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China's import growth in dollar terms slowed sharply to 4.5% year-over-year in December from 17.7% in November, significantly below the consensus forecast.
The 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.
While were out over the holidays, the single biggest surprise in the data was yet another drop in imports, reported in the advance trade numbers for November.
Germany's external balance was virtually stable at the beginning of the second quarter. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus rose marginally to €23.9B in April from a revised €23.7B in March, mainly due to weakness in imports. Demand for goods abroad fell 0.2% month-to-month, which pushed up the surplus despite amid unchanged exports. Imports fell 1.5% year-over-year in April, up slightly from a 2.5% decline in March.
In recent years we have argued consistently that investors and the commentariat overstate the importance of the dollar as a driver of U.S. inflation. Only about 15% of the core CPI is meaningfully affected by shifts in the value of the dollar, because the index is dominated by domestic non-tradable services.
The German trade data on Friday completed a poor week for economic reports in the Eurozone's largest economy. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus fell to €22.1B in May, from €24.1B in April, mainly due to a 1.8% month-to-month fall in exports. Imports, on the other hand, were little changed.
The MPC's forecast in August, which predicted that inflation would overshoot its 2% target over the next two years only modestly--giving it the green light to ease policy--assumed that inflation in sectors insensitive to swings in import prices would remain low. We doubt, however, that domestically generated inflation will remain benign.
The latest data from container ports around the country are consistent with our view that imports are still correcting after the surge late last year, triggered by the hurricanes.
Net trade in India likely contributed positively to headline GDP growth in the lockdown-plagued second quarter, but for all the wrong reasons.
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.
Korea's trade data have been extremely volatile over the past two months, thanks to distortions caused by last year's odd holiday calendar.
China's September trade numbers show that, far from reducing the surplus with the U.S., the trade wars so far have pushed it up to a new record.
Korea's preliminary GDP report for Q3 will be released tomorrow.
Our forecast that CPI inflation will shoot up to about 3% in the second half of 2017, from 0.6% last month, assumes that pass-through from the exchange rate to consumer goods prices will be as swift and complete as in the past. Our first chart shows that this relationship has held firm recently, with core goods prices falling at the rate implied by sterling's appreciation in 2014 and 2015.
The Chinese trade surplus was reasonably stable on our seasonal adjustment in September, falling to $27.5B from $29.7B in August.
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.
China's trade balance flipped to an unadjusted deficit of $7.1B in the first two months of the year, from a $47.2B surplus in December.
Outside the battered energy sector, the most consistently disconcerting economic numbers last year, in the eyes of the markets, were the monthly retail sales data. Non-auto sales undershot consensus forecasts in nine of the 12 months in 2015, with a median shortfall of 0.3%.
China's unadjusted March trade balance rebounded to a surplus of $20B, from a combined deficit of -$7B in the first two months of the year.
China's trade surplus plunged unexpectedly in September, to $37B, marking the lowest level since March.
China's trade data looked more normal in April. The trade balance rebounded to a surplus of $28.8B in April, from a deficit of $5.0B in March. Exports also bounced back, rising 12.9% year-over-year in April, after a 2.7% decline in March.
The CPI inflation rate for non-energy industrial goods--core goods, for short--has tracked past movements in trade-weighted sterling closely over the last ten years, because virtually all goods in this sector are imported.
The apparently imminent imposition of 25% tariffs on imported steel and 10% on aluminum does not per se constitute a serious macroeconomic shock.
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.
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."
Last week's import price data, showing prices excluding fuels and food fell in January for the fourth month, support our view that the goods component of the CPI is set to drop sharply this year.
The President's threat to impose tariffs on imported Chinese consumer goods on September 1 might yet come to nothing.
We are sticking to our view that the Eurozone's trade surplus will fall in the next six months, despite yesterday's upbeat report. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus leapt to a record high of €25.0B in September from revised €21.0B in August, lifted by an increase in exports and a decline in imports.
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%.
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 today likely will show that the seasonally adjusted trade surplus in the Eurozone jumped to €23.0B in March, from €20.2B in February. The headline was boosted, though, by sharp month-to-month falls in German and French imports, partly due to the early Easter.
CPI inflation has been extremely stable this year, only breaking away from 0.3% in March due to the shift in the timing of Easter. June, however, should mark the beginning of a sustained upward trend in inflation, fuelled by rising prices for imports, raw materials and labour. Indeed, we think CPI inflation is on course to hit 3% in 2017, ensuring that the MPC provides additional stimulus only cautiously.
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.
As promised, Mr. Trump retaliated earlier this week against China's weekend retaliation, after his refusal to back down on the initial tariffs on $50B-worth of imports of Chinese goods, on top of the steel and aluminium tariffs first announced back in March.
April's consensus-beating retail sales figures fostered an impression that the recovery in consumer spending is in fine fettle, even though the rest of the economy is suffering from Brexit blues. Retailers have stimulated demand, however, by slashing prices at an unsustainable rate. With import prices and labour costs now rising, retailers are set to increase prices, sapping the momentum in sales volumes.
The 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.
The closer we look at the startling surge in imports in the fourth quarter, the more convinced we become that it was due in large part to a burst of inventory replacement following the late summer hurricanes.
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.
Brazil's external accounts were the bright spot last year, once again, but the ne ws will soon take a turn for the worse. The current account deficit fell to just USD24B last year, or 1.3% of GDP, from USD59B in 2015. The improvement was driven by the trade surplus, which rose to USD48B, the highest since 1992, when the comparable data series begins. A 20% plunge in imports, coupled with a mere 3% dip in exports, explain the rising trade surplus.
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.
President Trump tweeted yesterday that he wants to re-introduce tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Brazil and Argentina, after accusing these economies of intentionally devaluing their currencies, hurting the competitiveness of U.S. farmers.
We have focussed on the role of the trade war in depressing U.S. stock prices in recent months, arguing that the concomitant uncertainty, disruptions to supply chains, increases in input costs and, more recently, the drop in Chinese demand for U.S. imports, are the key factor driving investors to the exits.
The improvement in Mexico's trade surplus since mid last year consolidated in Q2, albeit not for any welcome reason, as imports fell more sharply than exports on the back of pandemic-induced crash.
Japan's trade surplus is set to fall in coming months, as domestic demand remains robust, while recent oil price increases will be a drag, lifting imports.
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.
A trade deal with China is in sight. President Trump tweeted Sunday that the planned increase in tariffs on $200B of Chinese imports to 25% from 10%, due March 1, has been deferred--no date was specified-- in light of the "substantial progress" in the talks.
Yesterday's sole economic report showed that the EZ trade surplus rebounded slightly at the start of the year, rising to €17.0B in January, from a revised €16.0B in February, lifted by a 0.8% increase in exports, which offset a 0.3% rise in imports.
The chance of a self-inflicted, unnecessary weakening in the economy this year, and perhaps even a recession, has increased markedly in the wake of the president's announcement on Friday that tariffs will be applied to all imports from Mexico, from June 10.
We were a bit surprised to see our forecast for the April trade deficit is in line with the consensus, $44B, down from $51.4B in March, because the uncertainty is so great. The March deficit was boosted by a huge surge in non-oil imports following the resolution of the West Coast port dispute, while exports rose only slightly. As far as we can tell, ports unloaded ships waiting in harbours and at the docks, lifting the import numbers before reloading those ships.
Mr. Trump laid out plans yesterday to impose a new 10% tariff on a further $200B-worth of imports from China, to be levied from next week.
The imposition of 25% tariffs on $50B-worth of imports from China, announced Friday, had been clearly flagged in media reports over the previous couple of weeks.
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.
China's September imports missed expectations, but commentators and markets tend to focus on the year-over-year numbers.
German exports flatlined for most of 2018, driving the trade surplus down by 7.3% amid still-solid growth in imports.
China's October foreign trade headlines beat expectations, but the year-over-year numbers remain grim, with imports falling 6.4%, only a modest improvement from the 8.5% tumble in September.
At the time of writing, Mr. Trump reportedly is finalising plans to impose tariffs of up to 25% on a further $200B of imports from China.
The U.S. Commerce Department on Tuesday released a list of Chinese imports, with an annual value of $200B, on which it is threatening to impose a 10% tariff, after a two-month consultation period.
We fully expect to learn today that import prices rose in March for the first time since June last year. Our forecast for a 1% increase is in line with the consensus, but the margin of error is probably about plus or minus half a percent, and an increase of more than 1.2% would be the biggest in a single month in four years. Most, if not all, of the jump will be due to the rebound in oil prices.
Delayed oil effects wreak havoc on Japan's import bill
German net exports were treading water at the start of the fourth quarter. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus slipped to €17.4B in October, from a revised €17.7B in September, constrained by a 1.3% month-to-month rise in imports, which offset a 0.7% increase in exports.
China's trade surplus falls unexpectedly in April, thanks partly to a bump in imports. Japan's services PMI falls despite holiday boost. The BoJ remains in a holding pattern. Korea's current account surplus rose in March, but its overall downtrend remains intact.
German exports had a sluggish start to the fourth quarter, falling 1.2% month-to-month in October. The monthly drop pushed the year-over-year rate down to 3.0% from 4.2% in September, well down from the 5.6% third quarter average and extending the loss of momentum in recent months. Imports fell 3.6%, so net exports rose, but it's too early to make any useful estimates of net trade in the fourth quarter as a whole.
German trade data yesterday added further evidence that net exports likely will wreak havoc with the Q3 GDP report this week. Exports rose 2.6% month-to-month in September, partially rebounding from a 5.2% plunge in August. But imports jumped 3.6%, further adding to the net trade drag on a quarterly basis. Our first chart shows our estimate of real net trade in Q3 as the worst since the collapse in 2008-to-09.
Japan GDP now shows more of the tax distortions. Japan's current account surplus is likely to see another downshift. Chinese imports boosted soybeans and circuits. China's FX reserves slide in November, as Phase One talks enter crunch time.
China's real imports showing signs of stabilisation? Japan's regular wages staging a comeback?
The announcement, late Tuesday, that the administration plans to impose 10% tariffs on some $200B-worth of imports from China raises the prospect of a substantial hit to the CPI.
If Brent oil prices remain at their current $41 through the end of the second quarter--a big ask, we know, but you have to start with something--the average price of petroleum products imported into the U.S. will rise at an annualized rate of about 70% from their first quarter level.
China was in lockdown ahead of the 70th Anniversary last week, as is typical around important political events.
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.
Following Chinese retaliation against new U.S. tariffs last week, the U.S. responded last night, as promised, setting in train the process to slap tariffs on the remaining approximately $300B of imports from China.
China's December foreign trade numbers were unpleasant, with both exports and imports falling year-over-year, after rising, albeit slowly in November.
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.
Most of the time we don't pay much attention to the monthly import and export prices numbers, which markets routinely ignore. Right now, though, they matter, because the plunge in oil prices is hugely depressing the numbers and, thanks to a technical quirk, depressing reported GDP growth.
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.
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.
Data released yesterday showed that gross fixed investment in Mexico started Q4 on a decent note, increasing on the back of healthy purchases of imported machinery and equipment and construction spending.
China's Party Congress is now less than one month away. Most commentators habitually add the words "all-important" before any reference to the event.
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Manufacturing
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.
Japanese policymakers will have been scouring yesterday's data for signs that the trade situation is improving.
CPI inflation rose only to 2.1% in April, from 1.9% in March, undershooting the 2.2% consensus and MPC forecasts, as well as our own 2.3% estimate.
The 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.
Economists' forecasts are changing almost as quickly as market prices these days, and not for the better.
We've seen some alarming estimates of the potential impact on inflation of the House Republicans' plans for corporate tax reform, with some forecasts suggesting the CPI would be pushed up as much as 5%. We think the impact will be much smaller, more like 1-to-11⁄2% at most, and it could be much less, depending on what happens to the dollar. But the timing would be terrible, given the Fed's fears over the inflation risk posed by the tightness of the labor market.
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.
Chancellor Sunak looks set to announce more fiscal stimulus next month to reinforce the economic recovery, despite recent record levels of public borrowing.
Policymakers and governments are gradually deploying major fiscal and monetary policy measures to ease the hit from Covid-19 and the related financial crisis.
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.
Last week's data added yet more weight to our view that manufacturing is in deep trouble, and that the bottom has not yet been reached.
In Brazil, last week's formal payroll employment report for March was decent, with employment increasing by 56K, well above the consensus expectation for a 48K gain.
CPI inflation dropped to 2.4% in April, from 2.5% in March, undershooting the no-change consensus and prompting many commentators to argue that the chances of an August rate hike have declined further.
CPI inflation was steadfast at 1.9% in March, undershooting the consensus and our forecast for it to rise to 2.0%.
We can't yet know how bad the spread of the coronavirus from the Chinese city of Wuhan will be.
