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1875 matches for " sales":
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.
Retail sales fell sharply in September, highlighting that consumers still are spending only cautiously amid high economic uncertainty and falling real wages.
August's retail sales figures, released today, look set to show that growth in consumers' spending has remained subpar in Q3, casting doubt over whether the MPC will conclude that the economy can cope with a rate hike this year.
Signs that Easter trading was unusually poor lead us to anticipate a downside surprise from today's retail sales data for March. The BRC's Retail Sales Monitor, which surveys companies that account for 60% of total retail sales, was remarkably weak in March.
After two big monthly gains in existing home sales, culminating in October's nine-year high of 5.60M, we expect a dip in sales in today's November report. This wouldn't be such a big deal -- data correct after big movements all the time -- were it not for the downward trend in mortgage applications.
We're expecting to learn today that existing home sales rose quite sharply in July, perhaps reaching the highest level since early 2018.
Usually, we forecast existing home sales from the pending sales index, which captures sales at the point contracts are signed.
We have been puzzled in recent months by the sudden and substantial divergence between the Redbook chainstore sales numbers and the official data.
Today's official figures likely will show that retail sales weakened a touch in December. Indeed, we think that the consensus forecast for a 0.1% month-to-month decline in sales volumes is too timid; we look for a 0.5% drop. Retail sales surged by 1.8% month-to-month in October and then rose by 0.2% in November, so a correction is overdue. Clothing sales, in particular, likely fell sharply in December.
Expectations that the MPC will cut Bank Rate at its meeting on January 30 received a further shot in the arm at the end of last week, when December's retail sales figures were released.
Surveys suggest that today's retail sales figures will show that sales volumes increased by around 1% month-to-month in June, significantly exceeding the consensus, 0.4%. But the pickup in June likely will be just a blip; the further intensification of the squeeze on real wages and a tightening of unsecured lending standards will keep retail sales on a flat path in the second half of 2017.
June's 0.5% month-to-month fall in retail sales volumes does little to change the picture of recent strength.
Today brings more housing data, in the form of the May existing home sales numbers.
On the face of it, June's retail sales figures suggest that households have splurged in Q2, re-energising GDP growth after its slowdown in Q1. Sales volumes rose by 0.6% month-to-month in June, completing a 1.5% quarter-on-quarter jump in Q2.
Household spending has been the sole source of growth in the economy so far this year, amid worsening investment and net trade. Today's official retail sales figures, however, look set to show that consumers suffered the Brexit blues in June.
The downshift in the rate of growth of retail sales, which has caused a degree of consternation among investors, likely has further to run. The Redbook chain store sales survey clearly warned at the turn of the year that a slowdown was coming, but forecasters didn't want hear the warning: Five of the seven non-auto retail sales numbers released this year have undershot consensus.
The intensity of the pressure on households' finances was highlighted last week by December's retail sales report, which showed that volumes fell by 1.5% month-to-month, the most since June 2016.
We advise strongly against concluding from the above-consensus rebound in retail sales in May that the economy is embarking on a healthy, V-shaped recovery, from Covid-19.
The remarkably strong existing home sales numbers in recent months, relative to the pending home sales index, are hard to explain. In January, total sales reached 5.69M, some 6% higher than the 5.35M implied by December's pending sales index. The gap between the series has widened in recent months, as our first chart shows, and we think the odds now favor a correction in today's February report.
We have been pleasantly surprised by the recent Redbook chainstore sales numbers.
Existing home sales peaked last February, and the news since then has been almost unremittingly gloomy.
The consensus forecast of a mere 0.3% month-to-month decline in retail sales volumes in December, following the 1.7% surge in November, looks far too timid. We anticipate a much bigger decline, about 1%, bringing volumes back in line with their underlying trend. We can't rule out a bigger fall.
The weather-driven surge in December housing starts, reported last week, is unlikely to be replicated in today's existing home sales numbers for the same month.
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.
October's retail sales figures, published last Thursday, extended the month-long run of near consistent downside data surprises.
Retailers made hay while the sun shone in August, but clouds now are looming overhead. The 0.8% month-to-month rise in retail sales volumes took them 3.3% above last year's average.
Retail sales increased by 1.0% month-to-month in August, exceeding our no-change forecast and spurring markets to price-in a 65% chance that the MPC will raise interest rates at its next meeting on November 2, up from 60% beforehand.
August's retail sales figures create a misleading impression that consumers can be relied upon to pull the economy through the next six months of heightened Brexit uncertainty unscathed.
The 1.2% month-to-month fall in retail sales volumes in March undoubtedly was due mostly to the bad weather.
March auto sales were much weaker than expected, falling by 5.5% month-to-month to a 25-month low, 16.5M. The average for the previous six months was 17.8M. The sudden drop in March likely was driven in large part by the huge snowstorm which tracked across the Northeast in the middle week of the month, so we think a decent rebound in April is a good bet.
We are becoming increasingly convinced that momentum is starting to build in the housing market. That might sound odd in the context of the recent trends in both new and existing home sales, shown in our first chart, but what has our attention is upstream activity.
The consensus for a modest 0.5% month-to- month rise in retail sales volumes in October looks too timid; we expect today's data to show a 1% increase.
July's retail sales report, released on Friday, looks set to be the third in a row to surprise the consensus to the upside.
Data yesterday added further evidence of a slow recovery in Eurozone auto sales.
The chainstore sales numbers have been hard to read over the past year.
The consensus forecast for retail sales in December has been consistently too upbeat in recent years and we think most analysts are too sanguine yet again.
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%.
Here's something we didn't expect to write: The control measure of retail sales in May was slightly higher than in February.
A strong finish to the fourth quarter spared the EZ auto sector the embarrassment of posting an outright fall in domestic sales through 2019 as a whole.
The consensus forecast for a 0.6% month-to month rise in retail sales volumes in December--data released today--is far too timid.
On the face of it, the December core retail sales numbers were something of a damp squib. The headline numbers were lifted by an incentive-driven jump in auto sales and the rise in gas prices, but our measure of core sales--stripping out autos, gas and food--was dead flat. One soft month doesn't prove anything, and core sales rose at a 3.9% annualized rate in the fourth quarter as a whole.
We are still waiting for the promised rebound in EZ car sales.
Headline retail sales in June were just 1% below their January peak, and about 3% below the level they would have reached if the pre-Covid trend had continued.
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.
October's colossal 1.9% month-to-month jump in retail sales volumes greatly exceeded the 0.5% consensus and even our own top-of-the- range 1.0% forecast.
April's retail sales figures, released today, likely will show only a partial reversal of the sharp 1.3% month-to-month fall in sales volumes in March. This would reinforce the impression that the recovery in consumer spending has been becalmed by slower job growth, the intensification of the fiscal squeeze and heightened uncertainty about the economic and political outlook.
The level of mortgage applications long ago ceased to be a reliable indicator of the level of new home sales, thanks to the fracturing of the mortgage market triggered by the financial crash. But the rates of change of mortgage demand and new home sales are correlated, as our first chart shows, and the current message clearly is positive.
Car sales continue to offer solid support for consumption spending in the Eurozone. Growth of new car registrations in the euro area fell trivially to 10.6% year-over-year in September, from 10.8% in August, consistent with a stable trend. Surging sales in the periphery are the key driver of the impressive performance, with new registrations rising 22.1% and 17.1% in Spain and Italy respectively, and surging 30% in Portugal. Favorable base effects mean that rapid growth rates will continue in Q4, supporting consumers' spending.
Retail sales fell back to earth in September, indicating that the pick-up in spending over the summer largely was a weather-related blip.
The May auto sales numbers probably will be released just after our deadline at 4pm eastern time today, but all the signs are that a hefty rebound will be reported after April's plunge to just 8.6M, not much more than half the pre-Covid level.
We keep hearing that the auto market is struggling, but that idea is not supported by the recent sales numbers.
Retail sales volumes jumped by 2.3% month-to-month in April, exceeding the 1.0% consensus and even our 2.0% forecast. It would be a big mistake to conclude, however, that households' spending will propel the economy forward this year like it did between 2013 and 2016.
December's retail sales figures, released today, likely will show that the surge in spending in November was driven merely by people undertaking Christmas shopping earlier than in past years, due to Black Friday.
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.
We expect August's retail sales figures, released on Thursday, to surprise modestly to the upside, supporting the MPC's view--which it will reaffirm later that day--that no fresh monetary stimulus is required any time soon.
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.
In the short-term, all the housing data are volatile. But you can be sure that if the recent pace of new home sales is sustained, housing construction will rise.
The consensus for retail sales volumes to rise by a mere 0.3% month-to-month in November, after falling by 0.4% in September and 0.5% in Oc tober, looks too downbeat.
April's retail sales figures, due Thursday, likely will show that spending recovered from snow-induced weakness in March.
The rate of growth of chain store sales has levelled off in recent months, after slowing dramatically in the first four months of this year, almost certainly in response to falling prices for dollar-sensitive goods like household electronics. In the fourth quarter of last year, the Redbook recorded same-store sales growth averaging 4.3%, but that has slowed to a 1-to-2% range since April.
The release yesterday of the weekly Redbook chainstore sales report for the week ended Saturday August 4 means that we now have a complete picture of July sales.
The downturn in car sales is showing no sign of abating. Data released yesterday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed that private registrations fell 10.1% year-over-year in October, much worse than the 6.6% average drop in the previous 12 months.
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.
It would be a mistake to conclude much about the economic impact of the Brexit vote from today's official industrial production figures for September, and the British Retail Consortium's figures for retail sales in October.
In one line: Some improvement in retails sales, which now face renewed headwinds; infrastructure growth driver sputters.
If the Redbook chain store sales survey moved consistently in line with the official core retail sales numbers, it would attract a good deal more attention in the markets. We appreciate that brick-and-mortar retailers are losing market share to online sellers, but the rate at which sales are moving to the web is quite steady and easy to accommodate when comparing the Redbook with the official data.
At first glance, car sales appear to be staging a strong recovery, mirroring the better news on high street spending in Q2.
The 5% year-over-year increase in private new car registrations in January ended a nine-month period of falling sales. January's increase, however, is unlikely to be a bellwether for car sales over the whole year, or for the strength of consumer spending more generally.
Data yesterday showed that consumers in the euro area increased their spending in February, following recent weakness. Retail sales rose 0.7% month-to-month in February, reversing the cumulative 0.4% decline since November. The year-over-year rate was pushed higher to 1.8% from an upwardly revised 1.5% in January.
The release of pent-up Japanese consumer demand in June was emphatic, with retail sales values jumping by 13.1% month-on-month.
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.
Consumers' spending in the Eurozone stalled at the start of Q4. Retail sales slid 1.1% month-to-month in October, pushing the year-over-year rate down to a four-year low of 0.4%, from an upwardly-revised 4.0% jump in September.
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.
In one line: EZ inflation is picking up; retail sales look misleadingly strong given base effects in Q4.
In one line: Solid EZ retail sales and German new orders; and upward revisions to the PMIs.
In one line: Core sales have surged in Q3, but expect a much weaker Q4.
In one line: The trend in sales is rising, and inventory is falling.
In one line: Core sales growth is slowing after unsustainable strength.
In one line: The V-shaped retail sales recovery is unrepresentative of overall spending.
In one line: Disappointing near-real-time claims are more important than the good retail sales data.
In one line: A bit disappointing, but expect rising sales over the next few months.
In one line: The rebound is consolidating; expected steady spring/summer sales.
In one line: A decent report boosted by Black Friday sales and severance funds.
In one line: When consumers can't shop, sales don't do well.
In one line: Disappointing, but online sales will rebound next month.
In one line: Not pretty; sales fell over Q2 as a whole.
In one line: Sentix expectations fell; not quite a full V in EZ retail sales, but it's a good start.
In one line: Tame underlying inflation pressures; terrible real sales.
The value of Japanese retail sales bounced back strongly in December, rising 0.9% month-on-month, after a 1.1% drop in November.
Auto industry watchers at WardsAuto and JD Power are in agreement that today's September sales numbers will be little changed from a year ago, at around 17.5M.
Industry estimates for August light vehicle sales suggest that the downshift in sales which began at the turn of the year is over, at least for now.
On the face of it, the surge in retail sales volumes in September suggests that the U.K. consumer is in fine fettle and can prevent the economic recovery from losing momentum as exporters struggle and government spending retrenches. But the underlying picture is less encouraging and consumers won't be able to sustain the recent robust growth in real spending when inflation revives next year.
We are a bit troubled by the persistent weakness of the Redbook chain store sales numbers. We aren't ready to sound an alarm, but we are puzzled at the recent declines in the rate of growth of same-store sales to new post-crash lows. On the face of it, the recent performance of the Redbook, shown in our first chart, is terrible. Sales rose only 0.5% in the year to July, during which time we estimate nominal personal incomes rose nearly 3%.
New home sales have tended to track the path of mortgage applications over the past year or so, with a lag of a few months. The message for today's January sales numbers, show in our next chart, is that sales likely dipped a bit, to about 525K.
In November, existing home sales substantially overshot the pace implied by the pending home sales index.
Now that the holidays are just a distant memory, the distortions they cause in an array of economic data are fading. The problems are particularly acute in the weekly data -- mortgage applications, chainstore sales and jobless claims -- because Christmas Day falls on a different day of the week each year.
The monthly new home sales numbers are so volatile that just about anything can happen in any given month.
New home sales are much more susceptible to weather effects -- in both directions -- than existing home sales. We have lifted our forecast for today's February numbers above the 575K pace implied by the mortgage applications data in recognition of the likely boost from the much warmer-than-usual temperatures.
We look for a 12.5% month-to-month jump in the official measure of retail sales in June, released on Friday. This easily would top the consensus, 8.3%, for a second consecutive month.
The level of new home sales is likely to hit new cycle highs over the next few months, with a decent chance that today's July report will show sales at their highest level since late 2007.
If the recovery in existing homes hadn't been interrupted by the taper tantrum, in the spring of 2013, sales by now would likely be running at an annualized rate in excess of 6M. The rising trend in sales from late 2010 through early 2013 was strong and stable, as our first chart shows, but the decline was steep after the Fed signalled it would soon slow the pace of QE, and it was made temporarily worse by the severe late fall and early winter weather.
Hot on the heels of yesterday's grim-looking-- temporarily--existing home sales numbers for May, we see upside risk for today's new sales data.
Under normal circumstances, we would expect today's retail sales figures to reveal that volumes rebounded in February, following the 2.7% fall over the previous three months. But the continued weakness of spending surveys suggests that we should brace for another soft report.
Advance Eurozone consumer sentiment fell disappointingly to -7.1 in July, from -5.6 in June, but it is consistent with a solid trend in retail sales growth. Household consumption in the zone has surged in the last four quarters, and a modest loss of momentum in Q3 and Q4 is a reasonable bet. But we see little risk of a sharp slowdown in the shor t run, and the trend in spending growth should stabilize at an annualised 1.5% this year.
The recovery in existing home sales appears to have stalled, at best.
Retail sales in Mexico plunged at the end of Q4, but we think households' spending will continue to contribute to GDP growth in the first quarter.
Retail sales in Mexico fell in Q4, but we think households' spending will continue to contribute to GDP growth in the first quarter, at the margin.
The Redbook chainstore sales survey today is likely to give the superficial impression that the peak holiday shopping season got off to a robust start last week.
The startling 5.5% drop in auto sales in March left sales at just 16.5M, well below the 17.4M average for the previous three months and the lowest level since February last year. A combination of the early Easter, which causes serious problems for the seasonal adjustments, and the lagged effect of the plunge in stock prices in January and February, likely explains much of the decline.
Most of the time, markets view auto sales as a bellwether indicator of the state of the consumer. Vehicles are the biggest-ticket item for most households, after housing, and most people buy cars and trucks with credit. Auto purchase decisions, therefore, tend not to be taken lightly, and so are a good guide to peoples' underlying confidence and cashflow. We appreciate that things were different at the peak of the boom, when anyone could get a loan and homeowners could tap the rising values of their properties, but that's not the situation today.
Japan's retail sales data--due out on Thursday-- have been badly affected by the October tax hike.
February's retail sales figures highlighted that consumers' spending was flagging even before the Covid-19 outbreak.
We are fundamentally quite bullish on the housing market, given the 100bp drop in mortgage rates over the past six months and the continued strength of the labor market, but today's May new home sales report likely will be unexciting.
The 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.
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.
Improving fundamentals have supported private spending in Mexico during the last few quarters. This week's soft retail sales report does not change the picture of a strong underlying trend in consumption. Sales were weaker than expected, falling 1.1% month-to-month in September, but this followed a 1.5% jump in August, and average gains of 1.1% in the previous three months. Mexican retail sales are much more volatile than in most developed economies, and we have been expecting mean reversion following rapid gains during the first half of the year and most of Q3.
June's surge in retail sales is not a sign that households' total spending is zipping back to pre- downturn levels.
Brazil's consumer resilience in Q3 continued to November, but retail sales undershot market expectations, suggesting that the sector is not yet accelerating and that downside risks remain.
Japanese retail sales were unchanged in October month-on-month, after a 0.8% rise in September.
We can't remember the last time a single economic report was as surprising as the December retail sales numbers, released yesterday.
We expect the run of downbeat news on the U.K. economy to be punctuated today by January's retail sales figures.
We want to be very clear about the terrible-looking December retail sales numbers: The core numbers were much less bad than the headline, and there is no reason to think the dip in the core is anything other than noise.
After a very light week for economic data so far, everything changes today, with an array of reports on both activity and inflation. We expect headline weakness across the board, with downside risks to consensus for the December retail sales and industrial production numbers, and the January Empire State survey and Michigan consumer sentiment. The damage will b e done by a combination of falling oil prices, very warm weather, relative to seasonal norms, and the stock market.
Wednesday's better-than-expected, but still grim, November retail sales report in Brazil does not change the miserable underlying trend. Sales volumes rose 1.5% month-to-month, much better than expected, and the biggest increase in a year. But the year-over-year rate fell to -7.8% from -5.7% in October. The details underscored our view that the month-to-month jump in sales was due mostly to temporary factors.
Brazil's consumer spending data yesterday appeared downbeat. Retail sales fell 2.1% month-to-month in December, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 4.9%, from -3.8% in November. This is a poor looking headline, but volatility is normal in these data at this time of the year, and the underlying trend is improving.
The 0.8% jump in nominal November retail sales is consistent with a 0.4% rise in real total consumption, which in turn suggests that the fourth quarter as a whole is likely to see a near-3% annualized gain.
After last week's relatively light flow of data, today brings a wave of information on both the pace of economic growth and inflation. The markets' attention likely will fall first on the September retail sales numbers, which will be subject to at least three separate forces. First, the jump in auto sales reported by the manufacturers a couple of weeks ago ought to keep the headline sales numbers above water.
Retail sales have lost steam over the past couple of months, even if you look through the headline gyrations triggered by swings in auto sales and gasoline prices.
No matter how you choose to slice-and-dice the recent retail sales numbers, the core data for the past couple of months have been disappointing. Our favorite measure--total sales less autos, gasoline, food and building materials--rose by just 0.1% month-to- month in May but then reversed this minimal gain in June.
Let's be clear: The July retail sales numbers do not mean the consumer is rolling over, and the PPI numbers do not mean that disinflation pressure is intensifying. We argued in the Monitor last Friday, ahead of the sales data, that the 4.2% surge in second quarter consumption--likely to be revised up slightly--could not last, and the relative sluggishness of the July core retail sales numbers is part of the necessary correction. Headline sales were depressed by falling gasoline prices, which subtracted 0.2%.
Whichever way you choose to slice the numbers, retail sales growth has slowed this year. Ex-gasoline, ex-autos, core, whatever, sales growth in year-over-year terms is notably weaker now than at the end of last year. It is equally, true, however, that after-tax incomes have risen at a robust pace--up 3.8% in the year to May, exactly the same pace as in the year to May 2014--so consumers in aggregate have plenty of cash to spend. So, what's holding people back at the mall? Why aren't they spending more?
The trend in retail sales no longer looks quite so flat, following yesterday's May report. The level of sales volumes in April was revised up by 0.3%.
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.
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.
Today's retail sales figures for August likely will rebut the widespread view that spendthrift consumers will prevent a sharp economic slowdown. We look for a 1% month-to-month decline in retail sales volumes in August, well below the -0.4% consensus forecast.
Momentum in new EZ car sales improved slightly in the middle of Q3. New registrations in the euro area rose 6.8% year-over-year in August, accelerating marginally from a 5.3% increase in July.
The 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.
October's 0.1% month-to-month fall in retail sales volumes was disappointing, following substantial improvements in the CBI, BRC and BDO survey measures.
Brazil's retail sales improved at the start of the second quarter, increasing 0.5% month-to-month in April, partially reversing the 0.9% contraction in March. But the details were less upbeat than the headline.
This week's wave of data starts today, but most of the attention will fall on just one report, February retail sales. We expect weak-looking numbers, thanks to the plunge in gas prices, which likely will subtract some 0.6% from the non-auto sales number.
Don't worry about the weakness of the recent retail sales numbers. The three straight 0.1% month-to- month declines tell us nothing about the underlying state of the consumer.
The story of U.S. retail sales since last summer is mostly a story about the impact of the hurricanes, Harvey in particular.
So, what should we make of the fourth straight disappointment in the retail sales numbers? First, we should note that all is probably not how it seems. The 0.2% upward revision to March sales was exactly equal to the difference between the consensus forecast and the initial estimate, neatly illustrating the danger of over-interpreting the first estimates of the data.
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.
Brazil's consumer recession finally eased in November. Retail sales jumped 2.0% month-to- month, following an upwardly-revised 0.3% drop in October, and the year-over-year rate rose to -3.5% from -8.1%. November's astonishing performance probably reflects seasonal adjustment problems related to Black Friday discounting. Sales have climbed in the last four Novembers, suggesting that consumers' pre-Christmas spending patterns have shifted permanently.
Retail sales ex-autos have undershot consensus forecasts in eight of the 11 reports released so far this year, prompting interest rate doves to argue that consumers have not spent their windfall from falling gas prices. But this ignores the impact of falling prices--for gasoline, electronics, furniture, and clothing--on the sales numbers, which are presented in nominal terms.
In three of the past four months, new home sales have been reported above the 460K top of the range in place since early 2013. Sales dipped below this mark in November, when the weather across the country as a whole was exceptionally cold, relative to normal.
Take at look at the chart below, which shows core retail sales on a month-to-month and year-over-year basis. What's most striking about the chart is not the latest data, showing robust 0.8% gains in core sales--we exclude autos, gasoline and food--in both October and November, but the solidity of the trend since the winter.
You might remember that the December retail sales report surprised significantly to the downside, thanks to the impact of falling gasoline prices. The data are reported in nominal dollars, not volumes, so falling prices depress the numbers.
April's Retail Sales Monitor from the British Chambers of Commerce, released yesterday, provided a powerful signal that households' spending rebounded in April, following a terrible Q1.
Brazil's retail sales ended the second quarter on a less-bad footing. Sales volumes increased 0.1% month-to-month in June, pushing the year-over-year rate up to -5.3%, from -9.0% in May. Smoothed year-over-year growth in retail sales has improved to -7% from its cyclical trough of around -9% in the end of last year.
The headline ISM non-manufacturing index is not, in our view, a leading indicator of anything much. The survey covers a broad array of non manufacturing activity, including mining, healthcare, and financial services, but most of the time it tends to follow the track of real core retail sales, as our first chart shows.
Today's March retail sales report will likely disappoint, despite the already- downbeat consensus forecast of a 0.7% month-to-month fall. We think sales fell 1.2%, equivalent to a 1.3% increase year-over-year, due mostly to the bigger-than-expected 2.3% plunge in German sales, reported too late to be incorporated in the Bloomberg consensus.
Today's official retail sales figures look set to show that consumers tightened their purse strings at the start of this year, following last year's spending spree. We think that retail sales volumes rose by just 1.0% month-to-month in January; that would be a poor result after December's 1.9% plunge. Surveys of retailers have been weak across the board. The reported sales balance of the CBI's Distributive Trade Survey collapsed to -8 in January, from +35 in December. The balance is notoriously volatile, but the 43-point drop is the largest since the survey began in 1983.
Our view that households will continue to spend more in the first half of this year, preventing the economy from slipping into a capex-led recession, was not seriously challenged yesterday by the BRC's Retail Sales Monitor.
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%.
Sooner or later, the surge in consumers' spending power triggered by the drop in gas prices and the acceleration in payrolls will appear in the retail sales data.
Retail sales account for some 30% of GDP--more than all business investment and government spending combined--so the monthly numbers directly capture more of the economy than any other indicator. Translating the monthly sales numbers into real GDP growth is not straightforward, though, because the sales numbers are nominal. Sales have been hugely depressed over the past year by the plunging price of gasoline and, to a lesser extent, declines in prices of imported consumer goods.
The consensus for a mere 0.3% month-to-month rise in retail sales volumes in November looks too timid; we anticipate a 0.7% gain.
We are a bit uneasy about today's data on economic activity. The NFIB index of activity in the small business sector is likely to undershoot consensus expectations, while retail sales are something of a black hole, at least at the core level, where we have no reliable month-to-month advance indicators. Our bullish view on the underlying state of the economy, and its likely second-half performance, hasn't changed, but perceptions count in the short-term and these reports will help set the market mood just ahead of Chair Yellen's Testimony tomorrow.
Evidence of a modest upturn in Brazilian consumers' spending continues to mount. Retail sales rose 1.0% month-to-month in April, pushing the year-over-rate up to +1.9%, from an upwardly-revised -3.2% in March.
We have argued for some time that market disappointment over the recent sluggishness of consumption has been misplaced. In our view, investors have placed too little weight on the impact of the severe winter, and have been too hasty in looking for the impact of the drop in gasoline sales.
Evidence that Brazil's consumption recession has hit bottom seemed to vanish yesterday with the May retail sales report. Sales plunged 1.0% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-rate down to a terrible-looking -9.0%, from a revised -6.9% in April. Adding insult to injury, the month-to-month number for April was revised down by 0.2 percentage points.
The reported rebound in January retail sales was welcome, but the overshoot to consensus was matched, more or less, by the unexpected downward revisions to the December numbers.
The headline March retail sales numbers probably will look horrible, thanks to the unexpected drop in auto sales reported by the manufacturers earlier this month. Their unit sales data don't always move exactly in line with the dollar value numbers in the retail sales report, as our first chart shows, but it's hard to imagine anything other than a clear decline today.
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.
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.
We are not concerned by the slowdown in retail sales over the past few months.
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
On the face of it, recent retail spending surveys have been puzzlingly weak in light of the pick-up in employment growth, still-robust real wage gains and renewed momentum in the housing market. We think those surveys are a genuine signal that retail sales growth is slowing, and expect today's official figures to surprise to the downside. But retail sales account for just one-third of household spending, and, in contrast to the early stages of the economic recovery, consumers now are prioritising spending on services rather than goods.
This week's labour market, inflation and retail sales data--the last before the MPC meets on May 10--will have a major bearing on the Committee's decision.
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.
Ahead of the release of the retail sales report for December 2018, markets expected to see unchanged non-auto sales.
January's retail sales figures look set to show that growth in consumers' spending remains stuck in low gear.
The two marquee economic reports today, covering May retail sales and industrial production, will capture the initial rebound after the economy hit bottom sometime in mid-April.
Chinese April retail sales growth slowed sharply in value terms, to 9.4% year-over-year, from 10.1% in March.
The softness of the headline September retail sales numbers hid a decent 0.5% increase in the "control" measure, which is the best guide to consumers' spending on non-durable goods.
The headline retail sales numbers for October looked good, but the details were less comforting.
The consensus view that today's retail sales data will show volumes increased by 0.2% month-to-month in October is too sanguine.
Yesterday's data on EZ car sales added to the evidence that consumers' spending is slowing. We now reckon sales will rise by 1% quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter, after gains averaging 2.6% in the first half of the year.
The remarkable recent strength in retail sales continued into November, with total sales volumes rising by 0.2% and sales ex-motor fuels up by 0.5%. Those numbers aren't spectacular but they have to be seen in the context of October's huge 1.9% jump in sales ex-motor fuel; usually, after such a big gain we'd expect a correction the following month.
Growth in new EZ car sales slipped last month, following a strong start to the year. New registrations rose 4.4% year-over-year in February, slowing from a 8.7% rise in January.
July's retail sales report signalled a good start to the third quarter but also implied that second quarter spending was stronger than previously thought. The upward revisions--totalling 0.5% for total sales and 0.4% for non-auto sales--were the biggest for some time, but we were not unduly surprised.
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Retail Sales in November
Chief UK Economist Samuel Tombs on UK Retail Sales
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K Retail Sales in May
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Retail Sales in February
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on U.S. Home Sales
Samuel Tombs on U.K. Retail Sales in June
Demand for new mortgages to finance house purchase has rebounded somewhat in recent weeks, following an alarming dip in the wak e of October's stock market correction. At the low, in the third week in October, the MBA's index of applications volume was at its lowest since mid-February, when the reported numbers are substantially depressed by a long-standing seasonal adjustment problem.
In one line: Robust growth ahead of the virus disruptions.
The underlying U.S. consumer story, hidden behind a good deal of recent noise, is that the rate of growth of spending is reverting to the trend in place before last year's tax cuts temporarily boosted people's cashflow.
In one line: Grim, but probably not grim enough.
In one line: Just a dip; Q1 was excellent overall.
In one line: A German recession edges ever closer.
In one line: A good start to the year; it could come in handy for Q1 as a whole!
In one line: Ouch; but these data often swoon.
In one line: Grim, but not representative of the trend.
In one line: Ugly, but also the bottom.
In one line: EZ GDP growth held up by consumers' and government spending.
In one line: Back on disinflation watch.
In one line: Solid, which is a pity; the Q1 headline will be ruined by the March data.
In one line: Not pretty, but mostly due to crazy volatility in Germany.
In one line: Ugly, but much better than we had feared.
In one line: Barnstorming, but a setback looms in the December report.
In one line: Blame Germany; the data were decent elsewhere.
In one line: Horrible, but it will be revised higher.
In one line: Inflation pressures easing sharply; consumers were struggling even before the virus.
In one line: A poor finish to 2019, but we expect a modest recovery in Q1.
In one line: A good start to Q3.
In one line: A modest increase, but an uptrend is consolidating.
In one line: Extremely ugly, but this likely will mark the floor.
In one line: Demand was stuttering even before Covid-19.
In one line: A solid m/m increase; the quarter as whole should be decent.
In one line: Poor, but April will be much worse.
In one line: A big downside surprise.
In one line: Another signal of feeble economic activity
In one line: The economy was on the mend before the virus, but Covid-19 will hit hard.
In one line: Struggling, but the second half of the year will be better.
In one line: Grim, due to Covid-19, but a modest recovery likely will emerge in Q3.
In one line: A solid start of the year.
In one line: A further rebound in investor sentiment, and a robust Q1 for the EZ consumer.
In one line: Weak, but the full hit will come in April.
In one line: A modest upturn is underway, but the overall picture remains bleak.
In one line: The economy is on the mend, unevenly.
In one line: Stabilising, but a long and painful road to full recovery.
In one line: Terrible, but this likely will be the bottom.
In one line: Horrible, but the consensus was always too optimistic.
In one line: There's your V-shaped rebound.
We remain very bullish on the housing market, given sustained 11-year highs in applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase.
Over the past couple of weeks, the number of applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase have reached their highest level since late 2010, when activity was boosted by the impending expiration of a time-limited tax credit for homebuyers.
A very light week for U.S. data concludes today with four economic reports, which likely will be mixed, relative to the consensus forecasts. The recent run of clear upside surprises and robust-looking headline numbers is likely over, for the most part.
Today's housing market data likely will look soft, but will probably not be representative of the underlying story, which remains quite positive.
The weekly mortgage applications numbers have been wild recently, but our first chart shows that the trend underneath the noise is solid.
Further evidence emerged yesterday in support of our view that mortgage lending conditions are easing. The monthly mortgage origination report from Ellie Mae, Inc., a private mortgage processing firm, shows average credit scores for both successful and unsuccessful loan applications continue to trend downwards--though the latter rose marginally in February--while loans are closing much more quickly than in the recent past.
Today brings a wave of data which will help analysts narrow their estimates for first quarter GDP growth, and will offer some clues, albeit limited, about the early part of the second quarter.
