low oil prices, Covid-19 and President AMLO's willingness to call snap referendums on projects already under construction is putting pressure on Mexico's sovereign credit fundamentals and ratings.
We aren't materially changing our U.S. economic forecasts in the wake of the U.K.'s Brexit vote, though we have revised our financial forecasts. The net tightening of financial conditions in the U.S. since the referendum is just not big enough--indeed, it's nothing like big enough--to justify moving our economic forecasts.
February's money and credit figures supported recent labour market and retail sales data suggesting that consumers are increasingly financially strained. Households' broad money holdings increased by just 0.2% month-to-month in February, half the average pace of the previous six months.
The Conservatives' opinion poll rating has fallen dramatically over the last 10 days or so, pushing sterling down and forcing investors to confront the possibility that Theresa May might not increase her majority much from the current paltry 17 MPs.
The risk of a snap general election has jumped following Theresa May's resignation and the widespread opposition within the Conservative party to the compromises she proposed last week, which might have paved the way to a soft Brexit.
China's official PMIs for January, due out tomorrow, will give the first indications of how the economy started the year.
Markets' expectations for official interest rates have shifted up over the last fortnight, and the consensus view now is that the MPC will hike rates before the end of this year. As our first chart shows, the implied probability of interest rates breaching 0.25% in December 2017 now slightly exceeds 50%.
The recent spate of manufacturing business survey indices from Korea show that sentiment is deteriorating in the wake of its trade spat with Japan and the re-intensification of U.S.-China tensions.
The Fed's statement yesterday was unsurprising, acknowledging a "sharp" decline in economic activity and a significant tightening of financial conditions, which has "impaired the flow of credit to U.S. households and businesses."
Over the sleepy August holidays, a view has gained traction in the media that the U.K. economy is showing little damage from the Brexit vote. Optimists argue that the size and composition of the 0.6% quarter-on-quarter rise in Q2 GDP, the 1.4% month-to-month jump in retail sales volumes in July, and the slight dip in the unemployment claimant count demonstrate that the recovery is in good shape.
The surge in Covid-19 case and hospitalizations-- and, in due course, deaths--in some southern states since they began to reopen probably is not a sign of what is likely to happen as the populous states in the Northeast and Midwest reopen too.
On a headline level, the ECB conformed to expectations yesterday.
Data released yesterday confirm that Brazil's recovery has continued over the second half of the year, supported by steady capex growth and rebounding household consumption.
A further rise in the business activity index of the November Markit/CIPS report on services offset declines in the manufacturing and construction surveys' key balances. The composite PMI--a weighted average of three survey's activity indices -- therefore rose, to a level consistent with quarter-on-quarter GDP growth strengthening to 0.6% in the fourth quarter, from 0.5% in Q3. Nonetheless, we do not think this is a convincing signal that the economic recovery is regaining strength.
The rise in Markit/CIPS services PMI to 55.0 in March, from 53.3 in February, brings some relief that GDP growth has not stalled in Q1, following manufacturing and construction surveys that signalled near-stagnation.
Readers have asked us about the availability of flow-of-funds data in the Eurozone similar to the detailed U.S. reports. The ECB's sector accounts come close and cover a lot of ground, but are also released with a lag. We can't cover all sectors in one Monitor, but the investment data for non-financial firms, excluding construction, suggest that investment growth slowed last year.
The Brazilian consumer will continue to suffer from high interest rates and a deteriorating labour market this year. But sentiment data imply that the fundamentals are stabilising, at least at the margin. The headline consumer sentiment gauge, published by the FGV, has improved significantly in the past five months, and we expect another modest increase later this month
A range of indicators show that the pace of the economic recovery shifted up a gear in July, when all shops were open for the entire month, and most consumer services providers finally were permitted to reopen.
Consumers' spending in the Eurozone stalled at the start of Q4. Retail sales slid 1.1% month-to-month in October, pushing the year-over-year rate down to a four-year low of 0.4%, from an upwardly-revised 4.0% jump in September.
We have consistently flagged the likelihood that Japan's government would boost spending after the consumption tax hike was implemented.
Friday's final PMI data for March were even more terrifying than the advance numbers. The composite index in the euro area collapsed to 29.7, from 51.6 in February, lower than the consensus 31.4. A downward revision was coming.
The U.K. services sector has vanished overnight, following the introduction of tough restrictions on everyday life to stem the spread of Covid-19.
Economic conditions are deteriorating rapidly in Chile, despite the relatively decent Imacec reading for Q3.
Japan's monetary base growth slowed to just 4.6% year-over-year in February, from 4.7% in January, well below the 17% rate needed to keep the base expanding at a pace consistent with the BoJ's JGB quantity target.
Support in opinion polls for both the Conservatives and Labour has been increasing steadily.
Factory orders in Germany probably jumped in September, following a string of losses in the beginning of Q3. We think new orders rose 1.0% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-year rate slightly lower, to 1.8% from 2.0% in August. A rebound in non- Eurozone export orders likely will be the key driver of the monthly gain, following a 14.8% cumulative plunge in the previous two months. The rise will be concentrated in capital and consumer goods, and should be enough to offset a fall in export orders within the euro area. Our forecast is consistent with new orders falling 2.0% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, partly reversing the 3.0% surge in the second quarter, and raising downside risks for production in Q4.
August's Markit/CIPS services survey, released today, likely will show that the economy's biggest sector is continuing to slow. We think that the PMI fell to just 53.0--its lowest level since it plunged immediately after the Brexit vote--from 53.8 in July, below the consensus, 53.5.
Consumers' spending in the euro area weakened at the end of Q4, but we think households will continue to boost GDP growth in the first quarter. Data on Friday showed that retail sales fell 0.3% month-to-month in December, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 1.1%, from a revised 2.8% in November.
The run of above-consensus news on the U.K. economy came to an abrupt end last week, as a series of survey indicators for January took a turn for the worse. After six months of breathing space, the economic consequences of the Brexit vote are increasingly being felt.
Judging by interactions with readers in the past few weeks, fiscal policy is one of the most important topics for EZ investors as we move into the final stretch of the year.
The results of Sunday's parliamentary elections in Italy carry two key messages.
German manufacturing data continues to offer a sobering counterbalance to strong services and consumers' spending data. New orders plunged 1.7% month-to-month in September, well below the consensus, pushing the year-over-year rate down to a 1.0% fall from a revised 1.7% increase in August. These data are very volatile, and revisions probably will lift the final number slightly next month, but the evidence points to clear risks of a further decline in the underlying trend of production.
Political risks have been making an unwelcome comeback in the Eurozone in the past month. In Germany, last month's parliamentary elections--see here--has left Mrs. Merkel with a tricky coalition- building exercise.
Car sales were predictably weak in September, but they could have been a lot worse. Private registrations were down 8.8% year-over-year in the second most important month of the year.
Mr. Draghi was in a slightly more bullish mood yesterday, noting that the significant easing of financial conditions in recent months and improving sentiment show that monetary policy "has worked". Economic risks are tilted to the downside, according to the president, but they have also "diminished".
We think today's February payroll number will be reported at about 140K, undershooting the 175K consensus.
Late last year, China said it would scrap residency restrictions for cities with populations less than three million, while the rules for those of three-to-five million will be relaxed.
Real M1 growth is slowing, and financial conditions are beginning to tighten in the Eurozone, but shortleading indicators continue to signal firm momentum in the economy.
The economic calendar in Mexico was relatively quiet over Christmas, and broadly conformed to our expectations of poor economic activity in Q4.
November's monetary indicators provide an upbeat rebuttal to the swathe of downbeat business surveys. Year-over-year growth in the MPC's preferred measure of broad money--M4 excluding intermediate other financial corporations--rose to a 19-month high of 4.0% in November, from 3.5% in October.
We were right about the below-consensus inflation numbers for June, but wrong about the explanation. We thought the core would be constrained by a drop in used car prices, while apparel and medical costs would rebound after their July declines.
The apparently imminent imposition of 25% tariffs on imported steel and 10% on aluminum does not per se constitute a serious macroeconomic shock.
Our judgement that April was the low point for economic activity was challenged yesterday by the publication of results of the fifth wave of the Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey, conducted by the ONS between May 4 and 17.
Eurozone manufacturing selling prices remain under pressure from deflationary headwinds. The PPI index, ex-construction, in the euro area fell 4.2% year-over-year in March, matching February's drop. Weakness in oil prices continues to drive the headline.
The key story in Brazil this year remains one of gradual recovery, but downside risks have increased sharply, due mainly to challenging external conditions.
Peru is now in the grip of a severe political storm that is shaking the country's foundations and darkening the already fragile economic outlook.
The BoJ has no good options, and its leeway for changes to existing policy instruments is limited.
Households' decision to reduce their saving rate sharply was the main reason why economic growth exceeded forecasters' expectations in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.
India's consensus-beating GDP report for the first quarter wasn't much to write home about.
The economic calendar in Mexico was relatively quiet over Christmas, and broadly conformed to our expectations of resilient economic activity in Q4.
Brazil's consumer spending data yesterday appeared downbeat. Retail sales fell 2.1% month-to-month in December, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 4.9%, from -3.8% in November. This is a poor looking headline, but volatility is normal in these data at this time of the year, and the underlying trend is improving.
Data released last week confirm that Brazil's recovery has continued over the second half of the year, supported by steady household consumption and rebounding capex.
Eurozone GDP data last Friday suggest the cyclical recovery continued at the end of last year. Real GDP in euro area rose 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, the same as in Q3, lifted by growth in all the major economies. This was in line with the consensus forecast, but noticeably higher than implied by monthly industrial production and retail sales data.
It probably would be wise to view the increase in the ISM manufacturing index in December with a degree of skepticism. The index is supposed to record only hard activity, but we can't help but wonder if some of the euphoria evident in surveys of consumers' sentiment has leaked into responses to the ISM. That said, the jump in the key new orders index-- which tends to lead the other components--looked to be overdue, relative to the strength of the import component of China's PMI.
A cluster of surveys suggest that the manufacturing sector finished 2016 with a flourish, after a dismal performance for most of the year. But momentum will drain away from the sector's recovery in 2017, as higher oil prices make low value-added work unprofitable again and resurgent inflation causes domestic consumer demand to crumble.
While we were out, most of the core domestic economic data were quite strong, with the exception of the soft July home sales numbers and the Michigan consumer sentiment survey.
Data yesterday showed that consumers in the euro area increased their spending in February, following recent weakness. Retail sales rose 0.7% month-to-month in February, reversing the cumulative 0.4% decline since November. The year-over-year rate was pushed higher to 1.8% from an upwardly revised 1.5% in January.
The Conservatives' opinion poll lead continued to decline over the last week, suggesting that a landslide victory on Thursday no longer is likely. Indeed, the Tories' average lead over Labour in the 10 most recent opinion polls has fallen to just 6%, down from a peak of nearly 20% a month ago.
LatAm financial markets have performed solidly in the first sessions of the year, with most regional currencies trading more strongly against the USD.
The unexpected rise in CPI inflation to 2.1% in July--well above the Bank of England's 1.8% forecast and the 1.9% consensus--from 2.0% in June undermines the case for expecting the MPC to cut Bank Rate, in the event that a no-deal Brexit is avoided.
Fed Chair Powell yesterday said about as little as he could without appearing to ignore the turmoil in markets since the President announced his intention to apply tariffs to imports from Mexico: "We are closely monitoring the implications of these developments for the U.S. economic outlook and, as always, we will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near our symmetric 2 percent objective."
Wednesday's industrial production report in Brazil was terrible, despite overshooting market expectations.
Today's December international trade numbers could easily signal a substantial upward revision to fourth quarter GDP growth. When the GDP data were compiled, the December trade numbers were not available so the BEA had to make assumptions for the missing numbers, as usual.
July's consumer price figures, due tomorrow, likely will bring early evidence that sterling's Brexit-driven depreciation already is pushing up inflation. We think that CPI inflation picked up to 0.6% in July from 0.5% in June, exceeding the consensus forecast for an unchanged reading. Experience of past depreciations suggests that July's figures likely won't be the last time the consensus is surprised by the speed of the rise in inflation.
The relative strength of the investor and consumer confidence reports for March, released this week, signal a better outlook for the Mexican economy.
We have been telling an upbeat story about the EZ economy in recent Monitors, emphasizing solid services and consumers' spending data.
The Conservatives are rallying in the opinion polls, as their uncompromising line on leaving the E.U. by October 31, come what may, resonates with Brexit party supporters.
The advance indicators of July payrolls are wildly contradictory, so you should be prepared for anything from a consensus-busting jump to a renewed outright drop, in both Friday's official numbers and today's ADP report.
The forecasts compiled by Bloomberg for today's June German factory orders data look too timid to us. The consensus is pencilling in a 0.5% month-to month rise, which would push the year-over-year rate down to -2.1%, from zero in May. But survey data point to an increase in year-over-year growth, which would require a large month-to-month rise due to base effects from last year.
The startling jump in supplier delivery times in the June ISM manufacturing survey, to a 14-year high, was due--according to the ISM press release--to disruptions to steel and aluminum supplies, transportation problems and "supplier labor issues".
The Prime Minister is threatening to bring back her Brexit deal to the Commons for a third time before March 20, in a final bid to win over the rebels within the Tory party who want a harder Brexit.
It looks as though business and consumer confidence in Korea has brushed off the economic threat of the second Covid-19 wave.
This week's Mexican retail sales report for February offered more support to our view that domestic conditions improved at the end of Q1.
ECB board member Peter Praet fired the first shot across the markets' bow yesterday following this week's turmoil. Speaking to journalists in Germany, Mr. Praet noted "increased downside risk of achieving a sustainable inflation path towards 2%," and assured investors the current QE program is fully flexible, and can be readily adjusted in response to an adverse development in inflation expectations. We don't think, though, this is a pre -cursor for additional easing at next week's ECB meeting.
Eurozone bond traders of a bearish persuasion are finding it difficult to make their mark ahead of Italy's parliamentary elections next weekend.
Markets greatly cheered the Conservatives' landslide victory on Friday, but remained cautious on the potential for the MPC to return to the tightening cycle it started in 2017.
Central banks in Chile, Peru, and Mexico hogged the market spotlight last week. Chile left its main interest rate at 3.0% on Thursday, for the fourth consecutive meeting.
The squeeze on real wages has just ended and GfK's consumer confidence index hit a 11-month high in March.
Yesterday's labour market data delivered a further blow to hopes that consumers' spending will retain enough momentum for the MPC to press ahead and raise interest rates this year. The most striking development is the decline in year-over-year growth in average weekly wages to just 1.9% in December, from 2.9% in November.
The Chancellor used the Autumn Statement to shift the composition of the fiscal consolidation slightly away from spending cuts and towards tax hikes. But in overall macroeconomic terms, he changed little. The fiscal stance is still set to be extremely tight in 2016 and 2017, ensuring that the economic recovery will lose more momentum.
The market-implied probability that the MPC will cut Bank Rate at its meeting on January 30 jumped to 63%, from 44%, following the release of December's consumer prices report.
Korea's GDP growth in Q3 was a miss. Quarter- on-quarter growth was unchanged at 0.6%, below the consensus for a 0.8% rise.
Yesterday's IFO survey confirmed that the private business sector in Germany was off to a flying start in Q4. The headline business climate index rose to 110.5 in October, from 109.5 in September, lifted mainly by a rise in the expectations index to a 30-month high of 106.5.
January's retail sales figures look set to show that growth in consumers' spending remains stuck in low gear.
Forecasting the health insurance component of the CPI is a mug's game, so you'll look in vain for hard projections in this note.
The landslide victory by anti-austerity party Syriza in Greece this weekend will increase uncertainty in coming months. The coalition between Syriza and the Independent Greeks will prove a tough negotiating partner for the EU as both parties are strongly in favor of pushing the Troika to significant concessions on any future bailout terms this year.
We argued in the Monitor yesterday that the plunge in capital spending on equipment in the oil sector could cost about 300K jobs over the course of this year. Adding in the potential hit from falling spending on structures, which likely will occur over a longer period, given the lead times in the construction process, the payroll hit this year could easily be 500K, or just over 40K per month.
This week's economic data for the Mexican economy have been encouraging, especially for Banxico, which left its main interest rate unchanged yesterday at 3.0%. Inflation remained on target for the second consecutive month in the first half of February, and the closely-watched IGAE economic activity index--a monthly proxy for GDP--continued to grow at a relatively solid pace, despite the big hit from lower oil prices.
Today's huge wall of data will add significantly to our understanding of third quarter economic growth, with new information on consumers' spending, industrial activity, inflation and business sentiment. In light of the unexpected drop in the ISM surveys in August, we are very keen to see the Empire State and Philly Fed surveys for September.
Mexico's external accounts remain solid, despite adverse global conditions over the past year. The current account decreased to USD9.5B, or 3.2% of GDP, in the first quarter, just down from 3.3% a year earlier. Shortfalls of USD10.3B in the income account and USD4.7B in goods and services--mostly the latter--were again the key driver of the overall deficit.
Momentum in new EZ car sales improved slightly in the middle of Q3. New registrations in the euro area rose 6.8% year-over-year in August, accelerating marginally from a 5.3% increase in July.
The speculation is over: 3.283 million people filed a new claim for unemployment benefits last week, nearly double the 1.7M consensus forecast, which looked much too low.
ate last week, China and the U.S. reached an agreement, averting the planned U.S. tariff hikes on Chinese consumer goods that were slated to be imposed on December 15.
We expect to learn today that the economy expanded at a 1.7% rate in the fourth quarter. At least, that's our forecast, based on incomplete data, and revisions over time could easily push growth significantly away from this estimate. The inherent unreliability of the GDP numbers, which can be revised forever--literally--explains why the Fed puts so much more emphasis on the labor market data, which are volatile month-to-month but more trustworthy over longer periods and subject to much smaller revisions.
Eurozone investors continue to look to the ECB as the main reason to justify a constructive stance on the equity market. Last week, the central bank all but promised additional easing in March, but the soothing words by Mr. Draghi have, so far, given only a limited lift to equities. Easy monetary policy has partly been offset by external risks, in the form of fears over slow growth in China, and the risk of low oil prices sparking a wave of corporate defaults. But uncertainty over earnings is another story we frequently hear from disappointed equity investors. We continue to think that QE and ZIRP offer powerful support for equity valuations in the Eurozone, but weak earnings are a key missing link in the story.
GDP rose by 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, according to the ONS' preliminary estimate, confirming that the economy has fundamentally slowed since the Brexit vote. The modest growth has reduced further the already-small risk that the MPC will raise interest rates at its next meeting on August 3.
Data released on Friday in Brazil and recent political events helped to open the door further to a final rate cut in August. The IPCA-15--which previews the full CPI-- rose 0.3% month-to-month in July, well below market expectations, 0.5%.
Net trade in India likely contributed positively to headline GDP growth in the lockdown-plagued second quarter, but for all the wrong reasons.
Inflation pressure remained relatively high in Argentina last year, due mostly to the legacy of the Kirchner era. But we think inflation will ease this year, given the lagged effects of the recession and the fiscal consolidation.
Brazil's consumer sluggishness in Q3 and early Q4 eased in November.
The IFO survey signals that markets shouldn't be too downbeat on the German economy, even as it faces uncertainty from global trade tensions.
The two main national surveys--IFO and INSEE-- both beat consensus forecasts yesterday, supporting our story of that economic sentiment is holding up relatively well in the face increasing investor anxiety. In Germany, the main IFO business climate index rose marginally to 108.5 from a revised 108.4 in August, boosted by an increase in the expectations index to a six-month high of 103.3, up from 102.0 in August. The IFO expectations index points to real GDP growth rising 0.5%-to-0.6% quarter-on-quarter in Q3.
Amid all the trade tensions, it's easy to lose sight of the big picture for China.
In recent months we have argued that housing market activity has peaked for this cycle, with rising mortgage rates depressing the flow of mortgage applications.
Yesterday's German IFO survey suggests that economic momentum in the Eurozone's largest country remained modest at the start of Q2. The headline business climate index fell trivially to 106.6 in April, from 106.7 in March, lower than the consensus expectation of an increase to 107.2.
The Chancellor hinted in the Autumn Statement that the fiscal consolidation might not be as severe as it appears on paper because he has built in some "fiscal headroom". By that, Mr. Hammond means that he could borrow more and still adhere to his new, self-imposed rules.
Survey data in Germany continue to tell an upbeat story on the economy. The IFO business climate index rose to 109.0 in November from 108.2 in October, lifted by gains in both the expectations and current assessment indexes. The IFO tends to be slightly over-optimistic on GDP growth, but our first chart shows that the survey points to upside risks in the fourth quarter.
The PBoC and Ministry of Finance have been locked in a relatively public debate recently over which body should shoulder the burden of stimulating the economy as growth slows and trade tensions take their toll.
Yesterday's PMIs kicked off a busy week for Eurozone data on a downbeat note. The composite EZ PMI fell to a five-month low of 55.8 in July, from 56.3 in June; it was constrained by a 0.6 point dip in the manufacturing index to 56.8.
The latest data from container ports around the country are consistent with our view that imports are still correcting after the surge late last year, triggered by the hurricanes.
The headline May durable goods orders numbers today probably will look very strong, with the odds favoring a much bigger increase than the 10.1% consensus; we'll come back to that.
The chaos in Greece was identified as the main culprit for yesterday's soft IFO report. The headline business climate index fell to 107.4 in July, down from 108.1 in May, driven by declines in respondents' views on the current economy and their expectations for the future. We expected a dip in the he adline IFO, but we were surprised by the fall in the manufacturing sub-index, given the firmer PMI earlier this week.
We're expecting to learn today that the economy expanded at a 2.6% annualized rate in the first quarter, rather better than we expected at the turn of the year--our initial assumption was 1-to-2%--and above the consensus, 2.3%.
After three days of jaw-dropping actions from President Trump, the position seems to be this: The U.S. will apply 15% tariffs on imported Chinese consumer goods, rather than the previously promised 10%, effective in two stages on September 1 and December 15.
The Eurozone PMIs stumbled at the end of Q2. The composite index slipped to a five-month low of 55.7 in June, from 56.8 in May, constrained by a fall in the services index. This offset a marginal rise in the manufacturing index to a new cyclical high. The dip in the headline does not alter the survey's upbeat short- term outlook for the economy.
Banxico raised its benchmark interest rate by another 25bp to 7.0% at last Thursday's policy meeting. This hike follows nine previous increases, totalling 375bp since December 2015, in order to put a lid on inflation expectations and actual inflation. Both have been lifted this year by the lagged effect of the MXN's weakness last year, the "gasolinazo", and the minimum wage increase in January.
Last week's hard data in Colombia were upbeat, confirming that economic growth accelerated in the first half. Retail sales rose 5.9% year-over-year in May, overshooting consensus.
the past few observations make clear. Real spending jumped by 0.5% in March, rebounding after its weather-induced softness in February, before stalling again in April. Then, in May, the s urge in new auto sales to a nine-year high lifted total spending again, driving a 0.6% real increase.
President Trump made official his plan to impose tariffs on up to $60B of annual imports from China, as well as limitations on Chinese investments in the U.S.
Today's preliminary estimate of GDP likely will show that the economy continued to struggle in response to high inflation, further fiscal austerity and Brexit uncertainty.
Three of today's economic reports, all for December, could move the needle on fourth quarter GDP growth. Ahead of the data, we're looking for growth of 1.8%, a bit below the consensus, 2.2%, and significantly weaker than the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model, which projects 2.8%.
Sometime very soon, likely in the second quarter of this year, the stock of net housing wealth will exceed the $13.1T peak recorded before the crash, in the fourth quarter of 2005. At the post-crash low, in the first quarter of 2009, net housing equity had fallen by 53%, to just $6.2T. The recovery began in earnest in 2012, and over the past year net housing wealth has been rising at a steady pace just north of 10%. With housing demand rising, credit conditions easing and inventory still very tight, we have to expect home prices to keep rising at a rapid pace.
The IFO did its part to alleviate the stock market gloom yesterday, with the business climate index rising slightly to 108.3 in August from 108.0 in July. The August reading doesn't reflect the panic in equities, though, and we need to wait until next month to gauge the real hit to business sentiment. The increase in the headline index was driven by businesses assessment of current output, with the key expectations index falling trivially to 102.2 from a revised 102.3 in July. This survey currently points to a stable trend in real GDP growth of about 0.4% quarter-on-quarter, consistent with our expectation of full year growth of about 1.5%.
Yesterday's IFO report reinforced the message from the PMIs that the Eurozone economy stumbled slightly at the beginning of the first quarter. The headline business climate index fell to an 11-month low of 107.3 in January, from a revised 108.6 in December, hit mainly by a drop in the expectations component. Intensified market volatility and worries over further weakness in the Chinese economy likely were the main drivers. Last week's dovish message from Mr. Draghi, however, came after the survey's cut-off date, leaving us cautiously optimistic for a rebound next month.
The response of U.K. producers and consumers to lower oil prices could not have been more different to those on the other side of the Atlantic. Counter-intuitively, U.K. oil production has grown strongly over the last year, while investment hasn't collapsed to the same extent as in the U.S., yet. Meanwhile, U.K. households have thrown caution to the wind and already have spent the windfall from the previous drop in oil prices, unlike their more prudent--so far--U.S. counterparts. With the costs still to come but most of the benefits already enjoyed, lower oil prices will be neutral for 2016 U.K. GDP growth, at best.
The trend of consensus-beating EZ economic data was brought to a halt yesterday. The IFO business climate index in Germany slipped to a five-month low of 109.8 in January, from 111.0 in December, mainly due to a fall in the expectations index. But we are not alarmed. The dip in the headline comes after a run of strong data, and the IFO remains consistent with GDP growth of about 1.6% year-over-year.
The second estimate of Q1 GDP confirmed that the recovery has lost momentum and revealed that growth would have ground to a halt without consumers. GDP growth likely will slow further in Q2, as Brexit risk undermines business investment.
The BRL remains under severe stress, despite renewed signals of a sustained economic recovery and strengthening expectations that the end of the monetary easing cycle is near.
French consumer sentiment dipped slightly in June, but we see no major hit from ongoing labour market disputes. The headline index slipped to 97 in June, from 98 in May; this is a decent reading given the fourpoint jump last month. The headline was constrained by a big fall in consumers' "major purchasing intentions," but this partly was mean-reversion following a surge last month.
Negotiations between Greece and its creditors collapsed over the weekend, greatly increasing the risk of a Grexit. The decision by Syriza to call a referendum on the bailout proposal next weekend, initially advocating rejection, forced the Eurogroup to abandon negotiations and focus on "damage control." Hope of a final retreat from the brink rests with the Greek parliament deciding not to hold the referendum, and accepting the proposal presented on Friday.
The Atlanta Fed's GDP Now estimate for second quarter GDP growth will be revised today, in light of the data released over the past few days. We aren't expecting a big change from the June 24 estimate, 2.6%, because most of the recent data don't capture the most volatile components of growth, including inventories and government spending. The key driver of quarterly swings in the government component is state and local construction, but at this point we have data only for April; those numbers were weak.
CPI inflation held steady at 3.0% in October, undershooting our forecast and the consensus by 0.1 percentage point and the MPC's forecast by 0.2pp.
If we're right with our forecast that real consumers' spending rose by just 0.1% month-to-month in February -- enough only to reverse January's decline -- then it would be reasonable to expect consumption across the first quarter as a whole to climb at a mere 1.2% annualized rate.
Households' saving decisions will play a key role in determining whether the economy slips into recession over the next year. Indeed, all of the last three recessions coincided with sharp rises in the household saving rate, as our first chart shows. Will households save more in response to greater economic uncertainty?
Votes in the House of Commons to day likely will mark the start of MPs stamping their collective will on the Brexit process, following the Prime Minister's botched attempt at getting the current Withdrawal Agreement--WA--and Political Declaration through parliament earlier this month.
The risk posed by consumer borrowing was once again the focus of the Financial Policy Committee's discussion last week.
Our forecast that CPI inflation will shoot up to about 3% in the second half of 2017, from 0.6% last month, assumes that pass-through from the exchange rate to consumer goods prices will be as swift and complete as in the past. Our first chart shows that this relationship has held firm recently, with core goods prices falling at the rate implied by sterling's appreciation in 2014 and 2015.
CPI inflation held steady at 2.4% in October, undershooting the 2.5% consensus expectation and the MPC's forecast in this month's Inflation Report.
Concern over individual freedoms was the spark for Hong Kong's recent demonstrations and troubles, and protesters' demands continue to be political in nature.
Brazil's economic outlook is gradually improving following a challenging Q2, which was hit by political risk, putting business and consumer confidence under pressure.
A modest dip in gasoline prices will hold down the October CPI, due today, but investors' attention will be on the core, after five undershoots to consensus in the past six months.
It doesn'tt matter if third quarter GDP growth is revised up a couple of tenths in today's third estimate of the data, in line with the consensus forecast.