This week's GDP figures showed that firms invested only sparingly in 2016, but their financial fortunes have been bolstered by a recovery in profits. The gross operating surplus of all firms rose by 4.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, the biggest increase for 11 quarters. This pushed the share of GDP absorbed by profits up to 21.3%, just above its 60-year average of 21.2%.
Yesterday's detailed German GDP report raised more questions than it answered. The headline confirmed that growth accelerated to 0.4% quarteron- quarter in Q4, from 0.1% in Q3, leaving the year-over- year rate unchanged at 1.7%.
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.
Banxico's board will meet tomorrow and we expect a 25bp rate cut to 4.25%, in line with the consensus.
Data released yesterday in Brazil helped to lay the ground for interest rate cuts over the coming months.
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.
India's economy staged a more than respectable rebound in the third quarter, enough to convince us to upgrade our forecast substantially.
Korea's GDP report for the second quarter was a huge let-down.
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 virus numbers have improved at the margin in most of the LatAm economies, except in Brazil, where the situation seems to be going from bad to worse.
Korea's 20-day export growth came in weaker than we anticipated earlier this week. Granted, year-over- year growth rebounded to 14.8% in May, from 8.3% in April.
Inflation pressures in Brazil are well under control, with the August mid-month reading falling more than expected, allowing the BCB to cut interest rates in the near term if needed.
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.
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%.
Mexico's private spending stumbled at the start of the second quarter.
The Fed wants price stability--currently defined as 2% inflation--and maximum sustainable employment.
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.
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.
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.
Japanese services price inflation edged down in May as the twin upside drivers of commodity price inflation and yen weakness began to lose steam. We expect wage costs to begin edging up in the second half but this will provide only a partial counterbalance.
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.
The solid 0.2% increase in January's core CPI, coupled with the small upward revision to December, ought to offer a degree of comfort to anyone worried about European-style deflation pressures in the U.S.
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.
The Chinese Communist Party looks set to repeal Presidential term limits, meaning that Xi Jinping likely intends to stay on beyond 2023.
Fed Chair Powell's semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony yesterday broke no new ground, largely repeating the message of the January 30 press conference.
The dovish members of Banxico's board garnered further support on Friday for prolonging the current easing monetary cycle over coming meetings.
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.
Venezuelan bond markets have been on a rollercoaster ride this year, with yields rising significantly in response to heightened political uncertainty and then declining when the government pays its obligations or when protests ease.
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.
The decline in headline durable goods orders in May, reported yesterday, doesn't matter.
The minutes of the MPC's meeting in June indicated that several members' patience for tolerating for above-target inflation is wearing thin.
Markets often greet the monthly international trade numbers with a shrug.
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.
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.
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 released yesterday in Mexico highlighted the volatility in international trade resulting from the pandemic.
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.
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.
After falling close to 5% last week, the Ibovespa rallied about 3.5% yesterday. Investors reacted positively to President Bolsonaro's expression of support for his Economy Minister, Paulo Guedes, after market concerns about tensions between them.
The Fed will soon have to step in to try to put a firebreak in the stock market.
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.
Sterling's depreciation, which began over two years ago, has inflicted pain on consumers but fostered a negligible improvement in net trade.
Data and events have gone against the idea of further BoK policy normalisation since the November hike.
The biggest single problem for the stock market is the president.
It's pretty clear now that the President is not a reliable guide to what's actually happening in the China trade war, or what will happen in the future.
The contribution of energy prices to CPI inflation is set to increase over the coming months, following the pick-up in Brent oil prices to $74 per barrel, from $65 at the beginning of March.
Inflation in Mexico surprised to the downside in late Q3, supporting our core view that it will continue to fall gradually over the coming months.
Japan's CPI inflation was stable at 0.2% in October, despite the sales tax hike, thanks to a combination of offsetting measures from the government and a deepening of energy deflation.
The key data today, covering March durable goods orders and international trade in goods, should both beat consensus forecasts.
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.
Data released yesterday confirmed that Mexico's economy ended Q4 poorly, confounding the most hawkish Banxico Board members.
China's loan prime rates were unchanged for a second straight month in June, as expected.
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.
In a relatively light week in terms of economic indicators in Brazil, the inflation numbers and the potential effect of the recent BRL sell-off garnered all the attention.
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.
After strong real GDP growth in Q1, China commentators called the peak, claiming that growth would slow for the rest of 2017.
Financial markets' inflation expectations have risen sharply since the spring. Our first chart shows that the two-year forward rate derived from RPI inflation swaps has picked up to 3.8%, from 3.5% at the end of April.
The Colombian economy--the star of the previous economic cycle in LatAm--is now slowing significantly, due mostly to strong external headwinds. Exports plunged by 40% year-over-year in January, down from -29% in December, with all of the main categories contracting in the worst performance since 1980.
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.
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.
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.
Nothing is done until it's done, and, in the case of Sino-U.S. trade talks, even if a deal is reached, the new normal is that tensions will be bubbling in the background.
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.
It is becomingly increasingly clear that the trade war with China is hurting manufacturers in both countries.
In the absence of reliable advance indicators, forecasting the monthly movements in the trade deficit is difficult.
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.
This week's Mexican retail sales report for February offered more support to our view that domestic conditions improved at the end of Q1.
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 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.
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.
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.
We're braced for a hefty downside surprise in today's durable goods orders numbers, thanks to a technicality.
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.
The final numbers for China's balance of payments in the first quarter showed that the current account descended to a $34B deficit, from a surplus of $30B a year earlier.
Everyone needs to take a deep breath: This is not 1930, and Smoot-Hawley all over again.
The MPC held back last week from decisively signalling that interest rates would rise when it meets next, in May.
Neither of the major economic reports due today will be published on schedule.
Korean trade activity is slowing.
China's current account surplus grew further in the final quarter of 2018, more than doubling to $54.6B, from $23.3B in Q3.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wednesday's State Council meeting implies that the authorities are starting to take more serious coordinated fiscal measures to counter the virus threat to the labour market and to banks.
The BoJ held firm, for the most part, during this year's bout of central bank dovishness.
India's GDP shrank by 23.9% year-over-year in the second quarter, following growth of 3.1% in Q1.
The Brazilian economy fell into recession over the first half of the year due to the severity of the Covid shock on domestic demand.
Halfway through the third quarter, we have no objection to the idea that GDP growth likely will exceed 2% for the third straight quarter.
Japan in July recorded its first trade surplus in three months, as exports continued to show more signs of life.
Banxico cut its policy rate by 25bp to 7.25% yesterday, as was widely expected, following similar moves in August, September and November.
The Eurozone's current account surplus slipped at the start of Q2, falling to €28.4B in April from an upwardly-revised €32.8B in March.
Japan's trade balance deteriorated sharply in May, flipping to a ¥967B deficit from the modest ¥57B surplus in April.
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.
Looking through recent supply disruptions, Japan's adjusted trade balance seems likely to remain in the red until the new year.
The consensus view on the Monetary Policy Committee, that it will take two years for CPI inflation to return to the 2% target, looks complacent. Leading indicators suggest that price pressures will return faster than both policymakers and markets expect. Interest rates are therefore likely to rise in the first half of 2016, even if the recovery loses momentum.
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.
Hopes that the economy will not slow over the next year are largely pinned on the idea that net trade will be boosted by the drop in sterling. The pound has tracked sideways over the last two months and is about 15% below its trade-weighted peak in November 2015.
Data released this week confirmed that Q3 real GDP growth in the Andes rebounded sharply, on a sequential basis, as the region's economies gradually reopened.
Leading indicators are giving conflicting signals regarding the outlook for core goods CPI inflation.
May's consumer prices report contained few surprises. The fall in the headline rate of CPI inflation to 2.0%, from April's Easter-boosted 2.1%, matched the consensus, our forecast and the MPC's.
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.
The euro area's trade advantage with the rest of the world slipped at the start of the year.
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.
Higher core goods inflation is one of the main reasons why the headline rate of CPI inflation has exceeded economists' forecasts over the last few months.
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 jobless rate was unchanged, at 2.4% in October, as the market took a breather after September's job losses.
The Q1 Tankan survey headlines were close to our expectations, chiming with our call for year-over-year contraction in Japanese GDP of at least 2%, after the 0.7% decline in Q4.
Opinion polls suggest that the Italian population will reject Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's constitutional reform on Sunday. Undecided voters could still swing it in favour of Mr. Renzi, but the "No" votes have led the "Yes" votes by a steady margin of about 52% to 48% since October.
The FOMC statement did enough to keep alive the idea that rates could rise in March, but the ball is now mostly in Congress' court. If a clear plan for substantial fiscal easing has emerged by the time of the meeting on March 15, policymakers can incorporate its potential impact on growth, unemployment and inflation into their forecasts, then a rate hike will be much more likely.
The case for expecting a robust January jobs number is strong, but it is not without risks.
President Trump wrote to Congress on Monday, saying that the U.S. finally has reached a trade deal with Japan, about a month after he and Prime Minister Abe announced an agreement in principle, on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in France.
The decline in CPI inflation to 1.7% in August, from 2.1% in July, has not materially boosted the chances of the MPC cutting interest rates within the next six months.
The pick-up in CPI inflation to 0.7% in October, from 0.5% in September, does not mark the start of a sustained uptrend.
Japan's exports showed no signs of jitters in October, when countries in Europe started reimposing nationwide lockdowns in response to the rapid escalation of Covid-19 cases.
It's been a sobering couple of months in the Eurozone economy.
The Monetary Policy Board of the Bank of Korea yesterday left its benchmark base rate unchanged, at 1.50%.
China's official manufacturing PMI was unchanged at 50.2 in December, marking a weak end to the year. But it could have been worse; we had been worried that the return to above-50 territory in November had been boosted by temporary factors. December's print allays some of those fears.
We suspect that euro area investors have one question on their mind as we step into 2019.
Korean exports continued to fall year-over-year in April, but the story isn't as bleak as the headlines suggest.
Argentina's central bank unexpectedly hiked its main interest rate, the 7-day repo rate, by 300bp to 30.25% last Friday, in an unscheduled decision.
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.
The case for the MPC to extend its asset purchase programme into 2021 is compelling. The mere 2.1% month-to-month rise in GDP in August has left the Committee's September forecast for Q3 GDP to be 7% below its Q4 2019 peak looking too sanguine; and note that this was revised this from the 8.6% shortfall forecast in August's Monetary Policy Report.
Last month was sobering month for equity investors in the Eurozone, and indeed in the global economy as a whole.
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.
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.
Markets now think the Fed is done.
The truce in trade relations between the U.S. and China, agreed at the G20, is good news for LatAm, at least for now.
Manufacturers in China continued to trudge along in May, with their post-lockdown recovery looking increasingly fragile.
We think today's ADP private sector employment report for May will reflect the impact of the Verizon strike, which kept 35K people away from work last month, but we can't be sure. ADP's methodology should in theory only capture the strike if Verizon uses ADP for payroll processing--we don't know--but there's nothing to stop them from manually tweaking the numbers to account for known events. Indeed, it would be absurd to ignore the strike.
In the wake of the unexpectedly weak September Empire State survey, released Monday, we are now very keen to see what today's Philadelphia Fed survey has to say.
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.
Japan's export data for April unsurprisingly were abysmal, driving a massive deterioration in the trade balance, which flipped from a modest ¥5B surplus in March, to a ¥930B deficit.
Data released on Monday showed that Chile's external accounts remained under pressure at the start of the year, and trade tensions mean that it will be harder to finance the gap.
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.
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.
After the strong Philly Fed survey was released last week, we argued that the regional economy likely was outperforming because of its relatively low dependence on exports, making it less vulnerable to the trade war.
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 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.
The China Daily ran an article entitled "Beijing, nation get breath of fresh air" on the day Chinese GDP figures were published last week, underlining where the authorities' priorities now lie.
Recent global developments lead us to intensify our focus on trade in LatAm.
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.
We have to pinch ourselves when looking at economic data in Spain at the moment. Real GDP rose a dizzying 0.9% quarter-on-quarter in Q1, driven by solid gains of 0.7% and 1.1% in consumer's spending and investment respectively. Retail sales and industrial production data indicate GDP growth remained strong in Q2, even if survey data lost some momentum towards the end of the quarter. We will be looking for signs of further moderation in Q3, but surging private deposit growth indicate the cyclical recovery will continue.
Japan's trade surplus soared further in September, to ¥675B, from ¥249B in August.
Our forecast for LatAm envisions a gradual pickup in growth, following a terrible first half.
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.
The PBoC managed to keep interest rates well- anchored around the Chinese New Year holiday, when volatility is often elevated.
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%.
The Eurozone's current account surplus extended its decline in May, falling to a nine-month low of €22.4B, from €29.6B in April.
The MXN remains the best performer in LatAm year-to-date, despite some ugly periods of high volatility driven by external and domestic threats.