China's September activity data, released at the end of last week, back up our claim that GDP growth weakened in Q3, on a quarter-on-quarter basis.
The first wave of domestic third quarter data crashes ashore this morning.
August's money and credit figures show that households' incomes remain under pressure, indicating that the recent pick-up in growth in consumers' spending likely won't last.
One of the key positive signs in the Eurozone data since the virus hit has been the evidence that households' liquid money balances have been well supported by job retention schemes, extended unemployment insurance, and aggressive monetary stimulus.
Equity prices for U.K. retailers have performed woefully since the E.U. referendum. The FTSE All-Share Index for general retailers has underperformed the overall All-Share Index by nearly 30% since the Brexit vote.
Tariffs are a tax on imported goods, and higher taxes depress growth, other things equal.
Our current base-case forecast for the second quarter is a 30% annualized drop in GDP, based on our assessment of the hit to discretionary spending by both businesses and consumers.
Brazil's consumer sluggishness in Q3 and early Q4 eased in November.
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.
Economic data in Brazil over the second quarter were relatively positive, and June reports released in recent weeks, coupled with leading indicators for July, are encouraging.
The RICS Residential Market Survey caught our eye last week for reporting that new sale instructions to estate agents rose in May for the first month since February 2016.
Momentum in the EZ auto sector rebounded at the end of the second quarter.
The EZ manufacturing data have shown signs of a rebound in the auto sector recently.
The economic recovery would have lost more momentum last year had consumers not delved so deeply into their pockets. Real household spending increased by 0.7% and 0.8% quarter-on-quarter in Q3 and Q4 respectively, in contrast to investment and exports, which fell in both quarters.
The rational thing to do when the price of a consumer good you are considering buying is thought likely to rise sharply in the near future is to buy it now, provided that the opportunity cost of the purchase--the interest income foregone on the cash, or the interest charged if you finance the purchase with credit--is less than the expected increase in the price.
The immediate impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the auto market was calamitous.
In one line: A solid rebound, but the overall consumer picture remains grim.
We argued yesterday that the steep declines in the ISM surveys in August, both manufacturing and services, likely were one-time events, triggered by a combination of weather events, seasonal adjustment issues and sampling error. These declines don't chime with most other data.
Some of the rise in the saving rate in recent months is real, but part of the increase likely reflects seasonal adjustment problems. The saving rate has risen between the fourth and first quarters in eight of the past 10 years, as our first chart shows.
We look for August's GDP report, released on Thursday, to show that output held steady, following July's 0.3% month-to-month jump.
In one line: Normal services are resuming; uncertainty lies ahead.
In one line: Another setback, but the V-shaped rebound is intact.
Politics remain centre-stage in Brazil, despite positive news on the economic front. President Michel Temer's government continues to advance pension reform, despite the tight calendar and concerns about his political capital. But volatility is on the rise.
In one line: Another V spotted in the EZ data.
The June employment report pretty much killed the idea that the Fed will cut rates by 50bp on July 31.
Consumer spending has been the main locomotive of the economic recovery over the last couple of quarters, as investment and net trade have dragged on growth. Signs are emerging, however, that consumption is slowing too.
Improving fundamentals have supported private spending in Mexico during the current cycle.
The Brazilian consumer will continue to suffer from high interest rates and a deteriorating labour market this year. But sentiment data imply that the fundamentals are stabilising, at least at the margin. The headline consumer sentiment gauge, published by the FGV, has improved significantly in the past five months, and we expect another modest increase later this month
Mexico's private spending stumbled at the start of the second quarter.
We have been bullish about the housing market for some time now--since Google searches for "new homes" and mortgage demand began to pick up, in late April--but we might not have been bullish enough.
Economic data in Mexico continue to come in strong.
Data yesterday showed that EZ consumers' spending was off to a bad start in the third quarter.
It would be a mistake to conclude from July's car registrations data that the market finally has turned a corner.
The wave of May data due for release today likely will go some way to countering the market narrative of a seriously slowing economy, a story which gained further momentum last week after the release of the May employment report.
The EZ retail sector slowed at the start of Q3, though only slightly.
Mexico's February industrial production report was weaker than markets expected. Output expanded by 0.7% year-over-year, below the consensus, 1.2%, and slowing from 0.9% in January.
In one line: A good start to the second quarter but downside risks remain.
In one line: The last hit from the Covid shutdowns; expect a full rebound over the summer.
In one line: Probably distorted by the exclusion of Black Friday, despite the statisticians' best efforts.
In one line: Benefiting from a reallocation of services spending; the overall consumer picture remains bleak.
In one line: Snapping back after political-related weakness in Q4.
In one line: Great, but March and April, at least, will be grim.
In one line: This is the bottom; expect a big rebound in May.
In one line: Is the invincible consumer wobbling? Too soon to be sure, but Q4 looking soft.
In one line: Lockdowns and colossal job losses aren't great for the housing market.
In one line: The strong housing rebound continues.
In one line: Reversal of December's seasonally-afflicted drop; the trend is rising.
In one line: Flagging even before the virus hit.
In one line: Shockingly weak, leaving the MPC's January meeting now finely balanced.
In one line: Recovering pre-virus.
In one line: Pointing to a rebound in the official data in December, though Q4 trading was subdued overall.
In one line: A huge decline, but timelier data point to a tentative recovery in May.
In one line: Probably this year's peak.
In one line: Consistent with a big rebound in the official data.
In one line: Back to pre-Covid levels, but not for long.
In one line: A collapse that reverses nearly 15 years of growth.
In one line: Depressed by its exclusion of Black Friday this year.
In one line: A hefty rebound, with a further recovery to come in June.
In one line: Housing still strong, but confidence data point to slowing spending growth.
In one line: Expect the rebound to start in May.
In one line: Worst month ever, but this is the floor.
In one line: Well on the way to full recovery, unlike the rest of the economy.
In one line: Housing was on a tear before the virus.
In one line: Noise not signal; the housing market is strengthening.
In one line: Still rising, but not for much longer if Congress fails to act.
In one line: Solid Dec but downward revisions will hit Q4 GDP estimates.
In one line: Startling, in a good way.
In one line: Horrendous.
In one line: Don't worry about the soft control number.
In one line: Data from another world.
In one line: The biggest one-month drop in more than six years, but April will be much worse.
In one line: Housing is the strongest major sector of the economy; more to come.
In one line: Old news; April will be much worse.
In one line: The housing recovery continues; more to come.
In one line: Great, before the virus.
In one line: Both volumes and prices have further to rise.
In one line: The rebound from the tax hit continues, fitfully.
In one line: A correction; the trend is rising and new cycle highs are coming.
In one line: Boosted by mild winter weather, but the underlying trend is rising strongly too.
In one line: Housing surge continues, but consumers' confidence is fraying.
In one line: Bottoming-out.
In one line: As good as it will get for retailers this year.
In one line: Continued strength not indicative of households' overall spending.
In one line: A mediocre month, but a lasting slowdown isn't likely.
In one line: Sub-par, once the Easter effect is excluded.
In one line: Resilience in private spending, but the weakness of the labour market is a risk.
In one line: Poor and downside risks remain.
In one line: Probably just one isolated soft month; consumers have the means to spend more.
In one line: Lower energy prices push inflation down at the end of Q2.
In one line: Households aren't fazed by the political crisis.
In one line: Poor performance likely due to warm weather hitting demand for clothing.
In one line: Consumers remain unperturbed by Brexit risks.
In one line: Likely to be just an isolated bad month.
In one line: A decent rebound, but risks remain.
In one line: Robust, but downside risks remain.
In one line: A poor first quarter for retailers.
In one line: Stronger than expected, but threats persist.
In one line: Poor, growth slowed rapidly in Q2.
In one line: A strong Q3 and upside risks to private consumption looking forward.
In one line: A solid rebound, but downside risks remain.
In one line: A weak report, but Q3 as a whole was decent.
In one line: A soft Q1, and the outlook remain challenging.
In one line: Decent momentum in private consumption, but threats are rising.
In one line: A soft end to the year, but consumption likely will improve slightly in Q1.
In one line: No cause for alarm.
In one line: Boosted by Amazon Prime Day, but the underlying trend is solid.
In one line: A correction; the trend is rising
In one line: The trend is rising, despite the September dip; new cycle highs likely by year-end.
In one line: Recovery continues; further gains ahead.
In one line: Moving sideways, but not for much longer; expect a strong second half.
In one line: Spectacular, thanks in large part to the Amazon Prime event.
In one line: A 4% quarter for consumers' spending does not make a compelling case for easier money.
In one line: Still benefiting from the release of pent-up demand and a decline in overseas travel.
In one line: Soft, but quite likely to be revised upwards.
In one line: The consumer is firmly back on track; Q1's softness was misleading.
In one line: Encouraging.
In one line: A decent month, but much better to come later in the year.
In one line: Another solid performance in Q3.
In one line: Sluggish, but not alarming.
In one line: May's drop simply reflects usual volatility; the underlying trend remains strong.
In one line: The old cliché still applies - never write off the U.K. consumer.
In one line: Undershoot compared to mortgage demand; expect a rebound.
In one line: Solid, and new highs likely over the next few months.
In one line: Disappointing, but the trend is turning higher.
In one line: Expectations are softening as the trade war continues, but housing is the bright spot.
In one line: Disappointing, but the trend is still rising.
In one line: A good report; on track for another solid quarter.
For some time now we have argued that the forces which have depressed business capex--the collapse in oil prices, the strong dollar, and slower growth in China--are now fading, and will soon become neutral at worst. As these forces dissipate, the year-over-year rate of growth of capex will revert to the prior trend, about 4-to-6%. We have made this point in the context of our forecast of faster GDP growth, but it also matters if you're thinking about the likely performance of the stock market.
Improving consumer fundamentals continue to underpin growth in private spending in Mexico, according to retail sales and inflation reports published this week. March retail sales were much stronger than expected, jumping 3.0% month-to-month, after averaging gains of 0.8% in the preceding three months. And sales for the three months through February were revised up marginally.
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.
New home sales surprised to the upside in May, rising 6.7% to 689K, a six-month high.
Colombia's economic activity surprised to the upside in February, despite the challenging domestic environment. Private spending rose more than expected, but leading indicators suggest that household consumption will remain weak in Q2. Retail sales jumped 4.6% year-over-year in February, up from a 2.1% increase in January, and the fastest pace since August 2015.
Brazil's retail sales plunged in August, falling 0.9% month-to-month--the seventh consecutive contraction -- and with a net revision of -0.6%. The broad retail index, which includes vehicles and construction materials, dropped 2.0% month-to-month, the biggest fall this year, due mainly to a 5.2% collapse in auto sales, reversing July's unexpected increase. In annual terms, headline sales fell by an eye-popping 6.9% in August, after the downwardly-revised 3.9% drop in July. In short, the sales data show that consumers are suffering. They will struggle for some time yet.
Data yesterday suggest Eurozone consumers' spending rebounded towards the end of Q4. Retail sales rose 0.3% month-to-month in December, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 1.4%, from a revised 1.6% in November. A +0.3 percentage point net revision to the month-to-month data added to the optimism, but was not enough to prevent a slowdown over the quarter as a whole.
Across all the major economic data, perhaps the biggest weather distortions late last year and in the early part of the year were in the retail sales numbers, specifically, the building materials component. Sales rocketed at a 16.5% annualized rate in the first quarter, the biggest gain since the spring of 2014, following a 10.2% increase in the fourth quarter of last year.
The slowdown in retail sales in the first quarter and the recent pick-up in the number of retailers seeking protection from creditors begs the question: are consumers retrenching, or just spending their money elsewhere?
Eurozone consumers' spending jumped in Q2, but we are pretty certain that a slowdown in retail sales constrained growth in Q3.
The February activity report in Colombia showed a modest pick-up in manufacturing activity and strength in the retail sales numbers.
Mexican consumers' spending improved toward the end of Q2. Retail sales jumped by 1.0% month-to-month in June, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 9.4%, from an already solid 8.6% in May. Still, private spending lost some momentum in the second quarter as a whole, rising by 2.5% quarter-on-quarter, after a 3.8% jump in Q1. A modest slowdown in consumers' spending had to come eventually, following surging growth rates in the initial phases of the recovery.
Brazil's retail sales data undershot consensus in August, falling by 0.5% after four straight gains. But we think this merely a temporary softening, following the strong performance in recent months.
The macro data reported in Brazil this week added weight to the view that the economy ended the second quarter in a severe recession. Brazil's retail sales fell 0.4% month-to-month in June, the fifth consecutive contraction. The broad retail index, which includes vehicles and construction materials, fell 0.8% month-to-month, with a sharp contraction in auto sales, down 2.8%.
The recession in Brazilian consumers' spending continues, but the severity of the pain is easing. Retail sales plunged 0.9% month-to-month in March, pushing the year-over-rate down to -5.7%, from a revised -4.2% in February. The March headline likely was depressed by the early Easter.
The sluggishness of existing home sales in recent months, as exemplified by yesterday's report of a small dip in June, is due entirely to a sharp drop in the number of cash buyers.
The 1.4% month-to-month rise in retail sales volumes in February is not a game-changer for the economy's growth prospects in Q1. The increase reversed just under half of the 2.9% decline between October and January. The 1.5% fall in retail sales in the three months to February, compared to the previous three months, is the worst result in seven years.
Mexico's private spending stumbled at the start of the second quarter. Retail sales fell 0.3% month-to-month in April after three consecutive increases, hit by an unexpected 1.6% drop in both supermarket and apparel sales, and a surprising 1.2% fall in food sales. In year-over-year terms, total sales rose 4.6% in April, down from 5.6% in March.
Monthly manufacturing and retail sales data point to upside risk to the consensus expectation of 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q1 Eurozone real GDP growth. Advance country data indicate that industrial production was unchanged month-to-month in March, equivalent to a 0.9% increase quarter-on-quarter.
When Fed Chair Powell said last week that the "surprise" weakness in the official retail sales numbers is "inconsistent with a significant amount of other data", we're guessing that he had in mind a couple of reports which will be updated today.
Another day, another couple of April reports likely to reverse March "weakness", triggered by the early Easter. We look for robust core durable goods and pending home sales reports, with the odds favoring consensus-beating numbers. In both cases, though, the noise-to-signal ratio is quite high, and we can't be certain the Easter seasonal unwind will be the dominant force in the April data.
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.
Retail sales data later today will give us the first hard data from the fourth quarter, and the story should be altogether more positive than the still downbeat message from the manufacturing sector.
Growth in new EZ car sales remained brisk last month, growth slowed in Q3. New registrations rose 9.4% year-over-year in September, marginally lower than the 9.6% increase in August. Growth in France fell most, sliding to 2.5% from 6.7% in August, but sales in Germany picked up to 9.4%, from 8.3%.
German retail sales always have to be taken with a pinch of salt, given their monthly volatility and often substantial revisions, but the preliminary Q2 data don't look pretty.
October's retail sales figures confirm that consumers have adopted a more cautious mindset since the summer, when retail sales increased at a faster rate than incomes.
In the wake of the robust July data and the upward revisions to June, real personal consumption--which accounts for 69% of GDP--appears set to rise by at least 3% in the third quarter, and 3.5% is within reach. To reach 4%, though, spending would have to rise by 0.3% in both August and September, and that will be a real struggle given July's already-elevated auto sales and, especially, overstretched spending on utility energy.
Over the sleepy August holidays, a view has gained traction in the media that the U.K. economy is showing little damage from the Brexit vote. Optimists argue that the size and composition of the 0.6% quarter-on-quarter rise in Q2 GDP, the 1.4% month-to-month jump in retail sales volumes in July, and the slight dip in the unemployment claimant count demonstrate that the recovery is in good shape.
March data for retail sales and manufacturing have tempered our optimism for the advance Q1 GDP estimate in Germany next week. Industrial production fell 0.5% month-to-month in March, equivalent to a mere 0.1% increase year-over-year, mainly as a result of weakness in core manufacturing activities.
Retail sales values in Japan plunged by 14.4% month-on-month in October, reversing September's 7.2% spike twice over.
Media reports suggest that the underlying trends in retailing--rising online sales, declining store sales and mall visits--continued unabated over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Growth in Eurozone car sales slowed slightly at the end of the first quarter. New car registrations in the euro area rose 5.8% year-over-year in March, down from a 14.4% increase in February. But the 12-month average level of new registrations jumped to new cyclical highs of 440,000 and 252,000 in the core and periphery respectively.
On Friday last week, the Chinese authorities suspended sales of domestic and international tours, in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which started in Wuhan.
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 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.
Colombia's July activity numbers, released on Friday, portrayed still-strong retail sales and a reviving manufacturing sector, with both indicators stronger than expected.
Japan's May retail sales rebound was underwhelming at a mere 0.3% month-on-month, after a 0.1% fall in April.
All the evidence indicates that growth in Mexican consumers' spending is slowing, despite the better- than-expected November retail sales numbers, released yesterday.
Consumers' spending in the second quarter is still set to be less than great, thanks in part to unfavorable base effects from the first quarter, but a respectable showing of about 2¾% now seems likely. The core May retail sales numbers were a bit stronger than we expected, with gains in most sectors, and the upward revisions to April and March were substantial.
Yesterday's March retail sales report for Mexico is in line with other recently released hard and survey data, painting an upbeat picture of the economy.
The robust July retail sales numbers, coupled with the substantial upward revisions to prior data, should finally put to bed the idea that consumers have chosen spontaneously to raise their saving rate, accelerating the pace of deleveraging seven years after the financial crash. People just don't behave like that unless interest rates are soaring and the economy is rolling over, and that's not happening.
The gap between the official measure of the rate of growth of core retail sales and the Redbook chainstore sales numbers remains bafflingly huge, but we have no specific reason to expect it to narrow substantially with the release of the April report today.
The recent increases in single-family housing construction are consistent with the rise in new home sales, triggered by the substantial fall in mortgage rates over the past year.
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.
Evidence of slowing economic activity in Colombia continues to mount. Retail sales fell 2.0% year- over-rate in April, down from a revised plus 3.0% in March; and the underlying trend is falling. This year's consumption tax increase, low confidence, tight credit conditions, and rising unemployment continue to put private consumption under pressure.
June's retail sales figures provided a timely reminder that consumers aren't being haunted by the warnings of the damage that a no -deal Brexit would entail.
Yesterday's report on October private spending in Mexico was positive, suggesting that consumption remained relatively strong at the start of Q4. Retail sales jumped 1.6% month-to-month, following a modest 0.2% drop in September. October's rebound was the biggest gain since March this year, but note that wild swings are not unusual in these data. The headline year-over-year rate rose to 9.3%, from 8.1% in September, but survey data signal to a gradual slowdown in coming months to around 5%.
The headline May retail sales numbers were flattered by a 2.4% leap in the wildly volatile building materials component and a price-driven 2.0% surge in gasoline sales.
We can't finalize our forecast for residential investment in the second quarter until we see the June home sales reports, due next week, but in the wake of yesterday's housing starts numbers we can be pretty sure that our estimate will be a bit below zero.
The Chinese activity data published yesterday were a mixed bag, with headline retail sales and production weakening, while FAI growth was stable. We compile our own indices for all three, to crosscheck the official versions.
Consumption accounts for almost 70% of GDP, and retail sales account for about 45% of consumption.
July's retail sales figures--the first official data for Q3--provided a reassuring signal that consumers can be counted on to drive the economy as the Brexit deadline nears.
Colombian activity data released this last week were upbeat, better than we expected, showing a significant pickup in manufacturing output and improving retail sales. Retail sales rose 3.1% year- over-year, after a modest 1.0% increase in June.
The Greek economy escaped recession in the second half of last year. Real GDP rose a cumulative 1.2% in Q2 and Q3, following a 0.6% fall in Q1. And industrial production and retail sales data suggest that the advance GDP report released later this month will show that the momentum was sustained in Q4. Headline survey data, however, indicate that downside risks to the economy remain.
The Japanese government's plan to smooth out the consumption cliff-edge generated by October's sales tax hike is either going too well, or consumers now are facing fundamental headwinds.
The surge in July core retail sales was flattered by the impact of the Amazon Prime Event, which helped drive a 2.8% leap in sales at nonstore retailers.
Momentum in the rebound in economic activity has faded over the past couple months, housing and auto sales aside.
At the headline level, much of the recent U.S. macro dataflow has been disappointing. January retail sales, industrial production, housing starts, and both ISM surveys--manufacturing and non-manufacturing-- undershot consensus, following a sharp and unexpected drop in December durable goods orders.
The run of weak retail sales figures continued yesterday, with the release of November's official data.
January's retail sales figures, released today, look set to indicate that consumers are keeping the recovery going, amid deteriorating business sentiment and faltering external trade.
Data released on Friday confirmed that Colombian activity lost momentum in Q4, following an impressive performance in late Q2 and Q3. Retail sales rose 4.4% in November, down from 7.4% in October and 8.3% in Q3.
We see downside risk to the housing starts numbers for April, due today. Our core view on housing market activity, both sales and construction activity, is that the next few months, through the summer, will be broadly flat-to-down.
Colombia's economy defied rising political uncertainty at the start of the year. Retail sales growth jumped to plus 6.2% year-over-year in January, up from -3.8% in December and -1.8% in Q4.
Today brings only the May existing home sales report, previewed below, so we have an opportunity to look over the latest near-real-time data on economic activity. The picture is mixed.
New home sales performed better during the winter than any other indicator of economic activity. At least, we think they did. The mar gin of error in the monthly numbers is enormous, typically more than +/-15%.
On balance, our conviction that the MPC will surprise markets on May 2 by retreating from its dovish stance has risen, following last week's labour and retail sales data.
Brazil's consumer recession seems never-ending. Retail sales fell 0.8% month-to-month in October, pushing the headline year-over-year rate down to -8.2% in October, from -5.7% in September. Recent financial market volatility, credit restrictions and the ongoing deterioration of the labour market continue to hurt consumers.
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.
This week brings home sales data for July, which we expect will be mixed. New home sales likely rose a bit, but we are pretty confident that existing home sales will be reported down, following four straight gains. We're still expecting a clear positive contribution to GDP growth from housing construction in the third quarter, but from the Fed's perspective the more immediate threat comes from the rate of increase of housing rents, rather than the pace of home sales.
Eurozone GDP data last Friday suggest the cyclical recovery continued at the end of last year. Real GDP in euro area rose 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, the same as in Q3, lifted by growth in all the major economies. This was in line with the consensus forecast, but noticeably higher than implied by monthly industrial production and retail sales data.
Today's brings the June retail sales and industrial production reports, after which we'll update our second quarter GDP forecast.
It would be a serious mistake to conclude from July's retail sales figures that consumers' spending will be immune to the fallout of the Brexit vote. Households have yet to endure the hiring freeze and pay squeeze indicated by surveys of employers, or the price surge signalled by sterling's sharp depreciation. The real test for consumers' spending lies ahead.
When the dust settles after today's wave of data, we expect to have learned that core retail sales continued to rise in June, core inflation nudged back up to its cycle high, and manufacturing output rebounded after an auto-led drop in May. None of these reports will be enough to push the Fed into early action, but they will add to the picture of a reasonably solid domestic economy ahead of the U.K. Brexit referendum.
So far, the surge in retail spending promised by the plunge in gasoline prices has not materialized. The latest Redbook chain store sales numbers dipped below the gently rising trend last week, perhaps because of severe weather, but the point is that the holiday season burst of spending has not been maintained.
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.
A classic indicator of impending recession is the emergence of excessive levels of inventory across the economy. The pace of businesses inventory accumulation typically lags sales growth, so when activity slows, usually in response to higher interest rates, firms are left with unsold goods.
Last week's hard data in Colombia were upbeat, confirming that economic growth accelerated in the first half. Retail sales rose 5.9% year-over-year in May, overshooting consensus.
Whatever today's report tells us about existing home sales in January, the underlying state of housing demand right now is unclear. The sales numbers lag mortgage applications by a few months, as our first chart shows, so they're usually the best place to start if you're pondering the near-term outlook for sales. But the applications data right now are suffering from two separate distortions, one pushing the numbers up and the other pushing them down. Both distortions should fade by the late spring, but in they meantime we'd hesitate to say we have a good idea what's really happening to demand.
Mexican retail sales jumped 1.0% month-to-month in October, the biggest gain since February, following a poor performance in Q3.
Retail sales in Japan rose modestly in May, after collapsing in March and April, as the government tried to put a lid on the country's Covid-19 outbreak.
News websites are emblazoned with the headline that retail sales are falling at their fastest rate since the 2008-to-09 recession.
Last Friday's August auto sales numbers were overshadowed by the below-consensus payroll report and the six-year high in the ISM manufacturing index, but they are the first data to reflect the impact of Hurricane Harvey.
China's industrial production growth downtrend worsens. China's retail sales dragged down by autos but boosted as people spend more at home. China's fixed asset investment growth slows despite greater support from infrastructure.
The obvious answer to the question posed in our title is that it's far too early to tell what will happen to first quarter growth. More than half the quarter hasn't even happened yet, and data for January are still extremely patchy, with no official reports on retail sales, industrial production, housing, capex, inventories or international trade yet available. For what it's worth, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model signals growth of 3.4%, though we note that it substantially overstated the first estimate of growth in the fourth quarter.
Last week we reported on the V-shaped recovery in German retail sales--see here--as lockdowns ended mid- way through Q2.
We have revised up our second quarter consumption forecast to a startling 4.0% in the wake of yesterday's strong June retail sales numbers, which were accompanied by upward revisions to prior data.
Chinese quarterly GDP growth was dire. China's industrial production was due an upward correction. China's retail sales data suggest that households took a Q3 battering. China's FAI growth shows no signs of turning. Japan's CPI avoids deflation.
EZ consumers' spending slowed at the start of Q3. Retail sales slipped 0.3% month-to-month in July, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 2.6% from an upwardly revised 3.3% in June.
Mexico's latest hard data suggest things might not be as bad as we feared. Retail sales and manufacturing output were relatively strong at the end of last year, the Q4 preliminary GDP report was mostly upbeat, and the labor market was firing on all cylinders.
Taken at face value, the retail sales data in the euro area suggest that consumers' spending hit a brick wall at the end of 2018.
Eurozone consumers had a slow start to the second quarter. Retail sales increased a modest 0.1% month- to-month in April, but the March headline was revised up by 0.3 percentage points, and the year-over-year rate increased by 0.2pp to 1.7% due to base effects.
China's PMIs are not yet fully picking up the coronavirus; China's non-manufacturing PMI lifted by local government spending; not yet hit by the virus; Japan's job postings still suggest the unemployment rate is unsustainably low; Japan's national inflation has less far to fall than Tokyo's; The coronavirus will delay the return of Japanese retail sales to pre-tax hike levels; Investment goods drive Japan's IP rebound in December; no real support now for consumer goods production; December probably is as good as it will get for Korean industrial production, for now
The delay in the processing of personal income tax refunds this year appears not to have had any adverse impact on retail sales, so far. Indeed, the Redbook chainstore sales survey suggests that sales have accelerated over the past few weeks.
Judgement pending on Chinese industrial production. Chinese retail sales buoyed by inflation. Chinese FAI growth stable through Q4; local government spending better managed this year. China's housing market still not reached a bottom. Japan's tertiary index plunge is more tax hike than typhoon. Japan's PMIs underline damage from tax hike.
Evidence continues to build that Korea's August unemployment plunge was a fluke. October sales tax hike in Japan opens the door for a quicker exit from PPI deflation.
The rate of growth of Brazil consumers' spending is perhaps beginning to stabilize, though at a very low pace. Core retail sales volumes were flat in Q4 after a 2.7% contraction in Q3, and sentiment data suggest this improving trend should continue, at least in the very near term.
Short-term trends in Chinese industry continued to soften in May, with catch-up growth fading, No noticeably May Day lift, as retail sales in China continue to fall behind, Chinese investment looks to have taken a breather in May, Don't put too much stock into the stronger increase in Chinese home prices, Japan's tertiary index should rebound from April, but Q2 is a write-off
Our caution over China's March industrial production spike was justified. Chinese retail sales growth hits lows. Chinese FAI growth suggests private sector policy loosening isn't working. Japan's M2 growth upturn is a welcome break, but needs to be sustained. Korean unemployment jumps in April, showing the limits of the government's hiring spree.
Chinese production surprises in April, as catch-up growth and inventory build continue; Disappointing sales headline in China masks respectable short-term trends; Recovery in secondary investment in China still lagged behind tertiary capex; PPI deflation has largely bottomed out, but don't expect a quick exit
Japan's industrial production data for May carried more evidence that the economy is getting a lift--at least temporarily--from the front-loading of activity ahead of the scheduled sales tax increase in October.
A questionably stable monthly increase in Chinese production. Retail sales in China are back in the black, but not in volume terms. The recovery in manufacturing capex in China is starting to catch-up to the tertiary sector.
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.
Consensus-beating March PMI merely underscores how bad February was... the economy isn't out of the woods. The non-manufacturing bounce was broad-based, but construction led the way. Japan's job openings plunge shows the direction of travel for unemployment. Japan's retail sales suggest Q1 pain to be concentrated in March. Japan inc granted a last month of reprieve before the Covid-19 storm hits. Korean carmakers' sourcing woes largely to blame for February hit.
The run-up to the release of the official retail sales figures has become so congested with other indicators, following alterations by the ONS to its publication schedule, that we now have to preview the data earlier than usual.
Chile's April retail sales data, released on Monday, show that private consumption started the second quarter on a solid footing. Sales rose 3.0% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-rate up to 7.9% from 1.4% in March and an average of 4.0% in Q1. The headline was boosted by a favourable calendar effect, as April this year had two more trading days than April 2015.
Consumers' spending in the euro area weakened at the end of Q4, but we think households will continue to boost GDP growth in the first quarter. Data on Friday showed that retail sales fell 0.3% month-to-month in December, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 1.1%, from a revised 2.8% in November.
The likely dip in the headline NFIB index of small business sentiment and activity today will tell us that business owners are unhappy and nervous about the potential impact of the latest China tariffs on their sales and profits.
Japan's June retail sales data add to the run of numbers suggesting a strong rebound in real GDP growth in Q2, after the 0.2% contraction in activity in Q1.
Retail sales data later today will provide further support for the upbeat consumer story in the Eurozone. We expect a third monthly gain in a row, taking retail sales to a 0.8% expansion quarter-on-quarter in Q4, the fastest since the end of 2006. We are seeing clear signs of improvement in the Eurozone economy, and the data are forcing us to recognise upside risks to our Q4 GDP forecast of 0.3-to-0.4%
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.
Monday's economic data in Colombia provided further evidence of a gradual rebound in manufacturing output and retail sales as the economy slowly reopened.
China's manufacturing PMI highlights supply-demand mismatch. China's non-manufacturing PMI reveals struggling services and rebounding construction. Retail sales in Japan started to turn sour before the state of emergency, but the overall picture for Q1 isn't bad. The worst is yet to come for Japanese industrial production.
...The data were all over the map, with existing home sales plunging while consumer confidence rose; Chicago-area manufacturing activity plunged but national durable goods were flat; real consumption rose at a decent clip but pending home sales dipped again. Markets, by contrast, are little changed from the week before the holidays. What to make of it all?
Larger-than-expected collapse in Japanese retail sales highlight inefficacy of tax-smoothing efforts
Commodity-price pressures dampen Chinese profits' return to growth, Retail sales in Japan recover only modestly in May
Consumption remains a serious weak spot in Brazil's economic cycle. High inflation, rising interest rates, surging unemployment, plunging confidence, and the government's belt tightening, have trashed Brazilians' purchasing power. Retail sales surprised to the downside in April, falling 0.4% month-to-month, equivalent to a huge 3.5% contraction year-over-year, down from a revised 0.3% gain in March. The underlying trend is awful, as our first chart shows.
EZ households' demand for new cars was off to a strong start in 2017. Car registrations in the euro area jumped 10.9% year-over-year in January, accelerating from a 2.1% rise in December. We have to discount the headline level of sales by about a fifth to account for dealers' own registrations. Even with this provision, though, the January report was solid. Growth rebounded in France and Germany, and a 27.1% surge in Dutch car registrations also lifted the headline. We think car registrations will rise about 1.5% quarter-onquarter in Q1, rebounding from a weak Q4. But this does not change the story of downside risks to private spending.