We see only a small risk today of the MPC raising interest rates or sending a strong signal that a hike is imminent, for the reasons we set out in our preview of the meeting. The MPC, however, also must decide today whether to wind up the Term Funding Scheme-- TFS--launched a year ago as part of its post-Brexit stimulus measures.
Recent industrial data for Mexico point to renewed upside risks for GDP growth, despite the likely headwind to consumption from high inflation and depressed confidence.
Data released last week confirm that Brazil's recovery has continued over the second half of the year, supported by steady household consumption and rebounding capex.
Our payroll model relies heavily on lagged indicators of the pace of hiring, most of which have improved in recent months after a sustained, though modest, softening which began last spring. That's why we expected an above-consensus reading from ADP on Wednesday and from the BLS today.
The substantial gap between the key manufacturing surveys for the U.S. and China, relative to their long-term relationship, likely narrowed a bit in December.
China's economic targets are AWOL this year, thanks to Covid-19 disruptions to the legislative calendar... and because policymakers seem unsure of what targets to set in such uncertain times.
Market-based measures of uncertainty and volatility remain elevated, but if we look beyond the headlines, two overall assumptions still inform forecasters' analysis of the economy and Covid-19.
The Fed yesterday toned down its warnings on the potential impact on the U.S. of "global economic and financial developments", and upgraded its view on the domestic economy, pointing out that consumption and fixed investment "have been increasing at solid rates in recent months". In September, they were merely growing "moderately". Policymakers are still "monitoring" global and market developments, but the urgency and fear of September has gone. The statement acknowledged the slower payroll gains of recent months--without offering an explanation--but pointed out, as usual, that "underutilization of labor resources has diminished since early this year" and that it will be appropriate to begin raising rates "some further improvement in the labor market".
Yesterday's EZ money supply data confirmed that liquidity conditions in the private sector improved in Q3, despite the dip in the headline.
Friday's consumer sentiment data in the two main Eurozone economies were mixed.
Yesterday's data provided further evidence of the EZ economy's response to the Covid-19 shock, though we recommend that investors take the numbers with a pinch of salt. In Germany, the final CPI report for April showed that headline inflation slipped to 0.9% year-over-year, from 1.4% in March, trivially above the first estimate, 0.8%.
LatAm financial and FX markets have behaved relatively well in recent sessions, thanks to the array of monetary and fiscal measures taken to counter the severe risk-off environment.
Mr. Draghi used his introductory statement at the ECON--EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee-- hearing last week to assure investors that the central bank is vigilant to downside risks. The president noted the governing council "would not hesitate to act" if it deems growth and inflation to be undershooting expectations. Market volatility has increased the ECB's worries, but economic data continue to tell a story of a firm business cycle upturn.
Markets responded to yesterday's disappointing GDP figures by pushing back expectations for the first rise in official interest rates even further into 2017. The first rate hike is now expected--by the overnight index swap market--in April 2017, two months later than anticipated before the GDP release. The figures certainly look weak--particularly when you scratch below the surface--and we expect growth to slow further over the coming quarters. But we don't agree they imply an even longer period of inaction on the Monetary Policy Committee.
Today's wave of data will be mixed, but most of the headlines are likely to be on the soft side, so the reports are very unlikely to trigger a wave of last minute defections to the hawkish side of the FOMC. As always, though, the headlines don't necessarily capture the underlying story, and that's certainly been the case with the retail sales data this year. Plunging prices for gas and imported goods, especially audio-video items, have driven down the rate of growth of nominal retail sales, but real sales have performed much better.
The preliminary estimate of Q1 GDP looks set to show that the economy started 2017 on a weak footing. We share the consensus view that quarter-on-quarter GDP growth slowed to 0.4%, from 0.7% in Q4.
Sterling's depreciation, which began over two years ago, has inflicted pain on consumers but fostered a negligible improvement in net trade.
The return of the virus in the Eurozone isn't what the economy needed, but we continue to think it differs from the first shock, for three key reasons.
We expect today's preliminary estimate of Q4 GDP growth to surprise the consensus to the downside, underscoring our view that the economic recovery has shifted down to a much slower gear.
The expectations components of both the Michigan and Conference Board measures of consumers' confidence have risen sharply since gasoline prices rolled over.
In yesterday's Monitor, we laid out how conditions last year were conducive to Chinese deleveraging, and how the debt ratio fell for the first time since the financial crisis.
Economic sentiment in the Eurozone's largest economy stayed solid at the start of the fourth quarter, despite subdued manufacturing and poor investor sentiment. The headline IFO business climate index fell slightly to 108.2 in October from 108.5 in September, due to a fall in the current assessment index. The expectations index rose, though, to 103.8 from 103.5 last month pointing to a resilient outlook for businesses and solid GDP growth in coming quarters.
Today's wave of data will bring new information on the industrial sector, consumers, the labor market, and housing, as well as revisions to the third quarter GDP numbers.
Korean real GDP growth rebounded to 1.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, from 0.6% in Q2. The main driver was exports, with government consumption also popping, and private consumption was a little faster than we were expecting.
Industrial production data yesterday indicate manufacturers in the Eurozone enjoyed a decent start to Q3, thanks to strength in Germany, Italy and Spain, which offset weakness in France. Production ex-construction rose 0.6% month-to-month in July, boosted in part by a 3% jump in energy output. If production is unchanged in August and September, output will rise 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, but this estimate is uncertain, and we look for an increase of about 0.4%-to-0.5%.
We're revising down our forecast for quarteron-quarter GDP growth in Q3 to 0.3%, from 0.4%, in response to signs that the rebound in industrial production is shaping up to b e smaller than we had anticipated.
At first glance, the U.K. consumer price data show a perplexing absence of domestically generated inflation.
Korean real GDP growth slumped in Q2 to 0.6% quarter-on-quarter, from 1.1% in Q1, as both the main drivers--construction and exports--ran out of steam simultaneously. Construction investment grew by 1.0%, sharply slower than the 6.8% in Q1 and contributing just 0.2% to GDP growth in Q2, a turnaround from the 1.1 percentage point contribution in the first quarter.
Our hopes that tax cuts and lower energy inflation would lift French household consumption in Q4 were badly dented by yesterday's consumer sentiment report.
Argentina's near-term economic outlook remains murky, as recent data has highlighted, hit by tighter financial conditions.
We have been asked how we can justify raising our growth forecasts but at the same time arguing that the housing market is set to weaken quite dramatically, thanks to the clear downshift in mortgage applications in recent months. Applications peaked back in June, so this is not just a story about the post-election rise in mortgage rates.
China's official real GDP growth slowed to 6.0% year-over-year in Q3, from 6.2% in Q2 and 6.4% in Q1. Consecutive 0.2 percentage points declines are significant in China.
The two-year budget deal agreed between the administration and the Republican leadership in Congress will avert a federal debt default and appears to constitute a modest near-term easing of fiscal policy. The debt ceiling will not be raised, but the law imposing the limit will be suspended through March 2017, leaving the Treasury free to borrow as much as necessary to cover the deficit. As a result, the presidential election next year will not be fought against a backdrop of fiscal crisis.
August's consumer prices report, due on Wednesday, is harder to forecast than usual, given high uncertainty regarding the impact of the cut in VAT for the hospitality sector, as well as the consequences of the ONS' decision to resume collecting data from physical stores.
The trade war with China is a macroeconomic event, whose implications for economic growth and inflation can be estimated and measured using straightforward standard macroeconomic tools and data.
Taken at face value, the preliminary estimate of Q2 GDP suggests that the economic recovery weathered Brexit risk well. But growth received support from some unsustainable sources, and also probably was boosted by a calendar quirk. Meanwhile, with few firms or consumers expecting a vote for Brexit prior to the referendum, Q2's brisk growth tells us little about how well the economy will cope in the current climate of heightened uncertainty.
Tracking the consumer services sector has become more important since Covid-19, as it was flattened by the lockdown in Q2 and it might prove to be an incubator of new infections, if it becomes too busy.
The headline in yesterday's EZ money supply report gave the illusion that monetary conditions are stable, but the details tell a different story. M3 growth accelerated marginally to 5.0% year-over-year in June, from 4.9%, but momentum in narrow money fell further. M1 growth slowed to 8.5% year-over-year, from 9.0% in May due to a fall in overnight deposits and currency in circulation.
okThe weekend's election result in Spain provided relief for investors anxiously looking for another "surprise." Exit polls on Sunday showed a big majority for the anti-establishment party Podemos, but in the end Spanish voters opted for safety. The incumbent Partido Popular, PP, was the election's big winner compared with the elections six months ago, gaining 15 seats.
Momentum in the euro area's money supply slowed last month. M3 growth dipped to 4.7% year-over-year in February, from a downwardly-revised 4.8% in January. The headline was mainly constrained by the broad money components. The stock of repurchase agreements slumped 24.3% year-over-year and growth in money market fund shares also slowed sharply.
Chile's growth dynamics were robust in August, according to the latest data. Production rose and consumption remained strong during most of Q3. Indeed, industrial output increased 5.1% year-over- year, up from an already strong 3.1% increase in July, and contrasting sharply with the 2% fall in Q2.
Sterling recovered to $1.23 yesterday, its highest level since late July, in response to the sharp decline in the risk of a no -deal Brexit at the end of October, triggered by MPs' actions.
Analysts' forecasts for January's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, are unusually dispersed.
Markets' inflation expectations have fallen in recent weeks, maintaining the trend seen over the previous 18 months. The fall in expectations for the next year or so is justified by the sharp fall in oil prices. But expectations for inflation further ahead have drifted down too, even though lower oil prices will have no effect on the annual comparison of prices beyond a year or so from now.
Industrial production and trade data on Friday ended last week on a downbeat note, amid otherwise solid economic reports. In Germany, industrial output fell 0.3% month-to-month in November, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 0.1% from a revised 0.4% in October. The details, however, were better than the headline. Production was hit by a 3.3% plunge in capital goods output, offsetting gains in all other key sectors, and net revisions added 0.3% to the October data.
November's consumer prices figures, released tomorrow, look set to show that the U.K.'s spell of negative inflation has ended. CPI inflation is set to pick-up decisively over the coming months, even if oil prices continue to drift down. In fact, fuel prices likely will contribute to the pick-up in inflation from October's -0.1% rate. November's 1.5% fall in prices at the pump was smaller than the 2.3% drop in the same month last year, so the year-over-year rate will rise. Fuel's contribution to CPI inflation therefore will pick up, albeit very marginally, to -0.47pp from -0.50pp in October.
Brazil's consumer recession finally eased in November. Retail sales jumped 2.0% month-to- month, following an upwardly-revised 0.3% drop in October, and the year-over-year rate rose to -3.5% from -8.1%. November's astonishing performance probably reflects seasonal adjustment problems related to Black Friday discounting. Sales have climbed in the last four Novembers, suggesting that consumers' pre-Christmas spending patterns have shifted permanently.
April's RICS Residential Market survey confirmed that housing market activity collapsed to negligible levels during the lockdown, which prohibited property viewings, depleted the work forces of lenders and prompted many people to defer big financial decisions.
The resilience and adaptability that the Chilean economy has shown over previous cycles has been tested repeatedly over the last year. Uncertainty on the political front, falling metal prices, and growing concerns about growth in China have been the key factors behind expectations of slowing GDP growth.
Yesterday's Sentix investor sentiment survey provided the first glimpse of conditions on the ground in the EZ economy in the wake of the coronavirus scare.
Car registrations, French inflation, advance PMIs and a central bank meeting make up today's substantial menu for investors in the euro area.
October industrial production data in France surprised to the upside yesterday, with headline output rising 0.5% month-to-month, well above the consensus estimate and our own forecast for a monthly fall. Production was lifted by a 5.1% month-to-month jump in energy output, due to unusually cold weather, offsetting a 0.5% decline in manufacturing output, the fifth drop in the past six months.
The consensus for a mere 0.3% month-to-month rise in retail sales volumes in November looks too timid; we anticipate a 0.7% gain.
German inflation pressures were unchanged last month. The CPI index rose 0.8% year-over-year, matching the increase in October, and in line with the consensus and initial estimate. Energy deflation intensified marginally, as a result of lower prices for household utilities.
German net exports were treading water at the start of the fourth quarter. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus slipped to €17.4B in October, from a revised €17.7B in September, constrained by a 1.3% month-to-month rise in imports, which offset a 0.7% increase in exports.
Another day, another solid economic report in the Eurozone. Data yesterday showed that industrial production in France jumped 2.2% month-to-month in November, pushing the year-over-year rate up to +1.8%, from -1.8% in October. The 2.3% jump in manufacturing output was the key story, offsetting a 0.3% decline in construction activity. Production of food and beverages rebounded from weakness in October, and oil refining also accelerated.
Mexico's inflation rate ended 2018 in line with market expectations, strengthening the case for interest rates to remain on hold in the near term.
Today brings only the preliminary Michigan consumer sentiment data for January so we want to take some time to look at how recent changes to Medicare Part B premiums, which cover doctors' fees, are likely to affect inflation over the next few months.
October's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, likely will show that CPI inflation has continued to drift further below the 2% target
July's consumer price figures, released on Wednesday, look set to show that CPI inflation rose to 2.5%, from 2.4% in June.
Mexico's inflation remains the envy of LatAm, having consistently outperformed the rest of the region this year. Headline inflation slowed marginally to 2.5% in October, a record low and below the middle of Banxico's target, 2-to-4%, for the sixth straight month. The annual core rate increased marginally to 2.5% in October from 2.4% in September, but it remains below the target and its underlying trend is inching up only at a very slow pace. We expect it to remain subdued, closing the year around 2.7% year-over-year. Next year it will gradually increase, but will stay below 3.5% during the first half of 2016, given the lack of demand pressures and the ample output gap.
The stagnation of GDP in August, following five consecutive month-to-month gains, confirms that the economy's momentum in prior months was simply weather-related.
China's October foreign trade headlines beat expectations, but the year-over-year numbers remain grim, with imports falling 6.4%, only a modest improvement from the 8.5% tumble in September.
Economic conditions in Brazil are deteriorating rapidly.
The government remains on course to lose next Tuesday's Commons vote on the Withdrawal Agreement--WA--by a huge margin.
The macro data reported in Brazil this week added weight to the view that the economy ended the second quarter in a severe recession. Brazil's retail sales fell 0.4% month-to-month in June, the fifth consecutive contraction. The broad retail index, which includes vehicles and construction materials, fell 0.8% month-to-month, with a sharp contraction in auto sales, down 2.8%.
It's just not possible to forecast the reaction of businesses and consumers to the coronavirus outbreak.
The latest evidence of firming economic momentum comes from France, where industrial production rose 0.4% month-to-month in January, equivalent to a 0.6% increase year-over-year. Combined with strong consumer spending data in January, this points to a solid first quarter for the French economy.
Gilt yields have been remarkably stable following their decline in response to the Bank of England's Inflation Report in February. The average 60-day price volatility of gilts with outstanding maturities of greater than one year has fallen back recently to lows last seen in 2014, as our first chart shows.
Retail sales ex-autos have undershot consensus forecasts in eight of the 11 reports released so far this year, prompting interest rate doves to argue that consumers have not spent their windfall from falling gas prices. But this ignores the impact of falling prices--for gasoline, electronics, furniture, and clothing--on the sales numbers, which are presented in nominal terms.
Markets rightly placed little weight on October's below-consensus GDP report yesterday, and still think that the chances of the MPC cutting Bank Rate within the next six months are below 50%.
Mexico's underlying inflation pressures and financial conditions are gradually stabilizing. Eventually, this will open the door for rate cuts in order to ease the stress on the domestic economy, particularly capex.
The stagnation of industrial production in October ended a run of six consecutive month-to-month increases, the longest spell of unbroken growth since 1994.
Inflation pressures are gradually easing in Mexico, opening the door for rate cuts as early as next month. The June CPI report, released yesterday, showed that prices rose 0.1% month-to-month unadjusted in June, in line with market expectations.
We think Japanese monetary policy easing essentially is tapped out, both theoretically and by political constraints.
LatAm's growth outlook is deteriorating, despite decent domestic fundamentals and political transitions toward more market-oriented governments in some of the region's main economies.
Yesterday's German manufacturing and trade data did little to allay our fears over downside risks to this week's Q4 GDP data. At -1.2% month-to-month in December, industrial production was much weaker than the consensus forecast of a 0.5% increase. Exports also surprised to the downside, falling 1.6% month-to-month. Our GDP model, updated with these data, shows GDP growth fell 0.2%-to-0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, reversing the 0.3% increase in Q3.
December's industrial production figures, released today, look set to surprise the consensus to the downside, pushing down the pound and increasing the chances that the preliminary estimate of a 0.5% quarter-on-quarter increase in fourth quarter GDP will be revised down.
The U.K. is one of the smallest winners among advanced economies from the precipitous decline in oil prices. British oil production still fulfils about 55% of the U.K.'s demand, even though it has declined by two-thirds since its 1999 peak. Oil consumption therefore exceeds production by a much smaller margin in the U.K. than in most other European countries. As a result, the boost to the U.K. economy from the $10 decline in oil prices over the last month isn't much to write home about.
The German manufacturing sector is showing signs of stabilisation with industrial production rising 0.2% month-on-month in October, equivalent to 0.8% year-over- year. This is consistent with a decent retracement in production this quarter, but growth is still only barely above zero.
CPI inflation held steady at 3.0% in January, above the consensus by one tenth and thus pushing up the market-implied probability of a May rate hike to 65%, from 62% earlier this week.
We can't quibble with the consensus that GDP likely rose by 0.2% month-to-month in December, reversing only two-thirds of November's drop.
The reported 225K jump in payrolls in January was even bigger than we expected, but it is not sustainable. The extraordinarily warm weather last month most obviously boosted job gains in construction, where the 44K increase was the biggest in a year
Private consumption in Japan will take time to recover, even if some semblance of normality returns from this month.
Most countries in LatAm are now fighting a complex global environment; a viral outbreak of biblical proportions and plunging oil prices, after last week's OPEC fiasco.
January's consumer price report, released today, likely will show that CPI inflation jumped to 1.9%--its highest rate since June 2014--from 1.6% in December. Inflation will continue to take big upward steps over the coming months, as retailers pass on to consumers large increase in import prices and energy companies increase tariffs.
The Mexican economy's brightest spot continues to be private consumption.
The broad strokes of yesterday's ECB meeting were in line with markets' expectations. The central bank left its main refinancing and deposit rates unchanged, at 0.00% and -0.4% respectively, and maintained the same forward guidance.
Recent retail surveys have indicated that consumers are not suffering yet from Brexit blues. The BRC reported that year-over-year growth in total sales values picked up to 1.9% in July, from 0.2% in June. After adjusting for falling prices, this measure suggests that year-over-year growth in official retail sales volumes held steady at about 4% last month.
Recent activity data in Mexico have been soft and leading indicators still point to challenging near-term prospects, due mainly to relatively high domestic political risk, stifling interest rates and difficult external conditions.
The economy's recovery from the 2008/09 recession has been weaker than after the previous two downturns partly because households have not depleted housing equity to fund consumption.
The hard data now point to a horrendous Q3 GDP print in Germany, which almost surely will constrain the advance EZ GDP print released on October 30.
With just over six weeks to go, opinion polls continue to suggest that the E.U. referendum will be extremely close. Noisy interventions in the public debate from the Treasury, independent international bodies, President Obama, and from the Prime Minister again today have had no discernible positive impact on the support for "Bremain" relative to "Brexit"
In this Monitor we'll let the data be, and try to make some sense of the recent market volatility from a Eurozone perspective, with an eye to the implications for the economy and policymakers' actions.
Some commentators have asserted that the Monetary Policy Committee won't raise interest rates until all its members agree and investors have fully priced in an increase, arguing that an earlier move would create excessive market turmoil and muddy the Committee's message. But a look back to previous turning points in the interest rate cycle suggests that the Monetary Policy Committee--MPC--hasn't paid much heed to those considerations before.
September's industrial production figures likely will not surprise markets today. We look for a 0.3% month-to-month rise in production, matching the consensus and the ONS assumption in the preliminary estimate of Q3 GDP.
After three straight 0.3% increases in the core CPI, we are in agreement with the consensus view that September's report, due today, will revert to the 0.2% trend.
Korea's unemployment rate plunged unexpectedly in August, to 3.2%--the lowest in a year--from 4.2% in July, defying expectations for no change and the renewed pressure on the economy from the second wave of Covid-19.
The key question for the MPC at this week's meeting is whether it is prepared to tolerate the consequences for inflation of sterling's further depreciation since its last meeting in August.
We expect May's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, to show that the headline rate of CPI inflation fell to a four-year low of 0.4% in May, from 0.8% in April.
May's consumer price figures, released on Wednesday, likely will show that CPI inflation held steady at 2.4%--matching the consensus and the MPC's forecast--though the risks lie to the upside.
November's consumer price report likely will show that October's dip in CPI inflation was just a blip against a strong upward trend. We think that CPI inflation picked up to 1.1% in November, from 0.9% in October, in line with the consensus.
Chancellor Sunak's "temporary, timely and targeted" fiscal response to the Covid-19 outbreak, and the BoE's accompanying stimulus measures, won't prevent GDP from falling over the next couple of months.
Next week is so crammed full of data releases that we need to preview November's consumer price data early, in the eye of the storm of the general election.
Sooner or later, the surge in consumers' spending power triggered by the drop in gas prices and the acceleration in payrolls will appear in the retail sales data.
Today's industrial production data will confirm that EZ manufacturing suffered a slow start to Q4. Advance country data signal a 0.2% month-to-month fall in October, slightly worse than the consensus, 0.0%.
After seemingly endless speculation, the confidence vote in Theresa May's leadership of the Conservative party finally has been triggered following the submission of at least 48 letters by disgruntled MPs to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee.
Consumers' spending in Brazil weakened at the end of Q4, but we think households will support GDP growth in the first quarter.
Chinese monetary conditions remain tight. Systemic tightening through higher interest rates last year is playing a role, but intensified and ever- more public regulatory enforcement is becoming the primary driver of tightening credit conditions for businesses.
Japan's money and credit data have shown signs of life in recent months, but that's all set to change quickly, due to the disruptions caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus.
China faces three possible macro outcomes over the next few years. First, the economy could pull off an active transition to consumer-led growth. Second, it could gradually slide into Japan-style growth and inflation, with government debt spiralling up. Third, it could face a full blown debt crisis, where the authorities lose control and China drags the global economy down too
In yesterday's report we discussed the recent performance of current inflation and inflation expectations in the biggest economies in LatAm, highlighting that risks are tilted to the upside, given the recent FX sell-off and rising political and external risks.
Retail sales have consistently disappointed markets this year, but investors' concerns are misplaced. The rate of growth of core sales has slowed because the strength of the dollar has pushed down the prices of an array of imported consumer goods, and people appear to have spent a substantial proportion of the saving on services.
Japan's GDP growth came roaring back in Q2, thanks to a strong rebound in private consumption, and an acceleration in business capex.
If the Phase One trade deal with China is completed, and is accompanied by a significant tariff roll-back, we'll revise up our growth forecasts, but we'll probably lower our near-term inflation forecasts, assuming that the tariff reductions are focused on consumer goods.
Financial assets of all stripes are, by most metrics, expensive as we head into year-end, but for some markets, valuations matter less than in others. The market for non-financial corporate bonds in the euro area is a case in point.
Mexico's industrial sector did relatively well in Q3, due mainly to the resilience of the manufacturing sector, and the rebound in construction and oil output, following a long period of sluggishness.
The headline figures from yesterday's GDP report gave a bad impression. September's 0.1% month-to- month decline in GDP matched the consensus and primarily reflected mean-reversion in car production and car sales, which both picked up in August.
CPI data today in France and Germany will confirm that current inflation rates remain very low in the euro area. Inflation in Germany likely rose to 0.3% year-over-year from 0.0% in September, in line with the consensus and initial estimate. State data indicate that the rise was driven by surging fresh food prices and slightly higher services inflation, principally due to a jump in the volatile recreation and culture sector. Looking ahead, food prices will drop back, but energy inflation will rise rapidly as last year's plunge drops out of the year-over-year comparison, while upward core pressure is now emerging too.
We have downgraded our 2019 and 2020 China GDP forecasts on previous occasions because monetary conditions have been surprisingly unresponsive to lower short-term rates.
The key piece of evidence supporting our view that housing market activity has peaked for this cycle is the softening trend--until recently--in applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase.
Mexico's February industrial production report was weaker than markets expected. Output expanded by 0.7% year-over-year, below the consensus, 1.2%, and slowing from 0.9% in January.
Yesterday's EZ industrial production report conformed to expectations.
Yesterday marked President AMLO's first 100 days in office, with skyrocketing approval ratings and improving consumer confidence.
Brazil's April CPI data this week showed that inflation pressures remain weak, supporting the BCB's focus on the downside risks to economic activity. Wednesday's report revealed that the benchmark IPCA inflation index rose 0.1% unadjusted month-to-month in April, marginally below market expectations.
This week brings a wave of data on all aspects of the economy, bar housing. By the end o f the week, we'll have a better idea of the shape of consumers' spending, the industrial sector and the inflation picture, and estimates of third quarter GDP growth will start to mean something.
Suggestions that the U.K. government might choose to hold a second referendum have been constantly rebuffed by the Prime Minister.
The U.S. Commerce Department on Tuesday released a list of Chinese imports, with an annual value of $200B, on which it is threatening to impose a 10% tariff, after a two-month consultation period.
Mexican manufacturing data continue to offer a counterweight to strong consumers' spending and services numbers. Output in the key manufacturing sector contracted by 0.2% month-to-month in September, due mainly to severe external headwinds. But the year-over-year rate was unchanged at 3.3%, with a flat underlying trend. Total industrial output, by contrast, rose 0.4% month-to-month in September, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 1.7%, from an upwardly-revised 1.1% gain in August.
Retail sales account for some 30% of GDP--more than all business investment and government spending combined--so the monthly numbers directly capture more of the economy than any other indicator. Translating the monthly sales numbers into real GDP growth is not straightforward, though, because the sales numbers are nominal. Sales have been hugely depressed over the past year by the plunging price of gasoline and, to a lesser extent, declines in prices of imported consumer goods.
The consensus forecast for the October core CPI, which will be reported today, is 0.2%. Take the over. Nothing is certain in these data, but the risk of a 0.3% print is much higher than the chance of 0.1%.
The sluggishness of consumers' spending and business investment in the first quarter means that hopes of a headline GDP print close to 2% rely in part on the noisier components of the economy, namely, inventories and foreign trade.
Chinese monetary conditions show signs of a temporary stabilisation. M2 growth picked up to 9.1% year-over-year in November from 8.8% in October, though largely as a correction for understated growth in recent months.
October's consumer price figures, released Tuesday, likely will show that CPI inflation increased to 3.1%, from 3.0% in September.
February's industrial production and construction output data leave us little choice but to revise down our forecast for quarter-on-quarter GDP growth in Q1 to 0.2%, from 0.3% previously.
Japanese domestic demand probably strengthened in Q2, with both private consumption and fixed investment accelerating. Trade and inventories are the key swing components for GDP growth.
Markets rightly interpreted yesterday's above consensus GDP report as having little impact on the outlook for monetary policy.
Japan's Q2 GDP was driven by the twin pillars of private consumption and capex.
Sterling held on to its recent gains yesterday despite mounting speculation that Eurosceptic Conservative MPs are plotting a leadership challenge.
CPI inflation held steady at 2.3% in March, as we and the consensus had expected. Nonetheless, the consumer price figures boosted sterling and bond yields, as the details of the report made it clear that inflation is on a very steep upward path.
The second presidency of Chile's conservative Sebastián Piñera, a billionaire turned politician, began on Sunday, March 11, in favourable economic circumstances.
The NY Fed's announcement yesterday restarts QE. The $60B of bill purchases previously planned for the period from March 13 through April 13 will now consist of $60B purchases "across a range of maturities to roughly match the maturity composition of Treasury securities outstanding".
Brazil's central bank started the year firing on all cylinders. The Copom surprised markets on Wednesday by delivering a bold 75bp rate cut, bringing the Selic rate down to 13.0%. In October and November, the Copom eased by only 25bp, but inflation is now falling rapidly and consistently. The central bank said in its post-meeting communiqué that conditions have helped establish a "new rhythm of easing", assuming inflation expectations hold steady.
The euro area economy continues to defy rising political uncertainty. Data yesterday showed that industrial production, ex-construction, in the Eurozone jumped 1.5% month-to-month in November, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 3.2% from a revised 0.8% in October. Output rose in all the major economies, but the headline was flattered by a 16.3% month-to-month leap in Ireland. This was due to a production jump in Ireland's "modern sector" which includes the country's large multinational technology sector.
Thursday's CPI report in Mexico showed that inflation is edging lower. We are confident that it will continue to fall consistently during Q1, thanks chiefly to the subpar economic recovery, low inertia and the effect of the recent MXN rebound.
