Week Ahead Economic Overview

17 Feb 2017 Samuel Agass

Worldwide Flash PMI results will offer early indications on the health of a number of key economies midway through the first quarter. Euro area inflation figures will ignite debate on future monetary policy by the ECB, while second estimates on UK and German GDP will be assessed for signs of any growth slowdowns.

Data releases for the eurozone will be a key focus next week, notably the latest update on the region’s inflation rate, which jumped to 1.8% in January. Up from 1.1% at the end of 2016 to a near four-year high, the increase was driven by a sharp spike in energy prices which rose 8.1% on an annual basis. Moreover, the latest inflation rate edged closer to the ECB’s target of 2%, fuelling speculation that the bank may act to curb higher prices if inflation looks likely to break their stipulated benchmark. Survey data for January showed input costs increasing at the fastest rate in over five-and-a-half years, with selling prices also matching December’s 65-month high. Although Eurostat’s next update is expected to signal a further acceleration, with upcoming political elections throughout the euro area clouding the region’s economic outlook for 2017, any change in policy may not occur until the end of the year.

Flash PMI data for the eurozone, with breakdowns for France and Germany, will also provide policymakers with early clues on the direction that economic growth will take during the first quarter. Euro area growth was revised down to 0.4% in the fourth quarter, in line with PMI estimates. In fact, survey data for January showed output rising at a rate identical to December’s five-and-a-half year high, suggesting growth will remain robust during the start of the year.

Meanwhile, a second estimate on Germany’s fourth quarter GDP performance is provided next week, with policymakers looking for any deviations from the first figure of 0.4%. German economic growth had been somewhat underwhelming during the final half of 2016, and euro area policymakers will be hoping to see some pick up as a result of this revision.

The Office for National Statistics also offers a second estimate on fourth quarter GDP for the UK during the week, with data watchers still gauging whether any post-brexit fallout has occurred since June’s EU referendum vote. The initial figure for Q4 came in at 0.6%, above market expectations of a 0.5% rise and in line with figures for the second and third quarters. With PMI data hitting a 17-month high at the end of 2016,, fourth quarter GDP is expected to remain unchanged when updated next week.

UK economic growth and the PMI

Finally, there are key economic events in the BRIC economies next week. Latest Russian retails sales data and unemployment rates will be analysed for further signs of improvement in the health of this reviving economy. Moreover, the Central Bank of Brazil will determine its latest course of monetary policy, looking for ways to help alleviate the downturn currently gripping the economy.

Monday 20 February

  • Japanese trade figures are released in the early hours.
  • In Russia, an update is provided on retail sales, unemployment rates and real wage data.
  • Germany’s producer prices index is released.
  • The Eurozone’s consumer confidence indicator is made available.
  • Wholesale trade data for Canada is out.

Tuesday 21 February

  • Markit flash PMI data are released in Japan, France, Germany, the eurozone and the US.
  • The latest consumer price index for France is issued.
  • In the UK, details on public sector borrowing are updated.

Wednesday 22 February

  • Australia’s wage price index is updated.
  • House price data for China is issued.
  • The Ifo Business Climate index is published in Germany.
  • Eurostat releases its latest inflation numbers for the euro area, while a breakdown is also issued in Italy.
  • A second update on Q4 2016 GDP data for the UK are provided by the Office for National Statistics.
  • Latest Q4 2016 GDP data for Mexico is released.
  • The Central Bank of Brazil meets to determine its latest monetary policy.

Thursday 23 February

  • South Africa’s producer prices index is made available.
  • In Germany, a detailed breakdown of fourth quarter GDP figures is provided alongside the latest consumer confidence indicator.
  • Italian wage inflation data and retail sales figures are updated.
  • The US sees the publication of initial jobless claims numbers.

Friday 24 February

  • Indian foreign reserve figures are published.
  • The French and Italian household confidence indicator are released.
  • Brazil’s latest unemployment rate is made available.
  • Canada’s consumer price index is updated.
  • In the US, the latest Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is published, along with updated new home sales data.


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