ECB policy was focused on avoiding deflation trap

17 January, 2017

European Outlook: Asian stock markets were mixed, with Japan and ASX heading south amid reports that U.K. Prime Minister May will announce plans for a hard Brexit at today’s keynote speech. Yen strength is also continuing to put pressure on the Japanese markets. Mainland Chinese markets meanwhile mostly managed to pair losses in late trade and the CSI 300 is currently unchanged on the day while the Hang Seng is up 0.48%.Oil prices are little changed on the day, with the front end WTI future trading at USD 52.30 per barrel and Gold benefiting from the risk on mood trading at USD 1212. U.S. and U.K. stock futures are also down, after European markets already closed in the red yesterday, while core bond yields came off, with Sterling weakness for once not weighing on Gilt futures, which outperformed yesterday as inflation considerations are balanced with the risks of weaker growth going ahead as the U.K. seems to be heading for an exit from the single market. May’s speech aside today’s calendar includes U.K. inflation data for December, as well as German ZEW investor confidence (see below)

Canada Home Sales: Existing home sales improved 2.2% m/m in December after the 5.3% tumble in November’s seasonally adjusted home sales. The pull-back in November was the largest one month decline in 4 years and corresponded with the implementation of tightened mortgage regulations. The increase in December is contrary to expectations for another decline. But total actual (not seasonally adjusted sales) fell 5.0% compared to the level in December of 2015. New listing fell 3.0% in December versus November. Prices continued to climb on an annual basis: the MLS HPI was 14.2% higher y/y in December while the national average sales price grew 3.5% y/y.

Davos Speak: (From the BBC) – The big draw at the World Economic Forum in Davos today is Chinese president Xi Jinping who will officially open the event this morning. It is the first time a leader from China has attended the event. Early afternoon, Anthony Scaramucci, a member of US president-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, will talk about the outlook for America. Shortly afterwards, the outgoing US secretary of state, John Kerry, will discuss “diplomacy in an era of disruption”. Then Satya Nadella, the chief executive of Microsoft, will tackle the issue of artificial intelligence alongside Zhang Ya-Qin, boss of China search engine giant Baidu. Other highlights include The Future of Finance: John Cryan, the boss of the troubled Deutsche Bank takes part in a panel discussion on where now for the industry and Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz will examine how to end corruption.

ECB’s Praet: ECB policy was focused on avoiding deflation trap. The Executive Board member said at a conference in Paris late yesterday that the “when you have a very slow growth rate with an increase in unemployment for a long period of time, you get into a sort of vicious circle. You have to use the tools that you have to support demand”. Praet said that “it has been key from the central bank point of view to avoid the de-anchoring of inflation expectations” with ECB policy “driven by the mandate and by avoiding that we fall into a sort of deflationary trap”.

Main Macro Events Today                        

UK CPI & PPI  – 09:30 GMT – YoY UK CPI data is expected to increase to 1.4% from 1.2% last time, with the Core figure up to 1.5% from 1.4%. MoM for December expected to increase to 0.3% from 0.2%.  PPI figures also released at the same time this morning with input figures expected to increase to 2.2% from -1.1% last time and output figures expected to increase to 0.3% for 0.0% last time.

German ZEW – 10:00 GMT – December expected to see the headline rate rise to 18.0 from 13.8 in December. This would be consistent with a quarterly growth rate of 0.4% in the first quarter of this year after a broadly similar number in Q4 2016.

UK PM May Speech – 11:45 GMT – Expected to outline 12 key points for UK’s exit from the EU. No “half in, half out measures”. Prerelease of speech from Downing Street overnight.

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