Sterling will be under the spotlight again today when four members of the Monetary Policy Committee, including Governor Mark Carney, answer questions from the Treasury Select Committee about the recent Inflation Report.
The Mexican economy shrank by 0.2% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, according to the final GDP report, a tenth better than the preliminary reading. The year-over-year rate rose marginally to 2.5% from 2.4% in Q1. But the year-over-year data are not seasonally adjusted, understating the slowdown in the first half of the year, as shown in our first chart.
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.
The BoJ kept policy unchanged yesterday, with the policy balance rate remaining at -0.1% and the 10-year yield target remaining around zero.
It's going to be very hard for Fed Chair Powell's Jackson Hole speech today to satisfy markets, which now expect three further rate cuts by March next year.
Japan's flash PMI numbers for August were a mixed bag.
Recent global developments lead us to intensify our focus on trade in LatAm.
The BoJ kept its main policy settings unchanged yesterday, in another 7-to-2 split.
Japan's trade balance remained in the red in June, though the deficit narrowed sharply, to -¥269B from -¥838B in May.
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.
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.
It is looking increasingly likely that core inflation, which already has fallen to 2.1% in May, from a peak of 2.7% last year, will slip below 2% next year.
On the face of it, BoJ policy seems to be to change none of the settings and let things unfold, hoping that the trade war doesn't escalate, that China's recovery gets underway soon, and that semiconductor sales pick up in the second half.
With a no-deal Brexit still a potential outcome and just over five weeks to go until the U.K. is scheduled to leave, it's about time we put some numbers on how high inflation could get in this worst-case scenario.
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.
We're expecting to learn today that existing home sales rose quite sharply in July, perhaps reaching the highest level since early 2018.
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.
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.
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.
We've had pushback from readers over our take on the likelihood of a trade deal with China in the near future.
February's consumer price figures, released tomorrow, are likely to show that CPI inflation has picked up again, perhaps to 0.5%--the highest rate since December 2014--from 0.3% in January. This will give the Monetary Policy Committee more confidence in its judgement that CPI inflation will be back at the 2% target in two years' time.
Retail sales volumes held steady in September, undershooting the consensus, 0.3%, and they were unchanged in August too. At this stage, evidence of a slowdown in retail sales growth is only tentative, but the trend will weaken decisively when retailers raise prices sharply next year.
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.
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.
Yesterday's partial trade data for Korea showed that the downturn in exports softened to -13.3% year-over-year in August from -13.8% in July, based on the 20-day gauge.
To imagine an unstoppable macroeconomic policy disaster and desperate improvisation, just think of Venezuela.
PPI inflation in Korea slowed sharply in October, to a five-month low of 2.2%, from 2.7% in September.
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.
The Brazilian BRL has remained relatively stable year-to-date, following a strong rebound in January. But downward pressures have re-emerged over the last two months, as shown in our first chart.
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.
Japanese trade remained in the doldrums in October, keeping policymakers on their toes as they repeat the refrain of "resilient" domestic demand.
If the only manufacturing survey you track is the Philadelphia Fed report, you could be forgiven for thinking that the sector is booming.
Recent data in Colombia have confirmed that virus containment measures caused much bigger declines in activity in early Q2 than initially expected.
Chile's stronger-than-expected industrial production report for December, and less-ugly-than- feared retail sales numbers, confirmed that the hit from the Q4 social unrest on economic activity is disappearing.
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.
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."
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.
The PBoC finally moved yesterday, cutting its one-year MLF rate by 5bp to 3.25%, whilst replacing around RMB 400B of maturing loans.
The rapid escalation of Covid-19 cases in Korea in recent weeks has broadened the likely damage to the economy this quarter.
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.
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.
Industrial activity in LatAm, at least in the largest economies, is taking different paths.
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.
We are sticking to our call for a weak first half in Japan, despite likely upgrades to Q1 GDP on Monday.
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%.
The MPC's penchant for providing interest rate guidance reached new heights last week.
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%.
Inflation data later today will likely show that the Eurozone fell into deflation driven primarily by the big plunge in oil prices since 2008. The consensus expects a 0.1% decline year-over-year, but we look for the CPI to fall slightly more, by 0.2%.
We are surprised by the EU's reaction to Mr. Trump's announcement that the U.S. will impose tariffs on steel and aluminium.
India's PMIs for October were grim, indicating minimal carry-over of energy from the third quarter rebound.
German manufacturing is in good shape, but probably is not as strong as implied by yesterday's surge in new orders. Factory orders jumped 5.2% month-to-month in December, rebounding strongly after a downwardly revised 3.6% fall in November. December's jump was the biggest monthly increase in two years, but it was flattered by a leap in bulk investment goods orders, mainly in the domestic market and other EZ economies.
We raised our forecast for today's January payroll number after the ADP report, to 200K from 160K.
Yesterday's Caixin services PMI data complete the set for October.
Labor demand appears to have remained strong through August, so we expect to see a robust ADP report today.
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.
Demand in German manufacturing rebounded powerfully at the end of the second quarter, accelerating from an initially modest rebound when lockdowns were lifted.
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.
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.
Global economic conditions have been improving for LatAm over recent quarters.
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.
Korea's manufacturing PMI fell for a fourth straight month in April, dropping to 41.6, which is the lowest reading since January 2009.
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.
China is facing a nasty mix of spiking CPI inflation and ongoing PPI deflation.
Just how low would sterling go in the event of a no-deal Brexit? When Reuters last surveyed economists at the start of June, the consensus was that sterling would settle between $1.15 and $1.20 and fall to parity against the euro within one month after an acrimonious separation on October 31.
Yesterday's final PMI data added to the evidence that the EZ economy was firing on all cylinders at the end of last year. The composite PMI in the euro area rose to an 11-year high of 58.5 in December, from 57.5 in November, in line with the initial estimate.
Brazil's December industrial production report, released yesterday, confirmed that the recovery was stuttering at the end of last year.
Our composite index of employment indicators, based on survey data and the official JOLTS report, looks ahead about three months.
Today's December international trade numbers could easily signal a substantial upward revision to fourth quarter GDP growth. When the GDP data were compiled, the December trade numbers were not available so the BEA had to make assumptions for the missing numbers, as usual.
The majority of headlines from last week's advance Q4 GDP data in the Eurozone--see here--were negative.
The simultaneous decline in both ISM indexes was a key factor driving markets to anticipate last week's Fed easing.
Labor demand, as measured by an array of business surveys, clearly slowed from the cycle peak, recorded late last year.
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.
Productivity likely rose by 1.7% last year, the best performance since 2010.
The odds favor a robust January payroll report today. The key leading indicator--the NIFB hiring intentions index from five months ago--points to a 275K increase, while the coincident NFIB actual employment change index suggests 260K.
The run of above-consensus news on the U.K. economy came to an abrupt end last week, as a series of survey indicators for January took a turn for the worse. After six months of breathing space, the economic consequences of the Brexit vote are increasingly being felt.
China's PMIs point to softening activity in Q3. The Caixin services PMI fell to 52.8 in July, from 53.9 in June.
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.
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.
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.
Consumers' spending in the Eurozone slowed in the second half of 2017, providing a favourable base for growth in H1 2018.
We've always said that China's first weapon, should the trade war escalate, is to do nothing and allow the RMB to depreciate.
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 recovery in Korean exports--a key leading indicator for global trade--appears to have stalled in August.
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.
The MPC signalled yesterday that it is actively considering a May rate hike, stating that rates likely will "...need to be tightened somewhat earlier and by a somewhat greater degree over the forecast period than anticipated at the time of the November Report".
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.
The Mexican inflation rate soared at the start of 2017, but this is yesterday's story; the headline will stabilize soon and will decline slowly towards the year-end. May data yesterday showed that inflation rose to 6.2%, from 5.8% in April. Prices fell 0.1% month-to-month unadjusted in May, driven mainly by lower non-core prices, which dropped by 1.3%, as a result of lower seasonal electricity tariffs.
China's trade surplus jumped to a record high in May, defying expectations for a fall by spiking to $69.2B.
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.
China's trade surplus tumbled to $20.3B in January, from $54.7B in December, surprising the consensus for little change.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The consequences of sterling's sharp depreciation for inflation were brought home yesterday by the news that the iPhone 7 will cost more than its predecessor. The entry-level version is priced at £60 more than its iPhone 6S equivalent. Of course, the new version is more advanced, but the fact that the dollar price held steady, at $649, demonstrates the U.K. price hike entirely is due to the adverse impact of the weaker pound.
China's export data for April were a mixed bag, to say the least.
Both China and U.S. look for good will on opposite side and find none; political and economic constraints will soon kick in. BoJ QE remains neutralised by negative yields
Japan's trade balance should recover as domestic weakness sets in; Japan's manufacturing PMI undermines H2 recovery hopes; Japan's services PMI paints a damning picture of Q2; Korea's export recovery from the April low will be more gradual than the descent; A lot more downside left for PPI deflation in Korea before Q3 trough
Final Q2 GDP data yesterday indicate the euro area economy was stronger than initially estimated in the first half of the year. Real GDP rose 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, slightly higher than the initial estimate of 0.3, following an upwardly revised 0.5% increase in Q1. Upward revisions to GDP in Italy were the key driver of the more upbeat growth picture. The revisions mean that annualised Eurozone growth is now estimated at 1.8% in the first six months of the year, up from the previous 1.4%, consistent with the bullish message from real M1 growth and the composite PMI.
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.
Small cracks continue to emerge in Chinese industry. While we were away, the official manufacturing PMI for October slipped to 51.4, following the jump to 51.5 in September.
Chile's inflation outlook remains benign, allowing policymakers to cut interest rates if the economic recovery falters.
Japan's current account surplus jumped to its highest level in six months in August, rising to ¥2,103B from ¥1,468B in July.
After three years, we think the level of the CPI would be about 2% higher if the U.K. falls back on WTO terms for trade with the E .U. than if a deep Free Trade Agreement is signed.
China's export data shows little impact from trade tensions so far.
The headline Chinese trade numbers are beginning to come into line with the story we have been telling about the more recent trends.
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.
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 trade war with the U.S. has taken its toll on the RMB.
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 verdict is in.
Industrial production in Germany stumbled at the end of Q4. Data yesterday showed that output fell 0.6 month-to-month in December, though this drop has to be seen in light of the downwardly-revised 3.1% jump in November.
Japanese labour cash earnings data threw analysts another curveball in July, falling 0.3% year-over-year. At the same time, June earnings are now said to have risen by 0.4%, compared with a fall of 0.4% in the initial print.
Hard data in the Eurozone continue to tell a story of a relatively bright pre-Covid-19 world.
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.
The external environment was relatively benign for China in July. The euro and yen appreciated as markets began to question how long policy can remain on their current emergency settings.
Data released last week confirmed that Mexico's economy stumbled in the first half of the year, hurt by a temporary shocks in both the industrial and services sectors, and heightened political uncertainty, due to policy mistakes at the outset of AMLO's presidency.
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.
Yesterday's data seemed to pour cold water on the idea of a sustained recovery in German manufacturing. Industrial production, including construction, fell by 0.2% in August driving the year-over-year rate down by 0.4pp, to -10.0%.
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.
Friday's industrial production report in Germany capped a miserable week for economic data in the Eurozone's largest economy.
We aren't convinced that China's recovery is in train just yet.
The RMB has been on a tear, as expectations for a "Phase One" trade deal have firmed.
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.
Markets have been positively surprised by Brazil's rapid disinflation, the efforts at fiscal reform, and the prospect of growth in the economy this year. The Ibovespa index is now above its pre-crisis high and the real has approached the key level of three per USD in recent months. But the latest GDP report, released yesterday, showed that the economy struggled in Q4. Real GDP fell 0.9% quarter-on-quarter, worse than the revised 0.7% drop in Q3.
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 10.3% year-over-year decline in private new car registrations in April likely is not a sign that the trend in either vehic le sales or consumers' overall spending is taking a turn f or the worse.
Manufacturers in Germany endured another miserable quarter in Q3.
The key data originally scheduled for today--ADP employment and the ISM non-manufacturing survey, and the revised Q3 productivity and unit labor costs-- have been pushed to Thursday because the federal government will be closed for the National Day of Mourning for president George H. W. Bush.
Yesterday's data provided further evidence of the rising costs of supporting the EZ economy through the Covid-19 shock.
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.
Monetary policy usually is the first line of defence whenever a recession hits.
The picture of the economy's recent performance will be redrawn today, when the national accounts are published.
LatAm financial and FX markets have behaved relatively well in recent sessions, thanks to the array of monetary and fiscal measures taken to counter the severe risk-off environment.
China's manufacturing PMIs put in a better performance in November, with the official gauge ticking up to 50.2 in November, from 49.3 in October, and the Caixin measure little changed, at 51.8, up from 51.7.
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.
