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490 matches for " easing":
The big story in financial markets at the moment is the idea that major global central banks are about to embark on a policy easing cycle.
The measures to support the economy through the coronavirus crisis, unveiled by policymakers on Budget day, exceeded expectations.
Yesterday's minutes of the February 4-to-5 COPOM meeting, at which Brazil's central bank, the BCB, cut the benchmark Selic rate by 25bp to 4.25%, reaffirmed the committee's post-meeting communiqué.
China's November money and credit data were a little less grim, with only M2 growth slipping, due to unfavourable base effects.
The Brazilian Central Bank's policy board-- COPOM--voted unanimously on Wednesday to cut the Selic rate by 50bp to 5.00%, as expected.
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.
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.
The Brazilian central bank cut the benchmark Selic interest rate by 25bp, to 4.25%, on Wednesday night, as expected.
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.
The Fed will soon have to step in to try to put a firebreak in the stock market.
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.
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.
Rapidly increasing food inflation is creating all sorts of dilemmas for policymakers in Asia's giants.
Recent inflation numbers across the biggest economies in LatAm have surprised to the downside, strengthening the case for further monetary easing.
We think Japanese monetary policy easing essentially is tapped out, both theoretically and by political constraints.
China's main activity data for October disappointed across the board, strengthening our conviction that the PBoC probably isn't quite done with easing this year.
Yesterday's accounts from the June ECB meeting broadly confirmed markets' expectations of further easing between now and the end of the year.
Today's CPI report from India should raise the pressure on the RBI to abandon its aggressive easing, which has resulted in 135 basis points worth of rate cuts since February.
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.
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.
The dovish members of Banxico's board garnered further support on Friday for prolonging the current easing monetary cycle over coming meetings.
China's abysmal industrial profits data for October underscore why the chances of less- timid monetary easing are rising rapidly.
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.
The Fed will raise rates by 25bp today, but we expect no change in the median expectation-the dotplot-for two rate hikes both next year and in 2018. We fully appreciate that fiscal easing on the scale proposed by President-elect Trump, or indeed anything like it, very likely would propel inflation to a pace requiring much bigger increases in rates.
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.
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.
Soon after last week's vote to keep Bank Rate at 0.50%, the MPC's doves were quick to assert that monetary easing is still imminent. A speech by Andy Haldane, published on July 15, called for "... a package of mutually complementary monetary policy easing measures" that should be "delivered promptly and muscularly". Meanwhile, Gertjan Vlieghe, who was alone in voting for a rate cut in July, wrote in The Financial Times last week that he also favours "a package of additional measures" in August.
Mr. Draghi's introductory statement before yesterday's hearing at the European Parliament repeated that the ECB will "review and possibly reconsider its monetary policy stance in March." But it didn't provide any conclusive smoking gun that further easing is a done deal.
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.
Brazil's central bank again matched expectations on Wednesday, cutting the Selic rate by 100 basis points to 10.25%, without bias. The COPOM s aid that a "moderate reduction of the pace of monetary easing" would be "adequate".
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.
The recent less-bad growth and inflation data in Brazil are encouraging news and are setting the stage for easing in October. The minutes of the Copom's August 31 monetary policy meeting, released yesterday, were less hawkish than in previous months, indicating that policymakers are gauging the possibility of cutting rates.
The two key planks of the argument that a substantial easing of fiscal policy won't be inflationary are that labor participation will be dragged higher, limiting the decline in the unemployment rate, while productivity growth will rebound, so unit labor costs will remain under control.
The Brazilian central bank cut its benchmark Selic interest rate by 50bp, to 7.0%, on Thursday night and confirmed our view that the end of the easing cycle is not far off.
The ECB atoned for its "mistake" in December yesterday by delivering a new easing package that significantly beat markets' expectations. The central bank cut its main refi and marginal lending facility rates by 0.05 percentage points, to 0.00% and 0.25% respectively.
Mark Carney's assertion that "...some monetary policy easing will likely be required over the summer" is a clear signal that an interest rate cut is in the pipeline. But easing likely will be modest, due to the much higher outlook for inflation following sterling's precipitous decline.
Are there any signs of a Chinese recovery yet? Freya Beamish discusses
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.
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 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".
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.
The Fed will leave rates unchanged today.
Japan's February trade data were a shocker, but not for the reasons we expected, given the signal from the Chinese numbers.
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.
Japan's economy contracted by 0.9% quarter-on- quarter in Q1, following a downwardly-revised 1.9% plunge in the previous quarter.
A Reuters interview yesterday with ECB governing council member Benoît Coeuré cemented expectations that the ECB will adjust its language on forward guidance next month.
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.
Friday's industrial production data in the core EZ economies, for December, were startlingly poor. In Germany, industrial production plunged by 3.5% month-to-month, comfortably reversing the revised 1.2% rise in November.
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 yesterday to lower its policy base rate to 1.25%, from 1.50%.
The Eurozone's sovereign bond markets are dying, and this is a good thing, by and large.
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.
Our base case remains a 10bp cut in the deposit rate, to -0.5%, in September.
The year-long surge in CPI inflation in China will soon end.
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.
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.
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.
Inflation in the euro area remains under pressure, with both the core and the energy components contributing to the downward trend evident in our first chart. Headline inflation fell to 0.3% year-over-year in November, from 0.4% in October, and we expect a further decline this month.
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.
The Bank of Korea yesterday laid out its conditions for following July's rate cut with another.
Samuel Tombs has more than a decade of experience covering the U.K. economy for investors. At Pantheon, Samuel's research is rigorous, free of dogma and jargon, and unafraid to challenge consensus views. His work focuses on what matters to professional investors: The links between the real economy, monetary policy and asset prices. He has a strong track record of getting the big calls right. The Sunday Times ranked Samuel as the most accurate forecaster of the U.K. economy in both 2014 and 2018. In addition, Bloomberg consistently has ranked Samuel as one of the top three U.K. forecasters, out of pool of 35 economists, throughout 2018 and 2019. His in-depth knowledge of market-moving data and his forensic forecasting approach explain why he consistently beats the consensus. Samuel's work on Brexit goes beyond simply reporting developments and is always analytical and unbiased, enabling investors to see through the noise of the daily headlines. While his analysis points to a particular path that politicians will take, he acknowledges the inherent uncertainty and draws out the economic and financial market implications of all plausible Brexit scenarios. Samuel holds an MSc in Economics from Birkbeck College, University of London and an undergraduate degree in History and Economics from the University of Oxford. Prior to joining Pantheon in 2015, he was Senior U.K. Economist at Capital Economics. In 2011, Samuel won the Society of Business Economists' prestigious Rybczynski Prize for an article on quantitative easing in the UK. He is based in London but frequently visits our other offices. Recent key calls include: 2018 - Correctly forecast that GDP growth would slow and inflation would undershoot the MPC's initial forecast, prompting the Committee to shock investors and almost other economists by waiting until August to raise Bank Rate, rather than pressing ahead in May. 2017 - Argued that the MPC was wrong to expect CPI inflation to stay below 3% following sterling's depreciation. He also highlighted that economic indicators pointed to the Conservatives losing their outright majority in the snap general election.
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.
Inflation data last week confirmed that the spectre of deflation is slowly but surely encroaching on the euro area. In Germany, inflation slipped to 0.6% year-over- year in November, from 0.8% in October, and in the Eurozone as a whole the he adline rate declined to 0.3%, from 0.4% in September.
The MPC has wasted no time in seeking to counter this week's undesirable pick-up in gilt yields, which reflects investors dumping assets for cash.
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.
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.
The government now has a 50:50 chance of getting the Withdrawal Agreement Bill--WAB--through parliament in the coming weeks, despite Letwin's successful amendment and the extension request.
If the only manufacturing survey you track is the Philadelphia Fed report, you could be forgiven for thinking that the sector is booming.
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.
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.
