Markets will keep a wary eye on politics

20 November, 2017

After a couple of panicky moments in global equities over the past week, the markets will keep a wary eye on political developments. In Washington, the House passed its version of tax reform, but the process of reconciling that with a Senate bill could put a damper on the holidays. Political risks loom large in Europe too. Brexit remains a major uncertainty; Merkel has yet to form a government in Germany, while ousted Catalan leaders still have a chance in the December snap election. Trading should quiet this week, however, with the U.S. and Japan on holiday Thursday for Thanksgiving. There’s little on the economic calendars as well.

United States: The economic calendar will be heavily front-loaded, especially on Wednesday ahead of the long Thanksgiving weekend.  That will make for a frantic action packed early week of data. Leading indicators are expected to rebound 0.4% (Monday) in October from their 0.2% decline in September. The Chicago Fed National Activity Index is on tap for October (Tuesday), along with October existing home sales seen rising 0.7% to a 5.43 mln unit pace from 5.39 mln previously — in line with gains in other housing indicators in the month such as the NAHB index. The MBA mortgage market index returns (Wednesday), accompanied by October durable goods orders forecast to rise 0.5% vs 2.0% in September thanks to the hurricane rebound, or 0.4% ex-transportation. Initial jobless claims should resume their decline by 15k to 234k for the week ended November 18 (Wednesday), while final Michigan sentiment may be nudged to 98.0 in November from a preliminary 97.8, down from 100.7 in October. Rounding out the week are Markit PMIs (Friday).

Canada: In Canada the data and event docket is fairly thin this week. September wholesale shipments (Tuesday) are expected to rise 0.7% m/m after the 0.5% gain in August. Retails sales (Thursday) are projected to rebound 1.0% m/m in September after the 0.3% decline in August. The ex-autos sales aggregate is seen rising 0.8% m/m on the heels of the 0.7% tumble in August. The wholesale and retail reports comprise the final two reports that directly inform the forecast for September GDP. As-expected reports would be consistent with the projection for a 0.1% m/m bounce-back in September GDP following the 0.1% drop in August and flat reading in July. For the quarter, GDP is tracking around 1.8% (q/q, saar), which would match the BoC’s Q3 estimate from the October MPR. Hence, the data this week should be supportive of current expectations for a very cautious approach from the BoC to removing accommodation.

Europe: The data calendar includes the second reading of German Q3 GDP (Wednesday), widely expected to be confirmed at 0.8% q/q. And the breakdown, which will be released for the first time, will likely show ongoing robust domestic demand, but also a contribution from net exports to overall growth amid a strengthening world economy. Looking ahead, preliminary November PMI readings (Thursday) as well as the German Ifo (Friday) could ease slightly, but are expected to remain at high levels, consistent with ongoing robust growth in Q4 and going into 2018. The economic calendar also has Eurozone consumer confidence, French national confidence data and Italian orders among others. Events include a German 30-year auction, the ECB’s account of the last policy meeting and a wealth of ECB speakers including Draghi, Coeure and Constancio. Draghi and Constancio in particular are likely to continue to defend the ECB’s line that despite stronger growth the economy and inflation in particular still need ongoing monetary support, while others including Bundesbank President Weidmann would have preferred a clearer commitment to an end date for QE.

UK: Time is ticking on the next deadline — the December EU leaders’ summit — for the UK and EU to agree on Brexit divorce terms. There remains little sign that an accord will be reached, however, and many signs of deadlock — not just on the final financial settlement but also the Northern Ireland border issue, which is starting to look like a major sticking point, with Ireland threatening to block the Brexit process entirely. The calendar this week brings monthly government borrowing data (Tuesday), the November CBI industrial trend survey (also Tuesday), the Chancellor’s mid fiscal year budget (Wednesday), the second estimate for Q3 GDP (Wednesday), and, finally, the November CBI distributive sales survey (Thursday). The CBI surveys, being relatively narrow in terms of respondents, will largely be overlooked by markets, while the Chancellor’s room for fiscal manoeuvre is limited. GDP data is expected to confirm the preliminarily estimated 0.4% q/q and 1.5% y/y growth rates.

Japan:In Japan, the September all-industry index (Tuesday) is penciled in at -0.5% from up 0.1% in August.

Australia: In Australia, it is a busy week for the Reserve Bank of Australia. The Bank’s Head of Financial Stability Kearns speaks at the Aus-China Property Developers Investors and Financiers event (Monday). Head of Domestic Markets, Marion Kohler, delivers a speech (Monday) to the Australian Securitisation Forum 2017. The RBA’s Assistant Governor (Financial System) Michele Bullock is a panel participant at the Women in Payments Symposium. The calendar is empty of top tier data, with Q3 construction work done (Wednesday) the lone highlight.

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