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One of the arguments we hear in favor of an endless Fed pause--in other words, the cyclical tightening is over--is that GDP growth is set to slow markedly this year, to only 2% or so.
Japanese M2 growth slowed sharply in December, to 3.6% year-over-year, from 4.0% in November, with M3 growth weakening similarly. It is tempting to ask if the BoJ's stealth taper finally is damaging broad money growth.
GDP data for Q2 are due July 26; we expect the report to show a marginal dip in growth, to a seasonally adjusted 0.8% quarter-on-quarter, from 1.0% in Q1.
We hadn't expected the scorching 3.6% year-over- year growth rate in Japan's June average wages
The pick-up in GDP growth in Q3 means that we now expect a majority of MPC members to vote to raise interest rates next week.
Friday's PMI data in the Eurozone added to the evidence that GDP growth is slowing, after a cyclical peak last year. The composite PMI in the euro area slipped to a 21-month low of 52.6 in September, from 52.9 in August.
The first point to make about today's Q1 GDP growth number is that whatever the BEA publishes, you probably should add 0.9 percentage points.
We've been hearing a good deal about the slowdown in the rate of growth of consumer credit in recent months, and with the April data due for release today, it makes sense now to reiterate our view that the recent numbers are no cause for alarm.
The Italian economy slowed at the end 2017, and it continues to underperform other major EZ economies. Real GDP rose 0.2% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, a bit slower than the 0.3% gain in Q3, pushing full-year growth up to a modest 1.0%. This compares poorly, though, with growth of 1.6% in the euro area as a whole.
Mexico's National Institute of Statistics--INEGI-- will release preliminary GDP data for Q1 on Friday. We are expecting good news, despite the tough external and domestic environment. According to the economic activity index--a monthly proxy for GDP-- growth gained further momentum in Q1, based on data up to February.
Yesterday's labour market data delivered a further blow to hopes that consumers' spending will retain enough momentum for the MPC to press ahead and raise interest rates this year. The most striking development is the decline in year-over-year growth in average weekly wages to just 1.9% in December, from 2.9% in November.
By any yardstick, U.K. productivity growth has been terrible in recent years. Output per hour exceeded its pre-recession peak only in the second quarter of 2015, and it has grown at an average annual rate of just 0.6% this decade. U.S. productivity growth has been equally dismal since 2010. But the U.K.'s performance is more worrying, because the productivity slump during the recession suggested scope for a period of catch-up. In the U.S., by contrast, productivity surged during the recession as firms cut headcount sharply.
We are a bit more optimistic than the consensus on the question of second quarter productivity growth, but the data are so unreliable and erratic that the difference between our 1.2% forecast and the 0.7% consensus estimate doesn't mean much.
The German manufacturing sector is showing signs of stabilisation with industrial production rising 0.2% month-on-month in October, equivalent to 0.8% year-over- year. This is consistent with a decent retracement in production this quarter, but growth is still only barely above zero.
A reader sent us last week a series of five simple feedback loops, all of which ended with the Fed remaining "cautious". For example, in a scenario in which the dollar strengthens--perhaps because of stronger U.S. economic data--markets see an increased risk of a Chinese devaluation, which then pummels EM assets, making the Fed nervous about global growth risks to the domestic economy.
The rate of growth of nominal core retail sales substantially outstripped the rate of growth of nominal personal incomes, after tax, in both the second and third quarters.
We didn't believe the first estimate of Q1 GDP growth, 0.7%, and we won't believe today's second estimate, either. The data are riddled with distortions, most notably the long-standing problem of residual seasonality, which depressed the number by about one percentage point.
The latest iteration of the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model of second quarter GDP growth shows the economy expanding at a 4.5% annualized rate.
Amid the intensifying debate about the pros and cons of E.U. membership, higher immigration from the rest of Europe often is blamed for the disappointing weakness of wage growth over the last couple of years. But we see little evidence to support that hypothesis.
Friday's PMIs gave the first hint of Q4 growth in the Eurozone, and continue to tell a story of a stable cyclical recovery. The composite PMI in the Eurozone rose 54.0 in October from 53.6 in September, mainly due to a rise in the services index, to 54.2 from 53.7. Assuming the PMI remains unchanged over the remainder of the quarter, the survey indicates solid GDP growth of 0.4%-to-0.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q4.
Friday's advance PMI data for the Eurozone added further evidence of stabilisation in the economy after the sharp slowdown in GDP growth since the beginning of last year.
Markets often pay little attention to the monthly foreign trade numbers, but today's May data are important because they could easily make a big difference to expectations for second quarter GDP growth. The key question is the extent to which exports have recovered since the port dispute on the West Coast, which severely distorted trade flows in the early part of the year.
Japan's GDP growth was revised up, to 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, from 0.1% in the preliminary reading.
Today's labour market figures look set to show that wage growth has continued to slow, fuelling speculation that interest rates are going nowhere soon. But a close examination of why wage growth has weakened suggests investors will be surprised by a robust rebound later this year.
A quick rebound in growth, after the slowdown to a reported 2.6% in the fourth quarter, is unlikely.
The recovery in the French economy since the sovereign debt crisis has been lukewarm. Growth in domestic demand, excluding inventories, has averaged 0.4% quarter-on-quarter since 2012. This comp ares with 0.8%-to-1.1% in the two major business cycle upturns in the 1990s and from 2000s before the crisis.
Revisions to the first quarter productivity numbers, due today, likely will be trivial, given the minimal 0.1 percentage point downward revision to GDP growth reported last week.
November's monetary indicators provide an upbeat rebuttal to the swathe of downbeat business surveys. Year-over-year growth in the MPC's preferred measure of broad money--M4 excluding intermediate other financial corporations--rose to a 19-month high of 4.0% in November, from 3.5% in October.
The rate of growth of new coronavirus infections across Europe slowed yesterday, in some cases quite markedly. We can quibble about the reliability of the data in individual countries, given variations in testing regimes, but the picture is strikingly uniform.
November's Markit/CIPS surveys for the manufacturing, construction and services sectors suggest that GDP growth is on track to strengthen a touch in Q4.
China's GDP data--to be published on Monday-- are likely to report that growth slowed to 1.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, from 1.6% in Q3. A 1.4% increase would match the series low of Q1 2016.
Yesterday's raft of data had no net impact on our forecast for second quarter GDP growth, which we still think will be about 21⁄4%.
Back on May 14, we argued--see here--that the stars were aligned to generate very strong second quarter GDP growth, perhaps even reaching 5%.
China's capex growth faces renewed challenges this year, as PPI inflation slows.
Like just about everyone else, we have struggled in recent years to find a convincing explanation for the persistent sluggishness of growth even as the Fed has cut rates to zero and expanded its balance sheet to a peak of $4.2T. Sure, we can explain the slowdown in growth in 2010, when the post-crash stimulus ended, and the subsequent softening in 2013, when government spending was cut by the sequester.
India's GDP report for the second quarter, due on Friday, is likely to show a decent rebound in growth from the first quarter.
The startling November international trade numbers, released yesterday, greatly improve the chance that the fourth quarter saw a third straight quarter of 3%- plus GDP growth.
June's trade figures yesterday highlighted that it takes more than just a few months for exchange rate depreciations to boost GDP growth. The trade-weighted sterling index dropped by 9% between November and June as the risk of Brexit loomed large and the prospect of imminent increases in interest rates receded.
Expectations that the ECB will respond to weakening growth in China with Additional stimulus mean that survey data will be under particular scrutiny this week. The consensus thinks the Chinese manufacturing PMI--released overnight--will remain weak, but advance PMIs in the Eurozone should confirm that the cyclical recovery remained firm in Q3. We think the composite PMI edged slightly lower to 54.0 in September from 54.3 in August, consistent with real GDP growth of about 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q3.
Yesterday's GDP reports confirmed that growth was stable at 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in the Eurozone, leaving the year-over-year rate unchanged at 1.5%. Rebounding growth outside Germany, which has been a main driver of EZ GDP growth in this cycle, was the key story.
The preliminary estimate of GDP showed that the economy finished 2016 on a strong note. Output increased by 0.6% quarter-on-quarter, the same rate as in the previous two quarters. The year-over-year growth rate of GDP in 2016 as a whole--2.0%--was low by pre-crisis standards, but it likely puts the U.K. at the top of the G7 growth leaderboard. We cannot tell how well the economy would have performed had the U.K. not voted to leave the EU in June, but clearly the threat of Brexit has not loomed large over the economy.
On the heels of yesterday's benign Q3 employment costs data--wages rebounded but benefit costs slowed, and a 2.9% year-over-year rate is unthreatening--today brings the first estimates of productivity growth and unit labor costs.
GDP rose by 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, according to the ONS' preliminary estimate, confirming that the economy has fundamentally slowed since the Brexit vote. The modest growth has reduced further the already-small risk that the MPC will raise interest rates at its next meeting on August 3.
China's official real GDP growth is absurdly stable, but the risks in Q3 are tilted to the downside.
We're nudging down our estimate of Q2 GDP growth, due today, by 0.3 percentage points to 1.8%, in the wake of yesterday's array of data.
An array of data today will be mostly positive, and even the most likely candidate for a downside surprise--the October advance trade numbers--is very unlikely to change anyone's mind on the Fed's December decision. On the plus side, the first revision to third quarter GDP growth should see the headline number dragged up into almost respectable territory, at 2.4%, from the deeply underwhelming 1.5% initial estimate.
Eurozone industrial production data today will confirm that economic growth likely accelerated in the first quarter. We think output rose 0.7% month-to-month in February, equivalent to a 0.8% increase year-over-year.
The recent cyclical upturn in the EZ began in the first quarter of 2013. GDP growth has accelerated almost uninterruptedly for the last two years to 1.5% year-over-year in Q3, despite the Greek debt crisis and slower growth in emerging markets. Overall we think the recovery will continue with full-year GDP growth of about 1.6%. But we also think the business cycle is maturing, characterised by stable GDP growth and higher inflation, and we see the economy slowing next year.
The combination of astounding fourth quarter payroll numbers and weak GDP growth has prompted a good deal of bemused head-scratching among investors and the commentariat. The contrast is startling, with Q4 private payrolls averaging 276K, a 2.4% annualized rate of increase, while the initial estimate for growth seems likely close to 1%. Even on a year-over-year basis, stepping back from the quarterly noise, Q4 growth is likely to be only 2% or so.
Many commentators have assumed that the new Chancellor's pledge to "reset" fiscal policy and to stop targeting a budget surplus in this parliament means that fiscal policy will support growth in economic activity next year.
In one line: Wage growth was slowing ahead of the Covid-19 shock; is the record m/m slide in ZEW a sign for the PMIs?
The June durable goods, trade and inventory reports today, could make a material difference to forecasts for the first estimate of second quarter GDP growth, due tomorrow.
Data on Friday showed that German wage growth is firming. Nominal labour costs rose 2.5% year-overyear in Q3, accelerating from a revised 1.9% increase in Q2. The main driver was a strong rebound in gross earnings growth, which rebounded to 2.4% year-over-year from an oddly weak 1.2% in Q2.
Last week's evidence of still-strong wage growth in the EZ at the start of the year almost surely has gone unnoticed as markets focus on the prospect of rate cuts, not to mention more QE, by the ECB.
The PMIs in the Eurozone are still warning that the economy is in much worse shape than implied by remarkably stable GDP growth so far this year.
Chinese M2 growth was stable at 8.3% year- over-year in May, despite favorable base effects.
Yesterday's industrial production, construction output and trade data for November collectively suggest that the economy lost a little momentum in the fourth quarter. GDP growth likely slowed to 0.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, from 0.6% in Q3. Growth remains set to slow further this year, as inflation shoots up and constrains consumers.
The manufacturing sector likely was the primary driver of Q3 GDP growth in the Eurozone. Data yesterday showed that industrial production rose 1.4% month-to-month in August, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 3.8%, from a revised 3.6% in July.
Last week's official data supported our forecast that GDP growth likely will slow further in Q1, suggesting that a May rate hike is not the sure bet that markets assume.
Revisions to Japan's real GDP growth, on Monday, left Q2 blisteringly hot.
It's tempting to conclude that the pick-up in year over-year growth in average weekly wages, excluding bonuses, to a three-year high of 3.1% in July, from 2.8% in June, signals that employees' bargaining power has strengthened and that a sustained wage recovery now is under way.
Yesterday's labour market data showed that growth in households' income has slowed significantly in recent months. Firms are both hiring cautiously and restraining wage increases, due to heightened uncertainty about the economic outlook and rising raw material and non-wage labour costs. Consumers' spending, therefore, will support GDP growth to a far smaller extent this year than last.
The case for continuing to increase Bank Rate gradually--recently reiterated by MPC members Andy Haldane and Michael Saunders-- strengthened yesterday with the release of April's labour market report, which revealed renewed momentum in wage growth.
China's Q2 real GDP growth officially slowed to 6.2% year-over-year, from 6.4% in Q1, which already matched the trough in the financial crisis.
Households remain the key driver of the cyclical recovery in the Eurozone. We have seen, so far, little sign that investment will be able convincingly to take over the baton if momentum in consumers' spending slows. The average rate of growth of investment since 2013 has been 0.5%, about two-thirds of the pace seen in previous cyclical upturns. Weakness in construction--about 50% of total euro area investment--has been one of the key factors behind of the under performance.
Mark Carney emphasised in his Mansion House speech last month that he wants wage growth to "begin to firm" from recent "anaemic" rates before voting to raise interest rates.
China's Q2 official GDP growth, to be released on Monday, likely slowed to 6.2% year-over-year, from 6.4% in Q1.
After strong real GDP growth in Q1, China commentators called the peak, claiming that growth would slow for the rest of 2017.
China's monetary conditions remain tight, pointing to a substantial downtrend in GDP growth this year and next.
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.
German exports flatlined for most of 2018, driving the trade surplus down by 7.3% amid still-solid growth in imports.
Korean real GDP growth--to be published on Thursday--should bounce back in Q1 to 1.0% quarter-on-quarter, after the 0.2% drop in Q4.
Payroll growth will slow in the first few months of next year, but wages will accelerate. This might seem counter-intuitive after the ballistic December jobs number coupled with sluggish-looking hourly earnings, but the devil, as always, is in the details. On the face of it, the trend in payroll growth is accelerating at a startling pace, captured in our first chart. But we very much doubt this reflects a real shift in the underlying pace of employment growth, for two reasons. First, payroll growth in recent years has tended to accelerate in the fourth quarter, even when indicators of both labor demand and the pace of layoffs--the two sides of the payroll equation--have been flat, as in Q4.
The trend of consensus-beating EZ economic data was brought to a halt yesterday. The IFO business climate index in Germany slipped to a five-month low of 109.8 in January, from 111.0 in December, mainly due to a fall in the expectations index. But we are not alarmed. The dip in the headline comes after a run of strong data, and the IFO remains consistent with GDP growth of about 1.6% year-over-year.
We just can't get away from the deeply vexed question of wages; specifically, why the rate of growth of nominal hourly earnings has risen only to just over 2.5%, even though the historical relationship between wage gains and the tightness of the labor market points to increases of 4%-plus.
Three of today's economic reports, all for December, could move the needle on fourth quarter GDP growth. Ahead of the data, we're looking for growth of 1.8%, a bit below the consensus, 2.2%, and significantly weaker than the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model, which projects 2.8%.
The latest round of Fed analysis on the weakness of first quarter growth, from the New York Fed, completely contradicts the conclusions of the San Fran Fed's work published a couple of weeks ago. The NY Fed found no statistically significant residual seasonality in the GDP numbers, and argued that the reported decline in economic activity was due entirely to the severe weather, which subtracted about two percentage points from headline growth.
Whichever way you choose to slice the numbers, retail sales growth has slowed this year. Ex-gasoline, ex-autos, core, whatever, sales growth in year-over-year terms is notably weaker now than at the end of last year. It is equally, true, however, that after-tax incomes have risen at a robust pace--up 3.8% in the year to May, exactly the same pace as in the year to May 2014--so consumers in aggregate have plenty of cash to spend. So, what's holding people back at the mall? Why aren't they spending more?
China's import growth in dollar terms slowed sharply to 4.5% year-over-year in December from 17.7% in November, significantly below the consensus forecast.
Investors kicked expectations for the first rise in official interest rates even further into the future when last month's labour market data, revealing a sharp fall in wage growth, were released. But a closer look at the official figures reveals that labour cost pressures have remained robust, cautioning against making a snap reaction if even weaker wage data are released on Wednesday.
On the face of it, the slowdown in bank loan growth to commercial and industrial companies over the past two years looks alarming. In the year to November, the stock of loans outstanding rose by 8.0%, the smallest gain since January 2014. A further decline in the year-over-year rate, taking it below the rate of growth of nominal GDP--we expect 4.7% in the first quarter--for the first time in six years, is now a fair bet. The three- and six-month annualized growth rates of C&I lending in November were just 6.2% and 4.7% respectively, and still falling.
September's labour market report suggests that wage growth won't continue to rise for much longer.
Yesterday's economic data in Germany confirmed that the economy slowed in Q3, but also added to the evidence that growth will rebound in Q4. The second estimate for Q3 showed that real GDP rose 0.2% quarter-on-quarter, slowing from a 0.4% gain in Q2.
The hefty upward revision to Q3 inventories means we have to lower our working assumption for fourth quarter GDP growth, because the year-end inventory rebound we previously expected is now much less likely to happen. Remember, the GDP contribution from inventories is equal to the change in the pace of inventory accumulation between quarters, and we're struggling to see a faster rate of accumulation in Q4 after the hefty revised $90B third quarter gain. Inventory holdings are in line with the trend in place since the recession of 2001; firms don't need to build inventory now at a faster pace.
To answer the question: Yes, growth could hit 5% in the second quarter.
Inventories subtracted 1.3 percentage points from headline GDP growth in the second quarter and were by far the biggest constraint on the economy. This was the fifth straight drag from inventories, but it was more than twice the average hit over the previous year.
Payroll growth in September and October probably won't be materially worse than August's meager 96K increase in private jobs.
Yesterday's deluge of output and trade data broadly supported our call that quarter-on-quarter GDP growth likely slowed to 0.3% in Q4, from 0.4% in Q3.
Yesterday's money supply data gave some respite after last month's disappointing slowdown. Broad money growth--M3--rose to 5.0% year-over-year, from 4.7% in December, but the details were less encouraging. The rebound was solely due slower declines in medium-term deposits, short-term debt issuance, and repurchase agreements.
Germany's nominal external surplus rebounded smartly over the summer, but real net trade looks set to be a drag on Q3 GDP growth, again. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus increased to €21.6B in August from a revised €19.3B in July.
It has been difficult to be an optimist about U.S. international trade performance in recent years. The year-over-year growth rate of real exports of goods and services hasn't breached 2% in a single quarter for two years.
Survey data continue to suggest that GDP growth will accelerate in Q1. The final PMI reports on Friday showed that the headline EZ composite index rose to 56.0 in February, from 54.4 in January, in line with the first estimate.
It's much too soon to have a very firm view on fourth quarter GDP growth, not least because almost half the quarter hasn't happened yet.
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.
Fourth quarter GDP growth is likely to be revised down today.
Wage growth will be crucial in determining how quickly the MPC raises interest rates this year. So far, it hasn't recovered meaningfully.
We have been asked recently why we rarely talk about the signal from the U.S. money supply numbers, in contrast to the emphasis we give to real M1 growth in our forecasts for economic growth in both the Eurozone and China.
For countries with developed non-banking funding channels, narrow money isn't necessarily a good predictor of GDP growth.
Money supply data in the euro point to a cyclical peak in GDP growth this year. Headline M3 growth fell to 4.8% year-over-year in July, from 5.0% in June, chiefly due to a slowdown in narrow money. M1 growth declined to 8.4%, from 8.7%, as a result of weaker momentum in overnight deposits and currency in circulation.
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.
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.
One of the key characteristics of this euro area business cycle has been near-zero inflation due to structurally weak domestic demand and depressed prices for globally traded goods and commodities. This has supported real incomes, despite sluggish nominal wage growth.
Money supply growth in the Eurozone rebounded slightly last month, reversing some of the weakness at the start of the year.
Chinese real GDP growth reportedly edged down to 6.7% year-over-year in Q2, from 6.8% in Q1.
Looking back at the numbers over the past few weeks, it is pretty clear that the gap between the strong payroll reports and the activity data widened to a chasm in the first quarter. We now expect GDP growth of about zero--the latest Atlanta Fed estimate is +0.3% and the New York Fed's new model points to 0.8%--but payrolls rose at an annualized 1.9% rate.
Yesterday's data kicked off the release of Eurozone Q3 growth numbers with a robust Spanish headline. Real GDP in Spain rose 0.8% quarter-on-quarter, slowing slightly from 0.9% in Q2, and le aving the year-over-year rate unchanged at 3.1%.
The headline in yesterday's EZ money supply report gave the illusion that monetary conditions are stable, but the details tell a different story. M3 growth accelerated marginally to 5.0% year-over-year in June, from 4.9%, but momentum in narrow money fell further. M1 growth slowed to 8.5% year-over-year, from 9.0% in May due to a fall in overnight deposits and currency in circulation.
Money supply data continue to send a bullish message on the euro area economy. Broad money growth was unchanged at 5.0% year-over-year in June, but M1 growth surged to 11.8%, from 11.2% in May. Combined with low inflation, real M1--the best leading indicator in the Eurozone--indicates a surge in GDP growth on par with previous record business cycle upturns in 1999, 2005-06 and 2009-10.
The national accounts look set to show that GDP growth in the fourth quarter was even stronger than previously estimated. Earlier this month, quarter-on-quarter growth in construction output in Q4 was revised up to 1.2%, from 0.2%. As a result, construction's contribution to GDP growth will rise by 0.07 percentage points.
A classic indicator of impending recession is the emergence of excessive levels of inventory across the economy. The pace of businesses inventory accumulation typically lags sales growth, so when activity slows, usually in response to higher interest rates, firms are left with unsold goods.
December's money data likely will bring further signs that the U.K. economy's growth spurt late last year was paid for with unsecured borrowing. Retail sales fell by 1.9% month-to-month in December, so we doubt that unsecured borrowing will match November's £1.7B increase, which was the biggest since March 2005.
Industrial profits growth is closely watched by the Chinese authorities, even more so now that deleveraging is a prime policy aim.
Japan's June retail sales data add to the run of numbers suggesting a strong rebound in real GDP growth in Q2, after the 0.2% contraction in activity in Q1.
Chinese industrial profits growth rose to 16.7% year-on-year in May, from 14.0% in April. But this headline is highly misleading. Profits growth data are about as cyclical as they come so taking one point in the year and looking back 12 months is very arbitrary. Moreover, the data are very volatile over short periods.
Chinese industrial profits growth officially edged down to 25.1% year-over-year in October, from 27.7% in September. This is still very rapid but we think the official data are overstating the true rate of growth.
Survey and money supply data remain consistent with an improving Eurozone economy. Yesterday's EC sentiment index fell to 103.7 in April, from 103.9 in March, due to weakness in France and Germany, but it is consistent with GDP growth of about 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q2.
Headline money supply growth in the Eurozone has averaged 5% year-over-year since the beginning of 2015; yesterday's October data did not change that story.
It doesn'tt matter if third quarter GDP growth is revised up a couple of tenths in today's third estimate of the data, in line with the consensus forecast.
Halfway through the third quarter, we have no objection to the idea that GDP growth likely will exceed 2% for the third straight quarter.
Today's labour market figures likely will show that wage growth is bouncing back from a soft patch in late 2015. As a result, the MPC won't be able to sit on its hands much longer, especially in light of the continued dire news on productivity.
Net foreign trade was a drag on GDP growth in the second quarter, subtracting 0.7 percentage points from the headline number.
Money supply data today should provide further confirmation of a moderate upturn in the Eurozone credit cycle. We think broad money growth, M3, accelerated to 5.0% year-over-year in April, up from 4.6% in March.
Yesterday's economic data added further evidence that GDP growth in the EZ will slow in Q2.
Headline money supply growth in the Eurozone accelerated further at the start of Q2.
Bank Governor Mark Carney reiterated in a speech yesterday that he wants to see sustained momentum in GDP growth, domestic cost pressures firm and core inflation rise further towards 2%, before raising interest rates. We doubt he will have long to wait on the last two points, given the tightness of the labour market.
The biggest single driver of the downward revision to first quarter GDP growth, due this morning, will be the foreign trade component. Headline GDP growth likely will be pushed down by a full percentage point, to -0.8% from +0.2%, with trade accounting for about 0.7 percentage points of the revision.
Money supply growth in the Eurozone quickened last month, by 0.3 percentage points to 3.9% year- over-year, but the details were less upbeat.
Our new Chief U.K. economist, Samuel Tombs, initiated his coverage yesterday with a sombre, non-consensus, message on the economy. Headwinds from fiscal tightening and net trade will weigh on GDP growth next year, but the BoE will likely have to look through such cyclical weakness, and hike as inflation creeps higher. An intensified drag from net trade in the U.K. will, other things equal, benefit the Eurozone. But a slowdown in U.K. GDP growth still poses a notable risk to euro area headline export growth, especially in the latter part of next year.
Money supply growth in the Eurozone firmed last month. Broad money--M3--rose 5.0% year-overyear in August, after a tepid 4.5% rise in July.
The U.K. economy retained its momentum last year, despite the seismic shock of the vote to leave the EU. Quarter-on-quarter GDP growth averaged 0.5% in the first three quarters of 2016, matching 2015's rate and the average pace of growth across the Atlantic.
A bullish EZ money supply report was the key highlight while we were away over the holidays. M3 growth in the euro area accelerated to 4.8% year-over-year in November from 4.4% in October.
Two entirely separate factors point to significant upside risk to the first estimate of third quarter GDP growth, due today. First, we think it likely that farm inventories will not fall far enough to offset the unprecedented surge in exports of soybeans, which will add some 0.9 percentage points to headline GDP growth.
Momentum in EZ money supply slipped marginally in September. Headline M3 growth slowed to 5.0%, from 5.1%, mainly due to a slowdown in narrow money. Overnight deposit growth slowed to 9.4%, from 9.9% in August, offsetting a slight rise in growth of currency in circulation.
The astonishing 86% annualized plunge in capital spending in mining structures--mostly oil wells--alone subtracted 0.6 percentage points from headline GDP growth in the first quarter. The collapse was bigger than we expected, based on the falling rig count, but the key point is that it will not be repeated in the second quarter.
Chile's activity numbers at the beginning of Q3 were mediocre, suggesting that the economy remains sluggish. The industrial production index--comprising mining, manufacturing, and utility output--fell by 1.7% year-over-year in July, reversing a 1.6% expansion in June. A disappointing 4.5% year-over-year contraction in mining activity depressed the July headline index, following a 1.4% increase in June. The moderation in output growth was due to maintenance-related shutdowns at key processing plants, and disruptions from labor strikes, especially a three-week strike by contract workers at Codelco--the state-owned mining firm--which badly hit production.
On the official gauge, China's real GDP growth fell minimally to 6.8% year-on-year in Q3, from 6.9% in Q2. Growth edged down to 1.7% quarter-on-quarter from an upwardly revised 1.8% in Q2.
With almost two thirds of the nominal data for the third quarter now available, we can make a stab at the contribution of inventories to real GDP growth.
Slower growth in households' spending was the main reason why the economy lost momentum last year.
It's a myth that the 10-ye ar decline in the unemployment rate has not driven up the pace of wage growth.
We expect today's first estimate of third quarter GDP growth to show that the economy expanded at a 2.4% annualized rate over the summer.
Data released yesterday confirm that Brazil's recovery has continued over the second half of the year, supported by steady capex growth and rebounding household consumption.
We have argued for some time that the revival in nonoil capex represents clear upside risk for GDP growth next year, but it's now time to make this our base case.
Today's market attention will be focused on the advance August PMI data in the major EZ economies. We think the composite PMI in the euro area was unchanged at 53.2 in August, consistent with stable GDP growth of 0.3%-to-0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q3. The signal of "stability" in the Eurozone business cycle has been consistently relayed by the PMI since the beginning of the year.
We can't afford the luxury of believing China's year-over-year growth rates. Real GDP growth was 6.8% year-over-year in Q1, matching the rate in Q4 and Q3, and hitting consensus.
Japan's monetary base growth showed further signs of stabilisation in May, at 8.1% year-over-year, edging up trivially from 7.8% in April.
In the wake of last week's strong core retail sales numbers for November, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model for fourth quarter GDP growth shot up to 3.0% from 2.4%.
Monetary dynamics in the Eurozone were virtually unchanged last month. M3 growth rose trivially to 5.0% year-over-year in March from a revised 4.9% in February. It was lifted by stronger growth in medium-term deposits and issuance of short-term debt.
The latest model-based third quarter GDP forecast from the Atlanta Fed is 3.6%, well above the 2.5% consensus forecast reported by Bloomberg. We are profoundly skeptical of so-called "tracking models" of GDP growth, because they are based mostly on forecasts and assumptions until very close to the actual GDP release.
China's real GDP growth officially slowed to 6.5% year-over-year in Q3, from 6.7% in Q2.
Yesterday's CPI report in the Eurozone confirmed that inflation pressures remain subdued, even as GDP growth is accelerating.
Friday's data deluge suggests that EZ economic growth slowed less than we expected in the second quarter. The advance estimate indicates that real GDP in the euro area rose 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, down from a 0.6% jump in the first quarter. This was in line with the consensus, but it likely doesn't tell the whole story.
The news that the seasonal adjustments in the GDP numbers are even less reliable than previously thought means the Fed likely will put even greater emphasis on the labor market when pondering when to begin raising rates. A cost-push view of the inflation process necessarily centers on the labor data, but every FOMC statement begins with an assessment of the overall pace of growth.
Yesterday's FOMC statement was a bit more upbeat on growth than we expected, with Janet Yellen's final missive describing everything -- economic growth, employment, household spending, and business investment -- as "solid".
The rise in Markit/CIPS services PMI to 55.0 in March, from 53.3 in February, brings some relief that GDP growth has not stalled in Q1, following manufacturing and construction surveys that signalled near-stagnation.
German retail and consumer sentiment data for March have been mixed this week, but broadly support our call that growth in consumption should pick up soon.
The market for new cars in the Eurozone remained red-hot last month. New registrations surged 18.4% year-over-year in May, up from a 9.4% rise in April, and pushing the 12-month average level of registrations to a post-crisis high of 843K units. Accelerating growth in Italy and France was the key driver.
December's money data brought clear signs that the economy's growth spurt in the second half of 2016 is about to come to an abrupt end. Growth in households' money holdings and borrowing slowed sharply in December, and the pick-up in corporate borrowing shortly after the MPC cut interest rates and announced corporate bond purchases, in August, has run out of steam already.
The 21K rise in the headline, three-month average, unemployment rate between November and February confirmed last month that the U.K.'s period of fantastically strong growth in employment has ended. Timelier indicators, however, suggest unemployment is stabilising, not on the cusp of a major increase.
Advance PMI data yesterday supported our suspicion that Q1 economic survey data will paint a picture of slowing growth in the Eurozone economy. The composite PMI in the Eurozone fell to a 13-month low of 52.7 in February from 53.6 in January, driven by declines in both the French and German advance data.
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.
Eurozone manufacturing boosted GDP growth in the first half of the year, and survey data suggest that momentum will be maintained in Q3.
Evidence of slowing growth in Eurozone consumers' spending continues to mount. Retail sales in the euro area fell 0.5% month-to-month in March, pushing the year-over-rate down to 2.1% from a revised 2.7% in February. The headline likely was depressed by the early Easter. March had one trading day less than February, which was not picked up the seasonals.
Growth in EZ car sales slowed further at the beginning of Q4. New registrations in the euro area fell 1.2% year-over-year in October, down from a 7.2% increase in September.
The April foreign trade numbers strongly support our view that foreign trade will make a hefty positive contribution to second quarter GDP growth, after subtracting a massive 1.9 percentage points in the first. The headline April deficit fell further than we expected, thanks in part to an unsustainable jump in aircraft exports and a decline in the oil deficit, but the big story was the 4.2% plunge in non- oil imports.
The downshift in the rate of growth of retail sales, which has caused a degree of consternation among investors, likely has further to run. The Redbook chain store sales survey clearly warned at the turn of the year that a slowdown was coming, but forecasters didn't want hear the warning: Five of the seven non-auto retail sales numbers released this year have undershot consensus.
When the advance estimate of first quarter GDP growth is revised, on May 29, we expect the new data to show that net foreign trade subtracted an enormous 1.9 percentage points from growth. With GDP likely to be revised down to -0.7% from +0.2%, that means domestic demand likely will be reported up 1.2%.
Headline M3 money supply growth in the Eurozone was steady as a rock at around 5% year-over-year between 2014 and the end of 2017.
The ECB left its key interest rates unchanged yesterday, and maintained the pace of QE at €60B a month, but increased the issue limit to 33% from 25%. The updated staff projections revealed a downward adjustment of the central bank's inflation and growth forecasts across all horizons up to 2017. These forecasts were accompanied by a very dovish introductory statement, noting disappointment with the pace of the cyclical recovery, and emphasizing renewed downside risks to the economy and the inflation outlook.
The first estimate of retail sales growth in August was weaker than implied by the Redbook chainstore sales survey, but our first chart shows that the difference between the numbers was well within the usual margin of error.
Let's say we are right, and global yields go up this year. Somewhere in the world, imbalances will be exposed, causing financial ructions and damaging GDP growth.
A further rise in the business activity index of the November Markit/CIPS report on services offset declines in the manufacturing and construction surveys' key balances. The composite PMI--a weighted average of three survey's activity indices -- therefore rose, to a level consistent with quarter-on-quarter GDP growth strengthening to 0.6% in the fourth quarter, from 0.5% in Q3. Nonetheless, we do not think this is a convincing signal that the economic recovery is regaining strength.
Economic theory tells us that government spending should be counter-cyclical, but recent experience in the Eurozone tells a slightly different story. The contribution to GDP growth from government spending rose during the boom from 2004 to 2007, and remained expansionary as the economy fell off the cliff in 2008. As the economy slowed again following the initial recovery, the sovereign debt crisis hit, driving a severe pro-cyclical fiscal hit to the economy.
Money supply growth in the euro area eased further towards the end of Q4.
The Eurozone has a productivity problem. Between 1997 and 2007, labour productivity rose an average 1.2% year-over-year, but this rate has slowed to a crawl--a mere 0.5%--since the crisis. These data tell an important story about the peaks in EZ GDP growth over the business cycle. Before the financial crisis in 2008, cyclical peaks in Eurozone GDP growth were as high as 3%-to-4% year-over-year.
Yesterday's labour market figures revealed that employment growth has picked up this year, despite the shadow cast over the medium-term economic outlook by Brexit. The 122K, or 0.4%, quarter-on-quarter rise in employment in Q1 was the biggest since Q2 2016.
The PBoC probably will start soon to run modestly easier monetary policy, but conditions have been tightening consistently for over a year, so a slowdown in economic growth likely is already locked in.
The long-awaited decisive upturn in wage growth still hasn't emerged. Year-over-year growth in average weekly wages, excluding bonuses, held steady at 2.6% in May.
Yesterday's economic data provided further evidence that GDP growth in the EZ economy slowed in Q2.
September's Markit/CIPS services survey added to the evidence indicating that GDP growth softened, rather than fell off a cliff, in the third quarter. The activity index edged down only to 52.6, from 52.9 in August.
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 became more confident last week in our call that GDP growth will hold up better than widely feared in the first half of 2019, following signs that consumers have maintained their happy-go-lucky mentality, despite the ongoing political crisis.
Slack in the labour market no longer is being absorbed and wage growth still is struggling for momentum, placing little pressure on the MPC to rush the next rate rise.
The rate of growth of wages has been the single best guide to Fed policy for many years.
The German trade surplus increased slightly in May, following weakness in the beginning of spring. The seasonally adjusted surplus rose to €20.3B in May, from €19.7B in April; it was lifted by a 1.4% month-to-month jump in exports, which offset a 1.2% rise imports.
The Office for National Statistics yesterday released the last major batch of output data before the preliminary estimate of Q3 GDP is published on October 25, just one week before the MPC's key meeting.
The economy looks to be in better shape following May's GDP report than widely feared.
Markets rightly interpreted yesterday's above consensus GDP report as having little impact on the outlook for monetary policy.
The economic data were mixed while we were away. The final PMI data showed that the composite PMI in the euro area fell to 53.1 in October, from 54.1 in September, somewhat better than the initial estimate, 52.7.
Next week is a big one for China. The five yearly Party Congress opens on Wednesday, and on Thursday, the monthly raft of activity data is published, along with Q3 GDP.
Markets were right to conclude that September's slightly weaker average weekly wage figures will have little impact on the MPC's decision on when to raise official interest rates. Fundamentally, wage pressures are building and likely will contribute to pushing CPI inflation back to its 2% target towards the end of 2016.
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.
It's unrealistic to have a repeat of the second quarter's 4.2% leap in consumers' spending as your base case for the third quarter. It's not impossible, though, given the potential for the saving rate to continue to decline, and the apparently favorable base effect from the second quarter.
Japan is the only major advanced economy to have recently experienced an exchange rate depreciation as large as Britain's. Between July 2012 and May 2013, the yen f ell by 24%, matching sterling's depreciation since its peak in August 2015.
Industrial production and trade data on Friday ended last week on a downbeat note, amid otherwise solid economic reports. In Germany, industrial output fell 0.3% month-to-month in November, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 0.1% from a revised 0.4% in October. The details, however, were better than the headline. Production was hit by a 3.3% plunge in capital goods output, offsetting gains in all other key sectors, and net revisions added 0.3% to the October data.
September's industrial production figures likely will not surprise markets today. We look for a 0.3% month-to-month rise in production, matching the consensus and the ONS assumption in the preliminary estimate of Q3 GDP.
It's tempting to conclude from the third quarter's GDP figures, which showed output rising 0.5% quarter-on-quarter, despite a record drag from net trade, that the U.K. economy is comfortably weathering sterling's appreciation. But a closer look at the data shows the net trade drag is the counterparty to some erratic inventory movements. The real net trade hit is still to come.
This week's hard data confirmed the bleak situation of Brazil's industrial sector, signalled over the last few months by key leading indicators such as the PMI manufacturing and the CNI business confidence surveys. March industrial production fell by 0.8% month-to-month and 3.5% year-over-year, following a downwardly-revised 9.4% contraction in February.
It's probably safe to assume that Q1's 0.5% quarter-on-quarter increase in GDP will be as good as it gets this year.
Japan's money and credit data have shown signs of life in recent months, but that's all set to change quickly, due to the disruptions caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Chile's April retail sales data, released on Monday, show that private consumption started the second quarter on a solid footing. Sales rose 3.0% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-rate up to 7.9% from 1.4% in March and an average of 4.0% in Q1. The headline was boosted by a favourable calendar effect, as April this year had two more trading days than April 2015.