Japanese labour data show early signs of virus hit. Japan's industrial production in a slow recovery... pre-virus. Japan's retail sales still trying to make up lost ground after the tax hike. Tokyo prices already showing signs of virus hit? Korean industrial production wobbles before virus hit.
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.
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.
Recent retail surveys have indicated that consumers are not suffering yet from Brexit blues. The BRC reported that year-over-year growth in total sales values picked up to 1.9% in July, from 0.2% in June. After adjusting for falling prices, this measure suggests that year-over-year growth in official retail sales volumes held steady at about 4% last month.
Yesterday's retail sales report indicates that preliminary Eurozone Q4 GDP data next week are likely to paint an upbeat picture of the economy. Sales rose 0.3% month-to-month in December, equivalent to 2.8% year-over-year. An upward revision to November data means that turnover increased 0.8% quarter-on- quarter, the best since the first quarter of 2005.
Yesterday's EZ consumers' spending data were mixed. Retail sales in the euro area fell by 0.3% month-to-month in May, extending the slide from a revised 0.1% dip in April.
Chief US Economist Ian Shepherdson on "Remarkable" New Home Sales Data for February
Chief US Economist Ian Shepherdson on Retail Sales figures, March
Samuel Tombs on U.K. Retail Sales
Chief Eurozone Economist Claus Vistesen on European Car Sales
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. New Car Sales
The run of soft-looking headline retail sales numbers in recent months--the initial estimates for February, January and December were -0.6%, -0.8% and -0.9% respectively--will end today; the March number will look solid.
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Retail Sales
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on US Retail Sales
The U.S. housing market stumbled into 2015 as a leading indicator of home sales dipped in December
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Retail Sales in October
Japan's retail sales values jumped 1.2% month-on-month in October, after the upwardly-revised 0.1% increase in September.
Ian Shepherdson on December's low US retail sales.
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.
In the wake of the September retail sales report, we can be pretty sure that real consumers' spending rose at a 2¾% annualized rate in the third quarter, slowing from the unsustainable 4.3% jump. That would mean consumption contributed 1.9 percentage points to headline GDP growth.
Retail sales jumped by 1.6% month-to-month in April, more than reversing the 1.2% March decline. Even so, the level of sales merely matched their November peak and the underlying trend still looks flat, as our first chart shows.
Japan's retail sales spiked 7.1% in September, after the 4.6% jump in August, suggesting that efforts to smooth out spending around the October tax hike have fallen short.
Demand for new cars in the Eurozone has climbed a long way since the last recession, but growth is slowing. Overall, new car registrations in the EZ rose a solid 15.2% in 2016 as a whole. But momen tum slowed in the second half, and sales likely will remain comparatively muted this year. In December, registrations in the euro area rose 2.1% year-over-year in December, down from 5.8% in November. The headline was depressed by plunging growth in some of the smaller countries, offsetting better numbers in the major four economies.
The path of new home sales over the past couple of years has followed the mortgage applications numbers quite closely.
The information available to date--which is still very incomplete--suggests that new housing construction will decline in the third quarter. This would be the second straight decline, following the 6.1% drop in Q2. We aren't expecting such a large fall in the third quarter, but it is nonetheless curious that housing investment--construction, in other words--is falling at a time when new home sales have risen sharply.
Our bullish view of the housing market is undimmed by yesterday's news that March existing home sales dropped to 5.21M, from 5.48M in February.
Chief US Economist Ian Shepherdson attributes bad weather to February US Retail Sales
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Retail Sales in July
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs ok U.K. Retail Sales
The Chancellor is likely to announce plans for additional public sector asset sales in today's Autumn Statement, to help arrest the unanticipated rise in the debt-to-GDP ratio this year. But privatisations rarely improve the underlying health of the public finances, partly because assets seldom are sold for their full value. And the Chancellor is running out of viable assets to privatise; the low-hanging, juiciest fruits have already been plucked.
Are there any signs of a Chinese recovery yet? Freya Beamish discusses
Senior International Economist Andres Abadia on mexico
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs discussing U.K. New Car Registrations
Chief Eurozone economist Claus Vistesen comments on the Eurozone PMIs
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs comments on U.K. Manufacturing
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Retail Sales
The recovery in the composite PMI to 52.4 in January, from 49.3 in December, should convince a majority of MPC members to vote on Thursday to maintain Bank Rate at 0.75%.
It looks as though business and consumer confidence in Korea has brushed off the economic threat of the second Covid-19 wave.
India's GDP report for the second quarter, due on Friday, is likely to show a decent rebound in growth from the first quarter.
U.S. President Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order aimed at delivering on his campaign pledge to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The executive order also includes measures to boost border patrol forces and increase the number of immigration enforcement officers. As previous U.S. presidents have discovered, however, signing an executive order is one thing and fulfilling it is something else. President Obama, for instance, signed an executive order to close the Guantanamo detention facility on his second day in office.
Mexico's economy continues to bring good news, despite the tough external environment for all EM economies. According to the economic activity index, a monthly proxy for GDP, growth gained further momentum in Q4. Activity rose 2.7% year-over-year in November, supported by stronger services activities, which expanded 0.3% month-to-month. The services sector has been the main driver of the current cycle, growing 3.8% year-over-year in November, bolstering our optimism about the domestic economy in the near-term.
Today's FOMC announcement will be something of a non-event. Rates were never likely to rise immediately after December's hike, and the weakness of global equity markets means the chance of a further tightening today is zero.
With just five days of July remaining, it seems likely that the trends in most of the key near-real-time indicators will end the month close to the levels seen at the end of June.
The 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.
We would like to be able to argue with confidence that today's December durable goods orders report will show core capital goods orders rebounding after three straight declines, totalling 3.4%.
Japan's all-industry activity index dropped by 3.8% month-on-month in March, worse than the 0.7% slip in February.
In contrast to surveys of manufacturing activity and sentiment, the Conference Board's measure of consumer confidence rose sharply in August, hitting an 11-month high. People were more upbeat about both the current state of the economy and the outlook, with the improving job market key to their optimism. The proportion of respondent believing that jobs are "plentiful" rose to 26%, the highest level in nine years.
This week's data will offer the first clear hard evidence of the Covid-19 shock to the EZ economy. Thursday's calendar is the main event, with advance Q1 GDP data, March EZ unemployment numbers, and the April CPI report.
Fed Chair Yellen's speech in Cleveland yesterday elaborated on the key themes from last week's FOMC meeting.
The last few years have thrown up surprise after surprise for establishment parties. Mr. Abe's Liberal Democrat Party is about as establishment as they come.
The headline durable goods orders number for October, due today, likely will be depressed by falling aircraft orders, both civilian and military. Boeing reported orders for 55 civilian aircraft in September, compared to only three in August, but a hefty adverse swing in the seasonal factor will translate that into a small seasonally adjusted decline.
Money supply data are sending an increasingly contrarian, and bullish, signal for the euro area economy.
The expectations components of both the Michigan and Conference Board measures of consumers' confidence have risen sharply since gasoline prices rolled over.
Brazil's recovery has been steady in recent months, and Q1 likely will mark the end of the recession. The gradual recovery of the industrial and agricultural sectors has been the highlight, thanks to improving external demand, the lagged effect of the more competitive BRL, and the more stable political situation, which has boosted sentiment.
The BoK surprised markets and commentators by keeping rates unchanged at 1.25% yesterday, rather than cutting to 1.0%.
The Fed will soon have to step in to try to put a firebreak in the stock market.
The Covid-19 outbreak has rattled equity markets, but has not had a major bearing on DM currencies, yet.
The difficulty with the Fed's shift in strategy, to the pursuit of an average 2% inflation target "over time", is that they don't have the means in the near term to push inflation above the target, in order to offset the long period of sub-2% rates.
The preliminary estimate of Q1 GDP looks set to show that the economy started 2017 on a weak footing. We share the consensus view that quarter-on-quarter GDP growth slowed to 0.4%, from 0.7% in Q4.
Yesterday's consumer confidence report in Germany was soft, in contrast to surging business sentiment data earlier in the week.
The durable goods numbers were among the first short-term indicators to warn clearly of the hit to manufacturing from the rollover in oil sector capex, which began last fall. The trend in core capital goods orders was rising strongly before oil firms began to cut back, with the year-over-year rate peaking at 11.9% in September. Leading capex indicators in the small business sector remained quite robust, but just nine months later, core capex orders were down 6.4% year-over-year, following annualized declines of more than 14% in both the fourth quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of this year.
German retail and consumer sentiment data for March have been mixed this week, but broadly support our call that growth in consumption should pick up soon.
This week's detailed Q1 GDP data confirmed that the German economy is in dire straits, alongside its euro area peers, but there's a silver lining.
Recent upbeat economic reports have mitigated the downside risks we had been flagging to our growth forecast for Mexico for the current quarter.
The balance of risks to activity in Mexico this year is still tilted to the downside, even though recent data have been mixed. Key indicators show that the manufacturing sector is gathering strength on the back of lagged effect of the MXN's sell-off last year, and the improving U.S. economy.
We were wrong about headline durable goods orders in April, because the civilian aircraft component behaved very strangely.
Friday's advance Eurozone PMI reports capped a fine quarter for the survey. The composite PMI jumped to a 80-month high of 56.7 in March, from 56.1 in February, rising to a cyclical high over Q1 as a whole.
Don't be alarmed by the second straight jump in consumers' inflation expectations, captured by the Conference Board's May survey, reported yesterday.
Political uncertainty is starting to dampen housing market activity again.
President Temer seems to be advancing on his reform agenda.
We have argued for some time that the revival in nonoil capex represents clear upside risk for GDP growth next year, but it's now time to make this our base case.
Today's 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.
Yesterday's sole economic report in the EZ showed that consumer sentiment in Germany improved mid-way through the fourth quarter.
The BRL remains under severe stress, despite renewed signals of a sustained economic recovery and strengthening expectations that the end of the monetary easing cycle is near.
The flat trend in core capital goods orders continued through May, according to yesterday's durable goods orders report. We are not surprised.
The verdict from the German business surveys is in; economic growth probably slowed further in Q2.
In the absence of reliable advance indicators, forecasting the monthly movements in the trade deficit is difficult.
Inflation in Mexico surprised to the upside in April, but the underlying picture has improved rapidly over recent months.
After four straight above-trend increases in the core CPI, you could be forgiven for thinking that something is afoot. It's still too soon, though to rush to judgment. The data show three previous streaks of 0.2%-or-bigger over four-month periods since the crash of 2008, and none of them were sustained.
This morning's second estimate of Q1 GDP likely will restate the preliminary estimate of a 0.4% quarter-on-quarter rise, confirming that the economic recovery has lost momentum since last year. Meanwhile, the new expenditure breakdown is set to show that growth remained extremely dependent on households and will bring more evidence that businesses held back from investing, ostensibly due to Brexit concerns.
The consensus for today's first post-apocalypse jobless claims number, 1,500K, looks much too low.
Mexican policymakers yesterday voted unanimously to cut the policy rate by 50bp to 5.00%, the lowest level since late 2016.
Major central banks in Asia, particularly those operating in export-oriented economies, have recently been pinning their future policy moves on the prospects of a specific industry, namely semiconductors.
Looking beyond the potential hit from the lockdown in North Rhine-Westphalia, German consumer sentiment is improving steadily.
Friday's PMI data were a mixed bag.
Hong Kong delivered a resounding landslide victory to pro-Democracy parties in district council elections over the weekend.
Economic news in the Eurozone, and virtually everywhere else, has been mostly downbeat in the past few months, but French consumers are doing great.
The Conservatives have continued to gain ground over the last week, with support averaging 43% across the 13 opinion polls conducted last week, up from 41% in the previous week.
The tumultuous political and economic crises in Brazil continue to feed off each other, grabbing most of the LatAm headlines. Sentiment will remain depressed, and volatility and uncertainty will persist, hampering any real signs of stabilization in the near-term. The Pacific Alliance countries, by contrast, managed to grow at relatively solid rates during the first half of this year, after absorbing the hit from falling commodity prices.
A rate hike from the Fed this week would be a gigantic surprise, and Yellen Fed has not, so far, been in the surprise business. It would be more accurate to describe the Fed's modus operandi as one of extreme caution, and raising rates when the fed funds future puts the odds of action at close to zero just does not fit the bill.
Money supply dynamics in the Eurozone continue to signal a solid outlook for the economy. Headline M3 growth eased marginally to 4.9% year-over-year in January, from 5.0% in December; the dip was due to slowing narrow money growth, falling to 8.4% from 8.8% the month before. The details of the M1 data, however, showed that the headline chiefly was hit by slowing growth in deposits by insurance and pension funds.
The pick-up in GDP growth in Q3 means that we now expect a majority of MPC members to vote to raise interest rates next week.
The November IFO report suggests that the headline indices are on track for a tepid recovery in Q4 as a whole, but the central message is still one of downside risks to growth
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.
Today's September international trade report will be the third to be distorted by hugely elevated soybean exports. The surge began in July, when soybean exports jumped by $3.6B--that's a 220% month-to-month increase--to $5.2B.
We were terrified by the plunge in the ISM manufacturing export orders index in August and September, which appeared to point to a 2008-style meltdown in trade flows.
The dovish members of Banxico's board garnered further support on Friday for prolonging the current easing monetary cycle over coming meetings.
Yesterday's IFO survey in Germany sent a marginally more downbeat message than the strong PMIs last week. The IFO business climate index fell to 115.2 in September, from 115.9 in August, its second straight monthly dip.
Yesterday's consumer sentiment data in the two major euro area economies were mixed, but they still support our view that a rebound in EZ consumption growth is underway.
Yesterday's national business surveys provided an optimistic counterbalance to the underwhelming PMIs on Monday, although they all suggest that the euro area economy is in good form.
The squeeze on real wages has just ended and GfK's consumer confidence index hit a 11-month high in March.
We remain negative about the medium-term growth prospects of the Mexican economy.
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.
Orders for non-defense capital goods, excluding aircraft, have risen in six of the past seven months. In the fourth quarter, orders rose at a 4.7% annualized rate, in contrast to the 5.3% year-over-year plunge in the first half of the year.
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 stagnation in business investment since 2016 has been key to the slowdown in the overall economy since the E.U. referendum.
Yesterday's State Council meeting significantly expanded support to the economy, through a number of channels.
It's always dangerous when risk assets rally strongly into an ECB meeting, but we doubt that investors have much to fear from today's session in Frankfurt. We think the central bank will leave its main refinancing and deposit rates at 0.00% and -0.4% respectively.
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.
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 would be astonishing if the Fed doesn't raise rates today, and Chair Powell is not in the astonishment business; they will hike by 25bp.
New York Fed president Dudley toed the Yellen line yesterday, arguing that the effects of "...a number of temporary, idiosyncratic factors" will fade, so "...inflation will rise and stabilize around the FOMC's 2 percent objective over the medium term.
I need to ask your indulgence today, because the release of the durable goods and advance international trade reports coincides with my elder daughter's college graduation ceremony.
Forecasting the health insurance component of the CPI is a mug's game, so you'll look in vain for hard projections in this note.
Today brings more housing market data, in the form of the Case-Shiller home price report for April.
Mexico's National Institute of Statistics--INEGI-- will release preliminary GDP data for Q1 on Friday. We are expecting good news, despite the tough external and domestic environment. According to the economic activity index--a monthly proxy for GDP-- growth gained further momentum in Q1, based on data up to February.
We're still no nearer to a definitive answer to the question of what went wrong in the manufacturing sector over the summer, when we expected to see things improving on the back of the rebound in activity in the mining sector, rising export orders and an end to the domestic inventory correction. Instead, the August surveys dropped, and September reports so far are, if anything, a bit worse.
The headline INSEE consumer confidence data in France have become unmoored from reality.
Last week's second estimate of GDP reaffirmed that quarter-on-quarter growth declined to 0.1% in Q1--the lowest rate since Q4 2012--from 0.4% in Q4.
We learned yesterday that the patchy but widespread reopening of the economy is triggering the first wavelet of rehiring.
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.
Data yesterday revealed that headline inflation in Germany was unchanged in March at 1.5%, thanks mainly to higher energy inflation, which offset a dip in food inflation.
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 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.
It doesn'tt matter if third quarter GDP growth is revised up a couple of tenths in today's third estimate of the data, in line with the consensus forecast.
Our analysis of the Q3 activity and GDP data in yesterday's Monitor strongly suggests that China's authorities will soon ready further stimulus.
Yesterday's EZ money supply data confirmed that liquidity conditions in the private sector improved in Q3, despite the dip in the headline.
The stock market loved Fed Chair Powell's remarks on the economy yesterday, specifically, his comment that rates are now "just below" neutral.
The Eurozone is on the brink of its first exit this week after the ECB refused to offer incremental emergency liquidity to Greek banks, forcing the start of bank holiday through July 7--two days after next weekend's referendum--and beginning today. We have no doubt that if the banks were to open, they would soon be bust; bank runs have a habit of accelerating beyond the point of no return very quickly.
The stock market did not like the renewed closure of bars in Texas and Florida, announced Friday morning.
China's Q2 real GDP growth officially slowed to 6.2% year-over-year, from 6.4% in Q1, which already matched the trough in the financial crisis.
The advance international trade data for December were due for publication today, but the report probably won't appear.
The Fed left in place the three key elements of its statement yesterday, repeating that the extent of labor market under-utilization is "diminishing"; that the inflation drop as a result of falling oil prices will be "transitory" and that the Fed can be "patient" before starting to raise rates.
We argued in the Monitor on Friday--see here--that the Fed likely will increase the pace of its Treasury purchases, in order to ensure that the wave of supply needed to finance the next Covid relief bill does not drive up yields.
The MPC's hawks are framing the interest rate increase they want as a "withdrawal of part of the stimulus that the Committee had injected in August last year", arguing that monetary policy still would be "very supportive" if rates rose to 0.5%, from 0.25%.
Korea's government is mulling a further tightening of borrowing rules to mitigate the risks of an overheated property market.
Surveys released yesterday failed to support the MPC's view that the economy has bounced back in Q2.
The third estimate of first quarter GDP growth, due today, will not be the final word on the subject. Indeed, there never will be a final word, because the numbers are revised indefinitely into the future.
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.
Monetary policy usually is the first line of defence whenever a recession hits.
The political momentum in the run-up to the election now lies with Labour.
We look for a 210K increase in July payrolls. That would be consistent with the message from an array of private sector surveys, as well as the recent trend.
The broadly flat trend in the near-real-time indicators of economic activity shows few signs of ending.
We see no reason to think that the recent volatility in payrolls--the 311K leap in January, followed by the 20K February gain--will continue.
Yesterday's final manufacturing PMIs confirmed that the headline index in the euro area rebounded further last month.
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.
Friday's inflation and labour market data in the Eurozone were dovish.
Short of saying "We're going to hike rates in two weeks' time", Dr. Yellen's view of the immediate economic and policy outlook, set out in her speech yesterday, could hardly have been clearer. Yes, she threw in the usual caveats: "...we take account of both the upside and downside risks around our projections when judging the appropriate stance of monetary policy", and saying the FOMC will have to evaluate the data due ahead of this month's meeting, but her underlying message was straightforward.
Even Charles Dickens could not have written a more dramatic prologue to today's ECB meeting. Elevated expectations ahead of major policy events always leave room for major disappointment, but we think the central bank will deliver. Advance data yesterday indicated inflation was unchanged at 0.1% year-over-year in November, below the consensus 0.2%, and providing all the ammunition the doves need to push ahead. We expect the central bank to cut the deposit rate by 20bp to -0.4%, to increase the pace of bond purchases by €10B to €70B a month, and to extend QE to March 2017.
Brazil's February industrial production numbers, labour market data, and sentiment indicators are gradually providing clarity on the underlying pace of activity growth, pointing to some red flags.
Japan's unemployment rate edged back up to 2.5% in February after the drop in January to 2.4%.
The estimate of services output for the first month of the current quarter usually gets lost among the deluge of national accounts and balance of payments data released for the previous quarter.
Today's Case-Shiller report on existing home prices will likely show that August prices were little changed, month-to-month, for the fourth straight month. The slowdown in the pace of price gains since the first quarter, when price gains averaged 1.0% per month, has been startling. In all probability, though, the apparent stalling is a reflection of the quality of the data rather than the underlying reality in the housing market.
Friday's consumer sentiment data in the two main Eurozone economies were mixed.
The picture of the economy's recent performance will be redrawn today, when the national accounts are published.
Economic data released on Friday underscored our view that bolder rate cuts in Brazil are looming. The BCB's latest BCB's inflation report, released on Thursday, showed that policymakers now see conditions in place to increase the pace of easing "moderately" .
The national accounts for the fourth quarter showed that the economy relied on households slashing their saving rate to a record low in order to spend more. Now, growth in consumer spending will have to fall back in line with real incomes, which will increasingly be impaired by rising inflation.
We fear that private spending in the EZ slowed in Q1, despite rocketing survey data. This fits our view that household consumption will slow in 2017 after sustained above-trend growth in the beginning of this business cycle.
We'd be very surprised to see a material weakening in today's March ISM manufacturing survey. The regional reports released in recent weeks point to another reading in the high 50s, with a further advance from February's 57.7 a real possibility.
The real Boris Johnson will have to stand up this year.
The extent of shut downs within China is now reaching extreme levels, going far beyond services and threatening demand for commodities, as well as posing a severe risk to the nascent upturn in the tech cycle.
Momentum in the euro area's money supply slowed last month. M3 growth dipped to 4.7% year-over-year in February, from a downwardly-revised 4.8% in January. The headline was mainly constrained by the broad money components. The stock of repurchase agreements slumped 24.3% year-over-year and growth in money market fund shares also slowed sharply.
The MPC will be looking for the Q1 national accounts and April's index of services data, both released on Friday, to support its view that the economy hasn't lost momentum this year.
The decline in headline durable goods orders in May, reported yesterday, doesn't matter.
The April international trade numbers were startlingly, and surprisingly, horrible. The deficit in trade in goods leaped by $6.2B -- the biggest one-month jump in two years -- to $67.1B, though the headline damage was limited by a sharp narrowing in the oil deficit, thanks to lower prices, and a rebound in the aircraft surplus.
Markets often greet the monthly international trade numbers with a shrug.
Fourth quarter GDP growth is likely to be revised down today.
We argued in the Monitor yesterday that the very low and declining level of jobless claims is a good indicator that businesses were not much bothered by the slowdown in the pace of economic growth in the first quarter. The numbers also help illustrate another key point when thinking about the current state of the economy and, in particular, the rollover in the oil business.
Beyond the immediate wild swings in prices for food, clothing, hotel rooms and airline fares, the medium-term impact of the Covid outbreak on U.S. inflation will depend substantially on the impact on the pace of wage growth.
The Prime Minister's resignation and the stillborn launch of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill last week has forced us to revise our Brexit base case, from a soft E.U. departure on October 31 to continued paralysis.
The downturn in Japan's all-industry activity index slowed in May to -3.5% month-on-month, from April's significantly revised 7.6% plunge.
This is the final report before your scribe disappears into the Scottish Highlands for a few weeks, and we are leaving you with a Eurozone economy in fine form. The calendar will be relatively light in our absence and will tell us what we already know; namely that the euro area economy maintained its strong momentum in Q2.
As the situation with the coronavirus develops, and we gain more information on the authorities' response, it's becoming clear that the damage to Q1 GDP is going to be nasty.
Housebuilders were one of the biggest winners from the post-election relief rally in U.K. equity prices.
We expect to learn today that the economy expanded at a 2.1% annualized rate in the fourth quarter, slowing from 3.4% in the third.
Yesterday's IFO data reversed the good vibes sent by last week's upbeat German PMIs.
Core durable goods orders in recent months have been much less terrible than implied by both the ISM and Markit manufacturing surveys.
The FOMC flagged recent market developments as a source of risk to the U.S. economy yesterday, unsurprisingly, but didn't go overboard: "The Committee is closely monitoring global economic and financial developments and is assessing their implications for the labor market and inflation, and for the balance of risks to the outlook."
The ECB will receive most of the credit for the recent gain in stock markets, but the main leading indicator for the stock market, excess liquidity, was already turning up late last year. With the MSCI EU ex-UK up 21%, in euro terms, since October, a lot is already priced in, but in the medium term the outlook is upbeat, and we look for further gains this year.
Mexico's central bank, Banxico, will hold its first monetary policy meeting of this year tomorrow. It will break with tradition, holding the meeting on Thursday at 1:00 p.m, local time, instead of the previous 9:00 a.m slot.
China's abysmal industrial profits data for October underscore why the chances of less- timid monetary easing are rising rapidly.
The deadline for registering to vote in the general election passed on Tuesday, with a record 660K people registering on the final day.
Inflation in Mexico remains relatively sticky, limiting Banxico's capacity to adopt a more dovish approach, despite the subpar economic recovery.
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.
The first estimate of Q1 growth will show that the economy struggled in the face of the severe winter and, to a lesser extent, the rollover in capital spending in the oil sector. But the weather hit appears to have been much smaller than last year, when the economy shrank at a 2.1% rate in the first quarter; this time, we think the economy expanded at an annualized rate of 1.1%.
Concern over individual freedoms was the spark for Hong Kong's recent demonstrations and troubles, and protesters' demands continue to be political in nature.
Net foreign trade was a drag on GDP growth in the second quarter, subtracting 0.7 percentage points from the headline number.
Our ECB-story since Ms. Lagarde took the helm as president has been that the central bank will do as little as possible through 2020, at least in terms of shifting its major policy tools.
The Fed will do nothing to the funds rate or its balance sheet expansion program today.
Brazil's external accounts were a relatively bright spot again last year.
Yesterday's French INSEE consumer confidence data provided a fascinating glimpse into the reality for households during these strange times. The headline index fell by "just" eight points in April, to 95 from 103 in March, comfortably beating the consensus for a crash to 80.
We have been waiting a long time to see signs that business investment spending is becoming less reliant on movements in oil prices.
We have been asked how we can justify raising our growth forecasts but at the same time arguing that the housing market is set to weaken quite dramatically, thanks to the clear downshift in mortgage applications in recent months. Applications peaked back in June, so this is not just a story about the post-election rise in mortgage rates.
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.
French consumers remained in great spirits midway through the fourth quarter. The headline INSEE consumer confidence index jumped to a 28-month high in November, from 104 in October, extending its v-shaped recovery from last year's plunge on the back of the yellow vest protests.
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.
Survey data in Germany showed few signs of picking up from their depressed level at the start of Q4.
Money supply growth in the Eurozone firmed last month. Broad money--M3--rose 5.0% year-overyear in August, after a tepid 4.5% rise in July.
Recent export performance has been poor, but the export orders index in the ISM manufacturing survey-- the most reliable short-term leading indicator--strongly suggests that it will be terrible in the fourth quarter.
MPs will be asked today to approve the PM's motion, proposed in accordance with the Fixed-term Parliaments Act--FTPA--to hold a general election on December 12.
Yesterday's advance CPI data in Germany and Spain suggest that inflation in the Eurozone as a whole dipped slightly in February.
The Eurozone has come under the spotlight for its growing external surplus, but domestic households have been doing the heavy lifting for GDP growth in this business cycle. During the last four quarters, consumers' spending has boosted year-over-year GDP growth by an average of 1.0 percentage points, in contrast to a 0.4pp drag from net exports.
We are intrigued by the idea that the rollover in oil firms' capital spending on equipment might already be over, even as spending on new well-drilling--captured by the still-falling weekly operating rigs data--continues to decline. The evidence to suggest equipment spending has fallen far enough is straightforward.
Recent data in Colombia have confirmed that virus containment measures caused much bigger declines in activity in early Q2 than initially expected.
A couple of Fed speakers this week have described the economy as being at "full employment". Looking at the headline unemployment rate, it's easy to see why they would reach that conclusion.
We need to start today with a word of warning about today's initial jobless claims, where the risk to the consensus seems mostly to be to the upside.
With most poll-of-poll measures showing a very narrow margin in the U.K. Brexit referendum, while betting markets show a huge majority for "Remain", today brings a live experiment in the idea that the wisdom of crowds is a better guide to elections than peoples' preferences.
The rate of growth of new coronavirus infections across Europe slowed yesterday, in some cases quite markedly. We can quibble about the reliability of the data in individual countries, given variations in testing regimes, but the picture is strikingly uniform.
Yesterday's barrage of economic data in the Eurozone added to the evidence that economic momentum is slowing.
If we are right in our view that the lag between shifts in gasoline prices and the response from consumers is about six months--longer than markets seem to think--then the next few months should see spending surge.
The bad news just keeps coming for Brazil's economy. The mid-month CPI, the IPCA-15 index, rose 1.2% month-to-month in March. Soaring energy prices remain the key contributor to the inflation story in Brazil, pushing up the housing component by 2.8% in March, after a 2.2% increase in February.
Japan's flash Jibun Bank PMIs for July showed continued improvement, but only just.
As we reach our deadline--4pm eastern time--media reports indicate that a debt ceiling agreement is close.
The official PMIs suggest that the January survey data have escaped the worst of the hit from the virus.
Barring a meteor strike, the ECB will leave its main refinancing and deposit rates unchanged today, at 0.00% and -0.5% respectively.
Further evidence that the general election has transformed business confidence emerged yesterday, in the form of January's CBI Industrial Trends survey.
Today's data likely will show that EZ households' sentiment remained close to a record high at the start of the year.
We see considerable downside risk to the consensus forecast that GDP increased by 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, the same as in Q3.
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%.
Korea's preliminary Q4 GDP report was stronger than nearly all forecasters, including ourselves, expected.
In April last year, something odd happened in the FX market.
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.
The Monetary Policy Committee chose to keep its options open in the minutes of this week's meeting, rather than signal as clearly as it did last year that interest rates will rise very soon.
Colombia's recently-released data signal that the economy started the year quite strongly, following a relatively poor end to Q4.
One way or another, the preliminary estimate of Q1 GDP--due Friday--will have a big market impact, following Mark Carney's warning last week that a May rate hike is not a done deal.
The initial "official estimate" of the French presidential election--released 20.00 CET--suggest that the runoff will be between the centre-right Emmanuel Macron and Front National's Marine Le Pen. This is consistent with opinion polls. The average of five early estimates also suggests that Mr. Macron won the vote with 23.1% of the vote against Mrs. Le Pen's 22.5%.
The gap between the hard and soft data from the industrial economy appeared to widen still further last week. But we are disinclined to take the data--the official industrial production report for March, and the first survey evidence for April--at face value.
Yesterday's data were mixed, though disappointment over the weakening in the Richmond Fed survey should be tempered by a quick look at the history, shown in our first chart.
While we were out, new U.S. Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations continued to fall steadily, and deaths have now peaked.
Yesterday's PMI data in the Eurozone economy were a mixed bag.
We expect today's second estimate of Q2 GDP to confirm that the U.K. has been the slowest growing G7 economy this year.
While we were on holiday, the data confirmed that economies have been badly hit by the pandemic in Q2, and that the upturn will be gradual.
Orders for core capital goods began to fall outright in September last year; we can't blame the severe winter for the 11.1% annualized decline in the fourth quarter of last year. Indeed, the drop in orders in the first quarter will be rather smaller than in the fourth, unless today's March report reveals a catastrophic collapse.
The sharp decline in Mexico's leading indicators highlights the dramatic scale of the economic and financial hit from the coronavirus. High frequency data and the PMIs are the first numbers to capture the lockdown, and they signal that the services activity-- the bulk of Mexico's GDP--dropped sharply.
The woes of the manufacturing sector are likely to intensify over the next few months, even if--as we expect--overall economic growth picks up. The core problem is the strong dollar, which is hammering exporters, as our first chart shows. The slowdown in growth in China and other emerging markets is hurting too, but this is part of the reason why the dollar is strong in the first place.
The 17-point leap in the Richmond Fed index for October, reported yesterday, was startlingly large.
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.
All the regional PMIs and Fed business surveys are volatile in the short-term, so observations for single months need to be viewed with due skepticism.
The PBoC left its interest rate corridor, including the Medium-term Lending Facility rate, unchanged last Friday, but published the reformed Loan Prime Rate modestly lower, at 4.20% in September, down from 4.25% in August.
Korean GDP contracted by 1.4% quarter-on- quarter in Q1, erasing the 1.3% jump at the end of last year. The pullback was sharper than we expected, with the cliff-edge drop in private consumption, in particular, catching us by surprise.