Economic and financial conditions continue to deteriorate sharply in LatAm.
Brace yourselves; GDP growth forecasts are being slashed left and right, as our colleagues take stock of the economic damage Covid-19 likely will inflict in the U.S. and across Europe, where outbreaks and containment measures have escalated significantly.
Recent inflation and activity data in Mexico were dovish.
We understand the desire of investors and individuals to see the economy re-opening as soon as possible, but the data right now support only a limited opening in some parts of the country and, hence, a limited late spring/summer rebound in the economy.
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.
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 monthly survey of small businesses conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business is quite sensitive to short-term movements in the stock market, so we're expecting an increase in the November reading, due today.
Banxico cut its policy rate by 25bp to 7.25% yesterday, as was widely expected, following similar moves in August, September and November.
Argentina's inflation ended 2019 badly, and it is still too early to bet on a protracted downtrend, even after the renewed economic slowdown.
The BoJ held firm, for the most part, during this year's bout of central bank dovishness.
Japan's GDP growth was revised up, to 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, from 0.1% in the preliminary reading.
The People's Bank of China cut its seven-day reverse-repo rate yesterday, to 2.50% from 2.55%.
On the face of it, December's flash Markit/CIPS PMIs warrant the MPC cutting Bank Rate at its meeting on Thursday.
Today's November retail sales numbers are something of a wild card, given the absence of reliable indicators of the strength of sales over the Thanksgiving weekend, and the difficulty of seasonally adjusting the data for a holiday which falls on a different date this year.
The apparent thaw in the U.S.-China trade dispute is great news for LatAm, particularly for the Andean economies, which are highly dependent on commodity prices and the health of the world's two largest economies
The Brazilian central bank cut its benchmark Selic interest rate by 50bp to 4.50% on Wednesday night.
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.
We've been consistent in saying that Japanese capex would roll over this year, after strength in the first three quarters was seen by the authorities and many commentators as a sign of resilience.
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.
More depressing economic numbers in LatAm have been released in recent days, and high frequency data continue to show a near-term bleak outlook.
China's money data continued to improve in April, bolstering the economy's recovery prospects.
The effects of Covid-19--both negative and positive--on Korea's labour market certainly were felt in February.
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.
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.
All major EZ governments are now in the process of lifting lockdowns, but investors should expect less a grand opening, more of a careful tip-toeing.
The FOMC did mostly what was expected yesterday, though we were a bit surprised that the single rate hike previously expected for next year has been abandoned.
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.
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.
Peru's central bank likely will cut its main interest rate by 25bp to 3.25% on Thursday. Inflation dipped in September and likely will increase only marginally in October, while economic growth was relatively sluggish at the start of Q3.
Manufacturing data for the euro area's major economies point to renewed downside risks for GDP growth, despite the likely tailwind to consumption from low oil prices. November industrial production fell 0.1% and 0.3% month-to-month in Germany and France respectively, indicating that the manufacturing sector remains under pressure.
China's money and credit data for February were reassuring, at least when compared with the doomsday scenario painted, so far, by other key indicators for last month.
The Q1 GDP figures, released on Wednesday, likely will show that the quarter-on-quarter decline in economic activity eclipsed the biggest decline in the 2008-to-09 recession--2.1% in Q4 2008--even though the U.K. went into lockdown towards the very end of the quarter.
Yesterday's economic reports in the Eurozone were ugly.
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.
Monetary policy loosening over the last year implies that China's M1 growth already should be picking up.
Last week, while we were taking our spring break at home, markets behaved relatively well in LatAm.
We're doing a wrap-up of the data that were released last week while we were away, and the Chinese numbers were both a hit and a miss.
Political risks have returned to the Eurozone with the decision by Greek Prime Minister Samaras to initiate the election of a president, raising the risk of a Greek parliamentary election early next year.
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.
The New York Times called the China trade agreement reached Friday "half a deal", but that's absurdly generous.
We see clear upside risk to the inflation data due before the FOMC announcement, from three main sources.
The BoJ is likely to be thankful next week for a relatively benign environment in which to conduct its monetary policy meeting.
The 20bp increase in 10-year yields over the past month doesn't live up to the hype; bondmageddon it was not.
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.
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.
Evidence of accelerating economic activity in Colombia continues to mount, in stark contrast with its regional peers and DM economies.
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.
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.
Data released yesterday from Brazil support our view that the economic recovery continues, but progress has been slow.
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.
The EZ calendar has been extremely busy in the first few weeks of the year, making it virtually impossible to see the forest for the trees.
We've already raised a red flag for today's second Q4 GDP estimate in the Eurozone, but for good measure, we repeat the argument here.
President Trump blinked again yesterday, delaying tariffs on some $150B-worth of Chinese consumer goods until December 15.
The MPC's pause for breath last week disappointed a majority of investors, who thought that it would at least tweak aspects of the support programmes put in place in March.
Hard data for Brazil and Mexico, released last week, support the case for further interest rate cuts.
The two biggest economies in the region have taken divergent paths in recent months, with the economic recovery strengthening in Brazil, but slowing sharply in Mexico.
Yesterday's data showed that growth in the EZ slowed in the second quarter.
Economic conditions in Brazil are deteriorating rapidly.
The latest GDP data continue to show that the economy is holding up well, despite the Brexit saga.
As we write, markets see a 70% chance that the MPC will cut Bank Rate on January 30.
The divergence between talk and action is steadily widening into a chasm at the ECB. Mr. Draghi continued to strike a dovish tone yesterday reiterating the elevated worries over low inflation and the unanimous commitment to provide further stimulus if needed.
We've previously highlighted the pro-cyclical elements of the BoJ's framework, but it's worth repeating, when an economic shock comes along.
India's headline GDP print for the third quarter was damning, with growth slowing further, to 4.5% year- over-year, from 5.0% in Q2.
The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc in Brazil.
The BoJ has no good options, and its leeway for changes to existing policy instruments is limited.
The prospect of a Greek parliamentary election on January 25th, following Prime Minister Samaras' failure to secure support for his presidential candidate, weighed on Eurozone assets over the holidays. The looming political chaos in Greece will increase market volatility in the first quarter, but it is too early to panic.
GDP growth in India slowed sharply in the first quarter of the year, as expected--see here--opening the door for the RBI to cut interest rates further at its policy announcement tomorrow.
We have consistently flagged the likelihood that Japan's government would boost spending after the consumption tax hike was implemented.
China is facing a nasty mix of spiking CPI inflation and ongoing PPI deflation.
We're very comfortable with the idea that the coronavirus is a broad deflationary shock to the U.S. economy.
Speculation mounted yesterday that the MPC will follow the U.S. Fed and cut interest rates before its next meeting on March 26.
Thursday and Friday were busy days for LatAm economy watchers. In Brazil, the data underscored our view that the economy is on the mend, but the recent upturn remains shaky, and external risks are still high.
The economic and political backdrop to this week's Monetary Policy Committee meeting is significantly more benign than when it last met on September 19.
Yesterday's BoJ statement, outlook and press conference raised our conviction on two key aspects of the policy outlook.
It's a myth that the 10-ye ar decline in the unemployment rate has not driven up the pace of wage growth.
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.
The news in Brazil on inflation and politics has been relatively positive in recent weeks, allowing policymakers to keep cutting interest rates to boost the stuttering recovery.
The dovish message from the ECB going into today's final meeting of the year has intensified. Mr. Draghi's comments last month, at the European Banking Congress in Frankfurt, point to an increased worry on low core inflation.
Colombia's central bank has found a relatively sweet spot.
We have spent the past few weeks shifting our story on the EZ economy from one focused on slowing growth and downside risks to a more balanced outlook. It seems that markets are starting to agree with us.
We aren't in the business of trying to divine the explanation for every twist and turn in the stock market at the best of times, and these are not the best of times.
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.