The Fed will do nothing today, but the FOMC's statement will re-affirm the intention to continue its "gradual" tightening.
We are wary of a downside surprise in today's German orders, due to weak advance data from the engineering organisation, VDMA. We think factory orders fell 0.5% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-year rate slightly lower to 4.5% in June from 4.7% in May. This is noticeably worse than the market expects, but the consensus forecast for a 0.3% rise implies a jump in the year-over-year rate, which is difficult to reconcile with leading indicators.
Yesterday's wall of data told us a bit about where the economy likely is going, and a bit about how it started the first quarter. The January trade and inventory data were disappointing, but the February Chicago PMI and consumer confidence reports were positive.
The first quarter probably saw continued weakness in German net trade, despite the modest February rebound in gross exports. The seasonally-adjusted trade surplus rose to €19.7B from €18.7B in January, lifted by a 1.3% month-to-month rise in exports, which offset a 0.4% increase in imports.
Yesterday's economic data in Germany cemented the story of a strong start to the year, despite the disappointing headlines. Industrial production slipped 0.4% month-to-month in March, pushing the year-over-year rate down to +1.9% from a revised +2.0% in February.
Friday's industrial production reports in the Eurozone were sizzling. In Germany, headline output rose 1.2% month-to-month in May--after a downwardly-revised 0.7% rise in April--which pushed the year-over-year rate up to a six-year high of 4.9%.
The latest national accounts show that the economy is holding up much better in the face of heightened Brexit uncertainty than previously thought.
The economy has remained remarkably resilient in the face of intense political uncertainty.
Yesterday's economic data in Germany were stellar, but base effects mean that the story for Q4 as a whole is less upbeat.
The Fed left in place the three key elements of its statement yesterday, repeating that the extent of labor market under-utilization is "diminishing"; that the inflation drop as a result of falling oil prices will be "transitory" and that the Fed can be "patient" before starting to raise rates.
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.
In order fully to reverse the fall in GDP in the first and second quarters, the third quarter needs to grow at a 45.7% annualized rate.
We want to revisit remarks from Fed Vice-Chair Clarida last week.
The definition of "yesbutism": Noun, meaning the practice of dismissing or seeking to diminish the importance of data on the grounds that the next iteration will tell the opposite story.
As we go to press, it appears that politicians in Italy have agreed on a 2019 budget deficit of 2.4% of GDP.
The decline in headline durable goods orders in May, reported yesterday, doesn't matter.
The latest E.C. survey shows the gap between firms' and households' confidence levels has remained substantial.
Markets often greet the monthly international trade numbers with a shrug.
The Mexican economy is recovering gradually, despite many external headwinds. This week, the IGAE economic activity index--a monthly proxy for GDP--rose a solid 2.6% year-over-year in August, up from 2.0% in July. In the first half the economy grew on average 2.4%. The report showed increases in all three sectors, most notably agriculture, up 8.2% year-over-year, followed by services, 3.3%, and industrial activities, with a 1.0% gain.
Survey data in the Eurozone were mixed yesterday. In Germany, the advance GfK consumer sentiment index slipped to 10.0 in October, from 10.2 in September, marginally below consensus forecasts. The details, reported for September, also were soft.
The economic data in the Eurozone were mixed while we were away.
The biggest single surprise in the second quarter GDP report was the unexpected $28B real-terms drop in inventories.
Today's barrage of data kicks off a couple of busy days in the Eurozone economic calendar.
It's possible that first hints of better news ahead in the Covid surge in the South and West are beginning to emerge in the data.
Leading indicators for consumers' spending in France are sending conflicting signals. Survey data suggest that households are in a spendthrift mood. Data yesterday showed that the headline consumer sentiment index was unchanged in March at 100, the cycle high.
Reporting on the German labour market has been like watching paint dry in this expansion, but yesterday's data were a stark exception to this rule.
Yesterday's economic reports in the euro area were mixed.
In the wake of the robust July data and the upward revisions to June, real personal consumption--which accounts for 69% of GDP--appears set to rise by at least 3% in the third quarter, and 3.5% is within reach. To reach 4%, though, spending would have to rise by 0.3% in both August and September, and that will be a real struggle given July's already-elevated auto sales and, especially, overstretched spending on utility energy.
We look for a 210K increase in July payrolls. That would be consistent with the message from an array of private sector surveys, as well as the recent trend.
Survey data point to a very strong headline, 0.6%-to-0.7% quarter-on-quarter, in today's Q1 advance Eurozone GDP report. But the hard data have been less ebullient than the surveys. A GDP regression using retail sales, industrial production and construction points to a more modest 0.4% increase, implying a slowdown from the upwardly-revised 0.5% gain in Q4.
Last week's advance EZ GDP data for the first quarter suggest the economy shrugged off the volatility in financial markets. Eurostat's first estimate indicates that real GDP in the euro area rose 0.6% quarter-on-quarter in Q1, up from 0.3% in Q4, and above the consensus, 0.4%.
Yesterday's economic numbers in the Eurozone were mixed, but we are inclined to see them through rose-tinted glasses.
Mr. Draghi's speech yesterday in Portugal, at the ECB forum on Central Banking, pushed the euro and EZ government bond yields higher. The markets' hawkish interpretation was linked to the president's comment that "The threat of deflation is gone and reflationary forces are at play."
Yesterday's IFO data reversed the good vibes sent by last week's upbeat German PMIs.
need to add docMea culpa: We failed to spot the press release from the Commerce Department announcing the delay of the release of the advance December trade and inventory data, due to the government shutdown.
We're expecting to learn today that the economy expanded at a 2.6% annualized rate in the first quarter, rather better than we expected at the turn of the year--our initial assumption was 1-to-2%--and above the consensus, 2.3%.
Today's preliminary estimate of GDP likely will show that the economy continued to struggle in response to high inflation, further fiscal austerity and Brexit uncertainty.
The headline EZ data added to the evidence of a weakening recovery while we were away.
We have tweaked our third quarter GDP forecast in the wake of the September advance international trade and inventory data; we now expect today's first estimate to show that the economy expanded at a 4.0% annualized rate.
Amid all the trade tensions, it's easy to lose sight of the big picture for China.
Yesterday's advance PMI reports in the euro area signal that economic momentum slowed slightly at the start of Q4.
We are revising our forecast for Fed action this year, taking out two of the four hikes we had previously expected. We now look for the Fed to hike by 25bp in September and December, so the funds rate ends the year at 0.875%. The Fed's current forecast is also 0.875%, but the fed funds future shows 0.6%.
Advance PMI data indicate a slow start to the first quarter for the Eurozone economy. The composite index fell to 53.5 in January from 54.3 in December, due to weakness in both services and manufacturing. The correlation between month-to-month changes in the PMI and MSCI EU ex-UK is a decent 0.4, and we can't rule out the ide a that the horrible equity market performance has dented sentiment. The sudden swoon in markets, however, has also led to fears of an imminent recession. But it would be a major overreaction to extrapolate three weeks' worth of price action in equities to the real economy.
Detailed GDP data yesterday showed that the domestic German economy fired on all cylinders in the first quarter. Real GDP rose 0.7% quarter-on-quarter in Q1, up from 0.3% in Q4, lifted by strong investment and spending. Domestic demand rose 0.8%, only slightly slower than the 0.9% ris e in the fourth quarter. Net exports fell 0.3%, a bit better than in Q4, when gross exports fell outright.
The weaker is the economy over the next few months, the more likely it is that Mr. Trump blinks and removes some--perhaps even all--the tariffs on Chinese imports.
In the absence of reliable advance indicators, forecasting the monthly movements in the trade deficit is difficult.
The stagnation in business investment since 2016 has been key to the slowdown in the overall economy since the E.U. referendum.
On a headline level, yesterday's IFO in Germany confirmed the main message from last week's PMIs.
The last time oil prices fell sharply, from mid-2014, when WTI peaked at $107, through early 2016, when the price reached just $26, the U.S. economy slowed dramatically.
The E.C.'s Economic Sentiment Indicator for the U.K., released yesterday, painted an upbeat picture of the economy's recent performance. The ESI picked up to 109.4 in February from 107.1 in January; its average level since 1990 is 100. February's reading was the highest since December 2015, and it slightly exceeded the E.U.'s average of 108.9.
Fed Chair Powell sounded a lot like Janet Yellen yesterday, at least in terms of substance.
We expect to learn today that the economy expanded at a 2.1% annualized rate in the fourth quarter, slowing from 3.4% in the third.
The Fed wants price stability--currently defined as 2% inflation--and maximum sustainable employment.
The balance of risks to activity in Mexico this year is still tilted to the downside, even though recent data have been mixed. Key indicators show that the manufacturing sector is gathering strength on the back of lagged effect of the MXN's sell-off last year, and the improving U.S. economy.
Over the last few months we have started to see hard evidence of Brazil's deceleration, and, as we have argued in previous Monitors, the slowdown is now set to become more visible. Over the coming weeks, markets will focus on whether Brazil is already in recession, its likely severity, and how the country will get out of this mess.
The fall in the cost of new secured credit has played a key role in reinvigorating the economy over the last couple of years. Mortgage interest payments were 3.7% lower in Q3 than in the same quarter a year previously, even though the stock of secured debt was 2% larger. As a result, the percentage of household disposable incomes taken up by mortgage interest payments fell to 4.8% in the third quarter of 2015--the lowest proportion since records began in 1987--from 5.2% a year before.
The July Eurozone PMI survey echoed the message from consumer sentiment earlier of a mild dip in momentum going into Q3. The composite PMI in the euro area fell to 53.7, from 54.2 in June due mainly to a fall in the services index. Companies' own expectations for future business fell in the core, but the survey was conducted soon after the Greek referendum. Markit claims this didn't depress the data, but we are on alert for revisions to the headline and expectations next week, or a rebound next month.
Economic activity in Mexico during the past few months has been relatively resilient, as external and domestic threats appear to have diminished.
Inflation pressures in the Eurozone probably firmed slightly in August. Data yesterday showed that inflation in Germany and Spain rose by 0.1 percentage points to 1.8% and 1.6% year-over-year respectively, and we are also pencilling-in an increase in French inflation today, ahead of the aggregate EZ report.
The MPC's decision yesterday was a "dovish hold", designed to keep market interest rates at current stimulative levels and to preserve the option of cutting Bank Rate swiftly and without surprise, if the economy fails to rebound in Q1.
Chile's economic outlook is still positive, but clouds have been gradually gathering since mid-year, due mostly to the slowdown in China, low copper prices and falling consumer and business confidence.
Chile's near-term economic outlook is still negative, but clouds have been gradually dispersing since late Q4, due mostly to better news on the global trade front, China's improving economic prospects, and rising copper prices.
If our composite index of businesses' hiring plans could speak, it would say: "Told you payrolls were going to go nuts at the end of the year."
We're expecting to learn this morning that productivity rose by a respectable 1.7% in the year to the fourth quarter, the best performance in nearly four years.
The two major EZ economic reports released while we were away conformed to the consensus. Advance data suggest that real GDP in the euro area rose 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, the same pace as in Q2, and the year-over-year rate was similarly unchanged at 1.6%.
Always expect the unexpected in a bonus month for Japanese wages.
The steep rise in the number of people unemployed for more than six months attracted a good deal of media attention after the release of Friday's August jobs report, as well it might.
Investors have stuck to their view that interest rates are just as likely to rise this year as not, despite the soft round of PMIs released this week.
The ADP private sector employment number was a bit weaker than we expected in May, and the undershoot relative to our forecast has pulled down our model's estimate for today's official number
China's National People's Congress yesterday laid out its main goals for this year, on the first day of its annual meeting.
The small rise in the Markit/CIPS services PMI to 51.3 in February, from 50.1 in January, came as a relief yesterday.
The government will have no choice but to introduce fresh nationwide curbs on economic activity before long, if the current steep upward trend in Covid-19 infections is sustained.
Data released during our summer break have strengthened the case for expecting the economic recovery to decelerate sharply in the autumn, well before GDP has returned to pre-Covid levels.
Last week's news that output per hour jumped by 0.9% quarter-on-quarter in Q3--the biggest rise since Q2 2011--has fanned hopes that the underlying trend finally is improving.
December's payroll numbers were unexciting, exactly matching the 175K consensus when the 19K upward revision to November is taken into account. Some of the details were a bit odd, though, notably the 63K jump in healthcare jobs, well above the 40K trend, and the 19K drop in temporary workers, compared to the typical 15K monthly gain.
The headline changes in yesterday's ECB policy announcement were largely as expected. The central bank left its main refinancing and deposit rates unchanged at 0.00% and -0.4% respectively, and maintained the pace of QE at €60B per month. The central bank also delivered the two expected changes to its introductory statement. The reference to "lower levels" was removed from the forward guidance on rates, signalling that the ECB does not expect that rates will be lowered anytime soon.
January's GDP report, released on Wednesday, was set to be one of the most important data releases of this year, due to its role in providing the first official steer on the economy's post-election performance.
Chile's inflation outlook remains benign, allowing policymakers to cut interest rates if the economic recovery falters.
In contrast to the strong December trade numbers in France--see here--yesterday's German data were soft. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus dipped to €21.5B in December, from €22.3B in November.
Economic activity data in Chile have been soft and uneven this year, due mainly to the hit from low commodity prices and uncertainty surrounding the reform agenda, which has badly damaged consumer and investor sentiment. The latest Imacec index, a proxy for GDP, increased just 1.7% year-over-year in October, down from the 2.7% gain in September, and below the 2.2% average seen during Q3 as a whole.
The NFIB survey of small businesses today will show that July hiring intentions jumped by four points to +19, the highest level since November 2006. The NFIB survey has been running since 1973, and the hiring intentions index has never been sustained above 20.
Yesterday's detailed Q3 GDP data in the Eurozone confirmed that the economy has gone from strength to strength this year.
Economic data have yielded the limelight in recent months to Brexit news and, alas, we doubt that February's GDP data, released on Wednesday, will reclaim investors' attention.
The headline Chinese trade numbers are beginning to come into line with the story we have been telling about the more recent trends.
We're expecting a 175K increase in December payrolls today. Our forecast has been nudged down from 190K in the wake of the ADP employment report, which was slightly weaker than we expected.
The economic calendar in Mexico was relatively quiet over Christmas, and broadly conformed to our expectations of poor economic activity in Q4.
The economy would have ground to a halt last year had households not reduced their saving rate sharply.
The economic calendar in Mexico was relatively quiet over Christmas, and broadly conformed to our expectations of resilient economic activity in Q4.
January's money supply figures continued the nerve-jangling flow of data on the economy's momentum.
September's Markit/CIPS PMIs indicate that the economy still is stuck in a low gear.
Yesterday's data showed that the euro area PMIs were a bit stronger than initially estimated in November.
January's Markit/CIPS manufacturing survey suggests that the outcome of the general election has brought manufacturers some momentary relief.
Data released last week confirm that Brazil's recovery has continued over the second half of the year, supported by steady household consumption and rebounding capex.
Chair Yellen's final FOMC meeting today will be something of a non-event in economic terms.
December's money and credit figures suggest that households are in no fit state to step up and drive the economy forwards this year.
The only significant surprise in the terrible second quarter GDP numbers was the 2.7% increase in government spending, led by near-40% leap in the federal nondefense component.
Yesterday's barrage of economic data in the Eurozone offered a good snapshot of the grand narrative.
Our composite index of employment indicators, based on survey data and the official JOLTS report, looks ahead about three months.
February's Markit/CIPS construction survey brought further evidence that the economy is being weighed down by Brexit uncertainty.
Productivity likely rose by 1.7% last year, the best performance since 2010.
The post-election run of upbeat business surveys was extended yesterday, with the release of the final Markit/CIPS services PMI for January.
The jump in the Caixin services PMI in the past two months looks erratic, with holiday effects playing a role, though there could be more going on here.
Yesterday's news that the business activity index of the Markit/CIPS services survey fell again in January, to just 50.1--its lowest level since July 2016--has created a downbeat backdrop to the MPC meeting; the minutes and Q1 Inflation Report will be published on Thursday.
Yesterday's final PMI data in the euro area for November broadly confirmed the initial estimates.
We have consistently flagged the likelihood that Japan's government would boost spending after the consumption tax hike was implemented.
The latest PMIs indicate that the economy remained listless in Q3, undermining the case for a rate rise before the end of this year. The business activity index of the Markit/CIPS services survey rose trivially to 53.6 in September, from 53.2 in August.
Labor demand, as measured by an array of business surveys, clearly slowed from the cycle peak, recorded late last year.
The latest PMIs have added to the weight of evidence that the economic recovery has lost momentum this year. The prevailing view in markets, however, that the Monetary Policy Committee is more likely to cut--rather than raise--interest rates this year continues to look misplaced because inflation pressure is building.
The MPC's view that the economy likely will grow at an above-trend rate over the coming quarters was challenged immediately last week by the PMIs.
Our working assumption now is that Congress will not pass a substantial Covid relief bill until next year, probably in February.
The dovish members of Banxico's board garnered further support on Friday for prolonging the current easing monetary cycle over coming meetings.
President Xi Jinping started China's Party Congress yesterday with a speech setting out the priorities for the next five years.
Data on EZ consumption were soft while we were enjoying our Christmas break. The advance EC consumer confidence index slipped to a three-year low of -8.1 in December, from -7.2 in November, breaking its recent tight range.
The economy's fragility was underlined by the Q3 national accounts, released just before the Christmas break.
Even an ardent Brexiteer could not deny that uncertainty about the outcome of the E.U. referendum is subduing bank lending. The Bank of England's preferred measure of bank lending--M4 lending excluding intermediate other financial corporations, or OFCs--fell by 0.1% month-to-month in April.
Italy's economy is still bumping along the bottom, after emerging from recession in the middle of last year.
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.
Peru's April supply-side monthly GDP data confirm that the economic rebound lost momentum at the start of the second quarter.
Yesterday's second batch of Q3 GDP data in the euro area provided further evidence of a strong and stable cyclical upturn in the economy.
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.
This week has seen a huge wave of data releases for both January and February, but the calendar today is empty save for the final Michigan consumer sentiment numbers; the preliminary index rose to a very strong 99.9 from 95.7, and we expect no significant change in the final reading.
China's Caixin manufacturing PMI was unchanged at 51.0 in October, continuing the sideways trend this year.
The Chilean economy improved in the first quarter, growing 2.0% year-over-year, up from 1.3% in the fourth quarter. Net trade led the improvement, with exports rising 2.1% quarter-on-quarter, thanks to the modest rise in metal prices and an increase in exports of services, especially tourism.
The headline May retail sales numbers were flattered by a 2.4% leap in the wildly volatile building materials component and a price-driven 2.0% surge in gasoline sales.
China's industrial production grew at an annualised 7.2% rate by volume in Q1, according to our estimates, up from an average 5.9% rate in the six quar ters through mid-2016.
We continue to see signs of a strengthening upturn in Eurozone construction. Output in construction rose 0.3% month-to-month in April, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 3.2%, from an upwardly revised 3.8% in March.
Today's labour market data look set to show that the headline, three-month average, unemployment rate held steady at just 5% in May, unchanged from April's reading.
Yesterday's EZ construction data confirmed that capex in the building sector plunged in the second quarter. Construction output fell 0.5% month-to-month in May, pushing the year-over-year rate up trivially to -0.8%, from a revised -1.0% in April. Our forecast for construction investment in Q2 is not pretty, even after including our assumption that production rebounded by 0.5% month-to-month in June.
The German economy fired on all cylinders at the beginning of the year. Advance data on Friday showed that real GDP rose 0.6% quarter-on-quarter, accelerating from a 0.4% increase in Q4.
Colombia is one of the fastest growing economy in LatAm but over the last few quarters the collapse in oil prices, the depreciating currency--fearing higher U.S. interest rates--and rising inflation, have depressed confidence and dragged down economic activity.
Investors face a busy EZ calendar today, but the second estimate of Q3 GDP, and the advance GDP data in Germany, likely will receive most attention. Yesterday's industrial production report in the Eurozone was soft, but it won't force a downward GDP revision, as we had feared.
Judging by the solid advance data in the major economies, yesterday's EZ industrial production report should have hit desks with a bang, but it was a whimper in the end.
The chainstore sales numbers have been hard to read over the past year.
Brazil's monetary authority adopted a neutral tone and kept its main rate on hold at 6.5% at its monetary policy meeting on Wednesday, surprising investors.
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.
Markets usually ignore the monthly import price data, presumably because they are far removed, especially at the headline level, from the consumer price numbers the Fed targets.
Data yesterday added further evidence of a slow recovery in Eurozone auto sales.
The most important number released yesterday was hidden well behind the headline inflation, production and housing construction data. We have been waiting to see how quickly the upturn in the number of rigs in operation would translate into rising oil and gas well-drilling, and now we know: In July, well-drilling jumped by 4.7%
Friday' second Q4 GDP estimate revealed that the EZ economy barely grew at the end of 2019. The report confirmed that GDP rose by 0.1% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, slowing from a 0.3% rise in Q3, but the headline only narrowly avoided downward revision to zero, at just 0.058%
ebruary's labour market data failed to make a resounding case for the MPC to raise interest rates in May, prompting markets to reduce the probability attached to a hike next month to 85%, from nearly 90% before the data were released.
The absence of an internationally agreed set of guidelines for easing lockdowns means that such decisions ultimately are political in nature.
This year has proved to be challenging for retailers in Mexico. The combination of fiscal reform, the economic slowdown over the first half of the year, and the collapse of consumer sentiment took a significant toll in the sector.
India's industrial production data last week are the last set of key economic indicators for the fourth quarter, before next week's Q4 GDP report.
The Spanish economy remains the star performer among the majors in the Eurozone.
Wednesday's money data confirmed that Chinese households have continued to borrow into Q2 but at a slower rate than in 2016. The slowdown will really set in during the second half, and into 2018. Households have done a sterling job of taking over the borrowing baton from corporates, but they can't do everything.
The second round of EZ GDP data on Friday confirmed the resilience of cyclical upturn. Real GDP in the euro area rose 0.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q1, up from 0.3% in Q4, and the fastest pace since the first quarter of last year. But the headline was slightly lower than the initial estimate, 0.6%, and consistent with our forecast before Friday's data.
The Brexit-related slump in corporate confidence finally has taken its toll on hiring.
The sovereign debt crisis in the euro area was a macroeconomic horror story
Construction data released yesterday provided further evidence that the Eurozone economy had a decent start to the fourth quarter. Output rose 1.3% month-on-month in October, equivalent to a 1.4% year-over-year increase.
Consensus expectations for August's labour market data, released today, look well grounded.
Japan's 0.3% quarter-on quarter increase in Q4 GDP was disappointing, on the face of it, after a downwardly-revised 0.7% fall in Q3.
The PBoC has left rates unchanged, so far, in the wake of the Fed hike.
What should we make of the view of Fed hawks, set out with admirable clarity in the September FOMC minutes, that higher rates "might spur rather than restrain economic activity"? The core story behind this counter-intuitive proposal is the idea that zero rates send a signal to the private sector that the Fed is deeply worried about the state of the economy.
Japan will host the Olympics in 2020 and the preparatory surge in construction investment makes 2017-to-2018 the peak spending period.
While we were on holiday, the data confirmed that economies have been badly hit by the pandemic in Q2, and that the upturn will be gradual.
Macroeconomic data in the euro area were mixed in our absence.
U.K. activity data have consistently surprised to the downside over the last month.
The housing market appears to be emerging gradually from the coma induced by Brexit uncertainty at the start of the year.
We have been pleasantly surprised by the recent Redbook chainstore sales numbers.
The Fed surprised no-one by raising rates 25bp yesterday and leaving in place the median forecast for three hikes next year and two next year.
Construction in the Eurozone had a decent start in the third quarter. Output rose 0.5% month-to- month in July, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 1.9% from 2.8% in June.
Yesterday's German IFO survey broadly confirmed the bullish message from the PMIs earlier this week. The headline business climate index rose to 111.0 in February from a revised 109.9 in January, boosted by increases in both the current assessment and the expectations index.
Yesterday's advance EZ PMI data were virtually unchanged from previous months, yet again. The composite PMI rose trivially to 53.3 in August from 53.2 in July; this means that the index has been almost stable since February. The headline was lifted by a small increase in services, which offset a slight decline in manufacturing.
Brazilian inflation has been well under control in the past few months, still laying the ground for rates to remain on hold for the foreseeable future.
The recent run of grim sales and earnings numbers from major national retailers, including Kohl's, Nordstrom, and Macy's, reflects two major trends. The first is obvious; the rising market share of internet sales is squeezing brick and mortar retailers, as our first chart shows. We have no idea how far this trend has yet to run but it shows no signs yet of peaking.
Yesterday's second estimate of Q3 GDP confirmed that the U.K. economy has underperformed this year.
Yesterday's labour market data gave sterling a shot in the arm on t wo counts. First, the headline, three-month average, unemployment rate fell to just 4.5% in May, from 4.6% in April.
Korea's preliminary GDP report for Q3 will be released tomorrow.
Eurozone PMI data yesterday presented investors with a confusing message. The composite index fell marginally to 52.9 in May, from 53.0 in April, despite separate data that showed that the composite PMIs rose in both Germany and France. Markit said that weakness outside the core was the key driver, but we have to wait for the final data to see the full story.
Yesterday's economic data in Brazil suggest that retailers suffered in the second quarter, hit by the effect of the truckers' strike, but private consumption remains somewhat resilient.
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.
Now that the holidays are just a distant memory, the distortions they cause in an array of economic data are fading. The problems are particularly acute in the weekly data -- mortgage applications, chainstore sales and jobless claims -- because Christmas Day falls on a different day of the week each year.
We held our breath this month.
The most striking feature of the Fed's new forecasts is the projected overshoot in core PCE inflation at end-2019 and end-2020, which fits our definition of "persistent".
Japan's all-industry activity index fell 0.5% month-on- month in September after a 0.2% rise in August. Construction activity continued to plummet, with the subindex dropping 2.3%, after a 2.2% fall in August.
Data yesterday showed that industrial production in the Eurozone stumbled in May. Production fell 1.2% month-to-month, driven by weakness in all major economies and falling output in all sub-industries. The poor headline follows an upwardly revised 1.4% jump in April, which means that production rose marginally in the first two months of the second quarter.
China's headline trade numbers appear to paint a picture of an economy in rude health but scratch the surface and the story is quite different. The trade surplus rose to$42.8B in June from $40.8B in May, hitting consensus.
The partial government shutdown is now the longest on record, with little chance of a near-term resolution.
A round of recent conversations with investors suggests to us that markets remain quite skeptical of the idea that the recent upturn in capital spending will be sustained.
Data today likely will show that manufacturing in the Eurozone was off to a strong start to the second quarter. Advance country data suggest that industrial production jumped 1.1% month-to-month in April, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 1.9% from 0.1% in March. The rise in output was driven mainly by Germany and France, but decent month-to-month gains in Ireland, Portugal and Greece also helped.
Chinese monetary conditions have tightened sharply in the past year. Conditions have stabilised in recent months but Fed policy normalisation implies the increase in the money stock should slow again in 2018.
Manufacturing confidence in France remained resilient in the fourth quarter. The INSEE sentiment index rose to 103 in December from 102 in November, lifted by a jump in firms' own production expectations, and a small increase in the new orders-to-inventory ratio. We think production will increase in Q4, lifted by energy output, but the recent jump in the year-over-year rate is unlikely to be sustained, even if we factor in the marginal increase in new orders this month.
We don't often write about the performance of individual companies, but we have to make an exception for Boeing, because it is big enough to matter at a macro level. Last year, civilian aircraft orders--dominated by Boeing--totalled $102B, equivalent to 0.6% of GDP.
While we were out, the key economic news in the Eurozone was mostly positive. The main upside surprise came from the advance Q2 German GDP report, which showed that real GDP rose 0.4% quarter-on-quarter, slowing from the 0.7% jump in the first quarter.
Korean trade activity is slowing.
We have had something of a rethink about the likely timing of the coming cyclical downturn. Previously, we thought the economy would start to slow markedly in the middle of next year, with a mild recession--two quarters of modest declines in GDP-- beginning in the fourth quarter.
Chinese GDP numbers always require a great deal of detective work, and yesterday's needed more than the norm; multiple rounds of revisions needed decoding.
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.
A widening core trade deficit is the inevitable consequence of a strengthening currency and faster growth than most of your trading partners. Falling oil prices have limited the headline damage by driving down net oil imports, but the downward trend in core exports since late 2014 has been steep and sustained, as our first chart shows. The deterioration meant that trade subtracted an average of 0.3 percentage points from GDP growth in the past three quarters.
In recent Monitors--see here and here--we have made a case for decent growth in the EZ's largest economies in the second half of the year, though we remain confident that full-year growth will be a good deal slower, about 2.0%, than the 2.5% in 2017.
Yesterday's money supply data in the Eurozone were solid across the board. Growth in headline M3 rose to 5.1% year-over-year in August, up from a 4.9% increase in July. A rebound in narrow money growth was the key driver of the gain, with seasonally- and calendar-adjusted M1 rising 8.9% year-over-year, up from July's 8.4%.
Money supply data in the EZ continue to suggest that headline GDP growth will slow soon.
Mr. Draghi used his introductory statement at the ECON--EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee-- hearing last week to assure investors that the central bank is vigilant to downside risks. The president noted the governing council "would not hesitate to act" if it deems growth and inflation to be undershooting expectations. Market volatility has increased the ECB's worries, but economic data continue to tell a story of a firm business cycle upturn.
The preliminary estimate of a 0.5% quarter-on-quarter rise in GDP in Q4 slightly exceeded our expectation and the third quarter's growth rate, both 0.4%. Nonetheless, there was little to console the optimists in the figures. The recovery remains unbalanced, with industrial production and construction output falling by 0.2% and 0.1% respectively, while services output rose 0.7% quarter-on-quarter.
In the last few weeks markets have been treated to the news that euro area industrial production crashed towards the end of Q4, warning that GDP growth failed to rebound at the end of 2018 from an already weak Q3.
The headline in yesterday's detailed Q1 German GDP data was old news, confirming that growth in the euro area's largest economy slowed at the start of the year.
China's official real GDP growth slowed to 6.0% year-over-year in Q3, from 6.2% in Q2 and 6.4% in Q1. Consecutive 0.2 percentage points declines are significant in China.
We will be paying special attention today to the EC sentiment survey for Italy, where the headline index has climbed steadily so far this year. It was unchanged at an eight-year high of 106.1 in April, and even if it fell slightly in May--we expect a dip to 105.0--it still points to an upturn in economic growth.
The second estimate of Q3 GDP last week confirmed that the Brexit vote didn't immediately drain momentum from the economic recovery. But it is extremely difficult to see how growth will remain robust next year, when high inflation will cripple consumers and the impact of the decline in investment intentions will be felt.
Monetary conditions in the Eurozone continue to send a bullish message on GDP growth, and indicate an ongoing, but slow, improvement in credit growth. Broad money growth--M3--was unchanged at 4.9% year-over-year in September, after a trivial 0.1% upward revision of last month's data. The increase continues to be driven by surging narrow money rising 11.7% in September from 11.5% in August, boosted by overnight deposit growth offsetting a slight decline in currency in circulation.
Markets responded to yesterday's disappointing GDP figures by pushing back expectations for the first rise in official interest rates even further into 2017. The first rate hike is now expected--by the overnight index swap market--in April 2017, two months later than anticipated before the GDP release. The figures certainly look weak--particularly when you scratch below the surface--and we expect growth to slow further over the coming quarters. But we don't agree they imply an even longer period of inaction on the Monetary Policy Committee.
Beyond the immediate wild swings in prices for food, clothing, hotel rooms and airline fares, the medium-term impact of the Covid outbreak on U.S. inflation will depend substantially on the impact on the pace of wage growth.
The preliminary estimate of Q3 GDP, showing quarter-on-quarter growth slowing only to 0.5% from 0.7% in Q2, has kiboshed the chance that the MPC cuts Bank Rate next Thursday.
Momentum in the euro area's money supply slowed last month. M3 growth dipped to 4.7% year-over-year in February, from a downwardly-revised 4.8% in January. The headline was mainly constrained by the broad money components. The stock of repurchase agreements slumped 24.3% year-over-year and growth in money market fund shares also slowed sharply.
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.
Economic sentiment in the Eurozone's largest economy stayed solid at the start of the fourth quarter, despite subdued manufacturing and poor investor sentiment. The headline IFO business climate index fell slightly to 108.2 in October from 108.5 in September, due to a fall in the current assessment index. The expectations index rose, though, to 103.8 from 103.5 last month pointing to a resilient outlook for businesses and solid GDP growth in coming quarters.
The November IFO report suggests that the headline indices are on track for a tepid recovery in Q4 as a whole, but the central message is still one of downside risks to growth
The past year has been difficult for Asian economies, with trade wars, natural disasters, and misguided policies, to name a few, putting a dampener on growth.
The second estimate of Q1 GDP confirmed that the recovery has lost momentum and revealed that growth would have ground to a halt without consumers. GDP growth likely will slow further in Q2, as Brexit risk undermines business investment.
Korean real GDP growth rebounded to 1.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, from 0.6% in Q2. The main driver was exports, with government consumption also popping, and private consumption was a little faster than we were expecting.
This morning's second estimate of Q1 GDP likely will restate the preliminary estimate of a 0.4% quarter-on-quarter rise, confirming that the economic recovery has lost momentum since last year. Meanwhile, the new expenditure breakdown is set to show that growth remained extremely dependent on households and will bring more evidence that businesses held back from investing, ostensibly due to Brexit concerns.
The slowdown in GDP growth in Q1 reflects more than just Brexit risk. The intensifying fiscal squeeze, the uncompetitiveness of U.K. exports, and the lack of spare labour suggest that the U.K.'s recovery now is stuck in a lower gear.
The verdict from the German business surveys is in; economic growth probably slowed further in Q2.
We're revising down our forecast for quarteron-quarter GDP growth in Q3 to 0.3%, from 0.4%, in response to signs that the rebound in industrial production is shaping up to b e smaller than we had anticipated.
The second estimate of Q1 GDP made for grim reading. Quarter-on-quarter GDP growth was revised down to 0.2%--the joint-slowest rate since Q4 2012--from the preliminary estimate of 0.3%.
After a busy week of data, and a holiday weekend ahead, it's worth stepping back a bit and evaluating the arguments over the timing of the next Fed hike. The first question, though, is whether the data will support action, on the Fed's own terms. The April FOMC minutes said: "Most participants judged that if incoming data were consistent with economic growth picking up in the second quarter, labor market conditions continuing to strengthen, and inflation making progress toward the Committee's 2 percent objective, then it likely would be appropriate for the Committee to increase the target range for the federal funds rate in June".
Korea's GDP growth in Q3 was a miss. Quarter- on-quarter growth was unchanged at 0.6%, below the consensus for a 0.8% rise.
The rate of growth of Covid-19 cases outside China appears to have peaked, for now, but we can't yet have any confidence that this represents a definitive shift in the progress of the epidemic.
Yesterday's consumer sentiment data in the two major euro area economies were mixed, but they still support our view that a rebound in EZ consumption growth is underway.
Net trade in India likely contributed positively to headline GDP growth in the lockdown-plagued second quarter, but for all the wrong reasons.
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.
Global economic growth continues to fall short of expectations, and the call for aggressive fiscal stimulus is growing in many countries. This is partly a function of the realisation that monetary policy has been stretched to a breaking point. But it is also because of record low interest rates, which offer governments a golden and cheap opportunity to kickstart the economy. One of the main arguments for stronger fiscal stimulus is based on classic Keynesian macroeconomic theory.
The preliminary estimate of Q2 GDP, published today, likely will show that growth was immaterially different from Q1's 0.4% quarter-on-quarter rate. But this should not be interpreted as a sign that the economy will be able to shrug off the impact of last month's vote to leave the E.U.
Mr. Abe yesterday called a snap general election, to be held on October 22nd; more on this in tomorrow's Monitor. For now, note that the election comes at a reasonably good stage of the economic cycle, hot on the heels of very rapid GDP growth in Q2, while the PMIs indicate that the economy remained healthy in Q3.
Growth in households' disposable incomes has been supported in recent years by falling debt servicing costs. The proportion of households' incomes absorbed by interest payments fell to a record low of 4.5% in Q4 last year, down from 4.7% a year ago and a peak of 10% in 2008.
Korean real GDP growth rebounded to 1.1% quarter-on-quarter in Q1, after GDP fell 0.2% in Q4. Growth in Q4 was hit by distortions, thanks to a long holiday in October, which normally falls in September.
Speculation has grown that the Bank of England will announce measures today to calm the recent strong growth in consumer credit, when it publishes its bi-annual Financial Stability Report.
The preliminary estimate of Q1 GDP looks set to show that the economy started 2017 on a weak footing. We share the consensus view that quarter-on-quarter GDP growth slowed to 0.4%, from 0.7% in Q4.
Whatever number the BEA publishes this morning for first quarter GDP growth -- we expect zero -- you probably should add about one percentage point to correct for the persistent seasonal adjustment problem which has plagued the data for many years. Reported first quarter growth has been weaker than the average for the preceding three quarters in 21 of the 31 years since 1985 -- and in eight of the past 10 years.
All the evidence indicates that growth in Mexican consumers' spending is slowing, despite the better- than-expected November retail sales numbers, released yesterday.
We have no choice but to revise down our forecast for GDP growth in Q2, now that the threat of a no-deal Brexit likely will hang over the economy beyond March, probably for three more months.
Retail sales in Mexico plunged at the end of Q4, but we think households' spending will continue to contribute to GDP growth in the first quarter.
Money supply dynamics in the Eurozone continue to signal a solid outlook for the economy. Headline M3 growth eased marginally to 4.9% year-over-year in January, from 5.0% in December; the dip was due to slowing narrow money growth, falling to 8.4% from 8.8% the month before. The details of the M1 data, however, showed that the headline chiefly was hit by slowing growth in deposits by insurance and pension funds.
Today's second estimate of Q2 GDP likely will restate the preliminary estimate that quarter-onquarter growth picked up to 0.6%, from 0.4% in Q1. Over the last two decades, the second estimate of GDP has differed from the preliminary estimate just 38% of the time.
We expect today's preliminary estimate of Q4 GDP growth to surprise the consensus to the downside, underscoring our view that the economic recovery has shifted down to a much slower gear.
The gaps in the third quarter GDP data are still quite large, with no numbers yet for September international trade or the public sector, but we're now thinking that growth likely was less than 11⁄2%.
Recent consumer confidence numbers have been strong enough that we don't need to see any further increase. The expectations components of both the Michigan and Conference Board surveys are consistent with real spending growth of 21⁄2-to- 3%, which is about the best we can expect when real income growth, after tax, is trending at about 21⁄2%.
Korean real GDP growth slumped in Q2 to 0.6% quarter-on-quarter, from 1.1% in Q1, as both the main drivers--construction and exports--ran out of steam simultaneously. Construction investment grew by 1.0%, sharply slower than the 6.8% in Q1 and contributing just 0.2% to GDP growth in Q2, a turnaround from the 1.1 percentage point contribution in the first quarter.
