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Week Ahead Economic Preview: Week of 17 February 2020

The following is an extract from IHS Markit's latest Week Ahead Economic Preview. For the full report (including Special Reports) please click on the 'Download Full Report' link.

  • Flash manufacturing and services PMIs to provide clues of initial virus impact
  • FOMC, RBA and RBI policy meeting minutes

The flash PMI surveys will be an eagerly awaited focus of the week, providing the first insights into how the global economy has fared during the Covid-19 outbreak.

News of the virus came on the heels of the global PMI surveys having shown the pace of worldwide economic expansion picking up to a ten-month high in January, driven to a large extent by easing global trade tensions and the pass-through of prior central bank stimulus. The concern is that slumping demand from China, a downturn in travel and tourism and supply chain disruptions will have all dampened growth in February. More information is needed to gauge the degree to which global economic growth will be hit, hence the February PMIs being so important in helping assess both the depth and breadth of the initial impact.

In the US, the PMIs showed a lop-sided economy remaining reliant on the service sector as an engine of growth, with manufacturing struggling to expand due to weak exports in particular. The US also sees the Nevada caucuses and the earnings season remains in full flow.

Eurozone flash PMI numbers need to continue to show the economy expanding to keep the ECB comfortable with remaining on hold. Any renewed slide in the surveys will raise recession risks. Similarly in the UK, markets will be looking to see if a January post-election rebound in the PMIs has enough legs to keep the Bank of England from cutting rates. UK job market, inflation and retail sales are also updated.

In Asia Pacific, Japanese and Australian flash PMI data are joined by a clutch of trade data. The Japanese survey numbers follow signs of a rebound in activity after a poor fourth quarter, while Australia is battling against a slide in its currency to a ten-year low on virus impact fears.

Policy action comes from Indonesia while central banks in the US, Australia and India release the minutes from their prior meetings, all of which will be scoured for clues as to how policymakers assess the health of local and global economies to gauge the potential for further stimulus.

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PMI commentary: Chris Williamson

Europe commentary: Ken Wattret

APAC commentary: Rajiv Biswas and Bernard Aw

Recent week ahead economic previews

Week of 10 February

Week of 3 February

Week of 27 January

Week of 20 January

Week of 13 January


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Purchasing Managers' Index™ (PMI™) data are compiled by IHS Markit for more than 40 economies worldwide. The monthly data are derived from surveys of senior executives at private sector companies, and are available only via subscription. The PMI dataset features a headline number, which indicates the overall health of an economy, and sub-indices, which provide insights into other key economic drivers such as GDP, inflation, exports, capacity utilization, employment and inventories. The PMI data are used by financial and corporate professionals to better understand where economies and markets are headed, and to uncover opportunities.

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