Here's the bottom line: U.S. businesses appear to have over-reacted to the impact of the trade war in their responses to most surveys, pointing to a serious downturn in economic growth which has not materialized.
Yesterday's industrial production, construction output and trade data for November collectively suggest that the economy lost a little momentum in the fourth quarter. GDP growth likely slowed to 0.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, from 0.6% in Q3. Growth remains set to slow further this year, as inflation shoots up and constrains consumers.
The Mexican industrial sector is struggling. December industrial output fell 0.4% month-to-month, the third consecutive drop, driven mainly by a similar decline in mining/oil output.
Mexico's latest industrial production figures, released on Friday, showed that the recovery is stuttering. May output fell 0.9% year-over-year, down from the 1.2% gain in April. Total production was depressed by a 1.5% month-to-month drop in construction output, after two consecutive increases.
Outside the battered energy sector, the most consistently disconcerting economic numbers last year, in the eyes of the markets, were the monthly retail sales data. Non-auto sales undershot consensus forecasts in nine of the 12 months in 2015, with a median shortfall of 0.3%.
The measures to support the economy through the coronavirus crisis, unveiled by policymakers on Budget day, exceeded expectations.
January's consumer price figures, due on Tuesday, likely will show that CPI inflation held steady at December's 3.0% rate.
May's consumer price figures, released today, will provide the first clean inflation read for three months, following the distortions created by this year's late Easter. Consensus forecasts and the MPC have underestimated CPI inflation regularly since the middle of last year, when the impact of sterling's depreciation began to push into the data.
Evidence that Brazil's consumption recession has hit bottom seemed to vanish yesterday with the May retail sales report. Sales plunged 1.0% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-rate down to a terrible-looking -9.0%, from a revised -6.9% in April. Adding insult to injury, the month-to-month number for April was revised down by 0.2 percentage points.
This week's labour market data likely will show that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme did not prevent a rising tide of redundancies in response to Covid-19.
March's consumer price figures, released tomorrow, look set to show that inflation's ascent was kept in check by the later Easter this year compared to last. Nonetheless, CPI inflation will take big upward strides over the coming months, and it likely will exceed 3% by the summer.
The Treasury has tried to dampen expectations for Tuesday's Spring Statement, which has replaced the Autumn Statement since the Budget was moved last year to November.
Tomorrow, Mexico's INEGI will release its inflation report for the second half of May, which is of key importance for Banxico's monetary policy. The Bank, in particular governor Agustin Carstens, has said on many occasions that it will watch external conditions and their impact on consumer prices closely. We expect inflation to edge down to 2.9% year-over-year in May, thanks to a 0.1% increase in the second half.
Volatility and risk will remain high in L atAm for the foreseeable future. President-elect Donald Trump's uncertain foreign policies could have a considerable impact on LatAm economies in the months and years ahead.
The 10.3% year-over-year decline in private new car registrations in April likely is not a sign that the trend in either vehic le sales or consumers' overall spending is taking a turn f or the worse.
The RMB has been on a tear, as expectations for a "Phase One" trade deal have firmed.
Chinese monetary conditions have tightened sharply in the past year. Conditions have stabilised in recent months but Fed policy normalisation implies the increase in the money stock should slow again in 2018.
Economic conditions remain challenging in Mexico, despite a modest improvement in leading indicators. The usual surveys currently are not well-suited to capture the economy's upturn from the Covid-19 collapse.
Markets are beginning to grasp that President-elect Trump's economic plans, if implemented in full--or anything like it--will constitute substantial inflationary shock to the U.S.
Mexican industrial production data for August were a little stronger-than-expected. Output rose 1.0% year-over-year, for the second consecutive month, and marginally higher than the 0.6% average growth in the second quarter. The rise in production in August is encouraging, especially the strong manufacturing component, which accounts for about half of all output.
Banxico's likely will deliver the widely-anticipated rate hike this Thursday. Policymakers' recent actions suggests that investors should expect a 50bp increase, in line with TIIE pric ing and the market consensus. The balance of risks to inflation has deteriorated markedly on the back of the "gasolinazo", a sharp increase in regulated gasoline prices imposed to raise money and attract foreign investment.
The ink has hardly dried on economists' and the ECB's inflation projections for 2020, but we suspect that some forecasters are already considering ripping up the script.
Odds-on, the consensus forecast for May's GDP report, released on Wednesday, will miss the mark.
It is becoming increasingly safe to say that any bounce in private consumption following the end of Japan's state of emergency will be muted and difficult to sustain.
Recent economic indicators in Mexico have been mixed, distorted by temporary factors, including the effect of the natural disasters in late Q3. Private consumption has lost some momentum, hit by the lagged effect of high interest rates and inflation, as well as the earthquakes.
Demand for German manufacturing goods slipped at the end of Q3. Yesterday's report showed that factory orders fell 0.6% month-to-month in September, constrained by weakness in domestic demand and falling export orders to other EZ economies.
Sterling weakened yesterday, to $1.31 from $1.32, following news that 40 Conservative MPs have agreed to sign a letter of no-confidence in the Prime Minister.
Investors with long sterling positions should not pin their hopes on Friday's GDP report to reverse some of the losses endured over the last week.
The hard data in Germany took a turn for the worse at the start of Q4. The outlook for consumers' spending was dented by the October plunge in retail sales--see here-- and on Friday, the misery spilled over into manufacturing.
Data released on Friday showed that November inflation was in line with, or below, expectations in Brazil, Colombia and Chile.
Japan's PPI data yesterday confirmed that October was a turning point for prices--due to the consumption tax hike--despite the surprising stability of CPI inflation in Tokyo for the same month.
March payrolls were constrained by both the impact of colder and snowier weather than usual in the survey week, and a correction in the construction and retail components, which were unsustainably strong in February.
The consensus that industrial production increased by just 0.2% month-to-month in July looks too cautious.
We planned to write today about the rebound in housing market activity over the past few months, arguing that it is about to run out of steam in the face of the recent flat trend in mortgage applications. The Mortgage Bankers Associations' purchase applications index rocketed in the spring, but then moved in a narrow range from mid-April through late September. Then, out of the blue, the MBA reported a 27% leap in applications in the week ended October 2, taking the index to its highest level in more than five years.
It would be a mistake to conclude much about the economic impact of the Brexit vote from today's official industrial production figures for September, and the British Retail Consortium's figures for retail sales in October.
Yesterday's German manufacturing data were a damp squib. Industrial production, including construction, rose by 1.2% month-to-month in July, lifting the year- over-year rate by 1.4pp, to -10.0%, undershooting the consensus and our own expectation of a rise of 5%.
The tiny headline consensus beat in the August payrolls numbers is nothing to get excited about, and neither is the unexpected drop in the headline unemployment rate.
Geopolitical tensions have risen sharply for Asia in the last few months, yet the RMB has appreciated sharply. China's currency appears to be playing some kind of safe haven role.
While we were out, Brazil's economic and political position continued to improve. The recession eased in the second quarter and into July. Industrial production, for example, increased in June for the fourth consecutive month, rising by 1.1% month-to-month.
The run-up to the release of the official retail sales figures has become so congested with other indicators, following alterations by the ONS to its publication schedule, that we now have to preview the data earlier than usual.
China last week banned unlicensed micro-lending and put a ceiling on borrowing costs for the sector, in an effort to curtail the spiralling of consumer credit.
Manufacturing activity in Germany rebounded at the start of the fourth quarter, following a miserable Q3. New orders jumped 1.8% month-to-month in October, lifted by increases in consumer and capital goods orders, both domestic and export. But the year-over-year rate fell to -1.4%, from a revised -0.7% in September, due to unfavorable base effects, and the three-month trend remained below zero. Our first chart shows that non-Eurozone export orders are the key drag, with export orders to other euro area economies doing significantly better.
Yesterday's detailed EZ GDP report showed that real output rose 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, the same pace as in Q2. The year-over-over rate rose marginally to 1.7% from 1.6%, trivially higher than the first estimate, 1.6%. The details showed that consumers' spending and public consumption were the key drivers of growth in Q3, offsetting a slowdown in net trade.
The 5% year-over-year increase in private new car registrations in January ended a nine-month period of falling sales. January's increase, however, is unlikely to be a bellwether for car sales over the whole year, or for the strength of consumer spending more generally.
As things stand, we see little reason to revise down our forecasts for the U.K. economy in response to the tailspin in equity markets
It would be a mistake to conclude from July's car registrations data that the market finally has turned a corner.
While we were out, Brazil's economic and political situation continued to improve, allowing the BCB to cut the Selic rate by 100bp to 9.25% at its July 26th meeting, matching expectations.
The improvement in the August services PMI has generated hyperbolic headlines suggesting the U.K. is on a tear despite the Brexit vote. Taken literally, however, the PMIs suggest that the revival in business activity in August only partially reversed July's decline. Meanwhile, the impact of sterling's sharp depreciation on the purchasing power of firms and consumers has only just begun to be felt.
Last Friday's August auto sales numbers were overshadowed by the below-consensus payroll report and the six-year high in the ISM manufacturing index, but they are the first data to reflect the impact of Hurricane Harvey.
Yesterday's German industrial production data were poor, but better than we expected. Output fell 0.5% month-to-month in February, pushing annual growth down to 1.3% from a revised 1.8% in January. In addition, net revisions to the month-to-month data were a hefty -1.0%, but this is not enough to change the story of a Q1 rebound in industrial production.
The new fiscal year began on April 6, marking the post-election intensification of the fiscal squeeze for many households. The Office for Budget Responsibility estimates net tax and benefit changes will subtract 1.2 percentage points from year-over-year growth in households' disposable incomes in 2016.
The Brazilian Central Bank's policy board-- COPOM--met expectations on Wednesday, voting unanimously to cut the Selic rate by 25bp to 2.00%.
This could have been a momentous week, but now it very likely will be just another week with another Fed meeting where rates are left on hold. Our call has very little to do with the underlying state of the economy, which we think can cope with higher rates, and needs them, given the tightness of the labor market. Instead, the story is all about the perceptions--misplaced, in our view--of both the Fed and the markets.
Chile's economic outlook is still positive, but clouds have been gradually gathering since mid-year, due mostly to the slowdown in China, low copper prices and falling consumer and business confidence.
Car manufacturers have been at the sharp end o f the slowdown in consumers' spending this year. In response, several brands have launched generous scrappage schemes, giving buyers a big discount when they trade in their old vehicle.
Brazilian industrial production data released last week were upbeat. Output rose 8.0% month-to-month in July, much better than the consensus forecast for a 5.9% increase.
Brazil's benchmark inflation index, the IPCA, fell 0.1% month-to-month unadjusted in August, below market expectations.
China's authorities recognised, around the middle of this year, that activity was slowing and that monetary conditions had become overly tight.
Last week's manufacturing data in Germany left investors with more questions than answers.
The downturn in car sales is showing no sign of abating. Data released yesterday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed that private registrations fell 10.1% year-over-year in October, much worse than the 6.6% average drop in the previous 12 months.
Mexican asset prices and sentiment have been helped in recent weeks by less-harsh rhetoric from the Trump administration. The headline consumer confidence for February, reported yesterday, rose to 75.7 from 68.5 in January; all the sub-components improved. The data are not seasonally adjusted, so most local analysts look at the data in year-over-year terms.
Predicting which way markets would move in response to potential general election outcomes has been relatively straightforward in the past. But the usual rules of thumb will not apply when the election results filter through after polling stations close on Thursday evening.
Markets likely will be particularly sensitive to May's industrial production and construction output figures, released today, as they will provide a guide to the strength of the preliminary estimate of Q2 GDP, released shortly before the MPC's key meeting on August 3.
Mexico's survey data have improved significantly over the last few months, reaching levels last since before Donald Trump won the U.S. election in November. This suggest that the economy is in much better shape than feared earlier this year. Consumer confidence, for instance, has continued its recovery.
GDP data for July, released on Friday, showed that the economic recovery following the Covid-19 lockdown still does not look V-shaped, even though virtually all restrictions on economic activity had been lifted.
Wednesday's Mexican industrial production report was upbeat for manufacturing, but it revealed that the oil and public construction sectors remain under severe strain.
Core inflation--a long lagging indicator in the euro area-- will rise next year, in response to surging consumers' spending. Our first chart shows that services inflation likely will be a key theme in this story. Even allowing for a structural drag on inflation due to high unemployment outside Germany, cyclical risks to services inflation are tilted firmly to the upside.
A core element of our relatively upbeat macro view before the implementation of fiscal stimulus under the new administration is that the ending of the drag from falling capex in the oil sector will have quite wide, positive implications for growth. The recovery in direct oil sector spending is clear enough; it will just track the rising rig count, as usual.
We expect today's consumer prices figures to show that CPI inflation picked up to 0.5% in May, from 0.3% in April, exceeding the 0.4% rate anticipated by both the consensus and the MPC, in last month's Inflation Report. We expect the increase to be driven by a jump in the core rate to 1.4%, from 1.2% in April.
Yesterday's EZ data showed that French households came out swinging as the economy reopened. Consumers' spending, ex-services, jumped by 36.6% month-to-month in May, driving the year-over-year rate up to -8.3%, from -32.7% in April.
We're expecting a strong-looking 225K increase in the May ADP measure of private sector payroll growth, due today. The consensus forecast is 180K.
Chile's April retail sales data, released on Monday, show that private consumption started the second quarter on a solid footing. Sales rose 3.0% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-rate up to 7.9% from 1.4% in March and an average of 4.0% in Q1. The headline was boosted by a favourable calendar effect, as April this year had two more trading days than April 2015.
When the Fed raised rates in December, it subverted one of its own long-standing conventions by hiking with the ISM manufacturing index below 50. The December survey, released just 15 days before the meeting, showed the headline index slipping to 48.6, the third straight sub-50 reading. It has since been revised down to 48.0, the lowest reading since June 2009.
We're expecting the FOMC to vote unanimously not raise rates today, but we do expect a modestly hawkish tilt in the statement. Specifically, we're expecting an acknowledgment of the upturn in business investment reported in the Q4 GDP data, and of the increase in market-based measures of inflation expectations, given that 10-year TIPS breakevens are now above 2% for the first time since September 2014.
China's monetary conditions remain tight, pointing to a substantial downtrend in GDP growth this year and next.
We agree wholeheartedly with the consensus view that the economy would enter a recession in the event of a no-deal Brexit on October 31.
Chile's central bank left its policy rate on hold last Friday at 3.0%, in line with market expectations, amid easing inflationary pressures and a struggling economy.
In one line: Easter distortions drove services inflation higher; the core goods CPI is still subdued
External conditions continue to favour Brazil. The recovery in domestic demand in the world's major economies, particularly the rebound in business investment, has driven a gradual revival of global exports.
We take little comfort from the fact that the 2.0% quarter-on-quarter drop in Q1 GDP was a bit smaller than the consensus forecast, 2.5%, and the 3.0% fall pencilled-in by the MPC in its Monetary Policy Report.
In a busy week in Brazil, ongoing signals of feeble economic activity have strengthened our forecast for GDP growth of just 1.0% this year, below the 1.3% consensus forecast.
May's consumer prices figures bolster the case for the MPC to sit tight and wait until next year to raise interest rates, when the economy should have more momentum.
The BoJ yesterday kept the policy balance rate at -0.1%, and the 10-year yield target at "around zero", in line with the consensus.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has decided to press ahead with the publication of new fiscal forecasts on November 7, despite the government's decision to postpone the Budget until after the next election.
In the absence of an unexpected surge in auto sales or a sudden burst of unseasonably cold weather, lifting spending on utilities, fourth quarter consumption is going to struggle to rise much more quickly than the 2.1% annualized third quarter increase.
Industrial production in India turned around sharply in November, rising by 1.8% year-over-year, following October's 4.0% plunge and beating the consensus forecast for a trivial 0.3% uptick.
Yesterday's EZ CPI report points to a dovish backdrop for next week's ECB meeting. Advance data show that inflation was unchanged at 0.2% year-overyear in August, lower than the consensus, 0.3%. The headline was held back by a dip in the core rate to 0.8%, from 0.9% in July; this offset a lower deflationary drag from energy prices.
Britain is indisputably beyond the peak of the first wave of Covid-19 infections, though the descent in new cases, hospitalisations and deaths has been shallower than the ascent.
Yesterday's first estimate of Q1 GDP in Mexico confirmed that growth was under severe pressure at the start of the year. GDP fell by 1.6% quarter- on-quarter, the biggest drop since mid-2009, well below market expectations and following a 0.1% drop in Q4.
CPI inflation increased to 2.9% in May, from 2.7% in April, exceeding the no-change expectation of both the consensus and the MPC, as well as our own 2.8% forecast.
Strong fundamentals have supported private consumption in Mexico recently, but we now expect a slowdown. Spending will not collapse, though, because consumer credit growth, formal employment, real wage income and remittances will continue to underpin consumption for the next three-to-six months.
China's PMIs surprised the consensus forecasts to the downside for February. The manufacturing PMI dropped to 50.3 in February from 51.3 in January, while the non-manufacturing PMI fell to 54.4 from 55.3 in January.
Sterling fell to $1.38, from $1.39, in the hour following the EU's publication of a draft Article 50 withdrawal treaty, which set out the practical consequences of the principles the U.K. agreed to in December.
Yesterday's advance CPI data for the major EZ economies suggest that today's report for the euro area as a whole will undershoot the consensus slightly.
The underlying U.S. consumer story, hidden behind a good deal of recent noise, is that the rate of growth of spending is reverting to the trend in place before last year's tax cuts temporarily boosted people's cashflow.
German Q4 GDP data this week will give little comfort to investors searching for signs of a resilient economy in the face of increased market volatility. The consensus expects unchanged GDP growth of 0.3% quarter-on-quarter, consistent with solid and stable survey data. But downbeat industrial production and retail sales data point to notable downside risk.
We expected a consensus-beating ADP employment number for February, but the 298K leap was much better than our forecast, 210K. The error now becomes an input into our payroll model, shifting our estimate for tomorrow's official number to 250K; our initial forecast was 210K.
April's 2.0% month-to-month leap in industrial production was the biggest upside surprise on record to the consensus forecast, which predicted no change. The surge, however, just reflects statistical and weather-related distortions. These boosts will unwind in May, ensuring that industry provides little support to Q2 GDP growth. Make no mistake, the recovery has not suddenly gained momentum.
The Prime Minister has argued repeatedly during the general election campaign that Britain will prosper under a "strong and stable" Conservative government with a large majority. "Division in Westminster," she argued when calling the election last month, "...will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country."
We just can't get away from the deeply vexed question of wages; specifically, why the rate of growth of nominal hourly earnings has risen only to just over 2.5%, even though the historical relationship between wage gains and the tightness of the labor market points to increases of 4%-plus.
Since April, the presidential elections in Brazil have dominated local discourse, prompting several market moves.
The final flurry of opinion polls indicates that voting intentions have changed little over the last few days. The Conservatives have an average lead over Labour of 7.5% in the final p olls conducted by 10 different agencies, only slightly more than their 6.5% lead at the 2015 election.
Yesterday's headline economic data in Germany were decent enough. Industrial output edged higher by 0.3% month-to-month in May, lifted primarily by rising production of capital and consumer goods.
China's trade surplus tumbled to $20.3B in January, from $54.7B in December, surprising the consensus for little change.
Figures due on Friday likely will show that the increase in industrial production in December was much smaller than the 0.6% month-to-month assumed by the ONS in its preliminar y Q4 GDP estimate. We expect a 0.2% rise, which would leave production down 0.1% quarter-on-quarter, rather than up 0.1% as the ONS initially estimated.
The reported drop in mortgage applications over the holidays is now reversing, not that it ever mattered.
Brazil's industrial sector is still struggling, despite recent signs of better economic and financial conditions.
Small business sentiment and activity, as reported by the NFIB survey, has recovered exactly half the drop triggered by the rollover in stock prices in the fourth quarter. This matters, because most people work at small firms, which are responsible for the vast bulk of net job growth.
Yesterday's industrial production data in Germany were better than we feared. Output slipped 0.3% month-to-month in August, depressing the year- over-rate to -0.4% from 1.6% in July, a minor fall given evidence of a big hit from weakness in the auto sector ahead of the EU emissions tests.
Before we cover yesterday's economic news, we regret to inform our readers that the Brexit negotiations remain bizarre as ever.
China's manufacturing PMI was poised for major disappointment... the trade war impact is clear. Don't be fooled by the relative stability of China's non-manufacturing PMI. Japan's March unemployment uptick was early; April was payback. Japan's CPI inflation has peaked. Japan's industrial production ticks up after extreme weakness; don't hold your breath for the recovery. Japan's consumers in poor shape, but maybe it's not that bad. The upswing in Korean industrial production likely to take a breather this month. The BoK holds firm, despite rising calls for a rate cut.
Chinese manufacturing powers through Beijing's partial lockdown. The hot construction sector in China took a small breather in June. Unemployment in Japan is on track to breach the 3% mark for the first time since 2017. No immediate relief for Japanese industry from the withdrawal of the state of emergency. There is light at the end of the tunnel for the downturn in Korean industry.
The Fed's decisions over the next few months hinge on the relative importance policymakers place on the apparent slowdown in payroll growth and the unambiguous acceleration in wages. We qualify our verdict on the payroll numbers because the January number was very close to our expectation, which in turn was based largely on an analysis of the seasonals, not the underlying economy.
Colombia was likely the fastest growing economy in LatAm in 2015, but it is set to slow this year as monetary and fiscal policy are tightened, and commodity prices remain under pressure during the first half of the year, at least. Economic activity was surprisingly resilient during 2015, especially during the second half, despite the COP's sell-off, high inflation, and subdued consumer confidence.
So, what should we make of the fourth straight disappointment in the retail sales numbers? First, we should note that all is probably not how it seems. The 0.2% upward revision to March sales was exactly equal to the difference between the consensus forecast and the initial estimate, neatly illustrating the danger of over-interpreting the first estimates of the data.
Today's March retail sales report will likely disappoint, despite the already- downbeat consensus forecast of a 0.7% month-to-month fall. We think sales fell 1.2%, equivalent to a 1.3% increase year-over-year, due mostly to the bigger-than-expected 2.3% plunge in German sales, reported too late to be incorporated in the Bloomberg consensus.
Japan's flash PMIs for August point to short-term gain and long-term pain. Construction is starting to show signs of peaking.
Mr. Trump's partial U-turn on September tariffs shows some semblance of an understanding of reality...that's a good thing. China's industrial production crushes June hopes of a swift recovery. Chinese consumers struggle. Chinese FAI: the infrastructure industry growth slowdown is especially worrying. Japan's strong core machine orders rebound in June probably faded in recent weeks. Korea's jobless rate will soon creep back up after remaining steady in July.
Mexico's economy lost some momentum in Q4, due mainly to weakness in industrial and agricultural activity, but this was partly offset by the strength of the services sector as consumers' spending again carried the economic recovery. Real GDP rose 0.6% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, after a 0.8% expansion in Q3, the tenth consecutive increase. Year-over-year growth dipped marginally to 2.5% from 2.6% in Q3, but the underlying trend remains stable. In 2015 as a whole the economy expanded by 2.5%, up from 2.3% in 2014.
...The data were all over the map, with existing home sales plunging while consumer confidence rose; Chicago-area manufacturing activity plunged but national durable goods were flat; real consumption rose at a decent clip but pending home sales dipped again. Markets, by contrast, are little changed from the week before the holidays. What to make of it all?
The underlying trend in payroll growth probably has not changed significantly from the 228K average monthly gains recorded last year. But the average hides wide variations, some triggered by seasonal adjustment problems and others by one-time weather effects or unavoidable and random sampling error. January's below-trend 151K increase was likely a victim of seasonal problems, because payroll gains in recent years have tended to be soft at the start of the year after outsized fourth quarter increases.
The substantial, though incomplete, rebound in the September ISM manufacturing survey is consistent with our view that the outlook for the industrial economy right now is better than at any time since before the crash in oil prices
The bad news on economic activity keeps coming for Brazil. The formal payroll employment report-- CAGED--for December was very weak, with 120K net jobs eliminated, compared to a 40K net destruction in December 2014, according to our seasonal adjustment. The severe downturn has translated into huge job losses. The economy eliminated 1.5 million jobs last year, compared to 152K gains in 2014. Last year's job destruction was the worst since the data series started in 1992. The payroll losses have been broad-based, but manufacturing has been hit very hard, with 606K jobs eliminated, followed by civil construction and services. Since the end of 2014, the crisis has hit one sector after another.
We already have a pretty good idea of what happened to consumers' spending in March, following Friday's GDP release, so the single most important number in today's monthly personal income and spending report, in our view, is the hospital services component of the deflator.
April's consensus-beating retail sales figures fostered an impression that the recovery in consumer spending is in fine fettle, even though the rest of the economy is suffering from Brexit blues. Retailers have stimulated demand, however, by slashing prices at an unsustainable rate. With import prices and labour costs now rising, retailers are set to increase prices, sapping the momentum in sales volumes.
The most important number released yesterday was hidden well behind the headline inflation, production and housing construction data. We have been waiting to see how quickly the upturn in the number of rigs in operation would translate into rising oil and gas well-drilling, and now we know: In July, well-drilling jumped by 4.7%
Chancellor Hammond likely will broadly stick to the current plans for the fiscal consolidation to intensify next year when he delivers his second Budget on Thursday.
Our new Chief U.K. economist, Samuel Tombs, initiated his coverage yesterday with a sombre, non-consensus, message on the economy. Headwinds from fiscal tightening and net trade will weigh on GDP growth next year, but the BoE will likely have to look through such cyclical weakness, and hike as inflation creeps higher. An intensified drag from net trade in the U.K. will, other things equal, benefit the Eurozone. But a slowdown in U.K. GDP growth still poses a notable risk to euro area headline export growth, especially in the latter part of next year.
China's activity data outperformed expectations in November.
Mexico's recent rebound in inflation and a more volatile financial environment, due to increasing global trade tensions, forced Banxico to keep its policy rate unchanged at 8.25% last Thursday.
We have been on the ECB's case recently. The action taken at last week's official meeting--see here--fell short of market expectations, but more importantly, Ms. Lagarde's communication around the decisions was disastrous.
Chile's central bank cut the policy rate 25bp last week to 3.0%, in line with consensus, amid easing inflationary pressures. The timing of the rate cut was no surprise; in January, the BCCh cut rates for the first time in more than two years, and kept a dovish bias.
February's consumer price report, released tomorrow, likely will show that CPI inflation has breached the MPC's 2% target for the first time since November 2013. Indeed, we think the headline rate jumped to 2.2%, from 1.8% in January, exceeding the 2.1% rate expected by the MPC and the consensus.
Brazil's recovery is consolidating, with recent data flow confirming that the economy had an encouraging start to the year.
Recent economic indicators in Brazil have undershot consensus in recent weeks, but the economy nonetheless continues to recover.
It's hard to have much conviction in any forecast for September retail sales, as the relationship between the official data and the surveys has weakened considerably.
Under normal circumstances, the boost to consumption from the astonishing collapse in oil prices would act as a substantial--though not complete--offset to the hit to capital spending in the shale business.
We have argued for some time that the plunge in gasoline prices will constrain core inflation over the course of this year, by reducing production and distribution costs for a broad array of goods.
This weekend's first round of the French presidential election is too close to call. Our first chart indicates that a runoff between Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron remains the best bet. But the statistical uncertainty inherent in the predictions, and the proximity of the two remaining candidates--the centre-right Mr. Fillon and far-left Mr. Melenchon-- mean that this is now effectively a four-horse race.
While we were away, the Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India voted unanimously to keep its benchmark repo rate unchanged, at 4.00%, defying expectations for a 25-basis point cut.
The information available to date--which is still very incomplete--suggests that new housing construction will decline in the third quarter. This would be the second straight decline, following the 6.1% drop in Q2. We aren't expecting such a large fall in the third quarter, but it is nonetheless curious that housing investment--construction, in other words--is falling at a time when new home sales have risen sharply.
August's consumer price figures caught everyone by surprise. CPI inflation increased to 2.7%, from 2.4% in July, greatly exceeding the consensus and the MPC's forecast, 2.4%.
Bloomberg reported on Monday that the PBoC is drafting a package of reforms to give foreign investors greater access to the China's financial services sector. This could involve allowing foreign institutions to control their local joint ventures and raising the 25% ceiling on foreign ownership of Chinese banks.
Banxico's tightening cycle has totalled 400 basis points, lifting rates to 7.0%. Since late 2015, Banxico has followed the Fed closely, but other external factors also have guided many of its decisions.
Chinese monetary policymakers can rely on several different instruments to affect market and broad liquidity, ranging from various forms of open market operations to interest rates to FX intervention. The tool kit is constantly changing as the PBoC refines its operations.