Japan's September PMI report showed some slippage, but overall, it suggests that GDP growth in Q3 was a little stronger than the 0.3% quarter- on-quarter rate in Q2.
The uncertainty over the new U.S. administration's economic policies new is clouding the outlook for the Eurozone economy. The combination of loose fiscal policy and tight monetary policy in the U.S. should be positive for the euro area economy, in theory. It points to accelerating U.S. growth--at least in the near term--wider interest rate differentials and a stronger dollar. In a " traditional" global macroeconomic model, this policy mix would lead to a wider U.S. trade deficit, boosting Eurozone exports.
November's interest rate rise, which took investors by surprise, was triggered in part by the MPC slashing its estimate of trend growth to 1.5%, from an implicit 2.0%.
Japanese data continue to come in strongly for the second quarter. The manufacturing PMI points to continued sturdy growth, despite the headline index dipping to 52.0 in June from 53.1 in May. The average for Q2 overall was 52.6, almost unchanged from Q1's 52.8, signalling that manufacturing output growth has maintained its recent rate of growth.
Industrial profits in China continues to go from strength to strength, with growth accelerating to 19.6% year-over-year in July, from 11.5% in July.
Data last week confirmed that Peru's economic growth slowed sharply in the first half of the year, due to the damaging effects of the global trade war hitting exports.
The core economic narrative in U.S. markets right now seems to run something like this: The pace of growth slowed in Q1, depressing the rate of payroll growth in the spring. As a result, the headline plunge in the unemployment rate is unlikely to persist and, even if it does, the wage pressures aren't a threat to the inflation outlook.
Over the next 18 months we expect to see interest rates break out further on the upside. Initially, we expect developed market growth to be resilient to that.
Net foreign trade made a positive contribution of 0.2 percentage points to GDP growth in the second quarter, matching the Q1 performance.
The response of U.K. producers and consumers to lower oil prices could not have been more different to those on the other side of the Atlantic. Counter-intuitively, U.K. oil production has grown strongly over the last year, while investment hasn't collapsed to the same extent as in the U.S., yet. Meanwhile, U.K. households have thrown caution to the wind and already have spent the windfall from the previous drop in oil prices, unlike their more prudent--so far--U.S. counterparts. With the costs still to come but most of the benefits already enjoyed, lower oil prices will be neutral for 2016 U.K. GDP growth, at best.
Retail sales in Mexico fell in Q4, but we think households' spending will continue to contribute to GDP growth in the first quarter, at the margin.
Yesterday's money supply report provided further relief for investors doubtful over the cyclical recovery following the market turmoil. Broad money growth, M3, accelerated to 5.3% year-over-year in July, up from 4.9% in June, and within touching distance of a new post-crisis high. Narrow money continued to surge too, rising 12.1% year-over-year, up from 11.1% in June, sending a bullish message on the Eurozone economy.
Survey data in Germany continue to tell an upbeat story on the economy. The IFO business climate index rose to 109.0 in November from 108.2 in October, lifted by gains in both the expectations and current assessment indexes. The IFO tends to be slightly over-optimistic on GDP growth, but our first chart shows that the survey points to upside risks in the fourth quarter.
The Mexican economy maintained its relatively strong momentum in Q2. The first estimate of Q2 GDP, released last week, confirmed that growth was resilient during the first half of this year, despite the confidence hit caused by domestic and external headwinds.
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.
Today's consumer credit report for April likely will show that the stock of debt rose by about $15B, a bit below the recent trend. The monthly numbers are volatile, but the underlying trend rate of increase has eased over the past year-and-a-half, as our first chart shows. The slowdown has been concentrated in the non-revolving component, though the rate of growth of the stock of revolving credit--mostly credit cards--has dipped recently, perhaps because of weather effects and the late Easter.
Japan's average year-over-year wage growth slowed sharply in May, but this mainly was a correction of the April spike.
Yesterday's detailed EZ GDP report showed that real output rose 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, the same pace as in Q2. The year-over-over rate rose marginally to 1.7% from 1.6%, trivially higher than the first estimate, 1.6%. The details showed that consumers' spending and public consumption were the key drivers of growth in Q3, offsetting a slowdown in net trade.
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.
Over the past six months, payroll growth has averaged exactly 150K. Over the previous six months, the average increase was 230K. And in the six months to August 2015--a fairer comparison, because the fourth quarter numbers enjoy very favorable seasonals, flattering the data--payroll growth averaged 197K.
Yesterday's German industrial production data were poor, but better than we expected. Output fell 0.5% month-to-month in February, pushing annual growth down to 1.3% from a revised 1.8% in January. In addition, net revisions to the month-to-month data were a hefty -1.0%, but this is not enough to change the story of a Q1 rebound in industrial production.
Consumer spending has been the main locomotive of the economic recovery over the last couple of quarters, as investment and net trade have dragged on growth. Signs are emerging, however, that consumption is slowing too.
Last week's heavy snowfall, which blighted the entire country, will depress GDP growth in Q1, making it harder for the MPC to read the economy.
Net trade has been a major drag on the economy's growth rate in recent quarters, and February's trade figures, released today, are likely to signal another dismal performance in the first quarter.
We expect the second estimate of Q1 GDP, released today, to restate that quarter-on-quarter growth slowed to just 0.3%, from 0.7% in Q4. The second estimate of growth rarely is different to the first.
Growth momentum in Mexico has improved marginally over the last few months after the soft patch during the first quarter, with business and households gaining confidence in the economic recovery. But the upswing has been rather modest, due to the volatility in global financial markets and the challenging external environment. The outlook for the global economy has deteriorated over recent months due to China's problems, and commodity prices remain under pressure. All these factors are now weighing on investors' confidence and hurting EM across asset classes.
In the absence of market-moving data today, we want to take a closer look at the labor market, and, specifically, the idea that payroll growth is slowing because firms cannot find staff they consider suitably qualified for the jobs available. Every indicator of labor demand, with the sole exception of manufacturing-specific surveys, is consistent with very rapid payroll growth, well in excess of 200K per month.
If the Fed needed further encouragement to raise rates next month, it arrived Friday in the form of solid jobs numbers, a new cycle low for the broad unemployment rate, and a new cycle high for wage growth.
The two big surprises in the September employment report--the drop in the unemployment rate and the flat hourly earnings number--were inconsequential, when set against the sharp and clear slowdown in payroll growth, which has further to run.
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.
Chile's growth dynamics were robust in August, according to the latest data. Production rose and consumption remained strong during most of Q3. Indeed, industrial output increased 5.1% year-over- year, up from an already strong 3.1% increase in July, and contrasting sharply with the 2% fall in Q2.
Consumers' spending in the euro area weakened at the end of Q4, but we think households will continue to boost GDP growth in the first quarter. Data on Friday showed that retail sales fell 0.3% month-to-month in December, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 1.1%, from a revised 2.8% in November.
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.
The final EZ PMI data for November yesterday confirmed that the composite index in the Eurozone rose to an 11-month high of 53.9, from 53.3 in October. The key driver was an improvement in services, boosted by stronger data in all the major economies. Manufacturing activity also improved, though, and the details showed that new business growth was robust in both sectors.
Yesterday's detailed Q3 growth data in the Eurozone offered no surprises in terms of the headline.
Readers have asked us about the availability of flow-of-funds data in the Eurozone similar to the detailed U.S. reports. The ECB's sector accounts come close and cover a lot of ground, but are also released with a lag. We can't cover all sectors in one Monitor, but the investment data for non-financial firms, excluding construction, suggest that investment growth slowed last year.
We are not worried, at all, by the slowdown in headline payroll growth to 157K in July from an upwardly-revised 248K in June.
Colombia started the second quarter strongly, with the ISE economic activity indicator--a monthly proxy for GDP--expanding a solid and surprising 3.6% year-over-year in April, up from 2.9% in March. The rate of growth is well above the 2.8% gain in Q1, con firming the country's resiliency in the face of lower oil prices. Still, growth has slowed sharply since the 4.4% increase in activity in 2014, as our first chart shows.
The 6.4-point rebound in the May ISM non-manufacturing employment index, to a very high 57.8, supports our view that summer payroll growth will be strong. On the face of it, the survey is consistent with job gains in excess of 300K, as our first chart shows, but that's very unlikely to happen.
Productivity growth reached the dizzy heights of 1.8% year-over-year in the second quarter, following a couple of hefty quarter-on-quarter increases, averaging 2.9%.
Korean exports ended the third quarter on a solid note, though nowhere near as strongly as the headline growth rate suggested.
The latest U.K. PMIs were unambiguously dreadful. The manufacturing, construction and services PMIs all fell in April, and their weighted average points to quarter-on-quarter growth in GDP slowing to zero in Q2, from 0.4% in Q1. The U .K.'s composite PMI also undershot the Eurozone's for the second month this year.
The wide spread in first quarter GDP growth "trackers"--which at this point are more model and assumption than actual data--is indicative of the uncertainty surrounding the international trade and inventory components.
The fall in the services PMI to 53.8 in May, from 55.8 in April, is a setback for hopes that the slowdown in GDP growth in Q1 will be fleeting. Both business activity and orders rose at their slowest rates since February.
Business surveys released over the last week have made us more confident in our call that quarter-on- quarter GDP growth will recover to about 0.4% in Q2, from Q1's weather-impacted 0.1% rate.
In the midst of heightened and potentially longerlasting Brexit uncertainty, the MPC revised down its forecast for GDP growth sharply yesterday and came close to endorsing investors' view that the chances of a 25bp rate hike before the end of this year have slipped to 50:50.
The $10 increase in the price of Brent crude oil over the last three months to $68 is an unhelpful, but manageable, drag on the U.K. economy's growth prospects this year.
The escalation of the second wave of Covid-19 in Japan in July did little to stop the recovery in labour cash earnings growth.
Expect Chinese PPI deflation in the second half. China's CPI inflation faces non-core cross currents; services inflation still slowing. Unemployment in Korea held steady in June; the BoK will be chuffed about improving job growth. PPI deflation in Japan will persist until the end of the year.
Friday's detailed Q2 growth data in the EZ broadly confirmed the advance numbers.
The dip in payroll growth in September was due to Hurricane Florence. We expect a clear rebound in payrolls in October; our tentative forecast is 250K.
The FOMC minutes showed both sides of the hike debate are digging in their heels. As the doves are a majority--rates haven't been hiked--the tone of the minutes is, well, a bit do vish. But don't let that detract from the key point that, "Most participants continued to anticipate that, based on their assessment of current economic conditions and their outlook for economic activity, the labor market, and inflation, the conditions for policy firming had been met or would likely be met by the end of the year." Confidence in this view has diminished among "some" participants, however, worried about the impact of the strong dollar, falling stock prices and weaker growth in China on U.S. net exports and inflation.
We expect August's GDP figures, released on Wednesday, to show that month-to-month growth slowed to 0.1%, from 0.3% in July.
China's trade surplus was due a sharp downward correction. The spike in M2 growth in Japan probably has peaked
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.
State of emergency destroyed Japanese overtime pay in April. M2 growth in Japan hasn't been this strong since the early 90s. No relief for Japanese tool orders in May, despite the phased withdrawal of the emergency declaration.
The RMB's run is slowing China's exit from PPI deflation. Pork prices are starting to cool, again, pulling down Chinese CPI inflation. M2 growth in Japan remains punchy, setting the stage for a Q3 bounce. Machine tool orders in Japan are finally turning the corner after a long-running slump. Like last year, don't read too much into the August surprise in Korea's jobs data.
June moderation confirms May nadir in Chinese PPI deflation. Food price disinflation in China stalls in June. No signs of Japan's M2 growth spike tapering anytime soon. The surprise bounce in Japanese core machine orders was fairly narrow. Machine tool orders in Japan end Q2 on an encouraging note.
Japan's wage growth bounces back on volatile bonuses; distortions still at play? Korea's current account surplus has bottomed out, but pressure on the won will continue to rise in the S/T.
Our caution over China's March industrial production spike was justified. Chinese retail sales growth hits lows. Chinese FAI growth suggests private sector policy loosening isn't working. Japan's M2 growth upturn is a welcome break, but needs to be sustained. Korean unemployment jumps in April, showing the limits of the government's hiring spree.
Headline GDP growth in Q3 was unchanged, but the revised details mostly were positive. BoJ in a holding pattern on aggregate JGB purchases; focus on curve steepening
Trade data yesterday added to the downbeat impression of the German economy, following poor manufacturing data earlier in the week. Exports plunged 5.2% month-to-month in August--the second biggest monthly fall ever--pushing the year-over-year rate down to 4.4%, from a revised 6.3% in July. Surging growth in the past six months, and base effects pointed to a big fall in August, but we didn't expect a collapse.
The Monetary Policy Committee continues to assert that it can leave interest rates at rock-bottom levels, even though the unemployment rate has returned to its pre-recession level, because it understates the extent of slack in the labour market. If that hypothesis were correct, however, the relationship between the unemployment rate and wage growth would have weakened. But this clearly has not happened, as our first chart shows.
Economic growth in Chile slowed in Q1, despite a relatively strong end to the quarter, and the chances of an accelerating recovery remains disappointingly low, due to both global and domestic headwinds.
The recent slowdown in labour cash earnings growth in Japan halted in September.
Many observers hoped that the silver lining of a slowdown in house price growth this year would be that more first-time buyers could step onto the first rung of the housing ladder. Instead, purchasing a first home has become even harder for FTBs with modest deposits.
German GDP growth jumped in the first quarter, but monthly economic data suggest the economy all but stalled in Q2. Yesterday's industrial production data are a case in point. Output slid 1.3% month-tomonth in May, pushing the year-over-year rate down to -0.4% from a revised 0.8% gain in April. Adding insult to injury, the month-to-month number for April was revised down by 0.3 percentage points
German GDP growth likely accelerated in the second quarter, following a disappointing 0.3% quarter-on-quarter expansion in Q1. Growth in the manufacturing sector remains modest, and the trend in consumers' spending remains solid. Industrial production was unchanged in May, pushing year-over-year growth to 2.1% from a revised 1.1% in April.
In the wake of the May international trade numbers, our hopes that net foreign trade would contribute more than a full percentage point to second quarter GDP growth have taken something of a knock. We're now looking for a 0.7pp contribution.
Japan's average monthly labour earnings growth tumbled to 0.9% year-over-year in August, from 1.6% in July. This is not a disaster.
A core element of our relatively upbeat macro view before the implementation of fiscal stimulus under the new administration is that the ending of the drag from falling capex in the oil sector will have quite wide, positive implications for growth. The recovery in direct oil sector spending is clear enough; it will just track the rising rig count, as usual.
Banxico left Mexico's benchmark interest rate at 3.75% on Thursday, maintaining its neutral tone and indicating that the balance of risks is unchanged for both inflation and growth. Policymakers remain confident that inflation will remain under control over the coming months, below 3%, but noted that they expect a brief increase above the target during Q4.
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.
The rollover in bank lending to commercial and industrial companies probably is over. On the face of it, the slowdown has been alarming, with year-over-year growth in the stock of lending slowing to just 2.6% in April, from a sustained peak of more than 10% in the early part of last year.
China's GDP report for the second quarter is due a week from today, and the prevailing wisdom is that the bounce-back was strong enough for headline growth to return to the black.
Total real inventories rose at a $48.7B annualized rate in the fourth quarter, contributing 1.0 percentage points to headline GDP growth. Wholesale durable goods accounted for $34B of the aggregate increase, following startling 1.0% month-to-month nominal increases in both November and December. The November jump was lead by a 3.2% leap in the auto sector, but inventories rose sharply across a broad and diverse range of other durables, including lumber, professional equipment, electricals and miscellaneous.
When trade-weighted sterling fell by 20% in 2016, it was widely expected that net trade would cushion GDP growth from the hit to households' real incomes.
With only three weeks to go until the release of the initial official estimate of first quarter GDP, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow measure shows growth at just 0.4%. Our own estimate, which includes our subjective forecasts for the missing data--the Atlanta Fed's measure is entirely model-based--is a bit higher, at 1%, and both measures could easily be revised significantly.
Friday's Brazil industrial production data were surprisingly upbeat. Output rose 0.1% month-to-month in July, slightly better than the consensus forecast for no change. July's modest gain was the fifth consecutive increase, confirming that industrial output in Brazil is stabilizing, and it paints a less grim picture of GDP growth at the start of Q3.
The MPC will take a step forward on Thursday when it publishes an estimate of the medium term equilibrium interest rate--the rate which would anchor real GDP growth at its trend and keep inflation stable--in the Inflation Report.
Bullish money supply data last week added to the evidence that the Eurozone's business cycle is strengthening. Broad money growth--M3--rose to 5.3% year-over-year in October from 4.9% in September. Most of the increase came from a surge in short-term debt issuance, rising 8.4% year-over-year, following an inexplicable 1.4% fall in September.
The business cycle upturn in the Eurozone likely will remain resilient in the first half of 2017. Friday's money supply data showed that headline M3 growth increased to 5.0% in December, from 4.9% in November.
Yesterday's data in the French economy provided the final confirmation that growth remained sluggish in Q2, and showed that households had a slow start to the third quarter.
Manufacturing in the Eurozone remained a strong driver of GDP growth in the third quarter. The headline EZ manufacturing PMI rose to 58.1 in September, from 57.4 in August, only a tenth below the initial estimate 58.2.
While we were enjoying a rare sunny bank holiday in the U.K., data showed that Eurozone money supply growth slowed at the start of Q3. Broad money growth--M3--fell to a 10-month low of 4.5% year-over- year in July, from 5.0% in August.
The rate of growth of third quarter consumers' spending was revised up by 0.3 percentage point to 3.3% in the national accounts released yesterday.
Business investment has punched above its weight in the economic recovery from the crash of 2008; annual real growth in capex has averaged 5% over the last five years, greatly exceeding GDP growth of 2%. This recovery is unlikely to grind to a halt soon, since profit margins are still high and borrowing costs will remain low. But corporate balance sheets are not quite as robust as they seem, while capex in the investment-intensive oil sector still has a lot further to fall.
The pullback in CPI inflation in June and continued slow GDP growth in Q2 mean that the MPC almost certainly will keep Bank Rate at 0.25% on Thursday.
We're maintaining our estimate of Mexico's Q2 GDP growth, due today, namely a 0.2% year- over-year contraction, in line with a recent array of extremely poor data.
Yesterday's first estimate of full-year 2019 GDP in Mexico confirmed that growth was extremely poor, due to domestic and external shocks.
Barely a day passes now without an email asking about "evidence" that the U.S. economy is slowing or even heading into recession. The usual factors cited are the elevated headline inventory-to-sales ratio, weak manufacturing activity, slowing earnings growth and the hit from weaker growth in China. We addressed these specific issues in the Monitor last week, on the 23rd--you can download it from our website--but the alternative approach to the end-of-the-world-is-nigh view is via the labor market.
The MPC likely will raise interest rates on Thursday, for the first time since July 2007, in response to the uptick in GDP growth and the upside inflation surprise in Q3.
Chinese headline industrial profits data show that growth slowed to just 4.1% year-over-year in September, from 9.2% in August.
Colombia's Central Bank is facing a short-term test. The recent fall in inflation was interrupted in August--data due on Thursday will show another increase in September--while economic growth, particularly consumption, is struggling, at least for now.
Inflation and growth paths remain diverse across LatAm, but in the Andes, the broad picture is one of modest inflationary pressures and gradual economic recovery.
Consumer sentiment data yesterday from the major economies were mixed, signalling that support to Eurozone GDP growth from surging German household consumption is waning. The key "business outlook" index--which correlates best with spending--plunged to a 30-month low in October, while the advance GfK sentiment index dipped to 9.4 in November from 9.6 in October. We see little signs in retail sales data of slowing momentum, and also think consumers' spending rebounded in Q3. But our first chart shows that the fall in the GfK index implies clear downside risks in coming quarters.
Recent economic data in LatAm have alleviated concerns following weakness in the first half of the year, inflicted by Covid, and have even added some upside risks to our current-quarter growth calls for most economies.
Leading economic indicators in the Eurozone continue to send contradictory signals. Most of the headline surveys indicate that a further slowdown, and perhaps even recession, are imminent, while the money supply data suggest that GDP growth is about to re-accelerate.
Last week's second estimate of GDP reaffirmed that quarter-on-quarter growth declined to 0.1% in Q1--the lowest rate since Q4 2012--from 0.4% in Q4.
Yesterday's data don't significantly change our view that first quarter GDP growth will be reported at only about 1%, but the foreign trade and consumer confidence numbers support our contention that the underlying trend in growth is rather stronger than that.
The picture for Korean quarterly real GDP growth in Q4 was unchanged in the final reading, published yesterday, showing a contraction of 0.2%, after the 1.4% jump in Q3.
Today is all about beans. Specifically, soybeans, and more specifically, just how many of them were exported in August. This really matters, because if soybean exports in August and September remained close to their hugely elevated July level, the surge in exports relative to the second quarter will contribute about one percentage point to headline GDP growth.
We fear that private spending in the EZ slowed in Q1, despite rocketing survey data. This fits our view that household consumption will slow in 2017 after sustained above-trend growth in the beginning of this business cycle.
Last week's national accounts confirmed that the economy lost momentum abruptly in Q1, with net trade and investment failing to offset weaker growth in households' spending.
Yesterday's advance Q1 GDP data in the EZ confirmed that growth slowed at the start of the year.
We expect China's quarterly real GDP growth in the second quarter to edge down from Q1, but only because Q1 growth was unsustainable. The official data shows real GDP growth at 1.3% quarter-onquarter in Q1.
The absence of hawkish undertones in the minutes of the MPC's meeting or in the Inflation Report forecasts took markets by surprise yesterday. The dominant view on the Committee remains that the economy will slow over the next couple of years, preventing wage growth from reaching a pace which would put inflation on trac k permanently to exceed the 2% target.
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.
Friday's advance Q4 growth numbers in the EZ were a bit of a dumpster fire.
Downside risks to our growth forecast for Brazil and Mexico for this year have diminished this week. In Brazil, concerns over the potential impact of the meat scandal on the economy have diminished. Some key global customers, including Hong Kong, have in recent days eased restrictions on imports from Brazil, and other counties have ended their bans.
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.
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.
The slowdown in quarter-on-quarter growth in households' real spending to 0.4% in Q1--just half 2016's average rate--was driven entirely by a 0.1% fall in purchases of goods. Households' spending on services, by contrast, continued to grow briskly. Indeed, the 0.8% quarter-on-quarter rise in households' real spending on services exceeded 2016's average 0.5% rate.
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.
Most of the leading indicators of payroll growth have rebounded in recent months, with the exception of the Help Wanted Online. Our first chart shows that the NFIB's measure of hiring intentions and the ISM non-manufacturing employment index have returned to their cycle highs, while the manufacturing employment index has risen substantially from its late 2015 low. The Help Wanted Online remains very weak, but it might have been depressed by increased prices for job postings on Craigslist.
For analysts with a broadly positive view of the U.S. economy, it is tempting to argue that the slowdown in payroll growth this year reflects supply constraints, as the pool of qualified labor dries up.
Households' decision to reduce their saving rate sharply was the main reason why economic growth exceeded forecasters' expectations in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.
Payroll growth rebounded to 223K in May, after two sub-200K readings, and we're expecting today's June ADP report to signal that labor demand remains strong.
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've been surprised by the fast rate of Japanese GDP growth in the first half, though the Q1 pop merely was due to a plunge in imports.
Headline GDP growth in Korea was revised down, to a seasonally-adjusted 0.6% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, from 0.7% in the preliminary report.
Headwinds from global growth fears have weighed on Eurozone equities in recent months, leaving the benchmark MSCI EU ex-UK index with a paltry year-to-date return ex-dividends of 1.7%. We think bravery will be rewarded, though, and see strong performance in the next six months. Equities in Europe do best when excess liquidity --M1 growth in excess of inflation and nominal GDP growth--is high.
The improvement in the Markit/CIPS services PMI in October was pretty limp, supporting our view here that the recovery is shifting into a lower gear. What's more, the poor productivity performance implied by the latest PMIs indicates that wage growth will fuel inflation soon. As a result, the Monetary Policy Committee--MPC--won't be able to wait long next year before raising interest rates. Indeed, we expect the minutes of this month's meeting, released today, to show that one more member of the nine-person MPC has joined Ian McCafferty in voting to hike rates.
Japan's monetary base growth slowed to just 4.6% year-over-year in February, from 4.7% in January, well below the 17% rate needed to keep the base expanding at a pace consistent with the BoJ's JGB quantity target.
Activity surveys picked up across the board in April, offering hope that the slowdown in GDP growth--to just 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q1-- will be just a blip. The headline indicators of surveys from the CBI, European Commission, Lloyds Bank and Markit all improved in April and all exceeded their 2004-to-2016 averages.
Final October PMI data today will confirm the Eurozone's recovery remains on track. We think the composite PMI rose to 54.0 from 53.6 in September, in line with the consensus and initial estimate. Data on Monday showed that manufacturing performed better than expected in October, and the composite index likely will enjoy a further boost from solid services. The PMIs currently point to a trend in GDP growth of 0.4%-to-0.5% quarter-on-quarter, the strongest performance since the last recession.
The underlying trend in payroll growth ought to be running at 250K-plus, based on an array of indicators of the pace of both hiring and firing. The past few months' numbers have fallen far short of this pace, though, for reasons which are not yet clear. We are inclined to blame a shortage of suitably qualified staff, not least because that appears to be the message from the NFIB survey, which shows that the proportion of small businesses with unfilled positions is now close to the highs seen in previous cycles. If we're right, payroll growth won't return to the 254K average recorded in 2014 until the next cyclical upturn, but quite what to expect instead is anyone's guess.
The fundamentals underpinning our forecast of solid first half growth in consumers' spending remain robust.
The 15% fall in the FTSE 100 since its May 2018 peak undoubtedly is an unwelcome development for the economy, but past experience suggests we shouldn't rush to revise down our forecasts for GDP growth.
Korea's final GDP report for the third quarter confirmed the economy's growth slowdown to 0.4% quarter-on-quarter, following the 1.0% bounce-back in Q2.
Under normal circumstances, sustained ISM manufacturing readings around the July level, 54.2, would be consistent with GDP growth of about 2% year-over-year.
Today's Sentix survey of Eurozone investor sentiment likely will remain downbeat. We think the headline index rose only trivially, to 6.0 in April from 5.5 in March, and that the expectations index was unchanged at 2.8. Weakness in equities due to global growth fears and negative earnings revisions likely is the key driver of below-par investor sentiment.
The March employment report didn't tell us what we really want to know. The underlying trend in wage growth remains obscured by the calendar quirk which depresses reported hourly earnings when the 15th of the month--pay day for people paid semi-monthly -- falls after the payroll survey week.
Yesterday's PMI data confirmed that the EZ manufacturing sector is in rude health. The manufacturing PMI in the euro area rose to a cyclical high of 57.4 in June, from 57.0 in May, slightly above the first estimate. New orders and output growth are robust, pushing work backlogs higher and helping to sustain employment growth.
British firms have adopted a cautious mindset since the Brexit vote and are saving a huge share of their earnings, even though high profit margins make a strong case for investing more. Firms likely will run down their cash stockpiles when they become more confident about the medium-term economic outlook, potentially boosting GDP growth powerfully.
The Fed surprised no-one yesterday, leaving rates on hold, saying nothing new about the balance sheet, and making no substantive changes to its view on the economy. The statement was tweaked slightly, making it clear that policymakers are skeptical of the reported slowdown in GDP growth to just 0.7% in Q1: "The Committee views the slowing in growth during the first quarter as likely to be transitory".
April payroll growth likely will be reported at close to 200K. Overall, the survey evidence points to a stronger performance, but they don't take account of weather effects, and April was a bit colder and snowier than usual. We're not expecting a big weather hit, but some impact seems a reasonable bet.
Colombia's GDP growth hit a relatively solid 2.8% year-over-year in Q4, up from 2.7% in Q3, helped by improving domestic fundamentals, which offset the drag from weaker terms of trade.
Markets were left somewhat disappointed yesterday by the G7 statement that central banks and finance ministers stand ready "to use all appropriate policy tools to achieve strong, sustainable growth and safeguard against downside risks."
Friday's Brazilian industrial production data were relatively positive. Output was unchanged month-to-month in May, and April's marginal gain was revised slightly higher. The flat monthly reading pushed year-over-year growth in output up marginally to -8.9% from -9.1%. May production rose month-to-month in two of the four major categories.
We are revising down our forecasts for quarteron-quarter GDP growth in Q1 and Q2 to 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively, from 0.4% in both quarters previously, to account for the likely impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
The third estimate of first quarter GDP growth, due today, will not be the final word on the subject. Indeed, there never will be a final word, because the numbers are revised indefinitely into the future.
The biggest surprise in the revisions to first quarter GDP growth, released yesterday, was in the core PCE deflator.
If we're right in our view that the strength of the dollar has been a major factor depressing the rate of growth of nominal retail sales, the weakening of the currency since January should soon be reflected in stronger-looking numbers. In real terms--which is what matters for GDP and, ultimately, the lab or market--nothing will change, but perceptions are important and markets have not looked kindly on the dollar-depressed sales data.
Yesterday's first estimate of Q1 GDP in Mexico confirmed that growth was under severe pressure at the start of the year.
Everyone heard San Francisco Fed president Williams's suggestion Monday that central banks could raise their inflation targets in response to the sustained slow growth and lower-than-expected inflation of recent years. It's not clear, though, that markets grasped the scale of the increase he thinks might be appropriate.
If you apply a seasonal adjustment to a seasonally adjusted series, it shouldn't change. When you apply a seasonal adjustment to the U.S. GDP numbers, they do change. First quarter growth, reported Friday at just 0.7%, goes up to 1.7%, on our estimate.
The Portuguese economy has faltered recently. In the year to Q2, real GDP rose only 0.8%, down from a 1.5% increase in the preceding year. Slowing growth in investment has been the key driver, but consumers' spending has weakened too.
Wage growth in the euro area slowed slightly last year, consistent with the rapid deceleration in economic growth since the end of 2017, though it remained robust overall.
Downward revisions to Japan's Q4 real GDP growth, published on Wednesday, lead us to revisit our main worry over the durability of the recovery; namely, that monetary conditions appear to be signalling a slowdown.
Brazil's GDP growth slowed to just 0.1% quarter- on-quarter in Q4, from a downwardly-revised 0.5% in Q3.
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.
Taken at face value, September's money supply data suggest that the economy is ebullient, quickly recovering from the shock referendum result. Year-over-year growth in notes and coins in circulation has accelerated to its highest rate since June 2002.
Official Chinese real GDP growth likely slipped to 6.3% year-over-year in Q1, the lowest on record, from 6.4% in Q4, which matched the trough in the Great Financial Crisis.
Japanese domestic demand probably strengthened in Q2, with both private consumption and fixed investment accelerating. Trade and inventories are the key swing components for GDP growth.
Demand for new cars in the Eurozone rebounded last month. New car registrations jumped 10.3% year-over-year in May, reversing the 5.1% decline in April. The headline was boosted by solid growth in all the major economies.
Markets are reacting to Colombia's disappointing activity figures, released Friday, by pulling forward expectations for the country's first rate cut to December. The data certainly looked weak--especially upon close examination--and we expect growth to slow further. But we think that inflation is still too high to expect rate cuts this year.
China's official GDP data, published on Monday, showed year-over-year growth edging down to 6.7% in Q2, from 6.8% in Q1.
Manufacturing does not consistently lead the rest of the economy. Neither does it consistently lag. On average, turning points in the rates of growth of manufacturing output and GDP are coincident, as our first chart clearly shows. But coincidence is not causality.
Today brings a raft of data which mostly will look quite positive but will do nothing to assuage our fears over a sharp slowdown in growth in the fourth quarter.
With plenty of evidence emerging that consumer spending and business investment are set to suffer from a collapse in confidence, attention is turning to whether other sectors of the economy are ready to step up and support growth. But the fruits from reduced fiscal contraction and stronger net trade will be small and will take a long time to emerge.
Strong fundamentals have supported private consumption in Mexico recently, but we now expect a slowdown. Spending will not collapse, though, because consumer credit growth, formal employment, real wage income and remittances will continue to underpin consumption for the next three-to-six months.
Boeing's announcement that it will temporarily cut production of 737MAX aircraft to zero in January, from the current 42 per month pace, will depress first quarter economic growth, though not by much.
Yesterday was a good day for headline EZ economic data. GDP growth accelerated, inflation rose and unemployment fell further. Advance Q4 data showed that real GDP in the Eurozone rose 0.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, marginally faster than the upwardly revised 0.4% in Q3. Full-year growth in 2016 slowed slightly to 1.7% from 2.0% in 2015.
It's tempting to conclude from the recent decline in consumers' confidence that growth in real spending will continue to weaken over the coming quarters, from the already modest 1.8% year-over-year rate in Q3.
Yesterday's first estimate of full-year 2016 GDP in Mexico indicates that growth gathered momentum over the second half of last year. But risks are now tilted to the downside, following the U.S. election. GDP rose 0.6% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, after a 1.0% increase in Q3. Growth was much slower in the firs t half, as shown in our char t below.
China's real GDP growth was unchanged at 6.4% year-over-year in Q1, above the consensus for a slowdown to 6.3%.
In the wake of the September retail sales report, we can be pretty sure that real consumers' spending rose at a 2¾% annualized rate in the third quarter, slowing from the unsustainable 4.3% jump. That would mean consumption contributed 1.9 percentage points to headline GDP growth.
Final data for Eurozone inflation yesterday revealed that inflation fell slightly to 0.1% year-over-year in August, from 0.2% in July, a tiny downward revision from the original estimate of 0.2%. Depressed energy prices will continue to constrain inflation in coming months, but base effects will reduce this drag, and core inflation is rising. Nominal GDP growth accelerated to 2.9% year-over-year in Q2, up from 2.4% in Q1, sending a convincing signal of higher core inflation.
Wednesday's first estimate of full-year 2018 GDP in Mexico indicates that growth lost momentum in Q4.
The shortfall in nominal wage growth, relative to measures of labor market tightness, remains the single biggest mystery of this business cycle.
May's activity data underline the weakness of Colombia's economic growth. Domestic demand still is under pressure due to the lagged effect of the deterioration in the terms of trade and other temporary shocks in 2016, and the VAT increase in January this year.
Money supply data in the euro area disappointed yesterday. Growth in M3 fell to 4.6% year-over-year in April, from 5.0% in March, due to an accelerated fall in the pace of narrow money growth. M1 rose 9.7% year-over-year, down from 10.1% in March. It was hit by lower growth in both overnight deposits and currency in circulation.
Growth in new EZ car registrations slowed last month, but the data continue to tell a story of strong consumer demand for new cars. New registrations in the euro area rose 6.9% y/y in June, down from a 16.9% jump in May, mainly due to slowing growth in France. New registrations in the euro area's second largest economy rose a mere 0.8% year-over-year, after a 22% surge in May.
April's money and credit figures suggest that GDP growth has remained sluggish in Q2. Households' broad money holdings increased by just 0.3% month-to-month in April.
We're expecting a strong-looking 225K increase in the May ADP measure of private sector payroll growth, due today. The consensus forecast is 180K.
New home price growth in China has held up longer than we expected.
Today's labour market report looks set to be a mixed bag, with growth in employment remaining strong, but further signs that momentum in average weekly wages has faded.
Following our note yesterday about upside risks to wage growth and the question of how the Fed will respond, given their sensitivity to labor cost-push inflation risk in the past, we want to address a question raised by readers.
China's M2 growth slowed to 8.2% year-over-year in August, from 8.5% in July
It's hardly surprising that the consensus forecast for month-to-month growth in November GDP, released on Friday, is a mere 0.1%, given the flow of downbeat business surveys.
Payroll growth has slowed, no matter how you slice and dice the numbers.
GDP growth currently is subdued by historical standards, but at least it is not debt-fuelled.
Sterling continued to recover last week, hitting its highest level against the dollar since October, despite a series of data releases indicating that the economy is losing momentum. Indeed, sterling was unscathed by the news on Friday that quarter-on-quarter GDP growth slowed to just 0.3% in Q1, from 0.7% in Q4.
Brazil's GDP growth slowed to just 0.1% quarter- on-quarter in Q4, from an upwardly-revised 0.2% in Q3. This pushed the year-over-year rate up to 2.1%, from 1.4%, but this was weaker than market expectations.
The odds of a hike this month have increased in recent days, though the chance probably is not as high as the 82% implied by the fed funds future. The arguments against a March hike are that GDP growth seems likely to be very sluggish in Q1, following a sub-2% Q4, and that a hike this month would be seen as a political act.
January's money and credit data provided another warning sign that the economy has started 2017 on a weak footing. For a start, the three-month annualised growth rate of M4, excluding intermediate other financial corporations--the Bank's preferred measure of the broad money supply-- declined to 1.8% in January, from 3.1% in December.
Japan's wage growth surprised us with a jump to 2.0% year-over-year in December, up from 1.5% in November.
The Fed yesterday acknowledged clearly the new economic information of recent months, namely, that first quarter GDP growth was "solid", with Chair Powell noting that it was stronger than most forecasters expected.
November production data in Mexico, released Monday, showed that the industrial economy remained quite soft in the last part of last year. The collapse in capital spending in the oil sector, slowing public spending, and weaker growth in EM and the U.S. manufacturing sector have combined to hit Mexican industrial output quite hard. Total production rose just 0.1% year-over-year in November, down from an already weak 0.5% in October, and below the 1.3% average increase in Q3. Output fell 0.5% month-to-month, the biggest drop since May, reflecting broad-based weakness.
Whatever you think is the underlying tr end in payroll growth, you probably should expect a modest undershoot in today's report, thanks to the persistent tendency for the first estimate of September payrolls to undershoot and then be revised higher. The good news is that the initial September error tends not to be as big as in August--the median revision from the first estimate to the third over the past six years has been 49K, compared to 66K--and it has declined recently. Over the past three years, September revisions have ranged from only 18K to 27K. Still, we can't ignore six straight years of initial undershoots.
August's money and credit figures show that households' incomes remain under pressure, indicating that the recent pick-up in growth in consumers' spending likely won't last.
Jim Bullard, the St. Louis Fed president, said last week that Phillips Curve effects in the U.S. are "weak", and that nominal wage growth is not a good predictor of future inflation.
Final PMI data in the Eurozone yesterday confirmed that manufacturing remains under pressure from global headwinds. The manufacturing PMI in the zone fell to 52.0 in September from 52.3 in August, in line with the initial estimate. A rare upside surprise in France was not enough to offset weakness in the other major economies, and the trend in private investment growth likely will stay subdued this year.
China's GDP report for the fourth quarter, due on Friday, is likely to show that economic growth has stabilised, on the surface.