The 810K drop in jobless claims in the week ended April 18 was a bit less than we expected, but the downward trend is clear; claims have fallen by some 2.4M from their peak, in the final week of March.
The theory of spontaneous combustion of the U.S. economy appears to be making something of a comeback, if our inbox and market chat is to be believed. The core idea here is that expansions die of old age, and can be helped on their way to oblivion by factors like falling corporate earnings and rising inventory. The current recovery, which began in June 2009 and is now 63 months old, already looks a bit long-in-the-tooth.
The Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators appears to signal that the U.S. economy is plunging headlong into recession.
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.
Unlike other central banks, the MPC has stuck to its message that "an ongoing tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period" likely will be required to keep inflation close to the 2% target, provided a no-deal Brexit is avoided.
Slack in the labour market no longer is being absorbed and wage growth still is struggling for momentum, placing little pressure on the MPC to rush the next rate rise.
We pointed out in yesterday's Monitor that Fed Chair Yellen appears to be putting a good deal of faith in the idea that the recent upturn in core inflation is temporary. She argued that "some" of the increase reflects "unusually high readings in categories that tend to be quite volatile without very much significance for inflation over time".
Dr. Yellen's Testimony yesterday was largely a cut-and-paste job from the FOMC statement last week and her remarks at the press conference. The Fed's core views have not changed since last week, unsurprisingly, and policymakers still expect to raise rates gradually as inflation returns to the target, but will be guided by the incoming data.
Even the most bullish estate agent in Britain would struggle to put a positive spin on the latest housing market news. The latest levels of the official, Nationwide, and Halifax measures of house prices all are below their peaks.
Fed policymakers surprised no one with their May 1 statement, which acknowledged the surprisingly "solid " Q1 economic growth--at the time of the March 19-to-20 meeting, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model suggested Q1 growth would be just 0.6%--but stuck to its view that low inflation means the FOMC can be "patient".
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.
Core inflation has risen, albeit modestly, in the past two months. The uptick, to 1.8% in March from 1.6% in January, has come as something of a surprise. The narrative in the media and markets remains, as far as we can tell, one of downward pressure on inflation and, still, fear of possible deflation.
We're placing less weight than usual on conventional business surveys at the moment, as they are ill-suited to charting the economy's turnaround from the Covid-19 slump.
The closer we look at the Fed's new forecasts, the stranger they seem. The FOMC cut its GDP estimate for this year and now expects the economy to grow by 1.9%--the mid-point of its forecast range--in the year to the fourth quarter. Growth is then expected to pick up to 2.6% next year, before slowing a bit to 2.3% in 2017. Unemployment, however, is expected to fall much less quickly than in the recent past.
The newest cluster of Covid-19 in China has reignited concerns over a second wave. On June 11, Beijing confirmed its first infection in nearly 60 days, originating reportedly from Xinfadi market, a wholesaler which supplies about 80% of the capital's produce.
We're expecting a substantial inventory hit in the fourth quarter, subtracting about 1¼ percentage points from headline GDP growth. Businesses very likely added to their inventories in Q4, in real terms, but the we reckon the increase was only about $30B, annualized, compared to the $85.5B jump in the third quarter. Remember, the contribution to GDP growth is the change in the pace of inventory-building between quarters.
The BoJ kept its main policy settings unchanged yesterday, in another 7-to-2 split.
We have learned over the years not to become too excited in the face of swings in the jobless claims numbers, even when the movement appears to persist for a month or two.
Chinese GDP numbers always require a great deal of detective work, and yesterday's needed more than the norm; multiple rounds of revisions needed decoding.
The chance of a zero GDP print for the first quarter diminished--but did not die--last week when the president signed a bill granting full back pay to about 300K government workers currently furloughed.
The MPC was more hawkish than we and most investors expected yesterday. The vote to keep Bank Rate at 0.50% was split 6-3, f ollowing Andy Haldane's decision to join the existing hawks, Ian McCafferty and Michael Saunders.
The renewed slide in oil prices in recent weeks will crimp capital spending, at the margin, but it is not a macroeconomic threat on the scale of the 2014-to-16 hit.
Economic activity is rebounding in LatAm, but the recovery will be slow and uneven.
Back-to-back elevated weekly jobless claims numbers prove nothing, but they have grabbed our attention.
Yesterday's barrage of survey data in France suggests that business sentiment in the industrial sector remained soft mid-way through Q4, but the numbers are more uncertain than usual this month.
Inflation pressures in Brazil and Mexico are well under control, with the August mid-month readings falling more than expected, strengthening the case for the BCB and Banxico to cut interest rates in the near term.
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.
The Governor's comments late last week successfully recalibrated markets, which had concluded that a May rate hike was virtually certain, despite the MPC's deliberately vague guidance.
Japan's flash PMI numbers for August were a mixed bag.
Today's market attention will be focused on the advance August PMI data in the major EZ economies. We think the composite PMI in the euro area was unchanged at 53.2 in August, consistent with stable GDP growth of 0.3%-to-0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q3. The signal of "stability" in the Eurozone business cycle has been consistently relayed by the PMI since the beginning of the year.
U.K. activity data have consistently surprised to the downside over the last month.
The White House budget proposals, which Roll Call says will be released in limited form on March 14, will include forecasts of sustained real GDP growth in a 3-to-3.5% range, according to an array of recent press reports.
Dire warnings that the plunge in s tock prices would depress consumers' confidence and spending have not come to pass. It's too soon to draw a definitive conclusion--the S&P hit its low as recently as the 11th--but peoples' end-February brokerage statements are on track to look less horrific than the end-January numbers, provided the market doesn't swoon again over the next few days.
Friday's economic data suggest that the downtrend in German PPI inflation is reversing.
We fully expect to see the third straight decline in initial jobless claims in today's report for the week ended April 18.
November data for most of the major EZ business and consumer surveys arrive this week. We doubt the reports will change our view that EZ GDP growth likely will remain steady at about 1.6% year-over-year in Q4. But appearances matter, and risks are tilted to the downside in some of the main surveys, after jumps in October.
Surging soybean exports contributed 0.9 percentage points, gross, to third quarter GDP growth, though the BEA said that this was "mostly" offset by falling inventories of wholesale non-durable goods.
Today brings a wave of data, some brought forward because of Thanksgiving. We are most interested in the durable goods orders report for October, which we expect will show the upward trend in core capital goods orders continues.
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.
The slowdown in the EZ economy is well publicised.
The hawks clearly tried hard to persuade their more nervous colleagues to raise rates yesterday. In the end, though, they had to make do with shifting the language of the FOMC statement, which did not read like it had come after a run of weaker data.
Before this week's earthquake, the resilience of Mexico's economy in the face of a volatile and challenging global backdrop owed much to the strength of domestic demand, especially private consumption.
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 flash readings of the Markit/CIPS surveys in February provide reassurance that GDP is on track to rebound in Q1, despite disruption to the global economy caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and bad weather in the U.K. this month.
While we were out last week, market nervousness over the Covid-19 outbreak intensified, though most key indicators of the spread of the infection continued to improve.
Investors think it more likely that the MPC will cut Bank Rate in the first half of next year, following Friday's release of the flash Markit/CIPS PMIs for November.
Inflation in the biggest economies in the region remains close to cyclical lows, allowing central banks to ease even further over the next few months.
The 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.
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.
The PMIs in the Eurozone are still warning that the economy is in much worse shape than implied by remarkably stable GDP growth so far this year.
The hefty upward revision to Q3 inventories means we have to lower our working assumption for fourth quarter GDP growth, because the year-end inventory rebound we previously expected is now much less likely to happen. Remember, the GDP contribution from inventories is equal to the change in the pace of inventory accumulation between quarters, and we're struggling to see a faster rate of accumulation in Q4 after the hefty revised $90B third quarter gain. Inventory holdings are in line with the trend in place since the recession of 2001; firms don't need to build inventory now at a faster pace.
We have been very encouraged in recent months to see core capital goods orders breaking to the upside, relative to the trend implied by the path of oil prices.
The gaps in the third quarter GDP data are still quite large, with no numbers yet for September international trade or the public sector, but we're now thinking that growth likely was less than 11⁄2%.
This week's November mid-month inflation reports in Brazil and Mexico underscored their divergent trends. Inflation pressures are steadily falling in Brazil, but in Mexico, the pass-through from the MXN's sell- off is driving up inflation and inflation expectations.
We see significant upside risk to today's headline durable goods orders numbers for April.
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.
Yesterday's March PMIs confirmed that governments' actions to contain the Covid-19 outbreak dealt a hammer blow to the economy at the end of Q1.
The IFO continues to tell a story of a German economy on the ropes.
The latest data from container ports around the country are consistent with our view that imports are still correcting after the surge late last year, triggered by the hurricanes.
The huge drop in the March Markit services PMI, reported yesterday, and the modest dip in the manufacturing index, are the first national business survey data to capture the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.
LatAm governments and central banks have been busy implementing additional measures to contain the spread of the virus, and acting rapidly to ease the effect on the economy.
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 commentariat was very excited Friday by the inversion of the curve, with three-year yields dipping to 2.24% while three-month bills yield 2.45%.
We have argued over the past couple of years that if you want to know what's likely to happen to U.S. manufacturing over the next few months, you should look at China's PMI, rather than the domestic ISM survey, which is beset by huge seasonal adjustment problems.
Today's preliminary estimate of Q3 GDP is the last major economic report to be released before the MPC's meeting on November 2.
Recent consumer confidence numbers have been strong enough that we don't need to see any further increase. The expectations components of both the Michigan and Conference Board surveys are consistent with real spending growth of 21⁄2-to- 3%, which is about the best we can expect when real income growth, after tax, is trending at about 21⁄2%.
Yesterday's detailed Q2 GDP report in Germany confirmed that economic output nosedived during lockdown, but also showed that the economy was resilient compared to the rest of the EZ.
India's GDP report for the second quarter, due on Monday, will be a bloodbath.
After two hefty month-to-month increases, durable goods orders ex-transportation now stand only 3.9% below their January pre-Covid peak.
Today's second estimate of Q2 GDP likely will restate the preliminary estimate that quarter-onquarter growth picked up to 0.6%, from 0.4% in Q1. Over the last two decades, the second estimate of GDP has differed from the preliminary estimate just 38% of the time.
News that the Covid-19 virus has spread to more countries frayed investors' nerves further yesterday, with the FTSE 100 eventually residing 5.3% below its Friday close.
In our Webinar--see here--we laid out scenarios for Chinese GDP in Q1 and for this year.
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.
Data released yesterday confirmed that Mexico's economy ended Q4 poorly, confounding the most hawkish Banxico Board members.
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.
We're expecting to learn today that the economy expanded at a 2.6% annualized rate in the first quarter, rather better than we expected at the turn of the year--our initial assumption was 1-to-2%--and above the consensus, 2.3%.
Yesterday's business confidence data in the EZ core were mixed.
Japan's September PMI report showed some slippage, but overall, it suggests that GDP growth in Q3 was a little stronger than the 0.3% quarter- on-quarter rate in Q2.
If you're looking for points of light in the economy over the next few months, the housing market is a good place to start.
Fed Chair Yellen set out a robust and detailed defense of the orthodox approach to monetary policy in her speech in Amherst, MA, yesterday afternoon. Her core argument could have come straight from the textbook: As the labor market tightens, cost pressures will build. Monetary policy operates with a "substantial" lag, so waiting too long is dangerous; the "...prudent strategy is to begin tightening in a timely fashion and at a gradual pace".
In recent months we have argued that housing market activity has peaked for this cycle, with rising mortgage rates depressing the flow of mortgage applications.
The key data today, covering March durable goods orders and international trade in goods, should both beat consensus forecasts.
Colombia's economy activity is deteriorating rapidly, suggesting that BanRep will have to cut interest rates on Friday. Incoming data make it clear that the economy has moved into a period of deceleration, painting a starkly different picture than a year ago.
The good news in today's March durable goods report is that a rebound in orders for Boeing aircraft means February's 3.0% drop in headline orders won't be repeated. The company reported orders for 69 aircraft in March, compared to just one in February.
Neither of the major economic reports due today will be published on schedule.
Today's advance inventory and international trade data for December could change our Q4 GDP forecast significantly.
The third estimate of first quarter GDP growth, due today, will not be the final word. The BEA will revise the data again on July 30, when it will also release its first estimate for the second quarter and the results of its annual revision exercise. Quarterly estimates back to 2012 will be revised. The revisions are of greater interest than usual this year because the new data will incorporate the first results of the BEA's review of the seasonal problems.
Yesterday's June PMIs offered more of the same, insofar as the survey's key message goes in the past few months.
Mexican policymakers likely will stick to the script tomorrow and vote by a majority to cut the main rate by 50bp to 5.00%, which would be its lowest level since late 2016.
The Jibun Bank services PMI for Japan saw a heftier increase in June, to 42.3, from 26.5 in May, signalling a substantial easing of the industry's downturn.
It's probably too soon to start looking for second round effects from the drop in gasoline prices in the core CPI. History suggests quite strongly that sharp declines in energy prices feed into the core by depressing the costs of production, distribution and service delivery, but the lags are quite long, a year or more.
This is the final Monitor before we head out for our spring break, so we have added a page in order to make room to preview the employment report due next Friday, April 4. We expect a solid but unspectacular 175K increase in payrolls, slowing from February's unsustainable 242K, but still robust.
A grim-looking headline durable goods orders number for April seems inevitable today, given the troubles at Boeing.
The minutes of the May 2/3 FOMC meeting today should add some color to policymakers' blunt assertion that "The Committee views the slowing in growth during the first quarter as likely to be transitory and continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further, and inflation will stabilize around 2 percent over the medium term."
Robust demand in the ECB's final TLTRO auction was the main story in EZ financial markets yesterday. Euro area banks--474 in total-- took up €233.5B in the March TLTRO, well above the consensus forecast €110B. To us, this strong demand is a sign that EZ banks are taking advantage of the TLTROs' incredibly generous conditions.
Chainstores are continuing to struggle, even as the reopening of the economy continues.
This is the last Monitor before we head to the beach, so we want to offer a few thoughts on the upcoming data and the FOMC meeting while we're out. First, a warning about the second quarter GDP number. We think that the data released so far are consistent with growth at about 3%.
You could be forgiven for being alarmed at the 1.5% decline in the stock of outstanding bank commercial and industrial lending in the fourth quarter, the first dip since the second quarter of 2017.
We can't yet know how bad the spread of the coronavirus from the Chinese city of Wuhan will be.
Sentiment in Germany has improved slightly this month with the IFO business climate index rising to 106.8 from 106.7 in January, pushed higher by a small increase in the expectations index.
GDP data for Q2 are due July 26; we expect the report to show a marginal dip in growth, to a seasonally adjusted 0.8% quarter-on-quarter, from 1.0% in Q1.
Inflation in Mexico surprised to the upside in early Q3, but we still believe it will fall gradually in Q4.
Brazil's inflation data continue to disappoint, but they are showing some signs of improvement, at the margin. The mid-month CPI, the IPCA-15 index, jumped to 9.3% year-over-year in July, up from 8.8% in June, soaring well above the upper bound of the inflation target and reaching the highest level since December 2003, as shown in our first chart.
If Congress passes another Covid relief bill early next month, as we fully expect, it will have to be financed quickly via increased debt issuance.
Korea's GDP report for the second quarter was a huge let-down.
Mexico's retail sector is finally improving, following a grim second half last year.
The minutes of Banxico's November 9 policy meeting were released yesterday, in which the Bank left the reference rate unanimously unchanged at 7.0%.
We find it remarkable, after the market volatility induced by the two Brexit deadlines in 2019, that investors do not foresee another bump in the road at the end of this ye ar, when the Brexit transition period is due to end.
Brazil's inflation rate remained well under control over the first half of February.
The Monetary Policy Board of the Bank of Korea is likely to keep its benchmark base rate unchanged, at 1.25%, at its meeting this week.
Yesterday's stock market bloodbath stands in contrast to the U.S. economic data, most of which so far show no impact from the Covid-19 outbreak.
The bad economic news in Brazil is unstoppable. The mid-month CPI index rose 1.3% month-to-month in February, as education, housing, and transport prices increased. School tuition fees jumped 6% month-to-month in February, reflecting their annual adjustment, and transport costs rose by 2% due to an increase in regulated gasoline prices.
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.
Data this week look set to emphasise that heat is returning to the housing market, again. The Financial Policy Committee--FPC--still has additional tools it could deploy to cool housing demand. But the root cause of surging house prices remains very cheap debt. Alongside the inflation risk posed by the labour market, the case for the MPC to begin to raise interest rates to prevent a widespread debt problem is becoming compelling.
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.
The alarming-looking decline in core capital goods orders since late 2014 has been substantially due, in our view, to the rollover in investment in the mining sector. But the 29% jump in the number of oil rigs in operation, since the mid-May low, makes it clear that the collapse is over.
The second estimate of GDP left the estimate of quarter-on-quarter growth unrevised at 0.3%, a trivial improvement on Q1's 0.2% gain.
This week's key data releases in Mexico likely will reaffirm that growth remains below trend, while inflation continues to ease.
A startlingly wide gap has emerged over the past nine months between the ISM manufacturing index and Markit's manufacturing PMI.
Core durable goods orders have not weakened as much as implied by the ISM manufacturing survey, as our first chart shows, but it is risky to assume this situation persists.
The plunge in capital spending in the oil business appears to be over, at least for now. Orders for non-defense capital goods, excluding aircraft, fell by 8.9% from their September peak to their February low, but they have since rebounded, as our first chart shows. We can't be certain that the sudden drop in core capex orders late last year was triggered by a rollover in oil companies' spending, but it is the most likely explanation, by far.
Broad-based inflation pressures in Brazil remain tame despite the sharp BRL depreciation this year, totalling about 7% in the last three months alone.
New Covid-19 cases in Mexico have continued to fall steadily over this month, with deaths peaking two weeks ago, as shown in our first chart.
Japan's advance PMI numbers for August suggest that the economy dodged most of the bullets fired by the second wave of Covid-19.
Today brings new housing market data, in the form of the weekly applications numbers from the MBA. The weekly data are seasonally adjusted but are still very volatile, especially in the spring.
Two key reports today, on January consumer prices and durable goods orders, have the power to move markets substantially. We think both will undershoot market expectations, though we would be deeply reluctant to read too much into either report; both are distorted by temporary factors.
No single measure of labor demand is always a reliable leading indicator of the official payroll numbers, which is why we track an array of private and official measures.
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%.
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.
Yesterday's minutes of the October 31 COPOM meeting, at which the Central Bank cut the Selic rate unanimously by 50bp at 5.00%, reaffirmed the committee's post-meeting communiqué, which signalled that rates will be cut by the "same magnitude" in December.
October's Markit/CIPS services survey suggests that the PM's new Brexit deal has had a lukewarm reception from firms.
German manufacturing data continues to offer a sobering counterbalance to strong services and consumers' spending data. New orders plunged 1.7% month-to-month in September, well below the consensus, pushing the year-over-year rate down to a 1.0% fall from a revised 1.7% increase in August. These data are very volatile, and revisions probably will lift the final number slightly next month, but the evidence points to clear risks of a further decline in the underlying trend of production.
The MPC's penchant for providing interest rate guidance reached new heights last week.
Yesterday's EZ PMI data surprised to the downside. The composite PMI in the euro area dipped to 52.9 in August, from 53.2 in July, below the initial estimate 53.3. The headline was marred by weakness in the German services PMI, which crashed to a 40-month low of 51.7, from 54.4 in July.
Our conviction that the economy continues to grow at a snail's pace increased yesterday following the release of August's Markit/CIPS services survey.
The PMI survey points to a slight loss of momentum in Eurozone growth towards the end of Q3. The composite index fell to 53.6 in September from 54.3 in August, trivially lower than the initial estimate of 53.9. This is not enough to move the needle on the survey's signal for Q3 GDP growth, though; our first chart shows it pointing to stable growth of 0.4% quarter-on-quarter.
The latest U.K. PMIs were unambiguously dreadful. The manufacturing, construction and services PMIs all fell in April, and their weighted average points to quarter-on-quarter growth in GDP slowing to zero in Q2, from 0.4% in Q1. The U .K.'s composite PMI also undershot the Eurozone's for the second month this year.
Today's April ADP employment report likely will understate the scale of the net payroll losses which will be reported Friday by the BLS.
The case for the MPC to hold back from raising interest rates in May remains strong, despite the improvement in the Markit/CIPS services survey in February.
The results of Sunday's parliamentary elections in Italy carry two key messages.
Chile's IMACEC economic activity index rose 3.9% year-over-year in January, up from 2.6% in December, and 2.9% on average in Q4, thanks to strong mining output growth and solid commercial, manufacturing and services activity.
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.
China's National People's Congress yesterday laid out its main goals for this year, on the first day of its annual meeting.
The small rise in the Markit/CIPS services PMI to 51.3 in February, from 50.1 in January, came as a relief yesterday.
Yesterday's final PMI data for February confirmed the story from the advance reports.
The rebound in the ISM non-manufacturing index in February was in line with our forecast, but behind the strong headline, the employment index dropped to an eight-month low.
A trio of data releases yesterday provided no relief from the run of abysmal economic news.
Negotiations between Greece and its creditors will come to a head in the next few weeks as the country faces imminent risk of running out of money. Following a meeting with the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, on Sunday Greek finance minister Faroufakis assured investors that the country intends to make a scheduled €450M payment to the fund on Thursday.
December's GDP report, released next Monday, likely will maintain the flow of negative news on the U.K. economy.
As things stand, we see little reason to revise down our forecasts for the U.K. economy in response to the tailspin in equity markets
We raised our forecast for today's January payroll number after the ADP report, to 200K from 160K.
Our hope for a year-end jump in German factory orders was laughably optimistic.
Following the publication of Korea's preliminary Q4 GDP report last month--see here--we said the consensus-beating print would be susceptible to downgrades, unless the economy had a miraculous end to 2018
Chile's near-term economic outlook is still negative, but clouds have been gradually dispersing since late Q4, due mostly to better news on the global trade front, China's improving economic prospects, and rising copper prices.
Yesterday's economic reports in the Eurozone were solid across the board.
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%.
Hopes that GDP growth will strengthen following the general election, which has eliminated near- term threats of a no-deal Brexit and a business- hostile Labour government, were bolstered yesterday by the release of December's Markit/ CIPS services survey.
October's GDP report, released on Monday, might just manage to break through the wall of noise coming from parliament ahead of the key Brexit vote on Tuesday.
Chile's central bank, the BCCh, held its reference rate unchanged at 2.75% on Tuesday, in line with the majority of analysts' forecasts.
The final Monitor before our summer break is characterized by great uncertainty.
Always expect the unexpected in a bonus month for Japanese wages.
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.
...The Fed did nothing, surprising no-one; the labor market tightened further; the housing market tracked sideways; survey data mostly slipped a bit; and oil prices jumped nearly $4, briefly nudging above $50 for the first time since May.
We were a bit disappointed by the November ADP employment report, though a 190K reading in the 102nd month of a cyclical expansion is hardly a disaster.
China last week banned unlicensed micro-lending and put a ceiling on borrowing costs for the sector, in an effort to curtail the spiralling of consumer credit.
China's unadjusted current account was effectively in balance in Q2, after the deficit in Q1.
LatAm assets have struggled in recent days as it has become clear that the Fed will hike next week. But we don't expect currencies to collapse, as domestic fundamentals are improving and the broader external outlook is relatively benign.
Survey data continue to suggest that GDP growth will accelerate in Q1. The final PMI reports on Friday showed that the headline EZ composite index rose to 56.0 in February, from 54.4 in January, in line with the first estimate.
Yesterday's detailed Q3 growth data in the Eurozone offered no surprises in terms of the headline.
October payrolls were stronger than we expected, rising 128K, despite a 46K hit from the GM strike.
Brazil's industrial sector is on the mend, but some of the key sub-sectors are struggling.
Our hopes of another solid increase in payrolls in July were severely dented by yesterday's ADP report, showing that private payrolls rose only 167K in July.
For sterling traders, no election news is good news.
November's Markit/CIPS surveys for the manufacturing, construction and services sectors suggest that GDP growth is on track to strengthen a touch in Q4.
The slump in the Markit/CIPS services PMI in November to its lowest level since July 2016 provides the clearest indication yet that uncertainty about Brexit has driven the economy virtually to a stand-still.
Behind all the talk of slowdowns and Fed pauses, we see no sign that the labor market is loosening beyond a very modest uptick in jobless claims, and even that looks suspicious.
Brazilian data strengthened early in Q4, supporting the case for the COPOM to slow the pace of rate cuts. We expect the SELIC policy rate to be lowered by 50bp today, to 7.0%.
The rise in the Markit/CIPS services PMI to a nine-month high of 51.4 in July, from 50.2 in June, isn't a game-changer, though it does provide some reassurance that the economy isn't on a downward spiral.
Consumers' spending in the Eurozone slowed in the second half of 2017, providing a favourable base for growth in H1 2018.
Brazil heads to the polls on Sunday, followed by an expected run-off on October 28.
Japan's Nikkei services PMI dropped to 51.0 in September from 51.6 in August, continuing the downtrend since June. For Q3 as a whole, the headline averaged 51.5, down from 52.8 in Q2; that's a clear loss of momentum.
Yesterday's economic reports in the Eurozone will rekindle the debate on hard versus soft data. The final composite PMI rose to 56.7 in September, from 55.7 in August, in line with the first estimate.
Labor demand, as measured by an array of business surveys, clearly slowed from the cycle peak, recorded late last year.
We would sum up the final stages of the Brexit negotiations as follows: Both sides have an interest in a deal with minimal disruptions, but we probably have to get a lot closer to the cliff- edge for the final settlement.
The rise in Markit/CIPS services PMI to 55.0 in March, from 53.3 in February, brings some relief that GDP growth has not stalled in Q1, following manufacturing and construction surveys that signalled near-stagnation.
Chile's economy appears to have gathered momentum in February with the Imacec index, a proxy for GDP, increasing 2.8% year-over-year, up from a modest 0.1% contraction in January and its fastest pace since January 2015. Activity was driven mainly by expansion in services, mining and retail commerce activities.
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.
The Caixin services PMI leapt to an eyebrow- raising 53.8 in November, from 50.8 in October.
Yesterday's final PMI data in the euro area for November broadly confirmed the initial estimates.
Economic activity is slowing in Colombia. The ISE activity index--a monthly proxy for GDP--rose only 0.6% year-over-year in April, down from 2.3% in March, and we expect it to rise at this pace over the coming months. During the first quarter, the index rose at an average year-over-year rate of 3.0%.
The Greek polls released Sunday evening indicate a comfortable victory for "no," rejecting the latest EU proposal. This is not a good outcome for the market, and volatility will likely increase substantially today. The result--not confirmed as we go to press but very clearly indicated by the count so far--gives an air of legitimacy to Syriza's brinkmanship, but the creditors' reaction to a "no" vote, which they likely did not expect, is uncertain.
It's probably happening a decade too late, but the EU is now moving in leaps and bounds to restructure the continent's weakest banks. Yesterday, the Monte dei Paschi saga reached an interim conclusion when the Commission agreed to allow the Italian government to take a 70% stake in the ailing lender.
The 6.4-point rebound in the May ISM non-manufacturing employment index, to a very high 57.8, supports our view that summer payroll growth will be strong. On the face of it, the survey is consistent with job gains in excess of 300K, as our first chart shows, but that's very unlikely to happen.
Business surveys released over the last week have made us more confident in our call that quarter-on- quarter GDP growth will recover to about 0.4% in Q2, from Q1's weather-impacted 0.1% rate.
If 2017 really is the year of "reflation", somebody forgot to tell the gilt market. Among the G7 group, 10-year yields have fallen only in the U.K. during the last three months, as our first chart shows.
We think today's February payroll number will be reported at about 140K, undershooting the 175K consensus.
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.
Today's June ADP employment report likely will undershoot the 183K consensus, but we then expect the official payroll number tomorrow to surprise to the upside.
November's monetary indicators provide an upbeat rebuttal to the swathe of downbeat business surveys. Year-over-year growth in the MPC's preferred measure of broad money--M4 excluding intermediate other financial corporations--rose to a 19-month high of 4.0% in November, from 3.5% in October.
The 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.
Yesterday's final PMI data in the Eurozone were better than we expected.
Productivity likely rose by 1.7% last year, the best performance since 2010.
Real M1 growth is slowing, and financial conditions are beginning to tighten in the Eurozone, but shortleading indicators continue to signal firm momentum in the economy.
The latest PMIs suggest that investors have jumped the gun in pricing-in a 50% chance of the MPC raising interest rates again as soon as May.
Friday's early EZ CPI data for December were red hot. Headline HICP inflation in Germany jumped to 1.5%, from 1.3% in November, while the headline rate in France increased by 0.4pp, to 1.6%.
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.
Chile's Imacec index confirmed that economic growth ended the year on a soft note, due mainly to weakness in the mining sector.
Chile's economic outlook is still positive, but clouds have been gradually gathering since mid-year, due mostly to the slowdown in China, low copper prices and falling consumer and business confidence.
The short answer to the question posed by our title is: We don't know. But that's the point, because we shouldn't be needing to ask the question at all.
A core element of our relatively upbeat macro view before the implementation of fiscal stimulus under the new administration is that the ending of the drag from falling capex in the oil sector will have quite wide, positive implications for growth. The recovery in direct oil sector spending is clear enough; it will just track the rising rig count, as usual.
Mexico's economic outlook has dimmed recently, a point driven home by sentiment data released last week. Still, we think GDP growth will slow only marginally in Q4, to about 11⁄2% year-over-year. Consumers' spending likely will remain strong in the near term, thanks mainly to rising remittances from the U.S., driven by fear of policy changes under the Trump administration.
The release of October's GDP report on Tuesday likely will be overshadowed by campaigning ahead of Thursday's general election.
Data released on Friday showed that November inflation was in line with, or below, expectations in Brazil, Colombia and Chile.
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.
The German manufacturing sector appears to have settled into an equilibrium of sustained misery.
The slew of EZ economic data on Friday supports our view that the economy ended 2016. The Commission's economic sentiment index jumped to 107.8 in December from a revised 106.6 in November. The headline strength was due to a big increase in "business climate indicator" and higher consumer sentiment. In individual countries, solid numbers for German construction and French services sentiment were the stand-out details.
The reported drop in mortgage applications over the holidays is now reversing, not that it ever mattered.
Productivity statistics released yesterday continued to paint a bleak picture. Output per worker rose by a mere 0.1% year-over-year in Q3, despite jumping by 0.6% quarter-on-quarter.
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.
The headline NFIB index of small business activity and sentiment in July likely will be little changed from June--we expect a half-point dip, while the consensus forecast is for a repeat of June's 94.5--but what we really care about is the capex intentions componen
Yesterdays' industrial production report capped a poor week for German manufacturing. Output fell 1.2% month-to-month in August, well below the consensus, +0.2%, though note that a 0.5% upward revision to the July data made the August headline look worse. Similar to the factory orders report earlier this week--see our October 6th Monitor--base effects also mean that production accelerated to 2.5% year-over-year, from a revised 0.8% gain in July.
We planned to write today about the rebound in housing market activity over the past few months, arguing that it is about to run out of steam in the face of the recent flat trend in mortgage applications. The Mortgage Bankers Associations' purchase applications index rocketed in the spring, but then moved in a narrow range from mid-April through late September. Then, out of the blue, the MBA reported a 27% leap in applications in the week ended October 2, taking the index to its highest level in more than five years.
Yesterday's manufacturing data in Germany were poor, but not as weak as implied by the headline.
We expect July's GDP report, released on Friday, to show that overall output rose by about 7.0% month-to-month, bringing it to 11.5% below its pre-Covid peak.
The combination of upbeat survey data and solid consumer spending numbers indicate that the German economy is in good shape. But manufacturing data continue to disappoint; factory orders fell 0.9% month-to-month in February, equivalent to a 1.3% decline year-over-year.
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.
Economic data have yielded the limelight in recent months to Brexit news and, alas, we doubt that February's GDP data, released on Wednesday, will reclaim investors' attention.
Friday's industrial production report in Germany capped a miserable week for economic data in the Eurozone's largest economy.
The upturn in German manufacturing orders waned slightly towards the end of 2017; factory orders fell 0.4% month-to-month in November.
