Tuesday, December 12, 2017

© Reuters.  Top 5 things to watch this week in financial markets© Reuters. Top 5 things to watch this week in financial markets

Investing.com – Global financial markets will focus on minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting in the week ahead, as investors look for more hints on the timing of the next U.S. rate hike.

Investors will also keep an eye out on a few U.S. economic reports, with Friday’s inflation data in the spotlight, to gauge how it will impact the Fed’s view on monetary policy in the coming months.

Meanwhile, market players will focus on remarks from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi for fresh clues on when the central bank will shift away from its ultra-easy policy.

In the UK, traders will focus on manufacturing production data for further indications on the continued effect that the Brexit decision is having on the economy.

Elsewhere, China is to release monthly trade and inflation data amid recent signs that momentum in the world’s second largest economy remains strong.

Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of the five biggest events on the economic calendar that are most likely to affect the markets.

1. Fed FOMC Meeting Minutes

The Federal Reserve will release minutes of its most recent policy meeting on Wednesday at 2:00PM ET (1800GMT).

The U.S. central bank left interest rates unchanged following its meeting on September 20 and signaled it still intended to raise rates in December, despite the sluggish inflation outlook. The Fed also announced that it would start rolling back its $4.5 trillion balance sheet in October.

Besides the minutes, this week will also see comments from a handful of Fed speakers including Governor Jerome Powell, who is reportedly one of the leading candidates to replace Janet Yellen as Fed chair when her term ends in February.

Comments from Governor Lael Brainard, Dallas Fed chief Robert Kaplan, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans will also be on the agenda.

Interest rate futures are pricing in around a 90% chance of a December Fed rate hike according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool, due to a recent raft of upbeat economic data and hawkish language from central bank officials.

2. U.S. Inflation Data

The Commerce Department will publish September inflation figures at 8:30AM ET (1230GMT) Friday. Market analysts expect consumer prices to rise 0.6%, while core inflation is forecast to inch up 0.2%.

On a yearly base, core CPI is projected to climb 1.8%. Core prices are viewed by the Federal Reserve as a better gauge of longer-term inflationary pressure because they exclude the volatile food and energy categories. The central bank usually tries to aim for 2% core inflation or less.

Rising inflation would be a catalyst to push the Fed toward raising interest rates.

At the same time Friday, the Commerce Department will publish data on retail sales for September. The consensus forecast is that the report will show retail sales increased 1.6% last month. Core sales are forecast to gain 0.3%.

Rising retail sales over time correlate with stronger economic growth, while weaker sales signal a declining economy. Consumer spending accounts for as much as 70% of U.S. economic growth.

Besides the inflation and retail sales reports, this week’s calendar also features U.S. data on JOLTS job openings, producer prices, initial jobless claims, as well as preliminary Michigan consumer sentiment.

Investors are also likely to continue to monitor the latest headlines coming out of Washington in regard to tax and healthcare reform.

This week also marks the start of the third-quarter earnings season in the U.S., with major banks JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) reporting Thursday, followed by Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) on Friday.

3. ECB President Draghi Speaks

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is due to participate in a panel discussion about monetary policy at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, in Washington DC at 9:30AM ET (1430GMT) on Thursday.

Investors will be eager to get further insight as to what decision to expect from the ECB with regards to asset purchases and forward guidance.

Draghi indicated last month that the ECB could start tapering its massive stimulus program as early as October. The central bank’s next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 26.

Meanwhile, market players will continue to keep a close eye on events in Spain’s Catalonia region, where secessionist leaders were working toward a unilateral declaration of independence that could be adopted this week, in defiance of a court order and increased economic pressure from Madrid.

4. UK Manufacturing Production

The Office for National Statistics is to produce data on UK manufacturing production for August at 0830GMT (4:30AM ET) on Tuesday, amid expectations for a 0.3% increase. Industrial output is forecast to inch up 0.2%.

Recent data has painted a subdued picture of the economy just as the Bank of England prepares to raise interest rates for the first time in a decade.

Politics is likely to be at the back of investors’ minds, as they keep an ear out for any news regarding Theresa May’s future after report surfaced late last week that her days as prime minister are numbered amid lack of progress in the Brexit negotiations.

5. China Trade Figures

China is to release September trade figures at around 0300GMT on Friday. The report is expected to show that the country’s trade surplus narrowed to $39.5 billion last month from a surplus of around $42.0 billion in August.

Exports are forecast to have climbed 8.8% in September from a year earlier, while imports are expected to rise 13.5%.

China’s economy grew a faster-than-expected 6.9% in the second quarter, matching the first quarter’s pace, supported by solid exports, industrial production and consumption.

Stay up-to-date on all of this week’s economic events by visiting: http://www.investing.com/economic-calendar/

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