The leading wage indicators in the December NFIB survey, released in full yesterday--some of the labor market components appears a few days in advance, ahead of the official payroll report--all point to a substantial acceleration over the next six-to-nine months. Our first two charts show the NFIB jobs-hard-to-fill number and expected compensation numbers, respectively, compared to the rate of growth of hourly earnings. The message is extremely clear.
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.
The stagnation of industrial production in October ended a run of six consecutive month-to-month increases, the longest spell of unbroken growth since 1994.
Japan's regular wage growth continued to edge up in November, maintaining the rising trend. The headline is volatile, with growth in labour cash earnings rising to 0.9% year-over-year in November, up from a downwardly revised 0.2% in October.
Retail sales account for some 30% of GDP--more than all business investment and government spending combined--so the monthly numbers directly capture more of the economy than any other indicator. Translating the monthly sales numbers into real GDP growth is not straightforward, though, because the sales numbers are nominal. Sales have been hugely depressed over the past year by the plunging price of gasoline and, to a lesser extent, declines in prices of imported consumer goods.
PM Abe last week asked the cabinet to put together a package of measures in a 15-month budget aimed at bolstering GDP growth through productivity enhancement, in addition to the shorter-term goal of disaster recovery.
Everyone is familiar by now with the conundrum in the labor market: How come wage gains have barely increased over the past few years even as the unemployment rate has fallen to very low levels, and business surveys scream that employers can't find the people they want? To give just one visual example of the scale of the apparent anomaly, our first chart shows the yawning gap between the headline unemployment rate and the rate of growth of hourly earnings, compared to previous cycles.
The softening in payroll growth in November appears mostly to be a story about short-term noise, rather than a sign that tariffs are hurting or that the broader economy is slowing.
Friday was a busy day in the Eurozone. The final and detailed GDP report confirmed that growth in the euro area slowed to 0.2% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, from 0.4% in Q2, with the year-over-year rate slipping by 0.6 percentage points to 1.6%, just 0.1pp below the first estimate.
In the olden days, by which we mean the 15 years or so leading up to the financial crisis, a 100bp rise in long yields would be enough to slow GDP growth by about three percentage points, other things equal, after a lag of about one year.
As a general rule, faster productivity growth is always good news.
We're reasonably happy with the idea that business sentiment is stabilizing, albeit at a low level, but that does not mean that all the downside risk to economic growth is over.
The MPC's meeting on Thursday looks set to be a perfunctory affair. Signs that the economy has lost momentum this year, alongside downward surprises from CPI inflation in January and wage growth in December, mean the Committee won't give the idea of hiking rates a moment's thought.
Most of the data were consistent with the idea that fourth quarter growth will be a two-part story, with real strength in domestic final demand partly offset by substantial drags from net foreign trade and inventories.
The manufacturing sector's recovery has sped up since Q1, according to Markit's latest survey, but growth still looks too weak to prevent the overall economy from struggling again in Q2.
Investors moved rapidly last week to price-in renewed easing by central banks around the world, in response to the rapid growth in coronavirus cases outside China and the resulting sell-off in equity markets.
April's labour market data show that slack in the job market is no longer declining, while wage growth still isn't recovering. As a result, we no longer think that the MPC will raise Bank Rate in August and now expect the Committee to stand pat until the first half of 2019.
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.
Fed Chair Yellen today needs to strike a balance between addressing investors' concerns over the state of the stock market and the risks posed by slower growth in Asia, and the tightening domestic labor market.
On all accounts, growth in France has been modest in the past six-to-12 months, but in relative terms, the French economy is slowly but surely asserting itself as one of the key engines of growth in the EZ.
Growth in new EZ car sales remained brisk last month, growth slowed in Q3. New registrations rose 9.4% year-over-year in September, marginally lower than the 9.6% increase in August. Growth in France fell most, sliding to 2.5% from 6.7% in August, but sales in Germany picked up to 9.4%, from 8.3%.
The stand-out news from August's labour market report was the pick-up in the headline three-month average rate of year-over-year growth in average weekly wages, excluding bonuses, to 3.1%--its highest rate since January 2009--from 2.9% in July.
Friday's sole economic report showed that wage growth in France remained robust mid-way through the year. The non-seasonally adjusted private wage index, ex-agriculture and public sector workers, published by the Labour Ministry, rose by 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q3.
Rapid growth in labour supply has enabled the U.K. economy to grow quickly over the last three years without generating excessive wage or inflation pressure. The rise in the participation rate--the proportion of those aged over 16 in or looking for work--has been critical to this revival. But the rise in the participation rate largely has reflected cyclical factors rather than a sustainable upward trend, and the downward pressure on participation from demographic factors will build over the coming years.
Data released over the holidays suggest that money supply dynamics in the Eurozone remain solid, but also that growth is no longer accelerating. M3 growth slipped to 5.1% year-over-year in November from 5.3% in October, partly due to a sharp monthly fall in the stock of repurchase agreements. Momentum in narrow money, however, also dipped. M1 growth slowed to 11.2% year-over-year from 11.8% in October, mainly due to a modest fall in overnight deposit growth.
Chinese M1 growth has slowed sharply in the past year from the 25% rates prevailing in the first half of last year. Growth appeared to rebound in July to 15.3% year-over-year, from 15.0% in June. But the rebound looks erratic. Instead, growth has probably slowed slightly less sharply in 2017 than the official data suggest, but the downtrend continues.
A sizeable drop in China's year-over-year GDP in Q1 is now the consensus view, after 6.0% growth in Q4.
China's money and credit data continued to firm up in September, boding well for the economy's medium- to-long run growth prospects.
The Chinese activity data published yesterday were much weaker than expected; growth rates fell resoundingly. Did analysts really get it wrong, or is this just another example of erratic Chinese data?
Distinguishing between the structural and cyclical story is crucial to understanding the inflation picture in the Eurozone. Nobel laureate Paul Krugman recently lamented--New York Times, March 1st--that the Eurozone economy appears to be stalling. We doubt the outlook for GDP growth this year is that dire.
January's retail sales figures look set to show that growth in consumers' spending remains stuck in low gear.
Last week's hard data in Colombia were upbeat, confirming that economic growth accelerated in the first half. Retail sales rose 5.9% year-over-year in May, overshooting consensus.
Fed Chair Yellen said nothing very new in the core of her Monetary Policy Testimony yesterday, repeating her view that rates likely will have to rise this year but policy will remain accommodative, and that the labor market is less tight than the headline unemployment rate suggests. The upturn in wage growth remains "tentative", in her view, making the next two payroll reports before the September FOMC meeting key to whether the Fed moves then.
Net exports should come roaring back as a driver of Eurozone GDP growth in the second quarter. The euro area trade surplus leapt to €24.3B in April, a new all-time high, up from a revised €19.9B in March. A 1.7% month-to-month fall in imports--mean-reversion from a 3.9% increase in March--was a big contributor to the higher surplus.
The sharply increased virus spread outside China has lead to a serious downgrade in the global GDP growth outlook.
The ramifications of continued disappointing Asian growth, particularly in China, and its impact on global manufacturing, are especially hard-felt in LatAm.
The chances of a cut in official interest rates were boosted yesterday by the sharp fall in the business activity index of the Markit/CIPS report on services in February, to its weakest level since April 2013. Its decline, to just 52.8 from 55.6 in January, mirrored falls in the manufacturing and construction PMIs earlier in the week and pushed the weighted average of the three survey's main balances down to a level consistent with quarter-on-quarter GDP growth of just 0.2% in Q1.
The underlying trend in payroll growth probably has not changed significantly from the 228K average monthly gains recorded last year. But the average hides wide variations, some triggered by seasonal adjustment problems and others by one-time weather effects or unavoidable and random sampling error. January's below-trend 151K increase was likely a victim of seasonal problems, because payroll gains in recent years have tended to be soft at the start of the year after outsized fourth quarter increases.
Yesterday's final February PMI data were slightly stronger than expected, due to upbeat services data. The composite PMI in the Eurozone fell to 53.0, a bit above the initial 52.7 estimate, from 53.6 in January. The PMI likely will dip slightly in Q1 on average, compared to Q4, but it continues to indicate stable GDP growth of about 0.3%-to-0.4% quarter-on-quarter.
Yesterday's second estimate of GDP confirmed that Eurozone growth slowed significantly in Q3.
The Chinese activity data published yesterday were a mixed bag, with headline retail sales and production weakening, while FAI growth was stable. We compile our own indices for all three, to crosscheck the official versions.
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.
Mexican industrial production data for August were a little stronger-than-expected. Output rose 1.0% year-over-year, for the second consecutive month, and marginally higher than the 0.6% average growth in the second quarter. The rise in production in August is encouraging, especially the strong manufacturing component, which accounts for about half of all output.
Italy's long-term challenges--chiefly, structurally high government debt and deteriorating demographics--remain daunting, but the cyclical picture is improving steadily. Final GDP data last week revealed that growth in the first half of the year was 0.2% better than initially estimated, taking the annualised growth rate to 1.4%, the highest in five years. This is the first sign of a durable business cycle upturn since the sovereign debt crisis crashed the economy in 2012.
Many economists describe the EZ as the sick man of the global economy, thanks to its incomplete monetary union, low productivity growth and a rapidly ageing population.
In a busy week in Brazil, ongoing signals of feeble economic activity have strengthened our forecast for GDP growth of just 1.0% this year, below the 1.3% consensus forecast.
The medium-term outlook in most LatAm economies is improving, though economic activity is likely to remain anaemic in the near term. The gradual recovery in commodity prices is supporting resource economies, while the post-election surge in global stock prices has boosted confidence. But country-specific domestic considerations are equally relevant; the growth stories differ across the region.
The consumer in Brazil was off to a strong start to the first quarter, and we expect household spending will continue to boost GDP growth in the near term.
Today brings a wave of data which will help analysts narrow their estimates for first quarter GDP growth, and will offer some clues, albeit limited, about the early part of the second quarter.
Yesterday's data showed that growth in the EZ slowed in the second quarter.
Korea's unemployment rate rose faster than expected in May, jumping to 4.5%, from 3.8% in April. We've been arguing for some time that the delayed impact of the economic growth slowdown from late- 2017 to early-2019 would eventually push the jobless rate to the mid-4% level this year; the sudden stop caused by Covid-19 merely sped up this process.
The slowdown in households' income growth since the referendum has not pushed up mortgage default rates, so far. Employment grew by just 0.2% quarter-on-quarter in Q3 and 0.1% in Q4, well below the 0.5% average rate seen in the three years before the referendum.
EZ survey data were solid in the fourth quarter, pointing to robust GDP growth, but numbers from the real economy have so far not lived up to the rosy expectations. Data yesterday showed that industrial production fell 0.7% month-to-month in November, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 1.1% from a revised 2.0% in October. Italian data today likely will force marginal revisions to the headline next month, but they are unlikely to change the big picture.
Yesterday's preliminary full-year GDP data in Germany tell a cautionary tale of the dangers in taking national accounts at face value. The headline data suggest real GDP growth rose to 1.7% in 2015, up slightly from 1.6% in 2014, but these data are not adjusted for calendar effects. The working-day adjusted measure buried in the press release instead indicates that growth slowed marginally to 1.5% from 1.6% in 2014.
Yesterday's second estimate of Q4 Eurozone GDP confirmed the upbeat story from the advance report, despite the dip in headline growth.
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.
Eurozone GDP data last Friday suggest the cyclical recovery continued at the end of last year. Real GDP in euro area rose 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, the same as in Q3, lifted by growth in all the major economies. This was in line with the consensus forecast, but noticeably higher than implied by monthly industrial production and retail sales data.
The new fiscal projections in the Budget today likely will be based on implausible economic projections, which assume that wage growth will accelerate soon, lifting inflation, but that interest rates won't rise for three more years. You can coherently forecast one or the other, but not both.
Colombia's economy defied rising political uncertainty at the start of the year. Retail sales growth jumped to plus 6.2% year-over-year in January, up from -3.8% in December and -1.8% in Q4.
Net exports in the euro area likely rebounded in Q4. The headline EZ trade surplus rose to €22.7B in November from €19.7B in October. Exports jumped 3.3% month-to-month, primarily as a result of strong data in Germany and France, offsetting a 1.8% rise in imports. Over Q4 as a whole, we are confident that net exports gave a slight boost to eurozone GDP growth, adding 0.1 percentage points to quarter-on-quarter growth.
The underlying trend in payroll growth is running at about 225K-to-250K, perhaps more, and the leading indicators we follow suggest that's a reasonable starting point for our December forecast. The trend in jobless claims is extraordinarily low and stable--the week-to-week volatility is eye-catching, especially over the holidays, but unimportant--and indicators of hiring remain robust. The unusually warm weather in the eastern half of the country between the November and December survey weeks also likely will give payrolls a small nudge upwards, with construction likely the key beneficiary, as in November.
The Chancellor argued in a speech on Thursday that the U.K.'s economic recovery is threatened by a "dangerous cocktail" of overseas risks, including slowing growth in the BRICs--Brazil, Russia, India, and China--and escalating tensions in the Middle East. Exports are set to struggle this year, but the strong pound, not weakness in emerging markets, will be the main drag.
EZ households' demand for new cars was off to a strong start in 2017. Car registrations in the euro area jumped 10.9% year-over-year in January, accelerating from a 2.1% rise in December. We have to discount the headline level of sales by about a fifth to account for dealers' own registrations. Even with this provision, though, the January report was solid. Growth rebounded in France and Germany, and a 27.1% surge in Dutch car registrations also lifted the headline. We think car registrations will rise about 1.5% quarter-onquarter in Q1, rebounding from a weak Q4. But this does not change the story of downside risks to private spending.
The Fed's decisions over the next few months hinge on the relative importance policymakers place on the apparent slowdown in payroll growth and the unambiguous acceleration in wages. We qualify our verdict on the payroll numbers because the January number was very close to our expectation, which in turn was based largely on an analysis of the seasonals, not the underlying economy.
Private sector payroll growth has averaged 190K over the past year, but the six-month average has slowed to 150K. The downshift is consistent with the weakening in survey-based measures of hiring intentions, which began to soften at the turn of the year.
The rate of growth of real personal incomes is under sustained downward pressure, slowing to 2.1% year-over-year in December from 3.4% in the year to December 2015. In January, we think real income growth will dip below 2%, thanks to the spike in the headline CPI, reported Wednesday. Our first chart shows that the 0.6% increase in the index likely will translate into a 0.5% jump in the PCE deflator, generating the first month-to-month decline in real incomes since January last year.
China's money data, out last week, bode ill for real GDP growth in the second half. June M2 growth dipped to 9.4% year-over-year from 9.6% in May and 10.5% in April.
May's activity data underline the gradual recovery in Colombia's economic growth, following signs of weakness at the start of the year.
Demand for new cars in the Eurozone bounced back strongly last month. Accelerating growth in the major economies lifted new registrations by 14.6% year-over-year in February, up from a 6.8% increase in January. Surging growth in Italy was a key driver, with new registrations jumping 27.3%, up from an already sizzling 17.4% in January.
The Japanese GDP report yesterday contained substantial revisions to Q4. We had expected the Q1 contraction, but the revisions recast the health of the recovery, making the domestic demand performance look much less impressive recently, with the economy struggling since the burst of growth in the first half last year.
Chinese policymakers' calls to abandon the obsession with high GDP growth--GDPism--are multiplying.
The tone of today's FOMC statement likely will be different to the gloomy April missive, which began with a list of bad news: "...economic growth slowed during the winter months, in part reflecting transitory factors. The pace of job gains moderated... underutilization of labor resources was little changed. Growth in household spending declined... Business fixed investment softened, the recovery in the housing sector remained slow, and exports declined."
China's activity data for May were a mixed bag, but they broadly paint a consistent picture of a slowdown in economic growth from the first quarter.
Economic growth in Colombia and--especially-- Chile, braked in the fourth quarter and at the start of this year as the strong USD drove up imported good prices and tepid global demand weighed on exports. Colombia's January exports plunged 36.6% year-over-year, even worse than the 35% average drop in Q4.
The outlook for growth in the EZ economy is currently both stable and relatively uncomplicated, at least based on the most widely-watched leading indicators.
The rate of inventory-building regularly is a major influence on GDP growth, but often is overlooked by analysts. Much slower inventory accumulation than in 2014 was the key source of downside surprise to the 2015 consensus GDP growth forecast, and we think inventories likely will be a sustained drag on GDP growth this year too.
On the face of it, recent retail spending surveys have been puzzlingly weak in light of the pick-up in employment growth, still-robust real wage gains and renewed momentum in the housing market. We think those surveys are a genuine signal that retail sales growth is slowing, and expect today's official figures to surprise to the downside. But retail sales account for just one-third of household spending, and, in contrast to the early stages of the economic recovery, consumers now are prioritising spending on services rather than goods.
Strong real M1 growth suggests the cyclical recovery is in good shape. But recent economic data indicate GDP growth slowed in Q4, and survey evidence deteriorated in January. This slightly downbeat message, however, is a far cry from the horror story told by financial markets. The recent collapse in stock-to-bond returns extends the decline which began in Q2 last year, signalling the Eurozone is on the brink of recession.
November's money and credit figures brought welcome news that the recovery in bank lending is strengthening. This revival should continue, now that banks have completed most of the work required to improve their capital positions. But we doubt lending will recover quickly enough to prevent the economic recovery slowing in 2016, as the downward pressure on growth from the fiscal squeeze and the strong pound builds.
Advance data indicate that Q1 annualized GDP growth in the U.S. was a trivial 0.2%. And in the U.K., annualized growth is estimated to have slowed to 1.2%, from 2.4% in Q4.
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.
Official industrial production growth in China plunged to 5.4% year-over-year in April, from 8.5% in March.
Growth in new EZ car sales slipped last month, following a strong start to the year. New registrations rose 4.4% year-over-year in February, slowing from a 8.7% rise in January.
Chinese April retail sales growth slowed sharply in value terms, to 9.4% year-over-year, from 10.1% in March.
Japanese GDP growth in the third quarter corrected the imbalances of the second. Domestic demand took a breather after unsustainable growth in Q2, while net exports rebounded.
Industrial production growth in China appears to be stabilising, following the slowdown in Q2.
China's March money and credit data, published last Friday, showed that conditions continue to tighten, posing a threat to GDP growth this year.
Increased volatility has given equity investors a torrid start to the year, but economic reports have been strong, and yesterday's PMIs were no exception. The composite index in the Eurozone rose marginally to 54.3 in December from 54.2 in November, slightly higher than the initial estimate of 54.0. This is consistent with a continuing cyclical recovery, and real GDP growth of 0.4%-to-0.5% in Q4, modestly higher than the 0.3% rise in the third quarter.
The elevated readings from the ISM manufacturing survey this year have not been followed by rapid growth in output. The headline ISM averaged 55.8 in the second quarter, a solid if unspectacular reading. But output rose by only 1.2% year-over-year, and by 1.4% on a quarterly annualized basis.
None of today's four monthly economic reports will tell us much new about the outlook, and one of them--ADP employment--will tell us more about the past, but that won't stop markets obsessing over it. We have set out the problems with the ADP number in numerous previous Monitors, but, briefly, the key point is that it is generated from regression models which are heavily influenced by the previous month's official payroll numbers and other lagging data like industrial production, personal incomes, retail and trade sales, and even GDP growth. It is not based solely on the employment data taken from companies which use ADP for payroll processing, and it tends to lag the official numbers.
We have been quite bullish on U.S. economic growth this year.
China's official real GDP growth likely slowed to 6.0% year-over-year in Q3, from 6.2% in Q2.
Tariffs are a tax on imported goods, and higher taxes depress growth, other things equal.
India's GDP shrank by 23.9% year-over-year in the second quarter, following growth of 3.1% in Q1.
Colombia's GDP growth was a poor 1.6% year-over- year in Q4, down from 2.3% in Q3, despite the oil recovery and the COP's rebound since mid-year. GDP rose a modest 0.3% quarter-on-quarter, after a 0.8% increase in Q3.
Hopes that GDP growth might be boosted soon by a pick-up in net exports continue to be undermined by the latest data.
On the face of it, the potential for a tangible boost to GDP growth from a revival in business investment after a no-deal Brexit has been averted appears modest.
Japanese M2 growth increased trivially in June to 3.9% year-on-year from 3.8% in May, significantly higher than the 3.2% rate in August, before the BoJ began targeting the yield curve.
The Eurozone economy is in fine shape, according to the latest PMI data. The composite EZ PMI fell trivially to 54.3 in January, but remains strong. A marginal dip in the services index offset a small increase in the manufacturing PMI to a cyclical high of 55.1. These data tell a story of a strong private sector that continues to support GDP growth.
The rate of growth of chain store sales has levelled off in recent months, after slowing dramatically in the first four months of this year, almost certainly in response to falling prices for dollar-sensitive goods like household electronics. In the fourth quarter of last year, the Redbook recorded same-store sales growth averaging 4.3%, but that has slowed to a 1-to-2% range since April.
Chinese New Year effects were very visible in Japan's December trade data. Export growth slowed sharply to 9.3% year-over-year in December, from 16.2% in November.
November data for most of the major EZ business and consumer surveys arrive this week. We doubt the reports will change our view that EZ GDP growth likely will remain steady at about 1.6% year-over-year in Q4. But appearances matter, and risks are tilted to the downside in some of the main surveys, after jumps in October.
Our forecast for LatAm envisions a gradual pickup in growth, following a terrible first half.
As far as we can tell, most forecasters expect the impact of fiscal stimulus this year to be gradual, with perhaps most of the boost to growth coming next year. At this point, with no concrete proposals either from the new administration or Congress, anything can happen, and we can't rule out the idea of a slow roll-out of tax cuts and spending increases.
A strong December didn't change the story of another year of Eurozone equity underperformance in 2016. The total return of the MSCI EU, ex-UK, last year was a paltry 3.5%, compared to 11.6% and 10.6% for the S&P 500 and MSCI EM respectively. In principle, the conditions are in place for a reversal in this sluggish performance are present. Equities in the euro area do best when excess liquidity--defined as M1 growth less GDP growth and inflation--is rising.
Japan's Q3 real GDP growth was revised up substantially to 0.6% quarter-on-quarter in the final read, compared with 0.3% in the preliminary report.
The Eurozone has come under the spotlight for its growing external surplus, but domestic households have been doing the heavy lifting for GDP growth in this business cycle. During the last four quarters, consumers' spending has boosted year-over-year GDP growth by an average of 1.0 percentage points, in contrast to a 0.4pp drag from net exports.
Economic sentiment data, which rebounded in March, continue to suggest slight downside risk to EZ GDP growth in Q1. The composite Eurozone PMI in March rose modestly to 53.7 from 53.0 in February, only partially erasing the weakness in recent months. The PMI dipped slightly over the quarter as a whole, although not enough to change the EZ GDP forecast in a statistically meaningful way.
First things first: Payroll growth likely will be sustained at or close to November's pace.
GDP growth in Korea surprised to the upside in the fourth quarter, with the economy expanding by 1.2% quarter-on-quarter, three times as fast as in Q3, and the biggest increase in nine quarters.
Taken at face value, the GDP data continue to suggest that the Brexit vote has had no adverse consequences for the economy. The official estimate of quarter-on-quarter GDP growth in Q4 was revised up yesterday to 0.7%, from 0.6%. The revision had been flagged earlier this month by stronger industrial production and construction output figures.
The knee-jerk reaction of the stock market to the unexpectedly high hourly earnings growth number for January was predicated on two connected ideas.
Surging soybean exports contributed 0.9 percentage points, gross, to third quarter GDP growth, though the BEA said that this was "mostly" offset by falling inventories of wholesale non-durable goods.
The euro area's record-high external surplus has prompted commentators to suggest that the zone has room to loosen fiscal policy to support growth, or at least relax the deficit reduction rules.
We expect the official estimate of quarter-on-quarter GDP growth in Q4 to be revised up to 0.7% today, from last month's preliminary estimate of 0.6%. The consensus forecast is for no revision, so the data likely will boost interest rate expectations and sterling, if we're right.
The flattening of the curve in recent months has been substantial, but in our view it is telling us little, if anything, about the outlook for growth. More than anything else, investors in longer Treasuries care about inflation, and the likely path of headline inflation clearly has been lowered by the plunge in oil prices.
We're expecting a substantial inventory hit in the fourth quarter, subtracting about 1¼ percentage points from headline GDP growth. Businesses very likely added to their inventories in Q4, in real terms, but the we reckon the increase was only about $30B, annualized, compared to the $85.5B jump in the third quarter. Remember, the contribution to GDP growth is the change in the pace of inventory-building between quarters.
This is the final U.S. Economic Monitor of 2017, a year which has seen the economy strengthen, the labor market tighten substantially, and the Fed raise rates three times, with zero deleterious effect on growth.
China faces three possible macro outcomes over the next few years. First, the economy could pull off an active transition to consumer-led growth. Second, it could gradually slide into Japan-style growth and inflation, with government debt spiralling up. Third, it could face a full blown debt crisis, where the authorities lose control and China drags the global economy down too
Monetary policy loosening over the last year implies that China's M1 growth already should be picking up.
The latest public finance figures continue to imply that the Chancellor will be able to change course later this year in the Autumn Budget so that fiscal policy doesn't drag on GDP growth next year.
Economic growth in France has been the key downside surprise in the Eurozone this year.
Yesterday's first batch of Q3 survey data in the Eurozone suggest that economic growth eased further, albeit it slightly, at the start of the quarter.
Korea's preliminary export numbers rebounded quite spectacularly in June, with growth at 24.4% year-on-year, compared with just 3.4% in May. This reading is important as it comes early in the monthly data cycle. Korea's position close to the beginning of the global supply chain, moreover, means its exports often lead shifts in global trade.
China's November money and credit data were a little less grim, with only M2 growth slipping, due to unfavourable base effects.
In recent years only one event has made a material difference to the growth path of the U.S. economy, namely, the plunge in oil prices which began in the summer of 2014. The ensuing collapse in capital spending in the mining sector and everything connected to it, pulled GDP growth down from 2½% in both 2014 and 2015 to just 1.6% in 2016.
We still don't have the complete picture of what happened to EZ consumers' spending in Q1, but the initial details suggest that growth acceleretated slightly at the start of the year.
Yesterday's labour market data brought further signs that wage growth is recovering from its early 2017 dip.
Recent retail surveys have indicated that consumers are not suffering yet from Brexit blues. The BRC reported that year-over-year growth in total sales values picked up to 1.9% in July, from 0.2% in June. After adjusting for falling prices, this measure suggests that year-over-year growth in official retail sales volumes held steady at about 4% last month.
The PBoC and Ministry of Finance have been locked in a relatively public debate recently over which body should shoulder the burden of stimulating the economy as growth slows and trade tensions take their toll.
The closer we look at the Fed's new forecasts, the stranger they seem. The FOMC cut its GDP estimate for this year and now expects the economy to grow by 1.9%--the mid-point of its forecast range--in the year to the fourth quarter. Growth is then expected to pick up to 2.6% next year, before slowing a bit to 2.3% in 2017. Unemployment, however, is expected to fall much less quickly than in the recent past.
On the face of it, the latest GDP data look awful. December's 0.4% month-to-month fall in GDP closed a poor Q4, in which quar ter-on-quarter growth slowed to 0.2%, from 0.6% in Q3.
Yesterday's detailed Mexican GDP report confirmed that growth was resilient in Q1, despite external and domestic headwinds. GDP rose 0.7% quarter-on-quarter in Q1, in line with our expectation, but marginally above the first estimate, 0.6%.
Friday's weekly report on the assets and liabilities of U.S. commercial banks will complete the picture or March and, hence, the first quarter. It won't be pretty. With most of the March data already released, a month-to-month decline in lending to commercial and industrial companies of about 0.7% is a done deal. That would be the biggest drop since May 2010, and it would complete a 1% annualized fall for the first quarter, the worst performance since Q3 2010. The year-over-year rate of growth slowed to just 5.0% in Q1, from 8.0% in the fourth quarter and 10.3% in the first quarter of last year.
Chinese monetary conditions show signs of a temporary stabilisation. M2 growth picked up to 9.1% year-over-year in November from 8.8% in October, though largely as a correction for understated growth in recent months.
The second estimate of GDP left the estimate of quarter-on-quarter growth unrevised at 0.3%, a trivial improvement on Q1's 0.2% gain.
The minutes of the May 2/3 FOMC meeting today should add some color to policymakers' blunt assertion that "The Committee views the slowing in growth during the first quarter as likely to be transitory and continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further, and inflation will stabilize around 2 percent over the medium term."
China's M2 growth stabilised in November, at 8.0% year-over-year, matching the October rate.
This is the last Monitor before we head to the beach, so we want to offer a few thoughts on the upcoming data and the FOMC meeting while we're out. First, a warning about the second quarter GDP number. We think that the data released so far are consistent with growth at about 3%.
The third estimate of first quarter GDP growth, due today, will not be the final word. The BEA will revise the data again on July 30, when it will also release its first estimate for the second quarter and the results of its annual revision exercise. Quarterly estimates back to 2012 will be revised. The revisions are of greater interest than usual this year because the new data will incorporate the first results of the BEA's review of the seasonal problems.
All the evidence indicates that growth in Eurozone consumers' spending is slowing. We think data today will show that the advance GfK consumer sentiment index in Germany was unchanged at 9.5 in April, but the headline index does not correlate well with spending. The "business expectations" index is better, and while it likely will increase slightly, our first chart shows that it continues to signal a slowdown in consumers' spending growth.
February's industrial production and construction output data leave us little choice but to revise down our forecast for quarter-on-quarter GDP growth in Q1 to 0.2%, from 0.3% previously.
Yesterday's PMI reports repeated the message of a firm cyclical Eurozone recovery, despite investors' angst over deflation and the underwhelming Q3 GDP data earlier this month. The composite index in the zone rose to a 54-month high of 54.4 in November from 53.9 in October, lifted by strong output and solid new business growth. Our first chart shows the rise in the PMI points to slight upside risks in Q4 to the four quarter trend in real GDP growth of 0.4% per quarter.
Eurozone consumers' spending jumped in Q2, but we are pretty certain that a slowdown in retail sales constrained growth in Q3.
This week's key data releases in Mexico likely will reaffirm that growth remains below trend, while inflation continues to ease.
Economic activity in Mexico during the past few months has been stronger than most observers expected. Growth has certainly moderated from the relatively strong pace recorded during the second half of last year, but data for January and February show that it is still quite strong.
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.
We believe China is going through a paradigm shift in its economic policy, away from GDPism-- the obsession with GDP growth targeting--to environmentalism, setting widespread environmental targets on everything, from air to water to waste.
Whatever you might think about the state of the U.S. economy, it is not as volatile as implied by the past few months' payroll numbers. Assuming steady productivity growth in line with the recent trend, the payroll data suggest the economy swung from bust to boom in one month, with not even a pause for breath.
Yesterday's detailed GDP report in Germany showed net exports propelled GDP growth to a cyclical high last quarter.
A year has now elapsed since sterling began its precipitous descent, and the trade data still have not improved. Net trade subtracted 0.9 percentage points from year-over-year growth in GDP in Q3. And while the trade deficit of £2.0B in October was the smallest since May, this followed extraordinarily large deficits in the previous two months. In fact, the trade deficit has been on a slightly deteriorating trend over the last year, as our first chart shows, and we expect today's data to show that the deficit re-widened to about £3.5B in November.
Our base case remains that the slowdown in quarter-on-quarter GDP growth to about zero in Q2 is just a blip, and that the economy will regain momentum in Q3 and sustain it well into 2020.
The single most startling development in the labor market data in recent months is acceleration in labor force growth. The participation rate has risen only marginally, because employment has continued to climb too, but the absolute size of the labor force is now expanding at its fastest pace in nine years, up 1.9% in the year to September.
The combination of sluggish GDP growth in October and news that the Prime Minister will attempt to renegotiate the terms of the Brexit backstop, most likely pushing back the key vote in parliament until January, has extinguished any lingering chance that the MPC might be in a position to raise Bank Rate at its February meeting.
On the face of it, the surge in retail sales volumes in September suggests that the U.K. consumer is in fine fettle and can prevent the economic recovery from losing momentum as exporters struggle and government spending retrenches. But the underlying picture is less encouraging and consumers won't be able to sustain the recent robust growth in real spending when inflation revives next year.
Chinese CPI inflation trends point to diminishing wage growth, as the services sector begins to struggle with the influx of labour displaced by the industrial productivity drive.
It's hard to know what will stop the correction in the stock market, but we're pretty sure that robust economic data--growth, prices and/or wages--over the next few weeks would make things worse.
If you want to know what's going to happen to the real economy over, say, the next year, don't look to the stock market for reliable clues. The relationship between swings in stock prices over single quarters and GDP growth over the following year is nonexistent, as our next chart shows.
Consumers' spending in Brazil weakened at the end of Q4, but we think households will support GDP growth in the first quarter.
The recent plunge in oil prices is another positive development, alongside looser fiscal policy and the striking of a Brexit deal with the E.U., pointing to scope for GDP growth to pick up next year.
In the absence of any significant data releases today, we want to take a closer look at the outlook for wage growth, and the implications of an acceleration in hourly earnings for inflation.
Mexico's latest forward-looking indicators are showing tentative signs of stabilisation in the wake of recent evidence that growth slowed quicker than markets have been expecting.
The sudden jump in the headline, three-month average, growth rate of average weekly wages to a 10-year high of 3.3% in October, from just 2.4% four months earlier, might indicate that the U.K. has reached the sharply upward-sloping part of the Phillips Curve.
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.
Wage growth in Japan accelerated to a six-month high in December, inching up to 1.8% year-over-year, from November's 1.7%.
It appears to be something of an article of faith among economic advisors to President-elect Trump that substantial fiscal stimulus will generate faster growth without boosting inflation, because both labor participation and productivity growth will rise.
Mexican consumers' spending improved toward the end of Q2. Retail sales jumped by 1.0% month-to-month in June, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 9.4%, from an already solid 8.6% in May. Still, private spending lost some momentum in the second quarter as a whole, rising by 2.5% quarter-on-quarter, after a 3.8% jump in Q1. A modest slowdown in consumers' spending had to come eventually, following surging growth rates in the initial phases of the recovery.
China's September activity data, released at the end of last week, back up our claim that GDP growth weakened in Q3, on a quarter-on-quarter basis.
We are a bit troubled by the persistent weakness of the Redbook chain store sales numbers. We aren't ready to sound an alarm, but we are puzzled at the recent declines in the rate of growth of same-store sales to new post-crash lows. On the face of it, the recent performance of the Redbook, shown in our first chart, is terrible. Sales rose only 0.5% in the year to July, during which time we estimate nominal personal incomes rose nearly 3%.
The U.S. consumer is back on track, almost. We have argued in recent months that the sharp slowdown in the rate of growth of consumption is mostly a story about a transition from last year's surge, when spending was boosted by the tax cuts and, later, by falling gas prices, to a sustainable pace roughly in line with real after-tax income growth.
Fed policymakers surprised no one with their May 1 statement, which acknowledged the surprisingly "solid " Q1 economic growth--at the time of the March 19-to-20 meeting, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model suggested Q1 growth would be just 0.6%--but stuck to its view that low inflation means the FOMC can be "patient".
Labour costs growth accelerated modestly last year in the Eurozone. Data on Friday showed that Q4 nominal labour costs in the Eurozone rose 1.3% year-over-year, slightly higher than the 1.1% increase in Q3. The modest acceleration was mainly due to a rise in "non-business" labour costs, which rose 1.6% year-over-year, up from a 0.9% increase in Q3.
The imposition of 10% tariffs on $200B-worth of Chinese imports is not a serious threat either to U.S. economic growth--the tariffs amount to 0.1% of GDP--or inflation.
Household spending has been the sole source of growth in the economy so far this year, amid worsening investment and net trade. Today's official retail sales figures, however, look set to show that consumers suffered the Brexit blues in June.
Japan's GDP growth came roaring back in Q2, thanks to a strong rebound in private consumption, and an acceleration in business capex.
In the years before the crash of 2008, if you wanted to know what was likely to happen to the pace of U.S. economic growth, all you needed to know was what happened to corporate bond yields a year earlier. The correlation between movements in BBB industrial yields--not spreads--and the changes in the rate of GDP growth, lagged by a year, was remarkably strong from 1994 through 2008, as our first chart shows. Roughly, a 50 basis point increase in yields could be expected to reduce the pace of year-over-year GDP growth--the second differential, in other words--by about 1.5 percentage points.
Investors and market observers of a relatively bearish persuasion argued over the weekend that the details of the October employment report were less encouraging than the headline, principally because the household survey showed that all the job growth, net, was among older workers, defined as people aged 55-plus. This, they argue, suggests that most of the increased demand for labor was concentrated in low-paid service sector jobs, where older workers are concentrated, perhaps reflecting retail hiring ahead of the holidays. Such a wave of hiring is unlikely to be repeated over the next few months, so payroll growth won't be sustained at its October pace.
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.
Colombia, the third largest economy in LatAm, has not been immune to the headwinds of the global economy since the financial crisis in 2008, though it remains one of the fastest growing economies in the region. GDP growth slowed sharply to just 1.7% in 2009, but that was still much better than the 1.2% contraction of the region as a whole.
Today's rate hike will be accompanied by a new round of Fed forecasts, which will have to reflect the faster growth and lower unemployment than expected back in September.
Last week, the Atlanta Fed updated its median hourly earnings series with new October data, showing wage growth accelerating to an eight-year high of 3.9%. That's a full percentage point higher than the increase in this measure of wages in the year to October 2015, and it follows a spring and summer during which wage growth appeared to be topping-out at just under 3½%.
China's money and credit numbers were once again unspectacular in August. M2 growth edged up to 8.2% year-over-year, from 8.1% in July.
China's economic recovery remained broadly on track in the third quarter, officially, at least. GDP growth accelerated to 4.9% year-over-year, from 3.2% in the second quarter.
The third quarter national accounts, due to be published on Friday, likely will not alter the picture of economic resilience immediately after the referendum. The latest estimate of GDP growth often is revised in this release, but revisions have not exceeded 0.1 percentage points in either direction in the last four years, as our first chart shows.
When the Bernanke Fed embarked on the first of its 17 straight quarter-point tightenings, on 30 June 2004, the latest available GDP data showed that the economy expanded at a robust 3.9% annualized rate in the first quarter of the year. After being revised up to 4.5%, the latest estimate for growth in the first quarter of 2004 is just 2.3%.
August's retail sales figures, released today, look set to show that growth in consumers' spending has remained subpar in Q3, casting doubt over whether the MPC will conclude that the economy can cope with a rate hike this year.
Industrial production figures look set to surprise the consensus to the downside again today. We think that production was flat on a month-to-month basis in August, falling short of the consensus forecast of 0.2% growth.
The national accounts, released on Friday, likely will restate that quarter-on-quarter GDP growth picked up to 0.4% in Q3, from 0.3% in Q2.
Fed Chair Yellen said something which sounded odd, at first, in her Q&A at the Senate Banking Committee last Tuesday. It is "not clear" she argued, that the rate of growth of wages has a "direct impact on inflation".