The PBoC yesterday cut its 7-day and 14-day reverse repo rate by 10bp, to 2.40% and 2.55% respectively, while injecting RMB 1.2T through open market operations.
Markets over-reacted to the much smaller-than-expected 0.1% increase in January hourly earnings, in our view. We don't have a full explanation for the shortfall against our 0.5% forecast, but that doesn't make it wise to throw out the baby with the bathwater, making the de facto assumption that wage growth now won't accelerate in the future.
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.
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.
Headline inflation in Brazil remained low in October, and even breached the lower bound of the BCB's target range.
Investors now see a 50/50 chance of the MPC cutting Bank Rate within the next nine months, following the slightly dovish minutes of the MPC's meeting, and its new forecasts.
The June employment report pretty much killed the idea that the Fed will cut rates by 50bp on July 31.
Data released on Friday showed that November inflation was in line with, or below, expectations in Brazil, Colombia and Chile.
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.
Korea's current account surplus should rebound sharply in December. The rate of QE in Japan slipped in December.
China's meagre cut is not enough. Broad slowdown in Chinese services activity continues. Japan's rate of QE is low but roughly stable.
China's export data for April were a mixed bag, to say the least.
The Fed's 50bp rate cut last week, aiming to shield the U.S. economy against Covid-19, has opened the door for some central banks in LatAm to emulate the move.
Colombia was the fastest growing LatAm economy in 2019, due mostly to strong domestic demand, offsetting a sharp fall in key exports.
External demand in France probably weakened in the first quarter. The trade deficit widened sharply to €5.2B in February, from a revised €3.9B in January, pushing the current account deficit to an 18-month high. It is tempting to blame the stronger euro, but that wasn't the whole story.
Today's April ADP employment report likely will understate the scale of the net payroll losses which will be reported Friday by the BLS.
Data released on Wednesday, along with the BCB's press release on Tuesday, supported our longstanding forecast of further rate cuts in Brazil in the very near term.
The economic calendar in Mexico was relatively quiet over Christmas, and broadly conformed to our expectations of poor economic activity in Q4.
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.
Yesterday's minutes of the October 31 COPOM meeting, at which the Central Bank cut the Selic rate unanimously by 50bp at 5.00%, reaffirmed the committee's post-meeting communiqué, which signalled that rates will be cut by the "same magnitude" in December.
Hopes that GDP growth will strengthen following the general election, which has eliminated near- term threats of a no-deal Brexit and a business- hostile Labour government, were bolstered yesterday by the release of December's Markit/ CIPS services survey.
Recent market turmoil and concerns on the outlook for global growth have re-awakened talk of stimulus. For the BoJ, this inevitably raises the question of what could possibly be done, given that policy already appears to be on the excessively loose side of loose.
A growing number of economists have marked down their forecasts for Chinese growth next year to below the critical 6% year-over-year rate, required to ensure that the authorities meet their implicit medium- term growth targets.
The PBoC finally moved yesterday, cutting its one-year MLF rate by 5bp to 3.25%, whilst replacing around RMB 400B of maturing loans.
The economic downturn and the Chancellor's unprecedented fiscal measures mean that public borrowing likely will be about four times higher, in the forthcoming fiscal year, than anticipated in the Budget just over two weeks ago.
Yesterday's data showed that the euro area PMIs were a bit stronger than initially estimated in November.
Markets were all over the place yesterday in response to the messages from the ECB.
Colombia's economy activity is deteriorating rapidly, suggesting that BanRep will have to cut interest rates on Friday. Incoming data make it clear that the economy has moved into a period of deceleration, painting a starkly different picture than a year ago.
The ECB will not make any major changes to policy today.
The Bank of Japan's biannual Financial System Report was published earlier this week.
New BoE Governor Andrew Bailey will be reaching for his letter-writing pen soon, to explain to the Chancellor why CPI inflation is more than one percentage point below the 2% target.
Hong Kong delivered a resounding landslide victory to pro-Democracy parties in district council elections over the weekend.
Japan's retail sales data--due out on Thursday-- have been badly affected by the October tax hike.
The recovery in the composite PMI to 52.4 in January, from 49.3 in December, should convince a majority of MPC members to vote on Thursday to maintain Bank Rate at 0.75%.
Friday's PMI data were a mixed bag.
Mexico's final estimate of third quarter GDP, released yesterday, confirmed that the economy is still struggling in the face of domestic and external headwinds.
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.
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.
Policymakers and governments are gradually deploying major fiscal and monetary policy measures to ease the hit from Covid-19 and the related financial crisis.
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.
The PBoC's quarterly monetary policy report seemed relatively sanguine on the question of PPI deflation, attributing it mainly to base effects--not entirely fairly--and suggesting that inflation will soon return.
Japan's export data for April unsurprisingly were abysmal, driving a massive deterioration in the trade balance, which flipped from a modest ¥5B surplus in March, to a ¥930B deficit.
The flash readings of the Markit/CIPS surveys in February provide reassurance that GDP is on track to rebound in Q1, despite disruption to the global economy caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and bad weather in the U.K. this month.
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.
Yesterday's March PMIs confirmed that governments' actions to contain the Covid-19 outbreak dealt a hammer blow to the economy at the end of Q1.
Industrial profits in China collapsed by 38.3% year- over-year in the first two months of 2020, making December's 6.3% fall look like a minor blip.
The Monetary Policy Board of the Bank of Korea is likely to keep its benchmark base rate unchanged, at 1.25%, at its meeting this week.
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 Policy Board of the Bank of Japan stepped up its Covid-19 liquidity relief measures yesterday, while retaining its main policy settings--namely, the -0.10% balance rate and the ten-year yield target of "around zero percent".
Data released yesterday in Mexico strengthened the case for interest rate cuts this year.
The data in LatAm were all over the map while we were out.
Korean trade ended the year strongly, salvaging what was shaping up as a dull fourth quarter for the economy.
The official PMIs suggest that the January survey data have escaped the worst of the hit from the virus.
President Trump tweeted yesterday that he wants to re-introduce tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Brazil and Argentina, after accusing these economies of intentionally devaluing their currencies, hurting the competitiveness of U.S. farmers.
Yesterday's final manufacturing PMIs confirmed that all remained calm in the EZ industrial sector through February.
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".
The Fed meeting today is unlikely to bring any significant policy shifts, mostly because the Fed has done everything we thought would be necessary once it became clear how badly the economy would be hit by Covid-19.
The coronavirus outbreak, by definition, will fade eventually, but we suspect the measures to combat it will be more long-lasting. In terms of sheer scale, EZ governments and the ECB are throwing the kitchen sink at the virus, but that's only half the story.
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.
Chancellor Javid told the Financial Times earlier this month that he wants to lift the rate of GDP growth to between 2.7% and 2.8%, the average rate in the 50 years following the Second World War.
China's manufacturing PMIs put in a better performance in November, with the official gauge ticking up to 50.2 in November, from 49.3 in October, and the Caixin measure little changed, at 51.8, up from 51.7.
Today will be an extremely busy day in the euro area economy. We laid out our expectations for the data in Tuesday's Monitor--see here--and we'll preview the ECB meeting in today's report.
Recent export performance has been poor, but the export orders index in the ISM manufacturing survey-- the most reliable short-term leading indicator--strongly suggests that it will be terrible in the fourth quarter.
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.
Mexico's political panorama seems to be becoming clearer, at least temporarily. This should dispel some of the uncertainty that has been hanging over the economy in recent months.
The downshift in core PCE inflation this year has unnerved the Fed, along with the intensification of the trade war and slower global growth.
Housebuilders were one of the biggest winners from the post-election relief rally in U.K. equity prices.
Yesterday's money supply data in the Eurozone were solid across the board.
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.
The publication yesterday of the first BCB quarterly inflation report under the new president, Ilan Golfajn, revealed his initial views on inflation, the currency, and monetary policy. Overall, Mr. Golfajn has taken a hawkish approach. We think Brazil's first rate cut will come no earlier than Q4, likely at the final meeting of the year, providing the government continues the fiscal consolidation process and inflation keeps falling.