Economic and financial conditions continue to deteriorate sharply in LatAm.
May's consumer prices report contained few surprises. The fall in the headline rate of CPI inflation to 2.0%, from April's Easter-boosted 2.1%, matched the consensus, our forecast and the MPC's.
In our daily Monitors we've talked about the four paths that we see for the Chinese economy over the medium-to-long term. First, China could make history and actively transition to private consumption-led growth.
BanRep surprised the markets on Friday with a 25bp interest rate cut, bringing rates to 7.50%. We expected the Colombian central bank to start easing in January, due to the uncertainties surrounding the tax reform package and the ongoing minimum wage negotiations.
Yesterday's IFO survey capped a fine Q4 for German business survey data. The headline business climate index climbed to a 34-month high of 111.0 in December, from 110.4 in November. An increase in the "current assessment" index was the main driver of the gain, while the expectations index rose only trivially.
Politics will be the key factor in LatAm over the coming quarters, as presidential and legislative elections take place throughout the region.
As painful as it is, the decision to lock down economies to curb the spread of Covid-19 was easy. The next step, however, is considerably more difficult.
Chile's activity numbers at the beginning of Q3 were mediocre, suggesting that the economy remains sluggish. The industrial production index--comprising mining, manufacturing, and utility output--fell by 1.7% year-over-year in July, reversing a 1.6% expansion in June. A disappointing 4.5% year-over-year contraction in mining activity depressed the July headline index, following a 1.4% increase in June. The moderation in output growth was due to maintenance-related shutdowns at key processing plants, and disruptions from labor strikes, especially a three-week strike by contract workers at Codelco--the state-owned mining firm--which badly hit production.
Upbeat survey data and relatively resilient consumer spending numbers indicate that the Mexican economy is in good shape, despite a marginal slowdown in most of Q2.
We're expecting the first look at August employment, in the form of today's ADP report, to fall short of the 1,000K consensus forecast; we look for 500K.
Economists are divided evenly on whether Tuesday's consumer price figures will show that CPI inflation held steady at 2.9% or edged down to 2.8% in June.
A few ECB governors has attempted to lean against dovish expectations in the past week.
The consensus forecast for a 0.6% month-to month rise in retail sales volumes in December--data released today--is far too timid.
The market-implied probability that the MPC will cut Bank Rate by June fell to 34%, from 38%, after the release of January's consumer price figures, though investors still see around an 80% chance of a cut by the end of this year.
Today's official figures likely will show that retail sales weakened a touch in December. Indeed, we think that the consensus forecast for a 0.1% month-to-month decline in sales volumes is too timid; we look for a 0.5% drop. Retail sales surged by 1.8% month-to-month in October and then rose by 0.2% in November, so a correction is overdue. Clothing sales, in particular, likely fell sharply in December.
Surveys suggest that today's retail sales figures will show that sales volumes increased by around 1% month-to-month in June, significantly exceeding the consensus, 0.4%. But the pickup in June likely will be just a blip; the further intensification of the squeeze on real wages and a tightening of unsecured lending standards will keep retail sales on a flat path in the second half of 2017.
Data on air quality in China provide some useful insights into the economic disruptions--or lack thereof--caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus from Wuhan and the government's aggressive containment measures.
Peru's central bank kept the reference rate unchanged at 3.5% at Thursday's meeting, in line with our view and market expectations.
CPI inflation surprises look set to trigger larger- than-usual market reactions over the coming months, given that the MPC emphasised last month that it wants to see domestically-generated inflation rebound swiftly, after falling suddenly late last year, in order to justify keeping Bank Rate on hold.
Signs of a slowdown in the labour market data are conspicuously absent.
Brazil's consumer resilience in Q3 continued to November, but retail sales undershot market expectations, suggesting that the sector is not yet accelerating and that downside risks remain.
Today's official retail sales figures look set to show that consumers tightened their purse strings at the start of this year, following last year's spending spree. We think that retail sales volumes rose by just 1.0% month-to-month in January; that would be a poor result after December's 1.9% plunge. Surveys of retailers have been weak across the board. The reported sales balance of the CBI's Distributive Trade Survey collapsed to -8 in January, from +35 in December. The balance is notoriously volatile, but the 43-point drop is the largest since the survey began in 1983.
Elections will be held on Thursday in two constituencies vacated recently by Labour MPs. Betting markets are pricing-in a 70% chance that the Conservatives will win the by-election in Copeland--even though they trailed Labour there by eight points in the general election in 2015--mainly because around 60% of Copeland's electorate voted to leave the EU last year.
We expect July's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, to show that CPI inflation ticked up to 0.7% in July, from 0.6% in June.
After soaring in the Spring, inflation has slipped back in the Summer. July's consumer prices report, released while we were away last week, showed that CPI inflation held steady at 2.6% in July, one -tenth below the consensus and three tenths below May's year-to-date peak.
We have to pinch ourselves when looking at economic data in Spain at the moment. Real GDP rose a dizzying 0.9% quarter-on-quarter in Q1, driven by solid gains of 0.7% and 1.1% in consumer's spending and investment respectively. Retail sales and industrial production data indicate GDP growth remained strong in Q2, even if survey data lost some momentum towards the end of the quarter. We will be looking for signs of further moderation in Q3, but surging private deposit growth indicate the cyclical recovery will continue.
Brazil's central bank looked through the recent dip in the BRL and left interest rates at 6.50% at Wednesday's Copom meeting, in line with the consensus.
We advise strongly against concluding from the above-consensus rebound in retail sales in May that the economy is embarking on a healthy, V-shaped recovery, from Covid-19.
Yesterday's ZEW investor sentiment in Germany shows showed no signs that uncertainty over the U.K. referendum is taking its toll on EZ investors. The expectations index surged to 19.2 in June, from 6.4 in May, the biggest month-to-month jump since January last year, when investors were eagerly expecting the ECB's QE announcement.
The downshift in the rate of growth of retail sales, which has caused a degree of consternation among investors, likely has further to run. The Redbook chain store sales survey clearly warned at the turn of the year that a slowdown was coming, but forecasters didn't want hear the warning: Five of the seven non-auto retail sales numbers released this year have undershot consensus.
We remain very bullish on the housing market, given sustained 11-year highs in applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase.
The BoJ left policy unchanged yesterday, but we noted some significant additions and modifications in the statement and the press conference.
Whatever today's report tells us about existing home sales in January, the underlying state of housing demand right now is unclear. The sales numbers lag mortgage applications by a few months, as our first chart shows, so they're usually the best place to start if you're pondering the near-term outlook for sales. But the applications data right now are suffering from two separate distortions, one pushing the numbers up and the other pushing them down. Both distortions should fade by the late spring, but in they meantime we'd hesitate to say we have a good idea what's really happening to demand.
We expect the official estimate of quarter-on-quarter GDP growth in Q4 to be revised up to 0.7% today, from last month's preliminary estimate of 0.6%. The consensus forecast is for no revision, so the data likely will boost interest rate expectations and sterling, if we're right.
Yesterday's ECB meeting provided no immediate relief to nervous investors. The central bank kept its main interest rates unchanged, and maintained the pace of QE purchases at €60B per month. Mr. Draghi compensated for the lack of action, however, by hinting heavily at further easing at its next meeting. The president emphasized that the ECB's policies will be "reviewed and reconsidered" in light of the March update to the staff projections. Mr. Draghi also admitted that inflation has been "weaker than expected" since the last meeting, and that downside risks have increased further. The central bank does not pre-commit, but we think it is a good bet that the ECB will do more in March.
Consensus expectations for August's labour market data, released today, look well grounded.
September's consumer price figures likely will surprise to the downside, prompting markets to reassess their view that the MPC will almost certainly raise interest rates next month.
The beginning of the electoral campaign last week in Brazil bodes uncertain results and a very close competition for the presidential elections on October 7.
Today's market attention will be focused on the advance August PMI data in the major EZ economies. We think the composite PMI in the euro area was unchanged at 53.2 in August, consistent with stable GDP growth of 0.3%-to-0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q3. The signal of "stability" in the Eurozone business cycle has been consistently relayed by the PMI since the beginning of the year.
Brazil's retail sales plunged in August, falling 0.9% month-to-month--the seventh consecutive contraction -- and with a net revision of -0.6%. The broad retail index, which includes vehicles and construction materials, dropped 2.0% month-to-month, the biggest fall this year, due mainly to a 5.2% collapse in auto sales, reversing July's unexpected increase. In annual terms, headline sales fell by an eye-popping 6.9% in August, after the downwardly-revised 3.9% drop in July. In short, the sales data show that consumers are suffering. They will struggle for some time yet.
Banxico hiked its policy rate by 25bp to a cyclical-high of 8.0% yesterday, in line with market expectations.
Before this week's earthquake, the resilience of Mexico's economy in the face of a volatile and challenging global backdrop owed much to the strength of domestic demand, especially private consumption.
The rate of growth of chain store sales has levelled off in recent months, after slowing dramatically in the first four months of this year, almost certainly in response to falling prices for dollar-sensitive goods like household electronics. In the fourth quarter of last year, the Redbook recorded same-store sales growth averaging 4.3%, but that has slowed to a 1-to-2% range since April.
Japan's all-industry activity index fell 0.5% month-on- month in September after a 0.2% rise in August. Construction activity continued to plummet, with the subindex dropping 2.3%, after a 2.2% fall in August.
Colombia's trade deficit continued to narrow in Q3; a postive development now that EM are back in the firing line. Assuming no revisions, the marginal year-over-year dip in the September trade deficit means that the third quarter deficit was USD3.1B, down from US4.6B a year ago.
Sterling briefly touched $1.30 yesterday, in response to signs that a very small majority in the Commons stands ready to vote for an unamended version of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill--WAB-- on Tuesday.
Consumption and investment spending by state and local government accounts for just over 10% of the U.S. economy, making it more important than exports or consumers' spending on durable goods, and roughly equal to all business investment in equipment and intellectual property.
The U.S. consumer is back on track, almost. We have argued in recent months that the sharp slowdown in the rate of growth of consumption is mostly a story about a transition from last year's surge, when spending was boosted by the tax cuts and, later, by falling gas prices, to a sustainable pace roughly in line with real after-tax income growth.
Once again, Chinese January data released so far suggest that the Phase One trade deal was the dominant factor dictating activity for the first two- thirds of the month, with the virus becoming a real consideration only in the last third.
Signs that the government is softening its Brexit plans, in response to its substantial defeat in the Commons last week, has enabled sterling to recover most of the ground lost against the dollar and euro in the fourth quarter of last year.
Household spending has been the sole source of growth in the economy so far this year, amid worsening investment and net trade. Today's official retail sales figures, however, look set to show that consumers suffered the Brexit blues in June.
Over the past couple of weeks, the number of applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase have reached their highest level since late 2010, when activity was boosted by the impending expiration of a time-limited tax credit for homebuyers.
We expect the flash reading of Markit's composite PMI, released today, to print at 52.4 in February, below the consensus, 52.8, and January's final reading, 53.3, albeit still in line with last month's flash.
After two big monthly gains in existing home sales, culminating in October's nine-year high of 5.60M, we expect a dip in sales in today's November report. This wouldn't be such a big deal -- data correct after big movements all the time -- were it not for the downward trend in mortgage applications.
Greece's exit from eight years of near constant bail-out programs raises as many questions as it answers.
China's March money and credit data, published last Friday, showed that conditions continue to tighten, posing a threat to GDP growth this year.
Manufacturing confidence in France remained resilient in the fourth quarter. The INSEE sentiment index rose to 103 in December from 102 in November, lifted by a jump in firms' own production expectations, and a small increase in the new orders-to-inventory ratio. We think production will increase in Q4, lifted by energy output, but the recent jump in the year-over-year rate is unlikely to be sustained, even if we factor in the marginal increase in new orders this month.
The third quarter national accounts, due to be published on Friday, likely will not alter the picture of economic resilience immediately after the referendum. The latest estimate of GDP growth often is revised in this release, but revisions have not exceeded 0.1 percentage points in either direction in the last four years, as our first chart shows.
Speculators who have sold sterling over the last six months have been frustrated. Investors have been overwhelmingly net short sterling, but the pound has hovered between $1.20 and $1.25, as our first chart shows. Undeterred, investors increased their net short positions last week to 107K contracts-- the most since records began in 1992--from 81K a week earlier.
April's consumer price figures, due on Wednesday, are set to show that CPI inflation has fallen, primarily due to the earlier timing of Easter this year than last. We
Retail sales volumes held steady in September, undershooting the consensus, 0.3%, and they were unchanged in August too. At this stage, evidence of a slowdown in retail sales growth is only tentative, but the trend will weaken decisively when retailers raise prices sharply next year.
Financial markets in the Eurozone will be pushed around by global events today. The Bank of Japan kicks off the party in the early hours CET, and the spectrum of investors' expectations is wide.
August's retail sales figures create a misleading impression that consumers can be relied upon to pull the economy through the next six months of heightened Brexit uncertainty unscathed.
Yesterday's data on EZ car sales added to the evidence that consumers' spending is slowing. We now reckon sales will rise by 1% quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter, after gains averaging 2.6% in the first half of the year.
In recent client meetings the first and last topic of conversation has been the market implications of the possible departure of President Trump from office.
Reforms to Stamp Duty Land Tax paid by first-time buyers likely will take centre stage in the Budget. At the Conservatives' party conference, Theresa May pledged another £10B to expand the Help to Buy Scheme, which helps first-time buyers obtain a mortgage which just a 5% deposit.
Chile's Q1 GDP report, released yesterday, confirmed that the economy weakened sharply at the beginning of the year, due mainly to temporary shocks, including adverse weather conditions.
The FOMC kept policy unchanged at April's meeting-- rates stayed at zero, and all the market valves are wide open, as needed--but policymakers spent considerable time pondering what might happen over the next few months, and how policy could evolve.
Borrowing by local authorities from the Public Works Loan Board, used to finance capital projects-- and arguably dubious commercial property acquisitions--has surged this year.
Brazil's industrial production rose 0.8% month- to-month in August, well above our call, and the consensus, for a trivial increase.
Korea's trade data have been extremely volatile over the past two months, thanks to distortions caused by last year's odd holiday calendar.
September's consumer price figures helped to curb expectations that the MPC might raise Bank Rate again before the March Brexit deadline.
CPI inflation fell to 0.2% in August, from 1.0% in July, but exceeded our forecast and the consensus, both zero.
We expect today's consumer price figures to show that CPI inflation jumped to 0.9% in September, from 0.6% in August.
Recent economic activity, labour market and inflation data all have surprised Brazilian policymakers' expectations, to the upside.
China's monetary and credit data--released yesterday, two days behind schedule--suggest that monetary conditions are loosening at the margin, while credit conditions have remained stable, but easier than in the first half.
Today brings the September housing construction report, which likely will show that activity was depressed by the hurricanes.
October's colossal 1.9% month-to-month jump in retail sales volumes greatly exceeded the 0.5% consensus and even our own top-of-the- range 1.0% forecast.
The declines in headline housing starts and building permits in September don't matter; both were driven by corrections in the volatile multi-family sector.
PM Johnson has conceded considerable ground over the terms of Brexit for Northern Ireland in order to get a deal over the line in time for MPs to vote on it on Saturday, before the Benn Act requires him to seek an extension.
Our first impression of the proposed Brexit deal between the EU and the U.K. is that it is sufficiently opaque for both sides to claim that they have stuck to their guns, even if in reality, they have both made concessions.
The near-real-time economic data have been hard to read recently, because of distortions caused by the Labor Day holiday.
The MPC surprised yesterday both with its bullish take on the economy's current health, and with the news that it will begin, in Q4, "structured engagement on the operational considerations" regarding negative rates.
Data this week confirmed that private spending in Colombia stumbled in June. Retail sales fell 0.7% year-over-year, from an already poor -0.4% in May. The underlying trend is negative, following two consecutive declines, for the first time since late 2009. Domestic demand remains subdued as consumers are scaling back spending due to weaker real incomes, lower confidence and tighter credit and labor market conditions.
The consensus for a modest 0.5% month-to- month rise in retail sales volumes in October looks too timid; we expect today's data to show a 1% increase.
CPI inflation held steady at 1.5% in November, marking the fourth consecutive below-target print, though it was a tenth above both the MPC's forecast and the consensus.
The next couple of rounds of business surveys will capture firms' responses to the Phase One trade deal agreed last week, though the news came too late to make much, if any, difference to the December Philly Fed report, which will be released today.
The Colombian economy has been able to grow this year despite the plunge in oil prices since the middle of 2014. Gains in consumers' spending and investment have offset part of the hit from falling exports. But private spending growth, nonetheless, slowed considerably during the first few months of the year, as shown in our char t below, in part due to rising prices for imported goods after the depreciation of the COP, as well as broad-based concerns over the state of the economy.
The case for the MPC to hold back from implementing more stimulus was bolstered by September's consumer prices figures.
Greece goes to the polls this weekend, but unlike the chaos in the summer, we doubt it will be a nail-biting experience for investors. Polls put Syriza and the conservative New Democracy neck-and-neck, but neither party likely will be able to form a majority. Syriza has ruled out a grand coalition, which potentially means tricky negotiations with minority parties. But we are confident that any new government will be committed to euro membership, and a constructive dialogue with the EU and IMF.
Colombia's economy remained resilient in July, thanks to strong domestic demand and relatively good external conditions for the country's top exports.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the RPI is a terrible measure of inflation. The ONS describes it as "very poor" and discourages its use.
Growth in EZ car sales slowed further at the beginning of Q4. New registrations in the euro area fell 1.2% year-over-year in October, down from a 7.2% increase in September.
The Conservatives have maintained a substantial poll lead over Labour since MPs voted two weeks ago to hold a December 12 general election.
We remain confident that a deal with Greece will be made, and that the country will stay in the euro area. But the need for both parties to avoid losing face domestically is still complicating the negotiations. Most importantly, Greece is no longer pledging an unconditional exit from the bailout program.
As warned--see our Monitor April 7--economic data in the Eurozone disappointed while we were away. Industrial production, ex-construction, in the euro area slipped 0.3% month-to-month in February, and the January month-to-month gain was revised down by 0.6 percentage point to +0.3%.
At the end of last year, after October's Party Congress, the Chinese authorities came out with significant new directives and regulations on an almost weekly basis.
The consensus forecast for retail sales in December has been consistently too upbeat in recent years and we think most analysts are too sanguine yet again.
We've continuously warned that Japan's national accounts weren't sitting easily with the underlying signals from survey data, and monetary conditions, through last year.
The idea that the ECB will use its forthcoming strategic policy review to include a measure of real estate prices in its inflation target has been consistently brought up by readers in recent meetings.
July's retail sales report, released on Friday, looks set to be the third in a row to surprise the consensus to the upside.
If clarity is the first test of written English, the FOMC failed miserably yesterday. "Considerable time" is gone, but the new formulation--"the Committee judges that it can be patient in beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy"--was not clearly defined, though the FOMC did say it is "consistent with its previous statement".
We have argued consistently since oil prices first began to fall that U.S. consumers would spend most of their windfall, so real spending would accelerate even as nominal retail sales growth was dragged down by the drop in the price of gas and other imported goods. At the same time, we argued that capital spending in the oil business would collapse, and that exports would struggle in the face of the stronger dollar.
CPI inflation has undershot the consensus forecast six times this year, but surprised to the upside only twice.
Colombia's economic activity surprised to the upside in February, despite the challenging domestic environment. Private spending rose more than expected, but leading indicators suggest that household consumption will remain weak in Q2. Retail sales jumped 4.6% year-over-year in February, up from a 2.1% increase in January, and the fastest pace since August 2015.
The headline rate of CPI inflation held steady at the 2% target in June, in line with the consensus and the MPC's Inflation Report forecast.
Downward revisions to Japan's Q4 real GDP growth, published on Wednesday, lead us to revisit our main worry over the durability of the recovery; namely, that monetary conditions appear to be signalling a slowdown.
Data released on Friday confirmed an appalling end to the first quarter for the Brazilian and Colombian economies. In Brazil, the March IBC-Br, a monthly proxy for GDP, plunged 5.9% month-to-month, close to expectations.
The Fed yesterday formally adopted outcome-based forward guidance, setting out the conditions under which rates will rise: "The Committee... expects it will be appropriate to maintain this target range [0-to- 0.25%] until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with the Committee's assessments of maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2 percent and is on track to moderately exceed 2 percent for some time."
Comments by Mr. Draghi in Washington last week point to a high bar for an adjustment to the QE program. The ECB president noted that while asset purchases and negative interest rates have driven a notable improvement in confidence and asset prices, the real key to the central bank's policies' success is a lasting boost to investment, consumption and inflation.
Media reports allege that the Chancellor's Budget pared back the fiscal squeeze planned for the next couple of years. The Director of the Office for Budget Responsibility, Robert Chote, even compared the Chancellor to Saint Augustine, who supposedly said "make me pure, but not yet."
Speaking in Brussels earlier this week, Mr. Draghi noted that the ECB is encouraged by signs that private investment is finally turning up, to complement strong consumption. It is too early to make that assumption, we think, but we agree with the president that the trend is moving slowly in the right direction.
Trouble is brewing in the core inflation data, despite the benign-looking 0.17% increase in the June report, released Friday. If you annualize that rate indefinitely, core inflation will reach a steady state of 2.1%, so the Fed never needs to raise rates. Alas this only makes sense if you think that single monthly CPI numbers tell the whole truth, and that the fundamental forces acting on inflation are stable. Neither of these propositions is remotely true.
Growth in Eurozone car sales slowed slightly at the end of the first quarter. New car registrations in the euro area rose 5.8% year-over-year in March, down from a 14.4% increase in February. But the 12-month average level of new registrations jumped to new cyclical highs of 440,000 and 252,000 in the core and periphery respectively.
We expect May's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, to show that CPI inflation fell to 2.0% in May, from 2.1% in April.
This year has proved to be challenging for retailers in Mexico. The combination of fiscal reform, the economic slowdown over the first half of the year, and the collapse of consumer sentiment took a significant toll in the sector.
Construction data released yesterday provided further evidence that the Eurozone economy had a decent start to the fourth quarter. Output rose 1.3% month-on-month in October, equivalent to a 1.4% year-over-year increase.
The key detail in Friday's barrage of economic data was the above-consensus increase in EZ inflation.
Copom's meeting was the focal point this week in Brazil. The committee eased by 25bp for the second straight meeting, leaving the Selic rate at 13.75%, and it opened the door for larger cuts in Q1. Rates sat at 14.25% for 15 months before the first cut, in October. In this week's post-meeting statement, policymakers identified weak economic activity data, the disinflation process--actual and expectations--and progress on the fiscal front as the forces that prompted the rate cut.
The ECB moved ahead of the curve this month with its QE program of €60B per month, starting in March. But still-abysmal inflation data will prompt journalists to ask Mr. Draghi, at the next ECB meeting, about the conditions under which the central bank plans to do more.
Colombia is one of the fastest growing economies in LatAm but over the last few quarters the country has been adjusting to the collapse in oil prices, the depreciating currency and rising inflation. But the slowdown, especially on the domestic side of the economy, has been less dramatic than expected, so far. Our main scenario is that the adjustment process to challenging external conditions will continue over the coming quarters.
We were happy to see the small increase in the March ISM manufacturing index yesterday, following better news from China's PMIs, but none of these reports constitute definitive evidence that the manufacturing slowdown is over.
A no-deal Brexit is a remote possibility. The U.K. government and EU are closing in on a deal and Brexiteers within the Conservative party have failed, so far, to trigger a confidence vote on Mrs. May's leadership.
Investors have welcomed the flurry of encouraging opinion polls for the Conservatives that were published over the weekend, with cable rising nearly to $1.30 on Monday, a level last seen on a sustained basis six months ago.
Sterling took another pounding last week. Resignations from the Cabinet, protests by the DUP, and the public submission of letters by 21 MPs calling for a confidence vote in Mrs. May's leadership, imply that parliament won't ratify the current versions of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration on the future relationship with the E.U. next month.
Signs that the economy has been crippled by people's response to the Covid-19 outbreak continued to emerge yesterday.
Sharp increases in retail sales over the last two months suggest that consumers are not overly concerned by the risk that the U.K. could leave the E.U. next week. Sales volumes rose 0.9% month-on-month in May, and April's surge was revised larger, to 1.9% from 1.3%.
The economic calendar in the euro area was relatively quiet over Christmas, and broadly conformed to our expectations.
Yesterday's ECB press conference confirmed our view that Mr. Draghi is the periphery's friend, not enemy. Crucially, the central bank agreed to increase emergency liquidity assistance--ELA--to Greek banks by €900M. This is consistent tent with the agreement by the Eurogroup to give Greece €7B bridge financing, and shows the ECB is ready to act on the back of only a temporary truce between Greece and the EU. The increase in ELA is modest, and we doubt a painful restructuring of the banking system can be avoided. But with Greek bond yields falling, the available pool of collateral will go up, allowing the central bank to provide further relief in coming weeks.
January's money and credit data provided another warning sign that the economy has started 2017 on a weak footing. For a start, the three-month annualised growth rate of M4, excluding intermediate other financial corporations--the Bank's preferred measure of the broad money supply-- declined to 1.8% in January, from 3.1% in December.
This week has seen a huge wave of data releases for both January and February, but the calendar today is empty save for the final Michigan consumer sentiment numbers; the preliminary index rose to a very strong 99.9 from 95.7, and we expect no significant change in the final reading.
Brazil's GDP growth slowed to just 0.1% quarter- on-quarter in Q4, from an upwardly-revised 0.2% in Q3. This pushed the year-over-year rate up to 2.1%, from 1.4%, but this was weaker than market expectations.
For most of the decade since the whole-economy average hourly earnings numbers were first published, the year-over-year rate of increase has run faster than the ECI measure of private sector wages and salaries, excluding incentive-paid occupations. But in the first quarter of this year, the ECI measure rose 2.5% year-over-year, the fastest increase in six years, while hourly earnings rose 2.3%. That difference might not sound like much, but it matters a good deal when put into context.
The French presidential election campaign remains chaotic. Republican candidate François Fillon had to defend himself again yesterday as investigations into his potential misuse of public funds deepened. Mr. Fillon and his wife have now been summoned to court to explain themselves. Markets expected Mr. Fillon to resign as the Republican front-runner. Instead, he used his unscheduled media address to defiantly declare that he is staying in the race.
Advance inflation data in the Eurozone will likely surprise to the upside today. The consensus forecast expects inflation to rise slightly to -0.5% year-over-year in February from -0.6% in January, but we expect a much bigger jump, to -0.2% year-over-year.
External conditions are becoming more demanding for LatAm economies, with global trade tensions intensifying in recent weeks.
Data on Friday showed that the downward trend in Brazil's unemployment continued into this year. The unadjusted unemployment rate fell to 11.2% in January, slightly below the consensus, and down from 12.0% in January last year.
Investors moved rapidly last week to price-in renewed easing by central banks around the world, in response to the rapid growth in coronavirus cases outside China and the resulting sell-off in equity markets.
April's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, likely will show that CPI inflation plunged and is heading quickly to a near-zero rate by the summer.
Retail sales volumes jumped by 2.3% month-to-month in April, exceeding the 1.0% consensus and even our 2.0% forecast. It would be a big mistake to conclude, however, that households' spending will propel the economy forward this year like it did between 2013 and 2016.
Yesterday's economic reports confirmed that the Eurozone economy had a strong start to 2017. Real GDP rose 0.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q1, similar to the pace in Q4, and consistent with the first estimate. The year-over-year rate fell marginally to 1.7%, from 1.8% in Q4, mainly due to base effects.
Last week, the MBA's measure of the volume of applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase rose 1.7%.
June's consumer price figures threw a last minute curve-ball at the MPC ahead of its key meeting on August 2.
Markets are reacting to Colombia's disappointing activity figures, released Friday, by pulling forward expectations for the country's first rate cut to December. The data certainly looked weak--especially upon close examination--and we expect growth to slow further. But we think that inflation is still too high to expect rate cuts this year.
The fall in CPI inflation to 2.6% in June, from 2.9% in May, greatly undershot expectations for an unchanged rate and it has made a vote by the MPC to keep interest rates at 0.25% in August a near certainty.
The Japanese GDP report yesterday contained substantial revisions to Q4. We had expected the Q1 contraction, but the revisions recast the health of the recovery, making the domestic demand performance look much less impressive recently, with the economy struggling since the burst of growth in the first half last year.
Judging by conversations we have had with investors since October, the idea that the Fed will be willing to let inflation overshoot the 2% target for a time has become received wisdom in the markets.
Colombian activity data released this week were relatively strong, but mostly driven by the primary sectors; consumption remains sluggish compared to previous standards.
