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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.
Economists' forecasts are changing almost as quickly as market prices these days, and not for the better.
The Covid-19 shock to the real economy in China, and now the world, is colossal. Asia is leading the downturn, both because the outbreak started in China, but also because of its place in the supply chain.
The market-implied probability that the MPC will cut Bank Rate by June fell to 34%, from 38%, after the release of January's consumer price figures, though investors still see around an 80% chance of a cut by the end of this year.
The Q1 Tankan survey headlines were close to our expectations, chiming with our call for year-over-year contraction in Japanese GDP of at least 2%, after the 0.7% decline in Q4.
The drop in the flash composite PMI in March will be one for the record books, unfortunately. We look for an unprecedented drop to 43.0, from 53.3 in February, which would undershoot the 45.0 consensus and signal clearly that a deep recession is underway.
French manufacturers recovered their optimism towards the end of Q3. The headline INSEE manufacturing sentiment index rose to 103 in September, from 101 in August, and the composite business confidence gauge also increased. A rebound in transport equipment firms' own production expectations was the key driver of the recovery.
Japan is one of the countries most exposed to economic damage from the coronavirus.
April's GDP report, released on Monday, likely will add fuel to the fire of the re cent sharp decline in interest rate expectations.
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.
Yesterday was a watershed moment for investors.
The ECB conformed to expectations today, at least on a headline level.
Yesterday's final CPI report in the Eurozone confirmed that headline inflation was unchanged at 1.5% in September.
Signs that the economy has been crippled by people's response to the Covid-19 outbreak continued to emerge yesterday.
Inflation pressures in France increased significantly at the start of the year.
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.
All major EZ governments are now in the process of lifting lockdowns, but investors should expect less a grand opening, more of a careful tip-toeing.
The U.K. general election is the main event in today's European calendar, but the first official ECB meeting and press conference under the leadership of Ms. Lagarde also deserves attention.
At first glance, the continued weakness of domestically-generated inflation, despite punchy increases in labour costs, is puzzling.
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.
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.
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.
The coronavirus outbreak and its associated movements in asset prices have radically changed the outlook for CPI inflation, which ultimately the MPC is tasked with targeting.
The 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 unexpected rise in CPI inflation to 2.1% in July--well above the Bank of England's 1.8% forecast and the 1.9% consensus--from 2.0% in June undermines the case for expecting the MPC to cut Bank Rate, in the event that a no-deal Brexit is avoided.
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.
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