The real Boris Johnson will have to stand up this year.
The extent of shut downs within China is now reaching extreme levels, going far beyond services and threatening demand for commodities, as well as posing a severe risk to the nascent upturn in the tech cycle.
The Colombian economy was relatively resilient at the end of last year, but economic reports released during the last few weeks indicate that growth is still fragile, and that downside risks have increased. Real GDP rose 1.0% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 1.6% from 1.2% in Q3.
New York Fed president Dudley toed the Yellen line yesterday, arguing that the effects of "...a number of temporary, idiosyncratic factors" will fade, so "...inflation will rise and stabilize around the FOMC's 2 percent objective over the medium term.
Recent upbeat economic reports have mitigated the downside risks we had been flagging to our growth forecast for Mexico for the current quarter.
The Chancellor indicated yesterday that the current fiscal plans--which set out a 1% of GDP reduction in the structural budget deficit this year--will remain in place until a new Prime Minister is chosen by September 2. So for now, the burden of leaning against the imminent downturn is on the MPC's shoulders.
Banxico yesterday left its policy rate unchanged at 3%, the highest level in a decade.
Meetings are a nice way to stress test our base case stories and gauge what questions are important for clients.
Mexico's central bank, Banxico, will hold its first monetary policy meeting of this year tomorrow. It will break with tradition, holding the meeting on Thursday at 1:00 p.m, local time, instead of the previous 9:00 a.m slot.
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 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.
Our analysis of the Q3 activity and GDP data in yesterday's Monitor strongly suggests that China's authorities will soon ready further stimulus.
The minutes of Banxico's November 9 policy meeting were released yesterday, in which the Bank left the reference rate unanimously unchanged at 7.0%.
This week's November mid-month inflation reports in Brazil and Mexico underscored their divergent trends. Inflation pressures are steadily falling in Brazil, but in Mexico, the pass-through from the MXN's sell- off is driving up inflation and inflation expectations.
The PBoC cut the reserve requirement ratio by 0.5pp for almost all banks on Sunday, effective from July 5th.
Mexican inflation fell sharply in the first two weeks of January, dipping by 0.2% from two weeks earlier, thanks to lower energy prices and a reduction in long-distance phone tariffs. Telecom reform explains about 15bp of the headline reduction.
Data released in recent days are confirming the story of a struggling economy and falling inflation pressures in Mexico, strengthening our base case of interest rate cuts over the second half of the year.
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The Brazilian central bank cut the benchmark Selic interest rate by 25bp, to 6.75%, on Wednesday night, as expected.
We're hearing a good deal of speculation about the dotplot after next week's FOMC meeting, with investors wondering whether the median dot will rise in anticipation of the increased inflation threat posed by substantial fiscal loosening under the new administration. We suspect not, though for the record we think that higher rate forecasts could easily be justified simply by the tightening of the labor market even before any stimulus is implemented.
The U.S. faces greater uncertainty now than at the start of any previous year in recent memory...
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.
Founder and chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on the U.S. economy and U.K. Inflation
January CPI data in Colombia, released on Saturday, confirmed that inflation pressures eased last month, but the details weren't as good as the headline. Inflation fell to 5.5% year-over-year, from 5.8% in December, as a result of falling food inflation-- helped mainly by a favourable base effect--and lower clothing prices.
Chief Eurozone Economist Claus Vistesen discussing key current economic issues
The Fed has raised the bar for another rate cut.
Today's FOMC meeting will be the first non-forecast meeting to be followed by a press conference.
The MPC would have to change tack sharply on Thursday in order to live up to the markets' expectation that there is a near-zero chance of another rate cut within the next year.
The case for the MPC to hold back from raising interest rates in May remains strong, despite the improvement in the Markit/CIPS services survey in February.
Sentiment has been improving gradually in Mexico in recent weeks, reversing some of the severe deterioration immediately after the U.S. presidential election. Year-to-date, the MXN has risen 10.3% against the USD and the stock market is up by almost 8%. We think that less protectionist U.S. trade policy rhetoric than expected immediately after the election explains the turnaround.
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.
Friday's inflation data in Brazil confirmed that the ripples from the truckers' strike in May were still being felt at the start of the third quarter.
We're not expecting drama from Chair Yellen's semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony in the Senate today. Dr. Yellen will want to keep alive the idea of a rate hike next month, but she will not signal that action is likely, given the continuing lack of clarity on the path of fiscal policy.
Today's labour market report likely will show that employment continued to grow briskly over the summer, but that wage gains still are lagging well behind inflation.
Industrial production data yesterday confirmed downside risks to today's GDP data in the Eurozone. Output fell 0.3% month-to-month in September, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 1.7% from a revised 2.2% in August. Weakness in Germany was the main culprit, amid stronger data in the other major economies. A GDP estimate based on available data for industrial production and retail sales point to a quarterly growth rate of 0.4% quarter-on-quarter, but we think growth was rather lower, just 0.2%, due to a drag from net trade.
Germany's newly-appointed finance minister, Olaf Scholz, proudly announced earlier this month that his country would be running a budget surplus of €63B over the next four years--about 1.9% of GDP between now and 2022--some €14B more than initially estimated.
Politics remain centre-stage in Brazil, despite positive news on the economic front. President Michel Temer's government continues to advance pension reform, despite the tight calendar and concerns about his political capital. But volatility is on the rise.
Most central banks in LatAm have ended the year in a relatively comfortable position; their economies are improving and inflation is under control or even falling.
China's money and credit data released last Friday reaffirm our impression that the tightening has gone too far.
Brazil's central bank conformed to expectations on Wednesday, cutting the Selic rate by 75 basis points to 12.25%, without bias. Overall, the BCB recognises that the economic signals have been mixed in recent weeks, but the Copom echoed our view that the data are pointing to a gradual stabilisation and, ultimately, a recovery in GDP growth later this year.
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.
Inflation in Mexico fell significantly in September. Data yesterday showed that the CPI rose just 0.3% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 6.4% from 6.7% in August, its highest level in 16 years.
The stakes are raised ahead of today's ECB meeting after the central bank's pledge in January to "review and reassess" its policy stance. Since then, survey data have weakened, inflation has fallen and volatility in financial markets has increased. The ECB likely will act accordingly and deliver a boost to monetary stimulus today.
The pick-up in GDP in July is a re assuring sign that the economy is on course to grow at a solid rate in Q3, thereby substantially weakening the case for the MPC to cut Bank Rate before Britain's Brexit path is known.
The latest IPCA inflation data in Brazil show the year-over-year rate fell to 8.8% in June from 9.3% in May. This is the slowest pace since May 2015, with inflation pulled lower by declines across all major components, except food. Indeed, food prices were the main driver of the modest 0.4% unadjusted monthto-month increase, rising by 0.7%, following a 0.8% jump in May. The year-over-year rate rose to 12.8% in June from 12.4%.
Mexican inflation pressures eased towards the start of Q2. Inflation fell to 2.5% year-over-year in April from 2.6% in March, due to a sharp fall in energy inflation--as a result of the introduction of new electricity tariffs in the warm season--and a fall in the rate of increase of fresh food prices. Depressed energy prices will continue to constrain inflation in coming months, but base effects will reduce the drag later this year.
China's unadjusted trade surplus collapsed in February, to just $4.1B, from $39.2B in January.
Policymakers in Chile left rates unchanged at their monetary policy meeting last week, maintaining their neutral bias.
China's official manufacturing PMI, published on Monday, implies the industrial complex has maintained momentum going into Q3. The official manufacturing PMI moderated slightly to 51.4 in July from 51.7 in June. The July reading was unchanged from the average in Q2 and only modestly down from the 51.6 in Q1.