Our analysis of the Q3 activity and GDP data in yesterday's Monitor strongly suggests that China's authorities will soon ready further stimulus.
The Monetary Policy Board of the Bank of Korea yesterday voted unanimously to lower its base rate by 25 basis points to a record low of 0.50%.
We were expecting the pandemic in the Andes to reach a plateau over the coming weeks, given the quick response of regional governments to fight the virus.
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.
Yesterday's October labour market data in Mexico showed that the adjusted unemployment rate rose a bit to 3.4%, from 3.3% in September.
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.
Both the E.U. and the U.K. government have been keen to emphasise, since the Withdrawal Agreement was provisionally signed off, that March 29 is a hard deadline for Brexit.
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.
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.
President Trump's volatile diplomatic style is one of the biggest risks facing the Mexican economy in the near term, as we have discussed in previous Monitors.
Chile's near-term economic outlook is still negative after a sharp resurgence of coronavirus cases.
Data released this week in Brazil underscored the effect of weaker external conditions. This adds to the poor domestic demand picture, which has been hit by high, albeit easing, political uncertainty.
China's Caixin manufacturing PMI doused hopes of turning over a January new leaf; it dropped to 49.7 in November, from 50.2 in December.
The agreement between Presidents Trump and Xi at the G20 is a deferment of disaster rather than a fundamental rebuilding of the trading relationship between the U.S. and China.
The People's Bank of China cut its seven-day reverse-repo rate yesterday, to 2.50% from 2.55%.
Korean trade ended the year strongly, salvaging what was shaping up as a dull fourth quarter for the economy.
The substantial gap between the key manufacturing surveys for the U.S. and China, relative to their long-term relationship, likely narrowed a bit in December.
The newly-revised data on capital goods orders, released on Friday, support our view that sustained strength in business capex remains a good bet for this year.
If we're right with our forecast that real consumers' spending rose by just 0.1% month-to-month in February -- enough only to reverse January's decline -- then it would be reasonable to expect consumption across the first quarter as a whole to climb at a mere 1.2% annualized rate.
The publication yesterday of the BCB's second quarterly inflation report under the new president, Ilan Golfajn, revealed that inflation is expected to hit the official target next year, for the first time since 2009. The inflation forecast for 2017 was lowered from 4.7% to 4.4%, just below the central bank's 4.5% target.
Sterling's shaky performance so far this year-- the trade-weighted index currently is 3% below its end-2019 level and was down 8% at the peak of the mid-March market frenzy--raises the question of whether a renewed depreciation would have a better chance of boosting GDP growth than last time.
The BoJ until last week had been in wait-and-see mode over China's slowdown, but they finally folded with Thursday's decision.
Net foreign trade was a drag on GDP growth in the second quarter, subtracting 0.7 percentage points from the headline number.
The persistence of no-deal Brexit risk has taken a toll on confidence across the economy over the last month.
BanRep surprised everyone late Friday, moving ahead of the curve by starting a tightening cycle that had been expected to begin later in the year or in Q1. But the seven-board member succumbed in the face of persistent inflationary pressures, and voted unanimously to hike the main interest rate by 25bp to 4.75%, the first move since April 2014.
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.
Korea is officially out of recession, with GDP rising by 1.9% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, following the 3.2% plunge in Q2.
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.
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.
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.
Brazil's external accounts were a relatively bright spot again last year.
Data released on Friday in Mexico strengthened the case for further interest rate cuts in Q3. The monthly IGAE economic indicator for April, a proxy for GDP, plunged 19.9% year-over-year, a record drop since the series started in 1993, and down from -2.3% in March.
The publication yesterday of the first BCB quarterly inflation report under the new president, Ilan Golfajn, revealed his initial views on inflation, the currency, and monetary policy. Overall, Mr. Golfajn has taken a hawkish approach. We think Brazil's first rate cut will come no earlier than Q4, likely at the final meeting of the year, providing the government continues the fiscal consolidation process and inflation keeps falling.
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.
Brazil's external accounts remain relatively solid, making it easier for the country to withstand any potential external or domestic threat.
The MPC won't seek to make waves on Thursday.
The Fed will do nothing to the funds rate or its balance sheet expansion program today.
Brazil's external accounts were a bright spot last year, again.
Brazil's external accounts were a relatively bright spot last year, once again.
Brazil's external accounts remain solid, despite the recent modest deterioration, making it easier for the country to withstand external and domestic risks.
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 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.
The Fed is in a double bind.
The Tankan survey powered ahead in Q2, pulling away from Q1 and mostly beating consensus. This confirms our impression of the strength of the recovery ,just as Prime Minister Abe's Liberal Democratic Party is trounced at the polls in Tokyo. The drubbing is understandable as the main benefits of Abenomics have gone to the business sector, at the expense of the household sector.
India's consensus-beating GDP report for the first quarter wasn't much to write home about.
The key story in Brazil this year remains one of gradual recovery, but downside risks have increased sharply, due mainly to challenging external conditions.
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."
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.
The recovery in the Markit/CIPS manufacturing PMI to 53.1 in November, from 51.1 in October, propelled it well above the consensus, and the equivalent reading for the Eurozone, 51.8, for only the second time in the last 19 months.
The MPC would have to change tack sharply on Thursday in order to live up to the markets' expectation that there is a near-zero chance of another rate cut within the next year.
Yesterday's final EZ manufacturing PMIs for July extended the run of gains since the nadir during lockdown.
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.
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.
We recommend that investors take yesterday's inflation data in the Eurozone with a pinch of salt. The headline rate slipped to 1.2% in April, from 1.4% in March, hit by a slide in core inflation to 0.7%, from 1.0%.
Korean exports hit a brick wall in April, unsurprisingly, as lockdowns across the non- China world dealt a body blow to demand.
China's Caixin manufacturing PMI edged down to 50.6 in August, from July's 50.8. This clashed with the increase in the official PMI, though the moves in both indexes were modest.
While we were out, most of the core domestic economic data were quite strong, with the exception of the soft July home sales numbers and the Michigan consumer sentiment survey.
China hit back against the Trump-administration tariffs yesterday, targeting Mr. Trump's electorate.
So that happened.
Yesterday's Brazilian industrial production data were downbeat.
Recent hard data have confirmed the severe shock from Corona to the Chilean economy in Q2.
The downturn in global trade looks set to turn a corner, at least judging by the outlook for Korean exports, which are a key bellwether.
The unexpectedly robust 128K increase in October payrolls--about 175K when the GM strikers are added back in--and the 98K aggregate upward revision to August and September change our picture of the labor market in the late summer and early fall.
The shift in France's public finances to lean against the economic damage from the virus has been significant.
The Brazilian economy has been recovering at a decent pace in recent months. The labor market is on the mend, with the unemploymen t rate falling rapidly to 12.5% in August from 14% at the end of Q1.
Brazil's economic recovery faltered in the first quarter and the near-term outlook remains challenging.
The virus outbreak has been relatively limited so far in Argentina, with 820 confirmed cases, but the numbers are rising rapidly.
Yesterday's FOMC , announcing a unanimous vote for no change in the funds rate, is almost identical to December's.
Mexico's trade balance shrank slightly last year, to USD11B, from USD13B in 2016. The main driver was a big swing in the non- energy balance, to a record USD8.0B surplus, following a USD0.4B deficit in 2016.
Some closely-watched composite leading indicators for the U.K. economy, and for many others, are flashing red.
The biggest single surprise in the second quarter GDP report was the unexpected $28B real-terms drop in inventories.
The Brazilian economy managed to avert a technical recession over the first half of the year.
China's official PMIs were little changed in August, with the manufacturing gauge up trivially to 51.3, from 51.2 in July and the non-manufacturing gauge up to 54.2, from 54.0.
Yesterday's final manufacturing PMIs confirmed that all remained calm in the EZ industrial sector through February.
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.
Korean industrial production surprised to the upside in August, according to data released yesterday.
The July trade deficit likely fell significantly further than the consensus forecast for a dip to $42.2B from $43.8B in June, despite the sharp drop in the ISM manufacturing export orders index. Our optimism is not just wishful thinking on our p art; our forecast is based on the BEA's new advance trade report. These data passed unnoticed in the markets and the media. The July report, released August 28, wasn't even listed on Bloomberg's U.S. calendar, which does manage to find space for such useless indicators as the Challenger job cut survey and Kansas City Fed manufacturing index. Baffling.
Argentina's Recession Has Ended, Supporting Mr. Macri's Odds
Brazil's unadjusted current account surplus soared to USD2.9B in May, its highest level since 2006, from USD1.1B in May 2016.
The Bank of Korea's two main monthly economic surveys were very perky in January.
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.
Brazil's external accounts remain solid, despite the recent modest deterioration.
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.
Before the Covid pandemic struck, the mix-adjusted measure of wages and salaries in the employment costs index was trending up by about 3.0% year-over-year.
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.
Data released last week confirm that Argentina's economy remains a mess.
The models which generate the ADP measure of private payrolls will benefit in May from the strength of the headline industrial production, business sales and jobless claims numbers.
The trade war with China is not big enough or bad enough alone to push the U.S. economy into recession.
Neither the strength in October consumption nor the softness of core PCE inflation, reported yesterday, are sustainable.
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.
Japan's inflation target came under heavy fire yesterday, as Finance Minister Taro Aso suggested that "things will go wrong if you focus too much on 2%."
Recent Mexican data have been upbeat, supporting our view that a gradual recovery is underway. In the key auto sector, for example, production increased 11.4% year-over-year in November, while exports rose 5.8% year-over-year in October.
Chair Powell broke no new ground in his semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony yesterday, repeating the Fed's new core view that the current stance of policy is "appropriate".
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 FOMC did mostly what was expected yesterday, though we were a bit surprised that the single rate hike previously expected for next year has been abandoned.
Today's general election looks set to be a closer race than opinion polls suggested two weeks ago.
Q2's GDP figures create a terrible first impression, but a closer look suggests that the risk of a recession remains very low.
China's 1.8% downshift in the RMB/dollar reference rate will make only a microscopic difference to the pace of U.S. economic growth and inflation. It will not deter the Fed from raising rates if the domestic labor market continues to tighten, as all the data suggest. The drop in the RMB merely restores the nominal exchange rate to its fall 2012 level, since which time the real exchange rate has risen by some 20%, according to the BIS.
Markets are looking for the BCCh to remain on hold and the BCRP to ease on Thursday; we think they will be right. In Chile, the BCCh will hold rates because inflation pressures are absent and economic activity is stabilizing following temporary hits in Q1 and early Q2.
Hopes that GDP growth might be boosted soon by a pick-up in net exports continue to be undermined by the latest data.
The Andean countries were quick to implement significant measures in response to the initial stage of the pandemic, adopting a broad range of economic and social policies to ease the effects.
The 0.1% dip in the core CPI in March was the first outright decline in three years, but we expect another-- and bigger--decline in today's April numbers.
India's shocking PMIs for April leave little doubt that the second quarter will be bad enough to result in a full-year contraction in 2020 GDP, even if economic activity recovers strongly in the second half.
Mrs. May looks set to lose the second "meaningful vote" on the Withdrawal Agreement-- WA--today, whether she decides on a straightforward vote or one asking MPs to b ack it if some hypothetical concessions are achieved.
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.
Mexico's industrial production report released yesterday brought encouraging news about the state of the economy, helping relieve some doubts about its health.
We expect May's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, to show that the headline rate of CPI inflation fell to a four-year low of 0.4% in May, from 0.8% in April.
CPI inflation held steady at 2.3% in March, as we and the consensus had expected. Nonetheless, the consumer price figures boosted sterling and bond yields, as the details of the report made it clear that inflation is on a very steep upward path.
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.
Italy's economy is still bumping along the bottom, after emerging from recession in the middle of last year.
Friday's data force us to walk back our recession call for Germany. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus rose in September, to €19.2B from €18.7B in August, lifted by a 1.5% month-to-month jump in exports, and the previous months' numbers were revised up significantly.
October's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, likely will show that CPI inflation has continued to drift further below the 2% target
China's unadjusted trade surplus collapsed in February, to just $4.1B, from $39.2B in January.
Inflation appears no longer to be an issue for Mexican policymakers. The annual headline rate slowed to 3.0% year-over-year in February from 3.1% in January, in the middle of the central bank's target range, for the first time since May 2006.
We can be reasonably sure that the headline May retail sales number will look quite strong, thanks to the surge in auto sales reported by the manufacturers last week. Sales of cars and light trucks soared past industry analysts' expectations to a nine-year high, rising 7.5% from their April level.
It's just not possible to forecast the reaction of businesses and consumers to the coronavirus outbreak.
Peru's embattled president, Martin Vizcarra, was dismissed by Congress yesterday, after two years and eight months in office.
The undershoot in the September core CPI does not change our view that the trend in core inflation is rising, and is likely to surprise substantially to the upside over the next six-to-12 months.