The only way to read the December NFIB survey and not be alarmed is to look at the headline, which fell by less than expected, and ignore the details.
China's consensus-beating Q2 GDP signals that it is done easing. Chinese industry drove the Q2 rebound... now comes the hard part. The recovery in manufacturing capex in China continues to disappoint. The upward momentum in China's property market is unlikely to last. The BoK held, but Governor Lee's rhetoric suggests it should've cut.
Inventories subtracted 1.3 percentage points from headline GDP growth in the second quarter and were by far the biggest constraint on the economy. This was the fifth straight drag from inventories, but it was more than twice the average hit over the previous year.
We were pretty sure that the underlying trend in jobless claims had bottomed, in the high 230s, before the hurricanes began to distort the data in early September.
Steady Q4 GDP growth in China masks respectable q/q rebound. Signs of recovery in China's industrial complex, but for how long? China's households continue to struggle. China's FAI growth shows rebuilding confidence around the Phase One deal. Japan's November tertiary index suggests October plunge was more tax than typhoon. January sees the first of many BoK "holds" this year.
An impressive release of pent-up demand in June... but now comes the hard part.
The run of soft core CPI numbers is over. The average 0.18% increase over the past two months probably is a good indication of the underlying trend -- the prints would have been close to this pace in both months had it not been for wild swings in the lodging component -- and the other one-time oddities of recent months' have faded.
April's RICS Residential Market survey confirmed that housing market activity collapsed to negligible levels during the lockdown, which prohibited property viewings, depleted the work forces of lenders and prompted many people to defer big financial decisions.
In one line: A marginal improvement, but poor mining activity remains a drag.
The undershoot in April payrolls, relative to the consensus, is a story of a fluke number in just one sector. Retail payrolls reportedly shrank by 3K, after rising by an average of 52K over the previous six months. Our first chart shows clearly that the retail payrolls are quite volatile over short periods, with sudden and often inexplicable swings in both directions quite common.
We're among a small minority of economists forecasting that GDP rose by 0.1% month-to-month in March.
April's GDP report probably will be the worst any of us will see in our lifetime.
China's GDP report for the second quarter is due a week from today, and the prevailing wisdom is that the bounce-back was strong enough for headline growth to return to the black.
Small business sentiment and activity, as reported by the NFIB survey, has recovered exactly half the drop triggered by the rollover in stock prices in the fourth quarter. This matters, because most people work at small firms, which are responsible for the vast bulk of net job growth.
Resistance is futile.
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.
Core producer price inflation is falling, and it probably has not yet hit bottom.
Yesterday's economic reports showed that the German economy firmed at the end of Q1, but this doesn't change the story for a poor quarter overall.
We expected a consensus-beating ADP employment number for February, but the 298K leap was much better than our forecast, 210K. The error now becomes an input into our payroll model, shifting our estimate for tomorrow's official number to 250K; our initial forecast was 210K.
Demand for German manufacturing goods slipped at the end of Q3. Yesterday's report showed that factory orders fell 0.6% month-to-month in September, constrained by weakness in domestic demand and falling export orders to other EZ economies.
Friday's GDP report likely will fuel concerns the economy has little underlying momentum. Granted, quarter-on-quarter growth probably sped up to 0.6% in Q3--exceeding the economy's potential rate--from 0.4% in Q2.
Friday's GDP report should show that the economy narrowly avoided contracting in Q2.
The jobless claims numbers today likely will mark the end of the calm before the storm effect, even though the data cover the week ended September 1, and Harvey hit on August 26.
The two major EZ economic reports released while we were away conformed to the consensus. Advance data suggest that real GDP in the euro area rose 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, the same pace as in Q2, and the year-over-year rate was similarly unchanged at 1.6%.
The flow of data pointing to strength in the labor market has continued this week, on the heels of last week's report of a 250K jump in October payrolls.
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.
Japan's services sector PMI last week was disappointing.
Friday's final EZ inflation report of 2017 sent a dovish signal to bond markets.
The ink has hardly dried on economists' and the ECB's inflation projections for 2020, but we suspect that some forecasters are already considering ripping up the script.
We expect the official estimate of quarter-on-quarter GDP growth in Q4 to be revised up to 0.7% today, from last month's preliminary estimate of 0.6%. The consensus forecast is for no revision, so the data likely will boost interest rate expectations and sterling, if we're right.
The economic data calendar for next week is so congested that we need to preview early September's GDP report, released on Monday.
We've been hearing a good deal about the slowdown in the rate of growth of consumer credit in recent months, and with the April data due for release today, it makes sense now to reiterate our view that the recent numbers are no cause for alarm.
We have argued frequently that the ADP employment report is not a reliable advance payroll indicator--see our Monitor of May 4, for example-- so for now we'll just note that it is generated by a regression model which includes a host of nonpayroll data and the official jobs numbers from the previous month. It is not based solely on reports from employers who use ADP for payroll processing, despite ADP's best efforts to insinuate that it is.
The next couple of months likely will see some activity data rebound to close to pre-Covid levels, fuelling hopes of a V-shaped recovery.
All the signs are that ADP will today report a solid increase in February private payrolls; our forecast is 200K, but if you twist our arms we'd probably say the mild weather last month across most of the country points to a bit of upside risk.
Last week's heavy snowfall, which blighted the entire country, will depress GDP growth in Q1, making it harder for the MPC to read the economy.
Yesterday's economic reports in the Eurozone were mostly positive.
We're expecting to learn this morning that productivity rose by a respectable 1.7% in the year to the fourth quarter, the best performance in nearly four years.
Korea's final GDP report for Q4 was little changed, in the end.
The German economy's engine room continues to stutter.
Colombia was one of the fastest growing economies in LatAm in 2018, and prospects for this year have improved significantly following June's presidential election, with the market-friendly candidate, Iván Duque, winning.
Manufacturers in Germany endured another miserable quarter in Q3.
Investors now see a 50/50 chance of the MPC cutting Bank Rate within the next nine months, following the slightly dovish minutes of the MPC's meeting, and its new forecasts.
A steep drop in prices for financial services in January was a key factor behind the sharp slowdown in the rate of increase of the core PCE deflator in the first quarter, relative to the core CPI.
Headline inflation in Brazil remained low in October, and even breached the lower bound of the BCB's target range.
Markets clearly love the idea that the "Phase One" trade deal with China will be signed soon, at a location apparently still subject to haggling between the parties.
The Fed today will do nothing to rates and won't materially change the language of the post-meeting statement.
The impending retirement of New York Fed president Dudley creates yet another vacancy on the FOMC.
The RMB has been on a tear, as expectations for a "Phase One" trade deal have firmed.
Early results suggest that Mr. Macron has comfortably beat Marine Le Pen to become French president, defying a leak of emails and other documents from his En Marche campaign over the weekend. The final results won't be published until Monday morning, but the initial estimate indicates that Mr. Macron will edge Ms. Le Pen by 65.1% to 34.9%.
The sharp 0.4% month-to-month fall in GDP in December and the slump in the Markit/CIPS PMIs towards 50 have created the impression the economy is on the cusp of recession.
The stock of bank lending to businesses is on course to fall in June, after a modest increase in May and huge jumps in March and April.
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.
Odds-on, the consensus forecast for May's GDP report, released on Wednesday, will miss the mark.
German GDP growth jumped in the first quarter, but monthly economic data suggest the economy all but stalled in Q2. Yesterday's industrial production data are a case in point. Output slid 1.3% month-tomonth in May, pushing the year-over-year rate down to -0.4% from a revised 0.8% gain in April. Adding insult to injury, the month-to-month number for April was revised down by 0.3 percentage points
China's FX reserves data pointed to an about-turn in net capital flows in May, with capital leaving the country again after two months of net inflows, and a current account deficit in Q1.
Consumer sentiment in Mexico continues to improve, consistent with tailwinds from the relatively strong labour market and the president's rising approval ratings.
Economic conditions remain challenging in Mexico, despite a modest improvement in leading indicators. The usual surveys currently are not well-suited to capture the economy's upturn from the Covid-19 collapse.
China's post-Covid-19 economic recovery is becoming increasingly undeniable. But the more relevant questions now are the speed of its revival, and whether there are still any low-hanging fruit to pick.
It is possible that the broad-based softness of September payrolls captures a knee-jerk reaction on the part of employers, choosing to wait-and-see what happens to demand in the wake of stock market correction. But that can't be the explanation for the mere 136K August gain, because the survey was conducted before the market rolled over. Even harder to explain is the hefty downward revision to August payrolls, after years of upward revisions. All is not yet lost for August--the last time the first revision to the month was downwards, -3K in 2010, the second revision was +56K--but we aren't wildly optimistic.
Yesterday's final manufacturing PMIs for October were grim, but they told investors nothing they don't already know.
Britain looks set for a general election during the week commencing December 9, now that all main parties are pushing for a pre-Christmas poll.
Markets see a strong possibility, though not a probability, that the BoJ will cut rates on Thursday.
The November ADP employment report today likely will show private payrolls rose by about 180K. We have no reason to think that the trend in payroll growth has changed much in recent months, though the official data do appear to be biased to the upside in the fourth quarter, probably as a result of seasonal adjustment problems triggered by the crash of 2008. We can't detect any clear seasonal fourth quarter bias in the ADP numbers.
October's money and credit report indicates that the economy had little momentum at the start of the fourth quarter.
The stage is set for the Fed to ease by 25bp today, but to signal that further reductions in the funds rate would require a meaningful deterioration in the outlook for growth or unexpected downward pressure on inflation.
French consumer confidence and consumption have been among the main bright spots in the euro area economy so far this year.
Mexico's data over the last few weeks have confirmed our view that private consumption remains the key driver of the current economic cycle. Solid economic fundamentals, thanks to stimulative monetary policy and structural reforms, have supported the domestic economy in recent quarters. Falling inflation has also been a key driver, slowing to 2.5% by mid-September, a record low, from an average of 4% during 2014.
Economic data released last week underscored that Brazil's economic recovery is continuing; the effect of recent bold rate cuts and improving domestic fundamentals will further support the gradual recovery of the labour market.
The modest overshoot to consensus in September's core PCE deflator won't trouble any lists of great economic surprises, but it did serve to demonstrate that the PCE can diverge from the CPI, in both the short and medium-term.
The rate of growth of third quarter consumers' spending was revised up by 0.3 percentage point to 3.3% in the national accounts released yesterday.
Capex data by industry are available only on an annual basis, with a very long lag, so we can't directly observe the impact the collapse in the oil sector has had on total equipment spending. But we can make the simple observation that orders for non-defense capital goods were rising strongly and quite steadily-- allowing for the considerable noise in the data--from mid-2013 through mid-2014, before crashing by 9% between their September peak and the February low. It cannot be a coincidence that this followed a 55% plunge in oil prices.
It's possible that first hints of better news ahead in the Covid surge in the South and West are beginning to emerge in the data.
The Fed made no changes to policy yesterday, as was almost universally expected.
Japan returned the ruling LDP coalition to power in an upper house election over the weekend.
The seasonal adjustment problems which tend to drive up the national ISM manufacturing survey in late spring and summer are more or less absent from the Chicago PMI, which will be released today. As far as we can tell, the biggest short-term influence on the Chicago number is variations in the order flow for Boeing aircraft; the company moved its headquarters to the city from Seattle in 2001.
The U.S. coronavirus outbreak is not slowing. The curve is not bending much, if at all. Confirmed cases continue to increase at a steady rate, averaging 23% per day over the past three days.
Markets expect the Fed will fail to follow through on its current intention to raise rates twice more this year and three times next year. Part of this skepticism reflects recent experience.
The unemployment rate hit its post-1970 low in April 2000, at the peak of the first internet boom, when it nudged down to just 3.8%. The low in the next cycle, first reached in October 2006, was rather higher, at 4.4%.
The economic downturn and the Chancellor's unprecedented fiscal measures mean that public borrowing likely will be about four times higher, in the forthcoming fiscal year, than anticipated in the Budget just over two weeks ago.
Yesterday's relatively good news--we discuss the implications of the August trade data below--will be followed by rather more mixed reports today. We hope to see a partial rebound, at least, in the September Chicago PMI, but we fully expect soft August consumer spending data.
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.
Covid-19 has cut short a nascent recovery in housing market activity.
The PBoC cut its seven-day reverse repo rate to 2.20%, from 2.40%, while making a token injection; the Bank only moves these rates when it injects funds.
A pair of closely-watched reports today will confirm that business and consumer confidence is tanking in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
The most important number, potentially, in today's wave of economic reports is the Employment Costs Index for second quarter.
We now have consumption data for two-thirds of the first quarter, making it is easy to see that a near-herculean spending effort is required to lift the quarter as a whole into anything like respectable territory. After February's 0.1% dip, real spending has to rise by at least 0.4% in March just to generate a 2.0% annualized gain for the quarter, and a 2.5% increase requires a 0.7% jump.
On the face of it, the February consumer spending data, due today, will contradict the upbeat signal from confidence surveys. The dramatic upturn in sentiment since the election is consistent with a rapid surge in real consumption, but we're expecting to see unchanged real spending in February, following a startling 0.3% decline in January.
Many investors probably glossed over yesterday's barrage of data in the Eurozone, for fear of being caught out by another swoon in Italian bond yields. Don't worry, we are here to help.
In the wake of April's 0.2% increase in real consumers' spending, and the upward revisions to the first quarter numbers, we now think that second quarter spending is on course to rise at an annualized rate of about 3.5%.
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.
June's money and credit figures showed that the economy still doesn't have much zing, even though lending has picked up since Q1.
Japan's headline jobless rate edged up to 2.8% in December, from 2.7% in November, but the increase was negligible, with the rate moving to 2.76% from 2.74%.
Data yesterday showed that German inflation roared higher at the start of the year, but the devil is in the detail.
The upward trend in German inflation stalled temporarily in August, with an unchanged 0.4% year-over-year reading in August. A dip in core inflation likely offset a continued increase in energy price inflation. The detailed final report next month will give the full story, but state data suggest that the core rate was depressed by a dip in price increases of household appliances, restaurant services, as well as "other goods and services."
We are expecting a hefty increase in the August ADP employment number today--our forecast is 225K, above the 175K consensus --but we do not anticipate a similar official payroll number on Friday. Remember, the ADP number is based on a model which incorporates lagged official employment data, the Philly Fed's ADS Business Conditions Index, and data from firms which use ADP for payroll processing.
The Bank of Korea's two main monthly economic surveys were very perky in January.
The MPC's decision yesterday was a "dovish hold", designed to keep market interest rates at current stimulative levels and to preserve the option of cutting Bank Rate swiftly and without surprise, if the economy fails to rebound in Q1.
The headline employment cost index has been remarkably dull recently, with three straight 0.6% quarterly increases. The consensus forecast for today's report, for the three months to December, is for the same again.
It's a myth that the 10-ye ar decline in the unemployment rate has not driven up the pace of wage growth.
Yesterday's first estimate of full-year 2019 GDP in Mexico confirmed that growth was extremely poor, due to domestic and external shocks.
Today's FOMC meeting will be the first non-forecast meeting to be followed by a press conference.
Some closely-watched composite leading indicators for the U.K. economy, and for many others, are flashing red.
The ECB stood pat yesterday, keeping its key refinancing and deposit rates unchanged at zero and -0.4%, respectively. The marginal lending facility rate was also left at 0.25%, and the monthly pace of QE was maintained at €80B, with a preliminary end-date in the first quarter of 2017. Purchases of corporate bonds will begin June 8, and the first new TLTRO auction will take place June 22.
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.
Chile's near-term economic outlook is still negative after a sharp resurgence of coronavirus cases.
We're expecting ADP today to report a 10M drop in private payrolls in May, but investors should be braced for surprises, in either direction, because ADP's methodology is not clear.
The downside surprise in April payrolls reflected weakness in just three components--retail, construction, and government--compared to their prior trends. Of these, we think only the construction numbers are likely to remain soft in May. Had it not been for the Verizon strike, then, we would have expected payrolls to rise by just over 200K in May, but the 35K strike hit means our forecast is 170K.
Yesterday's final manufacturing PMIs confirmed that all remained calm in the EZ industrial sector through February.
The Fed likely will do nothing today, both in terms of interest rates and substantive changes to the statement. We'd be very surprised to hear anything new on the Fed's plans for its balance sheet.
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.
Something of a debate appears to be underway in markets over the "correct" way to look at the coronavirus data.
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.
Rumours of Greece stepping back from the brink and accepting its creditors' demands, have taunted markets this week. But the response from the EU, so far, is that talks will not resume before this weekend's referendum. Our base case is a "yes" to the question of whether Greece should accept the proposal from the EU and IMF.
The first economic report of 2020 confirmed the main story in the euro area last year; namely a recession in manufacturing.
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.
Friday's advance Q4 growth numbers in the EZ were a bit of a dumpster fire.
While we were out, the data showed that consumers' confidence has risen very sharply since the election, hitting 15-year highs, but actual spending has been less impressive and housing market activity appears poised for a marked slowdown.
The next nine weeks bring three jobs reports, which will determine whether the Fed hikes again in September, as we expect, and will also help shape market expectations for December and beyond.
The end of Korea's first Covid-19 wave, coupled with the government's economic support measures, has been a boon for the retail industry.
Today brings an array of economic data, including the jobless claims report, brought forward because July 4 falls on Thursday.
The startling jump in supplier delivery times in the June ISM manufacturing survey, to a 14-year high, was due--according to the ISM press release--to disruptions to steel and aluminum supplies, transportation problems and "supplier labor issues".
Yesterday's advance Q1 GDP data in the EZ confirmed that growth slowed at the start of the year.
Manufacturers in the Eurozone are still suffering, but yesterday's final PMI data for April offered a few bright spots.
We're expecting a hefty increase in private payrolls in today's August ADP employment report. ADP's number is generated by a model which incorporates macroeconomic statistics and lagged official payroll data, as well as information collected from firms which use ADP's payroll processing services.
The recent spate of manufacturing business survey indices from Korea show that sentiment is deteriorating in the wake of its trade spat with Japan and the re-intensification of U.S.-China tensions.
Markets remain convinced that the U.S. faces no meaningful inflation risk for the foreseeable future.
Japan is one of the countries most exposed to economic damage from the coronavirus.
Yesterday's economic reports in the euro area were mixed.
Today's barrage of data kicks off a couple of busy days in the Eurozone economic calendar.
Chancellor Javid told the Financial Times earlier this month that he wants to lift the rate of GDP growth to between 2.7% and 2.8%, the average rate in the 50 years following the Second World War.
Yesterday's FOMC , announcing a unanimous vote for no change in the funds rate, is almost identical to December's.
It's pretty easy to spin a story that the recent core PCE numbers represent a sharp and alarming turn south.
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.
We're fully expecting to see a hit to September payrolls from Hurricane Florence, which struck during the employment survey week.
Producer price inflation in the euro area almost surely peaked over the summer.
ADP's report that September private payrolls rose by 135K was slightly better than we expected, but not by enough to change our 150K forecast for tomorrow's official report.
Japan's unemployment rate has been remarkably steady over the past few months.
On the face of it, yesterday's German consumption data were disappointingly weak.
The Fed's statement yesterday was unsurprising, acknowledging a "sharp" decline in economic activity and a significant tightening of financial conditions, which has "impaired the flow of credit to U.S. households and businesses."
Google's Covid-19 Community Mobility Reports have come raging into fashion in recent weeks, providing a glimpse of the damage done by lockdowns across the world.
Today's ECB meeting will be accompanied by an update of the staff projections, where the inflation outlook will be in the spotlight. The June forecasts predicted an average inflation rate of 0.3% year-over-year this year, currently requiring a rather steep increase in inflation towards 1.1% at the end of the year. We think this is achievable, but we doubt the ECB is willing to be as bold, and it is reasonable to assume this year's forecast will be revised down a notch.
Defaults by Chinese companies have been on the rise lately. Most recently, China Energy, an oil and gas producer with $1.8B of offshore notes outstanding, missed a bond payment earlier this week. We've highlighted the likelihood of a rise in defaults this year, for three main reasons.
The biggest surprise in the revisions to first quarter GDP growth, released yesterday, was in the core PCE deflator.
Last week's strong ISM manufacturing survey for November likely will be followed by robust data for the non-manufacturing sector today, but the headline index, like its industrial counterpart, likely will dip a bit.
Peru's inflation continues to surprise to the downside, paving the way for an additional rate cut next week.
Over the summer, both Chancellor Javid and PM Johnson appeared to be repositioning the Conservatives, claiming that the era of austerity was over and that higher levels of spending and investment were justified.
India's headline GDP print for the third quarter was damning, with growth slowing further, to 4.5% year- over-year, from 5.0% in Q2.
Our composite index of employment indicators, based on survey data and the official JOLTS report, looks ahead about three months.
The opening gambits in the post-Brexit trade negotiations were played earlier this week, in speeches from U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.
In the wake of yesterday's ADP report, which showed private payrolls up 250K in December, we have revised our forecast for today's official headline number up to 240K from 210K.
The Caixin services PMI ticked down to 53.6 in January, from 53.9 in December.
We very much doubt that Fed Chair Powell dramatically changed his position last week because President Trump repeatedly, and publicly, berated him and the idea of further increases in interest rates.
We were worried about downside risk to yesterday's ADP employment measure, but the 67K increase in November private payrolls was at the very bottom of our expected range.
Yesterday's data showed that the euro area PMIs were a bit stronger than initially estimated in November.
China's services sector continues to do most of the heavy lifting for the economy's recovery this quarter, judging by the survey data.
Yesterday's final PMI data for August confirmed that the composite index in the EZ fell to 51.9, from 54.9 in July, slightly higher than the first estimate, 51.6.
The news-flow in the Eurozone was almost unequivocally bad over the summer.
We have argued for some time that much of the early phase of the downturn in global manufacturing was due to the weakening of China's economic cycle, rather than the trade war.
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.
The advance indicators of July payrolls are wildly contradictory, so you should be prepared for anything from a consensus-busting jump to a renewed outright drop, in both Friday's official numbers and today's ADP report.
Yesterday's data provided further evidence of the rising costs of supporting the EZ economy through the Covid-19 shock.
Evidence that the U.K. economy has slowed significantly this year is starting to come in thick and fast. Following the Markit/CIPS manufacturing PMI on Monday --which signalled that growth in production declined in March to its lowest rate since July--the construction PMI dropped to 52.2 in March, from 52.5 in February.
The Caixin services PMI jumped sharply to 53.9 in December from 51.9 in November. All the PMIs picked up significantly, but we find this hard to believe and suspect seasonality is to blame, though the adjustment is tricky.
December's Markit/CIPS surveys for the manufacturing, construction and services sectors suggest that the economy ended 2017 on a lacklustre note.
The recent March economic activity reports for Chile have been terrible, showing the first signs of the Covid-19 shock, and worse is to come.
Activity surveys picked up across the board in April, offering hope that the slowdown in GDP growth--to just 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q1-- will be just a blip. The headline indicators of surveys from the CBI, European Commission, Lloyds Bank and Markit all improved in April and all exceeded their 2004-to-2016 averages.
The simultaneous weakening of the ISM manufacturing and non-manufacturing surveys in recent months is one of the more disconcerting shifts in the recent macro data.
We're very comfortable with the idea that the coronavirus is a broad deflationary shock to the U.S. economy.
Services will bear the brunt of the Covid-19 shock in the euro area, but manufacturing is not far behind.
The simultaneous decline in both ISM indexes was a key factor driving markets to anticipate last week's Fed easing.
Support in opinion polls for both the Conservatives and Labour has been increasing steadily.
Economic conditions are deteriorating rapidly in Chile, despite the relatively decent Imacec reading for Q3.
Friday's economic data in Germany suggest that households had a slow start to the year.
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.
The economic recovery disappointed in Chile during most of the first half of the year, despite relatively healthy fundamentals, including low interest rates, low inflation and stable financial metrics.
Currency markets often make a mockery of consensus forecasts, and this year has been no exception. Monetary policy divergence between the U.S. and the Eurozone has widened this year; the spread between the Fed funds rate and the ECB's refi rate rose to a 10-year high after the Fed's last hike.
The June ISM manufacturing index signalled clearly that the industrial recovery continues, with the headline number rising to its highest level since August 2014, propelled by rising orders and production. But the industrial economy is not booming and the upturn likely will lose a bit of momentum in the second half as the rebound in oil sector capex slows.
If you were looking just at investor sentiment in the Eurozone, you would conclude that the economy is in recession.
The headline May ISM non-manufacturing index today likely will mirror, at least in part, the increase in the manufacturing survey, reported Friday.
The comforting 183K increase in February private payrolls reported by ADP yesterday likely overstates tomorrow's official number.
The ECB took another big step yesterday in assuring markets that it won't waver in the fight against Covid-19.
Data released last week confirmed the strength of the economic recovery in Chile, and we expect further good news in the next three-to-six months.
The ADP employment report suggests that the hit to payrolls from Hurricane Florence was smaller than we feared, so we're revising up our forecast for the official number tomorrow to 150K, from 100K.
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.
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.
Implied volatility on the euro is now so low that we're compelled to write about it, mainly because we think the macroeconomic data are hinting where the euro goes next.
2019 is a year many in the construction sector would prefer to forget.
The ADP employment report was on the money in October at the headline level--it undershot the official private payroll number by a trivial 6K--but the BLS's measure was hit by the absence of 46K striking GM workers from the data.
Industrial production data yesterday confirmed downside risks to Q4's GDP data in Brazil. Output fell 0.7% month-to-month in October, the fifth consecutive decline, pushing the year-over-year rate down to -11.2%, from -10.9% in September. This was the biggest drop since April 2009, when output collapsed by 14.2% during the global financial crisis. The October details were even worse than the headline, as all three broad-measures fell sharply.
A further rise in the business activity index of the November Markit/CIPS report on services offset declines in the manufacturing and construction surveys' key balances. The composite PMI--a weighted average of three survey's activity indices -- therefore rose, to a level consistent with quarter-on-quarter GDP growth strengthening to 0.6% in the fourth quarter, from 0.5% in Q3. Nonetheless, we do not think this is a convincing signal that the economic recovery is regaining strength.
The fundamentals underpinning our forecast of solid first half growth in consumers' spending remain robust.
The rebound in the ISM manufacturing index was a relief, after the sharp drop in October, though the strength in last week's Chicago PMI meant that it wasn't a complete surprise.
LatAm assets and currencies enjoyed a good start to the week, following the agreement between the U.S. and China to pause the trade war.
Under normal circumstances, sustained ISM manufacturing readings around the July level, 54.2, would be consistent with GDP growth of about 2% year-over-year.
Yesterday's final EZ manufacturing PMIs for July extended the run of gains since the nadir during lockdown.
While we were out, the economic news in LatAm was mostly positive. The main upside surprise came from Mexico, with the IGAE activity index--a monthly proxy for GDP--rising 2.9% year-over-year in August, up from 1.2% in July, and an average of 2.4% in Q2. A modest rebound was anticipated, but the headline was much better than we and the markets expected.
The Japanese unemployment rate fell again in September, to 2.3% from 2.4%. In the same vein, the job-to-applicant ratio rose to 1.64, from 1.63.
In yesterday's Monitor we suggested that China's profits surge has been party dependent on developers' risky debt issuance practices.
The Brazilian manufacturing sector remains very depressed by weak end-demand, but the misery is easing, at the margin. Industrial production fell 2.5% month-to-month in February, equivalent to an eye-watering 9.8% contraction year-over-year, but this was rather less bad than the 13.6% slump in January.
The March employment report didn't tell us what we really want to know. The underlying trend in wage growth remains obscured by the calendar quirk which depresses reported hourly earnings when the 15th of the month--pay day for people paid semi-monthly -- falls after the payroll survey week.
All the main surveys of business activity in Q1 now have been released and they present a uniformly downbeat picture.
Yesterday's economic reports added to the evidence the euro area economy as a whole is showing signs of resilience in the face of still-terrible conditions in manufacturing.
We can think of at least three reasons for the apparent softness of ADP's March private sector employment reading.
The near-term performance for EZ manufacturing will be a tug-of-war between positive technical factors, and a still-poor fundamental outlook.
The manufacturing indexes for January showed a small improvement for the biggest economies in LatAm: Brazil and Mexico. In Brazil, the PMI manufacturing index increased marginally to 50.7 in December from 50.2 in November, thanks to stronger output and new orders components, which rose together for the first time in ten months.
The economic and political backdrop to this week's Monetary Policy Committee meeting is significantly more benign than when it last met on September 19.
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 downturn in global trade looks set to turn a corner, at least judging by the outlook for Korean exports, which are a key bellwether.
Thursday and Friday were busy days for LatAm economy watchers. In Brazil, the data underscored our view that the economy is on the mend, but the recent upturn remains shaky, and external risks are still high.
The underlying trend in payroll growth ought to be running at 250K-plus, based on an array of indicators of the pace of both hiring and firing. The past few months' numbers have fallen far short of this pace, though, for reasons which are not yet clear. We are inclined to blame a shortage of suitably qualified staff, not least because that appears to be the message from the NFIB survey, which shows that the proportion of small businesses with unfilled positions is now close to the highs seen in previous cycles. If we're right, payroll growth won't return to the 254K average recorded in 2014 until the next cyclical upturn, but quite what to expect instead is anyone's guess.
Today brings the first glimpse of the post-hurricane employment picture, in the form of the September ADP report.
China's current account surplus was revised down last week to $46.2B in Q2, from $57.0B in the preliminary data, marking a dip from $49.0B in Q1.
The current momentum in house prices partly reflects a dearth of homes offered for sale by existing homeowners. This scarcity reflects a series of constraints, which we think will ease only gradually. Further punchy gains in house prices therefore look sustainable and we expect average prices to rise by about 8% next year.
We have spent the past few weeks shifting our story on the EZ economy from one focused on slowing growth and downside risks to a more balanced outlook. It seems that markets are starting to agree with us.
Last week's final barrage of data showed that EZ headline inflation rose slightly last month, by 0.1 percentage points to 1.5%, driven mainly by increases in the unprocessed food energy components.
Data yesterday showed that Momentum in the EZ retail sector stumbled through middle of Q2.
Today's ADP employment report for December ought to show private payrolls continue to rise at a very solid pace
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.
Economic prospects in the Andes have deteriorated significantly in recent weeks, due mainly to the escalation of the trade war.
Covid-19 has taken a large and immediate toll on house prices, but bigger damage likely lies ahead.
Japan's jobless rate inched up to 2.5% in January, from 2.4% in December.
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."
We aren't in the business of trying to divine the explanation for every twist and turn in the stock market at the best of times, and these are not the best of times.
The number of coronavirus cases continues to increase, but we're expecting to see signs that the number of new cases is peaking within the next two to three weeks.
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.
The record 0.4% drop in the core CPI in April would have looked even worse had it not been for favorable rounding; it was just 0.002% away from printing at -0.5%.
Our default position for core durable goods orders over the next few months is that they will fall, sharply.
The MPC's meeting on Thursday looks set to be a perfunctory affair. Signs that the economy has lost momentum this year, alongside downward surprises from CPI inflation in January and wage growth in December, mean the Committee won't give the idea of hiking rates a moment's thought.
Chile's market volatility and high political risk continue, despite government efforts to ease the crisis.
PM Abe last week asked the cabinet to put together a package of measures in a 15-month budget aimed at bolstering GDP growth through productivity enhancement, in addition to the shorter-term goal of disaster recovery.
Mexican manufacturing data continue to offer a counterweight to strong consumers' spending and services numbers. Output in the key manufacturing sector contracted by 0.2% month-to-month in September, due mainly to severe external headwinds. But the year-over-year rate was unchanged at 3.3%, with a flat underlying trend. Total industrial output, by contrast, rose 0.4% month-to-month in September, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 1.7%, from an upwardly-revised 1.1% gain in August.
The consensus forecast for the October core CPI, which will be reported today, is 0.2%. Take the over. Nothing is certain in these data, but the risk of a 0.3% print is much higher than the chance of 0.1%.
The rate of deterioration in the labour market remains gradual enough for the MPC to hold back from cutting Bank Rate over the coming months.
Straight-line extrapolations are always risky--nothing lasts forever--but if you allow us the indulgence, our first chart suggests that domestic U.S. oil production will breach 10M barrels per day by the summer.
Industrial production in the Eurozone fell a disappointing 0.1% month-on-month in January, driven by low output in Italy and Germany, as well as a large drop in Finland. But December production was revised up to 0.3% month-to-month, from the initially estimated 0.0%.