Final October inflation data surprised to the upside yesterday, consistent with our view that inflation will rise faster than the market and ECB expect in coming months. Inflation rose to 0.1% year-over-year in from -0.1% in September, lifted mainly by higher food inflation due to surging prices for fruits and vegetables. This won't last, but base effects will push the year-over-year rate in energy prices sharply higher into the first quarter, and core inflation is climbing too. Core inflation rose to 1.1% in October from 0.9% in September, higher than the consensus forecast, 1.0%.
Market-implied expectations of negative rates through 2021, and bund yields plunging below -0.1%, are an accident waiting to happen, but the main story is clear as rain.
Today's ZEW investor sentiment report in Germany will kick off a busy week for Eurozone economic survey data, which likely will be tainted by the U.K. referendum result. We think the headline ZEW expectations index fell to about five in July, from 19.2 in June, below the consensus forecast, 9.2. Our forecastis based on the experience from recent "unexpected" shocks to investors' sentiment.
The sustained upturn in mortgage applications since last fall ought to have driven up the pace of new home construction quite sharply. But our first chart shows that single-family building permit issuance--we use permits rather than starts, as they are much less volatile--rose only 8.3% year-over-year in the three months to May, while applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase jumped by 18.8% over the same period.
The first real glimpse of India's economic performance early this quarter is grim, adding weight to our below-consensus GDP forecast.
Japan's February trade data were a shocker, but not for the reasons we expected, given the signal from the Chinese numbers.
February's consumer price figures, released tomorrow, likely will show that CPI inflation fell to 2.8%--one tenth below the MPC's forecast--from 3.0% in January.
Chile's Q4 GDP report, released yesterday, confirmed that the economy accelerated at the end of last year, supported by rising capex and solid consumption.
Centrist politicians and markets breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as the results of the Dutch parliamentary elections rolled in. The incumbent conservatives, led by PM Mark Rutte, lost ground but emerged as parliament's biggest party with 33 seats out of the total 150.
The RICS Residential Market Survey caught our eye last week for reporting that new sale instructions to estate agents rose in May for the first month since February 2016.
Evidence of slowing economic activity in Colombia continues to mount. Retail sales fell 2.0% year- over-rate in April, down from a revised plus 3.0% in March; and the underlying trend is falling. This year's consumption tax increase, low confidence, tight credit conditions, and rising unemployment continue to put private consumption under pressure.
Demand for new cars in the Eurozone rebounded last month. New car registrations jumped 10.3% year-over-year in May, reversing the 5.1% decline in April. The headline was boosted by solid growth in all the major economies.
On the face of it, trade negotiations have deteriorated in the last week.
Yesterday's German IFO survey broadly confirmed the bullish message from the PMIs earlier this week. The headline business climate index rose to 111.0 in February from a revised 109.9 in January, boosted by increases in both the current assessment and the expectations index.
As we write, 25 Conservative MPs have confirmed publicly that they have submitted no-confidence letters to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee. That's 23 short of the 48 required to trigger a leadership contest, though some MPs might have submitted letters without making it public.
The initial "official estimate" of the French presidential election--released 20.00 CET--suggest that the runoff will be between the centre-right Emmanuel Macron and Front National's Marine Le Pen. This is consistent with opinion polls. The average of five early estimates also suggests that Mr. Macron won the vote with 23.1% of the vote against Mrs. Le Pen's 22.5%.
The rational thing to do when the price of a consumer good you are considering buying is thought likely to rise sharply in the near future is to buy it now, provided that the opportunity cost of the purchase--the interest income foregone on the cash, or the interest charged if you finance the purchase with credit--is less than the expected increase in the price.
The rate of growth of new coronavirus infections across Europe slowed yesterday, in some cases quite markedly. We can quibble about the reliability of the data in individual countries, given variations in testing regimes, but the picture is strikingly uniform.
The drop in the flash composite PMI in March will be one for the record books, unfortunately. We look for an unprecedented drop to 43.0, from 53.3 in February, which would undershoot the 45.0 consensus and signal clearly that a deep recession is underway.
If we are right in our view that the lag between shifts in gasoline prices and the response from consumers is about six months--longer than markets seem to think--then the next few months should see spending surge.
Korean GDP contracted by 1.4% quarter-on- quarter in Q1, erasing the 1.3% jump at the end of last year. The pullback was sharper than we expected, with the cliff-edge drop in private consumption, in particular, catching us by surprise.
Sterling jumped last week to its highest level against the dollar since last October in response to news that a general election will be held on June 8. Markets are betting that the Conservative Government will sharply increase its majority, enabling Theresa May to ignore Eurosceptic backbenchers when she strikes a deal with the EU.
Support for the Conservatives has shown no sign of flagging in recent weeks, despite the setbacks in the Commons earlier this month and the government's failure so far to secure a revised Brexit deal.
EU negotiations tend to go down to the wire; and last week's summit in Salzburg, and Theresa May's statement on Friday, suggest that the Brexit negotiations will do just that.
The preliminary estimate of first quarter GDP likely will confirm that the economic recovery lost considerable pace in early 2016. Bedlam in financial markets in January and business fears over the E.U. referendum are partly responsible for the slowdown. The deceleration, however, also reflects tighter fiscal policy, uncompetitive exports, and the economy running into supply-side constraints.
A shutdown of the federal government, which could happen as early as this weekend, is a political event rather than a macroeconomic shock. But if it happens--if Congress cannot agree on even a shortterm stop-gap spending measure in order to keep the lights on after the 28th--it would demonstrate yet again that the splits in the House mean that the prospects of a substantial near-term loosening of fiscal policy are now very slim.
Sentiment in Germany has improved slightly this month with the IFO business climate index rising to 106.8 from 106.7 in January, pushed higher by a small increase in the expectations index.
Yesterday's IFO survey sent a clear signal that the German economy's engine is stuttering. The business climate index fell to a 14-month low of 105.7 in February from 107.3 in January, and the expectations index slumped to 98.8 from 102.3. The weakness was driven by weaker sentiment in manufacturing, which plunged at its fastest rate since November 2008.
We look for a 12.5% month-to-month jump in the official measure of retail sales in June, released on Friday. This easily would top the consensus, 8.3%, for a second consecutive month.
We need to start today with a word of warning about today's initial jobless claims, where the risk to the consensus seems mostly to be to the upside.
The Prime Minister's refusal last week to reaffirm her party's 2015 election pledge not to raise income tax, National Insurance or VAT has fuelled speculation that taxes will rise if the Conservatives are re-elected on June 8. Admittedly, Mrs. May asserted that her party "believes in lower taxes", and the tax pledge s till might appear in the Conservatives' manifesto, which won't be published for a few weeks.
While we were out, new U.S. Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations continued to fall steadily, and deaths have now peaked.
Today brings yet another broad array of data, with new information on housing construction, industrial production, consumer sentiment, and job openings.
French manufacturers recovered their optimism towards the end of Q3. The headline INSEE manufacturing sentiment index rose to 103 in September, from 101 in August, and the composite business confidence gauge also increased. A rebound in transport equipment firms' own production expectations was the key driver of the recovery.
Advance Eurozone consumer sentiment fell disappointingly to -7.1 in July, from -5.6 in June, but it is consistent with a solid trend in retail sales growth. Household consumption in the zone has surged in the last four quarters, and a modest loss of momentum in Q3 and Q4 is a reasonable bet. But we see little risk of a sharp slowdown in the shor t run, and the trend in spending growth should stabilize at an annualised 1.5% this year.
The third estimate of first quarter GDP growth, due today, will not be the final word. The BEA will revise the data again on July 30, when it will also release its first estimate for the second quarter and the results of its annual revision exercise. Quarterly estimates back to 2012 will be revised. The revisions are of greater interest than usual this year because the new data will incorporate the first results of the BEA's review of the seasonal problems.
In the absence of any significant data releases today, we want to take a closer look at the outlook for wage growth, and the implications of an acceleration in hourly earnings for inflation.
The Eurozone labour market is slowly healing following two severe recessions since 2008. Unemployment fell to a two-year low of 10.3% in January, and yesterday's quarterly labour force survey was upbeat. Fourth quarter employment rose 1.2% year-over-year, up from 1.1% in Q3, pushing total EZ employment to a new post-crisis high of 152 million.
The economic recovery would have lost more momentum last year had consumers not delved so deeply into their pockets. Real household spending increased by 0.7% and 0.8% quarter-on-quarter in Q3 and Q4 respectively, in contrast to investment and exports, which fell in both quarters.
CPI inflation rose only to 2.1% in April, from 1.9% in March, undershooting the 2.2% consensus and MPC forecasts, as well as our own 2.3% estimate.
The Chancellor was bolder than widely expected yesterday and scaled back the fiscal consolidation planned for the next two years significantly, even though his borrowing forecast was boosted by the OBR's gloomier prognosis for the economy.
Mexico's economy gathered momentum in Q3, thanks mainly to solid gains in industrial and services activity. Real GDP rose 0.8% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, the fastest pace since Q3 2013 and the ninth consecutive increase. Year-over-year growth rose to 2.6% year-over-year, from 2.3% in Q2. In short, a positive report, surprising to the upside, and above the INEGI's advance estimate, released in late October.
As we write, the Commons appears to be on the verge of voting for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill--WAB--at its second reading but then voting against the government's "Programme Motion", which sets out a very tight timetable for its passage through parliament, in a bid to meet the October 31 deadline and to minimise parliamentary scrutiny.
Robust demand in the ECB's final TLTRO auction was the main story in EZ financial markets yesterday. Euro area banks--474 in total-- took up €233.5B in the March TLTRO, well above the consensus forecast €110B. To us, this strong demand is a sign that EZ banks are taking advantage of the TLTROs' incredibly generous conditions.
The minutes of the May 2/3 FOMC meeting today should add some color to policymakers' blunt assertion that "The Committee views the slowing in growth during the first quarter as likely to be transitory and continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further, and inflation will stabilize around 2 percent over the medium term."
Consumer confidence in the Eurozone rose marginally at the start of Q4, though it is still down since the start of the year.
The path of new home sales over the past couple of years has followed the mortgage applications numbers quite closely.
New home sales are much more susceptible to weather effects -- in both directions -- than existing home sales. We have lifted our forecast for today's February numbers above the 575K pace implied by the mortgage applications data in recognition of the likely boost from the much warmer-than-usual temperatures.
The further improvement in labor market conditions and the jump in core inflation means that the economic data have given the Fed all the excuse it needs to raise rates today. But the chance of a hike is very small, not least because the fed funds future puts the odds of an action today at just 4%, and the Fed has proved itself very reluctant to surprise investors-- at least, in a bad way--in the past.
Today's ECB meeting will mainly be a victory lap for Mr. Draghi--it is the president's last meeting before Ms. Lagarde takes over--rather than the scene of any major new policy decisions.
CPI inflation dropped to 2.4% in April, from 2.5% in March, undershooting the no-change consensus and prompting many commentators to argue that the chances of an August rate hike have declined further.
Growth in new EZ car sales slipped last month, following a strong start to the year. New registrations rose 4.4% year-over-year in February, slowing from a 8.7% rise in January.
The ECB conformed to expectations today, at least on a headline level.
The levelling-off in the industrial surveys in recent months is reflected in the consumer sentiment numbers. Anything can happen in any given month, but we'd now be surprised to see sustained further gains in any of the regular monthly surveys.
In Brazil, last week's formal payroll employment report for March was decent, with employment increasing by 56K, well above the consensus expectation for a 48K gain.
High inflation and interest rates, coupled with increasing uncertainty, both economic and political, put Mexican consumption under strain last year.
Eurozone GDP data on Friday were better than we expected, but were still soft compared to upbeat market expectations. Real GDP rose 0.3% quarter-onquarter in the third quarter, down slightly from 0.4% in Q2, and lower than the consensus forecast for another 0.4% gain. These data are not a blank check for ECB doves, but they probably are enough to push through further easing in December. This looks odd given growth in the last four quarters of an annualised 1.6%--the strongest since 2011--and probably slightly above the long-run growth rate.
Yesterday's detailed German GDP report raised more questions than it answered. The headline confirmed that growth accelerated to 0.4% quarteron- quarter in Q4, from 0.1% in Q3, leaving the year-over- year rate unchanged at 1.7%.
The second estimate of Q4 GDP, published on Thursday, probably will show that the economy slowed more abruptly last year than previously thought and that it has become very dependent on consumers for momentum.
If you want to know what's going to happen to the real economy over, say, the next year, don't look to the stock market for reliable clues. The relationship between swings in stock prices over single quarters and GDP growth over the following year is nonexistent, as our next chart shows.
Yesterday's national surveys in the EZ confirmed the downbeat message from the PMIs and consumer sentiment data earlier this week.
New home sales have tended to track the path of mortgage applications over the past year or so, with a lag of a few months. The message for today's January sales numbers, show in our next chart, is that sales likely dipped a bit, to about 525K.
Today brings new housing market data, in the form of the weekly applications numbers from the MBA. The weekly data are seasonally adjusted but are still very volatile, especially in the spring.
The consensus view that today's retail sales data will show volumes increased by 0.2% month-to-month in October is too sanguine.
Chief US economist Ian Shepherdson on June Consumer Confidence data
Today's retail sales figures for August likely will rebut the widespread view that spendthrift consumers will prevent a sharp economic slowdown. We look for a 1% month-to-month decline in retail sales volumes in August, well below the -0.4% consensus forecast.
The Tankan survey powered ahead in Q2, pulling away from Q1 and mostly beating consensus. This confirms our impression of the strength of the recovery ,just as Prime Minister Abe's Liberal Democratic Party is trounced at the polls in Tokyo. The drubbing is understandable as the main benefits of Abenomics have gone to the business sector, at the expense of the household sector.
The theory of spontaneous combustion of the U.S. economy appears to be making something of a comeback, if our inbox and market chat is to be believed. The core idea here is that expansions die of old age, and can be helped on their way to oblivion by factors like falling corporate earnings and rising inventory. The current recovery, which began in June 2009 and is now 63 months old, already looks a bit long-in-the-tooth.
In one line: A solid start to Q2 for French consumers.
Mr. Macron's victory in France answers two questions for markets, at least in the short run. Firstly, France will stay in the Eurozone, and Mr. Macron will not call a referendum on EU membership. Mr. Macron has come to power with a mandate to strengthen economic integration and co-operation between Eurozone economies.
Yesterday's labour market data showed that growth in households' income has slowed significantly in recent months. Firms are both hiring cautiously and restraining wage increases, due to heightened uncertainty about the economic outlook and rising raw material and non-wage labour costs. Consumers' spending, therefore, will support GDP growth to a far smaller extent this year than last.
Ian Shepherdson, Chief Economist at Pantheon MacroEconomics, on U.S. Consumer spending
It says a lot about investor expectations that markets' reaction to yesterday's policy announcement by the ECB was marked by slight "disappointment," with EURUSD rallying and EZ bond yields rising.
Expectations are running high that the MPC will strike a more hawkish tone today in the minutes of this month's meeting and in the quarterly Inflation Report. Investors are pricing in a 45% chance of the MPC raising interest rates before the end of 2017, up from 30% before the last Report in November.
On all accounts, the ECB announced a significant addition to its stimulus program yesterday. The central bank cut the deposit rate by 0.1%, to -0.3%, and extended the duration of QE until March 2017. The ECB also increased the scope of eligible assets to include regional and local government debt; decided to re-invest principal bond payments; and affirmed its commitment to long-term refinancing operations in the financial sector for as long as necessary. The measures were not agreed upon unanimously, but the majority was, according to Mr. Draghi, "very large".
Advance April consumer survey data will likely confirm that households remain the standout driver of the cyclical recovery in the euro area. We think the headline EC consumer sentiment index rose to -1.0 in April from -3.7 in March.
Financial markets' inflation expectations have risen sharply since the spring. Our first chart shows that the two-year forward rate derived from RPI inflation swaps has picked up to 3.8%, from 3.5% at the end of April.
Even though Greece managed to avert default yesterday by paying €200M in interest to the IMF, our assumption is that the country remains on the brink of running out of money. Our view is supported by the government's decision to expropriate local authority funds, and reports that the government's domestic liabilities, excluding wages and pensions, are not being met.
We expect June's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, to show that CPI inflation increased to 2.7%, from 2.4% in May, above the consensus, 2.6%, and the Bank of England's forecast, 2.5%.
Demand for new cars in the Eurozone has climbed a long way since the last recession, but growth is slowing. Overall, new car registrations in the EZ rose a solid 15.2% in 2016 as a whole. But momen tum slowed in the second half, and sales likely will remain comparatively muted this year. In December, registrations in the euro area rose 2.1% year-over-year in December, down from 5.8% in November. The headline was depressed by plunging growth in some of the smaller countries, offsetting better numbers in the major four economies.
Even Charles Dickens could not have written a more dramatic prologue to today's ECB meeting. Elevated expectations ahead of major policy events always leave room for major disappointment, but we think the central bank will deliver. Advance data yesterday indicated inflation was unchanged at 0.1% year-over-year in November, below the consensus 0.2%, and providing all the ammunition the doves need to push ahead. We expect the central bank to cut the deposit rate by 20bp to -0.4%, to increase the pace of bond purchases by €10B to €70B a month, and to extend QE to March 2017.
The latest CPI data in Brazil confirm that inflationary pressures eased considerably last month. Inflation fell to 8.5% year-over-year in September, from 9.0% in August, as a result of both lower market- set and regulated inflation.
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on U.S. Consumer Sentiment
Political uncertainty in the Eurozone is the story that won't die. Coalition talks in Germany collapsed yesterday when the centre-right FDP walked out of the negotiations.
The renewed decline in bond EZ bond yields has raised the question of whether inflation expectations will recover at all in this cycle. We think they will, and we also believe 10-year yields will rise towards 1%-to-1.2% towards the end of the year. But two factors will keep inflation expectations and yields in check in the near term.
Further evidence emerged yesterday in support of our view that mortgage lending conditions are easing. The monthly mortgage origination report from Ellie Mae, Inc., a private mortgage processing firm, shows average credit scores for both successful and unsuccessful loan applications continue to trend downwards--though the latter rose marginally in February--while loans are closing much more quickly than in the recent past.
Most of the indicators we follow point to another very strong payroll report today; we look for a 260K gain, matching May's performance. The best single leading indicator, the NFIB small business hiring intentions number, points to a massive 320K leap in private payrolls, as our first chart shows.
The Treasury waded in to the Brexit debate yesterday with a 200-page report concluding that U.K. GDP would be 6.2% lower in 2030 than otherwise if Britain left the E.U. and entered into a bilateral trade deal similar to the one recently agreed by Canada. All long-term economic projections should come with health warnings, and the Treasury's precise numbers should be taken with a pinch of salt.
The MPC's package of stimulus measures, which exceeded markets' expectations, demonstrates that it is currently placing little weight on the inflation outlook. Even so, if inflation matches our expectations and overshoots the 2% target by a bigger margin next year than the MPC currently thinks is acceptable, it will have to consider its zeal for more stimulus.
The U.K.'s unexpected vote for Brexit means a stronger dollar for the foreseeable future, a sharp though likely containable drop in U.S. stock prices, and a further delay before the Fed next raises rates. The vote does not necessarily mean the U.K. actually will leave the EU, because the policy choices now facing leaders of Union have changed dramatically. An offer of substantial concessions on the migration issue--the single biggest driver of the Leave vote-- might be enough to trigger a second referendum, but this is a consideration for another day.
Yesterday's report on October private spending in Mexico was positive, suggesting that consumption remained relatively strong at the start of Q4. Retail sales jumped 1.6% month-to-month, following a modest 0.2% drop in September. October's rebound was the biggest gain since March this year, but note that wild swings are not unusual in these data. The headline year-over-year rate rose to 9.3%, from 8.1% in September, but survey data signal to a gradual slowdown in coming months to around 5%.
April's retail sales figures, released today, likely will show only a partial reversal of the sharp 1.3% month-to-month fall in sales volumes in March. This would reinforce the impression that the recovery in consumer spending has been becalmed by slower job growth, the intensification of the fiscal squeeze and heightened uncertainty about the economic and political outlook.
June's trade figures yesterday highlighted that it takes more than just a few months for exchange rate depreciations to boost GDP growth. The trade-weighted sterling index dropped by 9% between November and June as the risk of Brexit loomed large and the prospect of imminent increases in interest rates receded.
All the fundamentals point to a very strong payroll number for May. The NFIB hiring in tentions index, the best single leading indicator of payrolls five months ahead, signalled back in December that May employment would rise by about 300K. The NFIB actual net hiring number, released yesterday, is a bit less bullish, implying 250K, but the extraordinarily low level of jobless claims, shown in our first chart, points to 300K. Finally, the ISM non-manufacturing employment index suggests we should be looking for payrolls to rise by about 260K. Our estimate is 280K.
Meetings are a nice way to stress test our base case stories and gauge what questions are important for clients.
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Last week's industrial production and construction output figures for May were surprisingly weak. They have compelled us to revise down our expectation for the preliminary estimate of Q2 GDP to 0.2% quarter-on-quarter, from 0.3% previously.
It's now four weeks since the Prime Minister called a snap general election, and the Conservatives still are riding high in the opinion polls. The average of the last 10 polls suggests that the Tories are on track to take 47% of the vote, well above Labour's 30%.
Brazil's central bank is in a very delicate situation. The economy is on the verge of another recession, but at the same time the BRL is falling, inflation expectations are rising and the inflation rate is overshooting. Fiscal policy is also tightening to restore macro stability magnifying the squeeze on growth.
We keep hearing that the surge in Covid-19 infections in the South is not a big deal, because the number of cases and the subsequent hospitalizations are still very low when compared to the nightmare suffered in New York and other states, which had thousands of deaths.
We have no real argument with the consensus forecasts for the January CPI, with the headline likely to rise by 0.3%, with the core up 0.2%.
We see downside risk to the housing starts numbers for April, due today. Our core view on housing market activity, both sales and construction activity, is that the next few months, through the summer, will be broadly flat-to-down.
The first round of Brazil's presidential elections will take place this Sunday, followed by a probable runoff on October 28.
Retail sales fell sharply in September, highlighting that consumers still are spending only cautiously amid high economic uncertainty and falling real wages.
Consumption remains a serious weak spot in Brazil's economic cycle. High inflation, rising interest rates, surging unemployment, plunging confidence, and the government's belt tightening, have trashed Brazilians' purchasing power. Retail sales surprised to the downside in April, falling 0.4% month-to-month, equivalent to a huge 3.5% contraction year-over-year, down from a revised 0.3% gain in March. The underlying trend is awful, as our first chart shows.
If the Redbook chain store sales survey moved consistently in line with the official core retail sales numbers, it would attract a good deal more attention in the markets. We appreciate that brick-and-mortar retailers are losing market share to online sellers, but the rate at which sales are moving to the web is quite steady and easy to accommodate when comparing the Redbook with the official data.
Yesterday's wall of data told us a bit about where the economy likely is going, and a bit about how it started the first quarter. The January trade and inventory data were disappointing, but the February Chicago PMI and consumer confidence reports were positive.
Chief Eurozone Economist Claus Vistesen comments on Eurozone Consumer Confidence
The adverse consequences of the Brexit vote will become painfully clear in 2017.....
Private non-financial corporations' profits have held up well over the last two years, despite the net negative impact of sterling's depreciation and modest increases in Bank Rate.
November's money and credit figures showed that households increasingly turned to unsecured debt last year in order to maintain rapid growth in consumption. Unsecured borrowing, excluding student loans, rose by £1.7B in November alone, the most since March 2005. This pushed up the year- over-year growth rate of unsecured borrowing to 10.8%--again, the highest rate since 2005--from 10.6% in October.
Yesterday's retail sales data in Brazil surprised to the downside. Consumers are still being squeezed by high interest rates and a deteriorating labour market. Retail sales declined 0.6% month-to-month in August, leaving the year-over-year rate little changed at -5.5%.
Sharp falls in energy prices have been a boon for consumers, freeing up considerable funds for discretionary purchases. Domestic energy and motor fuel absorbed just 4.7% of consumers' spending in Q2, the lowest proportion for 12 years and well below the 6.7% recorded three years ago.
We think the EZ construction industry stuttered in August, following a strong start to Q3. Advance data from Germany, France and Spain suggest that output fell 1.4% month-to-month, pushing the year-over- year rate down to 1.8%, from a revised 3.1% in July.
We have given up, more or less, on the idea that housing construction will be a serious driver of economic growth in this cycle. The next cycle should be different, but it was never realistic to expect the sector which brought down the economy to recover fully as soon as the dust settled.
The rebound in GDP growth in the second quarter seems not to have been enough to prevent year-over-year productivity growth slowing to about zero. The consensus forecast for the first estimate of Q2 productivity growth, due today, is a 1.6% annualized increase, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 0.3% from 0.6% in the first quarter, but we think this is too optimistic.
Chief U.K.. economist Samuel Tombs comments on U.K. Construction
After a busy week of data, and a holiday weekend ahead, it's worth stepping back a bit and evaluating the arguments over the timing of the next Fed hike. The first question, though, is whether the data will support action, on the Fed's own terms. The April FOMC minutes said: "Most participants judged that if incoming data were consistent with economic growth picking up in the second quarter, labor market conditions continuing to strengthen, and inflation making progress toward the Committee's 2 percent objective, then it likely would be appropriate for the Committee to increase the target range for the federal funds rate in June".
Speculation has grown that the Bank of England will announce measures today to calm the recent strong growth in consumer credit, when it publishes its bi-annual Financial Stability Report.
Chief US Economist Ian Shepherdson on Consumer Confidence figures for April
The retail sales data, released yesterday, underline the struggle that Japanese consumers are facing against rising inflation.
The danse macabre between Greece and its creditors continued last week, increasing the risk of default and capital controls. Greek citizens don't want to leave the euro and Germany does not want a Grexit, two positions which should eventually form the basis for an agreement.
Consumption accounts for almost 70% of GDP, and retail sales account for about 45% of consumption.
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs discussing U.K. Consumer Confidence
Last week's GDP figures illustrated that the economy is extremely vulnerable to a slowdown in households' spending. Our chart of the week, on page three, shows that consumers were alone in making a significant positive contribution to GDP growth last year.
For more than two years, the BoJ has fretted, in the outlook for economic activity and prices, that "there are items for which prices are not particularly responsive to the output gap."
Six developments over the summer have increased the likelihood that the government will make concessions required to preserve unfettered access to the single market after formally leaving the EU in March 2019.
The FOMC minutes showed both sides of the hike debate are digging in their heels. As the doves are a majority--rates haven't been hiked--the tone of the minutes is, well, a bit do vish. But don't let that detract from the key point that, "Most participants continued to anticipate that, based on their assessment of current economic conditions and their outlook for economic activity, the labor market, and inflation, the conditions for policy firming had been met or would likely be met by the end of the year." Confidence in this view has diminished among "some" participants, however, worried about the impact of the strong dollar, falling stock prices and weaker growth in China on U.S. net exports and inflation.
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. construction
The next nine weeks bring three jobs reports, which will determine whether the Fed hikes again in September, as we expect, and will also help shape market expectations for December and beyond.
Today's ECB meeting will be accompanied by an update of the staff projections, where the inflation outlook will be in the spotlight. The June forecasts predicted an average inflation rate of 0.3% year-over-year this year, currently requiring a rather steep increase in inflation towards 1.1% at the end of the year. We think this is achievable, but we doubt the ECB is willing to be as bold, and it is reasonable to assume this year's forecast will be revised down a notch.
Judging from our inbox, economy bulls are pinning a great deal of hope on the idea that the collapse in the Help Wanted Online index is misleading, because the index is subject to distortions caused by shifts in pricing behavior in the online job advertising business. These distortions were analyzed in a recent Fed paper--click here to read on the Fed's website-- which makes a convincing case that at least some of the decline in the HWOL over the past half-year represents a change in recruiters' behavior rather than slowing in labor demand.
British households are back to their old ways and are piling on debt again. With borrowing costs still falling, consumer confidence high and banks willing to lend, indebtedness will only increase unless the Bank of England acts.
December's retail sales numbers are the most important of the year for retailers, but they don't necessarily tell us anything about the future prospects for consumers' spending or the broad economy. The December 2016 numbers, however, might be different, because they capture consumers' behavior in the first full month after the election.
Ian Shepherdson comments on strong construction data
The Chancellor is likely to announce plans for additional public sector asset sales in today's Autumn Statement, to help arrest the unanticipated rise in the debt-to-GDP ratio this year. But privatisations rarely improve the underlying health of the public finances, partly because assets seldom are sold for their full value. And the Chancellor is running out of viable assets to privatise; the low-hanging, juiciest fruits have already been plucked.
In recent years we have argued consistently that investors and the commentariat overstate the importance of the dollar as a driver of U.S. inflation. Only about 15% of the core CPI is meaningfully affected by shifts in the value of the dollar, because the index is dominated by domestic non-tradable services.