While we were out, Brazil's data were relatively positive, showing that inflation is still falling quickly and economic activity is stabilizing. The country has made a rapid and convincing escape from high inflation over the past year.
The year so far in EZ equities has been just as odd as in the global market as a whole.
It would be easy to characterize the Fed as quite split at the July meeting.
The White House budget proposals, which Roll Call says will be released in limited form on March 14, will include forecasts of sustained real GDP growth in a 3-to-3.5% range, according to an array of recent press reports.
The MPC must be very disappointed by the impact of its £60B government bond purchase programme. Gilt yields initially fell, but they now have returned to the levels seen shortly before the MPC's August meeting, when the purchases were announced.
The PBoC's reformed one-year Loan Prime Rate was published yesterday at 4.25%, compared with 4.31% on the previous LPR, and below the benchmark lending rate, 4.35%.
The Brazilian Central Bank's policy board-- COPOM--voted unanimously on Wednesday to cut the Selic rate by 50bp to 5.50%.
It is a known axiom among EZ economists that the ECB never pre-commits, but yesterday's speech by Mr. Draghi in Sintra--see here--is as close as it gets.
The Brazilian Central Bank's policy board-- Copom--voted unanimously on Wednesday to cut the Selic rate by 50bp to 6.0%.
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.
Financial markets are pricing in a 20% chance that the Monetary Policy Committee will cut official interest rates during the next six months, broadly the same odds they ascribe to a rate increase. We think the probability of further easing is much slimmer than the market believes.
While we were on holiday, the data confirmed that inflation in Mexico is rapidly unwinding the increases posted earlier in the year; that the economy was under severe strain in late Q2 and early Q3; and that the near-term outlook has grown increasingly challenging.
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.
Argentina's economic and financial situation has deteriorated significantly in recent weeks and the outlook is becoming increasingly bleak.
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.
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.
Brazil's current account data last week provided further evidence of stabilisation in the economy, despite the modest headline deterioration. The unadjusted current account deficit increased marginally to USD5.1B in January, from USD4.8B in January 2016, but the underlying trend remains stable, at about 1.3% of GDP. Our first two charts show that the overall deficit began to stabilize in mid-2016, as the rate of improvement in the trade balance slowed, reflecting the easing of the domestic recession.
Governor Kuroda commented yesterday that he doesn't think Japan needs more easing at this stage. If he means that the BoJ does not have to change policy to provide more easing then we think he is right, on two and a half counts. First, Japan is likely to receive a boost under its current framework as external rate rises exceed expectations, driving down the yen.
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.
A year can make a big difference for the equity market. At this point last year, holders of the MSCI EU ex-UK were looking at a meaty gain of 21% year-to-date. The corresponding number this year is a sobering -12%. This is a remarkable shift, given stable GDP growth, close to cyclical highs, and additional easing by the ECB.
Chile's central bank, the BCCh, admitted defeat in the face of the inflationary effects of the CLP's depreciation, increasing interest rates by 25bp to 3.25% last Thursday, the first hike since mid-2011. Chile is the third LatAm economy in a month to increase rates in response to currency weakness, despite sluggish economic growth.
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.
Mexico's central bank, Banxico, last night capitulated again, reacting to the depreciation of the MXN by increasing interest rates by 50bp--for the fourth time this year--to 5.25%.
Last week's comments by Mr. Draghi--see here-- indicate that the ECB is increasingly confident that core inflation will continue to move slowly towards the target of "below, but close to 2%", despite elevated external risks, and marginally tighter monetary policy.
The upturn in core CPI inflation this year has passed by almost unnoticed in the markets and media. In the year to September, the core CPI rose 1.9%, up from a low of 1.6% in January. But that's still a very low rate, and with core PCE inflation unchanged at only 1.3% over the same period, it's easy to see why investors have remained relaxed. In our view, though, things are about to change, because a combination of very adverse base effects and gradually increasing momentum in the monthly numbers, is set to lift both core inflation measures substantially over the next few months.
The absence of an internationally agreed set of guidelines for easing lockdowns means that such decisions ultimately are political in nature.
Economic data are telling a story of a strengthening recovery, but downbeat investor sentiment points to a more difficult environment. The headline ZEW expectations index fell to a ten-month low of 12.1 in September, from 25.0 in August. This takes sentiment back to levels not seen before QE was announced, highlighting the increasing worry that deflation risks and low growth in China will derail the recovery. We don't agree, but we can't be sure the ECB thinks the same, and risks of additional stimulus this year have increased.
We are becoming increasingly convinced that momentum is starting to build in the housing market. That might sound odd in the context of the recent trends in both new and existing home sales, shown in our first chart, but what has our attention is upstream activity.
The Andean economies have been punished with high inflation triggered by currency depreciation and El Niño. Under these circumstances, Peru's central bank, the BCRP, admitted defeat yet again in the face of these temporary inflationary effects, increasing interest rates by 25bp to 4.0% last Thursday, the third hike in five months. Inflation in Peru remains stubbornly high, climbing to 4.4% year-over-year in December from 4.2% in November, and the upside risks remain elevated.
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.
Venezuela's fundamentals continue to deteriorate, economic chaos is increasing and the social/political situation remains fragile.
It is looking increasingly likely that core inflation, which already has fallen to 2.1% in May, from a peak of 2.7% last year, will slip below 2% next year.
Governor Kuroda has sounded increasingly dovish recently.
The spike in the May core CPI, and its likely echo in the core PCE, won't stop the Fed easing at the end of this month.
Mexican policymakers held an emergency meeting yesterday in the wake of DM easing, global fiscal stimulus, plunging oil prices, and the pandemic crisis, slashing interest rates to their lower level since early 2017.
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.
Inflation in Brazil and Mexico is ending Q3 under control, allowing the central banks to keep easing monetary policy.
People across Europe are growing wary over the failure of governments to foster economic security since the 2008 crisis. Their conclusion increasingly is that the EU is to blame, so their support for EU-sceptic, and even right-wing nationalist, parties has increased accordingly.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Inflation pressures in Brazil are still easing rapidly. The mid-May unadjusted IPCA- 15 index rose just 0.2% month-to-month, much less than the 0.6% historical average for the month. Base effects pushed the year-over-year rate down to 3.8% from 4.1% in April. Food prices, healthcare and personal costs were the main drivers of the modest month-to-month increase.
The PMIs are telling an increasingly upbeat story for the EZ economy in Q4. The composite PMI in the euro area rose to an 11-month high of 54.1 in November, from 53.3 in October. The uptick was driven by strong new business growth across all private sectors, and employment also increased in response to higher work backlogs.
High inflation and interest rates, coupled with increasing uncertainty, both economic and political, put Mexican consumption under strain last year.
Chile's central bank cut the country's main interest rate by 25bp to 3.25% last Thursday. The easing was expected, as the board adopted a dovish bias last month, after keeping a neutral stance for most of 2016. Last week's move, coupled with the tone of the communiqué, suggests that further easing is coming, as growth continues to disappoint and inflation pressures are easing.
Brazil's monetary policy committee, the Copom, cut the Selic rate by 25bp to 14.0% in a unanimous decision, without bias, on Wednesday. This marks the start of the first easing cycle since 2012, and it arrives after 15 months with rates held at 14.25%.
Chile's central bank left rates unchanged at 3.5% last Thursday, as expected, and maintained its neutral tone. Inflation pressures are easing, economic activity remains sluggish and global risks have increased.
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.
China reportedly has offered President Trump a $200B reduction in its annual trade surplus with the U.S., engineered by increasing imports of American products, among other steps.
The U.K.'s unexpected vote for Brexit means a stronger USD for the foreseeable future, pressure on EM currencies and increasing risk premiums. LatAm fundamentals will a sideshow for some time. The focus will be on the currencies, which will be the main shock absorbers.
Brazil's economic performance has improved marginally in recent months, with inflation falling and economic activity and sentiment data stabilizing, or even increasing modestly. The latest regional economic activity report, for instance, showed that although overall output declined again on a sequential basis in March-to-May, three of the five regions expanded.