Under normal circumstances, we can predict movements in the headline NFIB index from shifts in the key labor market components, which are released a day ahead of the official employment report, and, hence, about 10 days before the full NFIB survey appears.
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.
Manufacturing in the Eurozone rebounded midway through the second quarter.
For more than two years, the BoJ has fretted, in the outlook for economic activity and prices, that "there are items for which prices are not particularly responsive to the output gap."
LatAm governments and policymakers are bracing for a more dramatic and longer virus-led downturn than initially expected.
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".
The measures to support the economy through the coronavirus crisis, unveiled by policymakers on Budget day, exceeded expectations.
The effects of Covid-19--both negative and positive--on Korea's labour market certainly were felt in February.
Macroeconomic data in the euro area were mixed in our absence.
Three separate stories will come together to generate today's September core CPI number. First, we wonder if the hurricanes will lift the core CPI.
The Brazilian central bank left its benchmark Selic interest rate on hold at 6.5% on Wednesday night and confirmed our view that policymakers will stand pat for the foreseeable future, provided the BRL remains stable and Mr. Bolsonaro is able to push forward his reform agenda.
The Fed surprised no-one by raising rates 25bp yesterday and leaving in place the median forecast for three hikes next year and two next year.
Car registrations, French inflation, advance PMIs and a central bank meeting make up today's substantial menu for investors in the euro area.
We argued earlier this week that the data on the consumer economy are likely to be rather stronger than the industrial numbers.
The Fed will raise rates by 25bp today, but we expect no change in the median expectation-the dotplot-for two rate hikes both next year and in 2018. We fully appreciate that fiscal easing on the scale proposed by President-elect Trump, or indeed anything like it, very likely would propel inflation to a pace requiring much bigger increases in rates.
Chancellor Javid's resignation, only eight months after assuming the role, is the clearest sign yet that the Johnson-led government wants fiscal policy to play a bigger part in stimulating the economy over the next couple of years.
Japan's GDP likely dropped by a huge 0.9% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, after the 0.5% increase in Q3, with risks skewed firmly to the downside.
It was no surprise that Banxico cut its policy rate by 25bp to 7.00% yesterday, following similar moves in August, September, November and December.
China's M2 growth surprised on the upside in July, rising to 8.5% year-over-year, from 8.0% in June.
German inflation data are more noise than signal at the moment.
The third straight 0.3% increase in the core CPI-- that hasn't happened since 1995--was ignored by the Treasury market yesterday, which appeared to be focusing its attention on the ECB.
Brazil's outlook is still improving at the margin, as positive economic signals mix with relatively encouraging political news.
Yesterday EZ industrial production report confirmed the message from advance country data that manufacturing rebounded towards the end of summer. Output, ex-construction, jumped 1.6% month-to-month in August, and the July data were revised up by 0.4 percentage points.
Korea's jobs report for August was a stonker, with unemployment plunging to 3.1%, from 4.0% in July, marking the lowest rate in more than five years.
Data released yesterday in Brazil are consistent with our view that private consumption will continue to drive the recovery over the second half, offsetting the ongoing weakness in private investment.
Since January 2015, Core CPI inflation has risen to 2.3% from 1.6%, propelled by a combination of accelerating rents, a substantial rebound in the rate of increase of healthcare costs, and a modest-- though unexpected--upturn in core goods prices. It's always risky, though, simply to extrapolate recent trends and assume you now have a clear guide to the future.
We argued a couple of weeks ago that the stock market could suffer a relapse, on the grounds that valuations hadn't fallen far enough from their peak to reflect the extent of the hit to the economy; that hopes for an early re-opening were likely to prove forlorn; and that investors were likely to be spooked by the incoming coronavirus data.
Yesterday's economic data in Brazil suggest that retailers suffered in the second quarter, hit by the effect of the truckers' strike, but private consumption remains somewhat resilient.
Official, real GDP growth was low in Q1, at 1.4% quarter-on-quarter, down from 1.6% in Q4.
The Monetary Policy Committee likely will not follow up August's stimulus measures with another rate cut at its meeting on Thursday. The partial revival in surveys of activity and confidence have weakened the case for immediate action.
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.
Our forecast for a 0.3% increase in the September core PPI, slightly above the underlying trend, is even more tentative than usual.
The key labor market numbers from the monthly NFIB survey of small businesses are released ahead of the main report, due today.
The key piece of evidence supporting our view that housing market activity has peaked for this cycle is the softening trend--until recently--in applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase.
Industrial production in Mexico surged 2.6% year-over-year in February, up from a 0.8% increase in January. A favourable calendar effect, however, is a key part of this story. Once adjusted for the leap year, which added an extra working day, industrial production rose only 0.8%, down from a 1.6% expansion in January.
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.
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.
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.
Mexico's industrial sector did relatively well in Q3, due mainly to the resilience of the manufacturing sector, and the rebound in construction and oil output, following a long period of sluggishness.
The Q1 GDP figures, released on Wednesday, likely will show that the quarter-on-quarter decline in economic activity eclipsed the biggest decline in the 2008-to-09 recession--2.1% in Q4 2008--even though the U.K. went into lockdown towards the very end of the quarter.
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.
Brazil's April CPI data this week showed that inflation pressures remain weak, supporting the BCB's focus on the downside risks to economic activity. Wednesday's report revealed that the benchmark IPCA inflation index rose 0.1% unadjusted month-to-month in April, marginally below market expectations.
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.
If the Phase One trade deal with China is completed, and is accompanied by a significant tariff roll-back, we'll revise up our growth forecasts, but we'll probably lower our near-term inflation forecasts, assuming that the tariff reductions are focused on consumer goods.
We have downgraded our 2019 and 2020 China GDP forecasts on previous occasions because monetary conditions have been surprisingly unresponsive to lower short-term rates.
Today's producer price report for March likely will show a further increase in core goods inflation, which already has risen to 2.0% in February, from 0.2% in the same month last year. The acceleration in the U.S. PPI follows the even more dramatic surge in China's PPI for manufactured goods, which jumped to 6.6% year-over-year in February, from minus 4.9% a year ago. China's PPI is much more sensitive to commodity prices than the U.S. series, so there's very little chance that core U.S. PPI goods inflation will rise to anything like this rate.
Yesterday's labour market data showed that growth in households' income has slowed significantly in recent months. Firms are both hiring cautiously and restraining wage increases, due to heightened uncertainty about the economic outlook and rising raw material and non-wage labour costs. Consumers' spending, therefore, will support GDP growth to a far smaller extent this year than last.
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.
Consumers' spending in Brazil weakened at the end of Q4, but we think households will support GDP growth in the first quarter.
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 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.
Yesterday's data showed that industrial production in the Eurozone accelerated at the end of spring. Output, ex-construction, jumped 1.3% month-to-month in May, much better than the downwardly-revised 0.3% rise in April; the rise pushed the year-over-year rate up to a six-year high of 4.0%.
November production data in Mexico, released Monday, showed that the industrial economy remained quite soft in the last part of last year. The collapse in capital spending in the oil sector, slowing public spending, and weaker growth in EM and the U.S. manufacturing sector have combined to hit Mexican industrial output quite hard. Total production rose just 0.1% year-over-year in November, down from an already weak 0.5% in October, and below the 1.3% average increase in Q3. Output fell 0.5% month-to-month, the biggest drop since May, reflecting broad-based weakness.
Thursday's CPI report in Mexico showed that inflation is edging lower. We are confident that it will continue to fall consistently during Q1, thanks chiefly to the subpar economic recovery, low inertia and the effect of the recent MXN rebound.
Over the last few months we have started to see hard evidence of Brazil's deceleration, and, as we have argued in previous Monitors, the slowdown is now set to become more visible. Over the coming weeks, markets will focus on whether Brazil is already in recession, its likely severity, and how the country will get out of this mess.
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.
The Brazilian central bank cut its benchmark Selic interest rate by 50bp to 4.50% on Wednesday night.
The U.K. economy underperformed its peers to an extraordinary degree in Q2.
GDP growth in Japan surprised to the upside in the second quarter, although the preliminary headline arguably flattered the economy's actual performance.
We've been consistent in saying that Japanese capex would roll over this year, after strength in the first three quarters was seen by the authorities and many commentators as a sign of resilience.
China's October activity data showed signs of the infrastructure stimulus machine sputtering into life. Consensus expectations appear to hold out for a continuation into November, but we think the numbers will be disappointing.
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.
The fact that Italy's economy is in poor shape will not surprise anyone following the euro area, but the advance Q4 GDP headline was astonishingly poor all the same.
The 0.242% increase in the January core CPI left the year-over-year rate at 2.3% for the third straight month.
We have no real argument with the consensus forecasts for the January CPI, with the headline likely to rise by 0.3%, with the core up 0.2%.
Manufacturers in the Eurozone stood tall mid-way through Q2, despite still-subdued leading indicators.
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.
In our Monitor of January 10, we argued that the market turmoil in Q4 was largely driven by the U.S.- China trade war, and that a resolution--which we expect by the spring, at the latest--would trigger a substantial easing of financial conditions.
Brazil's recession carried over into the middle of Q2, but with diminishing intensity in some economic sectors.
The costs of the government's failure to lock down quickly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, ultimately necessitating long-lasting restrictions, were visible in May's GDP figures.
Private consumption remains resilient in Brazil and recent data suggest that growth will continue over the coming months.
The PBoC has left rates unchanged, so far, in the wake of the Fed hike.
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.
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.
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.
The ECB did its utmost not to say or do anything remotely novel today. The central bank kept its main refinancing and deposit rates unchanged at 0.00% and -0.40%, respectively, and reiterated its plan for QE next year.
Consumers' spending in Brazil slowed at the start of Q4, but we don't see this as the start of a downtrend.
The Bank of England won't set markets alight today. We expect another 9-0 vote to leave rates unchanged at 0.25%, and to continue with the £50B of gilt purchases and $10B of corporate bond purchases announced in August. This is not to say, though, that everything is plain sailing for the Monetary Policy Committee.
Fed Chair Yellen delivered no great surprises in her semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony, though she certainly was clear on her attitude to the balance sheet. The Fed does not want to "...use the balance sheet as an active tool of monetary policy."
The January core CPI numbers are consistent with our view that the U.S. faces bigger upside inflation risks than markets and the Fed believe.
Inflation in the Andean economies ended 2019 well within central banks' objectives, despite many domestic and external challenges.
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.
February's COPOM meeting minutes again signalled that Brazil's central bank will stick with its cautious approach to monetary policy.
The economy will be a shadow of its former self over the remainder of this year, following the heavy pummelling from Covid-19.
The German inflation rate soared at the start of 2017, but it likely will fall in the next few months. Final February data yesterday showed that inflation rose to 2.2% in February, from 1.9% in January, consistent with the initial estimate. Since December, headline inflation in Germany, and in the EZ as a whole, has been lifted by two factors. Base effects from the 2016 crash in oil prices have pushed energy inflation higher, and a supply shock in fresh produce--due to heavy snowfall in southern Europe--has lifted food inflation.
A modest dip in gasoline prices will hold down the October CPI, due today, but investors' attention will be on the core, after five undershoots to consensus in the past six months.
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 two biggest economies in the region have taken divergent paths in recent months, with the economic recovery strengthening in Brazil, but slowing sharply in Mexico.
Japanese leading indicators point to a slowdown, and the trend over this volatile year is emerging as firmly downward.
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.
The New York Times called the China trade agreement reached Friday "half a deal", but that's absurdly generous.
China's September imports missed expectations, but commentators and markets tend to focus on the year-over-year numbers.
Data released yesterday from Brazil support our view that the economic recovery continues, but progress has been slow.
Consumption has been a serious weak spot in Brazil over the past year. After reaching record growth rates in 2010, it has gradually slowed to its lowest pace in more than ten years.
Japan's GDP likely dropped by 1.1% quarter- on-quarter in the first quarter, even from the favourable Q4 base, when it fell by 1.8%.
The headlines of China's main activity gauges paint a dreary picture of the start of the year, implying a slowdown.
Industrial production bounced back in February. These data point to a reprieve for old-guard dirty industry, after stringent anti-pollution curbs were put in place in Q4.
The collapse in capital spending in the oil sector and poor construction spending have constrained aggregate Mexican industrial output in recent months, despite the strength of the manufacturing sector. Total production fell 0.1% year-over-year in January, though note this was a clear improvement after the 0.6% drop in December, and better than the average 0.4% contraction over the second half of 2016.
Manufacturing is not in recession, yet, despite the reams of gloomy analysis of the sector, including our own.
Brazil's industrial sector keeps losing momentum, despite interest rates at record lows and improving confidence.
Mexican policymakers stuck to the script yesterday and voted unanimously to cut the main rate by 50bp to 5.50%, its lowest level in more than three years.
The failure of the core CPI to mean-revert in April, after the unexpected March drop, does not mean that the Fed can relax.
The Fed's unanimous vote for a 25bp rate hike was overshadowed by the bump up in the dotplot for next year, with three hikes now expected, rather than the two anticipated in the September forecast. Chair Yellen argued the uptick in the rate forecasts was "tiny", but acknowledged that some participants moved their forecasts partly on the basis that fiscal policy is likely to be eased by the new Congress.
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.
Data yesterday showed that industrial production in the Eurozone stumbled in May. Production fell 1.2% month-to-month, driven by weakness in all major economies and falling output in all sub-industries. The poor headline follows an upwardly revised 1.4% jump in April, which means that production rose marginally in the first two months of the second quarter.
We have no argument with the FOMC's view that the Covid crisis is a disinflationary event, but the run of three straight outright month-to-month declines in the core CPI likely came to an end in June.
Today brings a huge wave of data, but most market attention will be on the June CPI, following the run of unexpectedly soft core readings over the past three months.
The Fed will hike by 25 basis points today, but what really matters is what they say about the future, both in the language of the statement and in the dotplot for this year and next.
The Fed was more hawkish than we expected yesterday.
The consumer in Brazil was off to a strong start to the first quarter, and we expect household spending will continue to boost GDP growth in the near term.
In a busy week in Brazil, ongoing signals of feeble economic activity have strengthened our forecast for GDP growth of just 1.0% this year, below the 1.3% consensus forecast.
May's consumer prices figures bolster the case for the MPC to sit tight and wait until next year to raise interest rates, when the economy should have more momentum.
Brazil's economic situation has improved this year, and we still expect the recovery to continue over the second half, despite recent political volatility and soft Q2 data.
A cursory glance at November's GDP report gives the misleading impression that the U.K. economy is ticking over nicely, despite Brexit.
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.
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.
Today's Eurozone data will provide further details on what happened in Q4. Advance data suggest that industrial production rose a modest 0.1% month- to-month, lifting the year-over-year rate to 4.3% in December, from 3.9% in November.
Industrial production in India turned around sharply in November, rising by 1.8% year-over-year, following October's 4.0% plunge and beating the consensus forecast for a trivial 0.3% uptick.
Inflation in Brazil Ended 2019 Above the BCB's Target; 2020 will be Fine
EZ survey data were solid in the fourth quarter, pointing to robust GDP growth, but numbers from the real economy have so far not lived up to the rosy expectations. Data yesterday showed that industrial production fell 0.7% month-to-month in November, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 1.1% from a revised 2.0% in October. Italian data today likely will force marginal revisions to the headline next month, but they are unlikely to change the big picture.
Yesterday's data were second-tier in the eyes of the markets, but not, perhaps in the eyes of the Fed. The continued surge in job openings, which reached a 14-year high in December, means that the Beveridge Curve--which links the number of job openings to the unemployment rate--shows no signs at all of returning to normal.
A significant minority of investors were betting on a repeat of January's outsized 0.349% increase in the core, judging from the immediate market reaction to the release of the February CPI report.
The January durable goods numbers, viewed in isolation, were not terrible.
We were right about the below-consensus inflation numbers for June, but wrong about the explanation. We thought the core would be constrained by a drop in used car prices, while apparel and medical costs would rebound after their July declines.
GDP data for July, released on Friday, showed that the economic recovery following the Covid-19 lockdown still does not look V-shaped, even though virtually all restrictions on economic activity had been lifted.
Sterling leapt to $1.27, from $1.22 last week, amid some positive signals from all sides engaged in Brexit talks.
The U.K. Monitor will be on a short break soon for paternity leave, so we are taking this opportunity to preview next week's data releases.
The hard economic data in Brazil were relatively solid while we were off last week, supporting our view that the economy was experiencing a good spell at the start of the year just before the coronavirus hit.
This is the final U.S. Economic Monitor of 2017, a year which has seen the economy strengthen, the labor market tighten substantially, and the Fed raise rates three times, with zero deleterious effect on growth.
Today brings an astonishing eight economic reports, so by the end of the wave of numbers we'll have a pretty good idea of how the economy performed in the first month of the third quarter.
The combination of weather effects and the meltdown in the oil sector make it very hard to spot the underlying trend in manufacturing activity. The sudden collapse in oil-related capital spending likely is holding down production of equipment, but the data don't provide sufficient detail to identify the hit with any precision.
Hard data for Brazil and Mexico, released last week, support the case for further interest rate cuts.
Volatility and risk will remain high in L atAm for the foreseeable future. President-elect Donald Trump's uncertain foreign policies could have a considerable impact on LatAm economies in the months and years ahead.
We take little comfort from the fact that the 2.0% quarter-on-quarter drop in Q1 GDP was a bit smaller than the consensus forecast, 2.5%, and the 3.0% fall pencilled-in by the MPC in its Monetary Policy Report.
Markets are caught in a trade loop.
Data released last week in Brazil reinforced our view of a modest, final, interest rate cut this week, despite the recent strength of the USD and volatility in global markets.
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.
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.
After recent interventionist moves and plans in Mexico from AMLO's incoming administration and his political party, uncertainty and soured sentiment are the name of the game.
Japan's PPI data yesterday confirmed that October was a turning point for prices--due to the consumption tax hike--despite the surprising stability of CPI inflation in Tokyo for the same month.
The April CPI report today will be watched even more closely than usual, after the surprise 0.12% month-to-month fall in the March core index. The biggest single driver of the dip was a record 7.0% plunge in cellphone service plan prices, reflecting Verizon's decision to offer an unlimited data option.
Chancellor Sunak's "temporary, timely and targeted" fiscal response to the Covid-19 outbreak, and the BoE's accompanying stimulus measures, won't prevent GDP from falling over the next couple of months.
The BoJ yesterday kept the policy balance rate at -0.1%, and the 10-year yield target at "around zero", in line with the consensus.
We expect to see a 70K increase in October payrolls today.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has decided to press ahead with the publication of new fiscal forecasts on November 7, despite the government's decision to postpone the Budget until after the next election.
Industrial output in Chile struggled late in the third quarter, falling 1.3% month-to-month in September. The year-over-year rate, calendar and seasonally adjusted, rose 2.4% in September, down from a revised 5.3% in August.
The ECB will be satisfied, and a bit relieved, with yesterday's economic data in the Eurozone.
Bond investors in Italy voted with their feet on Friday with news that the government has agreed a 2019 budget deficit of 2.4%.
A firmer picture is emerging of how Japan's economy fared in Q3, in light of the latest slew of data for August.
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 drop in jobless claims to 3,839K in the week ended April 25, from 4,442K in the previous week, leaves the data still terrible, but markedly less terrible than at the 6,867K peak in late March.
Yesterday's ECB meeting was a much more assured affair, compared to the March calamity. The central bank left its key refinancing and deposit rates unchanged, at 0.00% and -0.5%, respectively, and also maintained the pace and guidance on its two asset purchase programs.
The entire 10.5% increase in personal income in April, reported on Friday, was due to the direct stimulus payments made to households under the CARES Act.
Friday's economic data in the euro area provided the first piece of evidence of the slump in Q2 GDP, but added to the picture of a relatively resilient German economy.
Japan's main activity data for April were massively disappointing, presaging the sharper GDP contraction we expect in Q2, compared with Q1.
Strong fundamentals have supported private consumption in Mexico recently, but we now expect a slowdown. Spending will not collapse, though, because consumer credit growth, formal employment, real wage income and remittances will continue to underpin consumption for the next three-to-six months.
China's PMIs surprised the consensus forecasts to the downside for February. The manufacturing PMI dropped to 50.3 in February from 51.3 in January, while the non-manufacturing PMI fell to 54.4 from 55.3 in January.
China's official manufacturing PMI edged down to 50.8 in April, from 52.0 in March. The output sub- index stayed relatively high, inching down only to 53.7 from 54.1, and chiming with our initial take on the industrial production data for March.
We're expecting the April ISM report today to bring yet more evidence that the manufacturing cycle is peaking, though we remain of the view that the next cyclical downturn is still some way off.
Yesterday's money supply data in the Eurozone were alarmingly poor.
The case for believing that August's unexpected 14-year high in the ISM manufacturing index was a fluke is pretty straightforward, and it has both short and medium-term elements.
Today brings a raft of data which mostly will look quite positive but will do nothing to assuage our fears over a sharp slowdown in growth in the fourth quarter.
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.
Japan's GDP growth was revised up, to 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, from 0.1% in the preliminary reading.
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.
Recent inflation and activity data in Mexico were dovish.
Demand for new mortgages to finance house purchase has rebounded somewhat in recent weeks, following an alarming dip in the wak e of October's stock market correction. At the low, in the third week in October, the MBA's index of applications volume was at its lowest since mid-February, when the reported numbers are substantially depressed by a long-standing seasonal adjustment problem.
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
We can't quibble with the consensus that GDP likely rose by 0.2% month-to-month in December, reversing only two-thirds of November's drop.
The softening in payroll growth in November appears mostly to be a story about short-term noise, rather than a sign that tariffs are hurting or that the broader economy is slowing.
This week's labour market data likely will show that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme did not prevent a rising tide of redundancies in response to Covid-19.
Friday's manufacturing and trade data added to the evidence of a solid rebound in the EZ economy at the end of Q2, as lockdowns were lifted.
Yesterday's EZ CPI report points to a dovish backdrop for next week's ECB meeting. Advance data show that inflation was unchanged at 0.2% year-overyear in August, lower than the consensus, 0.3%. The headline was held back by a dip in the core rate to 0.8%, from 0.9% in July; this offset a lower deflationary drag from energy prices.
Advance country data suggest that EZ inflation fell less than we expected last month, though we are still looking for a significant undershoot in the August core rate.
The worst of the pandemic seems to be over in many countries in LatAm, allowing a gradual reopening of their economies.
Yesterday's aggregate economic data for the euro area showed that inflation rose slightly in August. The headline rate rose to a four-month high of 1.5% in August from 1.3% in July. The rate was lifted mainly by energy inflation, rising to 4.6% from 2.2% in July, but we think the rebound will be short-lived.
Brazil's economic activity data have disappointed in recent months, firming expectations that the Q1 GDP report will show another relatively meagre expansion.
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.
Core CPI inflation has been 2.1-to-2.2% year-over- year for the past seven months, a remarkably stable run which likely will persist for a few more months.
A rebound in quarter-on-quarter growth in households' spending in Q2, following the slowdown to just 0.2% in Q1, looks less likely following April's money data.
The return of Chinese PPI inflation in 2016 helped to stabilise equities after the boom-bust of the previous year.
We are wary of a downside surprise in today's German orders, due to weak advance data from the engineering organisation, VDMA. We think factory orders fell 0.5% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-year rate slightly lower to 4.5% in June from 4.7% in May. This is noticeably worse than the market expects, but the consensus forecast for a 0.3% rise implies a jump in the year-over-year rate, which is difficult to reconcile with leading indicators.
Yesterday's EZ producer price data showed that deflationary pressures in the manufacturing sector are fading. The headline PPI index fell 0.2% month- to-month in August, pushing the year-over-year up to -2.1%, from a revised -2.6% July.
The first major data release of 2016 showed manufacturing activity slipping a bit further at the end of last year, but we doubt the underlying trend in the ISM manufacturing index will decline much more. Anything can happen in any given month, especially in data where the seasonal adjustments are so wayward, but the key new orders and production indexes both rose in January; almost all the decline in the headline index was due to a drop in the lagging employment index.
Unanticipated movements in the Markit/CIPS services PMI often provoke big market reactions, despite its shortcomings as an indicator of the pace of growth. We suspect December's PMI, released today, could surprise to the downside, reversing most of its rise in November to 55.9 from 54.9 in October. Regardless, we place more weight on the official data, which is more comprehensive and shows clearly the recovery is slowing.
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 relatively upbeat message from a plethora of Eurozone data this week remains firmly sidelined by chaos in equity and credit markets. EZ Equities struggled towards the end of last year in the aftermath of the disappointing ECB stimulus package, and now, renewed weakness in oil prices and further Chinese currency devaluation have added pressure, by refocusing attention on already weak areas in the global economy.
The 2.4% depreciation of the yuan over the past month has not been quite as big as the 3.0% move on August 11, and it's not a big enough shift to make a material difference to aggregate U.S. export performance. Market nerves, then, seem to us to be largely a reflection of fear of what might come next. China's real effective exchange rate--the trade-weighted index adjusted for relative inflation rates--has risen relentlessly over the past decade, and to restore competitiveness to, say, its 2011 level, would require a 20%-plus devaluation.
EZ bond markets were stung earlier this week by a Bloomberg story suggesting that the ECB, in principle, has agreed on a QE exit strategy which involves "tapering" purchases by €10B per month. The story also specified, though, that the central bank has not discussed when tapering will begin.
Yesterday's final February PMI data were slightly stronger than expected, due to upbeat services data. The composite PMI in the Eurozone fell to 53.0, a bit above the initial 52.7 estimate, from 53.6 in January. The PMI likely will dip slightly in Q1 on average, compared to Q4, but it continues to indicate stable GDP growth of about 0.3%-to-0.4% quarter-on-quarter.
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?
Data this week clearly hint at a cyclical trough in Eurozone inflation in the first quarter. The advance estimate for April shows year-over-year inflation rising slightly to zero, up from -0.1% in March.
The Eurozone is back in headline deflation, increasing the pressure on the ECB to deliver further easing when it meets next week. Inflation fell to -0.2% in February, from +0.3% in January, depressed by energy and food prices.
Mexico's economy lost some momentum in Q4, due mainly to weakness in industrial and agricultural activity, but this was partly offset by the strength of the services sector as consumers' spending again carried the economic recovery. Real GDP rose 0.6% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, after a 0.8% expansion in Q3, the tenth consecutive increase. Year-over-year growth dipped marginally to 2.5% from 2.6% in Q3, but the underlying trend remains stable. In 2015 as a whole the economy expanded by 2.5%, up from 2.3% in 2014.
The upward revisions to real consumers' spending in the fourth quarter, coupled with the likelihood of a hefty rebound in spending on utility energy services, means first quarter spending ought to rise at a faster pace than the 2.2% fourth quarter gain. Spending on utilities was hugely depressed in November and December by the extended spell of much warmer-than-usual weather.
Chile's weak indicators in January confirm that the economy is struggling. Mining output plunged 12.6% year-over-year, down from a modest 0.6% contraction during Q4, due mostly to falling copper production and an unfavourable base effect. This will reverse in February but we still look for a 5% drop.
The European financial sector was in the news again on Friday, propelled by further weakness in Deutsche Bank's share price. In our Monitor of September 27, we said that worries of a European "Lehman Moment" were overblown.
Inflation data in the Eurozone came in broadly as we expected. Weakness in food and energy prices dampened the headline, but core inflation rose. Inflation was unchanged at 0.2% year-over-year in July, with core inflation rising to 1.0% year-over-year, a 15-month high, up from 0.8% in June.
Today's March ADP employment report likely will catch the leading edge of the wave of job losses triggered by the coronavirus.
Data released this week in LatAm are the last calm before the coronavirus storm.
We have few doubts that labor demand remained strong in January, but the chance of a repeat of December's 312K payroll gain is slim.
Headline inflation in the Eurozone eased at the start of the year, but leading indicators suggest that the dip will be short-lived.
China's manufacturing PMIs have softened in Q4. Indeed, we think the indices understate the slowdown in real GDP growth in Q4, as anti-pollution curbs were implemented. More positively, though, real GDP growth should rebound in Q1 as these measures are loosened.
Yesterday's advance Q4 GDP data in the Eurozone confirmed that growth slowed significantly in the second half of 2018.
Data released yesterday showed that the labour market in Brazil looks relatively resilient to the collapse in economic activity.
We're expecting a strong-looking 225K increase in the May ADP measure of private sector payroll growth, due today. The consensus forecast is 180K.
The manufacturing sector is much more exposed to external forces--the dollar, and global growth--than the rest of the economy. But much of the slowdown in the sector over the past year-and-a-half, we think, can be traced back to the impact of plunging oil prices on capital spending in the sector.
Yesterday's EZ data showed that French households came out swinging as the economy reopened. Consumers' spending, ex-services, jumped by 36.6% month-to-month in May, driving the year-over-year rate up to -8.3%, from -32.7% in April.
We're expecting the FOMC to vote unanimously not raise rates today, but we do expect a modestly hawkish tilt in the statement. Specifically, we're expecting an acknowledgment of the upturn in business investment reported in the Q4 GDP data, and of the increase in market-based measures of inflation expectations, given that 10-year TIPS breakevens are now above 2% for the first time since September 2014.
Inflation in the Eurozone rose modestly last month. Yesterday's advance CPI report showed the headline rate rising to 0.6% year-over-year in November, from 0.5% in October, mainly because of a jump in fresh food inflation. Energy prices fell 1.1% year-over-year, slightly more than the 0.9% decline in October, but we expect a sharp increase over the next six months.
Friday's data deluge suggests that EZ economic growth slowed less than we expected in the second quarter. The advance estimate indicates that real GDP in the euro area rose 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, down from a 0.6% jump in the first quarter. This was in line with the consensus, but it likely doesn't tell the whole story.
Friday's economic data added to the evidence of a Q1 rebound in EZ consumption growth.
China's official PMIs for March surprised well to the upside, cheering markets across Asia.
Advance data indicate German inflation rose to 0.4% year-over-year in November, up from 0.3% in October, lifted by higher food and energy price inflation. The upward trend in food prices won't last, but base effects in energy prices will persist, boosting headline inflation significantly in coming months. The details show that services inflation was stable at 1.2% last month, despite state data indicating a fall in volatile leisure and entertainment inflation, while net rent inflation was also stable, at 1.1%.
The big story in global macro over the past 18 months or so has been the gigantic transfer of income from oil producers to oil consumers. The final verdict on the net impact of this shift--worth nearly $2T at an annualized rate--is not yet clear, because the boost to consumption takes longer than the hit to oil firms ' capex, which began to collapse just a few months after prices began to fall sharply. But our first chart, which shows oil production by country as a share of oil consumption, plotted against the change in real year-over-year GDP growth between Q2 2014 and Q2 2015, tells a clear story.
All the regional PMI and Fed business surveys we follow suggest that today's national ISM manufacturing report for November will be weaker than in October
Inflation in the euro area edged higher in November, but our prediction of a rebound in the core proved to be wrong. Headline inflation increased to 1.5% in November, from 1.4% in October.
Inflation data in Brazil, Mexico and Chile last week reinforced our view that interest rates will remain on hold, or be cut, over the coming meetings. The recent fall in oil prices, and the weakness of domestic demand, will offset recent volatility caused by the FX sell-off, driven mostly by the coronavirus story.
Friday's industrial production data in the core EZ economies, for December, were startlingly poor. In Germany, industrial production plunged by 3.5% month-to-month, comfortably reversing the revised 1.2% rise in November.
Germany's nominal external surplus rebounded smartly over the summer, but real net trade looks set to be a drag on Q3 GDP growth, again. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus increased to €21.6B in August from a revised €19.3B in July.
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.
Today's JOLTS survey covers August, which seems like a long time ago. But the report is worth your attention nonetheless.
The Office for National Statistics yesterday released the last major batch of output data before the preliminary estimate of Q3 GDP is published on October 25, just one week before the MPC's key meeting.
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 stagnation of GDP in August, following five consecutive month-to-month gains, confirms that the economy's momentum in prior months was simply weather-related.
Base effects were the key driver of yesterday's upbeat industrial production headline in Italy.
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.
October's consumer prices report, released on Wednesday, likely will show that CPI inflation has continued to drift further below the 2% target
We expect the Budget today to underwhelm investors who are eager to see a quick and powerful government response to the coronavirus outbreak.