Mexico's economic outlook has dimmed recently, a point driven home by sentiment data released last week. Still, we think GDP growth will slow only marginally in Q4, to about 11⁄2% year-over-year. Consumers' spending likely will remain strong in the near term, thanks mainly to rising remittances from the U.S., driven by fear of policy changes under the Trump administration.
Investors active in the government bond market will be awaiting today, at 07:30 BST, the publication by the Debt Management Office of its updated Financing Remit for the upcoming three months. The new Remit will show that gilt sales, net of redemptions, will be lower in Q3 than in Q2.
In one line: Used car prices a drag yet again, but they'll stop falling soon.
Chief Eurozone Economist Claus Vistesen discussing the latest Eurozone Construction data
Chief Eurozone Economist Claus Vistesen on French Consumer Spending.
Samuel Tombs on U.K. Construction in June
Are there any signs of a Chinese recovery yet? Freya Beamish discusses
What do the protests mean for Chile's economy?
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Retail Sales
Chief US Economist Ian Shepherdson on "Remarkable" New Home Sales Data for February
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. House prices
Chief Eurozone Economist Claus Vistesen discussing Germany's economy
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on U.S. Home Sales
Ian Shepherdson on the U.K
Chief Eurozone Economist Claus Vistesen on the Eurozone Inflation
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Price Increases
Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, joins 'Squawk Box' to discuss how the tensions between the U.S., Iran and China might impact the economy.
Freya Beamish, chief Asia economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, outlines her expectations from the impending Sino-U.S. trade talks.
Scott Nations, president and CIO of Nations Shares, and Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, join "Squawk Box" to give their opinion on the market heading into a new week.
Chief Eurozone Economist Claus Vistesen on Consumer Spending
Cheif Eurozone Economist Claus Vistesen discussing the Coronavirus response in Europe and the upcoming ECB meeting this week
Isabelle Mateos Y Lago, official institutions group deputy head at BlackRock, and Freya Beamish, chief Asia economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, discuss U.S.-China trade concerns and their impact on investing. They speak with Lisa Abramowicz on "Bloomberg Surveillance."
Colombia's GDP report, released last week, confirmed that it was the fastest growing economy in LatAm and everything suggests that it likely will lead the ranking again this year.
The automotive sector accounts for 6.1% of total employment, and 4% of GDP, in the Eurozone.
No subject in the EZ economy is a source of more dispute than Germany's ballooning current account surplus. The Economist recently identified he German surplus as a problem for the world economy.
Inflation pressures in Brazil and Mexico are well under control, with the August mid-month readings falling more than expected, strengthening the case for the BCB and Banxico to cut interest rates in the near term.
The New York Times called the China trade agreement reached Friday "half a deal", but that's absurdly generous.
The most important retail sales report of the year, for December, won't be published today, unless some overnight miracle means that the government has re-opened.
We fully expect to see the third straight decline in initial jobless claims in today's report for the week ended April 18.
Speculation that the U.K. will end up leaving the E.U. in March without a deal has dominated the headlines over the last month. Politicians on both sides of the Channel have warned that the probability of a no-deal Brexit is at least as high as 50%, even though more than 80% of the withdrawal deal already has been agreed.
The trend rate of increase in private payrolls in the months before Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was about 240K per month.
It seems that yesterday's PMI data left investors and analysts more confused than enlightened.
Markets currently see a 50/50 chance that the MPC will raise Bank Rate in August and will be looking for a strong signal on Thursday that the next meeting is "in play".
The monthly industrial production numbers are collected and released by the Fed, rather than the BEA, so today's December report will not be delayed by the government shutdown.
Colombian activity data released this week were weak, but mostly better than we expected. Real GDP rose 0.7% quarter- on-quarter in Q2, in contrast to the 0.3% fall in Q1, when the economy was hit by the lagged effect of last year's monetary tightening and the one-off VAT increase.
It has been clear for some months now that China's housing market is refusing to quit, and July's data showed the phoenix rising strongly from the ashes.
CPI inflation is on track to fall back to 2.0% in the winter and below the MPC's target thereafter, despite rising to 2.5% in July, from 2.4% in June.
Governor Kuroda has sounded increasingly dovish recently.
If the plunge in the stock market last week, and especially Friday, was a entirely a reaction to the slowdown in China and its perceived impact on other emerging economies, then it was an over-reaction. Exports to China account for just 0.7% of U.S. GDP; exports to all emerging markets account for 2.1%. So, even a 25% plunge in exports to these economies-- comparable to the meltdown seen as global trade collapsed after the financial crisis--would subtract only 0.5% from U.S. growth over a full year, gross.
We expect today's second estimate of Q2 GDP to confirm that the U.K. has been the slowest growing G7 economy this year.
The euro area's external surplus remained resilient toward the end of 2017, in the face of a stronger currency. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus rose to €22.5B in November, from €19.0B in October, lifted primarily by a jump in German exports.
Japan's flash PMI numbers for August were a mixed bag.
The performance of Italy's economy in the first half of 2017 proves that the strengthening euro area recovery is a tide lifting all the r egion's boats.
Yesterday's Q2 GDP report in Germany was solid, but the headline disappointed slightly. GDP growth slowed to 0.6% quarter-on-quarter from an upwardly- revised 0.7% rise in Q1. The year-over-year rate, however, rose to 2.1% from a revised 2.0% in Q1.
Industry estimates for August light vehicle sales suggest that the downshift in sales which began at the turn of the year is over, at least for now.
Inflation in Brazil remained subdued at the start of the second quarter, strengthening the odds for an additional interest rate cut next month, and opening the door for further stimulus in June.
The preliminary April PMIs due today will provide the first economic sentiment data for Q2, and likely will point to a continuation of the cyclical recovery. We think the composite PMI was unchanged at 54.0 in April, driven by a small gain in manufacturing offset by a slight decline in services.
Data on Friday showed that German producer price inflation is now in free-fall.
Last week, the Bank of Mexico unanimously voted to leave the main rate on hold, at 7.50%, its highest level since early 2009.
India's industrial production data last week are the last set of key economic indicators for the fourth quarter, before next week's Q4 GDP report.
The MPC surprised markets, and ourselves, yesterday with the escalation of its hawkish rhetoric in the minutes of its policy meeting.
Friday's economic data suggest that the downtrend in German PPI inflation is reversing.
Colombia's recently-released data signal that the economy started the year quite strongly, following a relatively poor end to Q4.
Brazil's July economic activity index, released yesterday, showed that the economy started the second half of the year strongly. The IBC-Br index, a monthly proxy for GDP, rose 0.4% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 1.4%, from -0.4% in June.
The 810K drop in jobless claims in the week ended April 18 was a bit less than we expected, but the downward trend is clear; claims have fallen by some 2.4M from their peak, in the final week of March.
Yesterday's data were mixed, though disappointment over the weakening in the Richmond Fed survey should be tempered by a quick look at the history, shown in our first chart.
China's July activity data pretty categorically wiped out any false hopes of a V-shaped recovery, after the June spike.
We expect the Monetary Policy Board of the Bank of Korea to keep its benchmark base rate unchanged on Thursday, at 0.50%.
While we were on holiday, the data confirmed that economies have been badly hit by the pandemic in Q2, and that the upturn will be gradual.
Yesterday's August PMI data in the euro area ran counter to the otherwise gloomy signals from the ZEW and Sentix investor sentiment indices.
The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc in Brazil.
A bad year is threatening to become a catastrophic one for Eurozone equity investors.
Argentina's economy is on the verge of a renewed recession; available data for August and the effect of the recent financial crisis, driven by the result of the primaries, suggest that output will come under severe strain.
Yesterday's State of the Union address by EC president Jean-Claude Juncker commanded more attention than usual, but contained little news on the key talking points for investors.
The industrial production trajectory in Mexico looked strong going into Q3, but Friday's report for August threatens to change that picture.
The PBoC left its interest rate corridor, including the Medium-term Lending Facility rate, unchanged last Friday, but published the reformed Loan Prime Rate modestly lower, at 4.20% in September, down from 4.25% in August.
Japan's headline CPI inflation is set to edge down in coming months, thanks to non-core prices.
The headline employment numbers masked an otherwise sub-par December labour market report.
Public sector borrowing still is on course to greatly undershoot the March Budget forecasts this year, despite October's poor figures.
The Eurozone economy is becoming increasingly service-oriented. The private services sector has contributed just over 50% of gross value added-- GVA -- in the past three years, up from 44% in the seven years before the crash of 2008.
The BoJ is likely to be thankful next week for a relatively benign environment in which to conduct its monetary policy meeting.
Barring a meteor strike, the ECB will leave its main refinancing and deposit rates unchanged today, at 0.00% and -0.5% respectively.
Colombia has been one of LatAm's outperformers this year.
Economists' forecasts are changing almost as quickly as market prices these days, and not for the better.
The bad news just keeps coming for Brazil's economy. The mid-month CPI, the IPCA-15 index, rose 1.2% month-to-month in March. Soaring energy prices remain the key contributor to the inflation story in Brazil, pushing up the housing component by 2.8% in March, after a 2.2% increase in February.
Most LatAm currencies have been under pressure recently, with the Brazilian real and the Chilean peso breaking all-time lows versus the USD in recent weeks.
Further evidence that the general election has transformed business confidence emerged yesterday, in the form of January's CBI Industrial Trends survey.
The recovery in the French economy since the sovereign debt crisis has been lukewarm. Growth in domestic demand, excluding inventories, has averaged 0.4% quarter-on-quarter since 2012. This comp ares with 0.8%-to-1.1% in the two major business cycle upturns in the 1990s and from 2000s before the crisis.
The monthly new home sales numbers are so volatile that just about anything can happen in any given month.
The French labour market improved much more than we expected in Q4. The headline unemployment rate plunged to 8.9%, from a downwardly-revised 9.6% in Q3.
Back-to-back elevated weekly jobless claims numbers prove nothing, but they have grabbed our attention.
Yesterday's barrage of economic data in the Eurozone added to the evidence that economic momentum is slowing.
The recent deceleration in households' real spending means that either business investment or net exports will have to pickup if the economy is to avoid a severe slowdown this year.
Policymakers and governments are gradually deploying major fiscal and monetary policy measures to ease the hit from Covid-19 and the related financial crisis.
Polls suggest that Ivan Duque has comfortably beat Gustavo Petro to become Colombia's president.
Ahead of the release of the retail sales report for December 2018, markets expected to see unchanged non-auto sales.
Japan's flash Jibun Bank PMIs for July showed continued improvement, but only just.
As we reach our deadline--4pm eastern time--media reports indicate that a debt ceiling agreement is close.
The spectre of a general election relentlessly will haunt the new Prime Minister--due to be announced as Tory party leader today before moving into Downing Street tomorrow--but our base case remains that a poll won't happen this year.
The MXN remains the best performer in LatAm year-to-date, despite some ugly periods of high volatility driven by external and domestic threats.
Today's data likely will show that EZ households' sentiment remained close to a record high at the start of the year.
Financial markets in Brazil and Argentina have been under pressure this week, following negative news, both domestic and external. In Brazil, the Ibovespa index tumbled nearly 1.8% on Tuesday after a Senate Committee rejected the Government's labour reform bill.
Investors have been used to central bank policy as a source of low volatility in recent years, but the last six months' events have changed that. Uncertainty over the timing of Fed policy changes this year, an ECB facing political obstacles to fight deflation, and last week's dramatic decision by the SNB to scrap the euro peg have significantly contributed to rising discomfort for markets since the middle of last year.
Central banks in Chile and Peru kept their reference rates unchanged last week, as expected, as inflation pressures in both countries are starting to ease. But different economic outlooks are emerging. Chile's economy continues to disappoint, while Peru's is picking up. Indeed, Peru is the only country in the region with clear positive momentum.
Chancellor Sunak looks set to announce more fiscal stimulus next month to reinforce the economic recovery, despite recent record levels of public borrowing.
Hot on the heels of yesterday's grim-looking-- temporarily--existing home sales numbers for May, we see upside risk for today's new sales data.
Judging by the solid advance data in the major economies, yesterday's EZ industrial production report should have hit desks with a bang, but it was a whimper in the end.
The June batch of the French statistical office's business surveys continues to signal a firming cyclical recovery. The aggregate business index rose to cyclical high of 106 in June from a revised 105 in May, continuing an uptrend that began in the middle of 2016.
Recent data in Colombia have confirmed that virus containment measures caused much bigger declines in activity in early Q2 than initially expected.
We're placing less weight than usual on conventional business surveys at the moment, as they are ill-suited to charting the economy's turnaround from the Covid-19 slump.
Normal service was resumed in the euro area with Friday's GDP reports pointing to solid growth in Germany amid weakness in Italy and France. Real GDP in the Eurozone grew 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in the final three months of last year, up from 0.2% in Q3.
Margins for German manufacturing firms remained depressed at the start of the second quarter. The headline PPI rose 0.1% month-to-month in April, pushing the year-over-year rate down marginally to -3.1% from a revised -3.0% in March. Falling energy prices are the key driver of the overall decline in the PPI.
The Eurozone's current account surplus extended its decline in May, falling to a nine-month low of €22.4B, from €29.6B in April.
The slowdown in the EZ economy is well publicised.
Slower growth in households' spending was the main reason why the economy lost momentum last year.
The new Argentinian president, Alberto Fernández, will have to make a quick start on the titanic task of cleaning up the economic and social mess left by his predecessor, Mauricio Macri.
The Chinese authorities have been out in force in the last few days, aiming to reassure markets and the populace that they are ready and able to support the economy, after abysmal trade data on Monday.
Yesterday's barrage of survey data in France, tentatively suggest that business sentiment is stabilising following a string of declines since the start of the year.
The "Phase One" China trade deal announced late last week is a step in the right direction, but a small one. With no official text available as we reach our deadline, we're relying on media reporting, but the outline of the agreement is clear.
The account of BanRep's July meeting revealed a significant tug-of-war between the doves and hawks. The majority argued strongly that Colombia's central bank should hike the main interest rate again, by 25bp. Others judged that the benefits of further tightening did not outweigh the costs.
The 17-point leap in the Richmond Fed index for October, reported yesterday, was startlingly large.
Core CPI inflation plunged in the aftermath of the crash, reaching a low of 0.6% in October 2010. It then rebounded to a peak of 2.3% in the spring of 2012, before subsiding to a range from 1.6-to-1.9%, held down by slow wage gains and the strengthening dollar, until late last year. Faster increases in services prices and rents lifted core inflation to 2.3% in February, matching the 2012 high, but it has since been unchanged, net.
The prospect of fiscal stimulus in the euro area-- ostensibly to "help" the ECB reach its inflation target-- remains a hot topic for investors and economists.
The level of new home sales is likely to hit new cycle highs over the next few months, with a decent chance that today's July report will show sales at their highest level since late 2007.
Brazil's external deficit fell marginally in October, but most of the improvement is now likely behind us. The unadjusted current account deficit dipped to USD3.3B, from USD4.3B in October 2015. The trend is stabilizing, with the 12-month total rolling deficit easing to USD22B--that's 1.2% of GDP--from USD23B in September.
Friday's sole economic report showed that wage growth in France remained robust mid-way through the year. The non-seasonally adjusted private wage index, ex-agriculture and public sector workers, published by the Labour Ministry, rose by 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q3.
Punished by the global economic slowdown depressing commodity prices, the Mexican economy is now making a gradual comeback, thanks to the continuing strength of its main trading partner, increasing public expenditure on key infrastructure projects, and accommodative monetary policy.
The Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators appears to signal that the U.S. economy is plunging headlong into recession.
Japanese M2 growth slowed sharply in December, to 3.6% year-over-year, from 4.0% in November, with M3 growth weakening similarly. It is tempting to ask if the BoJ's stealth taper finally is damaging broad money growth.
Brazil's December economic activity index, released last week, showed that the economy ended the year on a relatively soft footing.
Yesterday's euro area PMI data continue to tell a story of a firm business cycle upturn. The composite PMI was unchanged at 53.9 in December; an increase in the manufacturing index offset a decline in the services PMI.
Yesterday's March retail sales report for Mexico is in line with other recently released hard and survey data, painting an upbeat picture of the economy.
Friday's data in the Eurozone confirmed that inflation rose sharply last month. Headline inflation increased to 1.9%, from 1.2% in April, and core inflation also rose, by 0.4 percentage points to 1.1%.
The EZ national accounts were updated and rebased in 2015--from ESA 1995 to ESA 2010--in the name of timeliness and precision.
Detailed German inflation data today likely will confirm that inflation fell to 0.3% year-over-year in December from 0.4% in November, mainly due to falling food inflation. Preliminary data suggest that food inflation declined sharply to 1.4% from 2.3% in November, offsetting slower energy price deflation, due to base effects. Food and energy prices are wild cards in the next three-to-six months, and could weigh on the headline, given the renewed weakness in oil prices, and lower fresh food prices. Core inflation, however, is a lagging indicator, and will continue to increase this year.
The decision by seven MPs to abandon Labour and set up a new centrist grouping--the Independent Group--will not have a significant impact on the outcome of parliamentary Brexit votes.
The PBoC managed to keep interest rates well- anchored around the Chinese New Year holiday, when volatility is often elevated.
GDP growth in Korea surprised to the upside in the fourth quarter, with the economy expanding by 1.2% quarter-on-quarter, three times as fast as in Q3, and the biggest increase in nine quarters.
It's hard to read the minutes of the April 30/May 1 FOMC meeting as anything other than a statement of the Fed's intent to do nothing for some time yet.
Chinese residential property prices appear to be staging a comeback, with new home prices rising 1.1% month-on-month in June, faster than the 0.8% increase in May.
Today's EZ calendar is a busy one.
Yesterday's German ZEW investor sentiment survey provided the first clear evidence of the coronavirus in the EZ survey data.
Mexican policymakers likely will stick to the script tomorrow and vote by a majority to cut the main rate by 50bp to 5.00%, which would be its lowest level since late 2016.
Yesterday's national business confidence data for June provided further evidence that the EZ economy is rebounding.
Britain's Covid-19 data have continued to improve, despite the partial reopening of the economy.
The high and rising proportion of small businesses reporting difficulty in filling job openings is perhaps the biggest reason to worry that the pace of wage increases could accelerate quickly. If they pick up too far, the Fed's intention to raise rates at a "gradual" pace will be upended. The NFIB survey of small businesses--mostly very small--shows employers are having as much trouble recruiting staff as at the peak of the boom in 2006.
LatAm governments and central banks have been busy implementing additional measures to contain the spread of the virus, and acting rapidly to ease the effect on the economy.
Our colleagues have been telling some unpleasant stories recently.
Some normality has returned in India, more than three weeks from the end of the nationwide lockdown and the start of "Unlock 1.0" on June 1.
The IFO continues to tell a story of a German economy on the ropes.
In the excitement over the FOMC meeting--all things are relative--we ran out of space to cover some of this week's other data, notably the PPI, industrial production and housing starts. They are worth a recap, given that only the Michigan sentiment report will be released today.
Data on Friday confirmed that headline inflation in the Eurozone rose a bit last month, to 1.5% from 1.4% in January, but also that the core rate dipped by 0.1 percentage points, to 1.0%.
If Japan's flash PMIs for March are a sign of things to come, then the government really should get moving on fiscal stimulus.
Hard data on Mexico's industrial sector for the last couple of months have highlighted major divergences across sectors.
We see significant upside risk to today's headline durable goods orders numbers for April.
The headline in yesterday's detailed Q1 German GDP data was old news, confirming that growth in the euro area's largest economy slowed at the start of the year.
Detailed GDP data yesterday showed that the domestic German economy fired on all cylinders in the first quarter. Real GDP rose 0.7% quarter-on-quarter in Q1, up from 0.3% in Q4, lifted by strong investment and spending. Domestic demand rose 0.8%, only slightly slower than the 0.9% ris e in the fourth quarter. Net exports fell 0.3%, a bit better than in Q4, when gross exports fell outright.
We expect the second estimate of Q1 GDP, released today, to restate that quarter-on-quarter growth slowed to just 0.3%, from 0.7% in Q4. The second estimate of growth rarely is different to the first.
We expect MPs this week to take a big step towards a soft Brexit, which has been our base case since the referendum.
The Colombian economy--the star of the previous economic cycle in LatAm--is now slowing significantly, due mostly to strong external headwinds. Exports plunged by 40% year-over-year in January, down from -29% in December, with all of the main categories contracting in the worst performance since 1980.
Argentina's Q4 GDP report, released last week, underscored the severity of the recession, due to the currency crisis and the subsequent tighter fiscal and monetary policies.
The commentariat was very excited Friday by the inversion of the curve, with three-year yields dipping to 2.24% while three-month bills yield 2.45%.
We are fundamentally quite bullish on the housing market, given the 100bp drop in mortgage rates over the past six months and the continued strength of the labor market, but today's May new home sales report likely will be unexciting.
The Reserve Bank of India was hit by another shock resignation yesterday, with Deputy Governor Viral Acharya confirming his early departure in late July, before the next meeting in August, and well before his term was scheduled to end at the close of this year.
Last week's data added yet more weight to our view that manufacturing is in deep trouble, and that the bottom has not yet been reached.
Friday's economic data in Germany left markets with a confused picture of the Eurozone's largest economy.
Today's advance inventory and international trade data for December could change our Q4 GDP forecast significantly.
China's 2018 property market boomlet let out more air last month.
The global coronavirus pandemic is hitting the LatAm economy at a particularly vulnerable time, following last year's stuttering economic recovery, temporary shocks in key economies and the effect of the global trade war.
For the record, we think the Fed should raise rates in December, given the long lags in monetary policy and the clear strength in the economy, especially the labor market, evident in the pre-hurricane data.
Yesterday's stock market bloodbath stands in contrast to the U.S. economic data, most of which so far show no impact from the Covid-19 outbreak.
The bad economic news in Brazil is unstoppable. The mid-month CPI index rose 1.3% month-to-month in February, as education, housing, and transport prices increased. School tuition fees jumped 6% month-to-month in February, reflecting their annual adjustment, and transport costs rose by 2% due to an increase in regulated gasoline prices.
Yesterday's detailed EZ inflation data for August kick ed-off a period in which the numbers will be scrutinised more closely than usual.
MPs look set to take a decisive step next Tuesday towards removing the risk of a calamitous no-deal Brexit at the end of March.
The ongoing weakness in DM has been a feature of the global landscape over the last year.
Japan's headline inflation will be volatile for the rest of the year, thanks to movements in the noncore elements.
Data released yesterday in Mexico strengthened the case for interest rate cuts this year.
Last week's news that the composite PMI collapsed to 47.7 in July--its lowest level since April 2009--from 52.4 in June is the first clear indication that the U.K. is heading for a recession.
The June durable goods, trade and inventory reports today, could make a material difference to forecasts for the first estimate of second quarter GDP growth, due tomorrow.
The Policy Board of the Bank of Japan yesterday kept its main settings unchanged, as widely expected. In another 8-to-1 vote, members maintained the policy balance rate and the ten-year yield target at -0.10% and "around zero", respectively, while the forward guidance still pledges to keep "short- and long-term policy interest rates... at their present or lower levels".
The ECB made no major policy changes yesterday.
The recent pick-up in mortgage approvals is another sign that households are unperturbed by the risk of a no-deal Brexit.
Headline inflation in the EZ remained elevated in September, rising by 0.1 percentage point to 2.1%, while the core rate was unchanged at 0.9% in August; both numbers are in line with the initial estimates.
April's public finances show that borrowing still is falling more slowly than the Chancellor had envisaged. This casts further doubt over whether he will be able to keep his pledge to run a budget surplus before the end of this parliament in 2020.
In yesterday's Monitor, we suggested that China's monetary policy stance is now easing.
Rising inflation is pressuring some LatAm central banks to take a cautious stance at a time when growth is subpar, particularly in the two biggest economies of the region.
After two hefty month-to-month increases, durable goods orders ex-transportation now stand only 3.9% below their January pre-Covid peak.
French manufacturing confidence soared at the start of Q2. The headline INSEE index jumped to a six-year high of 108 in April, from an upwardly revised 105 in March. The headline was flattered by a big increase in the "past activity" index, but the survey's leading indicators also improved.French manufacturing confidence soared at the start of Q2. The headline INSEE index jumped to a six-year high of 108 in April, from an upwardly revised 105 in March. The headline was flattered by a big increase in the "past activity" index, but the survey's leading indicators also improved.
Argentina's economy continues to recover steadily.
Yesterday's business confidence data in the EZ core were mixed.
China's investment slowdown went from worrying to frightening in October. Last week's fixed asset investment ex-rural numbers showed that year- to-date spending grew by 5.2% year-over-year in October, marking a further slowdown from 5.4% in the year to September.
The latest public finance figures make it virtually inevitable that the Chancellor will scrap the existing fiscal rules when he delivers his first Budget.
The turmoil in Washington has begun to hit markets. We don't know how this will end, but we do know that it isn't going away quickly.
Yesterday's labour market figures revealed that employment growth has picked up this year, despite the shadow cast over the medium-term economic outlook by Brexit. The 122K, or 0.4%, quarter-on-quarter rise in employment in Q1 was the biggest since Q2 2016.
Today's second estimate of Q2 GDP likely will restate the preliminary estimate that quarter-onquarter growth picked up to 0.6%, from 0.4% in Q1. Over the last two decades, the second estimate of GDP has differed from the preliminary estimate just 38% of the time.
In recent client "meetings" we have been emphasizing the idea that a sustained recovery in the economy over the summer depends on the solidity of a three-legged stool.
News that the Covid-19 virus has spread to more countries frayed investors' nerves further yesterday, with the FTSE 100 eventually residing 5.3% below its Friday close.
Brazil's monetary authority adopted a neutral tone and kept its main rate on hold at 6.5% at its monetary policy meeting on Wednesday, surprising investors.
Friday's second Q1 GDP estimate confirmed that lockdowns to halt the spread of Covid-19 hurt the EZ economy in Q1. Real GDP plunged by 3.8% quarter-on- quarter, following a 0.1% rise in Q4, in line with the first estimate.
Activity in Colombia cooled at the end of the first quarter, in the face of many domestic and external headwinds. Retail sales, for example, plunged 2.9% in March after a 4.6% leap in February. The headline likely was depressed by the early Easter, as March had one fewer trading day than February.
Yesterday's detailed Q2 GDP report in Germany confirmed that economic output nosedived during lockdown, but also showed that the economy was resilient compared to the rest of the EZ.
Inflation pressures in Brazil are well under control, with the August mid-month reading falling more than expected, allowing the BCB to cut interest rates in the near term if needed.
Most of the Andean economies have been hit by the turmoil roiling the global economy in the past few quarters. But modest recovery in commodity prices in Q3, and relatively solid domestic fundamentals helped them to avoid a protracted slowdown in Q2 and most of Q3.
Some shoes never drop. But it would be unwise to assume that the steep plunge in manufacturing output apparently signalled by the ISM manufacturing index won't happen, just because the hard data recently have been better than the survey implied.
The ECB made no changes to policy yesterday, leaving its key refinancing and deposit rates unchanged, at 0.00% and -0.5%, and confirmed that it will restart QE in November at €20B per month.
The gaps in the third quarter GDP data are still quite large, with no numbers yet for September international trade or the public sector, but we're now thinking that growth likely was less than 11⁄2%.
You'd be hard-pressed to read the minutes of the September FOMC meeting and draw a conclusion other than that most policymakers are very comfortable with their forecasts of one more rate hike this year, and three next year.
The PMIs in the Eurozone are still warning that the economy is in much worse shape than implied by remarkably stable GDP growth so far this year.
Investors think it more likely that the MPC will cut Bank Rate in the first half of next year, following Friday's release of the flash Markit/CIPS PMIs for November.
The weaker is the economy over the next few months, the more likely it is that Mr. Trump blinks and removes some--perhaps even all--the tariffs on Chinese imports.
Inflation in the biggest economies in the region remains close to cyclical lows, allowing central banks to ease even further over the next few months.
Japan's CPI inflation was stable at 0.2% in October, despite the sales tax hike, thanks to a combination of offsetting measures from the government and a deepening of energy deflation.
The mortgage market is continuing to hold up surprisingly well, given the calamitous political backdrop.
Money and credit data released last weekend suggest that China's demand for credit remains insatiable.
If you're looking for points of light in the economy over the next few months, the housing market is a good place to start.
CPI inflation held steady at -0.1% in October, matching its lowest rate since March 1960. We had expected the rate to tick down to -0.2%, but the rebound in clothing inflation in October, following a period of discounting in September, was larger than we had anticipated. Looking ahead, we can be fairly confident that CPI inflation will pic k up sharply over the coming months.
Inflation in Brazil and Mexico is ending Q3 under control, allowing the central banks to keep easing monetary policy.
Mortgage approvals by the main high street banks dropped to a five-month low of 38.5K in September, from 39.2K in August, according to trade body U.K.Finance.
Argentinians are heading to the polls on Sunday October 27 and will likely turn their backs on the current president, Mauricio Macri.