The Spanish economy has been punching above its weight in the current business cycle. Real GDP growth has trended at about 0.8% quarter-on-quarter since 2015, far outpacing the other major EZ economies.
On the face of it, June's retail sales figures suggest that households have splurged in Q2, re-energising GDP growth after its slowdown in Q1. Sales volumes rose by 0.6% month-to-month in June, completing a 1.5% quarter-on-quarter jump in Q2.
Mexican economic growth was subdued during the first half of the year, and we expect it to remain weak over the coming months. The economy has been held back largely by external headwinds, especially low oil prices and disruptions to activity in the US, its main trading partner.
This week brings a wave of data on all aspects of the economy, bar housing. By the end o f the week, we'll have a better idea of the shape of consumers' spending, the industrial sector and the inflation picture, and estimates of third quarter GDP growth will start to mean something.
Quarter-on-quarter GDP growth last year was buffeted by the accumulation, and subsequent depletion, of inventories, around the two Brexit deadlines in March and October.
In the wake of the payroll report on Friday, several readers sent us a version of the chart reproduced below, showing the rates of growth of S&P earnings and private sector payrolls. The message from the chart appears to be that the current trend in payroll growth, a bit over 200K per month cannot be sustained.
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 rebound in GDP growth in the second quarter seems not to have been enough to prevent year-over-year productivity growth slowing to about zero. The consensus forecast for the first estimate of Q2 productivity growth, due today, is a 1.6% annualized increase, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 0.3% from 0.6% in the first quarter, but we think this is too optimistic.
Exports rebounded sharply in Q3 so far, after the Q2 weakness. This will be a useful boost to GDP growth in Q3, as domestic demand likely will soften.
Chinese exports grew by just 5.5% in dollar terms year-over-year in August, down from 7.2% in July. Export growth continues to trend down, with a rise of just 0.2% in RMB terms in the three months to August compared to the previous three months, significantly slower than the 4.8% jump at the p eak in January.
If the Phase One trade deal with China is completed, and is accompanied by a significant tariff roll-back, we'll revise up our growth forecasts, but we'll probably lower our near-term inflation forecasts, assuming that the tariff reductions are focused on consumer goods.
We have been arguing for some time that the drag on growth from falling capital spending in the oil sector would fade to nothing in the third quarter, and would then likely be followed by a small increase in the fourth quarter. But we seem to have been too cautious. It now seems much more likely that oil capex will rebound strongly as soon as the third quarter, following the clear upturn in the rig count data produced by Baker Hughes, Inc.
While we were away, EM growth prospects and risk appetite deteriorated, due mainly to rising geopolitical risks and Turkey's currency crisis.
Officially, China's real GDP growth was unchanged at 6.0% year-over-year in Q4; low by Chinese standards, but not overly worrying. Full-year growth was 6.1% within the 6.0-to-6.1% target down from 6.7% last year, also in keeping with the authorities' long-term poverty reduction goals.
Colombia's oil industry--one of the key drivers of the country's economic growth over the last decade--has been stumbling over recent months, raising concerns about the country's growth prospects. But the recent weakness of the mining sector is in stark contrast with robust internal demand and solid domestic production.
We highlighted in previous reports that the Chinese authorities appear to be making a serious pivot from GDPism--the rigid targeting of real GDP growth-- toward environmentalism, with pollution targets now taking centre stage.
China's money and credit numbers for April were a mixed bag. M2 growth merely inched down, to 8.5% year-over-year, from 8.6% in March, keeping its gradual uptrend intact.
If the economy is to enter recession, falling business investment probably will have to be the main driver. Growth in consumer spending likely will slow sharply over the next year as firms become more cautious about hiring new workers and inflation begins to exceed wage growth again.
It happened! Before Q1, Chinese GDP year-over- year growth had moved by no more than two tenths of a percentage point for years.
Data on industrial production and trade released last week have fanned hopes that the U.K.'s growth model is moving away from its excessive reliance on household spending, and towards production and exports. But a close look at the underlying drivers of the strong headline figures suggests that it is too soon to hope that the economy is undergoing a major rebalancing.
House price inflation in tier-one cities has been crushed by China's most recent monetary tightening. This is a sharp turnaround from the overheating mid-way through last year. Unlike in previous cycles, interest rates are probably more important for house prices than broad money growth.
The PMI survey points to a slight loss of momentum in Eurozone growth towards the end of Q3. The composite index fell to 53.6 in September from 54.3 in August, trivially lower than the initial estimate of 53.9. This is not enough to move the needle on the survey's signal for Q3 GDP growth, though; our first chart shows it pointing to stable growth of 0.4% quarter-on-quarter.
Brazil's recent data show that inflation is still falling, allowing the central bank to ease further next month, while economic activity is improving, though the rate of growth has slowed.
Topic: Coronavirus means a Contraction in Chinese GDP in Q1 Growth should rebound sharply thereafter, but the recovery will be uneven Reducing tariffs is a smart move What measures will the authorities take to cushion demand
Our view that the economy is slowing sharply appears, superficially, to be challenged by the surge in the money supply. Year-over-year growth in the value of banknotes and coins in circulation has shot up this year, to 8.3% in August, from 5.5% in December 2015.
The cyclical upturn in the euro area's economy is going from strength to strength. Yesterday's second Q2 GDP estimate confirmed growth at 0.6% quarter- on-quarter, marginally stronger than the 0.5% rise in the first quarter.
We expect to learn today that the economy expanded at a 1.7% rate in the fourth quarter. At least, that's our forecast, based on incomplete data, and revisions over time could easily push growth significantly away from this estimate. The inherent unreliability of the GDP numbers, which can be revised forever--literally--explains why the Fed puts so much more emphasis on the labor market data, which are volatile month-to-month but more trustworthy over longer periods and subject to much smaller revisions.
Andres Abadia on Mexico GDP Growth
The first estimate of Q1 growth will show that the economy struggled in the face of the severe winter and, to a lesser extent, the rollover in capital spending in the oil sector. But the weather hit appears to have been much smaller than last year, when the economy shrank at a 2.1% rate in the first quarter; this time, we think the economy expanded at an annualized rate of 1.1%.
Don't fret over the slowdown in growth in the fourth quarter. The quarterly GDP data are volatile even after several rounds of revisions, and the advance numbers are full of assumptions about missing trade, inventory and capex data, which often turn out to be wrong.
In yesterday's Monitor, we lamented the lack of growth in the French economy. The outlook is not much brighter in Italy. We think Italian GDP was unchanged quarter-on-quarter in Q4, slightly better than the -0.1% consensus but still very soft.
The strength of the economic recovery next year and the MPC's scope to leave interest rates at ultra-low levels will hinge on whether wage growth picks up in response to rising inflation.
Official, real GDP growth was low in Q1, at 1.4% quarter-on-quarter, down from 1.6% in Q4.
Consumers' spending has staged an impressive recovery in the Eurozone, and remains the key driver of accelerating GDP growth. Outside Germany, however, households have struggled, and are still faced with tight credit conditions.
This was supposed to be the year that wage growth finally would pick up and signal clearly to the MPC that the economy needs higher interest rates.
The national accounts, released today, likely will restate that quarter-on-quarter GDP growth held steady at 0.4% in Q4.
The MPC almost certainly will keep interest rates on hold today and likely won't give a strong steer on the outlook for policy in the minutes of its meeting, which are released at mid-day. On the whole, surveys of economic activity have been weak, indicating that GDP growth has slowed sharply in the second quarter.
We have argued for some time that the hourly earnings data, which take no account of changes in the mix of employment by industry or occupation, have been depressed over the past year by the relatively rapid growth of low-paid jobs.
The obvious answer to the question posed in our title is that it's far too early to tell what will happen to first quarter growth. More than half the quarter hasn't even happened yet, and data for January are still extremely patchy, with no official reports on retail sales, industrial production, housing, capex, inventories or international trade yet available. For what it's worth, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model signals growth of 3.4%, though we note that it substantially overstated the first estimate of growth in the fourth quarter.
The Atlanta Fed's GDP Now estimate for second quarter GDP growth will be revised today, in light of the data released over the past few days. We aren't expecting a big change from the June 24 estimate, 2.6%, because most of the recent data don't capture the most volatile components of growth, including inventories and government spending. The key driver of quarterly swings in the government component is state and local construction, but at this point we have data only for April; those numbers were weak.
Yesterday's Q2 GDP report in Germany was solid, but the headline disappointed slightly. GDP growth slowed to 0.6% quarter-on-quarter from an upwardly- revised 0.7% rise in Q1. The year-over-year rate, however, rose to 2.1% from a revised 2.0% in Q1.
The second estimate of Eurozone GDP confirmed that the economy grew 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in the final three months of last year, up slightly from 0.2% in the third quarter. Gross fixed capital formation and household consumption both rose 0.4%, but the improving trend in euro area GDP growth is almost exclusively driven by consumer spending.
Demand for new cars rebounded strongly last month, following the dip in October. Registrations in the EU27 rose 13.7% year-over-year in November, up from 2.9% in October, lifted mainly by buoyant growth in the periphery. New registrations surged 25.4% and 23.4% year-over-year in Spain and Italy respectively, while growth in the core was a more modest 10%. We also see few signs of the VW emissions scandal hitting the aggregate data. VW group sales have weakened, but were still up a respectable 4.1% year-over-year. This pushed the company's market share down marginally compared to last year. But sizzling growth rates for other manufacturers indicate that consumers are simply choosing different brands.
Data released last week confirm that the Argentinian economy was resilient at the start of the year, but downside risks to growth have increased.
We are nervous about the first estimate of fourth quarter GDP growth, due today. The consensus forecast is a decent 3.1%, but we are struggling mightily to get anywhere near that.
We have tweaked our estimate for today's initial estimate of second quarter GDP growth, in the wake of yesterday's advance data on June foreign trade and inventories.
The Eurozone economy will have a bright start to 2017, but we think growth over the year as a whole will slow modestly compared with 2016.....
We are struggling to make sense of the third quarter GDP numbers. The reality is that the massive surge in soybean exports--which we estimate contributed 0.9 percentage points, gross, to GDP growth--mostly came from falling inventory, because the soybean harvest mostly takes place in Q4.
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on the Fed's growth forecast
Brazil's GDP rose by 0.1% quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter, according to the report published last Friday. The slight growth was driven by investment and government spending, both growing 1.3%, while private consumption fell 0.3%, the biggest drop since late 2008.
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. economy growth
In the wake of last week's downward revision to fourth quarter GDP growth, productivity will be revised down too. We expect the initial estimate, -1.8%, to be revised down to -2.4%, a startling reversal after robust gains in the second and third quarters.
Officially, Chinese real GDP growth was a sturdy 6.8% year-over-year in Q4, matching the Q3 rate, with full year growth at 6.9%.
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on Pay Growth and Unemployment
Demand for new cars in the Eurozone has climbed a long way since the last recession, but growth is slowing. Overall, new car registrations in the EZ rose a solid 15.2% in 2016 as a whole. But momen tum slowed in the second half, and sales likely will remain comparatively muted this year. In December, registrations in the euro area rose 2.1% year-over-year in December, down from 5.8% in November. The headline was depressed by plunging growth in some of the smaller countries, offsetting better numbers in the major four economies.
Difficult though it is to tear ourselves away from Britain's political and economic train-wreck, morbid fascination is no substitute for economic analysis. The key point here is that our case for stronger growth in the U.S. over the next year is not much changed by events in Europe.
Improving consumer fundamentals continue to underpin growth in private spending in Mexico, according to retail sales and inflation reports published this week. March retail sales were much stronger than expected, jumping 3.0% month-to-month, after averaging gains of 0.8% in the preceding three months. And sales for the three months through February were revised up marginally.
The four-quarter average growth trend in private investment, excluding dwellings, fell to 0.1% in Q4, and the recent improvement in the PMIs indicates only a modest upturn in Q2. The dearth of investment by non-financial corporates remains one of the biggest threats to long-term growth in the Eurozone.
The growing perception that the U.K. MPC will lag further behind the U.S. Fed in this tightening cycle than previously has pushed sterling down to $1.49, a long way below its post-recession peak of $1.72 in mid-2014. But this has done little to enhance the overall competitiveness of U.K. exports, and net trade still looks likely to exert a major drag on real GDP growth in 2016.
The most striking aspect of yesterday's labour market report was the pick-up in the headline three month average year-over-year growth rate of average weekly wages, to a 14-month high of 2.8% in November, from 2.6% in October. Although still low by pre-recession standards, wage growth now is close to the rate that might worry the MPC.
Chair Yellen's Testimony sought clearly to tell markets that the Fed has upgraded its view on growth, and the state of the labor market. After reading the first few paragraphs, which focussed clearly on the good news, though peppered with the usual caveats, the door was open for the section on policy to signal unambiguously that the Fed is close to its first tightening.
Consumer confidence surveys have risen since the elections to levels consistent with very rapid growth in real spending.
Chilean GDP growth hit bottom in August, but activity is now picking up and will gather speed over the coming quarters. The tailwinds from lower oil prices and fiscal stimulus will soon be visible in the activity data.
Yesterday's economic activity data from Peru signalled that the relatively firm business cycle continues. The monthly GDP index accelerated to 3.6% year-over-year in November, rising from 2.1% in October, but marginally below the 4.4% on average in Q3. Growth continued to be driven by mining output, including oil and gas, which rose 15% year-over- year. The opening of several new mines explains the upturn, and we expect the sector to remain key for the Peruvian economy this year.
Today's labour market figures likely will cast doubt over the sustainability of strong growth in household spending. Growth in the three-month average level of employment likely weakened in August, from July's impressive 1.9% year-over-year rate.
The November ADP employment report today likely will show private payrolls rose by about 180K. We have no reason to think that the trend in payroll growth has changed much in recent months, though the official data do appear to be biased to the upside in the fourth quarter, probably as a result of seasonal adjustment problems triggered by the crash of 2008. We can't detect any clear seasonal fourth quarter bias in the ADP numbers.
Money supply data continue to support the continuation of cyclical recovery in the Eurozone. M3 growth accelerated to 4.0% year-over-year in February from a revised 3.7% in January. Revisions, however, mean that momentum in the beginning of the year was not as solid as we thought.
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs Discussing the UK Growth Slowdown
Chief Eurozone Economist Claus Vistesen on Eurozone growth
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. growth data
Chief Eurozone Economist Claus Vistesen on Eurozone growth
Brace for slow growth, absent a trade fix...And look out for tariff pass-through to inflation
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Inflation Growth
Is Japan's pending 15-month anything to write home about?
What do the protests mean for Chile's economy?
Are there any signs of a Chinese recovery yet? Freya Beamish discusses
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Manufacturing
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Nationwide House Prices
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on the U.K. Services sector
Claus Vistesen on Eurozone Business Lending
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on the U.K. Halifax House Price Index in December
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on August Employment data
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs ranked as one of the top U.K. Economic Forecasters in 2019
Chief Eurozone Economist Claus Vistesen comments on the Eurozone's Money Supply
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. GDP
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs discussing Q1 GDP Results
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on UK Government Borrowing
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. House Prices
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Labour Market data for May
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. PMI data in November
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. House Prices
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs discussing U.K. Consumer Confidence
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. House prices
Senior International Economist Andres Abadia on Chile's economy
Ian Shepherdson on December's low US retail sales.
Chief U.S. economist Ian Shepherdson comments on U.S Q4 GDP
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on U.S. GDP in Q4
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on Q3 GDP
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on Consumer Price Index, June
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on ISM Non-Manufacturing
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K PMI
Chief US economist Ian Shepherdson on US Consumer Spending
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson discussing U.S. Q1 GDP
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on U.S. hiring
Freya Beamish, chief Asia economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, discusses the outlook for China's economy as the World Bank cut its forecast for global growth. The World Bank's report included a downward revision for China to 5.9%, which would be the first sub-6% reading since 1990. Beamish speaks on "Bloomberg Surveillance."
The Bank of Japan's biannual Financial System Report was published earlier this week.
The U.S. reached a trade agreement with Canada on Sunday, adding its northern neighbour to the pact sealed a month ago with Mexico.
A sharp ARS sell-off was the key highlight while we were away over the holidays.
The end of China's Party Congress can feel like an endless exercise in reading the tea leaves.
The economy slowed less than we expected in 2017.
The ECB will not make any major changes to policy today.
Today's preliminary estimate of Q3 GDP is the last major economic report to be released before the MPC's meeting on November 2.
We find it remarkable, after the market volatility induced by the two Brexit deadlines in 2019, that investors do not foresee another bump in the road at the end of this ye ar, when the Brexit transition period is due to end.
Friday's economic data in Germany left markets with a confused picture of the Eurozone's largest economy.
The Monetary Policy Board of the Bank of Korea yesterday left its benchmark base rate unchanged, at 1.75%, at its first meeting of the year.
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.
The huge drop in the March Markit services PMI, reported yesterday, and the modest dip in the manufacturing index, are the first national business survey data to capture the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Eurozone limped out of headline deflation in October, with inflation rising to 0.0% from -0.1% in September, helped by higher core and food inflation. Energy prices fell 8.7% year-over-year, up trivially after a 8.9% drop in September, but base effects will push up the year-over-rate significantly in coming months. Core inflation edged higher to 1.0% from 0.9% in September, due to 0.1 percentage point increases in both non-energy goods and services inflation.
After a slew of media reports in recent days, we have to expect that the president will today announce that Fed governor Jerome Powell is his pick to replace Janet Yellen as Chair.
Yesterday's national business confidence data for June provided further evidence that the EZ economy is rebounding.
Yesterday's PMIs kicked off a busy week for Eurozone data on a downbeat note. The composite EZ PMI fell to a five-month low of 55.8 in July, from 56.3 in June; it was constrained by a 0.6 point dip in the manufacturing index to 56.8.
Today's advance inventory and international trade data for December could change our Q4 GDP forecast significantly.
Korean exports continued to fall year-over-year in April, but the story isn't as bleak as the headlines suggest.
Brazil's recovery has been steady in recent months, and Q1 likely will mark the end of the recession. The gradual recovery of the industrial and agricultural sectors has been the highlight, thanks to improving external demand, the lagged effect of the more competitive BRL, and the more stable political situation, which has boosted sentiment.
Eurozone inflation pressures snapped back in April. Friday's advance report showed that headline inflation rose to 1.9% year-over-year, from 1.5% in March, lifted by a jump in the cor e rate to 1.2% from 0.7% the month before.
On a headline level, the key message from the Eurozone PMIs was little changed on Friday.
We previewed today's advance EZ Q1 GDP number in our Monitor on April 30--see here--and the data since have not changed our outlook.
Data this week look set to emphasise that heat is returning to the housing market, again. The Financial Policy Committee--FPC--still has additional tools it could deploy to cool housing demand. But the root cause of surging house prices remains very cheap debt. Alongside the inflation risk posed by the labour market, the case for the MPC to begin to raise interest rates to prevent a widespread debt problem is becoming compelling.
If Japan's flash PMIs for March are a sign of things to come, then the government really should get moving on fiscal stimulus.
Some normality has returned in India, more than three weeks from the end of the nationwide lockdown and the start of "Unlock 1.0" on June 1.
PMI data in the Eurozone rebounded convincingly in October, as the composite index rose to a 10-month high of 53.7, from 52.6 in September. The gain fully reversed the weakness at the end of Q3.
The participation rate--the proportion of people either in or looking for work--has held steady over the last decade, despite the ageing of the population and the rise in student numbers.
Broadly speaking, yesterday's headline EZ survey data recounted the same story they've told all year; namely that manufacturing is suffering amid resilience in services.
Brazil's September industrial production report, released yesterday, confirmed the message from survey data that the sector stabilized towards the end of summer. Output rose 0.5 month-to-month, and August output was revised up by 0.3 percentage points.
Brazil's industrial production rose 0.8% month- to-month in August, well above our call, and the consensus, for a trivial increase.
Japan's Tankan survey continues to paint a picture of a contracting economy.
New home sales surprised to the upside in May, rising 6.7% to 689K, a six-month high.
The dreadful September ISM manufacturing survey reinforces our view that the sector will be in recession for the foreseeable future, and that both business capex and exports are on the verge of a serious downturn.
The Fed won't raise rates today, or substantively change the wording of the post-meeting statement. In September, the FOMC said that "The Committee judges that the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened but decided, for the time being, to wait for further evidence of continued progress toward its objectives."
Last month was sobering month for equity investors in the Eurozone, and indeed in the global economy as a whole.
Last week's debt-relief agreement between Greece and its European creditors goes somewhat further than previous instances when the EU has kicked the can down the road.
The recent sell-off in Treasuries has not yet reached significant proportions.
The MPC likely will raise interest rates today, but as we explained here, it probably will revise down its medium-term inflation forecast, signalling that it is content with the further 35bp tightening currently priced-in by markets for 2018.
Korea's trade data have been extremely volatile over the past two months, thanks to distortions caused by last year's odd holiday calendar.
We look for a 950K increase in September private payrolls, more than the 700K or so implied by the Homebase daily employment data but consistent with ADP, assuming it has undershot the official numbers for a sixth straight month.
Don't bet the farm on today's October payroll numbers, which will be hopelessly--and unpredictably-- compromised by the impact of hurricanes Florence and Michael.
January's money and credit data broadly support our view that the economy still lacks momentum.
China's manufacturing PMI posted a surprise, albeit trivial, increase in February, to 51.6 up from 51.5 in January.
Investors think it more likely that the MPC will cut Bank Rate in the first half of next year, following Friday's release of the flash Markit/CIPS PMIs for November.
Improving fundamentals have supported private spending in Mexico during the last few quarters. This week's soft retail sales report does not change the picture of a strong underlying trend in consumption. Sales were weaker than expected, falling 1.1% month-to-month in September, but this followed a 1.5% jump in August, and average gains of 1.1% in the previous three months. Mexican retail sales are much more volatile than in most developed economies, and we have been expecting mean reversion following rapid gains during the first half of the year and most of Q3.
May's money and credit data indicate, reassuringly, that the economy still is growing at a steady, albeit unspectacular, rate, despite the endless uncertainty created by Brexit.
Yesterday's economic data in the Eurozone were soft.
A downbeat French INSEE consumer sentiment report yesterday continued the run of poor survey data this week. The headline index fell to 95 in February from 97 in January, indicating downside risk f or Q1 consumers' spending. But we remain optimistic that private consumption will rebound solidly, following a 0.4% quarter-on-quarter fall in Q4.
ADP's measure of May private payrolls undershot the official estimate by 5.6 million, surprising everyone after it nailed the April catastrophe.
Friday's inflation data in the Eurozone added a dovish twist to the story ahead of the key ECB meeting later this month.
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.
Yesterday's stock market bloodbath stands in contrast to the U.S. economic data, most of which so far show no impact from the Covid-19 outbreak.
We suspect that euro area investors have one question on their mind as we step into 2019.
The mortgage market is continuing to hold up surprisingly well, given the calamitous political backdrop.
In the wake of last week's national accounts release, markets judge that the probability of a Bank Rate hike at the August 2 MPC meeting has increased to about 65%, from 60% beforehand.
Mexico's election results are not available as we go to press, but we're expecting a comfortable win for the left-wing populist candidate, AMLO.
Perhaps the single strongest U.S. economic data series in recent months has been construction spending, which has risen by more than 1%, month-to-month, in four of the past five months.
The ECB made no changes to policy yesterday, leaving its key refinancing and deposit rates unchanged, at 0.00% and -0.5%, and confirmed that it will restart QE in November at €20B per month.
Japan's CPI inflation was stable at 0.2% in October, despite the sales tax hike, thanks to a combination of offsetting measures from the government and a deepening of energy deflation.
The PMI survey points to a slow, but steady improvement, in Eurozone manufacturing. The gauge rose marginally to 52.5 in June, up from 52.2 in May. This pushed the quarterly average in Q2 to 52.2, up from 51.1 in Q1. The survey is also telling a story of broad-based manufacturing strength in the two major peripheral economies, despite declines in June.
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.
Japan's labour data threw another January curve ball this year--last year it was wages--with a change in the standards for job openings.
The business cycle in the Eurozone tends to follow a fairly simply script, at least in broad terms.
Last week's national accounts were a setback for the hawks on the MPC seeking to raise interest rates at the next meeting, on November 2.
Data on Friday showed that the downward trend in Brazil's unemployment continued into this year. The unadjusted unemployment rate fell to 11.2% in January, slightly below the consensus, and down from 12.0% in January last year.
The French presidential election campaign remains chaotic. Republican candidate François Fillon had to defend himself again yesterday as investigations into his potential misuse of public funds deepened. Mr. Fillon and his wife have now been summoned to court to explain themselves. Markets expected Mr. Fillon to resign as the Republican front-runner. Instead, he used his unscheduled media address to defiantly declare that he is staying in the race.
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.
Manufacturers in China continued to trudge along in May, with their post-lockdown recovery looking increasingly fragile.
China's 2018 property market boomlet let out more air last month.
Markets cheered soaring business surveys in the Eurozone earlier this week, and recent consumer sentiment data also have been cause for celebration. The advance GfK consumer confidence index in Germany rose to a record high of 10.4 in June, from 10.2 in May.
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.
The 253K increase in May private payrolls reported by ADP yesterday was some a bit stronger than our 225K forecast. Plugging the difference between these numbers into our payroll model generates our 210K forecast for today's official number.
The May auto sales numbers probably will be released just after our deadline at 4pm eastern time today, but all the signs are that a hefty rebound will be reported after April's plunge to just 8.6M, not much more than half the pre-Covid level.
Japan's CPI inflation was unchanged, at 0.2% in February.
The FOMC minutes confirmed that most FOMC members were not swayed by the weak-looking first quarter GDP numbers or the soft March core CPI. Both are considered likely to prove "transitory", and the underlying economic outlook is little changed from March.
At the end of last year, China's Central Economic Work Conference set out the lay of the land for 2019. Cutting through the rhetoric, we think the readout implies more expansionary fiscal policy, and a looser stance on monetary policy.
Yesterday's IFO offered a rare upside surprise in the German survey data.
The Fed is on course to hike again in December, with 12 of the 16 FOMC forecasters expecting rates to end the year 25bp higher than the current 2-to-21⁄4%; back in June, just eight expected four or more hikes for the year.
In yesterday's Monitor, we laid out how conditions last year were conducive to Chinese deleveraging, and how the debt ratio fell for the first time since the financial crisis.
In contrast to surveys of manufacturing activity and sentiment, the Conference Board's measure of consumer confidence rose sharply in August, hitting an 11-month high. People were more upbeat about both the current state of the economy and the outlook, with the improving job market key to their optimism. The proportion of respondent believing that jobs are "plentiful" rose to 26%, the highest level in nine years.
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".
Brazil's recovery has been steady in recent months, and Q1 likely will mark the end of the recession. The gradual recovery of the industrial and agricultural sectors has been the highlight, thanks to improving external demand, the lagged effect of the more competitive BRL, and the more stable political situation, which has boosted sentiment.
The last few years have thrown up surprise after surprise for establishment parties. Mr. Abe's Liberal Democrat Party is about as establishment as they come.
Yesterday's IFO survey in Germany was a big relief for markets, in light of recent soft data. The main business climate index jumped to 109.5 in September, from 106.3 in August, the biggest month-to-month increase since 2010.
Japan and Korea dealt with their second waves of Covid-19 in the third quarter in completely different ways.
The ECB broadly conformed to markets' expectations today. The central bank maintained its key refinancing and deposit rates at 0.00% and -0.4% respectively, and delivered the consensus package on QE.
Money supply data are sending an increasingly contrarian, and bullish, signal for the euro area economy.
The further decline in mortgage approvals in August shows that housing market activity remains very subdued. The recent fall in mortgage rates likely will prop up demand soon, but the poor outlook for households' real incomes suggests that both activity and prices will revive only modestly over the next year.
Yesterday's detailed GDP data in Germany confirmed that the economy shrank slightly in the second quarter, by 0.1% quarter-on-quarter, following the 0.4% increase in Q1.
China's finance minister Liu Kun provided his report on China's current fiscal situation to the legislature last Friday.
It seems pretty clear from press reports that the White House budget, which reportedly will be released March 14, will propose substantial increases in defense spending, deep cuts to discretionary non- defense spending, and no substantive changes to entitlement programs. None of this will come as a surprise.
Yesterday's advance CPI data in Germany and Spain suggest that inflation in the Eurozone as a whole dipped slightly in February.
Yesterday's January EZ money supply data offered support for investors betting on a further dovish shift by the ECB at next month's meeting.
China's government overshot its deficit target last year, and probably will overshoot it by at least as much this year
The Fed will soon have to step in to try to put a firebreak in the stock market.
The BoK surprised markets and commentators by keeping rates unchanged at 1.25% yesterday, rather than cutting to 1.0%.
Friday's detailed GDP data in Germany confirm that the euro area's largest economy performed strongly in the second quarter.
The Mexican economy shrank by 0.2% quarter- on-quarter in Q2, according to the final GDP report, a tenth worse than the preliminary reading.
We argued yesterday that the August payroll number is unlikely to be a blockbuster, thanks to a combination of problems with the birth/death model and the strong tendency for this month's jobs number to be initially under-reported and then revised substantially higher. But these arguments don't apply to the unemployment rate, which is derived from the separate household survey.
The Covid-19 outbreak has rattled equity markets, but has not had a major bearing on DM currencies, yet.
We're expecting to learn today that shipments of core capital goods jumped at a 33% annualized rate in the third quarter, a record increase, and more than reversing the 19.7% second quarter plunge.
Last week's detailed Q3 GDP data in Germany verified that GDP fell 0.2% quarter-on-quarter, down from a 0.5% rise in Q2, a number which all but confirms the key story for the economy over the year as a whole.
Guo Shuqing, head of the newly formed China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, has been named as Party Secretary for the PBoC.
The mortgage market still is defying gravity. U.K. Finance initially reported yesterday that house purchase mortgage approvals by the main high street banks collapsed to 35.3K in February, from 39.6K in January.
This week's detailed Q1 GDP data confirmed that the German economy is in dire straits, alongside its euro area peers, but there's a silver lining.
Data released yesterday in Brazil support our base case that the IPCA inflation rate will remain relatively stable over the coming months, hovering around 2%.
Whichever way you choose to slice the numbers, consumers' spending is growing much more slowly than is implied by an array of confidence surveys.
Friday's advance Eurozone PMI reports capped a fine quarter for the survey. The composite PMI jumped to a 80-month high of 56.7 in March, from 56.1 in February, rising to a cyclical high over Q1 as a whole.
The EZ economy's liquidity gears were well-oiled coming into the crisis.
India's government imposed a three-week nationwide lockdown on March 25 to combat the increasingly rapid spread of Covid-19.
The coronavirus pandemic looks set to spread rapidly throughout LatAm.
A series of events have forced markets and analysts to re-evaluate their assumption that Bank Rate will remain on hold throughout 2017. First, the minutes of the MPC's meeting had a hawkish tilt.
Data today will likely show that consumer sentiment in the Eurozone remains firm. In Germany, we expect a slight dip in the advance headline GFK confidence index to 9.8 in June, from an all-time high of 10.1 in May.
Political uncertainty is starting to dampen housing market activity again.
We are happy to report that the laws of gravity have been temporarily suspended in the German survey data.
Developments over the last month have heightened our concern about the near-term outlook for households' spending.
Improving fundamentals have supported private spending in Mexico during the current cycle.
Japan's flash Nikkei manufacturing PMI report for November was abysmal, putting the chances of a recovery this quarter into serious doubt.
Since the Party Congress last month, China has made a number of bold moves in multiple policy fields, with a regularity that almost implies the authorities are working through a list.
President Temer seems to be advancing on his reform agenda.
Japan's retail sales data--due out on Thursday-- have been badly affected by the October tax hike.
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.
Yesterday's sole economic report in the EZ showed that consumer sentiment in Germany improved mid-way through the fourth quarter.
Today's wave of data will bring new information on the industrial sector, consumers, the labor market, and housing, as well as revisions to the third quarter GDP numbers.
Housebuilders were one of the biggest winners from the post-election relief rally in U.K. equity prices.
As the situation with the coronavirus develops, and we gain more information on the authorities' response, it's becoming clear that the damage to Q1 GDP is going to be nasty.
Korea is officially out of recession, with GDP rising by 1.9% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, following the 3.2% plunge in Q2.
This EZ calendar is extremely busy over the next few days, so we'll use this Monitor to preview the key numbers, before turning our focus on the ECB in tomorrow's report.
The best way to answer the perennially vexed question of what's happening to home prices is to take a deep breath and cite a range, given that the four main measures of prices don't measure the same thing in the same way, never agree with each other, and often contradict themselves from month-to-month.
First, apologies for a much more dense report than usual; there's a lot of ground to cover here. The most likely outcome of the November 3 election right now is a Democrat sweep.
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.
MPs will be asked today to approve the PM's motion, proposed in accordance with the Fixed-term Parliaments Act--FTPA--to hold a general election on December 12.
Today brings a ton of data, as well as an appearance by Fed Chair Powell at the Economic Club of New York, in which we assume he will address the current state of the economy and the Fed's approach to policy.
Banxico's decisions throughout the past year have been guided by external forces, dominated by the persistent decline of the MXN against the USD and its potential impact on inflation. The MXN has fallen by almost 17% year-to-date and has dropped by an eye-watering 37% since 2014.
The outlook for French consumers' spending improved this month, at the margin. The headline consumer sentiment index was unchanged at 98 in November, but most forward-looking indicators rose. Consumers' spending in was flat in Q2 and Q3, following a 1.1% jump in the first quarter.
Survey data in Germany showed few signs of picking up from their depressed level at the start of Q4.
Recent economic data in Brazil, along with recent messages from the BCB, have supported our view that interest rates will remain on hold for the foreseeable future.
As far as liquidity goes, conditions in the EZ private sector remain conducive to a strong and sustained post Covid-19 upturn.
The EZ economic survey data for April were disappointing in our absence.
Britain still has nothing to show for sterling's depreciation, even though nearly two years have passed since markets started to price-in Brexit risk, driving the currency lower.
Mr. Draghi snubbed investors looking for hints on policy and the euro in his Jackson Hole address--see here--on Friday.
In theory, any hit to sentiment and business investment as the E.U. referendum nears could be offset by a better foreign trade performance, due to the Brexit-related depreciation of sterling. But not every cloud has a silver lining.
The MPC likely will vote unanimously to keep Bank Rate at 0.75% on Thursday.
The BoJ until last week had been in wait-and-see mode over China's slowdown, but they finally folded with Thursday's decision.
We have been waiting a long time to see signs that business investment spending is becoming less reliant on movements in oil prices.
The PBoC doesn't publicly schedule its meetings, but in recent years has tended to make moves after Fed decisions.
A third outright decline in the past four months seems a decent bet for today's August durable goods orders, thanks to the malign influence of the downward trend in orders for civilian aircraft. The global airline cycle is maturing, and orders for both Boeing and Airbus aircraft have been slowing for some time.
Inflation in Brazil remained subdued at the start of the second quarter, strengthening the odds for an additional interest rate cut next month, and opening the door for further stimulus in June.
The latest profits data out of China were grim, as we had expected.
The resilience of the banking system will be in focus today when the results of this year's Bank of England stress test are published alongside its Financial Stability Report.
The April international trade numbers were startlingly, and surprisingly, horrible. The deficit in trade in goods leaped by $6.2B -- the biggest one-month jump in two years -- to $67.1B, though the headline damage was limited by a sharp narrowing in the oil deficit, thanks to lower prices, and a rebound in the aircraft surplus.
The upturn in Mexico's trade balance in recent months stalled in May, but the underlying trend is still improving. Data yesterday showed that the seasonally adjusted deficit rose to USD700M in May, after a USD15M gap in April. Imports rose 2.9% month-to-month, offsetting a mere 0.7% increase in exports.
The MPC will be looking for the Q1 national accounts and April's index of services data, both released on Friday, to support its view that the economy hasn't lost momentum this year.
Last week's capsized European Council summit added to our suspicions that uncertainty over the EU's top jobs will linger over the summer.
Tracking the consumer services sector has become more important since Covid-19, as it was flattened by the lockdown in Q2 and it might prove to be an incubator of new infections, if it becomes too busy.
This is the final report before your scribe disappears into the Scottish Highlands for a few weeks, and we are leaving you with a Eurozone economy in fine form. The calendar will be relatively light in our absence and will tell us what we already know; namely that the euro area economy maintained its strong momentum in Q2.
Core durable goods orders in recent months have been much less terrible than implied by both the ISM and Markit manufacturing surveys.
Last week the Chinese authorities issued a series of new measures to help with bank recapitalisation, and, we think, to supplement interbank liquidity.
The end of the government shutdown--for three weeks, at least-- means that the data backlog will start to clear this week.
Judging by the survey data, German business sentiment remained depressed at the start of the year.
okThe weekend's election result in Spain provided relief for investors anxiously looking for another "surprise." Exit polls on Sunday showed a big majority for the anti-establishment party Podemos, but in the end Spanish voters opted for safety. The incumbent Partido Popular, PP, was the election's big winner compared with the elections six months ago, gaining 15 seats.
Business surveys coming out of the Eurozone have been remarkably strong recently. The composite PMI for the Eurozone jumped to 56.7 in March--its highest level since April 2011--from 56.1 in February. Germany's IFO business climate index leaped to a 67-month high in March.
The deadline for registering to vote in the general election passed on Tuesday, with a record 660K people registering on the final day.
French consumers remained in great spirits midway through the fourth quarter. The headline INSEE consumer confidence index jumped to a 28-month high in November, from 104 in October, extending its v-shaped recovery from last year's plunge on the back of the yellow vest protests.
Media reports suggest that the underlying trends in retailing--rising online sales, declining store sales and mall visits--continued unabated over the Thanksgiving weekend.
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.
China's abysmal industrial profits data for October underscore why the chances of less- timid monetary easing are rising rapidly.
The early damage in India from Covid-19 and the nationwide lockdown likely was significant enough to hammer the GDP report for the first quarter, due tomorrow.
Data to be released this Friday should show that Japan's labour market remains tight, though the unemployment rate likely ticked back up in February, to 2.6%, after the erratic drop to 2.4% in January.
Bond yields in the Eurozone took another leg lower yesterday.
Gilt yields have tumbled, with the 10-year sliding to just 1.0%, from 1.2% a week ago.
We covered the detailed German Q1 GDP report in Friday's Monitor--see here--but the investment data could do with closer inspection. The headline numbers looked great.
We were wrong about headline durable goods orders in April, because the civilian aircraft component behaved very strangely.
The strengthening recovery in the euro area is proving to be a poisoned chalice for some of the region's most vulnerable banks. Earlier this month-- see our Monitor of June 8--Spain's Banco Populare was acquired by Banco Santander, and the bank's equity and junior credit holders were bailed-in as part of the deal.
Today brings more housing market data, in the form of the Case-Shiller home price report for April.
The PBoC cut the reserve requirement ratio by 0.5pp for almost all banks on Sunday, effective from July 5th.