People don't like to see the value of their portfolios decline, and it is just a matter of time before the benchmark measures of consumer sentiment drop in response to the 7% fall in the S&P since mid-August. Sometimes, movements in stock prices don't affect the sentiment numbers immediately, especially if the market moves gradually. But the drop in the market in August was rapid and dramatic, and gripped the national media.
The seasonally adjusted trade surplus in Germany slipped to €19.6B in July, from €21.2B in June, its lowest since April, and we are confident that it has peaked for this cycle.
The key question for the MPC at this week's meeting is whether it is prepared to tolerate the consequences for inflation of sterling's further depreciation since its last meeting in August.
We'd be surprised to see a repeat today of August's very modest 0.08% increase in the core CPI.
The latest GDP data continue to show that the economy is holding up well, despite the Brexit saga.
Recent inflation numbers across the biggest economies in LatAm have surprised to the downside, strengthening the case for further monetary easing.
Yesterday's economic reports in the Eurozone were ugly.
You may have seen the chart below, which shows what appears to be an alarming divergence between the official jobless claims numbers and the Challenger survey's measure of job cut announcements. We should say at the outset that the chart makes the fundamental mistake of comparing the unadjusted Challenger data with the seasonally adjusted claims data.
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.
June's consumer price figures, released on Wednesday, probably will be overshadowed this week by data for May for GDP--see our detailed preview here--and the labour market.
We held our breath this month.
The core CPI rose only 0.1% in May, marking the fourth straight soft reading.
Core inflation probably will remain close to June's 2.3% rate for the next few months.
Official, real GDP growth was low in Q1, at 1.4% quarter-on-quarter, down from 1.6% in Q4.
China's GDP report for the fourth quarter, due on Friday, is likely to show that economic growth has stabilised, on the surface.
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 NY Fed's announcement yesterday restarts QE. The $60B of bill purchases previously planned for the period from March 13 through April 13 will now consist of $60B purchases "across a range of maturities to roughly match the maturity composition of Treasury securities outstanding".
As we go to press, Mrs. May's last-minute scramble to Strasbourg appears to have failed to persuade enough rebels to back the government.
Japan's GDP report for the third quarter, due on Monday, is likely to show that the economy rebounded by 5.2% quarter-on-quarter, following the 7.9% collapse in Q2.
Overall, the Chinese October data paint a picture of continued weakness in trade, with PPI inflation still high but the rate of increase finally slowing.
October's consumer price figures, released Tuesday, likely will show that CPI inflation increased to 3.1%, from 3.0% in September.
The consensus forecast for the October core CPI, which will be reported today, is 0.2%. Take the over. Nothing is certain in these data, but the risk of a 0.3% print is much higher than the chance of 0.1%.
Chile's market volatility and high political risk continue, despite government efforts to ease the crisis.
Data over the weekend revealed a further slowdown in China's CPI inflation, to 1.5% in February, from 1.7% in January.
Our default position for core durable goods orders over the next few months is that they will fall, sharply.
December's consumer prices report looks set to show that CPI inflation was stable at 1.5%--in line with the consensus--though the risks are skewed to the downside.
Brexiteers have downplayed the economic consequences of a no-deal exit by arguing that a further depreciation of sterling would cushion the blow.
It often is argued that the MPC will raise interest rates in November--even if the economic data are not pressuring the Committee to tighten--because markets would go into a tailspin if the MPC failed to meet their expectations.
Data released yesterday support our view that the Brazilian retail sector has gathered strength in recent months, following a weak Q2, when activity was hit by the truckers' strike.
Long-standing readers will know that we have been downbeat on the potential for net external trade to boost the economy following sterling's 2016 depreciation.
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.
In recent weeks LatAm's currencies and stock markets, together with key commodity prices, have risen as financial markets' expectations for a rate increase by the Fed this year have faded. The COP has risen 8.5% over the last month, the MXN is up 2.5%, the CLP has climbed 1.4% and the PEN has been practically stable against the USD. The minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest meeting added strength to this market's view, showing that policymakers postponed an interest rate hike as they worried about a global slowdown, particularly China, the strong USD and the impact of the drop in stock prices.
The headline figures from yesterday's GDP report gave a bad impression. September's 0.1% month-to- month decline in GDP matched the consensus and primarily reflected mean-reversion in car production and car sales, which both picked up in August.
Positive news from Pfizer on the efficacy of its candidate vaccine has brought the post-Covid world into closer focus.
The upward trend in CPI inflation likely reasserted itself in August, following a hiatus in the last two months due to the decline in oil prices.
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.
The underlying trend in the core CPI is rising by just under 0.2% per month, so that has to be the starting point for our January forecast.
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.
Today's November retail sales numbers are something of a wild card, given the absence of reliable indicators of the strength of sales over the Thanksgiving weekend, and the difficulty of seasonally adjusting the data for a holiday which falls on a different date this year.
Next week is so crammed full of data releases that we need to preview November's consumer price data early, in the eye of the storm of the general election.
Friday's economic data added to the evidence that the German economy stumbled in July. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus slipped to €19.4B, from a revised €21.4B in June.
The U.K. economy underperformed its peers to an extraordinary degree in Q2.
China's trade surplus bounced back strongly in May, rising to $40.1B on our adjustment, from $35.7B previously.
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.
March's consumer price figures, released tomorrow, look set to show that inflation's ascent was kept in check by the later Easter this year compared to last. Nonetheless, CPI inflation will take big upward strides over the coming months, and it likely will exceed 3% by the summer.
Yesterday's trade data added to the evidence that momentum in the German economy slowed sharply at the start of the year.
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.
China's manufacturers ended the third quarter on a fairly strong note.
Brazilian assets were hit in Q3 by global external challenges, while domestic fundamentals gradually improved.
We expect to see a 70K increase in October payrolls today.
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.
Chinese PPI inflation was unchanged at 5.5% in July; it had been expected to rise modestly. Officially, inflation peaked at 7.8% in February, but we think this peak was artificially high, thanks to seasonal effects. The slowing in PPI inflation since the peak appears to suggest that monthly price gains have slowed sharply. We find little evidence to support this.
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.
2015 is set to be another grim year for Venezuela, and we have no hope things will improve further down the road, barring huge changes in policy.
China's January trade data were scheduled for release on Friday, but instead, the customs authority delayed the publication, saying it would publish the numbers with the February data
The reported 225K jump in payrolls in January was even bigger than we expected, but it is not sustainable. The extraordinarily warm weather last month most obviously boosted job gains in construction, where the 44K increase was the biggest in a year
The monthly survey of small businesses conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business is quite sensitive to short-term movements in the stock market, so we're expecting an increase in the November reading, due today.
The early Q4 hard data in Germany recovered a bit of ground yesterday.
The Conservatives successfully have defended their average poll lead over Labour of 10 percentage points over the last week.
Japan's GDP growth was revised up, to 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, from 0.1% in the preliminary reading.
Data released in recent days have started to reveal a story of horror and misery in the Brazilian economy.
The return of Chinese PPI inflation in 2016 helped to stabilise equities after the boom-bust of the previous year.
Long-time readers will be aware of our disdain fro the ADP employment report, which usually tells us nothing more than that the monthly changes in payrolls tend to mean-revert. That's because the published ADP employment number for each month is generated by regressions which incorporate lagged official payroll data, as well as information from companies which use ADP for payroll processing.
The huge rebound in September's ISM non- manufacturing survey, reported yesterday, strongly supports our view that the August drop was more noise than signal.
Demand in the German manufacturing sector stumbled at the end of Q4. Factory orders fell 0.7% month-to-month in December, but the details of the report were slightly more upbeat than the headline. The main hit came from a 2.5% fall in domestic orders, chiefly as a result of weakness in the intermediate goods sector.
We have argued for some time that investors began much too soon to look for stronger consumption in the wake of the drop in gasoline prices. Typically, turning points in gas prices trigger turning points in the rate of growth of retail sales with a lag of six or seven months.
Just two components of first quarter GDP were weak enough together to depress growth by 2.0 percentage points. Net foreign trade subtracted 1.25 percentage points, while falling investment in non-residential structures reduced growth by 0.75pp.
Investors are increasingly anxious that an intentional sharp devaluation of the renminbi, aiming to combat China's slowdown, might lead to prolonged deflation in the West, particularly in an economy as open as the U.K.
Today's September ISM manufacturing survey is one of the most keenly-awaited for some time. Was the unexpected plunge in August a one-time fluke--perhaps due to sampling error, or a temporary reaction to the Gulf Coast floods, or Brexit--or was it evidence of a more sustained downshift, possibly triggered by political uncertainty?
German Q4 GDP data this week will give little comfort to investors searching for signs of a resilient economy in the face of increased market volatility. The consensus expects unchanged GDP growth of 0.3% quarter-on-quarter, consistent with solid and stable survey data. But downbeat industrial production and retail sales data point to notable downside risk.
The Redbook chain store sales survey used to be our favorite indicator of the monthly core retail sales numbers, but over the past year it has parted company from the official data. Year-over-year growth in Redbook sales has slowed to just 0.7% in February, from a recent peak of 4.6% in the year to December 2014
The outcome of the Trump-Xi meeting at the G20 summit was as good as we expected.
Data released on Wednesday confirmed that the Brazilian economy was relatively resilient in Q1. Leading indicators suggest that it will do well in Q2 and Q3, but downside risks are rising.
China's official manufacturing PMI was little changed in January, ticking up to 49.5, from 49.4 in December, with the output and new orders sub-indices largely stable.
The Fed shifted its stance significantly in June, so we're expecting only trivial changes in today's statement.
China's official PMIs for March surprised well to the upside, cheering markets across Asia.
We agree wholeheartedly with the consensus view that the economy would enter a recession in the event of a no-deal Brexit on October 31.
Survey data have been signalling a resilient Brazilian economy in the last few months, despite the broader challenges facing LatAm and the global economy in 2019.
The year-long surge in CPI inflation in China will soon end.
Consumer price figures for March, released on Tuesday, likely will show that CPI inflation has taken another step up, probably to 0.4% from 0.3% in February. This should jettison lingering fears that the U.K. is mired in deflation and bolster the Monetary Policy Committee's conviction that inflation will hit the 2% target within the next two years.
Data released yesterday reinforced our forecast of a further rate cut in Brazil next month.
President Xi Jinping yesterday reiterated China's commitment to reform and the opening of its economy at a highly-anticipated speech at the Boao forum.
The pressure on Chinese industrial profits continued to ease in August, looking at the further moderation in PPI deflation.
Data yesterday suggest that EZ investor sentiment is on track for a modest recovery in Q3.
China's August foreign trade data were nasty, on the face of it, with exports falling 1.0% year-over- year, after the 3.3% increase in July.
Data released in recent days have supported our base case for further interest rate cuts in Mexico over the coming meetings.
The economy has remained remarkably resilient in the face of intense political uncertainty.
Markets tend to look to Italy as the canary in the coalmine for signs of stress in the EZ economy and financial markets, but we recommend keeping a close eye on Spain too.
A reader pointed out Friday that the standard measurement of the impact of the weather on January payrolls--the number of people unable to work due to the weather, less the long-term average--likely overstated the boost from the extremely mild temperatures.
The resilience and adaptability that the Chilean economy has shown over previous cycles has been tested repeatedly over the last year. Uncertainty on the political front, falling metal prices, and growing concerns about growth in China have been the key factors behind expectations of slowing GDP growth.
Markets' inflation expectations have fallen in recent weeks, maintaining the trend seen over the previous 18 months. The fall in expectations for the next year or so is justified by the sharp fall in oil prices. But expectations for inflation further ahead have drifted down too, even though lower oil prices will have no effect on the annual comparison of prices beyond a year or so from now.
China's trade surplus appears modestly to be rebuilding, edging up to $34.0B in November, on our adjustment, from $33.3B in October. The recent trough was $24.B, in March.
The MPC's asserted its independence in the minutes of December's meeting, firmly stating that there is "no mechanical link between UK policy and those of other central banks". Markets have interpreted this as supporting their view that the MPC won't be rushed into raising interest rates by the Fed's actions. Investors now expect a nine-month gap between the Fed hike we anticipate next week, and the first move in the U.K.
We see clear upside risk to the inflation data due before the FOMC announcement, from three main sources.
Markets rightly placed little weight on October's below-consensus GDP report yesterday, and still think that the chances of the MPC cutting Bank Rate within the next six months are below 50%.
The hard data now point to a horrendous Q3 GDP print in Germany, which almost surely will constrain the advance EZ GDP print released on October 30.
We remain confident in the success of legislation designed to compel the PM to request a further extension of the U.K.'s E.U. membership on October 19, in the overwhelmingly likely scenario that an exit deal is not agreed at next week's E.U. Council meeting.