We have been very encouraged in recent months to see core capital goods orders breaking to the upside, relative to the trend implied by the path of oil prices.
Rapidly increasing food inflation is creating all sorts of dilemmas for policymakers in Asia's giants.
Today's preliminary estimate of Q3 GDP is the last major economic report to be released before the MPC's meeting on November 2.
Yesterday's final CPI report confirmed that inflation in the EZ fell marginally in August, by 0.1 percentage points to 2.0%.
Brazil's inflation rate remained well under control over the first half of February.
Inflation in Mexico surprised to the upside in early Q3, but we still believe it will fall gradually in Q4.
Korea's GDP report for the second quarter was a huge let-down.
Brazil's inflation data continue to disappoint, but they are showing some signs of improvement, at the margin. The mid-month CPI, the IPCA-15 index, jumped to 9.3% year-over-year in July, up from 8.8% in June, soaring well above the upper bound of the inflation target and reaching the highest level since December 2003, as shown in our first chart.
The apparent softness of business capex is worrying the Fed.
The sluggishness of existing home sales in recent months, as exemplified by yesterday's report of a small dip in June, is due entirely to a sharp drop in the number of cash buyers.
The headline in yesterday's ECB Q2 bank lending survey seemed almost tailor-made for the central bank to deliver a dovish message to markets this week.
House prices are on course to rise only by around 2% this year, the smallest increase for five years.
Data released yesterday in Brazil helped to lay the ground for interest rate cuts over the coming months.
Yesterday's final CPI data for May confirmed that the EZ economy is within touching distance of headline deflation.
Sebastián Piñera returns to the Presidential Palacio de la Moneda, succeeding Michelle Bachelet as president of Chile, as in 2010.
Data released in recent days confirm the story of a struggling economy and falling inflation pressures in Mexico, strengthening our forecast of interest rate cuts over the second half of the year.
The Spanish economy has been living a quiet life recently, amid markets' focus on political risks in Italy and manufacturing slowdowns in Germany and France.
If the rate of increase of the core CPI in the second half of the year matches the 0.19% average gains in the first half, the year-over-year rate will rise to 2.3% by December. In December last year, core inflation stood at just 1.6%, following a run of soft second half numbers. We can't rule out a slowdown in the monthly increases in the second half of this year too, given the evidence suggesting a small bias in the seasonal adjustments.
Yesterday's June PMIs offered more of the same, insofar as the survey's key message goes in the past few months.
Both business surveys and unconventional activity indicators suggest that the recovery from the Covid-19 shock has sped up in June, after a shaky start in May.
Chainstores are continuing to struggle, even as the reopening of the economy continues.
Friday's advance PMI data for the Eurozone added further evidence of stabilisation in the economy after the sharp slowdown in GDP growth since the beginning of last year.
Data released yesterday from Brazil support our view that the economic recovery continues, but progress has been slow.
British politics remains a complete mess, with many outcomes, ranging from no-deal Brexit to revoking Article 50, possible in the second half of this year.
Sterling depreciated further last week as the Prime Minister's Brexit plans were tweaked by Brexiteers and given a lukewarm reception by the European Commission.
Brazil is back on global investors' radar screens. Financial market metrics capture a relatively robust bullish tone, especially since the presidential election.
This week's GDP figures showed that firms invested only sparingly in 2016, but their financial fortunes have been bolstered by a recovery in profits. The gross operating surplus of all firms rose by 4.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, the biggest increase for 11 quarters. This pushed the share of GDP absorbed by profits up to 21.3%, just above its 60-year average of 21.2%.
We can't yet know how bad the spread of the coronavirus from the Chinese city of Wuhan will be.
You could be forgiven for being alarmed at the 1.5% decline in the stock of outstanding bank commercial and industrial lending in the fourth quarter, the first dip since the second quarter of 2017.
Yesterday's IFO data in Germany heaped more misery on the Eurozone economy.
From a bird's-eye perspective, the argument for continued steady Fed rate hikes is clear.
The drop in CPI inflation to 0.5% in May, from 0.8% in April, brought it another big step closer to the near-zero rate we foresee in the second half of this year.
While we were out last week, market nervousness over the Covid-19 outbreak intensified, though most key indicators of the spread of the infection continued to improve.
Mexico's economy slowed marginally in Q4, due mainly to the challenging external environment, but the domestic economy remains relatively healthy. Real GDP rose 0.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, following a 0.8% solid expansion in Q3. Year-over-year growth dipped to 2.5% from 2.8%.
The public finances are in better health than appeared to be the case a few months ago.
Brazilian inflation is off to a bad start this year, but January's jump is not the start of an uptrend, and we think good news is coming.
The ECB will deliver a carbon copy of its December meeting today, at least in terms of the main headlines.
One of the arguments we hear in favor of an endless Fed pause--in other words, the cyclical tightening is over--is that GDP growth is set to slow markedly this year, to only 2% or so.
GDP data for Q2 are due July 26; we expect the report to show a marginal dip in growth, to a seasonally adjusted 0.8% quarter-on-quarter, from 1.0% in Q1.
A PBoC rate cut is looking increasingly likely. Policy is already on the loosest setting possible without cutting rates, but the Bank has little to show for its marginal approach to easing, with M1 growth still languishing.
In November, existing home sales substantially overshot the pace implied by the pending home sales index.
Most LatAm currencies traded higher against the USD yesterday, adding to the gains achieved after Donald Trump's inauguration last Friday. The MXN, which was the best performer during yesterday's session, was up about 0.8%; it was followed by the CLP, and the BRL. The positive performance of most LatAm currencies, especially the MXN, is related to positioning and technical factors.
The steady decline in mortgage rates since the financial crisis has helped to underpin strong growth in household spending. Existing borrowers have been able to refinance loans at ever-lower interest rates, while the proportion of first-time buyers' incomes absorbed by interest and capital payments has declined to a record low. As a result, the proportion of annual household incomes taken up by interest payments has fallen to 4.6%, from a peak of 10% in 2008.
Few Eurozone investors are going blindly to accept the rosy premise of last week's relief rally in equities that both a Brexit and a U.S-China trade deal are now, suddenly, and miraculously, within touching distance. But they're allowed to hope, nonetheless.
The Covid-19 downturn has been more severe in the U.K. than in most other advanced economies this year.
Mexico's CPI rose just 0.1% in the first half of March, due to higher core prices. The increase was broadbased within this component, with goods prices increasing by 0.2% and core services 0.4%. Core services prices were driven by temporary factors, including vacation packages and higher airfare tickets. Non-core prices, meanwhile, fell 0.5%, due mainly to falling fresh food prices.
The April IFO business sentiment survey increased the degree of uncertainty over the German economy, following stabilisation in the PMIs earlier this week.
If you wanted to be charitable, you could argue that the downturn in the rate of growth of core durable goods orders in recent months has not been as bad as implied by the ISM manufacturing survey.
The ECB's communication to markets has been clear this year. In Q1, the central bank changed its stance on the economy towards an emphasis on "downside risks to the outlook".
Economic activity in Mexico during the past few months has been stronger than most observers expected. Growth has certainly moderated from the relatively strong pace recorded during the second half of last year, but data for January and February show that it is still quite strong.
Theresa May doubled down on her Brexit stance last week, despite European Council President Donald Tusk stating clearly that her proposed framework for economic cooperation "will not work" because it risks undermining the single market.
The FTSE 100 has dropped by 7% since the end of September--leaving it on course for its worst month since May 2012--and now is 12% below its May peak.
China's data on Monday were beyond dire, leading to a dramatic downward revision of our already grim Q1 GDP forecasts for the country.
Broad-based inflation pressures in Brazil remain tame despite the sharp BRL depreciation this year, totalling about 7% in the last three months alone.
The run of better-than-expected public borrowing figures ended abruptly with the publication of March data yesterday.
New Covid-19 cases in Mexico have continued to fall steadily over this month, with deaths peaking two weeks ago, as shown in our first chart.
The alarming-looking decline in core capital goods orders since late 2014 has been substantially due, in our view, to the rollover in investment in the mining sector. But the 29% jump in the number of oil rigs in operation, since the mid-May low, makes it clear that the collapse is over.
Yesterday was a watershed moment for investors.
Economic news in Europe continues to take a back-seat to volatility in politics. Yesterday's announcement by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May that she is seeking a snap general election on June 8th cast further doubt over what exactly Brexit will look like.
Yesterday's final Q2 GDP report in Germany confirmed the initial data showing that the economy slowed less than we expected last quarter. Real GDP rose 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, after a 0.7% jump in Q1. The working-day adjusted year-over-year rate fell marginally to 1.8%, from 1.9% in Q1.
Yesterday's barrage of French business surveys contains hundreds of indicators, but its central story is comfortably simple.
Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement that Parliament will vote today on holding a general election on June 8 shocked markets and even her own party's MPs. Betting markets were pricing in only a 20% chance of a 2017 election before yesterday's news.
If we analyse the Covid-19 shock as a normal downturn, the clock has now been reset on the business cycle, which in turn implies that it is a great time to be invested in EZ equities.
We have been bullish about the housing market for some time now--since Google searches for "new homes" and mortgage demand began to pick up, in late April--but we might not have been bullish enough.
Korea's preliminary GDP report for Q3 will be released tomorrow.
The PM now is at a fork in the road and will have to decide in the coming days whether to risk all and seek a general election, or restart the process of trying to get the Withdrawal Agreement Bill--WAB--through parliament.
A grim-looking headline durable goods orders number for April seems inevitable today, given the troubles at Boeing.
Investors face a busy EZ calendar today, but the second estimate of Q3 GDP, and the advance GDP data in Germany, likely will receive most attention. Yesterday's industrial production report in the Eurozone was soft, but it won't force a downward GDP revision, as we had feared.
The chances of our Brexit base case--a soft departure just before the current October 31 deadline--playing out have declined sharply over the last two weeks.
Yesterday's barrage of survey data were a mixed bag. The composite EZ PMI edged higher in May to 51.6, from 51.5 in April, but the details were less upbeat, and also slightly confusing.
Mexico's latest industrial production data were worse than we expected. Output rose just 0.1% month-to-month in September, pushing the year- over-year rate down to -1.3%, from a downwardly revised +0.2% in August.
The recovery in existing home sales appears to have stalled, at best.
Korea's 20-day export growth came in weaker than we anticipated earlier this week. Granted, year-over- year growth rebounded to 14.8% in May, from 8.3% in April.
Yesterday's data in the Eurozone did little to calm investors' nerves amid rising political uncertainty in Italy and tremors in emerging markets.
Japanese leading indicators point to a slowdown, and the trend over this volatile year is emerging as firmly downward.
Yesterday's PMI reports repeated the message of a firm cyclical Eurozone recovery, despite investors' angst over deflation and the underwhelming Q3 GDP data earlier this month. The composite index in the zone rose to a 54-month high of 54.4 in November from 53.9 in October, lifted by strong output and solid new business growth. Our first chart shows the rise in the PMI points to slight upside risks in Q4 to the four quarter trend in real GDP growth of 0.4% per quarter.
Yesterday's detailed GDP report in Germany showed net exports propelled GDP growth to a cyclical high last quarter.
Core durable goods orders have not weakened as much as implied by the ISM manufacturing survey, as our first chart shows, but it is risky to assume this situation persists.
The establishment of the Fed's commercial paper funding facility, announced yesterday, replicates the first wave of asset purchases undertaken after the crash of 2008.
A big picture approach to the China trade war, from the perspective of Mr. Trump, is reasonably positive. The president very clearly wants to be re-elected, and he knows that his chances are better if the economy and the stock market are in good shape.
While we were away, EM growth prospects and risk appetite deteriorated significantly, due mainly to rising geopolitical risks, weaker economic prospects for DM, and, in particular, the most recent chapter of the global trade war.
Yesterday's second estimate of Q3 GDP confirmed that the U.K. economy has underperformed this year.
We're braced for disappointing jobless claims numbers today.
China's economy got off to an uneasy start in the third quarter.
Friday's PMIs were supposed to provide the first reliable piece of evidence of the coronavirus on euro area businesses, but they didn't. Instead, they left economists dazed, confused and scrambling for a suitable narrative.
On the face of it, the latest public finance data suggest that the economy has lost momentum.
The trend in manufacturing output probably is about flat, with no real prospect of any serious improvement in the near term.
A strong finish to the fourth quarter spared the EZ auto sector the embarrassment of posting an outright fall in domestic sales through 2019 as a whole.
Japan's economy contracted by 0.9% quarter-on- quarter in Q1, following a downwardly-revised 1.9% plunge in the previous quarter.
Over the past 30 years China's role in LatAm and the global economy has increased sharply. Its share of world trade has surged, and its exports have gained significant market share in LatAm.
The Brazilian economy fell into recession over the first half of the year due to the severity of the Covid shock on domestic demand.
To avoid rocking the 2020 boat, the Phase One trade deal needed to be sufficiently vague, so that neither side, and particularly Mr. Trump, would have much cause to kick up a fuss around missed targets.
Japan's PPI inflation likely has peaked, with commodities still in the driving seat. Manufactured goods price inflation will soon start to slow, following the downshift in China's numbers.
Yesterday's economic activity data from Peru signalled that the relatively firm business cycle continues. The monthly GDP index accelerated to 3.6% year-over-year in November, rising from 2.1% in October, but marginally below the 4.4% on average in Q3. Growth continued to be driven by mining output, including oil and gas, which rose 15% year-over- year. The opening of several new mines explains the upturn, and we expect the sector to remain key for the Peruvian economy this year.
The industrial sector in the EZ slowed further at the end of Q3.
China's September PMIs, most of which were released over the weekend, mark out a clear downtrend in activity since late last year.
India's GDP shrank by 23.9% year-over-year in the second quarter, following growth of 3.1% in Q1.
Argentina's economic and financial situation has deteriorated significantly in recent weeks and the outlook is becoming increasingly bleak.
On the face of it, the rebound in the manufacturing PMI, to 53.3 in August from 48.3 in July, directly challenges our view that the economy is set to slow sharply over the coming quarters. A close look at the survey, however, suggests that the manufacturing PMI exaggerates the extent of the sector's recovery in August.
As we're writing, the price of U.S. crude oil is only about 50 cents per barrel lower than on Thursday, when markets began to anticipate an OPEC deal to cut production over the weekend. The failure of the Doha talks generated an initial sharp drop in oil prices, but the damage now is very limited, as our first chart shows.
We had expected the batch of Chinese data released at the end of last week to disappoint.
Argentina's government continues to show signs of reining in fiscal policy, with the primary budget balance improving steadily over the last year.
The Eurozone economy finished last week with a horrendous set of economic data.
Yesterday's surprising decline in the Eurozone unemployment rate adds further evidence to the story of a slowly healing economy. The rate of joblessness fell to 10.9% in July from 11.1% in June, the lowest since the beginning of 2012, mainly driven by a 0.5 percentage point fall in Italy, and improvement in Spain, where unemployment fell 0.2 pp to 22.2%.
Friday' second Q4 GDP estimate revealed that the EZ economy barely grew at the end of 2019. The report confirmed that GDP rose by 0.1% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, slowing from a 0.3% rise in Q3, but the headline only narrowly avoided downward revision to zero, at just 0.058%
We still think it is a question of when--not if-- MPs will be successful in taking a no -deal Brexit off the table.
Yesterday's final EZ CPI data for March confirmed the message from the advance report that inflation pressures eased last month.
The U.S. reached a trade agreement with Canada on Sunday, adding its northern neighbour to the pact sealed a month ago with Mexico.
The fall in CPI inflation to 3.0% in December, from 3.1% in November, likely marks the first step in its journey back to the 2% target.
GDP growth currently is subdued by historical standards, but at least it is not debt-fuelled.
Brazil's central bank kept the Selic policy rate at 6.50% this week, as markets broadly expected.
The Fed won't raise rates today, or substantively change the wording of the post-meeting statement. In September, the FOMC said that "The Committee judges that the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened but decided, for the time being, to wait for further evidence of continued progress toward its objectives."
The dreadful September ISM manufacturing survey reinforces our view that the sector will be in recession for the foreseeable future, and that both business capex and exports are on the verge of a serious downturn.
As we reach our deadline on Sunday afternoon, eastern time, Tropical Storm Florence continues to dump vast quantities of rain on the Carolinas, and is forecast to head through Kentucky and Tennessee, before heading north.
Korean exports continued to fall year-over-year in April, but the story isn't as bleak as the headlines suggest.
We previewed today's advance EZ Q1 GDP number in our Monitor on April 30--see here--and the data since have not changed our outlook.
We expect the BoK to hike this month, believing that it's necessary to curtail household debt growth now, in order to prevent a sharper economic slowdown as the Fed hiking cycle continues, China slows, and trade risks unfold.
The March money and credit figures provide more evidence that the economy's weak start to the year won't be just a blip.
Italy's economy is still bumping along the bottom, after emerging from recession in the middle of last year.
Japanese CPI inflation jumped to 0.7% in August from 0.4% in July. The ris e in prices over the last year, however, was mainly driven by food and energy.
Former Chancellor George Osborne famously quipped after last year's general election that Theresa May was "a dead woman walking and the only question is how long she remains on death row".
The February activity report in Colombia showed a modest pick-up in manufacturing activity and strength in the retail sales numbers.
The inevitable--more or less--correction from August's 14-year high is no big deal.
China's GDP data--to be published on Monday-- are likely to report that growth slowed to 1.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, from 1.6% in Q3. A 1.4% increase would match the series low of Q1 2016.
May's activity data underline the gradual recovery in Colombia's economic growth, following signs of weakness at the start of the year.
May's activity data in the Andes underline the severe hit from the pandemic on economic activity.
China's GDP report for the second quarter sprung an upside surprise, with the economy growing by 3.2% year-over-year--on paper--marking a sharp reversal from the 6.8% plunge in the first quarter, due to the country's nationwide lockdown.
Friday's inflation data in the Eurozone added a dovish twist to the story ahead of the key ECB meeting later this month.
Chile's Q3 GDP report, released yesterday, confirmed that the economy gathered speed in the third quarter, but this is now in the rearview mirror.
The 1.2% month-to-month fall in retail sales volumes in March undoubtedly was due mostly to the bad weather.
Fed Chair Powell's comment on Sunday's "60 Minutes", that a recovery in the economy "may take a while... it could stretch through the end of next year" did not prevent a 3% jump in the S&P 500 yesterday.
Final inflation data yesterday confirmed Eurozone inflation pressures are still low. Inflation rose to 0.2% year-over-year in December from 0.1% in November, lifted by easing deflation in energy prices. Base effects likely will lift energy price inflation in January and February, but the year-over-year rate will dip in Q2, if the oil price remains depressed. Food inflation fell in December due to a decline in unprocessed food prices, and we see further downside in Q1. Core inflation was unchanged, with the key surprise that services inflation fell to 1.1% from 1.2% in November. We think this dip will be temporary, however, and our first chart shows that risks to services inflation are tilted to the upside.
Equity prices for U.K. retailers have performed woefully since the E.U. referendum. The FTSE All-Share Index for general retailers has underperformed the overall All-Share Index by nearly 30% since the Brexit vote.
Gasoline prices dropped sharply last month, but the 4½% seasonally adjusted fall we expect to see in the December CPI report today was rather smaller than the 9% collapse in December 2014, so the year-over-year rate of change of gas prices will rise, to -20% from -24% in November. This means headline inflation will rise too, though the extent of the increase also depends on what happens to the core rate.
The elevated readings from the ISM manufacturing survey this year have not been followed by rapid growth in output. The headline ISM averaged 55.8 in the second quarter, a solid if unspectacular reading. But output rose by only 1.2% year-over-year, and by 1.4% on a quarterly annualized basis.
Friday's detailed euro area CPI report for December confirmed that inflation pushed higher at the end of last year. Headline inflation increased to 1.3% year-over- year, from 1.0% in November, lifted primarily by higher energy inflation, rising by 3.4pp, to +0.2%. Inflation in food, alcohol and tobacco also rose, albeit marginally, to 2.1%, from 2.0% in November.
Officially, China's real GDP growth was unchanged at 6.0% year-over-year in Q4; low by Chinese standards, but not overly worrying. Full-year growth was 6.1% within the 6.0-to-6.1% target down from 6.7% last year, also in keeping with the authorities' long-term poverty reduction goals.
Peru's economic recovery gathered strength late last year.
Argentina's inflation ended 2019 badly, and it is still too early to bet on a protracted downtrend, even after the renewed economic slowdown.
Economic data in Brazil over the second quarter were relatively positive, and June reports released in recent weeks, coupled with leading indicators for July, are encouraging.
The November industrial production numbers will be dominated by the rebound in auto production following the end of the GM strike.
The cyclical upturn in the euro area's economy is going from strength to strength. Yesterday's second Q2 GDP estimate confirmed growth at 0.6% quarter- on-quarter, marginally stronger than the 0.5% rise in the first quarter.
This week's labour market, inflation and retail sales data--the last before the MPC meets on May 10--will have a major bearing on the Committee's decision.
High frequency data are all the rage, given the speed and severity of the Covid-19 shock. GDP data are published with a lag of about six weeks, too long for investors to wait.
In about 100 days, the LatAm economy and financial markets will face a defining moment in the face of uncertainty, namely, the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.
The Eurosystem's position on Greece, echoed by Mr. Draghi earlier this week, is that progress on a deal is up to the Syriza-led government. But recent comments by German officials have added to the speculation that a Grexit is getting closer.
Economic data released in recent weeks underscore that Brazil emerged from recession in Q1, but the recovery is fragile and further rate cuts are badly needed. The political crisis has damaged the reform agenda, and political uncertainty lingers.
Banxico will meet tomorrow, and we expect Mexican policymakers to cut the main interest rate by 25bp, to 7.25%.
The Monetary Policy Board of the Bank of Korea voted unanimously last week to keep the benchmark base rate unchanged, at 0.50%.
Over the past 18 months, the year-over-year rate of growth of manufacturing output has swung from minus 2.1% to plus 2.5%.
June's 0.5% month-to-month fall in retail sales volumes does little to change the picture of recent strength.
Leading indicators and survey data in Brazil still suggest a rebound from the relatively soft GDP growth late last year and in Q1.
The Eurozone's external accounts were extremely volatile at the end of Q4.
Wednesday's State Council meeting implies that the authorities are starting to take more serious coordinated fiscal measures to counter the virus threat to the labour market and to banks.
The jump in CPI inflation to 1.0% in July, from 0.6% in June, caught all analysts by surprise.
Investors have become more concerned about a no-deal Brexit.
While we were away, EM growth prospects and risk appetite deteriorated, due mainly to rising geopolitical risks and Turkey's currency crisis.
Japan's economy shrank by an historic 7.8% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, much worse than the 0.6% slip in the first quarter.
Japan in July recorded its first trade surplus in three months, as exports continued to show more signs of life.
Halfway through the third quarter, we have no objection to the idea that GDP growth likely will exceed 2% for the third straight quarter.
The Chilean economy was emerging in early Q1 from the self-inflicted shock from the social unrest in October, but the upturn was interrupted in early- March by the restrictive measures introduced to contain Covid-19.
The PBoC announced on Saturday that it will publish a new Loan Prime Rate, from today, following a State Council announcement last Friday.
The uncertainty over the strength and speed of the economic rebound is still a concern for investors in terms of putting money to work.
Under normal circumstances, the 0.23% increase in the core CPI, reported earlier this month, would be enough to ensure a 0.2% print in today's core PCE deflator.
On the face of it, December's flash Markit/CIPS PMIs warrant the MPC cutting Bank Rate at its meeting on Thursday.
The PBoC late on Wednesday announced measures to provide medium-term funding for smaller businesses.
We're sticking to our call that the Eurozone PMIs have bottomed, though we concede that the picture so far is more one of stabilisation than an outright rebound.
The FOMC did the minimum expected of it yesterday, raising rates by 25bp--with a 20bp increase in IOER--and dropping one of its dots for 2019.
Incoming activity data from Colombia over the past quarter have been surprisingly strong, despite many domestic and external threats.
The possibility of a Corbyn-led Labour Government has been highlighted by some analysts as a major economic risk. Mr. Corbyn, however, has little practical chance of being elected soon.
German survey data did something out of character yesterday; they fell. The IFO business climate index declined to 117.2 in December from a revised 117.6 in November.
Banxico cut its policy rate by 25bp to 7.25% yesterday, as was widely expected, following similar moves in August, September and November.
The INSEE business sentiment data in France continue to tell a story of a robust economy.
The run of weak retail sales figures continued yesterday, with the release of November's official data.
The Fed will do nothing and say little that's new after its meeting today. The data on economic activity have been mixed since the March meeting, when rates were hiked and the economic forecasts were upgraded, largely as a result of the fiscal stimulus.
Yesterday's ECB meeting was a snoozer, just as we predicted.
From a macroeconomic perspective, the main shift in the ECB's policy stance last week was the change in forward guidance.
The case for expecting a robust January jobs number is strong, but it is not without risks.
The winds of global politics are changing, and the major Eurozone countries could be forced to take heed. Donald Trump's foreign policy position remains highly uncertain. Our Chief Economist, Ian Shepherdson, expects the U.S. to increase defence spending next year; see the U.S. Monitor of October 20.
The spectacular 1.3% rebound in manufacturing output last month -- the biggest jump in seven years, apart from an Easter-distorted April gain -- does not change our core view that activity in the sector is no longer accelerating.
The FOMC statement did enough to keep alive the idea that rates could rise in March, but the ball is now mostly in Congress' court. If a clear plan for substantial fiscal easing has emerged by the time of the meeting on March 15, policymakers can incorporate its potential impact on growth, unemployment and inflation into their forecasts, then a rate hike will be much more likely.
The beleaguered EZ car sector finally enjoyed some relief at the end of Q3, though base effects were the major driver of yesterday's strong headline.
Brazil's recession is getting uglier. Real GDP in Brazil fell 1.7% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, much worse than expected, though marginally less terrible than the downwardly revised 2.1% contraction in Q2. Year-over-year, the economy plunged by 4.5% in the third quarter, down from -3.0% in Q2, and -2.5% in the first half. The disappointment was widespread in Q3; though rising mining output was a positive, the underlying trend in mining is still falling. The key story here, though, is that the economy has sunk into its worst slump since the Great Depression.
The Greek economy escaped recession in the second half of last year. Real GDP rose a cumulative 1.2% in Q2 and Q3, following a 0.6% fall in Q1. And industrial production and retail sales data suggest that the advance GDP report released later this month will show that the momentum was sustained in Q4. Headline survey data, however, indicate that downside risks to the economy remain.
The Monetary Policy Board of the Bank of Korea voted yesterday to lower its policy base rate to 1.25%, from 1.50%.
Yesterday's detailed CPI data for August confirmed that inflation in the Eurozone stayed subdued over the summer.
The FTSE 100 has fallen by 4% over the last two weeks, exceeding the 1-to-3% declines in the main US, European and Japanese markets. The FTSE's latest drop builds on an underperformance which began in early 2014. The index has fallen by 10% since then--compared to rises of between 10% and 20% in the main overseas benchmarks--and has dropped by nearly 15% since its April 2015 peak. We doubt, however, that the collapse in U.K. equity prices signals impending economic misery. The economy is likely to struggle next year, but this will have little to do with the stock market's travails.
The 2010s were the first decade since reliable records begin--in the 1700s--in which a recession was completely avoided
The economy's fragility was underlined by the Q3 national accounts, released just before the Christmas break.
The EZ trade surplus in goods all but evaporated during lockdown.
We suspect that euro area investors have one question on their mind as we step into 2019.
Sunday 28th will bring closure to an extraordinary presidential election campaign in Brazil.
The 21K rise in the headline, three-month average, unemployment rate between November and February confirmed last month that the U.K.'s period of fantastically strong growth in employment has ended. Timelier indicators, however, suggest unemployment is stabilising, not on the cusp of a major increase.
The economy slowed less than we expected in 2017.
While were out over the holidays, the single biggest surprise in the data was yet another drop in imports, reported in the advance trade numbers for November.
China's official manufacturing PMI was unchanged at 50.2 in December, marking a weak end to the year. But it could have been worse; we had been worried that the return to above-50 territory in November had been boosted by temporary factors. December's print allays some of those fears.
China's official PMIs paint a picture of robust momentum going into 2018 but we find this difficult to reconcile with the other data.
LatAm assets and currencies had a bad November, due to global trade war concerns, the USD rebound and domestic factors.
The GM strike will make itself felt in the September industrial production data, due today.
Within the space of two months, investors have gone from wondering whether the slowdown in manufacturing would spill-over into the rest of the EZ economy, to the realisation that the crunch in services is now driving the overall story on the economy.
The Eurozone's trade surplus rebounded slightly over the summer, rising to €16.6B in August from €12.6B in July, helped mainly by a 2.0% month-to- month jump in exports.
The duration and future scope of the current lockdown is the main uncertainty that U.K economic forecasters have to grapple with at present.