Politics in Brazil has been busy in recent days, with local media reporting several items of interest.
Major central banks in Asia, particularly those operating in export-oriented economies, have recently been pinning their future policy moves on the prospects of a specific industry, namely semiconductors.
Mark Carney's assertion that "now is not yet the time to raise rates" fell on deaf ears last week. Markets are pricing-in a 20% chance that the MPC will increase Bank Rate at the next meeting on August 3, up from 10% just after the MPC's meeting on June 15, when three members voted to hike rates.
The Eurozone PMIs stumbled at the end of Q2. The composite index slipped to a five-month low of 55.7 in June, from 56.8 in May, constrained by a fall in the services index. This offset a marginal rise in the manufacturing index to a new cyclical high. The dip in the headline does not alter the survey's upbeat short- term outlook for the economy.
After many years in which the phrase "twin deficits" was never mentioned, suddenly it is the explanation of choice for the weakening of the dollar and the sudden increase in real Treasury yields since the turn of the year, shortly after the tax cut bill passed Congress.
Yesterday's IFO report reinforced the message from the PMIs that the Eurozone economy stumbled slightly at the beginning of the first quarter. The headline business climate index fell to an 11-month low of 107.3 in January, from a revised 108.6 in December, hit mainly by a drop in the expectations component. Intensified market volatility and worries over further weakness in the Chinese economy likely were the main drivers. Last week's dovish message from Mr. Draghi, however, came after the survey's cut-off date, leaving us cautiously optimistic for a rebound next month.
We're braced for a hefty downside surprise in today's durable goods orders numbers, thanks to a technicality.
The German statistical office will supply a confidential estimate to Eurostat for this week's advance euro area Q2 GDP data. Our analysis suggests this number will be grim, and weigh on the aggregate EZ estimate. Our GDP model, which includes data for retail sales, industrial production and net exports, forecasts that real GDP in Germany contracted 0.1% quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter, after a 0.7% jump in Q1.
News websites are emblazoned with the headline that retail sales are falling at their fastest rate since the 2008-to-09 recession.
The INSEE's manufacturing sentiment data in France are slightly confusing at the moment.
Analysing the EZ sentiment data at the moment is a bit like a surveyor being called out to assess the damage on a property after a flood.
Everyone needs to take a deep breath: This is not 1930, and Smoot-Hawley all over again.
President Trump made official his plan to impose tariffs on up to $60B of annual imports from China, as well as limitations on Chinese investments in the U.S.
Yesterday was a watershed moment for investors.
The consensus for today's first post-apocalypse jobless claims number, 1,500K, looks much too low.
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.
Looking beyond the potential hit from the lockdown in North Rhine-Westphalia, German consumer sentiment is improving steadily.
Mexican policymakers yesterday voted unanimously to cut the policy rate by 50bp to 5.00%, the lowest level since late 2016.
the past few observations make clear. Real spending jumped by 0.5% in March, rebounding after its weather-induced softness in February, before stalling again in April. Then, in May, the s urge in new auto sales to a nine-year high lifted total spending again, driving a 0.6% real increase.
Q1 is not over yet, and we still await a lot of important data.
Japan's CPI inflation has risen sharply in recent months, driven by non-core elements. The headline faces cross-currents in coming months, but should remain high, posing problems for BoJ policy.
Friday's final CPI report in the Eurozone confirmed that inflation dipped marginally in January, by 0.1 percentage points, to 1.3%.
Yesterday's German IFO survey suggests that economic momentum in the Eurozone's largest country remained modest at the start of Q2. The headline business climate index fell trivially to 106.6 in April, from 106.7 in March, lower than the consensus expectation of an increase to 107.2.
French manufacturing confidence soared at the start of Q2. The headline INSEE index jumped to a six-year high of 108 in April, from an upwardly revised 105 in March. The headline was flattered by a big increase in the "past activity" index, but the survey's leading indicators also improved.French manufacturing confidence soared at the start of Q2. The headline INSEE index jumped to a six-year high of 108 in April, from an upwardly revised 105 in March. The headline was flattered by a big increase in the "past activity" index, but the survey's leading indicators also improved.
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 leave its main refinancing and deposit rates at 0.00% and -0.4% unchanged today, and it will also maintain the pace of QE at €30B per month.
August's public finances figures, released last week, were an unwelcome but manageable setback for the Chancellor.
The IFO survey signals that markets shouldn't be too downbeat on the German economy, even as it faces uncertainty from global trade tensions.
Mexican policymakers yesterday voted unanimously to cut the policy rate by 25bp to 4.25%, slowing the pace from 50bp at the previous five meetings.
India's government has been on a reform drive in recent weeks, with the agricultural sector and the labour market undergoing significant liberalisation.
Yesterday's national survey data painted a more nuanced picture of the recovery in the major Eurozone economies than the warning sent by the PMIs earlier in the week; see here.
The Eurozone economy ended the third quarter on a strong note, according to the PMIs.
The key data today, covering March durable goods orders and international trade in goods, should both beat consensus forecasts.
In yesterday's Monitor, we suggested that China's monetary policy stance is now easing.
Data released yesterday confirmed that Mexico's economy ended Q4 poorly, confounding the most hawkish Banxico Board members.
The spread of the Covid-19 virus remains the key issue for markets, which were deeply unhappy yesterday at reports of new cases in Austria, Spain and Switzerland, all of which appear to be connected to the cluster in northern Italy.
In our Webinar--see here--we laid out scenarios for Chinese GDP in Q1 and for this year.
The preliminary estimate of a 0.5% quarter-on-quarter rise in GDP in the fourth quarter of 2015 was left unrevised, but that was the only nugge t of good news from yesterday's second GDP release. The expenditure breakdown hardly could have looked more troubling.
The German economy finished last year on the back foot.
News that the Covid-19 virus has spread to more countries frayed investors' nerves further yesterday, with the FTSE 100 eventually residing 5.3% below its Friday close.
The economy's resilience in the first quarter of this year, in the midst of heightened Brexit uncertainty, can be attributed partly to a boost from no-deal Brexit precautionary stockpiling.
After two hefty month-to-month increases, durable goods orders ex-transportation now stand only 3.9% below their January pre-Covid peak.
India's GDP report for the second quarter, due on Monday, will be a bloodbath.
Chair Yellen's speech at Jackson Hole at 10am Eastern time today has the potential to move markets substantially, but that's not our core expectation. It's more likely, we think, that Dr. Yellen will stick to the core FOMC view, which remains that "only gradual increases" in rates will be required, and that rates are "likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run".
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.
When Fed Chair Powell said last week that the "surprise" weakness in the official retail sales numbers is "inconsistent with a significant amount of other data", we're guessing that he had in mind a couple of reports which will be updated today.
It looks as though business and consumer confidence in Korea has brushed off the economic threat of the second Covid-19 wave.
The headline INSEE consumer confidence data in France have become unmoored from reality.
The Covid-19 scare can be split into two stages, the initial outbreak in China, concentrated in Wuhan, and the now-worrying signs that clusters are forming in other parts of the world, primarily in South Korea, the Middle East and Italy.
Yesterday's State Council meeting significantly expanded support to the economy, through a number of channels.
The slide in global long-term bond yields, and flattening curves, have spooked markets this year, sparking fears among investors of an impending global economic recession.
It's always dangerous when risk assets rally strongly into an ECB meeting, but we doubt that investors have much to fear from today's session in Frankfurt. We think the central bank will leave its main refinancing and deposit rates at 0.00% and -0.4% respectively.
The Brazilian labour market is slowly healing following the severe recession of 2015-16. The latest employment data, released last week, showed that the economy added 35K net jobs in August, compared to a 34K loss in August 2016.
It would be astonishing if the Fed doesn't raise rates today, and Chair Powell is not in the astonishment business; they will hike by 25bp.
Mexican consumers started the third quarter strongly, supporting our relatively upbeat view for the economy in the near term. Private consumption represents about 70% of Mexico's GDP, one of the consumption shares in the EM world, so the strength of spending is hugely important.
The tax plan released by the administration yesterday was so thoroughly leaked that it contained no real surprises. The border adjustment tax is dead -- not that we thought it would have passed the Senate in any event -- and the centerpiece is a proposed cut in the corporate income tax rate to 15% from 35%.
This remains a tumultuous time for EZ bond investors. The twists and turns of the French presidential election campaign continue to shove markets around. Marine Le Pen's steady rise in thepolls has pushed French yields higher this year.
The Chinese Communist Party looks set to repeal Presidential term limits, meaning that Xi Jinping likely intends to stay on beyond 2023.
In yesterday's Monitor, we outlined how the government's plans to allow more migrants to register in cities could help counterbalance the effects of aging and put a floor under medium-term property prices.
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."
With just five days of July remaining, it seems likely that the trends in most of the key near-real-time indicators will end the month close to the levels seen at the end of June.
The flat trend in core capital goods orders continued through May, according to yesterday's durable goods orders report. We are not surprised.
On Friday last week, the Chinese authorities suspended sales of domestic and international tours, in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which started in Wuhan.
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%.
Fed Chair Powell's semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony yesterday broke no new ground, largely repeating the message of the January 30 press conference.
China's annual "two sessions" conference is due to start on Sunday, with the economic targets for this year set to be made official over the course of the meetings.
Forecasting the health insurance component of the CPI is a mug's game, so you'll look in vain for hard projections in this note.
Friday's PMI data were a mixed bag.
Yesterday's IFO survey in Germany sent a marginally more downbeat message than the strong PMIs last week. The IFO business climate index fell to 115.2 in September, from 115.9 in August, its second straight monthly dip.
The bond market has become extremely pessimistic about the long-term economic outlook following Britain's vote to leave the EU. Forward rates imply that the gilt markets' expectation for official interest rates in 20 years' time has shifted down to just 2%, from 3% at the start of 2016.
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.
We were terrified by the plunge in the ISM manufacturing export orders index in August and September, which appeared to point to a 2008-style meltdown in trade flows.
The Conservatives have continued to gain ground over the last week, with support averaging 43% across the 13 opinion polls conducted last week, up from 41% in the previous week.
The Chancellor used the Autumn Statement to shift the composition of the fiscal consolidation slightly away from spending cuts and towards tax hikes. But in overall macroeconomic terms, he changed little. The fiscal stance is still set to be extremely tight in 2016 and 2017, ensuring that the economic recovery will lose more momentum.
Hong Kong delivered a resounding landslide victory to pro-Democracy parties in district council elections over the weekend.
Another day, another couple of April reports likely to reverse March "weakness", triggered by the early Easter. We look for robust core durable goods and pending home sales reports, with the odds favoring consensus-beating numbers. In both cases, though, the noise-to-signal ratio is quite high, and we can't be certain the Easter seasonal unwind will be the dominant force in the April data.
We've suspected that China's GDP targeting system was on its last legs for some time now.
Inflation in Mexico surprised to the upside in April, but the underlying picture has improved rapidly over recent months.
The closer we look at the data, the less concerned we are at the painfully slow decline in the number of new daily confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Short-term interest rates in the Eurozone continue to imply that the ECB will lower rates further this year. Two-year yields have been stuck in a very tight range around -0.5% since March, indicating that investors expect the central bank again to reduce its deposit rate from its current level of -0.4%. This is not our base case, though, and we think that investors focused on deflation and a dovish ECB will be caught out by higher inflation.
Friday's economic reports delivered more sobering news for the euro area economy.
The Bank of England will be dragged into the political arena on Thursday, when it sends the Treasury Committee its analysis of the economic impact of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration, as well as a no-deal, no- transition outcome.
The ECB kept its cool yesterday, at the headline level, amid crashing stock markets, volatile BTPs and souring economic data.
Expectations that the MPC will raise Bank Rate again soon have taken a big knock over the last two weeks.
Today's September international trade report will be the third to be distorted by hugely elevated soybean exports. The surge began in July, when soybean exports jumped by $3.6B--that's a 220% month-to-month increase--to $5.2B.
Economic news in the Eurozone, and virtually everywhere else, has been mostly downbeat in the past few months, but French consumers are doing great.
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.
The Chinese Communist Party revealed the new members of its top brass yesterday, with the line-up ensuring policy continuity.
Mexico's economic picture remains positive, although the outlook for 2019 is growing cloudy as the economy likely will lose momentum if AMLO's populist approach continues next year.
It is becomingly increasingly clear that the trade war with China is hurting manufacturers in both countries.
Outright CPI deflation likely already has taken hold in Japan. Friday's data showed inflation falling to zero percent in September, from 0.2% in the previous month.
Back in the olden days, we argued that shifts in the global manufacturing cycle often originated in China, and then fed into the U.S. and European data with a lag of one-to-three months.
Yesterday's business confidence data in the EZ core were mixed.
The public finances are in better health than appeared to be the case a few months ago.
The national accounts for the third quarter, released on Wednesday, are likely to show that households are saving a very small proportion of their incomes. Low unemployment, subdued inflation and the healthier condition of households' balance sheets suggests that very low saving is more sustainable than in the past. Nonetheless, the low rate underlines that household spending can't grow at a faster rate than incomes for a sustained period again.
Brazil's recovery is consolidating, with recent data flow confirming that the economy had an encouraging start to the year.
The Eurozone construction sector ground to a halt at the start of 2017. Data on Friday showed that output plunged 2.3% month-to-month in January, pushing the year-over-year rate down to -6.0%, from a revised +3.0% in December. The weakness was broad-based across the major economies, but it was concentrated in France and Spain where output fell by 3.5% and 3.8%, respectively.
The BoJ left policy unchanged yesterday, but we noted some significant additions and modifications in the statement and the press conference.
The period of surprisingly low inflation following sterling's plunge when the UK left the Exchange Rate Mechanism in September 1992 appears to challenge our view that inflation will overshoot the MPC's 2% target over the next couple of years. As our first chart shows, CPI inflation averaged just 2.5% in 1993 and 2% in 1994, even though trade-weighted sterling plunged by 15% and import prices surged.
We would be astonished if the FOMC meeting starting today does not end with a 25bp rate hike.
The ECB held fire yesterday and kept its main refinancing and deposit rates unchanged at 0.0% and -0.4%, respectively. The central bank also left the pace of monthly asset purchases unchanged at €80B. The introductory statement overall confirmed the central bank's dovish stance.
Sterling's renewed depreciation to just €1.10--just below last year's nadir--has fuelled speculation that it could reach parity against the euro within the next year.
LatAm's economies are gradually rebounding, boosted by easier monetary policy in most countries, falling inflation, and a relatively calm external backdrop.
Consumption and investment spending by state and local government accounts for just over 10% of the U.S. economy, making it more important than exports or consumers' spending on durable goods, and roughly equal to all business investment in equipment and intellectual property.
Sentiment in the French business sector ended this year on a high. The headline manufacturing index fell slightly to 112 in December, from an upwardly-revised 113 in November, but the aggregate sentiment gauge edged higher to a new cycle high of 112.
The Chancellor can go on his Christmas vacation content that the public finances have weathered the economy's slowdown relatively well this year.
Brazil's inflation rate remained well under control over the first half of February.
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.
After a disappointing run of monthly data, the huge surplus on the main "PSNB ex ." measure of borrowing in January must have been greeted with relief at the Treasury.
Yesterday's Japanese activity data were grim.
The stand-out news yesterday was the increase in the headline, three-month average, unemployment rate to 4.4% in December, from 4.3% in September.
Yesterday's data presented Eurozone investors with an unfamiliar sight; a big downside surprise in the survey data.
Economic survey data this week will give the first clear evidence on whether recent market volatility has dented Eurozone confidence. The key business and consumer surveys dipped in January, and we now expect further declines, starting with today's PMI data. We think the composite index fell slightly to 53.0 in February from 53.6 in January.
Our view that EZ survey data would take a step back in February was severely challenged by yesterday's PMI reports. The composite index in the Eurozone rose to 56.0 in February, from 54.4 in January, lifted by a jump in the services index and a small rise in the manufacturing index.
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.
Advance April consumer survey data will likely confirm that households remain the standout driver of the cyclical recovery in the euro area. We think the headline EC consumer sentiment index rose to -1.0 in April from -3.7 in March.
Tomorrow's Q1 GDP report for Korea has a wider spread of forecasts than usual, reflecting Covid-19's uneven hit to the economy.
While financial markets remain obsessed with the Brexit saga, January's labour market data provided more evidence yesterday that the economy is coping well with the heightened uncertainty.
Construction in the EZ stumbled at the start of the year.
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%.
A spell of outright CPI deflation in Japan is just around the corner. Headline inflation slipped to 0.2% in August, from 0.3% in the previous month, as the drag from the discounts backed by the government's "Go To Travel" subsidies more than outweighed the upward pressure from non-core goods.
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.
China's property market is slowly finding its feet, following a marked and consistent moderation in monthly price gains from mid-2018 to early this year.
September's retail sales figures, released on Friday, look set to show that spending climbed to a new record-high, despite this year's decline in households' disposable incomes.
The conventional wisdom that the U.K. economy will comfortably weather the coming fiscal squeeze is misplaced. The planned adjustment is large, designed to minimise its political, not economic, impact, and based on overly optimistic assumptions. What's more, the economy is in many respects less well-placed to cope with the tightening than when the previous government applied the fiscal brakes. And when the recovery slows, the Chancellor is less likely to change tack and ease the squeeze this time.
It has become pretty clear over the past couple of weeks that Hillary Clinton will be the next president, so it's now worth thinking about how fiscal policy will evolve over the next couple of years.
We have been puzzled in recent months by the sudden and substantial divergence between the Redbook chainstore sales numbers and the official data.
We expect the Fed today to shift its dotplot to forecast one rate hike this year, down from two in December and three in September.
The euro area's trade advantage with the rest of the world slipped at the start of the year.
August's retail sales figures create a misleading impression that consumers can be relied upon to pull the economy through the next six months of heightened Brexit uncertainty unscathed.
China announced the appointment of key political and financial jobs yesterday.
Consumer sentiment in the euro area has slipped this year, though the headline indices remain robust overall.
The re-opening of businesses in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, starting this week and expanding next week, comes as the rate of increase of confirmed Covid-19 infections in these states remains much faster than in European countries where lockdowns have started to ease.
The New York Fed tweeted yesterday that "Housing market fundamentals appear strong.
Brazil's domestic economic outlook has not changed much recently.
Retailers made hay while the sun shone in August, but clouds now are looming overhead. The 0.8% month-to-month rise in retail sales volumes took them 3.3% above last year's average.
The Fed has given itself and markets clear guidance on the minimum requirements for a rate hike-- maximum employment, and inflation at 2% and on track "moderately" to exceed that pace "for some time"--but has offered no clues at all on the drivers of its other key policy tool, namely, the pace of asset purchases.
Sterling soared yesterday following news that Britain and the EU have agreed the terms of the transition period from March 2019, which will ensure that goods, services, capital and people continue to move freely, until December 2020.
High interest rates and inflation, coupled with increasing uncertainty, put Mexican consumption under strain last year.
The Fed's announcement, at 11.30pm Wednesday, that it will establish a Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility--MMLF--to support prime money market funds, is another step to limit the emerging credit crunch triggered by the virus.
The newest cluster of Covid-19 in China has reignited concerns over a second wave. On June 11, Beijing confirmed its first infection in nearly 60 days, originating reportedly from Xinfadi market, a wholesaler which supplies about 80% of the capital's produce.
Financial markets and economic survey data have been sending a downbeat message on the Eurozone economy so far this year. The composite PMI has declined to a 12-month low, consumer sentiment has weakened, and national business surveys have also been poor.
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.
February's consumer price figures provided hard evidence that the import price shock, caused by sterling's depreciation last year, is filtering through faster than the MPC expected. We expect CPI inflation to continue to exceed the forecast set out in February's Inflation Report.
The ECB conformed to expectations today. The main refi rate was left unchanged at 0.00%, and the deposit and marginal lending facility rates also were unchanged, at -0.4% and 0.25% respectively. Similarly, the ECB stuck with the changes to QE made in December. Purchases of €80B per month will continue until March, after which the pace will be reduced to €60B per month and continue until December.
We advise strongly against concluding from the above-consensus rebound in retail sales in May that the economy is embarking on a healthy, V-shaped recovery, from Covid-19.
Stories of Chinese ghost cities are plentiful and alarming. The aggregate data present a startling picture. Between 2012 and 2015, China started around six billion square meters of residential floorspace but sold only around five billion.
This is the final Monitor before we hit the beach for two weeks, so want to highlight some of the key data and event risks while we're out. First, we're expecting little more from the FOMC statement than an acknowledgment that the labor market data improved in June. After the May jobs report, the FOMC remarked that "...the pace of improvement in the labor market has slowed".
Brazil's central bank looked through the recent dip in the BRL and left interest rates at 6.50% at Wednesday's Copom meeting, in line with the consensus.
The MPC was more hawkish than we and most investors expected yesterday. The vote to keep Bank Rate at 0.50% was split 6-3, f ollowing Andy Haldane's decision to join the existing hawks, Ian McCafferty and Michael Saunders.
So much has changed in China over the last six months that we are taking the opportunity in this Monitor to step back and gain an overview of where the economy is going in the long term.
Friday's detailed euro area CPI report for December confirmed that inflation pushed higher at the end of last year. Headline inflation increased to 1.3% year-over- year, from 1.0% in November, lifted primarily by higher energy inflation, rising by 3.4pp, to +0.2%. Inflation in food, alcohol and tobacco also rose, albeit marginally, to 2.1%, from 2.0% in November.
Japan's trade surplus rebounded to ¥522B in April, on our adjustment, from ¥390B in March, around the same level as the official version, though from a higher base.
The Spanish economy has been living a quiet life recently, amid markets' focus on political risks in Italy and manufacturing slowdowns in Germany and France.
On a trade-weighted basis, sterling has dropped by only 1.5% since the start of the month, but it is easy to envisage circumstances in which it would fall significantly further.
We are hearing a great deal about the threat of a second wave of Covid-19 infections, caused either by the reopening of the economy, or the arrival of cooler weather in the fall, or both.
Even the most bullish estate agent in Britain would struggle to put a positive spin on the latest housing market news. The latest levels of the official, Nationwide, and Halifax measures of house prices all are below their peaks.
Unlike other central banks, the MPC has stuck to its message that "an ongoing tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period" likely will be required to keep inflation close to the 2% target, provided a no-deal Brexit is avoided.
Today's economic calendar in the Eurozone is filled to the rafters.
Existing home sales peaked last February, and the news since then has been almost unremittingly gloomy.
Expectations that the MPC will cut Bank Rate at its meeting on January 30 received a further shot in the arm at the end of last week, when December's retail sales figures were released.
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.
We remain very bullish on the housing market, given sustained 11-year highs in applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase.
Investor sentiment data still indicate that EZ PMIs are set for a significant rebound at start of the year.
The intensity of the pressure on households' finances was highlighted last week by December's retail sales report, which showed that volumes fell by 1.5% month-to-month, the most since June 2016.
The data tell an increasingly convincing story that the Eurozone's external surplus rose further in the second half of last year.
As we reach our Sunday afternoon deadline, no deal has been reached to re-open the federal government.
November's labour market report provided timely reassurance, after last week's downside data surprises, that the economy did not grind to a halt at the end of last year.
When FOMC members sit down to begin their two-day meeting on September 16, the August CPI numbers will have just been released. We expect the data will show core inflation at 2.0% or a bit higher, up from a low this year of just 1.6%. Shorter-term measures of inflation will, we think, be 2¼-to-½%. These numbers are not outlandish; they just require the monthly gains in the core CPI to match June's pace, which was in line with the average for the previous six months.
The BoJ kept its main policy settings unchanged yesterday, in another 7-to-2 split.
The tone of Fed Chair Powell's opening comments at the press conference yesterday was much more dovish than the statement, which did little more than most analysts expected.
The weather-driven surge in December housing starts, reported last week, is unlikely to be replicated in today's existing home sales numbers for the same month.
Economic data released in recent weeks underscore that Brazil emerged from recession in Q1, but the recovery is fragile and further rate cuts are badly needed. The political crisis has damaged the reform agenda, and political uncertainty lingers.
Just over four weeks after Mike Pence's spectacularly badly-timed Wall Street Journal Op-ed, entitled "There Isn't a Coronavirus Second Wave", the U.S. recorded 465K new cases in the week ended Saturday, easily the worst week of the pandemic to date.
The chance of a zero GDP print for the first quarter diminished--but did not die--last week when the president signed a bill granting full back pay to about 300K government workers currently furloughed.
Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO, has set out the first points of his austerity plan, two weeks after his overwhelming victory at the polls.
Speculation that the ECB is considering a rethink of its inflation target has intensified in the past few weeks.
EURUSD has been battered in recent months, falling just over 6% since the end of April, but almost all indicators we look at suggest that the it will weake further towards 1.10, in the second half of the year.
We would like to be able to argue with conviction that the surge in June housing starts and building permits represents the beginning of a renewed strong upward trend, but we think that's unlikely.
With Fed officials now in pre-FOMC meeting blackout mode, this week will not bring a repeat of Friday's confusion, when the New York Fed felt obligated to issue a clarification following president William's speech on monetary policy close to the zero bound.
Chile's central bank kept rates unchanged last Thursday at 2.50% with a dovish bias, following an unexpected 50bp rate cut at the June meeting.
The Monetary Policy Board of the Bank of Korea voted unanimously last week to keep the benchmark base rate unchanged, at 0.50%.
Japan's trade surplus has whipsawed recently. Sharp changes are to be expected in January and February, due to the shifting timing of Chinese New Year.
Yesterday's sole economic report in the Eurozone showed that German producer price inflation edged lower at the end of 2018.
The recovery in China's property market is petering out.
Brazil's external accounts were a relatively bright spot again last year.
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 minutes of this week's MPC meeting indicate that it won't waste any time to raise interest rates after MPs finally have signed off a Brexit deal.
We see no compelling reason to expect a significant revision to the third quarter GDP numbers today, so our base case is that the second estimate, 3.3%, will still stand.
The details of next year's Japanese budget are not yet official and the Chinese budget remains unknown. But the main figures of the Japanese budget are available, while China's Economic Work Conference, which concluded yesterday, has set out the colour of the paint for the budget, if not the actual brush strokes.
Now that the Fed has abandoned the idea of raising rates this year, despite 3.8% unemployment and accelerating wages, it is very exposed to the risk that the bad things it fears don't happen.
We expect the flash reading of Markit's composite PMI, released today, to print at 52.4 in February, below the consensus, 52.8, and January's final reading, 53.3, albeit still in line with last month's flash.
We think this week's main economic surveys in the Eurozone will take a step back following a steady rise since the end of Q3. Today's composite PMI in the Eurozone likely slipped to 54.0 in February, from 54.4 in January, mainly due to a dip in the manufacturing component. Even if we're right about slightly weaker survey data in February, though, it is unlikely to change the story of a stable and solid cyclical expansion in the EZ.
Once again, Chinese January data released so far suggest that the Phase One trade deal was the dominant factor dictating activity for the first two- thirds of the month, with the virus becoming a real consideration only in the last third.
The perfect world for equities is one in which earnings and valuations are rising at the same time, but in the Eurozone it seems as if investors have to make do with one or the other.
Today's advance EZ PMIs will be watched more closely than usual.
After two big monthly gains in existing home sales, culminating in October's nine-year high of 5.60M, we expect a dip in sales in today's November report. This wouldn't be such a big deal -- data correct after big movements all the time -- were it not for the downward trend in mortgage applications.
The latest balance of payments figures, released Wednesday, look set to show that the current account deficit widened in Q3, underlying the U.K.'s vulnerability to a sudden change in overseas investor sentiment. The risk of a full-blown sterling crisis, however, is lower than the enormous current account deficit would appear to suggest.
The construction sector remains a stand-out performer in the Eurozone economy, despite stumbling at the end of Q2.
The sound of silence in Chinese interest rates continued to reverberate this month.
The Eurozone's external surplus fell further at the end of Q1, and has now fully reversed the jump at the start of the year.
On the face of it, Japanese GDP came thumping home in Q1, rising 0.5% quarter-on-quarter, after the 0.4% increase in Q4.
We have been asked several times in recent days whether a pick-up in stockbuilding, as part of businesses' contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit, could cause the economy to gather some pace in the run-up to Britain's scheduled departure from the EU in March 2019.
Chile's Q1 GDP report, released yesterday, confirmed that the economy weakened sharply at the beginning of the year, due mainly to temporary shocks, including adverse weather conditions.
Central banks in Mexico, Colombia and Chile raised interest rates last week in tandem with the Fed, underscoring the almost mystical importance of the FOMC's actions in Latin America. In Colombia and Chile, their decisions were also helped by rising inflation pressures, due mainly to pass-through effects from currency depreciation.
Oil prices have risen by about $20 per barrel since last fall.
The Mexican economy had a decent start to the year thanks to resilient domestic demand, but hampered by the rollover in capital spending in the oil sector and the slowdown in manufacturing activity. Economic activity expanded 2.2% year-over-year in the second quarter, down from 2.6% in the first quarter, but the underlying trend remains reasonably solid.
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.
Premier Li Keqiang rounded out the National People's Congress with his press conference yesterday.
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.
The U.K.'s property obsession has been immune to Covid-19, so far.
The coronavirus ordeal continues in LatAm as a whole.
Japan's trade balance remained in the red in June, though the deficit narrowed sharply, to -¥269B from -¥838B in May.
We have been puzzled in recent weeks to see clear indications of softening economic activity--falling restaurant diner numbers, fewer small firms open for business and falling employment, and reduced footfall at businesses--while data from the travel business continued to improve.
The MPC's unanimous decision to keep Bank Rate at 0.75% and the minutes of its meeting left little impression on markets, which still see a higher chance of the MPC cutting Bank Rate within the next 12 months than raising it.
Political uncertainty has surged since the ECB last met, but the central bank likely will refrain from action today. We think the ECB will keep its refi and deposit rates unchanged at 0.05% and -0.4%, respectively, and leave the monthly pace of QE unchanged at €80B.
Over the past couple of weeks, the number of applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase have reached their highest level since late 2010, when activity was boosted by the impending expiration of a time-limited tax credit for homebuyers.
The startling jump in the Philly Fed index in May, when it rose 11.2 points to a 12-month high, seemed at first sight to be a response to fading tensions over global trade.
We've had pushback from readers over our take on the likelihood of a trade deal with China in the near future.
Chair Yellen remains as committed as ever to the idea that the tightening labor market will eventually push up inflation, but the unexpectedly weak core CPI readings for the past four months have complicated the picture in the near-term.
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.
Latin American markets have been relatively resilient this year, despite Fed tightening and high global political risks. The LACI index has risen more than 5% year-to-date, and the MSCI index has been trending higher since late last year.
Speculators who have sold sterling over the last six months have been frustrated. Investors have been overwhelmingly net short sterling, but the pound has hovered between $1.20 and $1.25, as our first chart shows. Undeterred, investors increased their net short positions last week to 107K contracts-- the most since records began in 1992--from 81K a week earlier.
Economists refer to two different types of forward rate guidance by central banks: Delphic and Odyssean. The former describes a "normal" situation, in which the central bank follows a transparent rate-setting rule allowing markets to forecast what it will do, based on the flow of economic data.
December's labour market report, released today, won't be a game-changer for the near-term outlook for interest rates; January data will be released before the MPC meets in March, and February data will be available at its key meeting in May.
Data released on Friday confirmed that Colombian activity lost momentum in Q4, following an impressive performance in late Q2 and Q3. Retail sales rose 4.4% in November, down from 7.4% in October and 8.3% in Q3.
Just as we turned more positive on the labor market, following three straight months of payroll gains outstripping the message from an array of surveys, the Labor Department's JOLTS report shows that the number of job openings plunged in November.
Forecasting BoJ policy for this year is trickier than it has been in a long time.
China's Loan Prime Rate was unchanged this month, at 4.15%, with consensus once again expecting a reduction to 4.10%.
As we write, markets see a 70% chance that the MPC will cut Bank Rate on January 30.
The chances of the first phase of the Brexit saga concluding soon declined sharply last week.
This weekend's first round of the French presidential election is too close to call. Our first chart indicates that a runoff between Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron remains the best bet. But the statistical uncertainty inherent in the predictions, and the proximity of the two remaining candidates--the centre-right Mr. Fillon and far-left Mr. Melenchon-- mean that this is now effectively a four-horse race.
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.
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.
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.
Yesterday's headline economic data in the euro area were solid across the board, though the details were mixed.
Leading indicators are giving conflicting signals regarding the outlook for core goods CPI inflation.
The current account surplus in the Eurozone is well on its way to stabilising above 3% of GDP this year. The seasonally adjusted surplus rose to €29.4B in September from a revised €18.7B in August, lifted by a higher trade surplus, thanks to rebounding German exports. The services balance was unchanged at €4.5B in September, while the primary income balance edged higher to €4.8B from €4.0B. The improving external balance has been driven mostly by a surging trade surplus with the U.S. and the U.K., as our first chart shows.
The sharp downtrend in commodity prices in recent months is alarming from a LatAm perspective.
PPI inflation in Korea slowed sharply in October, to a five-month low of 2.2%, from 2.7% in September.
October's retail sales figures, published last Thursday, extended the month-long run of near consistent downside data surprises.
Data on Friday showed that the EZ current account surplus fell to €25.3B in September, from a revised €29.2B in August. The trade and services surpluses were unchanged, but the income balance slipped after rising in the previous months.
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 Eurozone's external surplus recovered a bit of ground mid-way through the third quarter.
Fed Chair Powell broke no new ground in his Senate Testimony alongside--virtually--Treasury Secretary Mnuchin yesterday, maintaining the cautious tone of his recent public statements.
Investors have been treated to good news in the past week, at least if they've managed to side-step the barrage of terrible economic data.
Hard data released in Argentina over the last month showed that the economy was struggling in early Q1, even before the Covid-19 hit.
Friday's CPI data for April provided the final piece of evidence for the significant Easter distortions in this year's data.
In recent client meetings the first and last topic of conversation has been the market implications of the possible departure of President Trump from office.
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.
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.
April's consensus-beating retail sales figures fostered an impression that the recovery in consumer spending is in fine fettle, even though the rest of the economy is suffering from Brexit blues. Retailers have stimulated demand, however, by slashing prices at an unsustainable rate. With import prices and labour costs now rising, retailers are set to increase prices, sapping the momentum in sales volumes.
We hope never to see another labour market report as bad as yesterday's, though the omens aren't good.
Japan's official adjusted surplus rose in October but we think the September figure was an understatement. On our adjustment, the surplus was little unchanged at ¥360B in October.
Reforms to Stamp Duty Land Tax paid by first-time buyers likely will take centre stage in the Budget. At the Conservatives' party conference, Theresa May pledged another £10B to expand the Help to Buy Scheme, which helps first-time buyers obtain a mortgage which just a 5% deposit.
Our forecast of significantly higher core inflation over the next year has been met, it would be fair to say, with a degree of skepticism.
It was widely assumed that the MPC simply would regurgitate its key messages from August in the minutes of September's meeting, released yesterday alongside its unanimous no-change policy decision.
The FOMC kept policy unchanged at April's meeting-- rates stayed at zero, and all the market valves are wide open, as needed--but policymakers spent considerable time pondering what might happen over the next few months, and how policy could evolve.
We don't expect any major policy announcements at today's ECB meeting. We think the central bank will keep its main refinancing rate unchanged at 0.0%, and we expect the deposit and marginal lending facility rates to remain at -0.4% and 0.25%, respectively.
Yesterday's final CPI report for April confirmed that the Eurozone is edging towards deflation.
The FOMC won't raise rates today, but we expect that the announcement of the start of balance sheet reduction will not be interrupted by Harvey and Irma.
The recent sharp, if not startling, upturn in the regional manufacturing surveys should continue today with the release of the Philadelphia Fed report. The survey is constructed in the same way as the more volatile Empire State, which has rocketed in the past few months, and the headline indexes follow similar trends, as our first chart shows.
Covid-19 has finally showed up in Japan's exports, which plunged 11.7% year-over-year in March, after falling a mere 1.0% in February.
Bloomberg reported on Monday that the PBoC is drafting a package of reforms to give foreign investors greater access to the China's financial services sector. This could involve allowing foreign institutions to control their local joint ventures and raising the 25% ceiling on foreign ownership of Chinese banks.
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.
It's hard to have much conviction in any forecast for September retail sales, as the relationship between the official data and the surveys has weakened considerably.
The year so far in EZ equities has been just as odd as in the global market as a whole.
The passage of the House tax cut bill does not guarantee that the Senate will follow suit with its own bill, still less that both chambers will then be able to agree on a single bill which can then b e signed into law. As
The PBoC has let up on its open-market operations after allowing bond yields to move higher again in October.
If the only manufacturing survey you track is the Philadelphia Fed report, you could be forgiven for thinking that the sector is booming.
Incoming data confirm our view that the Chilean economy to rebound steadily in the second half of the year, with real GDP increasing 1.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, after a relatively modest 0.9% increase in Q2 and a meagre 0.1% in Q1.
Chile's Q3 GDP report, released yesterday, confirmed that the economy lost momentum in the last quarter.
Looking through recent supply disruptions, Japan's adjusted trade balance seems likely to remain in the red until the new year.
Recent economic indicators in Brazil have undershot consensus in recent weeks, but the economy nonetheless continues to recover.
If you were to return home to find your home ablaze, heaven forbid, and the fire department hard at work to douse the flames, would you be more concerned about your impending homelessness or the risk of water damage to your soft furnishings?
Japanese trade remained in the doldrums in October, keeping policymakers on their toes as they repeat the refrain of "resilient" domestic demand.
Signs of a slowdown in the labour market data are conspicuously absent.
China's current account surplus grew further in the final quarter of 2018, more than doubling to $54.6B, from $23.3B in Q3.
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.
Chainstores are continuing to struggle, even as the reopening of the economy continues.
The PMI survey yesterday painted a more upbeat picture on the Eurozone economy than we expected. The composite index rose to 54.1 in June from 53.6 in May, taking the quarterly average to its highest level since Q2 2011.
Mexico's private spending stumbled at the start of the second quarter. Retail sales fell 0.3% month-to-month in April after three consecutive increases, hit by an unexpected 1.6% drop in both supermarket and apparel sales, and a surprising 1.2% fall in food sales. In year-over-year terms, total sales rose 4.6% in April, down from 5.6% in March.
Japan's national CPI inflation has peaked, falling to 0.7% in May from 0.9% in April.
The apparent softness of business capex is worrying the Fed.
Data released yesterday in Brazil helped to lay the ground for interest rate cuts over the coming months.
The headline in yesterday's ECB Q2 bank lending survey seemed almost tailor-made for the central bank to deliver a dovish message to markets this week.
Inflation in Mexico surprised to the upside in early Q3, but we still believe it will fall gradually in Q4.
Korea's GDP report for the second quarter was a huge let-down.
This is the final Monitor before we head out for our spring break, so we have added a page in order to make room to preview the employment report due next Friday, April 4. We expect a solid but unspectacular 175K increase in payrolls, slowing from February's unsustainable 242K, but still robust.