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 data tell an increasingly convincing story that the Eurozone's external surplus rose further in the second half of last year.
Investors will get what they want today from the ECB: additional easing in the form of government bond purchases. The central bank is likely to announce or pre-commit to sovereign QE and corporate bond purchases in a new program that will last at least two years.
High interest rates and inflation, coupled with increasing uncertainty, put Mexican consumption under strain last year.
Back in the dim and increasingly distant past the semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony--previously known as the Humphrey-Hawkins--used to be something of an event. Today's Testimony, however, is most unlikely to change anyone's opinion of the likely pace and timing of Fed action.
German inflation pressures are rising. Yesterday's final September CPI report showed that inflation rose to 0.7% year-over-year, from 0.4% in August, chiefly as a result of continued easing of deflation in energy prices.
Political risks in Brazil recently have simmered alongside the modest cyclical recovery, but they are now increasing. President Michel Temer's future remains hard to predict as circumstances change by the day.
No further easing needed, if a trade deal is done...but this is a dovish fed, on a hair-trigger
Workers in the euro area remain scarred by the zone's repeated crises, but the strengthening cyclical recovery is slowly starting to spread to the labour market. The unemployment rate fell to a three-year low of 10.9% in July, and employment has edged higher after hitting a low in the middle of 2013. Germany's outperformance is a key story, with employment increasing uninterruptedly since 2009, and the unemployment rate declining to an all-time low of 6.4%. Among the other major economies, the unemployment rate in Spain and Italy remains higher than in France. But employment in Spain has outperformed in the cyclical recovery since 2013.
Since the protests in Hong Kong began, we've become increasingly convinced that China is backing away from a comprehensive trade deal with Mr. Trump.
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.
Mexico's inflation nudged up to a fresh 16-year high in August, but the details of the report confirmed that underlying pressures are easing, in line with our core view.
Brazil's benchmark inflation index, the IPCA, rose 0.5% unadjusted month-to-month in July, pushing the year-over-year rate down marginally to 8.7%, from 8.8% in June. Overall inflation pressures in Brazil are easing, especially in regulated prices, which have been the main driver of the disinflation trend this year. But market-set prices are still causing problems.
Brazilian political risk remains high but, as we have argued in previous Monitors, it is unlikely to deter policymakers from further near-term monetary easing. The political crisis, however, does suggest that the COPOM will act cautiously, waiting until the latest storm passes before acting more aggressively, despite ongoing good news on the inflation front.
Germany continues to draw fire for its ballooning trade surplus, but momentum in net exports is easing. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus dipped marginally to a three-month low of €19.7B in April, from €19.8B in March, as stronger imports offset a modest rise in exports. The German trade surplus averaged €19.9B in the first four months of 2017, about 10% lower than the cyclical peak, in the middle of 2016.
The debate about the ECB's policy trajectory is bifurcated at the moment. Markets are increasingly convinced that a rapidly strengthening economy will force the central bank to make a hawkish adjustment in its stance.
Friday's inflation report for Brazil confirmed that inflation is rapidly falling towards the BCB's target range, helping to make the case for stepping up the pace of monetary easing to 50bp at the Copom's January meeting.
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 BoJ kept monetary policy unchanged yesterday, as expected, with the signal coming through loud and clear: Japan's central bank will continue its aggressive easing policy until the inflation cows come home...
The Eurozone is back in headline deflation, increasing the pressure on the ECB to deliver further easing when it meets next week. Inflation fell to -0.2% in February, from +0.3% in January, depressed by energy and food prices.
China's Dire Q3 GDP points to Further Easing
LatAm Politics Now Threatening Growth....Just As The Trade War Appears To Be Easing
Covid-19 Will Force Further Fed And Fiscal Easing...Timing/Speed Of The Eventual Rebound Is Unknowable
Investors are increasingly anxious that an intentional sharp devaluation of the renminbi, aiming to combat China's slowdown, might lead to prolonged deflation in the West, particularly in an economy as open as the U.K.
While we were out, Brazil's economic, fiscal and political position continued to deteriorate further. The recession deepened in the fourth quarter, with Brazil's economic activity index surprising yet again to the downside in October, falling for the eight consecutive month. The index fell 0.6% month-to-month and 6.4% year-over-year, the biggest contraction since the index began in 2004. And the prospects for first quarter consumption and industrial output have deteriorated substantially. Unemployment increased further in November, and inflation continues to rise, with the mid-month CPI--the IPCA-15 index-- increasing 1.2% month-to-month in November, after a 0.9% increase in October.
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.
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.
Banxico left Mexico's benchmark interest rate at 3.25% last week, after increasing it by 25bp in December, when the U.S. Fed raised rates. Banxico's board maintained its neutral tone and indicated that the balance of risks has deteriorated for growth and short-term inflation. As usual, policymakers reiterated the importance of following the Fed closely to avoid financial instability, which in turn could spill over to inflation.
Disappointing inflation data remain a critical dark spot in the context of otherwise solid evidence of a firming cyclical recovery. Advance data indicate that inflation was unchanged at a mere 0.2% year-over-year in December, with falling food inflation and a dip in services inflation offsetting easing deflation in energy prices. Headline inflation likely will be volatile in coming months. Base effects will push up the year-over-year rate in energy price inflation further in Q1, but we are wary that continued declines in food inflation could offset this effect.
Central bankers globally are full of market- appeasing but conditional statements.
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.
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.
German inflation eased in May, but the underlying upward pressure on the core is increasing. Yesterday's data showed that inflation fell to 1.5% year-over-year in May, from 2.0% in April, as the boost from the late Easter reversed. Inflation in leisure and entertainment services was driven down to +0.8%, from +3.3% in April, as a result of sharply lower inflation in package holidays and airfares.
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.
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.
Brazil's retail sales improved at the start of the second quarter, increasing 0.5% month-to-month in April, partially reversing the 0.9% contraction in March. But the details were less upbeat than the headline.
Markets initially objected to last week's ECB package, but the tune has since changed. The decision to focus on direct credit easing to the domestic economy, via more attractive TLTROs and corporate bond purchases--rather than by lowering rates further--is now seen by many analysts as a stroke of genius.
October's consumer price figures, to be released tomorrow, look set to show CPI inflation easing to -0.2%, from -0.1%, below the no-change consensus and the lowest rate since March 1960. No doubt this will spark more hyperbolic headlines about the U.K.'s descent into pernicious deflation; ignore them. October's print will almost certainly represent the nadir and we think it will take only a year for CPI inflation to return to the MPC's 2% target.
Mr. Macron will be in Berlin today with the message that France wants a strong Eurozone and a tight relationship with Germany. Friendly overtures between Paris and Berlin are good news for investors; they reduce political uncertainty while increasing the chance that the economic recovery will continue. But it is too early to get excited about closer fiscal coordination, let alone a common EZ fiscal policy and bond issuance.
Increasingly, we are hearing equity strategists argue that investors should rebalance their portfolios toward EZ equities. On the surface, this looks like sound advice. Commodity prices have exited their depression, factory gate inflation pressures are rising, and global manufacturing output is picking up. These factors tell a bullish story for margins and earnings at large cap industrial and materials equities in the euro area.
The big difference in this round of stimulus is in the complete lack of easing on the shadow banking side.
Japanese real Q2 GDP growth surprised analysts, increasing sharply to a quarterly annualised rate of 4.0%, up from 1.0% in Q1 and much higher than the consensus, 2.5%. But its no coincidence that the jump in Japanese growth follows strong growth in China in Q1.
The number of existing homes for sale continued to fall in September, ensuring that modestly increasing demand is putting renewed upward pressure on prices.
August's consumer price figures, released today, likely will show that households' spending power is being increasingly eroded by rising inflation. We think CPI inflation picked up to 0.8%, from 0.6% in July, exceeding the consensus, 0.7%, for the third consecutive month.