It's just not possible to forecast the reaction of businesses and consumers to the coronavirus outbreak.
Collapsing oil prices add fresh deflationary pressure on China.
The latest evidence of firming economic momentum comes from France, where industrial production rose 0.4% month-to-month in January, equivalent to a 0.6% increase year-over-year. Combined with strong consumer spending data in January, this points to a solid first quarter for the French economy.
Brazil's headline CPI has been well above the upper limit of the BCB's target zone since January 2015. We expect this situation will continue for some time, due to the lagged effect of last year's sharp increases in regulated prices, El Niño, the BRL's sell-off in 2015, and, especially, widespread price indexation.
The apparent thaw in the U.S.-China trade dispute is great news for LatAm, particularly for the Andean economies, which are highly dependent on commodity prices and the health of the world's two largest economies
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.
The 20K increase in February payrolls is not remotely indicative of the underlying trend, and we see no reason to expect similar numbers over the next few months.
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.
If you had only the NFIB survey of small businesses as your guide to the state of the business sector, you'd be blissfully unaware that the economic commentariat right now is obsessed with the potential hit from the trade tariffs, actual and threatened.
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".
In previous Monitors--see here--we've suggested that, thanks to the coronavirus, China simply will lose some of the spending that would have gone on during the holiday this year.
The latest GDP data confirm that the economy ended last year on a very weak note.
We're very interested in the detail of today's January NFIB survey; the headline index, not so much.
The recent cyclical upturn in the EZ began in the first quarter of 2013. GDP growth has accelerated almost uninterruptedly for the last two years to 1.5% year-over-year in Q3, despite the Greek debt crisis and slower growth in emerging markets. Overall we think the recovery will continue with full-year GDP growth of about 1.6%. But we also think the business cycle is maturing, characterised by stable GDP growth and higher inflation, and we see the economy slowing next year.
June's RICS Residential Market Survey brings hope that the housing market already is over the worst.
Japanese M2 growth increased trivially in June to 3.9% year-on-year from 3.8% in May, significantly higher than the 3.2% rate in August, before the BoJ began targeting the yield curve.
The downside surprise in the November core CPI, which rose by 0.1%, a tenth less than expected, was due entirely to an unexpected 1.3% drop in apparel prices. This alone subtracted 0.05% from the core, but we think the chance of a reversal in December is quite high.
Yesterday's minutes of the February 4-to-5 COPOM meeting, at which Brazil's central bank, the BCB, cut the benchmark Selic rate by 25bp to 4.25%, reaffirmed the committee's post-meeting communiqué.
The overshoot in the November core PPI does not change the key story, which is that PPI inflation, headline and core, is set to fall sharply through the first half of next year, at least.
We continue to take little comfort from the small decline in the Labour Force Survey measure of employment in the first half of this year.
Yesterday's detailed CPI data in Germany and France broadly confirmed the message from the advance data in the Eurozone as a whole.
February's industrial production and construction output data leave us little choice but to revise down our forecast for quarter-on-quarter GDP growth in Q1 to 0.2%, from 0.3% previously.
It's unrealistic to have a repeat of the second quarter's 4.2% leap in consumers' spending as your base case for the third quarter. It's not impossible, though, given the potential for the saving rate to continue to decline, and the apparently favorable base effect from the second quarter.
China concludes its annual Central Economic Work Conference today, where the economic targets and the agenda for next year are set.
China's M2 growth stabilised in November, at 8.0% year-over-year, matching the October rate.
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.
This has been a very complicated week for LatAm policymakers, who are particularly uneasy about the performance of the FX market.
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.
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.
Yesterday's third and detailed EZ GDP data confirmed the economy hit the wall in Q1.
We expect May's GDP report, released on Tuesday, to provide an early blow to hopes that the economy will embark on a V-shaped recovery this year.
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.
We're now starting to see clear signs in unofficial data that households are slashing their expenditure on discretionary services, in order to minimise their chances of catching the coronavirus.
The MPC was relatively bullish on the outlook for households' spending when it signalled its view, in February's Inflation Report, that the case for raising interest rates before the end of this year had strengthened.
We have been rigorous in using the word nascent whenever referring to Japan's wage-price spiral.
The French manufacturing sector slowed more than we expected in Q1.
This week real data in Brazil supported the idea that the worst of the recession is likely over, but a V-shaped rebound is not in the cards.
For some time now, we have puzzled over the softness of small firms' capital spending intentions, as measured by the monthly NFIB survey.
Our forecast of a solid 190K increase in headline December payrolls ignores our composite employment indicator, which usually leads by about three months and points to a print of just 50K or so.
The market-implied probability that the MPC will cut Bank Rate in the first half of this year leapt to 50% yesterday, from 35%, following Mark Carney's speech.
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.
Yesterday's industrial production report in Germany was much better than implied by the poor new orders data--see here--released earlier this week.
For some time now we have argued that collapse in capital spending in the oil sector was the source of most of the softening of activity in the manufacturing and wholesaling sectors last year.
Mexico's underlying inflation pressures and financial conditions are gradually stabilizing. Eventually, this will open the door for rate cuts in order to ease the stress on the domestic economy, particularly capex.
It's hardly surprising that the consensus forecast for month-to-month growth in November GDP, released on Friday, is a mere 0.1%, given the flow of downbeat business surveys.
Brazil's economy remains mired in a renewed slowdown, and low--albeit temporarily rising-- inflation, which is allowing the BCB to keep interest rates on hold, at historic lows.
Investors and market observers of a relatively bearish persuasion argued over the weekend that the details of the October employment report were less encouraging than the headline, principally because the household survey showed that all the job growth, net, was among older workers, defined as people aged 55-plus. This, they argue, suggests that most of the increased demand for labor was concentrated in low-paid service sector jobs, where older workers are concentrated, perhaps reflecting retail hiring ahead of the holidays. Such a wave of hiring is unlikely to be repeated over the next few months, so payroll growth won't be sustained at its October pace.
At first glance, the continued weakness of domestically-generated inflation, despite punchy increases in labour costs, is puzzling.
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.
Mexico's latest forward-looking indicators are showing tentative signs of stabilisation in the wake of recent evidence that growth slowed quicker than markets have been expecting.
Industrial production and trade data on Friday ended last week on a downbeat note, amid otherwise solid economic reports. In Germany, industrial output fell 0.3% month-to-month in November, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 0.1% from a revised 0.4% in October. The details, however, were better than the headline. Production was hit by a 3.3% plunge in capital goods output, offsetting gains in all other key sectors, and net revisions added 0.3% to the October data.
The CPI report due today will be released on schedule, because the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which compiles the data, remains open during the partial government shutdown.
The latest IPCA inflation data in Brazil show the year-over-year rate fell to 8.8% in June from 9.3% in May. This is the slowest pace since May 2015, with inflation pulled lower by declines across all major components, except food. Indeed, food prices were the main driver of the modest 0.4% unadjusted monthto-month increase, rising by 0.7%, following a 0.8% jump in May. The year-over-year rate rose to 12.8% in June from 12.4%.
The upturn in the new monthly measure of GDP in May, released yesterday, was strong enough--just--to suggest that the MPC likely will raise Bank Rate at its next meeting on August 2.
Core PPI inflation has risen relentlessly, though not rapidly, over the past two-and-a-half years.
The next few months, perhaps the whole of the first quarter, are likely to see a clear split in the U.S. economic data, with numbers from the consumer side of the economy looking much better than the industrial numbers.
We see clear upside risk to the inflation data due before the FOMC announcement, from three main sources.
Japan's labour cash earnings rose by 1.5% year-over- year in July, a strong result in the Japanese context, if it hadn't been preceded by the 3.6% leap in June.
We're expecting to see another dip in initial claims for regular state unemployment benefits today, to about 850K, but that's only part of the story.
Some commentators have asserted that the Monetary Policy Committee won't raise interest rates until all its members agree and investors have fully priced in an increase, arguing that an earlier move would create excessive market turmoil and muddy the Committee's message. But a look back to previous turning points in the interest rate cycle suggests that the Monetary Policy Committee--MPC--hasn't paid much heed to those considerations before.
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.
We expect June's GDP data, released on Wednesday, to show that the economic recovery gathered momentum in June, having got off to a faltering start in May.
Recent activity data in Mexico have been soft and leading indicators still point to challenging near-term prospects, due mainly to relatively high domestic political risk, stifling interest rates and difficult external conditions.
The medium-term trend in the volume of mortgage applications turned up in early 2015, but progress has not been smooth. The trend in the MBA's purchase applications index has risen by about 40% from its late 2014 low, but the increase has been characterized by short bursts of rapid gains followed by periods of stability.
The headline CPI inflation rate almost certainly dipped below zero in September, barring a startling and deeply improbable surge in the core. We look for a 0.4% month-to-month headline drop, driven by an 11% plunge in gasoline prices, pushing the year-over-year rate to -0.3%. This is of no real economic significance, not least because hugely unfavorable base effects mean the year-over-year rate almost certainly will rise sharply over the next few months, reaching about 1¾% as soon as January.
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.
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.
January's money and credit data provided another warning sign that the economy has started 2017 on a weak footing. For a start, the three-month annualised growth rate of M4, excluding intermediate other financial corporations--the Bank's preferred measure of the broad money supply-- declined to 1.8% in January, from 3.1% in December.
If recent labor market trends continue, the four employment reports which will be released before the June FOMC meeting will show the economy creating about 1.1M jobs, pushing the unemployment rate down to 5.3%, almost at the bottom of the Fed's estimated Nairu range, 5.2-to-5.5%.
January's money and credit data broadly support our view that the economy still lacks momentum.
Eurozone inflation pressures snapped back in April. Friday's advance report showed that headline inflation rose to 1.9% year-over-year, from 1.5% in March, lifted by a jump in the cor e rate to 1.2% from 0.7% the month before.
Korean exports continued to fall year-over-year in April, but the story isn't as bleak as the headlines suggest.
The Fed will do nothing and say little that's new after its meeting today. The data on economic activity have been mixed since the March meeting, when rates were hiked and the economic forecasts were upgraded, largely as a result of the fiscal stimulus.
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.
Brazil's economic data last week were appalling. The IPCA-15 price index rose 1.3% month-to-month, the fastest pace in 12 years, pushing the annual rate to 7.4% in mid-February from 6.7% in mid-January,well above the 6.5% upper bound of the BCB's target range.
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.
Most of the data were consistent with the idea that fourth quarter growth will be a two-part story, with real strength in domestic final demand partly offset by substantial drags from net foreign trade and inventories.
Data on EZ consumption were soft while we were enjoying our Christmas break. The advance EC consumer confidence index slipped to a three-year low of -8.1 in December, from -7.2 in November, breaking its recent tight range.
A 45bp rise in long-term interest rates--the increase between mid-August and last week's peak--ought to depress stock prices, other things equal.
Inflation in the Eurozone increased slightly last month, and probably will rise a bit more in coming months.
The manufacturing sector's recovery has sped up since Q1, according to Markit's latest survey, but growth still looks too weak to prevent the overall economy from struggling again in Q2.
Data on Friday showed that the downward trend in Brazil's unemployment continued into this year. The unadjusted unemployment rate fell to 11.2% in January, slightly below the consensus, and down from 12.0% in January last year.
The number of Covid-19 cases is increasing at a faster rate, though 89% of the new cases reported Saturday were in China, South Korea, Italy and Iran.
Japan's labour data threw another January curve ball this year--last year it was wages--with a change in the standards for job openings.
We can't recall a time when we have disagreed so strongly with the consensus narrative, in both the media and the markets, about the state of the U.S. economy. We think both investors and the commentariat are too bearish on growth and too complacent about inflation risks, and as a result, insufficiently worried about the speed with which interest rates will rise over the next couple of years.
Korea's trade data have been extremely volatile over the past two months, thanks to distortions caused by last year's odd holiday calendar.
FOMC pronouncements are rarely unambiguous; policymakers like to leave themselves room for maneuver. But when the statement says that "Most judged that the conditions for policy firming had not yet been achieved, but they noted that conditions were approaching that point" and that only "some" further improvement in labor market conditions is required to trigger action, it makes sense to look through the blizzard of caveats and objections--none of which were new--from the perma-doves.
Halfway through the third quarter, we have no objection to the idea that GDP growth likely will exceed 2% for the third straight quarter.
As we're writing, the price of U.S. crude oil is only about 50 cents per barrel lower than on Thursday, when markets began to anticipate an OPEC deal to cut production over the weekend. The failure of the Doha talks generated an initial sharp drop in oil prices, but the damage now is very limited, as our first chart shows.
Under normal circumstances, the 0.23% increase in the core CPI, reported earlier this month, would be enough to ensure a 0.2% print in today's core PCE deflator.
Banxico cut its policy rate by 25bp to 7.25% yesterday, as was widely expected, following similar moves in August, September and November.
BanRep surprised the markets on Friday with a 25bp interest rate cut, bringing rates to 7.50%. We expected the Colombian central bank to start easing in January, due to the uncertainties surrounding the tax reform package and the ongoing minimum wage negotiations.
The BoJ held firm, for the most part, during this year's bout of central bank dovishness.
The INSEE business sentiment data in France continue to tell a story of a robust economy.
As painful as it is, the decision to lock down economies to curb the spread of Covid-19 was easy. The next step, however, is considerably more difficult.
It happened! Before Q1, Chinese GDP year-over- year growth had moved by no more than two tenths of a percentage point for years.
The inevitable--more or less--correction from August's 14-year high is no big deal.
Friday's inflation data in the Eurozone added a dovish twist to the story ahead of the key ECB meeting later this month.
Japan's Tankan survey continues to paint a picture of a contracting economy.
The industrial sector in the EZ slowed further at the end of Q3.
A few ECB governors has attempted to lean against dovish expectations in the past week.
The Andean economies have been clear examples of true leadership in the current global crisis. Leaders of these countries acted rapidly to contain the spread of the virus, jumping right over the phases of denial, anger and unscrupulousness we've seen in Brazil and Mexico.
Chile's activity numbers at the beginning of Q3 were mediocre, suggesting that the economy remains sluggish. The industrial production index--comprising mining, manufacturing, and utility output--fell by 1.7% year-over-year in July, reversing a 1.6% expansion in June. A disappointing 4.5% year-over-year contraction in mining activity depressed the July headline index, following a 1.4% increase in June. The moderation in output growth was due to maintenance-related shutdowns at key processing plants, and disruptions from labor strikes, especially a three-week strike by contract workers at Codelco--the state-owned mining firm--which badly hit production.
The ECB moved ahead of the curve this month with its QE program of €60B per month, starting in March. But still-abysmal inflation data will prompt journalists to ask Mr. Draghi, at the next ECB meeting, about the conditions under which the central bank plans to do more.
LatAm assets and currencies had a bad November, due to global trade war concerns, the USD rebound and domestic factors.
It is a known axiom among EZ economists that the ECB never pre-commits, but yesterday's speech by Mr. Draghi in Sintra--see here--is as close as it gets.
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.
Markets are reacting to Colombia's disappointing activity figures, released Friday, by pulling forward expectations for the country's first rate cut to December. The data certainly looked weak--especially upon close examination--and we expect growth to slow further. But we think that inflation is still too high to expect rate cuts this year.
In light of Mr. Draghi's Sintra speech, we take this opportunity to give an update on the BoJ's stance, ahead of the meeting on Thursday.
The Fed will leave rates unchanged today.
The uncertainty over the strength and speed of the economic rebound is still a concern for investors in terms of putting money to work.
Following our note yesterday about upside risks to wage growth and the question of how the Fed will respond, given their sensitivity to labor cost-push inflation risk in the past, we want to address a question raised by readers.
The June Banxico minutes restated that the U.S Fed's first interest rate increase is the main event awaited by Mexican central bank. Banxico's five member board of governors voted unanimously on June 4th to keep the overnight lending rate target at a record-low 3%, but showed again that board members are fretting over when to hike, as at previous meetings.
June's consumer price figures threw a last minute curve-ball at the MPC ahead of its key meeting on August 2.
The closer we look at the data, the more convinced we become that the rollover in CPI physicians' services prices, which has subtracted nearly 0.1% from core CPI inflation since January, is a response to sharply higher Medicare part B premiums, especially for new enrollees.
Yesterday's German ZEW investor sentiment survey provided the first clear evidence of the coronavirus in the EZ survey data.
Yesterday's IFO data in Germany heaped more misery on the Eurozone economy.
If clarity is the first test of written English, the FOMC failed miserably yesterday. "Considerable time" is gone, but the new formulation--"the Committee judges that it can be patient in beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy"--was not clearly defined, though the FOMC did say it is "consistent with its previous statement".
The headline employment numbers masked an otherwise sub-par December labour market report.
Slower growth in households' spending was the main reason why the economy lost momentum last year.
China is a collection of hugely disparate provinces and cities. Managing all these cities with one interest rate is always difficult but in this cycle it is proving to be nearly impossible.
To paraphrase recent correspondence: "How can you possibly believe, given the terrible run of economic data and the turmoil in the markets, that the Fed will raise rates in March/June/at all this year?" Well, to state the obvious, if markets are in anything like their current state at the time of the eight Fed meetings this year, they won't hike. That sort of sustained downward pressure and volatility would itself prevent action at the next couple of meetings, as did the turmoil last summer when the Fed met in September. And if markets were to remain in disarray for an extended period we'd expect significant feedback into the real economy, reducing--perhaps even removing--the need for further tightening.
Fed Chair Powell's comment on Sunday's "60 Minutes", that a recovery in the economy "may take a while... it could stretch through the end of next year" did not prevent a 3% jump in the S&P 500 yesterday.
Japan's economy contracted by 0.9% quarter-on- quarter in Q1, following a downwardly-revised 1.9% plunge in the previous quarter.
Brazil's economy surprised to the upside in early Q3, despite downbeat data released in recent days.
The September NAHB survey, released yesterday, shows, that the housing market took a knock from the hurricanes but the damage, so far at least, appears to be contained.
Our view that the economy is slowing sharply appears, superficially, to be challenged by the surge in the money supply. Year-over-year growth in the value of banknotes and coins in circulation has shot up this year, to 8.3% in August, from 5.5% in December 2015.
The Fed's strategic view of the economy and policy has not changed since last December, when it first said that "The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run.
We were happy to see the small increase in the March ISM manufacturing index yesterday, following better news from China's PMIs, but none of these reports constitute definitive evidence that the manufacturing slowdown is over.
The key detail in Friday's barrage of economic data was the above-consensus increase in EZ inflation.
With campaigning for the general election intensifying last week, it was unsurprising that October's money and credit release from the Bank of England received virtually no media or market attention.
We're reasonably happy with the idea that business sentiment is stabilizing, albeit at a low level, but that does not mean that all the downside risk to economic growth is over.
Construction data in the Eurozone usually don't attract much attention, but today's July report will provide encouraging news, compared with recent poor manufacturing data. We think construction output leapt 2.1% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 2.3%, from 0.7% in June. This strong start to the third quarter was due mainly to a jump in non-residential building activity in France and Germany.
Rising mortgage rates appear to have triggered the start, perhaps, of a tightening in lending standards, even before Treasury yields spiked this month and stock prices fell.
As the impeachment hearings gather momentum, we have been asked to provide a cut-out-and-keep guide to the possible outcomes.
The People's Bank of China cut its seven-day reverse-repo rate yesterday, to 2.50% from 2.55%.
Italy's economy is still bumping along the bottom, after emerging from recession in the middle of last year.
A sharp increase in unsecured borrowing has played a big role in supporting consumers' spending over the past year. The stock of unsecured credit, excluding student loans, increased by 8.2% year-over-year in September--the fastest growth since February 2006--boosting the funds available for households to spend by around 1%.
The plunge in oil prices in recent weeks is not a threat to the overall U.S. economic growth story in the near term--we have always expected growth to slow, but remain decent, once the boost from the tax cuts fades--but it will make a difference, at the margin.
Sunday 28th will bring closure to an extraordinary presidential election campaign in Brazil.
The rate that labour market slack is being absorbed has slowed, potentially giving the MPC breathing space to postpone the first rate rise beyond next month.
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.
German survey data did something out of character yesterday; they fell. The IFO business climate index declined to 117.2 in December from a revised 117.6 in November.
February's consumer price figures give the MPC reason to doubt the case for raising interest rates again as soon as May.
The federal debt ceiling was re-imposed last week, with no fanfare, and no reaction in the markets. All eyes were focussed instead on the Fed's rate hike and Chair Yellen's press conference.
Back in the dim and increasingly distant past the semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony--previously known as the Humphrey-Hawkins--used to be something of an event. Today's Testimony, however, is most unlikely to change anyone's opinion of the likely pace and timing of Fed action.
We previewed the FOMC meeting in detail yesterday -- see here -- but to recap briefly, we expect a 25bp rate hike, with no significant changes in the statement, and a repeat of the median forecasts of three rate hikes this year.
On the face of it, Japanese GDP came thumping home in Q1, rising 0.5% quarter-on-quarter, after the 0.4% increase in Q4.
The FOMC kept policy unchanged at April's meeting-- rates stayed at zero, and all the market valves are wide open, as needed--but policymakers spent considerable time pondering what might happen over the next few months, and how policy could evolve.
Yesterday's final CPI report for April confirmed that the Eurozone is edging towards deflation.
We have been asked recently why we rarely talk about the signal from the U.S. money supply numbers, in contrast to the emphasis we give to real M1 growth in our forecasts for economic growth in both the Eurozone and China.
Producer prices in Germany rose 0.4% month-to-month in May, stronger than the consensus expectation of a 0.3% gain, and we think further upside surprises are likely in coming months. The headline was boosted by a 0.7% jump in energy prices, but food and manufacturing goods prices also rose.
We've had pushback from readers over our take on the likelihood of a trade deal with China in the near future.
Today's advance EZ PMIs will be watched more closely than usual.
We expect the flash reading of Markit's composite PMI, released today, to print at 52.4 in February, below the consensus, 52.8, and January's final reading, 53.3, albeit still in line with last month's flash.
The minutes of this week's MPC meeting indicate that it won't waste any time to raise interest rates after MPs finally have signed off a Brexit deal.
We 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.
Economists refer to two different types of forward rate guidance by central banks: Delphic and Odyssean. The former describes a "normal" situation, in which the central bank follows a transparent rate-setting rule allowing markets to forecast what it will do, based on the flow of economic data.
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.
Data released on Friday confirmed that Colombian activity remained strong in Q4.
Colombia is one of the few larger economies in Latin America to have enjoyed solid, positive economic growth over the past two years. But lower commodity prices and last year's central bank tightening, to curb high inflation generated by strong growth, have started to become visible in the main economic data.
The year so far in EZ equities has been just as odd as in the global market as a whole.
Japanese trade remained in the doldrums in October, keeping policymakers on their toes as they repeat the refrain of "resilient" domestic demand.
The trend in public borrowing has improved significantly over recent months, but it is far too soon to conclude that the Chancellor is on track to meet his goal of running a budget surplus by the end of this decade. The recent economic slowdown has not impacted the public borrowing numbers, yet.
The re-opening of businesses in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, starting this week and expanding next week, comes as the rate of increase of confirmed Covid-19 infections in these states remains much faster than in European countries where lockdowns have started to ease.
Mexican policymakers held an emergency meeting yesterday in the wake of DM easing, global fiscal stimulus, plunging oil prices, and the pandemic crisis, slashing interest rates to their lower level since early 2017.
The U.S. consumer is back on track, almost. We have argued in recent months that the sharp slowdown in the rate of growth of consumption is mostly a story about a transition from last year's surge, when spending was boosted by the tax cuts and, later, by falling gas prices, to a sustainable pace roughly in line with real after-tax income growth.
It would be easy to characterize the Fed as quite split at the July meeting.
Sentiment in the French business sector ended this year on a high. The headline manufacturing index fell slightly to 112 in December, from an upwardly-revised 113 in November, but the aggregate sentiment gauge edged higher to a new cycle high of 112.
Fed Chair Yellen said in her press conference last week that she has "...been surprised that housing hasn't recovered more robustly than it has. In part I think it reflects very tight credit--continuing tight credit conditions for any borrower that doesn't have really pristine credit... my hope is that that situation will ease over time".
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.
Consumer sentiment in the euro area has slipped this year, though the headline indices remain robust overall.
The New York Fed tweeted yesterday that "Housing market fundamentals appear strong.
The French economy has suffered from weakness in manufacturing this year, alongside the other major EZ economies.
It's much too soon to have a very firm view on fourth quarter GDP growth, not least because almost half the quarter hasn't happened yet.
If the only manufacturing survey you track is the Philadelphia Fed report, you could be forgiven for thinking that the sector is booming.
In recent client meetings the first and last topic of conversation has been the market implications of the possible departure of President Trump from office.
Colombia's industrial and retail sectors surprised to the upside in August, suggesting that the domestic economy has been resilient during most of the third quarter, despite the hit from an array of external headwinds. Industrial production increased by a solid 2.6% year-over-year in August, up from an upwardly revised 0.6% expansion in July, and above its recent trend. In the first half of the year, industrial activity fell on average by 1.1%, the worst performance since 2013, due mainly to the oil hit and ex tended works at Reficar, the country's second biggest oil refinery. But Colombia's manufacturers appear to have shrugged off part of the oil pain in recent months.
The economy is bifurcating. Manufacturing is weak, and likely will remain so for some time, though talk of recession in the sector is overdone. Even more overdone is the idea that the softness of the industrial sector will somehow drag down the rest of the economy, which is more than seven times bigger.
Brazil's monetary policy committee, the Copom, cut the Selic rate by 25bp to 14.0% in a unanimous decision, without bias, on Wednesday. This marks the start of the first easing cycle since 2012, and it arrives after 15 months with rates held at 14.25%.
Yesterday's report on October private spending in Mexico was downbeat, suggesting that consumption started the fourth quarter on a weak footing.
We see no compelling reason to expect a significant revision to the third quarter GDP numbers today, so our base case is that the second estimate, 3.3%, will still stand.
The tone of Fed Chair Powell's opening comments at the press conference yesterday was much more dovish than the statement, which did little more than most analysts expected.
The initial pace of the Fed's balance sheet run-off, which we expect to start in October, will be very low. At first, the balance sheet will shrink by only $10B per month, split between $6B Treasuries and $4B mortgages.
High frequency data are all the rage, given the speed and severity of the Covid-19 shock. GDP data are published with a lag of about six weeks, too long for investors to wait.
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 White House Budget for fiscal 2018, released last week, has no chance of becoming law in anything like its current form, so we don't propose to spend much time dissecting it. But we do need to set out our view on what might actually happen to fiscal policy over the next few months, because it potentially could make a material difference to the pace, and ultimate extent, of Fed tightening.
Friday's CPI data for April provided the final piece of evidence for the significant Easter distortions in this year's data.
Construction in the EZ stumbled at the start of the year.
We would be astonished if the FOMC meeting starting today does not end with a 25bp rate hike.
The Monetary Policy Board of the Bank of Korea voted unanimously last week to keep the benchmark base rate unchanged, at 0.50%.
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.
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.
Production in the EZ construction sector slumped at the end of Q4. Data yesterday showed that output slid by 3.1% month-to-month in December, comfortably reversing the 0.7% increase in November.
The market-implied probability that the MPC will cut Bank Rate by June fell to 34%, from 38%, after the release of January's consumer price figures, though investors still see around an 80% chance of a cut by the end of this year.
Construction in the euro area stumbled at the end of last year. Output fell 0.2% month-to-month in December, but the year-over-year rose to 2.4%, from a revised 1.6% in November.
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.
Brazilian inflation is off to a good start this year, and we think more good news is coming. The January mid-month IPCA-15 index rose an unadjusted 0.3% month-to-month, a tenth less than expected. This was the smallest gain for January since 1994 and the sixth consecutive month in which the number came in below expectations.
Commodity prices have started the year under further downward pressure. This is yet more negative news for LatAm, as most of the countries have failed to diversify, instead relying on oil or copper for a large share of exports and, critically, tax revenue. Venezuela is the biggest loser in the region from the oil hit, and, together with the worsening political and economic crisis, it has pushed the country even closer to the verge of collapse, threatening its debt payments. Venezuela's central bank last week released economic data for the first time since 2014, showing that inflation spiralled to 141% and that the economy shrank 4.5% in the first nine months of last year.
Investors have been treated to good news in the past week, at least if they've managed to side-step the barrage of terrible economic data.
Fed Chair Powell broke no new ground in his Senate Testimony alongside--virtually--Treasury Secretary Mnuchin yesterday, maintaining the cautious tone of his recent public statements.
The external surplus in the EZ economy slipped in July. The seasonally-adjusted current account surplus dropped to €21.0B, from a revised €29.5B in June, hit by an increase in the current transfers deficit, and a falling trade surplus. The recent increase in the transfers deficit partly is due to the migrant deal with Turkey, and we expect it to remain elevated.
The recent jobless claims numbers have been spectacularly good, with the absolute level dropping unexpectedly in the past two weeks to a 43-year low. The four-week moving average has dropped by a hefty 14K since late August.
Recent economic indicators in Brazil have undershot consensus in recent weeks, but the economy nonetheless continues to recover.
The FOMC won't raise rates today, but we expect that the announcement of the start of balance sheet reduction will not be interrupted by Harvey and Irma.
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.
The recent sharp, if not startling, upturn in the regional manufacturing surveys should continue today with the release of the Philadelphia Fed report. The survey is constructed in the same way as the more volatile Empire State, which has rocketed in the past few months, and the headline indexes follow similar trends, as our first chart shows.
Under normal circumstances, the boost to consumption from the astonishing collapse in oil prices would act as a substantial--though not complete--offset to the hit to capital spending in the shale business.
The BoJ kept all policy measures unchanged at its meeting yesterday.
On the official gauge, China's real GDP growth fell minimally to 6.8% year-on-year in Q3, from 6.9% in Q2. Growth edged down to 1.7% quarter-on-quarter from an upwardly revised 1.8% in Q2.
The media and markets are waking up to the idea that the housing market has peaked in the face of higher mortgage rates and slightly--so far--tighter lending standards.
If you gave us $100, we'd put $90 on inflation, headline and core, being higher a year from now than it is today. Our view, however, is not universally shared, and some commentators continue to argue that the U.S. faces deflation risks. Exhibit one for this view is our first chart, which shows a high correlation between the PPI for finished goods prices and the CPI inflation rate, ex-shelter.
The FOMC's statement on April 29 mentioned the winter--"...economic growth slowed during the winter months"--but did not explicitly blame any of the first quarter's weakness on the extended cold and snowy weather. That was a change from the March statement, which made no mention of the weather and gave the distinct impression that policymakers had no firm view on why growth had "moderated".
Colombia, the third largest economy in LatAm, has not been immune to the headwinds of the global economy since the financial crisis in 2008, though it remains one of the fastest growing economies in the region. GDP growth slowed sharply to just 1.7% in 2009, but that was still much better than the 1.2% contraction of the region as a whole.
Yesterday's headline economic data in the euro area were solid across the board, though the details were mixed.
CPI inflation in India jumped to 4.6% in October, from 4.0% in September, marking a 16-month high and blasting through the RBI's target.
Chile's Q3 GDP report, released yesterday, confirmed that the economy lost momentum in the last quarter.
The current account surplus in the Eurozone is well on its way to stabilising above 3% of GDP this year. The seasonally adjusted surplus rose to €29.4B in September from a revised €18.7B in August, lifted by a higher trade surplus, thanks to rebounding German exports. The services balance was unchanged at €4.5B in September, while the primary income balance edged higher to €4.8B from €4.0B. The improving external balance has been driven mostly by a surging trade surplus with the U.S. and the U.K., as our first chart shows.
The next couple of rounds of business surveys will capture firms' responses to the Phase One trade deal agreed last week, though the news came too late to make much, if any, difference to the December Philly Fed report, which will be released today.
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.
Without tying its hands, the MPC--which voted unanimously to keep interest rates at 0.25% and to continue with the £60B of gilt purchases and £10B of corporate bond purchases authorised last month--gave a strong indication yesterday that it still expects to cut Bank Rate in November.
It's not clear if the first FOMC meeting since the release of the Fed's new Monetary Policy Strategy will bring any real shift in policy, though we think it unlikely that policymakers will seek immediately to add weight to their forward interest rate guidance.
China's economic recovery resumed in August, following an uneven start to the third quarter in July.
