Main Macro Events This Week
The trade war appears to be ratcheting up once again, amid contradictory signals from the Trump administration. Last week a WSJ story suggested that the Chinese were invited back to the negotiating table by a trade team headed by more moderate Mnuchin, though Trump later tweeted that there wasn’t any pressure to make a deal with China. Wall Street responded bullishly to the apparent olive branch and shrugged off the tweet on balance, even after Trump indicated his advisors would be instructed to proceed with the $200 bln in tariffs. This has “increased tail risk” according to JP Morgan analysis in terms of the range of possible outcomes, which will dictate just how much growth may slow, if implemented, and inflation may increase–from nominal changes to significant swings. Fed policy is seen remaining on track in the meantime, as the two effects tend to cancel out and US employment and inflation mandates continue to punch in roughly on target.
United States: The US economy remains firm hurtling toward the end of Q3 after a strong 4.2% GDP growth pace in Q2. All Survey participants are forecasting another quarter-point tightening in December, too, and most recent Fedspeak has been comfortable with quarterly hikes heading into 2019 as well.
The US economic calendar kicks off with an update on the Empire State index, seen declining to 22.0 in September (Monday), from a 10-month high of 25.6 in August. The NAHB housing market index is forecast (Tuesday) to rise to 68 in September from 67 in August. MBA mortgage market applications are due (Wednesday), along with housing starts are expected to rise 4.5% in August, to a 1.220 mln rate, after a 0.9% gain to 1.168 mln in July. August building permits are estimated to rise 0.9% to 1.315 mln, following a similar gain in July. The current account balance is forecast to narrow to -$103.3 bln in Q2 (Wednesday), from -$124.1 bln in Q1 reflecting strength in exports but a flat import figure. The Philly Fed index should rise to 19.0 in September (Thursday), from a 2-year low of 11.9 and initial jobless claims are estimated to rise 8k to 212k in the week ended September 15, following a 204k reading in the week of September 8–lowest since December 1969. Existing home sales are anticipated to rebound 1.1% in August to a 5.40 mln pace (Thursday), after declines in the prior four months. Sales declined 6.6% in Q2, after a 6.1% drop in Q1, amid lopsided hurricane rebuilding comparisons the year prior. And the leading economic index is expected to rise 0.5% in August, after a 0.6% gain in July and a 0.5% increase in June.
Canada: Manufacturing shipments (Tuesday) are expected to expand 1.0% in July after the 1.1% gain in June. CPI (Friday) is projected to be flat (0.0%) in August (m/m, nsa) after the 0.5% surge in July, slowing the annual growth rate to 2.9% in August from 3.0% y/y in July. The three core measures are expected to remain near a 2.0% annual growth pace in August. Retail sales (Friday) are seen rising 0.5% in July after the 0.2% decline in June. Retail sales excluding autos are projected to expand 0.6% in July following the 0.1% dip in June. Existing homes sales for August are expected on Monday. The ADP employment survey is due Thursday. Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Freeland is expected to return to Washington to resume high level NAFTA talks, which could reach a provisional framework.
Europe: Last week, ECB has confirmed the tapering of net asset purchases to EUR 15 bln from October and still intends to phase out QE by year end, but with ECB maintaining its stock for now and redemptions becoming more important, comments from ECB President Draghi on Wednesday are likely to stress again that the central bank maintains a still very expansionary policy. Meanwhile, the data calendar focuses on preliminary PMI numbers for September (Friday). The German ZEW came in a tad higher than expected, but German orders numbers were pretty dismal and the geopolitical risk backdrop has not improved significantly. Against that background Eurozone readings are expected to slightly change from the August round with growth and job creation ongoing but slowing down as respondents increasingly note the uncertainties surrounding the longer term outlook. The Eurozone manufacturing PMI is expected at 54.5, down from 54.6 in the previous month, and expect the services reading to improve slightly to 54.5, which should leave the composite unchanged from August at 54.5. This still suggests ongoing expansion, but would also confirm the decelerating trend. Final August Eurozone HICP (Monday) inflation meanwhile is expected to confirm the preliminary reading of 2.0% y/y, but comes with a slight bias to the downside, after some downward revisions to national data.
UK: Brexit negotiations, now very much at the sharp end, will continue, and will continue, no doubt, to be a source of turbulence for sterling markets. Talks will continue this week. The EU’s 28 leaders are due to discuss Brexit at a summit in Salzburg this Thursday, where they are expected to agree to hold an extraordinary meeting in November to sign off on a deal on future relations. Another key event to watch will be the Conservative Party conference, which will take place from September 20th to October 3rd. The data calendar will be highlighted by August inflation data (Wednesday) and August retail sales numbers (Thursday). The headline CPI is anticipated to ebb back to 2.4% y/y from 2.5% y/y in the month prior, with core prices seen similarly nudging lower, to 1.8% y/y from 1.9% y/y. As for retail sales, a 0.2% m/m contraction in August should be reported, correcting after rising 0.7% m/m in the month prior.
Japan: BoJ announces policy on Wednesday after its two-day meeting. The Bank will likely leave its short-term interest rate target at -0.1% and leave YCC (yield curve control), which guides the 10-year JGB around 0%, in place. The data calendar doesn’t kick off until Wednesday, when the August trade report is due. August national CPI (Friday) is seen at 1.0% y/y from 0.9% overall, and at 0.9% y/y from 0.8% on a core basis. The July all-industry index is also due Friday.
China:The August trade report was released Saturday and showed a new record surplus of $31.1 bln with the US as exports slowed to a 9.8% y/y clip from 12.2%, and imports slipping to 20.0% from 27.3%. That might not sit well with President Trump and could be the catalyst for the $267 bln in increased levies he’s debating. This week, August industrial production (Friday) should remain steady at a 6.0% y/y clip, while August fixed investment (Friday) is penciled in at an unchanged 5.5% y/y pace. August retail sales (Friday) are estimated at an 8.7% y/y rate from 8.8%.
Australia: Another sparse docket is highlighted by the minutes to Reserve Bank of Australia’s September meeting (Tuesday). RBA Assistant Governor (Financial Markets) Kent discusses “Money Creation” at the Reserve Bank’s Topical Talk Event for Educators. The Q2 housing price index (Tuesday) is expected to decline 0.6% (q/q, sa) after the 0.7% drop in Q1.
New Zealand: GDP (Thursday) is projected to expand at a 0.6% pace in Q2 (q/q, sa) after the 0.5% rise in Q1. The current account (Wednesday) is seen moving to a -NZ$1.0 bln deficit in Q2 from the NZ$0.2 bln surplus in Q1.