Macro events & news for January 19, 2016

January 19, 2016

The yen is weaker amid improved risk appetite, while commodity currencies have firmed. This comes with oil and most other commodity prices gaining over 1% in the Asia session, and with stock markets rebounding, led by 3%-plus advances in the main China indexes. AUDJPY, which is the currency cross most correlative with China market sentiment, is up by 1.3% after Chinese YoY GDP numbers weren’t worse than expected. The AUD, meanwhile, is showing a 0.6% gain, and the CAD a 0.7% rise, against the USD. A further whittling in the yen’s safe haven premium has seen USDJPY climbed over 0.5% to the upper 117s. The EUR is mixed, down versus the USD but up versus the JPY.

China growth was weakest in 25 years, as shown by the latest GDP figures. The Q4 growth disappointed slightly (1.6% instead of 1.7% consensus expectation) and was down by 0.2% from the previous quarter. The year on year GDP change was in line with the expectations at 6.8% but was 0.1% slower than the previous figure.  Chinese government’s transition from infrastructure spending and export oriented economy to a consumer spending oriented economy hasn’t happened as quickly as was expected. Industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investment all slowed in December but the overall growth in the Chinese economy is still encouraging.

German Dec HICP was confirmed at 0.2% y/y, the national CPI rate at 0.3% y/y, weaker than originally expected, but in line with preliminary data. National prices were down -0.1% m/m, driven by a 14.5% m/m drop in oil prices and a -4.4% m/m decline in petrol prices. Oil still continues to drive overall inflation trends then and excluding household energy and petrol, the headline rate would have been 1.1% y/y. Still this is down from 1.3% y/y in the previous month and 1.4% y/y in October, which will back the arguments of the doves at the ECB, which already pushed for more easing measures in December against German resistance. The current market rout and the drop in oil prices since then, which lead to even more pressure on Draghi to top up the measures already announced in December.

Main Macro Events Today

German ZEW:The January set of confidence readings are likely to reflect the deterioration in global sentiment this year, especially ZEW Investor Confidence, which is seen falling to 9.0 (med 8.5) from 16.1 in December. Together with the ongoing rout on global stock markets and the pressure on oil prices, the numbers will likely see Draghi delivering a dovish press conference on Thursday, even if it seems the ECB will follow the BoE’s example and defer a final judgement of the impact of lower oil prices and slowing growth in China, to the next update of official forecasts and projections, which for the ECB is in March.

BoE Governor Speech: Market participants are expecting the governor Carney to shed light on the Bank of England’s future monetary policy. We expect the BoE to hike interest rates by 25bp in Q2 2016, which would take the repo rate to 0.75%. This would be the first policy change since March 2009, and the first tightening since July 2007.

US NAHB housing market index: is out today and forecast to rise to 62 in January from 61.

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