We have not been expecting the Fed to raise rates next week, and yesterday's data made a hike even less likely. The September Philly Fed and Empire State surveys were alarmingly weak everywhere except the headline level, and the official August production data were grim.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last Tuesday finally declared a state of emergency for a month in parts of Japan, after weeks of dithering.
The elevated readings from the ISM manufacturing survey this year have not been followed by rapid growth in output. The headline ISM averaged 55.8 in the second quarter, a solid if unspectacular reading. But output rose by only 1.2% year-over-year, and by 1.4% on a quarterly annualized basis.
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 Eurosystem's position on Greece, echoed by Mr. Draghi earlier this week, is that progress on a deal is up to the Syriza-led government. But recent comments by German officials have added to the speculation that a Grexit is getting closer.
Economic activity in Mexico during the past few months has been improving gradually, as external and domestic threats appear to have diminished.
The September core CPI was held down by prescription drug prices, which fell by 0.6%, and vehicle prices, which fell by 0.4%.
Falling demand for utility energy, thanks to yet another very warm month, relative to normal, will depress the headline industrial production number for October, due today. We look for a 21⁄2% drop in utility energy production, enough to subtract a quarter point from total industrial output.
Economic data in the Eurozone auto sector remain under the influence of the aftershock from the EU's new emissions regulation--WLTP-- introduced in September.
Industrial production growth in China appears to be stabilising, following the slowdown in Q2.
Selling pressure in LatAm markets after Donald Trump's election victory eased when the dollar rally paused earlier this week. Yesterday, the yield on 10- year Mexican bonds slipped from its cycle high, and rates in other major LatAm economies also dipped slightly.
China's official real GDP growth likely slowed to 6.0% year-over-year in Q3, from 6.2% in Q2.
The Brexit-related slump in corporate confidence finally has taken its toll on hiring.
Yesterday's final inflation data in France for September were misleadingly soft.
Evidence of accelerating economic activity in Colombia continues to mount, in stark contrast with its regional peers and DM economies.
Your correspondent is headed to the beach for the next couple of weeks, with publication resuming on Tuesday, September 4.
The November industrial production numbers will be dominated by the rebound in auto production following the end of the GM strike.
Chinese real GDP growth reportedly edged down to 6.7% year-over-year in Q2, from 6.8% in Q1.
Consumers' demand for cars slowed in the Eurozone at the end of the second quarter. New car registrations in the euro area rose 3.0% year-over-year in June, slowing dramatically from a 10.3% rise in May.
China's GDP data--to be published on Monday-- are likely to report that growth slowed to 1.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, from 1.6% in Q3. A 1.4% increase would match the series low of Q1 2016.
May's activity data underline the gradual recovery in Colombia's economic growth, following signs of weakness at the start of the year.
May's activity data in the Andes underline the severe hit from the pandemic on economic activity.
Yesterday's ECB press conference confirmed our view that Mr. Draghi is the periphery's friend, not enemy. Crucially, the central bank agreed to increase emergency liquidity assistance--ELA--to Greek banks by €900M. This is consistent tent with the agreement by the Eurogroup to give Greece €7B bridge financing, and shows the ECB is ready to act on the back of only a temporary truce between Greece and the EU. The increase in ELA is modest, and we doubt a painful restructuring of the banking system can be avoided. But with Greek bond yields falling, the available pool of collateral will go up, allowing the central bank to provide further relief in coming weeks.
Yesterday's ECB meeting was a snoozer, just as we predicted.
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 trend in manufacturing output probably is about flat, with no real prospect of any serious improvement in the near term.
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.
On the face of it, December's flash Markit/CIPS PMIs warrant the MPC cutting Bank Rate at its meeting on Thursday.
China's activity data outperformed expectations in November.
Incoming activity data from Colombia over the past quarter have been surprisingly strong, despite many domestic and external threats.
We had expected the batch of Chinese data released at the end of last week to disappoint.
The Eurozone economy finished last week with a horrendous set of economic data.
Friday' second Q4 GDP estimate revealed that the EZ economy barely grew at the end of 2019. The report confirmed that GDP rose by 0.1% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, slowing from a 0.3% rise in Q3, but the headline only narrowly avoided downward revision to zero, at just 0.058%
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.
The average month-to-month increase in the core CPI in the past three months is a solid 0.20, much firmer than the 0.05% average over the previous five months, stretching back to the first of the run of downside surprises, in March.
The PBoC reduced its 14-day reverse repo by 5bp to 2.65% in a routine operation yesterday.
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.
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.
It has been clear for some months now that China's housing market is refusing to quit, and July's data showed the phoenix rising strongly from the ashes.
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.
The "Phase One" China trade deal announced late last week is a step in the right direction, but a small one. With no official text available as we reach our deadline, we're relying on media reporting, but the outline of the agreement is clear.
The French labour market improved much more than we expected in Q4. The headline unemployment rate plunged to 8.9%, from a downwardly-revised 9.6% in Q3.
Normal service was resumed in the euro area with Friday's GDP reports pointing to solid growth in Germany amid weakness in Italy and France. Real GDP in the Eurozone grew 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in the final three months of last year, up from 0.2% in Q3.
The new Argentinian president, Alberto Fernández, will have to make a quick start on the titanic task of cleaning up the economic and social mess left by his predecessor, Mauricio Macri.
Colombian activity data released this week were weak, but mostly better than we expected. Real GDP rose 0.7% quarter- on-quarter in Q2, in contrast to the 0.3% fall in Q1, when the economy was hit by the lagged effect of last year's monetary tightening and the one-off VAT increase.
Yesterday's Q2 GDP report in Germany was solid, but the headline disappointed slightly. GDP growth slowed to 0.6% quarter-on-quarter from an upwardly- revised 0.7% rise in Q1. The year-over-year rate, however, rose to 2.1% from a revised 2.0% in Q1.
Industrial production data yesterday indicate manufacturers in the Eurozone enjoyed a decent start to Q3, thanks to strength in Germany, Italy and Spain, which offset weakness in France. Production ex-construction rose 0.6% month-to-month in July, boosted in part by a 3% jump in energy output. If production is unchanged in August and September, output will rise 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, but this estimate is uncertain, and we look for an increase of about 0.4%-to-0.5%.
Brazil's economic recovery continues, according to the relatively upbeat data released in recent days.
Japan's prime minister in-all-but-name, Yoshihide Suga, will be inheriting an economy struggling to maintain any momentum from the release of pent-up demand.
Brazil's July economic activity index, released yesterday, showed that the economy started the second half of the year strongly. The IBC-Br index, a monthly proxy for GDP, rose 0.4% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 1.4%, from -0.4% in June.
The Chinese activity data published yesterday were much weaker than expected; growth rates fell resoundingly. Did analysts really get it wrong, or is this just another example of erratic Chinese data?
China's July activity data pretty categorically wiped out any false hopes of a V-shaped recovery, after the June spike.
For all the excitement generated by yesterday's raft of appalling economic reports, the weekly jobless claims numbers still offer the best, and almost real-time, guide to the big picture.
The BoJ is likely to be thankful next week for a relatively benign environment in which to conduct its monetary policy meeting.
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.
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.
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 Covid-19 crisis has turned the tables on the Spanish economy.
Two key points can be extracted from the minutes of the last BCB meeting, when policymakers increased the Selic interest rate by 50bp to 12.75%. First, the bank recognized that the balance of risks to inflation has deteriorated, due to the huge adjustment of regulated prices and the BRL's depreciation, but it specifically referred only to "this year" in the communiqué.
The over-hyped mystery of the gap between the hard and soft data in the industrial economy has largely resolved itself in recent months.
We are not worried about the reported drop in April manufacturing output, which probably will reverse in May.
Official industrial production growth in China plunged to 5.4% year-over-year in April, from 8.5% in March.
Economic data released yesterday underscored that Brazil emerged from recession in the first quarter, but further rate cuts are needed. Indeed, the monthly economic activity index--the IBC-Br--fell 0.4% monthto- month in March, though this followed a strong 1.4% gain in February.
Economic activity remains under severe strain in the Andes.
China's post-lockdown recovery broadly has surprised this quarter, particularly in the industrial sector.
Inflation pressures in France eased across the board at the end of last year.
The euro area's external surplus remained resilient toward the end of 2017, in the face of a stronger currency. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus rose to €22.5B in November, from €19.0B in October, lifted primarily by a jump in German exports.
Judging by the solid advance data in the major economies, yesterday's EZ industrial production report should have hit desks with a bang, but it was a whimper in the end.
We can see no hard evidence, yet, that the expanding trade war with China and other U.S. trading partners is hitting business investment.
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.
We were surprised by the weakness of the April housing starts report; we expected a robust recovery after the March numbers were depressed by the severe snowstorms across a large swathe of the country. Instead, single-family permits rose only trivially and multi-family activity--which is always volatile--fell by 9% month-to-month.
The weekly initial jobless claims numbers have been a useful proxy for the real-time performance of the economy since Covid-19 struck.
China's activity data for May were a mixed bag, but they broadly paint a consistent picture of a slowdown in economic growth from the first quarter.
The acceleration in real consumption over the past year reflects the upturn in real after-tax income growth. This, in turn, is mostly a story of falling gasoline prices, which have depressed the PCE deflator. Gross nominal incomes before tax rose 4.2% year-over-year in the three months to September, exactly matching the pace in the three months to September 2014. But real income growth, after tax, accelerated to 3.3% from 2.5% over the same period, as our first chart shows.
Yesterday's economic data provided further evidence that GDP growth in the EZ economy slowed in Q2.
Fed Chair Powell delivered no great surprises in his semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony yesterday, but he did hint, at least, at the idea that interest rates might at some point have to rise more quickly than shown in the current dot plot: "... the FOMC believes that - for now - the best way forward is to keep gradually raising the federal funds rate [our italics]."
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.
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.
Colombia has been one of LatAm's outperformers this year.
The global coronavirus pandemic is hitting the LatAm economy at a particularly vulnerable time, following last year's stuttering economic recovery, temporary shocks in key economies and the effect of the global trade war.
The establishment of the Fed's commercial paper funding facility, announced yesterday, replicates the first wave of asset purchases undertaken after the crash of 2008.
We're braced for disappointing jobless claims numbers today.
The slowdown in households' real incomes has taken a swift toll on the housing market this year. Measures of house prices from Nationwide, Halifax, LSL and Rightmove essentially have flatlined since the end of 2016, following four years of rapid growth, as our first chart shows.
May's activity data underline the weakness of Colombia's economic growth. Domestic demand still is under pressure due to the lagged effect of the deterioration in the terms of trade and other temporary shocks in 2016, and the VAT increase in January this year.
Today's labour market report looks set to be a mixed bag, with growth in employment remaining strong, but further signs that momentum in average weekly wages has faded.
Brazil's December economic activity index, released last week, showed that the economy ended the year on a relatively weak footing. The IBC-Br index, a monthly proxy for GDP, fell 0.3% month- to-month, pushing down the adjusted year-over- year rate to 0.3%, from a downwardly-revised 0.7% increase in November.
New home price growth in China has held up longer than we expected.
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.
We became more confident last week in our call that GDP growth will hold up better than widely feared in the first half of 2019, following signs that consumers have maintained their happy-go-lucky mentality, despite the ongoing political crisis.
Chinese official headline data paint a picture of a strengthening economy in Q2. Our analysis shows a sharply contrasting picture. China's nominal GDP, real GDP and deflators are often internally inconsistent.
The monthly industrial production numbers are collected and released by the Fed, rather than the BEA, so today's December report will not be delayed by the government shutdown.
Hot on the heels of yesterday's news that the NAHB index of homebuilders' sentiment and activity dropped by two points this month -- albeit from December's 18-year high -- we expect to learn today that housing starts fell last month.
Data on Friday confirmed that headline inflation in the Eurozone rose a bit last month, to 1.5% from 1.4% in January, but also that the core rate dipped by 0.1 percentage points, to 1.0%.
The half-way point of the quarter is not, alas, the half-way point of the data flow for the quarter.
Yesterday's detailed EZ inflation data for August kick ed-off a period in which the numbers will be scrutinised more closely than usual.
We'd be very surprised to see anything other than a 25bp rate cut from the Fed today, alongside a repeat of the key language from July, namely, that the Committee "... will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion".
Headline inflation in the EZ remained elevated in September, rising by 0.1 percentage point to 2.1%, while the core rate was unchanged at 0.9% in August; both numbers are in line with the initial estimates.
Economic news in Europe continues to take a back-seat to volatility in politics. Yesterday's announcement by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May that she is seeking a snap general election on June 8th cast further doubt over what exactly Brexit will look like.
China's economy got off to an uneasy start in the third quarter.
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.
CPI inflation held steady at 1.5% in November, marking the fourth consecutive below-target print, though it was a tenth above both the MPC's forecast and the consensus.
The Eurozone economy all but stalled at the start of Q4.
Today brings the September housing construction report, which likely will show that activity was depressed by the hurricanes.
PM Johnson has conceded considerable ground over the terms of Brexit for Northern Ireland in order to get a deal over the line in time for MPs to vote on it on Saturday, before the Benn Act requires him to seek an extension.
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.
China's two-tier post-lockdown economic revival continued in April. Industrial production beat expectations easily, rising by 3.9% year-over-year, after slipping by 1.1% in March.
Data released on Friday confirmed an appalling end to the first quarter for the Brazilian and Colombian economies. In Brazil, the March IBC-Br, a monthly proxy for GDP, plunged 5.9% month-to-month, close to expectations.
Some shoes never drop. But it would be unwise to assume that the steep plunge in manufacturing output apparently signalled by the ISM manufacturing index won't happen, just because the hard data recently have been better than the survey implied.
Argentinians are heading to the polls on Sunday October 27 and will likely turn their backs on the current president, Mauricio Macri.
The declines in headline housing starts and building permits in September don't matter; both were driven by corrections in the volatile multi-family sector.
Rapidly increasing food inflation is creating all sorts of dilemmas for policymakers in Asia's giants.
The new Argentinian president has started to clean up the mess left by his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. President Mauricio Macri lifted capital controls, and let the ARS float freely yesterday. The peso tumbled about 30%, getting close to 14 ARS per USD, where it had been trading in the black market. The government also announced that it is on track to receive about USD 12-to-15B, to build up the battered foreign reserves, and to contain any overshooting. This money will come through many channels, for example, grain producers have announced that they will sell about USD400M a day over the coming weeks.
The growing perception that the U.K. MPC will lag further behind the U.S. Fed in this tightening cycle than previously has pushed sterling down to $1.49, a long way below its post-recession peak of $1.72 in mid-2014. But this has done little to enhance the overall competitiveness of U.K. exports, and net trade still looks likely to exert a major drag on real GDP growth in 2016.
The spectacular 1.3% rebound in manufacturing output last month -- the biggest jump in seven years, apart from an Easter-distorted April gain -- does not change our core view that activity in the sector is no longer accelerating.
Yesterday's CPI report in the Eurozone confirmed that inflation pressures remain subdued, even as GDP growth is accelerating.
The year-over-year rate of core CPI inflation rose steadily from a low of 1.6% in January 2015 to 2.3% in February this year. At that point, the three-month annualized rate had reached a startling 3.0%. You could be forgiven, therefore, for thinking that the dip in core inflation back to 2.2% in March was an inevitable correction after a period of unsustainably rapid gains, and that the underlying trend in core inflation isn't really heading towards 3%.
The winds of global politics are changing, and the major Eurozone countries could be forced to take heed. Donald Trump's foreign policy position remains highly uncertain. Our Chief Economist, Ian Shepherdson, expects the U.S. to increase defence spending next year; see the U.S. Monitor of October 20.
The Monetary Policy Board of the Bank of Korea voted yesterday to lower its policy base rate to 1.25%, from 1.50%.
The first October survey evidence from the industrial economy, in the form of the Empire State report, is remarkably strong.
The case for the MPC to hold back from implementing more stimulus was bolstered by September's consumer prices figures.
The GM strike will make itself felt in the September industrial production data, due today.
Evidence in support of our view that the U.S. industrial slowdown is ending continues to mount, though nothing is yet definitive and the re-escalation of the trade war is a threat of uncertain magnitude to the incipient upturn.
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.
The split between the reality reflected in the economic data and market pricing has never been wider in the euro area
Incoming data continue to highlight the severe hit from the pandemic on the real economies of the region, but some surveys and leading indicators are already pointing to a gradual upturn from June onwards.
The presidential election in Argentina is only four months away and the race is heating up.
We were not hugely surprised to see stocks tank again yesterday.
We lack an adjective sufficiently strong to describe China's February activity data.
The minutes of March's MPC meeting were more newsworthy than we--and the markets--expected. Kristin Forbes broke ranks and voted to raise Bank Rate to 0.50%, from 0.25%.
The Fed's insistence this week that U.S. rates will rise only twice more this year helped to ease pressures on LatAm markets this week, particularly FX. The way is now clear for some LatAm central banks to cut interest rates rapidly over the coming months, even before U.S. fiscal and trade policy becomes clear. We expect the next Fed rate hike to come in June, as the labor market continues to tighten. If we're right, the free-risk window for LatAm rate cuts is relatively short.
Recent data in Argentina confirm the resilience of cyclical upturn.
The median of FOMC members' estimates of longer run nominal r-star--the rate which would maintain full employment and 2% inflation--nudged up by a tenth in September to 3.0%, implying real r-star of 1%.
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.
Yesterday's final EZ CPI data for March confirmed the message from the advance report that inflation pressures eased last month.
China's real GDP growth was unchanged at 6.4% year-over-year in Q1, above the consensus for a slowdown to 6.3%.
It's easy to claim from yesterday's labour market data that the economy is weathering the uncertainty caused by the E.U. referendum. Employment rose by 172K, or 0.5%, between Q1 and Q2, and the claimant count fell by 7K month-to-month in July. These numbers, however, flatter to deceive.
Banxico will meet tomorrow, and we expect Mexican policymakers to cut the main interest rate by 25bp, to 7.25%.
The BoJ is likely to stay on hold this week for all its main policy settings.
The labour market remains healthy enough to persuade the MPC to keep its powder dry over the coming months.
Boeing's announcement that it will temporarily cut production of 737MAX aircraft to zero in January, from the current 42 per month pace, will depress first quarter economic growth, though not by much.
Mortgage applications appear to have recovered from their reported February drop, which was due mostly to a very long-standing seasonal adjustment problem
We can't afford the luxury of believing China's year-over-year growth rates. Real GDP growth was 6.8% year-over-year in Q1, matching the rate in Q4 and Q3, and hitting consensus.
The Fed yesterday formally adopted outcome-based forward guidance, setting out the conditions under which rates will rise: "The Committee... expects it will be appropriate to maintain this target range [0-to- 0.25%] until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with the Committee's assessments of maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2 percent and is on track to moderately exceed 2 percent for some time."
China's activity data yesterday made pretty uncomfortable reading for policymakers.
Manufacturing is in recession, with few signs yet that a floor is near, still less a recovery.
The headlines of China's August activity data are missing the real story in recent months.
Evidence of slowing growth in Brazil consumers' spending continues to mount.
As we reach our deadline on Sunday afternoon, eastern time, Tropical Storm Florence continues to dump vast quantities of rain on the Carolinas, and is forecast to head through Kentucky and Tennessee, before heading north.
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.
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. New Car Registrations, July
Demand for new cars in the Eurozone rebounded last month. New car registrations jumped 10.3% year-over-year in May, reversing the 5.1% decline in April. The headline was boosted by solid growth in all the major economies.
Today's headline durable goods orders number for January is likely to blast through the consensus forecast, +2.7%. We expect a 6.5% jump, comfortably reversing December's 5.0% drop.
The key labor market numbers from today's February NFIB report on small businesses--hiring intentions and the proportion of firms with unfilled job openings--were released last week, as usual, ahead of the official jobs report.
Car manufacturers have been at the sharp end o f the slowdown in consumers' spending this year. In response, several brands have launched generous scrappage schemes, giving buyers a big discount when they trade in their old vehicle.
It is very difficult to be positive about the Brazilian economy in the short term, with every indicator of confidence at historic lows. The industrial business confidence index fell 9.2% month-to-month in March alone. Capacity use dropped to 79.7% from 81.5% in February, the lowest level in six years, and inventories rose, presumably because businesses over-estimated the strength of sales.
If the only things that mattered for the housing markets were the obvious factors--the strength of the labor market, and low mortgage rates--the sector would be booming. Activity is picking up, with new and existing home sales up by 23% and 9% year-over-year respectively in the three months to May, but the level of transactions volumes remains hugely depressed. At the peak, new home sales were sustained at an annualized rate of about 1½M, but May sales stood at only 546K. Adjusting for population growth, the long-run data suggests sales ought to be running at close to 1M.
Recent data have added to the evidence that the Colombian economy stumbled in July. Retail sales plunged 3.3% year-over-year, from an already poor and downwardly revised 0.9% decline in June. The underlying trend is negative, following two consecutive declines, and July's data were the weakest since September 2009.
Yesterday's retail sales data in Brazil surprised to the downside. Consumers are still being squeezed by high interest rates and a deteriorating labour market. Retail sales declined 0.6% month-to-month in August, leaving the year-over-year rate little changed at -5.5%.
Activity in Colombia cooled at the end of the first quarter, in the face of many domestic and external headwinds. Retail sales, for example, plunged 2.9% in March after a 4.6% leap in February. The headline likely was depressed by the early Easter, as March had one fewer trading day than February.
• U.S. - The Fed will cut, but watch the new forecasts • EUROZONE - The ECB doubles down; buckle up! • U.K. - The MPC will not be swayed by easing bias elsewhere • ASIA - China's economy is still not responding to PBoC easing • LATAM - A solid start to Q3 for Brazilian retail sales
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.
• U.S. - The trend in core inflation is stable, despite soft December data • EUROZONE - The Q4 jump in core inflation won't shift the ECB's dovish outlook • U.K. - All eyes on the PMI this week; it could determine the January BOE decision • ASIA - China's economy is weaker than the headlines suggest • LATAM - Black Friday boosted retail sales in Brazil, but less than expected
the past few observations make clear. Real spending jumped by 0.5% in March, rebounding after its weather-induced softness in February, before stalling again in April. Then, in May, the s urge in new auto sales to a nine-year high lifted total spending again, driving a 0.6% real increase.
Consumers' spending in Mexico was relatively resilient at the end of Q1, but we think it will slow in the second quarter. Data released this week showed that retail sales rose a strong-looking 6.1% year-over-year in March, well above market expectations, and up from 3.6% in February.
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.
Evidence is mounting that the cyclical recovery in the Eurozone accelerated further in the first quarter. The Composite PMI in the euro area rose to 54.1 in March, up from 53.3 in February, taking the quarterly average to 53.3, its highest level since the second quarter of 2011. Combined with latest available retail sales and industrial production data, this is consistent with real GDP growth in the euro area accelerating to about 0.4-to-0.5% quarter-on quarter in the first quarter, from 0.3% in Q4.
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.
Mexico's economy continues to withstand several headwinds, especially the sharp currency depreciation--shown in our first chart--falling commodity prices, and the tough external environment. The country is still one of the economic bright spots in the region, thanks to its resilient domestic demand. June retail sales rose 5.4% year-over-year, well above expectations, and up from 4.1% in May. The underlying trend is positive, averaging 4.8% in the second quarter, well above its 2014 pace.
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%.
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.
In the absence of an unexpected surge in auto sales or a sudden burst of unseasonably cold weather, lifting spending on utilities, fourth quarter consumption is going to struggle to rise much more quickly than the 2.1% annualized third quarter increase.
Industrial production data yesterday confirmed downside risks to today's GDP data in the Eurozone. Output fell 0.3% month-to-month in September, pushing the year-over-year rate down to 1.7% from a revised 2.2% in August. Weakness in Germany was the main culprit, amid stronger data in the other major economies. A GDP estimate based on available data for industrial production and retail sales point to a quarterly growth rate of 0.4% quarter-on-quarter, but we think growth was rather lower, just 0.2%, due to a drag from net trade.
Last week's consumption releases were the first data from the real economy in the second quarter. In Germany, retail sales jumped 1.7% month-to-month in April, equivalent to a 1.0% rise year-over-year, an impressive start to the quarter. But our first chart shows that this still points to a moderate slowdown in Q2, consistent with mean-reversion following rapid gains in Q4 and Q1.
Chile's economic sector survey, released on Monday, provides further evidence that the cyclical recovery in the economy continues, albeit at a moderate pace. On the demand side, the rebound is still in place, with retail sales jumping 2.0% month-to-month in February and the underlying trend firm.
None of today's four monthly economic reports will tell us much new about the outlook, and one of them--ADP employment--will tell us more about the past, but that won't stop markets obsessing over it. We have set out the problems with the ADP number in numerous previous Monitors, but, briefly, the key point is that it is generated from regression models which are heavily influenced by the previous month's official payroll numbers and other lagging data like industrial production, personal incomes, retail and trade sales, and even GDP growth. It is not based solely on the employment data taken from companies which use ADP for payroll processing, and it tends to lag the official numbers.
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.
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Retail Sales
The monthly data for industrial production and retail sales, and the advance GDP headline, already paint a grim picture of what happened in the EZ economy at the end of 2018.
Demand for new cars rebounded strongly last month, following the dip in October. Registrations in the EU27 rose 13.7% year-over-year in November, up from 2.9% in October, lifted mainly by buoyant growth in the periphery. New registrations surged 25.4% and 23.4% year-over-year in Spain and Italy respectively, while growth in the core was a more modest 10%. We also see few signs of the VW emissions scandal hitting the aggregate data. VW group sales have weakened, but were still up a respectable 4.1% year-over-year. This pushed the company's market share down marginally compared to last year. But sizzling growth rates for other manufacturers indicate that consumers are simply choosing different brands.
Colombia's retail sector surprised to the upside once again in December, despite a number of domestic headwinds. Sales jumped 6.2% year- over-year, up from 4.9% in November, marking an impressive end to the quarter. The underlying trend improved significantly in Q4, as shown in our first chart. A double-digit rise in auto sales was the main driver, offsetting weakness in other key components.
Ian Shepherdson comments on Retail Sales data for June
Industrial data released this week showed that the Mexican economy stumbled during the second quarter. Private consumption, however, continues to rise, albeit at a more modest pace than in recent months. The ANTAD same store sales survey rose 5.3% year-over-year in June, up from 2.8% in May, but this is misleading.
Retail sales data released yesterday for Brazil confirmed that weakness in private consumption remains a key challenge for the economy. Retail sales plunged 0.9% month-on-month in May, equivalent to a 4.5% fall year-over-year, the lowest rate since late 2003. On a quarterly basis, sales are headed for a 2% contraction in Q2, pointing to a -0.5% GDP contribution from consumer spending.
Reports yesterday indicated that a deal has finally been struck between the European Commission and the Italian government to start dealing with bad loans in the banking system. The initial details suggest the government will be allowed to guarantee senior tranches on non-performing loans, supposedly making them easier to sell to private investors. In order to avoid burdening government finances as part of the sales--not allowed under the new banking union rules--the idea is to price the guarantees based on the credit risk of similar loans.
• U.S. - The surge in retail sales is not all that it seems, and it might not last • EUROZONE - The Eurozone economics team is on vacation • U.K. - Not all near-real-time economic indicators are created equal • ASIA - China's Q2 GDP bounce was good, but not that good • LATAM - What would a Biden victory mean for LatAm?
In one line: The recovery is stalling, but retail sales don't care.
• U.S. - Congressional face-off could delay the next relief bill until September • EUROZONE - The Eurozone economics team is on vacation • U.K. - Surging retail sales are a poor guide to overall consumption • ASIA - Korea's grim Q2 likely was the low, but the recovery is fragile • LATAM - The deep recession will suppress inflation in Mexico
Japan's stable unemployment rate belies underlying weakness. Tokyo energy inflation turns the corner. Sales tax preparations breathe life into Japanese production in May... if only temporarily. Korea's IP plunge in May shows why Japan can't rest on its laurels.
Japan's Q1 GDP number leaves sales tax delay on the table
The remarkable surge in both new and existing home sales in recent months already has pushed inventory down and prices up.
China's trade surplus rejoins previous uptrend. China's FX reserves; strong valuations boost outweighs sales. Japan's Q1 GDP gets an upgrade, at the expense of Q2. Japan's current account surplus.
In one line: Tentative signs of a pick-up in retail sales.
In one line: Starts have further to rise, given the rebound in new home sales.
In one line: On course for a 15-to-20% shortfall in car sales in H2.
In one line: A pre-shutdown snapshot; unprecedented falls in sales lie ahead.
In one line: Brace for a year-long slump in sales.
In one line: The post-election recovery in confidence should support car sales soon.
In one line: Lenders likely won't facilitate a lasting surge in sales.
In one line: Recovering consumer confidence should stabilise car sales in 2020.
The trade-off between the timeliness and accuracy of the data is fundamental to macroeconomic analysis. Coincident data such as GDP, industrial production and retail sales are the most direct measures of economic activity, but their first estimates don't always tell the full story.
In one line: No sales when showrooms are closed.
February's money and credit figures supported recent labour market and retail sales data suggesting that consumers are increasingly financially strained. Households' broad money holdings increased by just 0.2% month-to-month in February, half the average pace of the previous six months.
The retail sales data, released yesterday, underline the struggle that Japanese consumers are facing against rising inflation.
June's money and credit data show that firms have accumulated a large cash pile since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, despite sales falling through the floor.
Chile's economy is showing the first reliable signs of improvement, at last. December retail sales rose 1.9% year-over-year, up from 0.4% in November, indicating that household expenditure is starting to revive, in line with a pick-up in consumer confidence and the improving labor market.
Consumer sentiment data yesterday from the major economies were mixed, signalling that support to Eurozone GDP growth from surging German household consumption is waning. The key "business outlook" index--which correlates best with spending--plunged to a 30-month low in October, while the advance GfK sentiment index dipped to 9.4 in November from 9.6 in October. We see little signs in retail sales data of slowing momentum, and also think consumers' spending rebounded in Q3. But our first chart shows that the fall in the GfK index implies clear downside risks in coming quarters.
Survey data point to a very strong headline, 0.6%-to-0.7% quarter-on-quarter, in today's Q1 advance Eurozone GDP report. But the hard data have been less ebullient than the surveys. A GDP regression using retail sales, industrial production and construction points to a more modest 0.4% increase, implying a slowdown from the upwardly-revised 0.5% gain in Q4.
Investors active in the government bond market will be awaiting today, at 07:30 BST, the publication by the Debt Management Office of its updated Financing Remit for the upcoming three months. The new Remit will show that gilt sales, net of redemptions, will be lower in Q3 than in Q2.
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.
We aren't much interested in the headline ISM non- manufacturing index, which tends to track the rate of growth of nominal retail sales. In other words, it is not a leading indicator of broad economic activity. We were happy to see the November index rise yesterday, to 57.2 from 54.8, but it doesn't change our core views about anything.
The hard data in Germany took a turn for the worse at the start of Q4. The outlook for consumers' spending was dented by the October plunge in retail sales--see here-- and on Friday, the misery spilled over into manufacturing.
This week's March economic activity reports in Chile have been relatively strong, with the industrial sector expanding briskly and retail sales solid.
December's money data likely will bring further signs that the U.K. economy's growth spurt late last year was paid for with unsecured borrowing. Retail sales fell by 1.9% month-to-month in December, so we doubt that unsecured borrowing will match November's £1.7B increase, which was the biggest since March 2005.
Barely a day passes now without an email asking about "evidence" that the U.S. economy is slowing or even heading into recession. The usual factors cited are the elevated headline inventory-to-sales ratio, weak manufacturing activity, slowing earnings growth and the hit from weaker growth in China. We addressed these specific issues in the Monitor last week, on the 23rd--you can download it from our website--but the alternative approach to the end-of-the-world-is-nigh view is via the labor market.
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.
Two fiscal deadlines are on the near-horizon.
Payroll growth rebounded to 223K in May, after two sub-200K readings, and we're expecting today's June ADP report to signal that labor demand remains strong.
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Retail Sales in October
Pantheon Macroeconomics' Chief Economist Dr. Ian Shepherdson provides unbiased, independent economic intelligence to financial market professionals.
Another punchy month for exports keeps Japan's surplus above water
Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on ISM Non-Manufacturing
Chief U.K. Economist Samuel Tombs on U.K. Inflation Growth
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