Yesterday's trade data in Germany added to the evidence of a relatively slow rebound as the domestic and European economies emerged from lockdown.
Interest rate expectations continued to fall sharply last week.
In an interview with Bloomberg on Friday, PBoC Governor Yi Gang hinted at the intended policy if the trade war escalates.
We'd be surprised to see any serious shift in the tone of Fed Chair Powell's semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony today compared to the FOMC statement and press conference just three weeks ago.
It has been mostly doom and gloom for euro area investors in equities and credit this year.
Yesterday's industrial production report in Germany was much better than implied by the poor new orders data--see here--released earlier this week.
Yesterday's economic data in Germany were stellar, but base effects mean that the story for Q4 as a whole is less upbeat.
Friday's data provided the first bit of evidence that manufacturing in the Eurozone is headed for a slowdown in Q2, partly reversing the strength in Q1.
Most countries in LatAm are now fighting a complex global environment; a viral outbreak of biblical proportions and plunging oil prices, after last week's OPEC fiasco.
After three straight 0.3% increases in the core CPI, we are in agreement with the consensus view that September's report, due today, will revert to the 0.2% trend.
Since the protests in Hong Kong began, we've become increasingly convinced that China is backing away from a comprehensive trade deal with Mr. Trump.
Yesterday's news that Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine has a 90% effectiveness against the virus is unequivocally good news for the EZ economy, even if its positive impact won't register for some time.
October is likely to be as good as it gets for Chinese exporters for some time, with Covid-19 sweeping through developed markets once again.
The collapse in oil prices was the immediate trigger for the 7.6% plunge in the S&P 500 yesterday, but the underlying reason is the Covid-19 epidemic.
As we head to press, investors are holding their breath over whether today's trade talks between the U.S. and China will be enough for Mr. Trump to step back from his pledge to increase tariffs on $200B of Chinese goods to 25%.
We agree with the consensus and the MPC that October's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, will show that CPI inflation edged up to 2.5% in October, from 2.4% in September.
The Easter effect depressed services inflation more than markets expected in April, but the main downside surprise was the tepid rebound in non-energy goods inflation.
Japan's economy shrank by an historic 7.8% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, much worse than the 0.6% slip in the first quarter.
Japan's July adjusted trade surplus rebounded to ¥337.4B from ¥87.3B in June, far above consensus. On our seasonal adjustment, the rebound is slightly smaller but only because we saw less of a drop in June.
Banxico will meet tomorrow, and we expect Mexican policymakers to cut the main interest rate by 25bp, to 7.25%.
Yesterday's final EZ CPI data for March confirmed the message from the advance report that inflation pressures eased last month.
We expect August's consumer price figures, released on Wednesday, to show that CPI inflation declined to 2.4%, from 2.5% in July, matching the consensus and the Bank of England's forecast.
The EZ trade surplus in goods all but evaporated during lockdown.
Japan's exporters have largely shrugged off the country's second wave of Covid-19.
The BoJ is likely to stay on hold this week for all its main policy settings.
The incidence of the phrase "since the early nineties" has increased sharply in our Japan reports this year.
Colombia's December activity reports confirmed that quite strong retail sales last year were less accompanied by local production, which became only a minor driver of the economic recovery, as shown in our first chart.
December's consumer prices figures, released tomorrow, look set to show CPI inflation ticked up to 0.2% from 0.1% in November, despite the renewed collapse in oil prices. The further fall in energy prices this year means that the inflation print won't reach 1% until May's figures are published in June. But Governor Carney has emphasised that core price pressures will motivate the first rate hike--a focus he likely will reiterate in a speech on Tuesday-- meaning that a May lift-off is still on the table.
Data over the past week give a near-complete picture of how India's economy fared in the fourth quarter.
We've continuously warned that Japan's national accounts weren't sitting easily with the underlying signals from survey data, and monetary conditions, through last year.
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%.
The euro area's external surplus dipped at the start of Q4.
Our forecast that CPI inflation will return to the 2% target by the end of 2018 sets us apart from the MPC and consensus, which expect a more modest decline, to 2.4%.
Colombia's July activity numbers, released on Friday, portrayed still-strong retail sales and a reviving manufacturing sector, with both indicators stronger than expected.
We expect August's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, to reveal that CPI inflation dropped to 1.8% in August, from 2.1% in July, thereby undershooting the consensus, 1.9%.
When economic historians look back at the bizarre trade war of 2018-to-19, we think they will see Tuesday June 4 as the turning point, after which the threats of fire and brimstone were taken much less seriously, and markets began to ponder life after tariffs.
Sharp increases in retail sales over the last two months suggest that consumers are not overly concerned by the risk that the U.K. could leave the E.U. next week. Sales volumes rose 0.9% month-on-month in May, and April's surge was revised larger, to 1.9% from 1.3%.
Latin American markets and policymakers are bracing for another complicated week, after the second, and more aggressive, Fed emergency move over the weekend.
China's GDP report for the second quarter sprung an upside surprise, with the economy growing by 3.2% year-over-year--on paper--marking a sharp reversal from the 6.8% plunge in the first quarter, due to the country's nationwide lockdown.
The euro area's trade surplus slipped further mid- way through the second quarter; falling to a 15-month low of €16.9B in May, from a downwardly-revised €18.0B in April, and extending its descent from last year's peak of nearly €24.0B.
The most eye-catching aspect of December's consumer prices report was the pick-up in core inflation to 1.9%, from 1.8% in November, above the no-change consensus.
Chinese real GDP growth reportedly edged down to 6.7% year-over-year in Q2, from 6.8% in Q1.
The jump in CPI inflation to 2.7% in April, from 2.3% in March, was only partly to a temporary boost from the later timing of Easter this year. Indeed, inflation likely will rise further over the coming months as food, energy and core goods prices all continue to pick up in response to last year's depreciation of sterling.
Yesterday's economic reports confirmed that the Eurozone economy had a strong start to 2017. Real GDP rose 0.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q1, similar to the pace in Q4, and consistent with the first estimate. The year-over-year rate fell marginally to 1.7%, from 1.8% in Q4, mainly due to base effects.
Recent data in Argentina confirm the resilience of cyclical upturn.
The Eurozone's trade surplus rebounded slightly over the summer, rising to €16.6B in August from €12.6B in July, helped mainly by a 2.0% month-to- month jump in exports.
Yesterday's sole economic report showed that the Eurozone's external surplus recovered ground over the summer, but we don't think the rebound will last long.
The case for the MPC to hold back from implementing more stimulus was bolstered by September's consumer prices figures.
The beleaguered EZ car sector finally enjoyed some relief at the end of Q3, though base effects were the major driver of yesterday's strong headline.
The Monetary Policy Board of the Bank of Korea voted yesterday to lower its policy base rate to 1.25%, from 1.50%.
The headline rate of CPI inflation held steady at the 2% target in June, in line with the consensus and the MPC's Inflation Report forecast.
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.
June's consumer price figures threw a last minute curve-ball at the MPC ahead of its key meeting on August 2.
The spike in the May core CPI, and its likely echo in the core PCE, won't stop the Fed easing at the end of this month.
On the face of it, trade negotiations have deteriorated in the last week.
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.
The fall in CPI inflation to 2.6% in June, from 2.9% in May, greatly undershot expectations for an unchanged rate and it has made a vote by the MPC to keep interest rates at 0.25% in August a near certainty.
Colombia's GDP report, released last week, confirmed that it was the fastest growing economy in LatAm and everything suggests that it likely will lead the ranking again this year.
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.
Japan's February trade data were a shocker, but not for the reasons we expected, given the signal from the Chinese numbers.
Argentina's Recovery Continues, but the Rebound is Facing Setbacks
The Chilean economy was emerging in early Q1 from the self-inflicted shock from the social unrest in October, but the upturn was interrupted in early- March by the restrictive measures introduced to contain Covid-19.
Japan's economy contracted by 0.9% quarter-on- quarter in Q1, following a downwardly-revised 1.9% plunge in the previous quarter.
Chile's Q3 GDP report, released yesterday, confirmed that the economy gathered speed in the third quarter, but this is now in the rearview mirror.
PPI inflation has finally started to soften, after having increased steadily from 2.0% in April, and holding steady at 3.0% in Q3.
Japan's adjusted trade balance flipped back to a modest surplus of ¥116B in February, after seven straight months of deficit.
February's consumer price figures, released tomorrow, likely will show that CPI inflation fell to 2.8%--one tenth below the MPC's forecast--from 3.0% in January.
Chile's Q4 GDP report, released yesterday, confirmed that the economy accelerated at the end of last year, supported by rising capex and solid consumption.
The PBoC reduced its 14-day reverse repo by 5bp to 2.65% in a routine operation yesterday.
CPI inflation held steady at 1.5% in November, marking the fourth consecutive below-target print, though it was a tenth above both the MPC's forecast and the consensus.
China's data on Monday were beyond dire, leading to a dramatic downward revision of our already grim Q1 GDP forecasts for the country.
While Brexit news will dominate the headlines again--see here for why the odds remain against Mrs. May winning the third "meaningful vote"--February's consumer prices report is the highlight in this week's congested economic data calendar.
The half-way point of the quarter is not, alas, the half-way point of the data flow for the quarter.
Japan's trade deficit has bottomed out. The unadjusted shortfall narrowed to -¥833B in May,
The drop in CPI inflation to 0.5% in May, from 0.8% in April, brought it another big step closer to the near-zero rate we foresee in the second half of this year.
We expect May's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, to show that CPI inflation fell to 2.0% in May, from 2.1% in April.
Japanese policymakers have a wary eye on the weakness in industrial production and exports.
Friday's second Q1 GDP estimate confirmed that lockdowns to halt the spread of Covid-19 hurt the EZ economy in Q1. Real GDP plunged by 3.8% quarter-on- quarter, following a 0.1% rise in Q4, in line with the first estimate.
China's investment slowdown went from worrying to frightening in October. Last week's fixed asset investment ex-rural numbers showed that year- to-date spending grew by 5.2% year-over-year in October, marking a further slowdown from 5.4% in the year to September.
The 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.
Data this week confirmed that private spending in Colombia stumbled in June. Retail sales fell 0.7% year-over-year, from an already poor -0.4% in May. The underlying trend is negative, following two consecutive declines, for the first time since late 2009. Domestic demand remains subdued as consumers are scaling back spending due to weaker real incomes, lower confidence and tighter credit and labor market conditions.
September's consumer price figures helped to curb expectations that the MPC might raise Bank Rate again before the March Brexit deadline.
A November interest rate rise is far from the done deal that markets still anticipate, even though CPI inflation rose to 3.0% in September from 2.9% in August.
CPI inflation held steady at -0.1% in October, matching its lowest rate since March 1960. We had expected the rate to tick down to -0.2%, but the rebound in clothing inflation in October, following a period of discounting in September, was larger than we had anticipated. Looking ahead, we can be fairly confident that CPI inflation will pic k up sharply over the coming months.
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.
To avoid rocking the 2020 boat, the Phase One trade deal needed to be sufficiently vague, so that neither side, and particularly Mr. Trump, would have much cause to kick up a fuss around missed targets.
We doubt that this week will see the MPC joining the list of other major central banks that have abandoned plans to raise interest rates this year.
The unexpected rise in CPI inflation to 2.1% in July--well above the Bank of England's 1.8% forecast and the 1.9% consensus--from 2.0% in June undermines the case for expecting the MPC to cut Bank Rate, in the event that a no-deal Brexit is avoided.
Today's advance Q2 GDP report in Germany will add evidence that the EZ economy performed strongly in the first half of 2017. We can be pretty sure that the headline will be robust. The German statistical office reports a confidential number to Eurostat for the first estimate of EZ GDP--two weeks ahead of today's data--which was a solid 0.6%.
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.
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.
It's hard to know what to make of the October CPI data, which recorded hefty increases in healthcare costs and used car prices but a huge drop in hotel room rates, and big decline in apparel prices, and inexplicable weakness in rents.
Markets are caught in a trade loop.
The fall in CPI inflation to just 1.5% in October-- its lowest rate since November 2016--from 1.7% in September, isn't a game-changer for the monetary policy outlook.
The MPC chose not to rock the boat yesterday, deferring any reappraisal of the economic outlook until its next meeting in early February.
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.
Last week's horrible manufacturing data in the major EZ economies had already warned investors that yesterday's industrial production report for the zone as a whole would be one to forget.
China's trade surplus plunged to $46.4B in June, from $62.9B in May, largely in line with our below- consensus forecast.
Today's MPC meeting and minutes are the first opportunity for Committee members to speak out in over a month, now that election "purdah" rules have lifted.
Economists are evenly split on December's consumer prices report, due on Wednesday, with half expecting CPI inflation to fall to 2.1%, from 2.3% in November, and the other half expecting a 2.2% print.