The economic recovery would have lost more momentum last year had consumers not delved so deeply into their pockets. Real household spending increased by 0.7% and 0.8% quarter-on-quarter in Q3 and Q4 respectively, in contrast to investment and exports, which fell in both quarters.
The PBoC late on Wednesday announced measures to provide medium-term funding for smaller businesses.
Yesterday's data in the Eurozone did little to calm investors' nerves amid rising political uncertainty in Italy and tremors in emerging markets.
German survey data did something out of character yesterday; they fell. The IFO business climate index declined to 117.2 in December from a revised 117.6 in November.
Yesterday's barrage of survey data were a mixed bag. The composite EZ PMI edged higher in May to 51.6, from 51.5 in April, but the details were less upbeat, and also slightly confusing.
CPI inflation fell to 2.3% in November--its lowest rate since March 2017--from 2.4% in October, and it remains on track to fall rapidly over the winter.
This year has been sobering for Eurozone equity investors.
The nominal value of orders for non-defense capital equipment, excluding aircraft, fell by 3.4% last year. This was less terrible than 2015, when orders plunged by 8.4%, but both years were grim when compared to the average 7.5% increase over the previous five years.
Robust demand in the ECB's final TLTRO auction was the main story in EZ financial markets yesterday. Euro area banks--474 in total-- took up €233.5B in the March TLTRO, well above the consensus forecast €110B. To us, this strong demand is a sign that EZ banks are taking advantage of the TLTROs' incredibly generous conditions.
April's public finances indicate that the economy has remained weak in Q2, casting doubt on the suggestion from recent business surveys that the slowdown in Q1 was just a blip.
Economic activity in Mexico during the past few months has been resilient, as external and domestic threats, particularly domestic political risks, appear to have diminished.
Eurozone consumer confidence remained at its low for the year at the start of Q3.
We can't yet know how bad the spread of the coronavirus from the Chinese city of Wuhan will be.
You could be forgiven for being alarmed at the 1.5% decline in the stock of outstanding bank commercial and industrial lending in the fourth quarter, the first dip since the second quarter of 2017.
A very light week for U.S. data concludes today with four economic reports, which likely will be mixed, relative to the consensus forecasts. The recent run of clear upside surprises and robust-looking headline numbers is likely over, for the most part.
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.
New home sales have tended to track the path of mortgage applications over the past year or so, with a lag of a few months. The message for today's January sales numbers, show in our next chart, is that sales likely dipped a bit, to about 525K.
The second estimate of Q4 GDP, published on Thursday, probably will show that the economy slowed more abruptly last year than previously thought and that it has become very dependent on consumers for momentum.
The sell-off in risky assets intensified while we were away, driven by China's decision to loosen its grip on the currency, and looming rate hikes in the U.S. The Chinese move partly shows, we think, the PBoC is uncomfortable pegging to a strengthening dollar amid the unwinding investment boom and weakness in manufacturing.
The proportion of households' annual incomes absorbed by servicing debt has declined steadily this decade, providing a powerful boost to spending. Indeed, the proportion of annual incomes accounted for by interest payments--mainly on mortgages--edged down a record low of 4.6% in Q1, less than half the share in 2008.
Japan's January PMIs sent a clear signal that the virus impact is not to be underestimated. The manufacturing PMI fell to 47.6 in February, from 48.8 in January, contrasting sharply with the rising headlines of last week's batch of European PMIs.
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.
The ECB conformed to expectations today, at least on a headline level.
Consensus forecasts expect further gains in this week's key EZ business surveys, but the data will struggle to live up to expectations. The headline EZ PMIs, the IFO in Germany, and French manufacturing sentiment have increased almost uninterruptedly since August, and we think the consensus is getting ahead of itself expecting further gains. Our first chart shows that macroeconomic surprise indices in the euro area have jumped to levels which usually have been followed by mean-reversion.
The ECB will deliver a carbon copy of its December meeting today, at least in terms of the main headlines.
We suspect that under the calm surface of the BoJ, a major decision is being debated.
Korean exports are often a useful gauge of Asian and global trade; the country sits near the beginning of the global supply chain. It also happens to publish early in the data cycle and provides a measure of exports in the first 20 days of the month.
The tailwinds that have propelled Eurozone equities higher since the middle of last year remain place, in principle. In the economy, political uncertainty in the euro area has turned into an opportunity for further integration and reforms, and cyclical momentum in has picked up. And closer to the ground, fundamentals also have improved.
On the face of it, the trend in public borrowing deteriorated sharply late last year. In the three months to December, borrowing on the main "PSNB ex ." measure, which excludes banks owned by the public sector, was a trivial £0.3B, or 1.6%, lower than in the same months of 2017.
The main measure of public borrowing--PSNB excluding public sector banks--came in at £2.6B in December, well below the £5.1B in December 2016 and lower than in any other December since 2000.
The BoJ voted by an 8-to-1 majority yesterday to keep the policy balance rate unchanged at -0.1%, with the 10-year yield curve target also unchanged at around zero.
In November, existing home sales substantially overshot the pace implied by the pending home sales index.
Bond markets didn't panic when the ECB announced its intention further to reduce the pace of QE this year, to €30B per month from €60B in 2017.
The single most important number in the housing construction report is single-family permits, because they lead starts by a month or two but are much less volatile.
India's National Democratic Alliance, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party,
If our inbox is any guide, a significant proportion of investors remain far from convinced that the slowdown in the economy in the first quarter is largely the consequence of the severe weather, with an additional temporary hit to capex from the rollover in the oil sector.
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.
Today brings new housing market data, in the form of the weekly applications numbers from the MBA. The weekly data are seasonally adjusted but are still very volatile, especially in the spring.
The April IFO business sentiment survey increased the degree of uncertainty over the German economy, following stabilisation in the PMIs earlier this week.
Lending conditions in the EZ economy continued to improve in Q1, according to the ECB's bank lending survey. Business and consumer credit supply conditions eased, but mortgage lending became more difficult to come by as standards tightened sharply in Germany, France, and the Netherlands. Demand for new loans also rose, but the increase was due entirely to gains in the mortgage and consumer credit components.
A shutdown of the federal government, which could happen as early as this weekend, is a political event rather than a macroeconomic shock. But if it happens--if Congress cannot agree on even a shortterm stop-gap spending measure in order to keep the lights on after the 28th--it would demonstrate yet again that the splits in the House mean that the prospects of a substantial near-term loosening of fiscal policy are now very slim.
EU negotiations tend to go down to the wire; and last week's summit in Salzburg, and Theresa May's statement on Friday, suggest that the Brexit negotiations will do just that.
Japan's CPI inflation jumped to 1.3% in August, from 0.9% in July.
Broad-based inflation pressures in Brazil remain tame despite the sharp BRL depreciation this year, totalling about 7% in the last three months alone.
Last week's advance PMI data suggest that economic activity in the Eurozone was stable at the beginning of Q2. The composite EZ PMI fell trivially to 53.0 in April, from 53.1 in March, because a dip in manufacturing offset a small rise in the services index.
Japan's advance PMI numbers for August suggest that the economy dodged most of the bullets fired by the second wave of Covid-19.
On the face of it, the rebound in the manufacturing PMI, to 53.3 in August from 48.3 in July, directly challenges our view that the economy is set to slow sharply over the coming quarters. A close look at the survey, however, suggests that the manufacturing PMI exaggerates the extent of the sector's recovery in August.
The Brazilian economy fell into recession over the first half of the year due to the severity of the Covid shock on domestic demand.
Yesterday's barrage of French business surveys contains hundreds of indicators, but its central story is comfortably simple.
The industrial sector in the EZ slowed further at the end of Q3.
Yesterday's final Q2 GDP report in Germany confirmed the initial data showing that the economy slowed less than we expected last quarter. Real GDP rose 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, after a 0.7% jump in Q1. The working-day adjusted year-over-year rate fell marginally to 1.8%, from 1.9% in Q1.
We're expecting the first look at August employment, in the form of today's ADP report, to fall short of the 1,000K consensus forecast; we look for 500K.
We have been bullish about the housing market for some time now--since Google searches for "new homes" and mortgage demand began to pick up, in late April--but we might not have been bullish enough.
New Covid-19 cases in Mexico have continued to fall steadily over this month, with deaths peaking two weeks ago, as shown in our first chart.
The Japanese government's plan to smooth out the consumption cliff-edge generated by October's sales tax hike is either going too well, or consumers now are facing fundamental headwinds.
If we analyse the Covid-19 shock as a normal downturn, the clock has now been reset on the business cycle, which in turn implies that it is a great time to be invested in EZ equities.
Yesterday's advance EZ PMI data for September conformed to our expectations.
Japan's economic recovery got back on track this month--just--according to yesterday's flash PMI numbers.
Core durable goods orders have not weakened as much as implied by the ISM manufacturing survey, as our first chart shows, but it is risky to assume this situation persists.
A startlingly wide gap has emerged over the past nine months between the ISM manufacturing index and Markit's manufacturing PMI.
Consumer confidence in the Eurozone rose marginally at the start of Q4, though it is still down since the start of the year.
The INSEE business sentiment data in France continue to tell a story of a robust economy.
Today's ECB meeting will mainly be a victory lap for Mr. Draghi--it is the president's last meeting before Ms. Lagarde takes over--rather than the scene of any major new policy decisions.
The Chancellor's Autumn Statement dashed hopes that the fiscal consolidation will be paused while the economy struggles to adjust to the implications of Brexit. Admittedly, Mr. Hammond has another opportunity in the Spring Budget to reduce next year's fiscal tightening.
Politics will be the key factor in LatAm over the coming quarters, as presidential and legislative elections take place throughout the region.
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%.
The run of weak retail sales figures continued yesterday, with the release of November's official data.
The BoJ held firm, for the most part, during this year's bout of central bank dovishness.
Progress in reducing the budget deficit has ground to a virtual halt, despite the ongoing fiscal consolidation. Public sector net borrowing excluding public sector banks--PSNB ex.--was £10.6B in September, exceeding the £9.3B borrowed in the same month last year.
The rational thing to do when the price of a consumer good you are considering buying is thought likely to rise sharply in the near future is to buy it now, provided that the opportunity cost of the purchase--the interest income foregone on the cash, or the interest charged if you finance the purchase with credit--is less than the expected increase in the price.
The 1.2% month-to-month fall in retail sales volumes in March undoubtedly was due mostly to the bad weather.
The biggest surprise in the recent inflation numbers has been the surge in the PCE measure of hospital services costs, where the year-over-year rate has jumped to 3.8% in February, an eight-year high, from just 1.3% in September.
Business surveys released this week suggest the economic recovery decelerated in early September.
Markets tend to ignore Eurozone construction data, but we suspect today's report will be an exception to that rule. Our first chart shows that we're forecasting a 8.5% month-to-month leap in February EZ construction output, and we also expect an upward revision to January's numbers.
Inflation in the Eurozone eased at the start of Q3.
The PBoC announced on Saturday that it will publish a new Loan Prime Rate, from today, following a State Council announcement last Friday.
Yesterday's PMI data were an open goal for those with a bearish outlook on the euro area economy.
Banxico cut its policy rate by 25bp to 7.25% yesterday, as was widely expected, following similar moves in August, September and November.
Under normal circumstances, the 0.23% increase in the core CPI, reported earlier this month, would be enough to ensure a 0.2% print in today's core PCE deflator.
We expect today's second estimate of Q2 GDP to confirm that the U.K. has been the slowest growing G7 economy this year.
We are currently operating with a very simply rule-of- thumb for interpreting the PMIs.
The performance of Italy's economy in the first half of 2017 proves that the strengthening euro area recovery is a tide lifting all the r egion's boats.
Yesterday's public finance figures showed that the public sector, excluding public sector banks, ran a surplus of £0.2B in July, a modest improvement on borrowing of £0.4B a year ago.
The level of new home sales is likely to hit new cycle highs over the next few months, with a decent chance that today's July report will show sales at their highest level since late 2007.
The story in EZ capital markets this year has been downbeat.
On balance, our conviction that the MPC will surprise markets on May 2 by retreating from its dovish stance has risen, following last week's labour and retail sales data.
The economic data in Brazil were poor while we were away.
The BoJ kept policy unchanged yesterday, with the policy balance rate remaining at -0.1% and the 10-year yield target remaining around zero.
The hawks clearly tried hard to persuade their more nervous colleagues to raise rates yesterday. In the end, though, they had to make do with shifting the language of the FOMC statement, which did not read like it had come after a run of weaker data.
India's trade data for March highlight the immediate severity of the country's sudden nationwide lockdown.
Friday's economic data suggest that the downtrend in German PPI inflation is reversing.
Whether the economy enters recession will hinge more on corporate behaviour than on consumers. Household spending accounts for about two thirds of GDP, but it is a relatively stable component of demand. By contrast, business investment and inventories--which are often overlooked--are prone to wild swings.
Yesterday's national surveys in the EZ confirmed the downbeat message from the PMIs and consumer sentiment data earlier this week.
Brazil's central bank is finally decisively facing its demon, persistently high inflation. The eight-member policy board, known as Copom, decided unanimously on Wednesday to increase the Selic rate by 50bp to 12.25%, the highest level in more than three years, in line with the consensus.
Korean 20-day exports are volatile and often miss the mark with respect to the full-month print. But these data offer the month's first look at Asian trade, and we often find value in these early signs.
Today's data likely will show that EZ households' sentiment remained close to a record high at the start of the year.
We see considerable downside risk to the consensus forecast that GDP increased by 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, the same as in Q3.
Barring a meteor strike, the ECB will leave its main refinancing and deposit rates unchanged today, at 0.00% and -0.5% respectively.
Further evidence that the general election has transformed business confidence emerged yesterday, in the form of January's CBI Industrial Trends survey.
The PBoC managed to keep interest rates well- anchored around the Chinese New Year holiday, when volatility is often elevated.
The Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators appears to signal that the U.S. economy is plunging headlong into recession.
The FOMC did the minimum expected of it yesterday, raising rates by 25bp--with a 20bp increase in IOER--and dropping one of its dots for 2019.
Public borrowing was below consensus expectations in August, fuelling speculation that the Chancellor might pare back the remaining fiscal tightening in the Autumn Budget on November 22.
Germans head to the polls on Sunday to elect representatives for the national parliament. The media has tried to keep investors on alert for a surprise, but polls indicate clearly that Angela Merkel will continue as Chancellor.
The public finances are in better shape than October's figures suggest in isolation. Public sector net borrowing excluding public sector banks--PSNB ex.--leapt to £11.2B, from £8.9B a year earlier.
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.
Yesterday's barrage of survey data in France suggests that business sentiment in the industrial sector remained soft mid-way through Q4, but the numbers are more uncertain than usual this month.
Wednesday's State Council meeting implies that the authorities are starting to take more serious coordinated fiscal measures to counter the virus threat to the labour market and to banks.
Back-to-back elevated weekly jobless claims numbers prove nothing, but they have grabbed our attention.
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.
The imminent boost to lending rates from the shut- down of the Term Funding Scheme at the end of this month is widely under-appreciated.
Brazil's December economic activity index, released last week, showed that the economy ended the year on a relatively soft footing. The IBC-Br index, a monthly proxy for GDP, fell 0.3% month-to-month, though the year-over-year rate rose to -1.8%, from -2.2% in November.
We're placing less weight than usual on conventional business surveys at the moment, as they are ill-suited to charting the economy's turnaround from the Covid-19 slump.
The composite PMI in the Eurozone continues to edge slightly lower, falling to 53.4 in May from 53.9 in April. A fall in the services index to 53.3, from 54.1 last month offset a modest increase in manufacturing to 52.3 from 52.0 in April.
Korea's trade figures for the first 20 days of November, published yesterday, gave the first real glimpse in a long time of how its exporters are truly performing.
October's surprise jump in public borrowing is not a material setback for the Chancellor, who will stick to his new Budget plans for modest fiscal stimulus next year.
The market-implied probability that the MPC will cut Bank Rate by June fell to 34%, from 38%, after the release of January's consumer price figures, though investors still see around an 80% chance of a cut by the end of this year.
The Chancellor probably can't believe his luck. Public borrowing has continued to fall this year at a much faster rate than anticipated by the OBR, despite the sluggish economy.
The failure of labor market participation to increase as the economy has gathered pace, pushing unemployment down from its 10.0% peak to just 3.7%in September, is one of the biggest macro mysteries in recent years.
China's prime loan rates were unchanged for September, as widely expected.
Discussion about whether the U.K. would be better off voting to leave the European Union in the forthcoming referendum is rarely out of the press, raising the question of whether simply holding the national vote could damage the economy even if the U.K. votes for the status quo in the end.
CPI inflation picked up to 0.5% in September, from 0.2% in August, when the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme was running.
The slowdown in the EZ economy is well publicised.
Japan's trade surplus soared further in September, to ¥675B, from ¥249B in August.
Production in the EZ construction sector slumped at the end of Q4. Data yesterday showed that output slid by 3.1% month-to-month in December, comfortably reversing the 0.7% increase in November.
High inflation and interest rates, coupled with increasing uncertainty, both economic and political, put Mexican consumption under strain last year.
Korea's preliminary Q4 GDP report was stronger than nearly all forecasters, including ourselves, expected.
We think of recessions usually as processes; namely, the unwinding of private sector financial imbalances.
Data on Friday showed that German producer price inflation is now in free-fall.
The stickiness of CPI inflation in India in recent months should all but guarantee another quiet meeting for the RBI next week.
It is fair to say that the strength of the rebound in the housing market over the summer has caught most analysts, including ourselves, by surprise.
The PBoC left its interest rate corridor, including the Medium-term Lending Facility rate, unchanged last Friday, but published the reformed Loan Prime Rate modestly lower, at 4.20% in September, down from 4.25% in August.
Argentina's economy is on the verge of a renewed recession; available data for August and the effect of the recent financial crisis, driven by the result of the primaries, suggest that output will come under severe strain.
The 17-point leap in the Richmond Fed index for October, reported yesterday, was startlingly large.
India's economy staged a more than respectable rebound in the third quarter, enough to convince us to upgrade our forecast substantially.
Two major themes emerged from the Chinese Party Congress last week, namely, further opening of the financial sector to foreigners, and the threat of a Minsky moment.
The automotive sector accounts for 6.1% of total employment, and 4% of GDP, in the Eurozone.
We triggered a bit of pushback on social media yesterday when we suggested that Larry Kudlow's familiarity with the alphabet is questionable.
The theory of spontaneous combustion of the U.S. economy appears to be making something of a comeback, if our inbox and market chat is to be believed. The core idea here is that expansions die of old age, and can be helped on their way to oblivion by factors like falling corporate earnings and rising inventory. The current recovery, which began in June 2009 and is now 63 months old, already looks a bit long-in-the-tooth.
Eurozone investors will be drawing a sigh of relief after yesterday's PMI data. The alarming plunge in February and March made way for stabilisation, with the composite PMI in the euro area unchanged at 55.2 in April.
One way or another, the preliminary estimate of Q1 GDP--due Friday--will have a big market impact, following Mark Carney's warning last week that a May rate hike is not a done deal.
CPI inflation was steadfast at 1.9% in March, undershooting the consensus and our forecast for it to rise to 2.0%.
Yesterday's data were mixed, though disappointment over the weakening in the Richmond Fed survey should be tempered by a quick look at the history, shown in our first chart.
Japan's manufacturing PMI rose to 53.3 in April, from 53.1 in March. The index weakened earlier this year, but remained at levels unjustified by the hard data.
The gap between the hard and soft data from the industrial economy appeared to widen still further last week. But we are disinclined to take the data--the official industrial production report for March, and the first survey evidence for April--at face value.
Korean GDP contracted by 1.4% quarter-on- quarter in Q1, erasing the 1.3% jump at the end of last year. The pullback was sharper than we expected, with the cliff-edge drop in private consumption, in particular, catching us by surprise.
The preliminary April PMIs point to a continuation of the cyclical bounce, despite falling slightly from last month. The composite PMI in the Eurozone fell to 53.5 in April, down from 54.0 in March.
Sterling jumped last week to its highest level against the dollar since last October in response to news that a general election will be held on June 8. Markets are betting that the Conservative Government will sharply increase its majority, enabling Theresa May to ignore Eurosceptic backbenchers when she strikes a deal with the EU.
As we write, the Commons appears to be on the verge of voting for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill--WAB--at its second reading but then voting against the government's "Programme Motion", which sets out a very tight timetable for its passage through parliament, in a bid to meet the October 31 deadline and to minimise parliamentary scrutiny.
The prospect of fiscal stimulus in the euro area-- ostensibly to "help" the ECB reach its inflation target-- remains a hot topic for investors and economists.
We look for a 12.5% month-to-month jump in the official measure of retail sales in June, released on Friday. This easily would top the consensus, 8.3%, for a second consecutive month.
The manufacturing industry in France is recovering slowly, but surely. The headline INSEE index rose to 102 in July from 101 in June, close to a post-crisis high, pointing to steady improvement for manufacturers. Our first chart shows the main leading components of the survey, indicating a modest, but positive, trend in output. The increase in sentiment in July was driven by firming new orders--especially in the export sector--pushing the new orders-to-inventory ratio to an 18-month high.
A couple of Fed speakers this week have described the economy as being at "full employment". Looking at the headline unemployment rate, it's easy to see why they would reach that conclusion.
The June batch of the French statistical office's business surveys continues to signal a firming cyclical recovery. The aggregate business index rose to cyclical high of 106 in June from a revised 105 in May, continuing an uptrend that began in the middle of 2016.
We're breaking protocol this week by delivering our preview for Thursday's ECB meeting in today's Monitor.
As we reach our deadline--4pm eastern time--media reports indicate that a debt ceiling agreement is close.
The weekly mortgage applications numbers have been wild recently, but our first chart shows that the trend underneath the noise is solid.
November's labour market data were the last before the MPC's February meeting, when it will conduct its annual assessment of the supply side of the economy.
We expect the Mexican economy to continue growing close to 2% year-over-year in 2019, driven mainly by consumption, but constrained by weak investment, due to prolonged uncertainty related to trade.
Japan's CPI inflation was unchanged in June, at 0.7%, despite strong upward pressure from energy inflation.
China's loan prime rates were unchanged for a second straight month in June, as expected.
Policymakers and governments are gradually deploying major fiscal and monetary policy measures to ease the hit from Covid-19 and the related financial crisis.
Today's EZ calendar is a busy one.
It's hard to read the minutes of the April 30/May 1 FOMC meeting as anything other than a statement of the Fed's intent to do nothing for some time yet.
Yesterday's advance consumer sentiment index in the Eurozone confirmed the upside risks for consumers' spending in Q4. The headline index rose to a 17- year high of +0.1 in November, from -1.0 in October.
The Chancellor was bolder than widely expected yesterday and scaled back the fiscal consolidation planned for the next two years significantly, even though his borrowing forecast was boosted by the OBR's gloomier prognosis for the economy.
The Monetary Policy Committee chose to keep its options open in the minutes of this week's meeting, rather than signal as clearly as it did last year that interest rates will rise very soon.
Yesterday's announcement that the administration plans to imposes tariffs worth about $60B per year -- thatìs 0.3% of GDP -- on an array of imports of consumer goods from China is a serious escalation.
Economists' forecasts are changing almost as quickly as market prices these days, and not for the better.
Under normal circumstances, we would expect today's retail sales figures to reveal that volumes rebounded in February, following the 2.7% fall over the previous three months. But the continued weakness of spending surveys suggests that we should brace for another soft report.
The Eurozone's total external surplus hit the skids at the start of the year. Yesterday's report showed that the seasonally adjusted current account surplus plunged to a two-year low of €24.1B in January, from a revised €30.8B in December.
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.
The May employment report was somewhat overshadowed by the furor over the president's tweet, at 7.15AM, hinting--more than hinting--that the numbers would be good.
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.
The PBoC finally moved yesterday, cutting its one-year MLF rate by 5bp to 3.25%, whilst replacing around RMB 400B of maturing loans.
Judging by interactions with readers in the past few weeks, fiscal policy is one of the most important topics for EZ investors as we move into the final stretch of the year.
October's Markit/CIPS services survey suggests that the PM's new Brexit deal has had a lukewarm reception from firms.
Political risks in the periphery have simmered constantly during this cyclical recovery, but they have increased recently. In Italy, the government is scrambling to find a solution to rid its ailing banking sector of bad loans. But recapitalisation via a bad bank is not possible under new EU rules.
Today's April ADP employment report likely will understate the scale of the net payroll losses which will be reported Friday by the BLS.
Efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak severely dented industrial activity in Brazil.
The collapse in global demand last month will have derailed China's trade recovery, causing exports to drop unpleasantly month-on-month after the bounce of around 45% in March; the January/February breakdown is not provided, so we can't be sure of the extent of the March rebound.
German manufacturing data continues to offer a sobering counterbalance to strong services and consumers' spending data. New orders plunged 1.7% month-to-month in September, well below the consensus, pushing the year-over-year rate down to a 1.0% fall from a revised 1.7% increase in August. These data are very volatile, and revisions probably will lift the final number slightly next month, but the evidence points to clear risks of a further decline in the underlying trend of production.
The 351K net increase in payrolls reported Friday--a 261K October gain and a 90K total revision to August and September--puts the labor market back on track after the hurricanes temporarily hit the data.
Chile's economy started the third quarter decently, after taking a series of hits, including low commodity prices and the slowdown of the global economy.
We're nudging up our forecast for today's August payroll number to 180K, in the wake of the ADP report.
Demand in German manufacturing slid at the start of Q3.
We would be quite surprised if today's official payroll number exceeded the 135K ADP reading; a clear undershoot is much more likely.
We've written in previous Monitors about the stabilisation of China's debt ratio. In this Monitor we look at whether this stabilisation is cyclical or a sign that China really has managed to change the structure of its economy to be less reliant on debt.
October's Markit/CIPS services survey added to evidence that the economy has started Q4 on a very weak footing.
We don't take much reassurance from the upward revision to the business activity index of Markit's services PMI to 56.1, from the flash estimate, 55.1.
The PMIs have had a hard time this year.
It would be astonishing if the May and June payroll numbers looked much like April's strong data, at least in the private sector.
Yesterday's final PMI data for February confirmed the story from the advance reports.
We are sticking to our call for a weak first half in Japan, despite likely upgrades to Q1 GDP on Monday.
On the face of it, markets' newfound view that the MPC's next move is more likely to be a rate cut than a hike was supported by May's Markit/CIPS PMIs.
The key aspects of the ECB's policy stance will remain unchanged at today's meeting.
The pushback from within the President's own party against the proposed tariffs on Mexican imports has been strong; perhaps strong enough either to prevent the tariffs via Congressional action, or by persuading Mr. Trump that the idea is a losing proposition.
Yesterday's industrial production report in Brazil was sizzling. Headline output jumped 0.8% month- to-month in April--well above the 0.4% consensus-- pushing the year-over-year rate up to 8.9%, a five- year high.
Governor Bailey signalled a potential shift in the Bank of England's approach to withdrawing monetary stimulus--whenever the time comes--last month in an article for Bloomberg Opinion.
Friday's final June PMI data confirmed the survey's recovery through Q2. The composite index edged higher to 48.5, from 31.9 in May, extending its rebound from a low of just 13.6 in April.
Yesterday's final May PMI data in the Eurozone confirmed the strength of the cyclical upturn. The composite PMI was unchanged at 56.8, in line with the initial estimate.
In today's Monitor, we'll let the economy be, and focus instead on what are fast becoming the two defining political issues for the EU and its new Commission, namely migration and climate change.
The rapid escalation of Covid-19 cases in Korea in recent weeks has broadened the likely damage to the economy this quarter.
Chile's IMACEC economic activity index rose 2.4% year-over-year in January, down from 2.6% in December, and 3.3% on average in Q4, thanks mostly to weak mining production.
The main story to emerge from China's Economic Work Report is the extent of tax cuts, which on our calculations will leave a large funding hole.
The rebound in the ISM non-manufacturing index in February was in line with our forecast, but behind the strong headline, the employment index dropped to an eight-month low.
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.
Fed Chair Yellen's speech Friday was remarkably blunt: "Indeed, at our meeting later this month, the Committee will evaluate whether employment and inflation are continuing to evolve in line with our expectations, in which case a further adjustment of the federal funds rate would likely be appropriate."
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.
We think today's February payroll number will be reported at about 140K, undershooting the 175K consensus.
Chancellor Sunak faces a tough first gig on Wednesday, when he delivers the long-awaited Budget.
Our conviction that the economy continues to grow at a snail's pace increased yesterday following the release of August's Markit/CIPS services survey.
EZ consumers' spending slowed at the start of Q3. Retail sales slipped 0.3% month-to-month in July, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 2.6% from an upwardly revised 3.3% in June.
Our chief economist, Ian Shepherdson, set out our initial thoughts on the rising tensions between U.S. and Iran here.
The jump in oil prices over the past two trading days eventually will lift retail gasoline prices by about 35 cents per gallon, or 131⁄2%.
Yesterday's economic reports in the Eurozone were solid across the board.
December's GDP report, released next Monday, likely will maintain the flow of negative news on the U.K. economy.
As we go to press, equities in the Eurozone are having a bad day following the collapse in U.S. and Asian equities earlier.
Nobody knows the damage China's virus- containment efforts will have on GDP, and we probably never will, for sure, given the opacity of the statistics.
Our hope for a year-end jump in German factory orders was laughably optimistic.
We raised our forecast for today's January payroll number after the ADP report, to 200K from 160K.
Inflation in the Eurozone fell significantly last month, and probably will ease further in Q1.
Evidence that mounting concerns about Brexit have caused the economy to slow to a near-halt continued to accumulate last week.
India's services PMI for June underscores the half-hearted nature of Unlock 1.0, with the daily number of new cases of Covid-19 still rocketing.
Recent economic indicators in Mexico have been terrible. The worst of the recession seems to be over, but recent hard data have underscored the severity of the shock and made it clear that the recovery has a long way to go.
The next couple of months likely will see some activity data rebound to close to pre-Covid levels, fuelling hopes of a V-shaped recovery.
The short answer to the question posed by our title is: We don't know. But that's the point, because we shouldn't be needing to ask the question at all.
Last week we reported on the V-shaped recovery in German retail sales--see here--as lockdowns ended mid- way through Q2.
The Imacec data released on Wednesday provided further evidence that the Chilean economy grew at a decent pace in the second quarter, following a very sluggish first quarter.
Markets likely will be particularly sensitive to May's industrial production and construction output figures, released today, as they will provide a guide to the strength of the preliminary estimate of Q2 GDP, released shortly before the MPC's key meeting on August 3.
The hard numbers in Eurozone manufacturing continue to lag the sharp rise in the main surveys. Data yesterday showed that German factory orders rose 1.0% month-to-month in May, only partially rebounding from a downwardly revised 2.2% plunge in April.
The rally in U.K. equities immediately after the general election has done little to reverse the prolonged period of underperformance relative to overseas markets since the E.U. referendum in June 2016.
The Brazilian central bank cut the benchmark Selic interest rate by 25bp, to 4.25%, on Wednesday night, as expected.
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.
Markets were jolted yesterday by news that the U.S. Fed is mulling ending, or at least slowing, the reinvestment of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities later this year. Such a move would reduce liquidity in global markets that has underpinned soaring equity prices in recent years.
The final Monitor before our summer break is characterized by great uncertainty.
If the current rate of contraction continues, the U.S. onshore oil industry will cease to exist in the third week of January next year. Over the past six weeks, the number of operating rigs has dropped by an average of 8.5, and 362 rigs were running last week. At the peak, in early October 2014--just 18 months ago--the rig count reached 1,609.
The EZ retail sector slowed at the start of Q3, though only slightly.
Brazil's industrial sector came roaring back at the start of Q3, following a poor end to Q2. Industrial production jumped 0.8% month-to-month in July, driving the year-over-year rate higher to 2.5%, from 0.5% in June and just 0.1% on average in Q2.
Labor demand appears to have remained strong through August, so we expect to see a robust ADP report today.
The Caixin services PMI fell to 51.5 in August, from 52.8 in July.
The MPC struck a less dovish tone than markets had anticipated yesterday.
Demand in German manufacturing rebounded powerfully at the end of the second quarter, accelerating from an initially modest rebound when lockdowns were lifted.
Demand for German manufacturing goods remained firm at the start of Q4. Data yesterday showed that factory orders increased 0.5% month-to-month in October, helped by gains in both export and domestic activity.
We're sticking to our 220K forecast for today's official payroll number, despite the slightly smaller-than- expected 179K increase in the ADP measure of private employment.
The tepid recovery in German manufacturing continued in at the start of Q4. Factory orders edged higher by 0.3% month-to-month in October, boosted by a 2.9% month-to-month increase in export orders, primarily for capital and intermediate goods in other EZ economies.
We were a bit disappointed by the November ADP employment report, though a 190K reading in the 102nd month of a cyclical expansion is hardly a disaster.
We're guessing Fed Chair Yellen would have preferred to have another acceleration in hourly earnings and a dip in the unemployment rate along side the hefty 211K leap in November payrolls, but no matter. At its October meeting, the Fed wanted to see "some further improvement in the labor market", and by any reasonable standard a 509K total increase in payrolls in two months fits the bill.
Japanese average cash earnings posted a surprise drop of 0.4% year-over-year in June, down from 0.6% in May and sharply below the consensus for a rise of 0.5%. The decline was driven by a fall in the June bonus, by 1.5%.
...The Fed did nothing, surprising no-one; the labor market tightened further; the housing market tracked sideways; survey data mostly slipped a bit; and oil prices jumped nearly $4, briefly nudging above $50 for the first time since May.
According to the official data presented in the JOLTS report, the number of job openings across the U.S. rose gently from 2011-to 13, rocketed in 2014, trended upwards much more slowly from 2015-to-17, and then, finally, unexpectedly jumped to record highs in the spring of this year.
Brazil's industrial sector is still suffering, but the pain is easing as the economy gradually reopens. That said, full recovery is a long way off, and the pandemic is still far from over, adding downside risks to the recent upbeat picture.
Demand in German manufacturing rebounded strongly midway through the second quarter.
Markets and the commentariat seemed not to like the April ADP employment report yesterday but we are completely indifferent. We set out in detail in yesterday's Monitor the case for expecting a below consensus ADP reading--in short, the model used to generate the number includes lagging official data, some of which were hugely depressed by the early Easter--so it does not change our 200K forecast for tomorrow's official number.
Economic conditions are deteriorating rapidly in Chile, despite the relatively decent Imacec reading for Q3.
China is facing a nasty mix of spiking CPI inflation and ongoing PPI deflation.
Services will bear the brunt of the Covid-19 shock in the euro area, but manufacturing is not far behind.
We're very comfortable with the idea that the coronavirus is a broad deflationary shock to the U.S. economy.
The economic slowdown in China is old news for Eurozone investors.
This weekend will bring closure to an extraordinary presidential election campaign in France. The polls correctly predicted the first result, and assuming they are right in the second round too, Mr. Macron will comfortably beat Ms. Le Pen.
The recent March economic activity reports for Chile have been terrible, showing the first signs of the Covid-19 shock, and worse is to come.
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.
The release of pent-up consumer demand in Japan has been rocky, following the end of the nationwide state of emergency in May. Retail sales values rose by 4.6% month-on-month in August, albeit following a 3.4% correction in the previous month.
The initial stock market reaction to news of President Trump's Covid test never made much sense. Sure, markets do not like uncertainty, but in a country where the election is only four weeks away, and very few voters remain undecided, it's hard to see how Mr. Trump's diagnosis materially changes the race.
It is possible that the broad-based softness of September payrolls captures a knee-jerk reaction on the part of employers, choosing to wait-and-see what happens to demand in the wake of stock market correction. But that can't be the explanation for the mere 136K August gain, because the survey was conducted before the market rolled over. Even harder to explain is the hefty downward revision to August payrolls, after years of upward revisions. All is not yet lost for August--the last time the first revision to the month was downwards, -3K in 2010, the second revision was +56K--but we aren't wildly optimistic.
Brazil's Q3 hard data have confirmed that the economy is recovering from the Corona shock, as economic activity resumes. But some indicators are losing momentum, and the labour market is still struggling, suggesting a long and bumpy road to full recovery.
August's GDP report, released on Friday, looks set to reinforce the downward pressure on gilt yields by making it even more likely that the MPC will extend its QE programme later this year.
Yesterday's final manufacturing PMIs for October were grim, but they told investors nothing they don't already know.
In recent months we've been thinking more deeply about the themes for the next economic cycle for China, and its impact on the world.
News last week increased our conviction that the economy will struggle over the coming months, but then will have a spring in its step next year.
Friday's economic data in Germany suggest that households had a slow start to the year.
China's National People's Congress is set to convene its annual meeting next week.
The economic recovery disappointed in Chile during most of the first half of the year, despite relatively healthy fundamentals, including low interest rates, low inflation and stable financial metrics.
Yesterday's EZ consumers' spending data were mixed. Retail sales in the euro area fell by 0.3% month-to-month in May, extending the slide from a revised 0.1% dip in April.
We expect to see a 160K increase in June payrolls today, though uncertainty over the extent of the rebound after June's modest 75K increase means that all payroll forecasts should be viewed with even more skepticism than usual.
Korea's economic data for June largely were poor, and are likely to make more BoK board members anxious ,ahead of their meeting on July 18.
Headline Eurozone PMI data have declined steadily since the beginning of the year, but the June numbers stopped the rot.
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%.
The June ISM manufacturing index signalled clearly that the industrial recovery continues, with the headline number rising to its highest level since August 2014, propelled by rising orders and production. But the industrial economy is not booming and the upturn likely will lose a bit of momentum in the second half as the rebound in oil sector capex slows.
The pick-up in the Markit/CIPS services PMI to an eight-month high of 55.1 in June, from 54.0 in May, has provided another boost to expectations that the MPC will raise Bank Rate at its next meeting on August 2.
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.
If you were looking just at investor sentiment in the Eurozone, you would conclude that the economy is in recession.
The Fed's unscheduled 50bp cut on Tuesday opens up some space for Asian central banks to follow suit.
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.
Speculation mounted yesterday that the MPC will follow the U.S. Fed and cut interest rates before its next meeting on March 26.
The comforting 183K increase in February private payrolls reported by ADP yesterday likely overstates tomorrow's official number.
We set out the reasoning behind the big upward revision to our payroll forecast yesterday, in the wake of the much better-than-expected ADP report.
The headline May ISM non-manufacturing index today likely will mirror, at least in part, the increase in the manufacturing survey, reported Friday.
Fed Chair Powell yesterday said about as little as he could without appearing to ignore the turmoil in markets since the President announced his intention to apply tariffs to imports from Mexico: "We are closely monitoring the implications of these developments for the U.S. economic outlook and, as always, we will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near our symmetric 2 percent objective."
Wednesday's industrial production report in Brazil was terrible, despite overshooting market expectations.