The recession in Brazilian consumers' spending continues, but the severity of the pain is easing. Retail sales plunged 0.9% month-to-month in March, pushing the year-over-rate down to -5.7%, from a revised -4.2% in February. The March headline likely was depressed by the early Easter.
The collapse in gilt yields last week--including a drop to a record low at the 10-year maturity--appears to be an ominous sign for the economic outlook. For now, though, the yield curve signals a further easing of GDP growth, rather than a spiral into recession. Low liquidity also means modest changes in demand are generating large movements in yields, undermining gilts' usefulness as a leading indicator.
Our argument that rates could rise as soon as March has always been contingent on two factors, namely, robust labor market data and a degree of clarity on the extent of fiscal easing likely to emerge from Congress. On the first of these issues, the latest evidence is mixed.
Peru's central bank left its policy interest rate unchanged at 3.75% last week, but signalled that further easing is on the way. According to the press release accompanying the decision, policymakers noted that inflation expectations are within their target range and still falling.
Peru's central bank, the BCRP, admitted defeat again in the face of the inflationary effects of the PEN's depreciation and El Niño, increasing interest rates by 25bp to 3.75% last Thursday, following its 25bp increase in September. Peru is the third LatAm economy in the last few months to raise rates in response to currency weakness, despite sluggish economic growth. The key problem for Peru is that inflation has been trending higher since early 2013 and has remained stubbornly high, above 2.8% all this year. "Temporary" factors just keep on coming.
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.
Expectations are running high that the Autumn Statement on November 23 will mark the beginning of a more active role for fiscal policy in stimulating the economy. The MPC's abandonment of its former easing bias earlier this month has put the stimulus ball firmly in the new Chancellor's court.
Credit to the Chinese authorities for sticking it out with the marginal approach to easing for so long... at least two quarters.
Markets' judgement that the Monetary Policy Committee--which meets today--will wait until 2017 to raise interest rates overestimates the role that the drop in oil prices and slower GDP growth will play in its decision-making. The inflation risks emanating from the increasingly tight labour market still could motivate a tightening before the summer.
Mexico's domestic conditions don't warrant an imminent rate hike in the near term. Headline inflation continues to fall, reaching an all-time low of 2.5% in October. It should remain below 3% in the coming months. And core prices remain wellbehaved, increasing at a modest pace, signalling very little pass-through of the MXN's depreciation. Economic activity gained some momentum in Q3-- this will be confirmed on Friday's GDP report--but demand pressures on inflation are absent and the output gap is still ample. Under these conditions, policymakers should not be in a rush to hike, but they have signalled once again that they will act immediately after the Fed.
It is becomingly increasingly clear that the trade war with China is hurting manufacturers in both countries.
Latam Prospects Are Gradually Improving....Easing Trade Tensions Are Helping
Unchanged LPR suggests continued need for easing.
BoJ focuses on the positives, keeping the door open to increasing flexibility.
Easing of curbs so far won't slow property decline
In one line: Still grim, but the rate of contraction is easing.
In one line: The easing cycle will continue; the economy is weakening rapidly.
In one line: Inflation pressures are finally easing, but the MXN--that is, President Trump's actions--is the key variable now for policymakers.
In one line: Disinflation will resume in Q2; core pressures are easing
In one line: Inflation pressures easing sharply; consumers were struggling even before the virus.
In one line: Rates on hold, and the statement suggests no easing in the near term.
PBoC MLF cut is housekeeping; further easing to come.
Slowing FAI growth underscores the urgency for more PBoC easing October was painful and the slowdown in Chinese IP growth is far from over and no, households in China won't come to the economy's rescue. Japan sneaks in a tax hike; GDP data unfazed. Japan's tertiary index jars with the GDP data.
Colombia's disinflation since mid-2016 has been driven by easing pressures on food prices, weak demand, and the better performance of the COP. But higher regulated prices at the start of the second quarter have triggered a pause in the downward trend.
Evidence that households are not benefiting much from the Monetary Policy Committee's easing measures mounted yesterday, after the release of August data on advertised borrowing rates. Our first chart shows the drop in swap rates and average quoted mortgage rates since the end of last year.
Inflation pressures are easing rapidly in Colombia, according to October's CPI report, released on Saturday. Inflation fell to 6.5% year-over-year in October, down from 7.3% in September; the consensus expectation was 6.7%.
New orders data increasingly suggest that German manufacturers all but shut their production lines at the start of the year.
At a stroke, the October payroll report returned the short-term trend in payroll growth to the range in place since 2011, pushed the unemployment rate into the lower part of the Fed's Nairu range, and lifted the year-over-year rate of growth of hourly earnings to a six-year high. The FOMC has never quantitatively defined what it means by "some further improvement in the labor market", its condition for increasing rates, but if the October report does not qualify, it's hard to know what might fit the bill. We expect a 25bp increase in December.
News on Mr. Bolsonaro's economic plans and announcements on key names for his government this week are helping the currency and easing risks perception in Brazil.
In one line: Housekeeping; further easing to come
Easing isn't going exactly to plan... a trade deal would really help
In one line: PBoC tops up previous easing measures, and provides clarity on RRR policy intentions for the remainder of the year.
In yesterday's Monitor, we suggested that China's monetary policy stance is now easing.
In one line: Soft industrial data, and external conditions for EM economies are becoming increasingly challenging
In one line: Well-behaved inflation in September supports the case for further monetary easing.
The Fed is fretting over fiscal easing......upside risk to growth, inflation and interest rates
China shifts to easing but scope is limited...While the Boj is set to tweak its yield curve targets
The economy is still under strain...but downside risks are gradually easing
In one line: No qualms about easing again; look for another cut on March 26.
How and when will the Fed respond to Fiscal Easing?
China Is Stabilising, But Not Yet Recovering...Japan's Fiscal Stimulus Faces Capacity Constraints...No New Year Shock This Time For Korean Workers..India's Q3 Wasn;t A Disaster; The RBI Is Done Easing
Brace for the Fed's Pushback...But only when Fiscal Easing is in front of Congress
Economic Activity Remains Sub-Par... But Downside Risks are Gradually Easing
China's switch to easing shows up in the data...The BOJ takes a baby step away from uber-easing
Brexit Risk Increasingly is Hitting the Economy...But Above-Trend Growth Awaits After a Deal is Done
In one line: MPC easing now likely, but expect a more timid response than from other central banks.
In one line: Not enough alone to stop the Fed easing this month.
In one line: New U.S. cases per million will soon be at the levels which prompted easing lockdowns in Italy, Spain and Austria.
In one line: Another bold cut, but the easing cycle is nearly over.
In one line: A modest rate cut, and the COPOM signals the end of the easing cycle.
In one line: A bold cut, and further easing in Q1 is live.
In one line: Easing lockdowns in the southern U.S. likely will trigger faster case growth.
In one line: U.S. case growth now well below the pace at the time Germany announced lockdown easing.
In one line: Expect a rebound in the October core; too late to prevent a Fed easing this month.
In one line: Pause signalled; further easing requires weaker growth.
In one line: New forecasts reveal a slight near-term easing bias.
In one line: The MPC has lost its confidence in the outlook, but isn't close to pre-emptive easing.
Favourable inflation conditions in Mexico remain in place with June consumer prices increasing just 0.1% month-to-month, unadjusted, better than expected. A modest gain in core prices was largely offset by falling non-core prices, so year-over-year inflation edged down to 2.5% from 2.6% in May.
As it became clear that Donald Trump would beat Hillary Clinton to win the U.S. presidency, EM currencies came under severe pressure, fearing his economic and immigration policies. Some of the initial pressure is easing as markets digest the news and following Mr. Trump's conciliatory tone in his victory speech. But the proposals have been made and the MXN and other key LatAm assets likely will remain very stressed in the near term.