Members of the Monetary Policy Committee have signalled that January's flash Markit/CIPS composite PMI, released on Friday 24, will have a major bearing on their policy decision the following week.
China's trade surplus jumped to a six-month high of $46.8B in December, from $37.6B in November, on the back of a strong increase in exports.
The weekly jobless claims numbers are due Thursday, as usual, but in the wake of a flood of emails from readers, all asking a variant of the same question-- should we be worried about the rise in continuing jobless claims?--we want to address the issue now.
Data on Friday showed that the upturn in French manufacturing petered out at the end of Q1.
Yesterday, China finally retaliated against Mr. Trump's Friday tariff hikes, promising to increase tariffs on around $60B-worth of U.S. goods.
November's consumer prices figures, released tomorrow, look set to show that the U.K.'s spell of negative inflation has ended. CPI inflation is set to pick-up decisively over the coming months, even if oil prices continue to drift down. In fact, fuel prices likely will contribute to the pick-up in inflation from October's -0.1% rate. November's 1.5% fall in prices at the pump was smaller than the 2.3% drop in the same month last year, so the year-over-year rate will rise. Fuel's contribution to CPI inflation therefore will pick up, albeit very marginally, to -0.47pp from -0.50pp in October.
Data released earlier this week show that Japan's current account surplus continued its downtrend in October, falling to ¥1,404B, on our seasonal adjustment, from ¥1,494B in September.
Our base case is that the core CPI rose 0.2% in December, but the net risk probably is to the upside. We see scope for significant increases in sectors as diverse as used autos, apparel, healthcare, and rent, but nothing is guaranteed.
President Trump blinked again yesterday, delaying tariffs on some $150B-worth of Chinese consumer goods until December 15.
Today's labour market report likely will show that employment continued to grow briskly over the summer, but that wage gains still are lagging well behind inflation.
The trend in manufacturing output probably is about flat, with no real prospect of any serious improvement in the near term.
August's consumer price figures, released today, likely will show that households' spending power is being increasingly eroded by rising inflation. We think CPI inflation picked up to 0.8%, from 0.6% in July, exceeding the consensus, 0.7%, for the third consecutive month.
Investors concluded too hastily yesterday that November's GDP report boosted the chances that the MPC will cut Bank Rate at its upcoming meeting on January 30.
Japan's unadjusted current account surplus fell sharply in November, to ¥757B, from ¥1,310B in October.
April's impressive-looking retail sales numbers--the headline jumped 1.3%, with non-auto sales up 0.8%--were boosted by two entirely separate factors, one of which will play no p art in May and one which will offer very modest support. The key lift in April came from the very early Easter, which confounded the seasonal adjustments, as it usually does.
To answer the question: Yes, growth could hit 5% in the second quarter.
Korea watchers appear to be hanging on Governor Lee Ju-yeol's every word, searching for any sign that he'll drop his hawkish pursuit of more sustainable household debt levels and prioritise short-term growth concerns.
May's consumer prices figures bolster the case for the MPC to sit tight and wait until next year to raise interest rates, when the economy should have more momentum.
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.
CPI inflation increased to 2.9% in May, from 2.7% in April, exceeding the no-change expectation of both the consensus and the MPC, as well as our own 2.8% forecast.
Manufacturing is not in recession, yet, despite the reams of gloomy analysis of the sector, including our own.
The 0.242% increase in the January core CPI left the year-over-year rate at 2.3% for the third straight month.
October's consumer price figures, to be released tomorrow, look set to show CPI inflation easing to -0.2%, from -0.1%, below the no-change consensus and the lowest rate since March 1960. No doubt this will spark more hyperbolic headlines about the U.K.'s descent into pernicious deflation; ignore them. October's print will almost certainly represent the nadir and we think it will take only a year for CPI inflation to return to the MPC's 2% target.
China's official real GDP growth likely slowed to 6.0% year-over-year in Q3, from 6.2% in Q2.
September's consumer price figures likely will surprise to the downside, prompting markets to reassess their view that the MPC will almost certainly raise interest rates next month.
The 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.
It's hard for a central bank presiding over an ageing economy to achieve a core inflation target of close to 2%. In yesterday's Monitor, we showed that German core inflation has averaged a modest 1.3% in this business cycle, despite solid GDP growth. The picture isn't much better for the ECB if we look at France.
Financial markets and economic data don't always go hand-in-hand, but it is rare to find the divergence presently on display in Italy.
Today's brings the June retail sales and industrial production reports, after which we'll update our second quarter GDP forecast.
Over the past 18 months, the year-over-year rate of growth of manufacturing output has swung from minus 2.1% to plus 2.5%.
The Eurozone's trade surplus remained subdued at the end of the second quarter; it dipped to €16.7B in June from €16.9B in May.
Yesterday's trade data showed that the Eurozone's external balance continues to improve markedly. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus in the euro area rose to €23.3B in December, a new all-time high, from a revised €21.6B in November.
The story of U.S. retail sales since last summer is mostly a story about the impact of the hurricanes, Harvey in particular.
The consensus forecast for a 0.6% month-to month rise in retail sales volumes in December--data released today--is far too timid.
Data on air quality in China provide some useful insights into the economic disruptions--or lack thereof--caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus from Wuhan and the government's aggressive containment measures.
China's activity data outperformed expectations in November.
Your correspondent is headed to the beach for the next couple of weeks, with publication resuming on Tuesday, September 4.
Incoming activity data from Colombia over the past quarter have been surprisingly strong, despite many domestic and external threats.
The euro area's external surplus remained resilient toward the end of 2017, in the face of a stronger currency. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus rose to €22.5B in November, from €19.0B in October, lifted primarily by a jump in German exports.
CPI inflation surprises look set to trigger larger- than-usual market reactions over the coming months, given that the MPC emphasised last month that it wants to see domestically-generated inflation rebound swiftly, after falling suddenly late last year, in order to justify keeping Bank Rate on hold.
We expect today's consumer price figures to show that CPI inflation remained at 1.0% in October, after jumping in September from 0.6% in August.
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.
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.
The combination of unexpectedly strong auto sales and rising gas prices should generate strong-looking headline retail sales numbers for October. We have no idea what to expect for November, with two-thirds of the month coming after the election, but the final pre- election sales report will look good.
CPI inflation held steady at 2.4% in October, undershooting the 2.5% consensus expectation and the MPC's forecast in this month's Inflation Report.
CHF traders, and the rest of the market, were blindsided yesterday by the decision of the SNB to scrap the 1.20 EURCHF floor. The SNB has already boosted its balance sheet to about 85% of GDP to prevent the CHF from appreciating, and with the ECB on the brink of adding sovereign bonds to its QE program, the peg was simply indefensible.
Few Eurozone investors are going blindly to accept the rosy premise of last week's relief rally in equities that both a Brexit and a U.S-China trade deal are now, suddenly, and miraculously, within touching distance. But they're allowed to hope, nonetheless.
We expect September's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, to show that CPI inflation held steady at 1.7%, below the 1.8% consensus.
Friday's economic data confirmed that inflation in Germany rebounded last month, and leading indicators suggest that it is headed higher in coming months.
The market-implied probability that the MPC will cut Bank Rate at its meeting on January 30 jumped to 63%, from 44%, following the release of December's consumer prices report.
Ahead of the release of the retail sales report for December 2018, markets expected to see unchanged non-auto sales.
ate last week, China and the U.S. reached an agreement, averting the planned U.S. tariff hikes on Chinese consumer goods that were slated to be imposed on December 15.
Markets greatly cheered the Conservatives' landslide victory on Friday, but remained cautious on the potential for the MPC to return to the tightening cycle it started in 2017.
Core CPI inflation plunged in the aftermath of the crash, reaching a low of 0.6% in October 2010. It then rebounded to a peak of 2.3% in the spring of 2012, before subsiding to a range from 1.6-to-1.9%, held down by slow wage gains and the strengthening dollar, until late last year. Faster increases in services prices and rents lifted core inflation to 2.3% in February, matching the 2012 high, but it has since been unchanged, net.
Yesterday's wave of data suggested that a good part of the strength in final demand in the second quarter was sustained into the first month of this quarter, and perhaps the second too.
Predictably, last weekend's G7 meeting in Canada ended in acrimony between the U.S. and its key trading partners.
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.
The falling unemployment rate and the threat it poses to the inflation outlook mean that the labor market numbers in the NFIB small business survey attract more attention than the other data in the report.
The headline number in today's NFIB survey of small businesses probably will look soft. The index is sensitive to the swings in the stock market and we'd be surprised to see no response to the volatility of recent weeks. We also know already that the hiring intentions number dropped by four points, reversing December's gain, because the key labor market numbers are released in advance, the day before the official payroll report.
China's trade surplus collapsed unexpectedly in April, to $13.8B, from a trivially-revised $32.4B in March.
China's residential property market surprised again in August, with prices popping by 1.5% month- on-month, faster than the 1.2% rise in July, and the biggest increase since the 2016 boomlet.
Markets will be hyper-sensitive to U.K. data releases following the MPC's warning that it is on the verge of raising interest rates.
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%
Tariffs are a tax on imported goods, and higher taxes depress growth, other things equal.
We have argued consistently since oil prices first began to fall that U.S. consumers would spend most of their windfall, so real spending would accelerate even as nominal retail sales growth was dragged down by the drop in the price of gas and other imported goods. At the same time, we argued that capital spending in the oil business would collapse, and that exports would struggle in the face of the stronger dollar.
We remain confident that a deal with Greece will be made, and that the country will stay in the euro area. But the need for both parties to avoid losing face domestically is still complicating the negotiations. Most importantly, Greece is no longer pledging an unconditional exit from the bailout program.
Today's wave of data will be mixed, but most of the headlines are likely to be on the soft side, so the reports are very unlikely to trigger a wave of last minute defections to the hawkish side of the FOMC. As always, though, the headlines don't necessarily capture the underlying story, and that's certainly been the case with the retail sales data this year. Plunging prices for gas and imported goods, especially audio-video items, have driven down the rate of growth of nominal retail sales, but real sales have performed much better.
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.
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 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.
March's consumer prices figures, released on Wednesday, are even more important than usual, as they are the last to be published before the MPC's next meeting on May 10.
December's consumer price figures, released tomorrow, likely will reveal that CPI inflation rose to 1.4%--its highest rate since August 2014--from 1.2% in November. Inflation will take even bigger upward steps over the coming months as the anniversary of sharp falls in commodity prices is reached and retailers pass on hefty increases in import prices to consumers.
The most important retail sales report of the year, for December, won't be published today, unless some overnight miracle means that the government has re-opened.
If the Fed really believed its own rhetoric--"Inflation is expected... to rise to 2 percent over the medium term as the transitory effects of past declines in energy and import prices dissipate and the labor market strengthens further"--it would have raised rates yesterday, given the very long lags between policy action and the response from the real economy.
We have been on the ECB's case recently. The action taken at last week's official meeting--see here--fell short of market expectations, but more importantly, Ms. Lagarde's communication around the decisions was disastrous.
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 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.
Our view on the trade data last week was that U.S. tariff hikes have caused minimal damage, so far. China's tariff increases on imports to date have resulted in stockpiling, with little evidence in the CPI of any inflationary pressure.
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.
Local policy drivers have remained in the spotlight in Brazil, against a background of important recent global events.
As a general rule, the best forecast of ADP payrolls in any given month is the official estimate for private payrolls in the previous month. This partly reflects the simple observation that payroll trends, once established, tend to persist, but it also is a consequence of ADP's methodology. The ADP number is generated from a model which combines both data collected from firms which use ADP for payroll processing, and lagged official data. The latter appear to be more important in determining in the month-to-month swings in the ADP number. ADP does not hide the incorporation of lagged official data in its model--you can read about it in the technical guide to the report--but neither does it shout it from the rooftops.
We anticipated that the G20 meeting at Osaka over last weekend would be a potentially important mark of thawing relations between China and the U.S., with the hotly awaited meeting between Messrs. Xi and Trump.
The Colombian economy has been able to grow this year despite the plunge in oil prices since the middle of 2014. Gains in consumers' spending and investment have offset part of the hit from falling exports. But private spending growth, nonetheless, slowed considerably during the first few months of the year, as shown in our char t below, in part due to rising prices for imported goods after the depreciation of the COP, as well as broad-based concerns over the state of the economy.
Today's Monitor is a good opportunity to remind readers about one of the most important rules of EZ business cycle analysis.
RPI inflation has declined in importance as a measure of U.K. inflation and was stripped of its status as a National Statistic in 2013. Yet it is still used to negotiate most wage settlements, calculate interest payments on index-linked gilts, and revalue excise duties. We have set out our above-consensus view on CPI inflation several times, including in yesterday's Monitor. But the potential for the gap between RPI and CPI inflation to widen over the coming years also threatens the markets' view that the former will remain subdued indefinitely.
