Central banks are in the spotlight this week

September 19, 2016

Central banks are in the spotlight this week, with the focus on the FOMC and BoJ. And the likely divergent policy outcomes will be key for market direction heading into Q4. With some policymakers starting to doubt the effectiveness of the low and negative rate structures, there’s increased uncertainty over just what will be announced, with the BoJ having perhaps the biggest opportunity to surprise with either its decisions on rates or QE purchases.

United States:  The FOMC meeting (Tuesday, Wednesday) dominates the landscape. It is highly unlikely the FOMC will resume its rate hike regime this week give the disappointing data on jobs, retail sales, and manufacturing, amid a still low inflation environment. Indeed, Fed funds futures are suggesting a very low probability of less than 15%. A light data calendar will play second fiddle to the Fed. Housing reports will dominate. The September NAHB homebuilder survey leads off (Monday) and is expected to hold steady at 60. August housing starts (Tuesday) are projected falling to a 1.193 mln pace, after two consecutive monthly gains. Existing home sales (Thursday) should bounce 1.7% to a 5.480 mln. Weekly jobless claims, the August leaders index, the July FHFA home price index, and the KC Fed manufacturing survey are also due Thursday, with the preliminary Markit PMI manufacturing report on Friday.

Fedspeak will remain in blackout mode until Friday when Harker, Mester, Lockhart and Kaplan all have speaking engagements, however,  it is unlikely anyone will break ranks and say much about policy the policy decision onWednesday.

Canada: CPI and retails sales highlight the week’s slate of economic data, which also includes wholesale trade. Total CPI (Friday) is seen expanding at a 1.4% and The Bank of Canada’s core CPI measure is projected to moderate to 2.0%. Retail sales (Friday) are anticipated to rise 0.3% with the the ex-autos retail aggregate is expected to gain 0.6%. Wholesale shipments (Wednesday) are seen rising 0.2% in July. Bank of Canada governor Poloz speaks Tuesday in Quebec City, with a press conference to follow.

Europe: This week’s data calendar is the timely set of confidence indicators in the form of preliminary September PMI readings (Friday). Expectations are for a slight dip in the manufacturing PMI to 51.5 and an uptick in the services reading to 52.9, and thus leave the Composite PMI broadly stable at 52.8. Other data releases include Eurozone current account, as well as German producer price inflation, which is expected to continue to move up from lows, but to still remain firmly in negative territory.

UK: The calendar is pretty quiet this week, highlighted by the CBI industrial trends survey for September (Thursday), where the forecast is for an unchanged -5 reading in the headline total orders figure. Monthly government borrowing data is also up (Wednesday), as is the Rightmove house price index for September. Longer-term Brexit-related concerns have been sharpening over the last week, which culminated in sterling plunging on Friday. The pound finished the day with a 1.8% loss to the dollar and with an average decline of 1.4% against the G3 currencies.

China: There are no scheduled data releases from China this week.

Japan: is closed Monday for Respect-for-the Aged Day holiday, and again on Thursday for the Autumnal Equinox holiday, bookending the two-day BoJ meeting (Tuesday, Wednesday). The policy outcome is of considerable uncertainty and of much debate. Data will be of moderate consequence. The August trade report (Tuesday) should show a narrowing in the surplus to JPY 250.0 bln from the revised 513.6 bln in July. The July all-industry index (Friday) is expected to rise 0.3% m/m versus the June 1.0% increase.

Australia: Reserve Bank of Australia releases the minutes to the September meeting (Tuesday), when policymakers held rates steady at 1.50% and shifted to a more balanced policy bias (from a tilt toward further easing). There are no bank officials scheduled to speak this week. The data calendar is thin, with the just the Q2 house price index due (Tuesday).

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