Upbeat PMIs, the MPC's abandonment of its easing bias and the High Court ruling that only a parliamentary vote--and not the Prime Minister--can trigger Article 50, all helped sterling to make up some lost ground last week.
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.
The main way monetary easing can support an economy swiftly during a recession, when few people want to take on new debt, is to boost households' cashflow by reducing interest payments.
Banxico cut its policy rate by 25bp to 7.75% yesterday, as was widely expected, following August's 25bp easing.
LatAm currencies have risen against the USD so far this year, easing the upward pressure on imported good prices and allowing most central banks to cut interest rates. The first direct effects of stronger currencies should be felt by firms which import high-turnover intermediate or final goods.
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".
Data released this week in Brazil underscored the effect of weaker external conditions. This adds to the poor domestic demand picture, which has been hit by high, albeit easing, political uncertainty.
Many investors are betting that the MPC will announce a bold package of easing measures on Thursday. For a start, overnight index swap markets are pricing-in a 98% probability that the MPC will cut Bank Rate to 0.25%, and a 30% chance that interest rates will fall to, or below, zero by the end of the year.
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.
Economic data released on Friday underscored our view that bolder rate cuts in Brazil are looming. The BCB's latest BCB's inflation report, released on Thursday, showed that policymakers now see conditions in place to increase the pace of easing "moderately" .
Money supply data are sending an increasingly contrarian, and bullish, signal for the euro area economy.
India's government imposed a three-week nationwide lockdown on March 25 to combat the increasingly rapid spread of Covid-19.
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.
For a central bank already fighting for every decimal in its attempt to convince markets that underlying inflation is slowly edging higher, the recent shift in HICP methodology drives home an increasingly problematic issue.
According to Brazil's mid-August inflation reading, which is a preview of the IPCA index, overall inflation pressures are easing. But some price stickiness remains, due to inertia and temporary shocks, despite the severity of the recession and the rapid deterioration of the labour market in recent months.
The decline in China's unofficial PMI, which has dropped to a six-year low, signals increasing troubles ahead for U.S. manufacturers selling into China, and U.S. businesses operating in China. This does not mean, though, that the U.S. ISM will immediately fall as low as the Caixin/Markit China index appears to suggest in the next couple of months. Our first chart shows that in recent years the U.S. manufacturing ISM has tended hugely to outperform China's PMI from late spring to late fall, thanks to flawed seasonals.
Today's preliminary estimate of Q4 GDP likely will show that the Brexit vote has not caused the economy to slow yet. But growth at the end of last year appears to have relied excessively on household spending, which has been increasingly financed by debt. GDP growth likely will slow decisively in Q1 as the squeeze on households' real incomes intensifies.
In a week of important global events, local factors remained in the spotlight in Brazil, with a more benign data flow and the central bank statement reducing the likelihood of an imminent end to the easing cycle.
The strengthening EZ economy increasingly looks like the tide that lifts all boats. The Greek economy is still a laggard, but recent news hints at a brightening outlook. Last week, S&P affirmed the country's debt rating, but revised the outlook to "positive" from "stable."
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.
Economic data in the Eurozone are sending an increasingly upbeat message on the economy. Yesterday saw a barrage of numbers, but the most startling of them was the continued acceleration in the money supply.
After three straight 1.3% month-to-month increases in core capital goods orders, we are becoming increasingly confident that the upturn in business investment signalled by the NFIB survey is now materializing.
Mixed comments last week by members of the governing council raised doubts over the ECB's resolve to add further stimulus next month. But the message from senior figures and Mr. Draghi remains that the Central Bank intends to "re-assess" its monetary policy tools in December. Our main reading of last month's meeting is that Mr. Draghi effectively pre-committed to further easing. This raises downside risks in the event of no action, but the President normally doesn't disappoint the market in these instances.
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.
It will take a while for the economic data in the euro area fully to reflect the Covid-19 shock, but the incoming numbers paint an increasingly clear picture of an improving economy going into the outbreak.
Inflation in the Eurozone tumbled last month, increasing the pressure on Mr. Draghi to deliver another dovish message when the central bank meets on Thursday.
Youth unemployment remains a blemish on the Eurozone economy, despite an increasingly resilient cyclical recovery. The unemployment rate for young workers aged 15-to-24 years stood at 18.4% at the end of April, chiefly due to high joblessness in the periphery.
Brazil's external position continue to improve, but we are sticking to our view that further significant gains are unlikely in the second half, given the stronger BRL. For now, though, we still see some momentum, with the unadjusted trade surplus increasing to USD7.2B in June, up from USD4.0B a year earlier. Exports surged 24% year-over-year but imports rose only 3%.
Support in opinion polls for both the Conservatives and Labour has been increasing steadily.
The simultaneous decline in both ISM indexes was a key factor driving markets to anticipate last week's Fed easing.
Inflation in Colombia right now is under control but risks are increasing rapidly, and the outlook for next year has deteriorated significantly.
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".
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.
U.K. manufacturers are benefiting from rapid growth in the Eurozone, but increasingly they are being held back by weak domestic demand.
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.
Chile's economy appears to have gathered momentum in February with the Imacec index, a proxy for GDP, increasing 2.8% year-over-year, up from a modest 0.1% contraction in January and its fastest pace since January 2015. Activity was driven mainly by expansion in services, mining and retail commerce activities.
While we were out, Brazil's central bank delivered a widely-expected 75bp easing, cutting the benchmark rate to 7.5% in an unanimous vote.
Early last week, Chile's industrial production report for December encouraged some market participants to expect further BCCh easing.
Money supply data in the euro area are sending an increasingly upbeat signal on the economy. The increase in narrow money growth is the key variable here, now pointing to a noticeable acceleration in GDP growth later this year. Allowing for the usual lags between upturns in M1 and the economy, we should start to see this in the second and third quarter.
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 outlook for Argentina is improving. We expect economic growth to remain quite strong over the next year, despite a relatively soft start to 2017 and increasing external threats in recent weeks. The INDEC index of economic activity--a monthly proxy for GDP--is volatile, rising 1.9% month-to-month in March after a 2.6% drop in February, but the underlying trend is improving.
The Brazilian manufacturing sector remains very depressed by weak end-demand, but the misery is easing, at the margin. Industrial production fell 2.5% month-to-month in February, equivalent to an eye-watering 9.8% contraction year-over-year, but this was rather less bad than the 13.6% slump in January.
Companies' profit margins have fared relatively well during this recovery, and on many measures, they are back to pre-crisis levels. But looking ahead, corporate profitability is set to be squeezed as labour takes a larger share of national income and the Government gets to grips with the budget deficit by increasing corporate taxation.
BanRep accelerated the pace of easing last Friday, cutting Colombia's key interest rate by a bold 50 basis points, to 5.75%. Economic activity has been under severe pressure in recent months. The economy expanded by only 1.1% year-over-year in Q1, following an already weak 1.6% in Q4.
Following the much-anticipated meeting between Presidents Xi and Trump over the weekend, the U.S. will now leave existing tariffs on $200B of Chinese goods at 10%, rather than increasing the rate to 25% in January, as previously slated.
Further political wrangling yesterday distracted from data showing that the risk of no -deal Brexit is placing increasing strain on the economy.
• China's economy remains weak after more than a year of easing. • Are the authorities willing to see GDP growth slow further? • Are they making a big policy blunder, running the economy too tight?
What do the protests mean for Chile's economy?
Chief Eurozone Economist Claus Vistesen on Q1 growth in the Eurozone
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on the U.S. Trade Deficit
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on the latest GDP figures
Chief UK Economist Samuel Tombs on the chance of a no-deal Brexit
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Ian Shepherdson's mission is to present complex economic ideas in a clear, understandable and actionable manner to financial market professionals. He has worked in and around financial markets for more than 20 years, developing a strong sense for what is important to investors, traders, salespeople and risk managers.
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