Housing rents account for some 41% of the core CPI and 18% of the core PCE, making them hugely important determinants of the core inflation rate.
The imposition of tariffs on a further $200B-worth of Chinese imports is not a game-changer on the U.S.
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.
Today's trade figures likely will continue to show that the benefits from sterling's depreciation are being outweighed by the costs. Exports still are barely growing, but consumers are about to endure a substantial import price shock. The monthly trade deficit has been extremely volatile over the last year, generating a series of excessively upbeat or gloomy headlines. The truth is that the deficit has been on a slightly deteriorating trend, as our first chart shows. We think the trade deficit likely narrowed to £3.8B in December, from £4.2B in November, bringing it closer to its rolling 12-month average of £3.0B.
We're expecting a hefty increase in February payrolls today, but even a surprise weak number likely wouldn't prevent a rate hike next week. The trends in all the private sector employment surveys are strong and improving, and jobless claims have dropped to new lows too, though we think that's probably less important than it appears.
German exporters stumbled at the end of last year. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus in Germany dipped to €18.4B in December, from €21.8B in November, hit by a 3.3% month-to-month plunge in exports. Imports were flat on the month. The fall in exports looks dramatic, but it followed a 3.9% jump in the previous month, and nominal exports were up 2.5% over Q4 as a whole. Advance GDP data next week likely will show that net trade lifted quarter-on-quarter growth by 0.2 percentage points, partly reversing the 0.3pp drag in Q3. Real imports were held back by a jump in the import price deflator, due to rebounding oil prices.
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.
A plunge in apparel prices attracted most of the attention after the release of the March CPI report, but it was not, in our view, the most important number.
If Fed Chair Yellen's objective yesterday was to deliver studied ambiguity in her Testimony--and we believe it was--she succeeded. She offered plenty to both sides of the rate debate. For the hawks, she noted that unemployment is now "...in line with the median of FOMC participants' most recent estimates of its longer-run normal level", and that inflation is still expected to return to the 2% target, "...once oil and import prices stop falling".
The obsession of markets and the media with the industrial sector means that today's ISM manufacturing survey will be scrutinized far more closely than is justified by its real importance.
The Eurozone's TARGET2 system is a clearing mechanism for the real-time settling of large payments between European financial intermediaries. It's an important piece of financial architecture, ensuring the smooth flow of transactions. But we struggle to see these flows containing much information for the economy.
January's public finance data, released today, take on particular importance because they are the last to be published before the Chancellor delivers his first Budget on March 8. The public finances nearly always swing into surplus in January, primarily because the deadline for individuals to submit self-assessment--SA--tax returns for the previous fiscal year is at the end of the month. Firms also pay their third of four payments of corporation tax for their profits in the current fiscal year.
Banxico left Mexico's benchmark interest rate at 3.25% last week, after increasing it by 25bp in December, when the U.S. Fed raised rates. Banxico's board maintained its neutral tone and indicated that the balance of risks has deteriorated for growth and short-term inflation. As usual, policymakers reiterated the importance of following the Fed closely to avoid financial instability, which in turn could spill over to inflation.
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.
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.
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.
Fears over a Eurozone banking crisis have compounded market volatility recently, and sent bank equities into a tailspin. Deutsche Bank has been the focus of the attention, probably due to its systemic importance and opaque balance sheet. DB's stock price is down a staggering 38% year-to-date, and earlier this week, the German finance minister had to assure markets that he has no worries about the bank's position.
Apart from a slew of economic data--see here and here--two important things happened in Germany last week.
Japanese PPI inflation continues to be driven mainly by imported metals and energy price inflation. Metals, energy, power and water utilities, and related items, account for nearly 30% of the PPI.
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.
January's consumer price report, released today, likely will show that CPI inflation jumped to 1.9%--its highest rate since June 2014--from 1.6% in December. Inflation will continue to take big upward steps over the coming months, as retailers pass on to consumers large increase in import prices and energy companies increase tariffs.
More evidence indicating that the recovery in global industrial activity is underway and gaining momentum- has poured in. In particular, trade data from China, one of LatAm's biggest trading partners, was stronger than the market expected last month. Both commodity import and export volumes increased sharply in January, and this suggests better economic conditions for China's key trading partners.
The details of the substantial pay raises being offered to some 18K JP Morgan employees over the next three years are much less important than the signal sent by the company's response to the tightening labor market. In an economy with 144M people on payrolls, hefty raises for JP Morgan employees won't move the needle in the hourly earnings data.
With rates now certain to rise this week, the real importance of the employment picture is what it says about the timing of the next hike. To be clear, we think the Fed will raise rates again in June, and will at that meeting add another dot to the plot, making four hikes this year.
December's retail sales numbers are the most important of the year for retailers, but they don't necessarily tell us anything about the future prospects for consumers' spending or the broad economy. The December 2016 numbers, however, might be different, because they capture consumers' behavior in the first full month after the election.
Germany continues to draw fire for its ballooning trade surplus, but momentum in net exports is easing. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus dipped marginally to a three-month low of €19.7B in April, from €19.8B in March, as stronger imports offset a modest rise in exports. The German trade surplus averaged €19.9B in the first four months of 2017, about 10% lower than the cyclical peak, in the middle of 2016.
Retail sales have consistently disappointed markets this year, but investors' concerns are misplaced. The rate of growth of core sales has slowed because the strength of the dollar has pushed down the prices of an array of imported consumer goods, and people appear to have spent a substantial proportion of the saving on services.
Population ageing is, arguably, the most important long-term socioeconomic trend in the Eurozone. The demographic transition did not end in the 1970s as fertility hit replacement levels, contrary to the prediction by the stylised models of population change.
Over the last decade, the MPC has underestimated the extent and duration of departures of CPI inflation from the 2% target. Inflation exceeded the MPC's expectations in the early 2010s, as policymakers underestimated the impact of sterling's prior depreciation and overestimated the role that slack would play in stifling price pressures. Inflation also undershot the MPC's forecast between 2014 and 2016, when sterling's appreciation reduced import prices.
In the last two months, we have suggested that monetary conditions have turned the corner, but have cautioned that Lunar New Year distortions make the March data critically important.
Today's local elections are more important than usual, because they will enable investors to assess if the Conservatives really are on track for a landslide victory in the general election, as suggested by the opinion polls and priced-in by the forex market.
Tomorrow, Mexico's INEGI will release its inflation report for the second half of May, which is of key importance for Banxico's monetary policy. The Bank, in particular governor Agustin Carstens, has said on many occasions that it will watch external conditions and their impact on consumer prices closely. We expect inflation to edge down to 2.9% year-over-year in May, thanks to a 0.1% increase in the second half.
A plunge in imports saved the EZ economy from a contraction in second quarter GDP. Yesterday's final data showed that real GDP growth rose 0.3% quarter- on-quarter, slowing from a 0.5% jump in Q1. A 0.4 percentage points boost from net exports was the key driving force.
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.
It is still premature to make fundamental changes to our core views for the global or LatAm economy, following President Trump's plan to slap hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, potentially escalating into a global trade war.
Political developments are clouding the horizon in Mexico, at least temporarily. Mexico's Finance Minister Luis Videgaray, the mastermind behind President Enrique Peña Nieto's most important economic reforms, resigned on Wednesday. José Antonio Meade, a former finance chief, has been tapped to replace him.
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.
The plunge in oil prices me ans that U.S. oil imports are set to drop much further over the next few months, flattering the headline trade deficit. The trend in imports has been downwards since early 2013, as our first chart shows, reflecting the surge in domestic production. That surge is now over, but as falling prices become the dominant factor in the oil import story, the trend will remain downwards.
The advance trade data for February make it very likely that today's full report will show the headline deficit rose by about $½B compared to March, thanks to rising net imports of both capital and consumer goods, which were only partly offset by improvements in the oil and auto accounts.
Investors in Mexico likely will focus early this week on yesterday's gubernatorial election results in Nayarit, Coahuila and the State of Mexico. The latter is especially important, because it is viewed as a possible guide to the 2018 presidential election.
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.
Car sales were predictably weak in September, but they could have been a lot worse. Private registrations were down 8.8% year-over-year in the second most important month of the year.
Relative import strength jars with domestic data, while exports have yet to feel the full virus hit
Chinese imports ride high on tech and Phase One trade deal. Risks continue to build in Japan's financial account
In one line: Imports still weak, as firms continue to run down precautionary Brexit stockpiles.
In one line: Selling prices surge after tariffs on Chinese imports rise.
In one line: Imports rebounding faster than exports, driving up the deficit.
In one line: The post-tariff plunge in imports is starting to reverse.
In one line: Disappointing near-real-time claims are more important than the good retail sales data.
In one line: Rising import prices point to upside risk to the MPC's new inflation forecast.
In one line: The import surge will unwind in Q2.
In one line: A solid increase in imports as lockdowns were lifted.
In one line: Weakness in imports lifted the surplus; ZEW is still depressed.
In one line: Hit by jump in imports.
In one line: Hit by a jump in imports; the September headline will rebound.
Consumption remains an important source of economic growth in LatAm.
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.
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.
Fed Chair Yellen is a committed believer in the orthodox idea that inflation is largely a cost-push phenomenon, and that the most important cost, by far, is labor. So in order to predict what Dr. Yellen might say about the outlook for Fed policy in her Testimony today--beyond the language of the January FOMC statement--we have to take a view on her assessment of the state of the labor market.
• U.S.- Yellen is a good pick, but the senate majority is more important • EUROZONE - The EZ economy faces a double-dip recession in Q4 • U.K.- GDP won't return to its September level until spring • ASIA -Industrial production growth in China has peaked • LATAM - The virus is stabilising, but Christmas is around the corner
After three days of jaw-dropping actions from President Trump, the position seems to be this: The U.S. will apply 15% tariffs on imported Chinese consumer goods, rather than the previously promised 10%, effective in two stages on September 1 and December 15.
This week is, potentially, hugely important in determining the Fed's near-term view of the real state of the labor market and its approach to monetary policy over the next few months. The key event is the release of the fourth quarter employment cost index, which could make a material difference to perceptions of the degree of wage pressure.
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.
CPI inflation remained at 0.3% in February, below the consensus, 0.4%, and our own expectation, 0.5%. All the unexpected weakness, however, was in food and core goods prices, and past movements in commodity and import prices suggest that this will be fleeting
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.
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.
It probably would be wise to view the increase in the ISM manufacturing index in December with a degree of skepticism. The index is supposed to record only hard activity, but we can't help but wonder if some of the euphoria evident in surveys of consumers' sentiment has leaked into responses to the ISM. That said, the jump in the key new orders index-- which tends to lead the other components--looked to be overdue, relative to the strength of the import component of China's PMI.
LatAm's relatively calm market environment has been thrown into disarray over the last few weeks.New fears of a slowdown in China, political turmoil in the U.S. and, most importantly, the serious corruption allegations facing Brazil's President, Michel Temer, have triggered a modest correction in asset markets and have disrupted the region's near-term policy dynamics.
Q1 is not over yet, and we still await a lot of important data.
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.
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.
LatAm currencies have risen against the USD so far this year, easing the upward pressure on imported good prices and allowing most central banks to cut interest rates. The first direct effects of stronger currencies should be felt by firms which import high-turnover intermediate or final goods.
We already have a pretty good idea of what happened to consumers' spending in March, following Friday's GDP release, so the single most important number in today's monthly personal income and spending report, in our view, is the hospital services component of the deflator.
Today's wave of economic reports are all likely to be strong. The most important single number is the increase in real consumers' spending in July, the first month of the third quarter.
In a week of important global events, local factors remained in the spotlight in Brazil, with a more benign data flow and the central bank statement reducing the likelihood of an imminent end to the easing cycle.
Last week's QE announcement has made Eurozone inflation prints less important for investors, but the market will still be watching for signs of a turning point in benchmark bond yields. The data are unlikely to challenge bond holders in the short run, however, as the Eurozone probably slipped deeper into deflation in January.
The most important number, potentially, in today's wave of economic reports is the Employment Costs Index for second quarter.
Meetings are a nice way to stress test our base case stories and gauge what questions are important for clients.
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.
It's impossible to overstate the potential importance of last week's announcement by N.Y. Governor Cuomo that antibody testing suggests about one in five people in New York City have already been infected with Covid-19.
Tracking the consumer services sector has become more important since Covid-19, as it was flattened by the lockdown in Q2 and it might prove to be an incubator of new infections, if it becomes too busy.
The 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.
Ian Shepherdson's mission is to present complex economic ideas in a clear, understandable and actionable manner to financial market professionals. He has worked in and around financial markets for more than 20 years, developing a strong sense for what is important to investors, traders, salespeople and risk managers.
With the Mexican Elections on July 1st, our Chief Latam Economist Andres Abadia has received many questions about the possible outcomes and how this will affect the Mexican economy going forward.
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