The Brazilian presidential election has remained in the spotlight in recent days and is the main driver of asset price volatility.
Mr. Trump laid out plans yesterday to impose a new 10% tariff on a further $200B-worth of imports from China, to be levied from next week.
China's property market continued to slow in August, with prices rising by just 0.2% month-on- month seasonally adjusted, half the July pace.
The September NAHB survey, released yesterday, shows, that the housing market took a knock from the hurricanes but the damage, so far at least, appears to be contained.
Banxico is one of the few central banks in LatAm to have hiked rates in 2016, and we expect it to remain relatively hawkish in the face of external risks.
Bond yields in Italy remain elevated, but volatility has declined recently; two-year yields have halved to 0.7% and 10-year yields have dipped below 3%.
Recent data in Argentina confirm the resilience of cyclical upturn.
Our view that the economy is slowing sharply appears, superficially, to be challenged by the surge in the money supply. Year-over-year growth in the value of banknotes and coins in circulation has shot up this year, to 8.3% in August, from 5.5% in December 2015.
The Brazilian Central Bank's policy board-- Copom--voted unanimously on Wednesday to cut the Selic rate by 50bp to 6.0%.
The FOMC did nothing yesterday and said nothing significantly different from its June statement, as was universally expected.
We're reasonably happy with the idea that business sentiment is stabilizing, albeit at a low level, but that does not mean that all the downside risk to economic growth is over.
With campaigning for the general election intensifying last week, it was unsurprising that October's money and credit release from the Bank of England received virtually no media or market attention.
Data released last week confirm that the Argentinian economy finally is stabilizing.
On the face of it, British manufacturers are weathering the global slowdown well. The Markit/CIPS PMI jumped to 55.1 in March, from 52.1 in February, and now comfortably exceeds those for the Eurozone, U.S. and Japan.
Last week's unprecedented surge in initial jobless claims, to 3,283K from 282K, prompted a New York Times front page for the ages; if you haven't seen it, click here.
The bulk of China's PMIs were published over the weekend and yesterday, leaving only the Caixin services PMI on Wednesday.
Colombia's July activity numbers, released on Friday, portrayed still-strong retail sales and a reviving manufacturing sector, with both indicators stronger than expected.
The year-over-year rate of core CPI inflation rose steadily from a low of 1.6% in January 2015 to 2.3% in February this year. At that point, the three-month annualized rate had reached a startling 3.0%. You could be forgiven, therefore, for thinking that the dip in core inflation back to 2.2% in March was an inevitable correction after a period of unsustainably rapid gains, and that the underlying trend in core inflation isn't really heading towards 3%.
Markets now think the Fed is done.
The number of Covid-19 cases is increasing at a faster rate, though 89% of the new cases reported Saturday were in China, South Korea, Italy and Iran.
At first glance, the latest labour market data appear to be contradictory.
We'll cover Friday's barrage of EZ economic data later in this Monitor, but first things first. We regret to inform readers that the ECB is behind the curve. Last week, Ms. Lagarde downplayed the idea that the central bank will respond to the shock from the Covid-19 outbreak.
The presidential election in Argentina is only four months away and the race is heating up.
Incoming data continue to highlight the severe hit from the pandemic on the real economies of the region, but some surveys and leading indicators are already pointing to a gradual upturn from June onwards.
Japan's labour data threw another January curve ball this year--last year it was wages--with a change in the standards for job openings.
Manufacturers in China continued to trudge along in May, with their post-lockdown recovery looking increasingly fragile.
The business cycle in the Eurozone tends to follow a fairly simply script, at least in broad terms.
We remain convinced by other evidence that manufacturing output now is recovering, though pre-virus levels of production likely will not be realised for several years.
Inflation pressures are slowly, but surely, rising in the Eurozone. Advance data indicate that inflation in Germany rose to 0.7% year-over-year in May, up from 0.5% in April. Reduced drag from the non-core components is the main driver, with energy prices rebounding, and food prices now rising steadily at 1.4% year-over-year.
Brazil's economic data last week were appalling. The IPCA-15 price index rose 1.3% month-to-month, the fastest pace in 12 years, pushing the annual rate to 7.4% in mid-February from 6.7% in mid-January,well above the 6.5% upper bound of the BCB's target range.
The odds of a hike this month have increased in recent days, though the chance probably is not as high as the 82% implied by the fed funds future. The arguments against a March hike are that GDP growth seems likely to be very sluggish in Q1, following a sub-2% Q4, and that a hike this month would be seen as a political act.
As the impeachment hearings gather momentum, we have been asked to provide a cut-out-and-keep guide to the possible outcomes.
The Labour Force Survey continues to understate massively the damage caused by Covid-19.
Headline retail sales in June were just 1% below their January peak, and about 3% below the level they would have reached if the pre-Covid trend had continued.
Eurozone inflation pressures snapped back in April. Friday's advance report showed that headline inflation rose to 1.9% year-over-year, from 1.5% in March, lifted by a jump in the cor e rate to 1.2% from 0.7% the month before.
When economic historians look back at the bizarre trade war of 2018-to-19, we think they will see Tuesday June 4 as the turning point, after which the threats of fire and brimstone were taken much less seriously, and markets began to ponder life after tariffs.
The MPC will have to issue fresh, dovish guidance in order to satisfy markets on Thursday, which now think the Committee is more likely to cut than raise Bank Rate within the next six months.
The plunge in oil prices in recent weeks is not a threat to the overall U.S. economic growth story in the near term--we have always expected growth to slow, but remain decent, once the boost from the tax cuts fades--but it will make a difference, at the margin.
January's money and credit data broadly support our view that the economy still lacks momentum.
Sterling continued to recover last week, hitting its highest level against the dollar since October, despite a series of data releases indicating that the economy is losing momentum. Indeed, sterling was unscathed by the news on Friday that quarter-on-quarter GDP growth slowed to just 0.3% in Q1, from 0.7% in Q4.
Yesterday's labour cost data in the EZ are misleading. Eurostat's headline index jumped by 3.4% year-over-year in Q1, accelerating from a revised 2.3% increase in Q4,
We don't use the index of leading economic indicators as a forecasting tool. If it leads the pace of growth at all, it's not by much, and in recent years it has proved deeply unreliable.
Inflation in the Eurozone increased slightly last month, and probably will rise a bit more in coming months.
We keep hearing that the auto market is struggling, but that idea is not supported by the recent sales numbers.
May's money and credit data indicate, reassuringly, that the economy still is growing at a steady, albeit unspectacular, rate, despite the endless uncertainty created by Brexit.
The February industrial production numbers were flattered by an enormous 7.3% jump in the output of electricity and gas utility companies, thanks to a surge in demand in the face of the extraordinarily cold weather. February this year was the coldest since at least 1997, when comparable data on population weighted heating degree days begin.
In the wake of last week's national accounts release, markets judge that the probability of a Bank Rate hike at the August 2 MPC meeting has increased to about 65%, from 60% beforehand.
The data in LatAm have been all over the map in recent weeks.
Evidence in support of our view that the U.S. industrial slowdown is ending continues to mount, though nothing is yet definitive and the re-escalation of the trade war is a threat of uncertain magnitude to the incipient upturn.
Japan's economic data have been very volatile in the last 18 months.
Economic data released on Wednesday underscored that Brazil was struggling at the end of the first quarter, strengthening our case that Q1 GDP fell 0.2% quarter-on-quarter, the first contraction since Q4 2016.
Japan's Tankan survey for Q2 was unsurprisingly grim, given the devastation caused by the near- global lockdown in the first half of the quarter, and the nationwide state of emergency that enveloped April and May.
We were not hugely surprised to see stocks tank again yesterday.
The May auto sales numbers probably will be released just after our deadline at 4pm eastern time today, but all the signs are that a hefty rebound will be reported after April's plunge to just 8.6M, not much more than half the pre-Covid level.
Latin American markets and policymakers are bracing for another complicated week, after the second, and more aggressive, Fed emergency move over the weekend.
Here's something we didn't expect to write: The control measure of retail sales in May was slightly higher than in February.
Colombian policymakers on Friday cut the reference rate by 50bp, for a third straight month, to 2.75%.
The split between the reality reflected in the economic data and market pricing has never been wider in the euro area
The German economy finished last year on the back foot.
The recovery in the industrial sector from Covid-19 finally commenced in earnest in June, after May's stalled start.
Japan's exporters have largely shrugged off the country's second wave of Covid-19.
One of the key positive signs in the Eurozone data since the virus hit has been the evidence that households' liquid money balances have been well supported by job retention schemes, extended unemployment insurance, and aggressive monetary stimulus.
We now think that Banxico will keep interest rates on hold at 7.50% at its Thursday meeting, as the MXN has stabilized in recent days, despite rising geopolitical risks.
We have not been expecting the Fed to raise rates next week, and yesterday's data made a hike even less likely. The September Philly Fed and Empire State surveys were alarmingly weak everywhere except the headline level, and the official August production data were grim.
The New York Fed tweeted yesterday that "Housing market fundamentals appear strong.
Brazil's recession stretched into the start of the third quarter, but its intensity has eased. The IBC-Br economic activity index--a monthly proxy for GDP--fell 0.1% month-to-month seasonally adjusted in July, following a 0.4% gain in June. The unadjusted year-over-year rate fell to -5.2%, from an upwardly revised -2.9%.
Tomorrow's Q1 GDP report for Korea has a wider spread of forecasts than usual, reflecting Covid-19's uneven hit to the economy.
We doubt there will ever be a fail-safe leading indicator of when a recession is about to hit, but asset prices can help us to assess the risks, at least.
German producer price inflation rebounded last month. The headline PPI index rose 2.6% year-over-year in August, up from a 2.3% increase in July, driven almost exclusively by a jump in energy inflation.
Retail sales increased by 1.0% month-to-month in August, exceeding our no-change forecast and spurring markets to price-in a 65% chance that the MPC will raise interest rates at its next meeting on November 2, up from 60% beforehand.
The French economy has suffered from weakness in manufacturing this year, alongside the other major EZ economies.
The over-hyped mystery of the gap between the hard and soft data in the industrial economy has largely resolved itself in recent months.
The Eurozone's external surplus recovered a bit of ground mid-way through the third quarter.
In order to support current market pricing, the MPC will have to be more specific about the timing of the next rate hike in the minutes of next Thursday's meeting.
Peru's April supply-side monthly GDP data confirm that the economic rebound lost momentum at the start of the second quarter.
The stakes in the Brexit saga have been raised significantly over the summer.
The political drama in Greece will continue to attract attention this week despite the advent of the holiday season. Prime Minister Samaras will try again tomorrow to secure a majority for his candidate for president, requiring a super majority of 200 votes. If it fails, the last attempt will be on December 29th, where the hurdle for the Prime Minister drops to 180 votes.
Two key points can be extracted from the minutes of the last BCB meeting, when policymakers increased the Selic interest rate by 50bp to 12.75%. First, the bank recognized that the balance of risks to inflation has deteriorated, due to the huge adjustment of regulated prices and the BRL's depreciation, but it specifically referred only to "this year" in the communiqué.
Housing rents account for some 41% of the core CPI and 18% of the core PCE, making them hugely important determinants of the core inflation rate.
Mexican retail sales jumped 1.0% month-to-month in October, the biggest gain since February, following a poor performance in Q3.
Economic growth in France has been the key downside surprise in the Eurozone this year.
The latest public finance figures continue to imply that the Chancellor will be able to change course later this year in the Autumn Budget so that fiscal policy doesn't drag on GDP growth next year.
Governor Kuroda dropped further hints in speeches earlier this week that interest rates will be going up. He discussed methods of exit, in loose terms.
It would be easy to characterize the Fed as quite split at the July meeting.
Inflation pressures in France eased in February, in contrast to the story in the rest of the EZ. Yesterday's report confirmed the initial estimate that inflation fell to 1.2% year-over-year in February, from 1.3% in January. The headline was hit by a crash in the core rate to a two-year low of 0.2%, from 0.7% in January.
Economic data released yesterday underscored that Brazil emerged from recession in the first quarter, but further rate cuts are needed. Indeed, the monthly economic activity index--the IBC-Br--fell 0.4% monthto- month in March, though this followed a strong 1.4% gain in February.
Colombia's Q1 GDP report confirms that the economy is improving. Leading indicators and survey data suggest that the recovery will continue over the second half of the year.
One of the key characteristics of this euro area business cycle has been near-zero inflation due to structurally weak domestic demand and depressed prices for globally traded goods and commodities. This has supported real incomes, despite sluggish nominal wage growth.
Now that the Fed has abandoned the idea of raising rates this year, despite 3.8% unemployment and accelerating wages, it is very exposed to the risk that the bad things it fears don't happen.
For countries with developed non-banking funding channels, narrow money isn't necessarily a good predictor of GDP growth.
Yesterday's data in the EZ provided a little more evidence on what happened in Q1.
Fed Chair Yellen made it clear in last week's press conference that she is not convinced the increase in core inflation will persist: "I want to warn that there may be some transitory factors that are influencing [the rise in core inflation]... I see some of that is having to do with unusually high inflation readings in categories that tend to be quite volatile without very much significance for inflation over time.
The average month-to-month increase in the core CPI in the past three months is a solid 0.20, much firmer than the 0.05% average over the previous five months, stretching back to the first of the run of downside surprises, in March.
Japanese GDP growth in the third quarter corrected the imbalances of the second. Domestic demand took a breather after unsustainable growth in Q2, while net exports rebounded.
The MPC's unanimous decision to keep Bank Rate at 0.75% and the minutes of its meeting left little impression on markets, which still see a higher chance of the MPC cutting Bank Rate within the next 12 months than raising it.
The Brazilian Central Bank's policy board, COPOM, left the Selic rate at 6.50% on Wednesday, as widely expected.
Mexico's central bank last week left its policy rate at 7.0%, the highest level since early 2009.
Colombia's December activity reports confirmed that quite strong retail sales last year were less accompanied by local production, which became only a minor driver of the economic recovery, as shown in our first chart.
Yesterday's final CPI report for April confirmed that the Eurozone is edging towards deflation.
The year so far in EZ equities has been just as odd as in the global market as a whole.
If the only manufacturing survey you track is the Philadelphia Fed report, you could be forgiven for thinking that the sector is booming.
Incoming data confirm our view that the Chilean economy to rebound steadily in the second half of the year, with real GDP increasing 1.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, after a relatively modest 0.9% increase in Q2 and a meagre 0.1% in Q1.
Core machine orders in Japan held up surprisingly well in March, slipping by just 0.4% month-on-month, erasing only part of the 2.3% increase in February.
The chances of the first phase of the Brexit saga concluding soon declined sharply last week.
Oil prices have risen by about $20 per barrel since last fall.
We have been asked recently why we rarely talk about the signal from the U.S. money supply numbers, in contrast to the emphasis we give to real M1 growth in our forecasts for economic growth in both the Eurozone and China.
Official industrial production growth in China plunged to 5.4% year-over-year in April, from 8.5% in March.
Colombia's central bank, BanRep, increased the monetary policy rate by 25bp to 6.25% on Friday, as expected, and also announced budget cuts and a new FX strategy to try to protect the COP. These measures are similar to those taken by Banxico on Wednesday. The press release, and the tone of the conference after the decision, suggest that more hikes are coming.
The EZ manufacturing data have shown signs of a rebound in the auto sector recently.
Complacency and wishful thinking seem to be creeping back into the government's approach to containing Covid-19.
Korea's preliminary export numbers rebounded quite spectacularly in June, with growth at 24.4% year-on-year, compared with just 3.4% in May. This reading is important as it comes early in the monthly data cycle. Korea's position close to the beginning of the global supply chain, moreover, means its exports often lead shifts in global trade.
The solid numbers for December mean that core inflation remains on track to breach 2?-?% this year, though probably not until the summer. Over the next few months, base effects will help to hold the core rate close to the December pace.
Yesterday's barrage of French business sentiment data suggest that confidence in the industrial sector was a little stronger than expected in Q2.
December's retail sales figures, released today, likely will show that the surge in spending in November was driven merely by people undertaking Christmas shopping earlier than in past years, due to Black Friday.
China's post-lockdown recovery broadly has surprised this quarter, particularly in the industrial sector.
The Covid-19 crisis has turned the tables on the Spanish economy.
Economic activity remains under severe strain in the Andes.
With Fed officials now in pre-FOMC meeting blackout mode, this week will not bring a repeat of Friday's confusion, when the New York Fed felt obligated to issue a clarification following president William's speech on monetary policy close to the zero bound.
Economic activity is rebounding in LatAm, but the recovery will be slow and uneven.
LatAm markets reacted well to the U.S. Fed's decision to increase the funds rate by 25bp, to 1-to-1¼%, on Wednesday. Currencies moved only slightly after the decision and asset markets were relatively stable. Yesterday, some currencies retreated marginally as investors digested the relatively hawkish message from the Fed and Chair Yellen's press conference.
Economic activity in Chile in the first half of the year is now a write-off, due to Covid-19. The country is in a deep recession, and the impact of lockdowns on labour markets and businesses will cause long-lasting economic damage, which will hold back the recovery.
Financial markets and economic data don't always go hand-in-hand, but it is rare to find the divergence presently on display in Italy.
At Wednesday's BCB monetary policy meeting, led for the first time by the new president, Roberto Campos Neto, the COPOM voted unanimously to maintain the Selic rate at 6.50%, the lowest on record.
Unlike other central banks, the MPC has stuck to its message that "an ongoing tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period" likely will be required to keep inflation close to the 2% target, provided a no-deal Brexit is avoided.
We have been pleasantly surprised by the recent Redbook chainstore sales numbers.
So much has changed in China over the last six months that we are taking the opportunity in this Monitor to step back and gain an overview of where the economy is going in the long term.
We still expect CPI inflation to decline a little further in the second half of this year, despite its surprise increase to 0.6% in June, from 0.5% in May.
The Chancellor warned last week that he would hold an Emergency Budget shortly after a vote to leave the E.U. to address a £30B black hole in the public finances. The £30B--some 1.6% of GDP-- is the mid-point of the Institute for Fiscal Studies' estimates of the impact of Brexit on public borrowing in 2019/20, which were based on the GDP forecasts of a range of reports.
Data over the past week give a near-complete picture of how India's economy fared in the fourth quarter.
The remarkably strong existing home sales numbers in recent months, relative to the pending home sales index, are hard to explain. In January, total sales reached 5.69M, some 6% higher than the 5.35M implied by December's pending sales index. The gap between the series has widened in recent months, as our first chart shows, and we think the odds now favor a correction in today's February report.
Colombian activity data released this last week were upbeat, better than we expected, showing a significant pickup in manufacturing output and improving retail sales. Retail sales rose 3.1% year- over-year, after a modest 1.0% increase in June.
Chile's central bank kept rates unchanged last Thursday at 2.50% with a dovish bias, following an unexpected 50bp rate cut at the June meeting.
China's official GDP data, published on Monday, showed year-over-year growth edging down to 6.7% in Q2, from 6.8% in Q1.
Yesterday's data presented Eurozone investors with an unfamiliar sight; a big downside surprise in the survey data.
The House passage of a stimulus bill last Friday, seeking to ameliorate some of the damage done by the coronavirus outbreak, will not be nearly enough.
Yesterday's Japanese activity data were grim.
Mexico's economic and financial outlook is deteriorating rapidly and hopes of a gradual recovery over the next three-to-six months are fading away after AMLO's missteps in recent months.
Hot on the heels of yesterday's news that the NAHB index of homebuilders' sentiment and activity dropped by two points this month -- albeit from December's 18-year high -- we expect to learn today that housing starts fell last month.
We have learned over the years not to become too excited in the face of swings in the jobless claims numbers, even when the movement appears to persist for a month or two.
The Spanish economy remains the star performer among the majors in the Eurozone.
The coronavirus outbreak and its associated movements in asset prices have radically changed the outlook for CPI inflation, which ultimately the MPC is tasked with targeting.
Following a challenging start to this year, Andean economic prospects are improving gradually, thanks to falling interest rates, lower inflation, relatively stable currencies and--in some cases--increased infrastructure spending.
Yesterday's February PMI data sent a clear message to markets.
Investor sentiment data still indicate that EZ PMIs are set for a significant rebound at start of the year.
The intensity of the pressure on households' finances was highlighted last week by December's retail sales report, which showed that volumes fell by 1.5% month-to-month, the most since June 2016.
The China Daily ran an article entitled "Beijing, nation get breath of fresh air" on the day Chinese GDP figures were published last week, underlining where the authorities' priorities now lie.
Another month, another sluggish performance in the manufacturing sector. Even a third straight big jump in auto output was unable to rescue the May numbers, and aggregate output fell by 0.2%. The trend in output has been broadly flat over the past six months or so, and we see little prospect of any sustained near-term recovery.
NAFTA-related news has been mixed over the last few weeks.
The weather-driven surge in December housing starts, reported last week, is unlikely to be replicated in today's existing home sales numbers for the same month.
The BoJ kept its main policy settings unchanged yesterday, in another 7-to-2 split.
EZ investors are still trying to come to grips with last week's terrifying price action, culminating in the 12.5% crash in equities on Thursday
The sharply increased virus spread outside China has lead to a serious downgrade in the global GDP growth outlook.
We've had pushback from readers over our take on the likelihood of a trade deal with China in the near future.
The Fed will leave rates unchanged today.
Political risk in Brazil has increased substantially, following reports that President Temer was taped in an alleged cover-up scheme involving the jailed former Speaker of the House. If the tapes are verified, calls for Mr. Temer to face impeachment will mount.
The EZ's current account surplus was stung at the end of Q3, falling to a three-year low of €16.9B in September, from a revised €23.9B in August.
The media and markets are waking up to the idea that the housing market has peaked in the face of higher mortgage rates and slightly--so far--tighter lending standards.
Usually, we forecast existing home sales from the pending sales index, which captures sales at the point contracts are signed.
Chile's Q3 GDP report, released yesterday, confirmed that the economy lost momentum in the last quarter.
Argentina's economy is firing on all cylinders, thanks to improving fundamentals and a positive external backdrop.
China's official real GDP growth is absurdly stable, but the risks in Q3 are tilted to the downside.
The labour market remains healthy enough to persuade the MPC to keep its powder dry over the coming months.
The current account surplus in the Eurozone is well on its way to stabilising above 3% of GDP this year. The seasonally adjusted surplus rose to €29.4B in September from a revised €18.7B in August, lifted by a higher trade surplus, thanks to rebounding German exports. The services balance was unchanged at €4.5B in September, while the primary income balance edged higher to €4.8B from €4.0B. The improving external balance has been driven mostly by a surging trade surplus with the U.S. and the U.K., as our first chart shows.
Mr. Draghi's speech to the European Banking Congress on Friday--see here--was a timely reminder to markets that the ECB is in no hurry to make any changes to its policy setting.
The September core CPI was held down by prescription drug prices, which fell by 0.6%, and vehicle prices, which fell by 0.4%.
Data yesterday added further evidence of a slow recovery in Eurozone auto sales.
Our forecast of significantly higher core inflation over the next year has been met, it would be fair to say, with a degree of skepticism.
The Brazilian Central Bank's policy board-- COPOM--voted unanimously on Wednesday to cut the Selic rate by 50bp to 5.50%.
Tariffs are a tax on imported goods, and higher taxes depress growth, other things equal.
The external surplus in the EZ economy slipped in July. The seasonally-adjusted current account surplus dropped to €21.0B, from a revised €29.5B in June, hit by an increase in the current transfers deficit, and a falling trade surplus. The recent increase in the transfers deficit partly is due to the migrant deal with Turkey, and we expect it to remain elevated.
It was widely assumed that the MPC simply would regurgitate its key messages from August in the minutes of September's meeting, released yesterday alongside its unanimous no-change policy decision.
The recent jobless claims numbers have been spectacularly good, with the absolute level dropping unexpectedly in the past two weeks to a 43-year low. The four-week moving average has dropped by a hefty 14K since late August.
The BoJ is likely to stay on hold this week for all its main policy settings.
The Brexit-related slump in corporate confidence finally has taken its toll on hiring.
We doubt that this week will see the MPC joining the list of other major central banks that have abandoned plans to raise interest rates this year.
We look for yet another unanimous vote by the MPC to keep Bank Rate at 0.75% on Thursday, with no new guidance on the near-term outlook.
Leading indicators are giving conflicting signals regarding the outlook for core goods CPI inflation.
Hard data released in Argentina over the last month showed that the economy was struggling in early Q1, even before the Covid-19 hit.
Investors have been treated to good news in the past week, at least if they've managed to side-step the barrage of terrible economic data.
Fed Chair Powell broke no new ground in his Senate Testimony alongside--virtually--Treasury Secretary Mnuchin yesterday, maintaining the cautious tone of his recent public statements.
Boeing's announcement that it will temporarily cut production of 737MAX aircraft to zero in January, from the current 42 per month pace, will depress first quarter economic growth, though not by much.
We have been puzzled in recent months by the sudden and substantial divergence between the Redbook chainstore sales numbers and the official data.
While financial markets remain obsessed with the Brexit saga, January's labour market data provided more evidence yesterday that the economy is coping well with the heightened uncertainty.
Japan's trade balance deteriorated sharply in May, flipping to a ¥967B deficit from the modest ¥57B surplus in April.
The euro area's trade advantage with the rest of the world slipped at the start of the year.
Local policy drivers have remained in the spotlight in Brazil, against a background of important recent global events.
The annual National People's Congress meeting of China's legislature will get underway at the end of this week, after delay due to the Covid outbreak.
Without tying its hands, the MPC--which voted unanimously to keep interest rates at 0.25% and to continue with the £60B of gilt purchases and £10B of corporate bond purchases authorised last month--gave a strong indication yesterday that it still expects to cut Bank Rate in November.
Final inflation in the Eurozone was confirmed at 0.0% year-over-year in April, up slightly from -0.1% in March. The recovery since the trough in January has been driven mostly by a reduced drag from lower energy prices, a trend which should continue in the second quarter.
The Chilean economy improved in the first quarter, growing 2.0% year-over-year, up from 1.3% in the fourth quarter. Net trade led the improvement, with exports rising 2.1% quarter-on-quarter, thanks to the modest rise in metal prices and an increase in exports of services, especially tourism.
Prospects for further rate cuts in Brazil, due to the sluggishness of the economic recovery and low inflation, have played against the BRL in recent weeks.
CPI inflation in India jumped to 4.6% in October, from 4.0% in September, marking a 16-month high and blasting through the RBI's target.
Monday's economic data in Colombia provided further evidence of a gradual rebound in manufacturing output and retail sales as the economy slowly reopened.
We hope never to see another labour market report as bad as yesterday's, though the omens aren't good.
We aren't going to pretend for a minute that the manufacturing sector is anything other than weak, but the 0.5% drop in output in August--the worst month since January 2014--hugely overstates the extent of industry's struggles. All the decline was due to a 6.4% plunge in auto output, but a glance at the recent path of production in this sector makes it very clear that its short-term swings aren't to be taken seriously. Auto production fell by 4.5% in June, rocketed by 10.6% in July, and then dropped sharply in August.
Market-based sentiment indicators in the Eurozone are becoming increasingly detached from the reality of the threat of resurgent Covid-19 and the danger this poses to the strength of the economic recovery.
It's not clear if the first FOMC meeting since the release of the Fed's new Monetary Policy Strategy will bring any real shift in policy, though we think it unlikely that policymakers will seek immediately to add weight to their forward interest rate guidance.
Yesterday's final inflation data in France for September were misleadingly soft.
Argentina's Recovery Continues, but the Rebound is Facing Setbacks
Just as we turned more positive on the labor market, following three straight months of payroll gains outstripping the message from an array of surveys, the Labor Department's JOLTS report shows that the number of job openings plunged in November.
So far, the surge in retail spending promised by the plunge in gasoline prices has not materialized. The latest Redbook chain store sales numbers dipped below the gently rising trend last week, perhaps because of severe weather, but the point is that the holiday season burst of spending has not been maintained.
Colombia is one of the few larger economies in Latin America to have enjoyed solid, positive economic growth over the past two years. But lower commodity prices and last year's central bank tightening, to curb high inflation generated by strong growth, have started to become visible in the main economic data.
Data released on Friday confirmed that Colombian activity remained strong in Q4.
The gradual reopening of the major EZ economies continues, a process which is now accompanied by the inevitable concern that the virus is regaining a foothold.
Economists refer to two different types of forward rate guidance by central banks: Delphic and Odyssean. The former describes a "normal" situation, in which the central bank follows a transparent rate-setting rule allowing markets to forecast what it will do, based on the flow of economic data.
Brazil's December economic activity index, released last week, showed that the economy ended the year on a relatively weak footing. The IBC-Br index, a monthly proxy for GDP, fell 0.3% month- to-month, pushing down the adjusted year-over- year rate to 0.3%, from a downwardly-revised 0.7% increase in November.