The ADP employment report for September showed private payrolls rose by 135K, trivially better than we expected.
Yesterday's economic reports in the Eurozone will rekindle the debate on hard versus soft data. The final composite PMI rose to 56.7 in September, from 55.7 in August, in line with the first estimate.
Behind all the talk of slowdowns and Fed pauses, we see no sign that the labor market is loosening beyond a very modest uptick in jobless claims, and even that looks suspicious.
The slump in the Markit/CIPS services PMI in November to its lowest level since July 2016 provides the clearest indication yet that uncertainty about Brexit has driven the economy virtually to a stand-still.
Korea's trade data for January provided the first real glimpse of the potential hit to international flows from the disruptions caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Consumers' spending in the Eurozone stalled at the start of Q4. Retail sales slid 1.1% month-to-month in October, pushing the year-over-year rate down to a four-year low of 0.4%, from an upwardly-revised 4.0% jump in September.
China's Caixin services PMI picked up further in November to 51.9 from October's 51.2, but the rebound is merely a correction to the overshoot in September, when the headline dropped sharply.
October payrolls were stronger than we expected, rising 128K, despite a 46K hit from the GM strike.
For sterling traders, no election news is good news.
The ADP measure of private employment hugely overstated the official measure of payrolls in September, in the wake of Hurricane Irma, but then slightly understated the October number.
Yesterday's final PMI data in the Eurozone were better than we expected.
Mexico's latest hard data suggest things might not be as bad as we feared. Retail sales and manufacturing output were relatively strong at the end of last year, the Q4 preliminary GDP report was mostly upbeat, and the labor market was firing on all cylinders.
Inflation in the Eurozone is on the rise but, as we explained in yesterday's Monitor it is unlikely to prompt the ECB further to reduce the pace of QE in the short run. The central bank has signalled a shift in focus towards core inflation, at a still-low 0.9% well below the 2% target. But the core rate also is a lagging indicator, and we think it will creep higher in 2017.
China's service sector slowed again in June, with the Caixin PMI falling to 51.6 from 52.8 in May. The Q2 average of 52.0 was only minimally lower than the 52.6 in Q1.
Today's June ADP employment report likely will undershoot the 183K consensus, but we then expect the official payroll number tomorrow to surprise to the upside.
Investors have treated the upbeat message of the Markit/CIPS PMIs this week with caution and continue to think that the chance that the MPC will raise interest rates this year is remote. Overnight index swap rates currently are pricing-in just a one-in-four chance of a 25 basis point increase in Bank Rate in 2017.
Friday's early EZ CPI data for December were red hot. Headline HICP inflation in Germany jumped to 1.5%, from 1.3% in November, while the headline rate in France increased by 0.4pp, to 1.6%.
We are not concerned by the very modest tightening in business lending standards reported in the Fed's quarterly survey of senior loan officers, published on Monday.
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.
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.
Brazil's industrial sector is on the mend, but some of the key sub-sectors are struggling.
China's PMIs point to softening activity in Q3. The Caixin services PMI fell to 52.8 in July, from 53.9 in June.
Data yesterday showed that EZ consumers' spending was off to a bad start in the third quarter.
Recession fears were fanned yesterday by the renewed deterioration of the Markit/CIPS services survey.
We had hoped that the statistical problems which have plagued the initial estimates of August payrolls in recent years had faded, but Friday's report suggests our judgement was premature.
In the wake of the ADP report released Wednesday, we moved up our payroll forecast to 150K from 100K, but we've now taken a closer look at the post-Florence path of jobless claims.
Markets tend to take an eclectic view on macroeconomic data in the Eurozone.
Japan's Nikkei services PMI dropped to 51.0 in September from 51.6 in August, continuing the downtrend since June. For Q3 as a whole, the headline averaged 51.5, down from 52.8 in Q2; that's a clear loss of momentum.
When the BoJ tweaked policy back in July, we think the increase in flexibility in part was to lay groundwork for the BoJ to respond to the Fed's ongoing hiking cycle.
Brazil heads to the polls on Sunday, followed by an expected run-off on October 28.
Yesterday's Brazilian industrial production data were relatively upbeat.
August's 14-year high in the ISM manufacturing index, reported yesterday, clearly is a noteworthy event from a numerology perspective, but we doubt it marks the start of a renewed upward trend.
Our hopes of another solid increase in payrolls in July were severely dented by yesterday's ADP report, showing that private payrolls rose only 167K in July.
Judging solely by yesterday's PMI and retail sales data, the EZ economy has shaken off the virus and is going from strength to strength.
A range of indicators show that the pace of the economic recovery shifted up a gear in July, when all shops were open for the entire month, and most consumer services providers finally were permitted to reopen.
The rise in the Markit/CIPS services PMI to a nine-month high of 51.4 in July, from 50.2 in June, isn't a game-changer, though it does provide some reassurance that the economy isn't on a downward spiral.
Your correspondent is on the slopes this week, but the employment report deserves a preview nonetheless.
Friday's final PMI data for March were even more terrifying than the advance numbers. The composite index in the euro area collapsed to 29.7, from 51.6 in February, lower than the consensus 31.4. A downward revision was coming.
The final Eurozone PMIs indicate that the cyclical recovery continued in Q1, but downside risks are rising. The composite index rose marginally to 53.0 in March, from 53.1 in February, below the initial estimate 53.7. Over the quarter as a whole, though, the index fell to 53.2 from 54.1 in Q4, indicating that economic momentum moderated in the first quarter.
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.
Predicting which way markets would move in response to potential general election outcomes has been relatively straightforward in the past. But the usual rules of thumb will not apply when the election results filter through after polling stations close on Thursday evening.
At first glance, car sales appear to be staging a strong recovery, mirroring the better news on high street spending in Q2.
The German manufacturing sector appears to have settled into an equilibrium of sustained misery.
Productivity statistics released yesterday continued to paint a bleak picture. Output per worker rose by a mere 0.1% year-over-year in Q3, despite jumping by 0.6% quarter-on-quarter.
The reported drop in mortgage applications over the holidays is now reversing, not that it ever mattered.
China's trade surplus tumbled to $20.3B in January, from $54.7B in December, surprising the consensus for little change.
Figures due on Friday likely will show that the increase in industrial production in December was much smaller than the 0.6% month-to-month assumed by the ONS in its preliminar y Q4 GDP estimate. We expect a 0.2% rise, which would leave production down 0.1% quarter-on-quarter, rather than up 0.1% as the ONS initially estimated.
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.
The release of October's GDP report on Tuesday likely will be overshadowed by campaigning ahead of Thursday's general election.
The twists and turns of the French presidential election campaign continue. François Fillon was tipped as favourite after he won the Republican primaries. But Mr. Fillon now is struggling to keep his campaign on track after allegations that he gave high paying "pro-forma" jobs to his wife as an assistant last year. The socialist candidate, Benoit Hamon, has been hampered by the unpopularity of his party's incumbent, François Hollande, and has lost ground to the far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
Most of the evidence points to a robust December employment report today, though we doubt the headline number will match the heights seen in November, when the initial estimate showed payrolls up 321K. We look for 275K.
The slew of EZ economic data on Friday supports our view that the economy ended 2016. The Commission's economic sentiment index jumped to 107.8 in December from a revised 106.6 in November. The headline strength was due to a big increase in "business climate indicator" and higher consumer sentiment. In individual countries, solid numbers for German construction and French services sentiment were the stand-out details.
The recent softening in the ISM employment indexes failed to make itself felt in the June payroll numbers, which sailed on serenely even as tariff-induced chaos intensified at the industry and company level.
Mark Carney revealed last week that recent data had given him "greater confidence" that the weakness of Q1 GDP was almost entirely due to severe weather.
Yesterday's headline economic data in Germany were decent enough. Industrial output edged higher by 0.3% month-to-month in May, lifted primarily by rising production of capital and consumer goods.
Friday's industrial production data in Germany added to the manufacturing optimism following the sharp rise in new orders--see here--reported earlier in the week.
China's official manufacturing PMI slipped in June, but the overall picture for Q2 is sound despite the uncertainty posed by rising trade tensions with the U.S.
The upturn in German manufacturing orders waned slightly towards the end of 2017; factory orders fell 0.4% month-to-month in November.
We already know that the month-to-month movements in the key labor market components of the December NFIB small business survey were mixed; the data were released last week, ahead the official employment report, as usual.
Brazil's industrial sector is still struggling, despite recent signs of better economic and financial conditions.
The hard data in Germany took a turn for the worse at the start of Q4. The outlook for consumers' spending was dented by the October plunge in retail sales--see here-- and on Friday, the misery spilled over into manufacturing.
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.
We expect July's GDP report, released on Friday, to show that overall output rose by about 7.0% month-to-month, bringing it to 11.5% below its pre-Covid peak.
The tiny headline consensus beat in the August payrolls numbers is nothing to get excited about, and neither is the unexpected drop in the headline unemployment rate.
Chinese exporters ostensibly enjoyed another strong month in August, with shipments rising by 9.5% year-over-year, marking the biggest gain in about 18 months.
Yesterday's German manufacturing data were a damp squib. Industrial production, including construction, rose by 1.2% month-to-month in July, lifting the year- over-year rate by 1.4pp, to -10.0%, undershooting the consensus and our own expectation of a rise of 5%.
CPI data in Colombia released on Saturday confirmed that inflation is well under control, due to plunging domestic demand on the back of Covid, and despite the lagged effect of the COP depreciation earlier this year.
China's foreign exchange reserves have been extremely volatile over the past few months, yet uneventful at the same time.
Yesterdays' industrial production report capped a poor week for German manufacturing. Output fell 1.2% month-to-month in August, well below the consensus, +0.2%, though note that a 0.5% upward revision to the July data made the August headline look worse. Similar to the factory orders report earlier this week--see our October 6th Monitor--base effects also mean that production accelerated to 2.5% year-over-year, from a revised 0.8% gain in July.
Friday's factory orders report in Germany provided a bit of relief amid the gloom in manufacturing.
The soft-looking August payroll number almost certainly will be revised up substantially, as the readings for this month have been in each of the past six years. Runs of remarkably consistent revisions--from 53K to 104K, with a median of 66K--don't happen by chance very often. A far more likely explanation is that the seasonal adjustments are flawed, having failed to keep up with changes in employment patterns since the crash. If the median revision is a good guide to what happens this year, the August number will be pushed up to 240K, in line with our estimate of the underlying trend and much more closely aligned with the message from a host of leading indicators.
The ECB made no changes to its policy stance yesterday. The central bank left its refinancing and deposit rates at 0.00% and -0.4%, respectively, and maintained the pace of QE at €60B per month. The program will run until December "or beyond, if necessary."
Colombia and Chile faced similar broad trends through most of 2018.
China's trade numbers for July surprised to the upside, with both exports and imports faring better than consensus forecasts in year-over-year terms.
Colombia's economy has continued to slow, due mainly to lagged effect of the oil price shock since mid-2014, and stubbornly high inflation, which has triggered painful monetary tightening. Modest fiscal expansion and capital inflows have helped to avoid a hard landing, but the economy is still feeling the pain of weakening domestic demand. And the twin deficits--though improving--remain a threat.
China has a nuclear option in the face of pressure from U.S. tariffs, namely, to devalue the currency.
March payrolls were constrained by both the impact of colder and snowier weather than usual in the survey week, and a correction in the construction and retail components, which were unsustainably strong in February.
The consensus that industrial production increased by just 0.2% month-to-month in July looks too cautious.
The combination of upbeat survey data and solid consumer spending numbers indicate that the German economy is in good shape. But manufacturing data continue to disappoint; factory orders fell 0.9% month-to-month in February, equivalent to a 1.3% decline year-over-year.
Friday's industrial production report in Germany capped a miserable week for economic data in the Eurozone's largest economy.
April's GDP report probably will be the worst any of us will see in our lifetime.
Resistance is futile.
Next week's labour market report likely will show that job cuts accelerated again, after a lull in the summer.
Friday's German new orders data were sizzling. Factory orders jumped 3.6% month-to-month in August, pushing the year-over-year rate up to a nine-month high of 7.8%, from an upwardly-revised 5.4% in July.
The PBoC cut the Reserve Requirement Ratio late on Friday--as signalled at last Wednesday's State Council meeting--by 0.5 percentage points, to be implemented from September 16.
Brazil's retail sector has shrugged off the Covid- related shock and leading indicators suggest that activity will continue to improve over the next few months.
Fed Chair Powell did not specify how many bills the Fed will buy in order boost bank reserves sufficiently to remove the strain in funding markets, but we'd expect to see something of the order of $500B.
The recent surge in the oil price has added to the headwinds set to batter the economy over the next year. The price of Brent crude has jumped by $10 since September to $64, its highest level since June 2015.
We look for August's GDP report, released on Thursday, to show that output held steady, following July's 0.3% month-to-month jump.
Japan's current account surplus has been broadly stable in absolute terms in the last couple of years, though it has retreated as a share of GDP.
Inflation in most economies in LatAm is well under control, allowing central banks to keep a neutral or dovish bias, and giving them room for further rate cuts if the economic recovery falters in the near term.
The remarkable surge in both new and existing home sales in recent months already has pushed inventory down and prices up.
Still no benchmark rate cuts, as the PBoC lowers the cost of its re-lending and re-discount loans. The lagged oil drag on Korean CPI is now receding. No signs, yet, of the BoJ taking its foot off the pedal on JGB purchases.
Rising inflation in Korea isn't indicative of an economic turnaround. Early signs that the BoJ has taken its foot off the gas on Covid QE.
April's RICS Residential Market survey confirmed that housing market activity collapsed to negligible levels during the lockdown, which prohibited property viewings, depleted the work forces of lenders and prompted many people to defer big financial decisions.
BoJ does what it can to avoid more deeply negative yields. Korean inflation should peak this month
Japan's government is sucking out more private funds than it is pumping in. Weak oil prices will continue to pull down Korean inflation in the coming months.
We read after the employment report that the drop in the unemployment rate was somehow not significant, because it was due in p art to a reported 41K drop in the size of the labor force, completing a 404K cumulative contraction over the three months to August. In our view, though, analysts need to take a broader approach to the picture painted by the household survey, which is much more volatile and less reliable than the payroll survey over short periods.
China's export data for April were a mixed bag, to say the least.
This will be as good as it gets for Japanese PPI
We were pretty sure that the underlying trend in jobless claims had bottomed, in the high 230s, before the hurricanes began to distort the data in early September.
Friday's industrial production data capped another dreadful week for German manufacturing. Output fell 1.1% month-to-month in September, pushing the year-over-year rate lower to 0.2%, from a revised 2.9% in August. The 0.6% upward revision of the previous month's data makes the data slightly less awful than the headline, but the details showed weakness across all core sectors. The underlying trend in production is stable at about 1.2% year-over-year, but downbeat new orders suggest it will weaken in the fourth quarter.
Labour cash earnings in Japan ostensibly started the year strongly, jumping by 1.5% year-over-year in January, much better than December's 0.2% slip.
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.
We expected a consensus-beating ADP employment number for February, but the 298K leap was much better than our forecast, 210K. The error now becomes an input into our payroll model, shifting our estimate for tomorrow's official number to 250K; our initial forecast was 210K.
Leave it to an economist to tell contradictory stories; German manufacturing orders, at the start of the year, rose at their fastest pace since 2014, but it doesn't mean anything.
A third wave of Covid-19 outbreaks is now underway. The first, in China, is now under control, and the rate of increase of cases in South Korea has dropped sharply. The other second wave countries, Italy and Iran, are still struggling.
China's trade surplus jumped to a record high in May, defying expectations for a fall by spiking to $69.2B.
Economic reports released yesterday indicate that the German economy was off to a solid start early in the second quarter. Industrial production rose 0.9% month-to-month in April, equivalent to a 1.4% increase year-over-year, up from a revised tiny 0.2% gain in March. This is the biggest annual jump in production since July last year, but the underlying trend is turning up only slowly, in line with the moderate improvement in survey data this year.
The ECB's corporate bond purchase program began yesterday with purchases concentrated in utilities and telecoms, according to media sources. This is consistent with the structure of the market, and the fact that bond issues by firms in these sectors are the largest and most liquid. But debt issued by consumer staples firms likely also featured prominently.
The Chancellor lived up to his reputation for fiscal conservatism yesterday and is pressing ahead with a tough fiscal tightening. He hopes that this will create scope to loosen policy if the economy struggles after the U.K. leaves the EU in 2019, but we remain concerned his "fiscal headroom" will be much smaller than he currently anticipates.
We predict no major policy changes at the ECB today. We think the central bank will leave its main refinancing and deposit rates unchanged at 0.00% and -0.4%, respectively. We also expect the ECB will leave the pace of QE unchanged at €60 per month until December 2017, at least.
Core producer price inflation is falling, and it probably has not yet hit bottom.
The trade-off between the timeliness and accuracy of the data is fundamental to macroeconomic analysis. Coincident data such as GDP, industrial production and retail sales are the most direct measures of economic activity, but their first estimates don't always tell the full story.
The undershoot in April payrolls, relative to the consensus, is a story of a fluke number in just one sector. Retail payrolls reportedly shrank by 3K, after rising by an average of 52K over the previous six months. Our first chart shows clearly that the retail payrolls are quite volatile over short periods, with sudden and often inexplicable swings in both directions quite common.
Industrial production data in Germany continued to defy the signal of doom and gloom from leading indicators.
Yesterday's economic reports showed that the German economy firmed at the end of Q1, but this doesn't change the story for a poor quarter overall.
We'd be quite surprised if the headline payroll number today turned out to be far from the consensus, 205K, or our forecast, 225K.
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.
The Prime Minister has argued repeatedly during the general election campaign that Britain will prosper under a "strong and stable" Conservative government with a large majority. "Division in Westminster," she argued when calling the election last month, "...will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country."
Data continue to show that the housing market ran hot over the summer, as buyers eager to change their lifestyles in response to Covid-19 rushed through purchases.
China was in lockdown ahead of the 70th Anniversary last week, as is typical around important political events.
The point when businesses and households can breathe a sigh of relief about Brexit looks set to be delayed again this week.
The return to normal in the March payroll numbers, with a 196K headline increase, is another nail in the coffin of the "imminent recession" theory.
Officially, Japanese wages have been falling year- over-year since January, marking a break from the gradual acceleration over the past 18 or so months.
Fears of a Chinese hard landing have roiled financial and commodity markets this past year and have constrained the economic recovery of major raw material exporters in LatAm.
In the wake of yesterday's ADP report, which showed private payrolls rising by only 163K, we have pulled down our forecast for today's official number to 170K.
The jobless claims numbers today likely will mark the end of the calm before the storm effect, even though the data cover the week ended September 1, and Harvey hit on August 26.
Car manufacturers have been at the sharp end o f the slowdown in consumers' spending this year. In response, several brands have launched generous scrappage schemes, giving buyers a big discount when they trade in their old vehicle.
Today's ECB meeting will follow the same script as in July. No-one expects the central bank to make any formal changes to its policy settings. The ECB will keep its main refinancing and deposit rates at zero and -0.4%, respectively.
The Monetary Policy Committee of the RBI ventured into the unknown yesterday, cutting its benchmark repo rate further, by an unconventional 35 basis points, to 5.40%.
The run-up to the release of the official retail sales figures has become so congested with other indicators, following alterations by the ONS to its publication schedule, that we now have to preview the data earlier than usual.
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.
Mortgage applications have risen, net, over the past couple of months, despite the 70bp surge in 30-year mortgage rates since the election. Indeed, we'd argue that the increase in applications is a result of the spike in rates, because it likely scared would-be homebuyers, triggering a wave of demand from people seeking to lock-in rates, fearing further increases.
Japanese firms hand out a significant portion of labour compensation through bonuses, with the largest lump awarded in December.
The scars from previous economic crises have not healed fully in the Eurozone, and we think the ECB will extend QE today, by six months to Q3 2017. We expect Mr. Draghi to retain his dovish bias in the opening statement, and to repeat the emphasis on downside risks, due to the weak external environment and political fears.
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.
While we were out, Brazil's economic and political position continued to improve. The recession eased in the second quarter and into July. Industrial production, for example, increased in June for the fourth consecutive month, rising by 1.1% month-to-month.
We were happy to see the 255K gain in July payrolls, but we remain nervous about the sustainability of such strong numbers. The jump in employment was very large relative to some of the key survey-based indicators of the pace of hiring, even after allowing for the 29K favorable swing in the birth/ death model, compared to a year ago, and the 27K jump in state and local government education jobs, likely due to seasonal adjustment problems
German industrial output was off to a sluggish start in the fourth quarter. Production eked out a marginal 0.2% month-to-month gain in October, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 0.0% from a revised 0.4% in September. Manufacturing output rose 0.6%, led by a 2.7% jump in production of capital goods, but the underlying trend in the sector overall is flat. On a more positive note, construction output rose 0.7% month-to-month in October, and leading indicators suggest this could be the beginning of a string of gains, lifting investment spending in coming quarters.
Data on Friday showed that manufacturing in Germany improved further at the start of Q3. Factory orders increased by 2.8% month-to-month in July, lifting the year-over-year rate to -7.3% from a revised -10.6% in June.
Brazilian industrial production data released last week were upbeat. Output rose 8.0% month-to-month in July, much better than the consensus forecast for a 5.9% increase.
Yesterday's economic reports in the Eurozone were mostly positive.
The economic data calendar for next week is so congested that we need to preview early September's GDP report, released on Monday.
India's PMIs for October were grim, indicating minimal carry-over of energy from the third quarter rebound.
The Chancellor will struggle to make his Spring Statement heard on March 13 over the noise of next week's key Brexit votes in parliament, likely spanning from March 12 to 14.
Brazil's industrial sector was off to a soft-looking start in Q1, but the fall in January output was chiefly payback for an especially strong end to 2017.
In the wake of Wednesday's ADP report, showing a mere 27K increase in private payrolls, we cut our payroll forecast to 100K.
The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India voted yesterday to cut the benchmark repo rate by a further 25 basis points, to 5.75%, a nine-year low.
All the signs are that ADP will today report a solid increase in February private payrolls; our forecast is 200K, but if you twist our arms we'd probably say the mild weather last month across most of the country points to a bit of upside risk.
One bad month proves nothing, but our first chart shows that October's auto sales numbers were awful, dropping unexpectedly to a six-month low.
The downturn in car sales is showing no sign of abating. Data released yesterday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed that private registrations fell 10.1% year-over-year in October, much worse than the 6.6% average drop in the previous 12 months.
Data while we were away have intensified fears that the global, and by extension EZ, economy is slipping into recession.
Data yesterday showed that the recovery in German manufacturing picked up the pace midway through Q3. Factory orders jumped by 4.5% month-to-month in August, accelerating after a revised 3.3% gain in July.
The September Banxico minutes restated that the U.S. Fed's first interest rate hike is the key event awaited by Mexican policymakers. Banxico's board of governors voted unanimously on September 21st to keep the main interest rate at a record-low 3%.
Make no mistake, business investment has been depressed by Brexit uncertainty over the last year.
The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India voted unanimously on Friday to cut interest rates at a fifth straight meeting, as expected.
No single measure of labor demand is always a reliable leading indicator of the official payroll numbers, which is why we track an array of private and official measures.
The flow of data pointing to strength in the labor market has continued this week, on the heels of last week's report of a 250K jump in October payrolls.
Recently released data in Mexico are sending weak signals for the business outlook, and the Texcoco airport saga won't help.
The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India shocked most forecasters yesterday, including us, with a 4-to-2 majority voting in favour of a 25-basis point rate cut.
The contrast between November's very modest 67K ADP private payroll number and the surprising 254K official reading was startling, even when the 46K boost to the latter from returning GM strikers is stripped out.
With little reason to doubt that interest rates will remain at 0.50% on Thursday, focus has turned to what signal the MPC will give about future policy, via its economic forecasts and commentary.
Demand in German manufacturing rebounded slightly at the end of Q1, though the overall picture for the sector remains grim.
In our Friday Monitor, we came to the conclusion that prescriptions arising from Modern Money Theory have been designed primarily with the U.S. in mind.
This week's MPC meeting and Inflation Report likely will support the dominant view in markets that the chances of a 2017 rate hike are remote, even though inflation will rise further above the 2% target over the coming months. Overnight index swap markets currently are pricing-in only a 20% chance of an increase in Bank Rate this year.
At their March meeting FOMC members' range of forecasts for the unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of this year ranged from 4.4% to 4.7%, with a median of 4.5%. But Friday's report showed that the unemployment rate hit the bottom of the forecast range in April.
The build-up to today's ECB meeting has drowned in the focus on Italy's new political situation and the rising risk of a global trade war.
China's FX reserves fell to $3,134B in February, from $3,161B in January, after a year of gains.
Mr. Draghi and his colleagues erred on the side of maximum dovishness yesterday.
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.
Manufacturers in Germany endured another miserable quarter in Q3.
Demand for German manufacturing goods slipped at the end of Q3. Yesterday's report showed that factory orders fell 0.6% month-to-month in September, constrained by weakness in domestic demand and falling export orders to other EZ economies.
Yesterday's manufacturing data in Germany were poor, but not as weak as implied by the headline.
We have argued for a while that China and the U.S. will not reach a comprehensive trade deal until after the next election.
We are not political analysts or psephologists, but we note that each of the nine separate election forecasting models tracked by the New York Times suggests that Hillary Clinton will be president, with odds ranging from 67% to greater than 99%.
The Fed today will do nothing to rates and won't materially change the language of the post-meeting statement.
Headline inflation in Brazil remained low in October, and even breached the lower bound of the BCB's target range.
Markets clearly love the idea that the "Phase One" trade deal with China will be signed soon, at a location apparently still subject to haggling between the parties.
The RMB has been on a tear, as expectations for a "Phase One" trade deal have firmed.
The Chancellor's Budget today looks set to prioritise retaining scope to loosen policy if the economy struggles in future, rather than reducing the near-term fiscal tightening. In November, the OBR predicted that cyclically-adjusted borrowing would fall to 0.8% of GDP in 2019/20, comfortably below the 2% limit stipulated by the Chancellor's new fiscal rules.
A setback in German manufacturing orders was coming after the jump at the end of 2016, but yesterday's headline was worse than we expected. Factory orders crashed 7.4% month-to-month in January, more than reversing the 5.4% jump in December. The year-over-year rate fell to -0.8% from a revised +8.0%. The decline was the biggest since 2009, but the huge volatility in domestic capital goods orders means that the headline has to be taken with a large pinch of salt.
Colombia was one of the fastest growing economies in LatAm in 2018, and prospects for this year have improved significantly following June's presidential election, with the market-friendly candidate, Iván Duque, winning.
Yesterday's Nikkei services PMI report completed Japan's set of surveys for the fourth quarter of 2018.
The June employment report pretty much killed the idea that the Fed will cut rates by 50bp on July 31.
The German economy's engine room continues to stutter.
The housing market perhaps is where the adverse impact of Brexit uncertainty can be seen most clearly.
The trade war with the U.S. has taken its toll on the RMB.
The ink has hardly dried on economists' and the ECB's inflation projections for 2020, but we suspect that some forecasters are already considering ripping up the script.
We aren't perturbed by the undershoot in December payrolls, relative both to the October and November numbers and all the leading indicators.
Odds-on, the consensus forecast for May's GDP report, released on Wednesday, will miss the mark.
The German manufacturing data remain terrible. Friday's factory orders report showed that new orders plunged 2.2% month-to-month in May, convincingly cancelling out the 1.1% cumulative increase in March and April.
The ECB will keep all its policy parameters unchanged today. The refi and deposit rates will be maintained at 0.00% and -0.4%, respectively, and the pace of QE will stay at €60B per month, running until the end of the year.
China's post-Covid-19 economic recovery is becoming increasingly undeniable. But the more relevant questions now are the speed of its revival, and whether there are still any low-hanging fruit to pick.
With the FOMC decision now just seven days away, the forcefulness of recent Fed speakers has led many analysts to argue that only a spectacularly bad payroll report, or an external shock, can prevent a rate hike next week. External shocks are unpredictable, by definition, and we think the chance of a startlingly terrible employment report is low, though substantial sampling error does occasionally throw the numbers off-track.
Household sentiment in Mexico continues to improve, consistent with tailwinds from low inflation, accommodative monetary policy, and the improving labor market. The consumers confidence index rose to 94.7 in June from 92.0 in May, with four of the five components improving, especially big-ticket purchasing expectations and expectations for the economy.
The stock of bank lending to businesses is on course to fall in June, after a modest increase in May and huge jumps in March and April.
Yesterday's manufacturing data in Germany followed the lead from Monday's relatively underwhelming new orders report; see here.
The rate of increase of Covid-19 new cases in the Andes is still rapid, but it seems to have peaked in recent days in most countries.
December's Markit/CIPS surveys for the manufacturing, construction and services sectors suggest that the economy ended 2017 on a lacklustre note.
The Caixin services PMI jumped sharply to 53.9 in December from 51.9 in November. All the PMIs picked up significantly, but we find this hard to believe and suspect seasonality is to blame, though the adjustment is tricky.
Speeches by Chair Yellen and Vice-Chair Fischer give the two most important Fed officials the perfect platform today to signal to markets whether rates will rise this month.
The Markit/CIPS manufacturing PMI shot up to a three-year high of 57.3 in April, from 54.2 in March, bringing an end to the run of downbeat news on the economy. The performance of the U.K. manufacturing sector, however, remains underwhelming, given the magnitude of sterling's depreciation.
The Fed likely will do nothing today, both in terms of interest rates and substantive changes to the statement. We'd be very surprised to hear anything new on the Fed's plans for its balance sheet.
The CPIH--the controversial, modified version of the existing CPI that includes a measure of owner occupied housing, or OOH, costs--will become the headline measure of consumer price inflation when February's data are published on March 21.
Inflation pressures in the Eurozone are building rapidly, setting up an "interesting" ECB meeting next week. Yesterday's advance CPI report showed that inflation edged up further in February to 2.0%, from 1.8% in January. The headline rate is now in line with the ECB's target, and up sharply from the average of 0.2% last year.
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".
Something of a debate appears to be underway in markets over the "correct" way to look at the coronavirus data.
The forward-looking indices of China's Caixin manufacturing PMI for April attracted more attention than the headline, which was a bit of a non-event; it rose trivially 51.1, from 51.0 in March.
The Fed pretty clearly wanted to tell markets yesterday that inflation is likely to nudge above the target over the next few months, but that this will not prompt any sort of knee-jerk policy response beyond the continued "gradual" tightening.
This week's main economic data from Korea--the last batch before the BoK meets on the 16th--missed consensus expectations, further fuelling speculation that it will cut rates for a second time, after pausing in August.
The Asian PMIs point to a strengthening manufacturing sector in September but external demand is the driver.
Producer price inflation in the euro area almost surely peaked over the summer.
Markets were surprised yesterday by the absence of hawkish comments or guidance accompanying the MPC's decision to raise interest rates to 0.50%, from 0.25%.
The sharp and unexpected improvement in the Markit/CIPS manufacturing survey in October released on Monday raised hopes that the recession in the industrial sector might be over. A cool look at the evidence, however, suggests that this probably is just wishful thinking.
A robust April payroll number today is a good bet, but a gain in line with the 275K ADP reading probably is out of reach.
Manufacturers in the Eurozone are still suffering, but yesterday's final PMI data for April offered a few bright spots.
Modern Money Theory has come up at two consecutive BoJ press conferences.
Last week we made a big call and further downgraded our China GDP forecasts for Q1; daily data and survey evidence suggested that our initial take, though grim, had not been grim enough.
It has been a nasty start to the year for LatAm as markets have been hit by renewed volatility in China, triggered by the coronavirus.
Don't write off the outlook for the construction sector purely on the basis of June's grim Markit/CIPS survey.
Data released over the last few weeks have confirmed that Colombia's economic performance in Q2 was grim, adding weight to our below-consensus GDP forecast.
The release today of the final reading of the composite PMI for June will provoke further debate over its usefulness in charting the economy's recovery from the Covid-19 shock.
German retail sales always have to be taken with a pinch of salt, given their monthly volatility and often substantial revisions, but the preliminary Q2 data don't look pretty.
Japan's Q2 Tankan survey wasn't all bad news, but the positives won't last long. The large manufacturers index dropped to 7 in Q2, after the decline to 12 in Q1.
The next nine weeks bring three jobs reports, which will determine whether the Fed hikes again in September, as we expect, and will also help shape market expectations for December and beyond.
Last week's EU summit was an exercise in political pragmatism rather than the bold step forward on reforms that investors had been hoping for.
Today brings an array of economic data, including the jobless claims report, brought forward because July 4 falls on Thursday.
The end of Korea's first Covid-19 wave, coupled with the government's economic support measures, has been a boon for the retail industry.
Gilts continued to rally last week, with 10-year yields dropping to their lowest since October 2016, and the gap between two-year and 10-year yields narrowing to the smallest margin since September 2008.
Brazil industrial production continues to edge lower, falling 1.2% month-to-month in April, a 7.6% year-over-year drop. In March, output was down only 3.4% year-over-year, but the data are volatile in the short-term. The trend is about -7%, down from -3.8% in the second half of last year.
The ECB stood pat yesterday, keeping its key refinancing and deposit rates unchanged at zero and -0.4%, respectively. The marginal lending facility rate was also left at 0.25%, and the monthly pace of QE was maintained at €80B, with a preliminary end-date in the first quarter of 2017. Purchases of corporate bonds will begin June 8, and the first new TLTRO auction will take place June 22.
The downside surprise in April payrolls reflected weakness in just three components--retail, construction, and government--compared to their prior trends. Of these, we think only the construction numbers are likely to remain soft in May. Had it not been for the Verizon strike, then, we would have expected payrolls to rise by just over 200K in May, but the 35K strike hit means our forecast is 170K.
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire had bad news for his compatriots yesterday.
Korea's economy is shaping up largely in line with our expectations for the second quarter, with private consumption recovering, but exports and investment tanking.
Last week's May CPI data in the major EZ economies all but confirmed the story for this week's advance estimate for the euro area as a whole.
We're expecting ADP today to report a 10M drop in private payrolls in May, but investors should be braced for surprises, in either direction, because ADP's methodology is not clear.
Chile's near-term economic outlook is still negative after a sharp resurgence of coronavirus cases.
Korean industrial production surprised to the upside in August, according to data released yesterday.
Japan's unemployment rate has been remarkably steady over the past few months.
Volatile commodity prices make this week's inflation data in Germany and the Eurozone a wild card. Crude oil in euro terms is down about 20% month-to-month in July, which will weigh on energy prices. In Germany, though, we think higher core inflation offset the hit from oil, pushing inflation slightly higher to 0.4% year-over-year in July from 0.3% in June.
Markets will be extremely sensitive to economic data in the run-up to the MPC's next meeting on August 3, following signals from several Committee members that they think the cas e for a rate rise has strengthened.
Data released last week confirm that Argentina's economy remains a mess.
The Fed made no changes to policy yesterday, as was almost universally expected.
The recovery of consumer confidence in Korea remains undeterred by the lingering risk of a second wave.
Tokyo inflation surprised us on Friday, rising to 0.9% in July, from 0.6% in June.
Economic data in Mexico continue to come in strong.
The alarming pace at which the Government is marching towards the Brexit cliff edge still shows no sign of instilling panic among households or firms.
Yesterday's advance CPI data in Germany suggest that EZ inflation is now rebounding slightly.
May's money and credit data show that Covid-19 has not pushed many businesses immediately over the edge.
The U.S. coronavirus outbreak is not slowing. The curve is not bending much, if at all. Confirmed cases continue to increase at a steady rate, averaging 23% per day over the past three days.
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.
Perhaps the biggest single reason for the Fed's reluctance, so far, to move away from monetary policy designed to cope with catastrophe is that no-one knows for sure how much of the damage has been repaired, and how close the economy is to normalizing.
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.
Retail sales in Japan rose modestly in May, after collapsing in March and April, as the government tried to put a lid on the country's Covid-19 outbreak.
Leaders of the major Eurozone economies were in no mood to give concessions as they met with outgoing U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron this week for the first time since the referendum. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she sees "no way back from the Brexit vote." This followed comments that the U.K. couldn't be expected to "cherry-pick" the EU rules that it would like to follow after a new deal.
Fiscal policy is in limbo until a new leader of the Conservative party has been elected on September 9. Shortly after, however, a new Budget--or a Budget disguised as an Autumn Statement--will be held.
Today's FOMC meeting will be the first non-forecast meeting to be followed by a press conference.
Some closely-watched composite leading indicators for the U.K. economy, and for many others, are flashing red.
Last week's preliminary estimate of Q1 GDP has extinguished any lingering chance that the MPC might raise interest rates at its next meeting on May 10.
Japan's Q1 is coming more sharply into focus.
Markets remain convinced that the U.S. faces no meaningful inflation risk for the foreseeable future.
Friday's advance GDP data provided the first solid evidence of a Q1 slowdown in the euro area economy.
The BoJ kept policy unchanged last week, but made a significant change to its communication, dropping its previous explicit statement on the timing for hitting the inflation target.
On the face of it, yesterday's German consumption data were disappointingly weak.
Yesterday's final EZ manufacturing PMIs for August provided little in the way of relief for the beleaguered industrial sector.
The Fed's statement yesterday was unsurprising, acknowledging a "sharp" decline in economic activity and a significant tightening of financial conditions, which has "impaired the flow of credit to U.S. households and businesses."
Yesterday's economic news in the French economy was solid.
The recent spate of manufacturing business survey indices from Korea show that sentiment is deteriorating in the wake of its trade spat with Japan and the re-intensification of U.S.-China tensions.
Markets' expectations for official interest rates have shifted up over the last fortnight, and the consensus view now is that the MPC will hike rates before the end of this year. As our first chart shows, the implied probability of interest rates breaching 0.25% in December 2017 now slightly exceeds 50%.
The Caixin PMI likely remained stable or even strengthened in January. The December jump was driven by the forward-looking components, with both the new export orders and total new orders indices picking up.
The 0.18% increase in the core PCE deflator in December was at the lower end of the range implied by the core CPI. It left the year-over-year rate at just 1.5%.
Yesterday's FOMC , announcing a unanimous vote for no change in the funds rate, is almost identical to December's.
Japan is one of the countries most exposed to economic damage from the coronavirus.
We're expecting a hefty increase in private payrolls in today's August ADP employment report. ADP's number is generated by a model which incorporates macroeconomic statistics and lagged official payroll data, as well as information collected from firms which use ADP's payroll processing services.
Recently data from Argentina continue to signal a firming cyclical recovery. According to INDEC's EMAE economic activity index, a monthly proxy for GDP, the economy grew 4.0% year-over-year in June, up from an already-solid 3.4% in May.
Over the sleepy August holidays, a view has gained traction in the media that the U.K. economy is showing little damage from the Brexit vote. Optimists argue that the size and composition of the 0.6% quarter-on-quarter rise in Q2 GDP, the 1.4% month-to-month jump in retail sales volumes in July, and the