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A week ago, a lot of economists were thinking the Fed was going to pick up the pace of rate hikes as disinflation trends were struggling given a robust core services inflation reading and tight labor market conditions. A banking crisis however is changing how policymakers are assessing the impact of the first eight rate hikes.
Fed expectations are all over the place with Nomura analysts calling for a rate cut, while most investors are between a hold or a final quarter-point rate rise. How broader financial turmoil plays out leading to the FOMC decision could greatly influence how policymakers place their rate vote.
In addition to the FOMC decision, it will be a busy week of economic data releases. On Tuesday, existing home sales data is expected to show a modest rebound. Thursday contains the release of initial jobless claims, the Chicago Fed national activity index, and new home sales data. On Friday, we get the first look at February’s durable goods data and the flash PMIs.
Earnings season winds down with key results from Accenture (ACN), China Mobile (CHL), China Pacific Insurance Group (OTCPK:CHPXF), China Petroleum & Chemical (OTCPK:SNPMF), China Shenhua Energy (OTCPK:CSUAY), China Telecom (OTCPK:CHJHF), General Mills (GIS), Nike (NKE), RWE (OTCPK:RWEOY), Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY), and Xiaomi (OTCPK:XIACF).
It goes without saying that the focus in Europe next week will be firmly on the banking sector and whether recent turmoil has had any ripple effects on weaker institutions or highlighted any vulnerabilities.
The ECB opted to hike by 50 basis points, as planned, on Thursday despite recent events but refused to commit further and so comments from President Lagarde next week as the situation evolves will be monitored very closely. Flash PMIs on Friday will also be of interest but against the backdrop of recent events, won’t pack the punch they may otherwise have.
The Bank of England meeting on Thursday will be fascinating. Not only does it have recent turmoil in financial markets to contend with but policymakers were already divided on the correct course of action prior to it.
At the last meeting, two voted to leave rates on hold and could feasibly now consider backing a cut. What’s more, in the budget this week, the Chancellor confirmed that the OBR sees inflation falling to 2.9% by the end of the year, and while the BoE will use its own forecasts, others may be tempted to pause the tightening cycle to see what further fallout there will be in the banking sector if any.
Markets are torn on whether the MPC will hike or not, putting it at a 50/50 chance and it may well be swung by whether there’s any further disruption prior to the meeting, as well as the inflation data that is released the day before. It promises to be a very interesting announcement.
A quiet week following the CBR decision to leave interest rates unchanged on Friday. PPI inflation data is the only notable economic release.
The SARB is likely at or near the end of its tightening cycle and recent activity may encourage a cautious approach when it next meets in two weeks. That said, the inflation data may allow for that anyway with the core annual figure already in its 3-6% target range and the headline rate expected to fall close to that when it’s released on Wednesday.
The CBRT is expected to leave interest rates unchanged on Thursday but as is always the case with the Turkish central bank, nothing can be assumed. It started cutting the repo rate again last month and you wouldn’t put it past it continuing that on the 23rd.
Another central bank meeting next week and in light of events this week, heavily centered around one of its own, Credit Suisse, it will be very interesting to see whether it sticks with plans for a 50 basis point hike. While it hasn’t hiked rates much so far, the SNB has a low tolerance for inflation so may remain determined to stick with the plan despite inflation being only 3.4% in March.
The key event from China will be the loan prime rate fixing. China is expected to keep the LPR steady for a seventh straight month as they try to keep support in place for property markets. The one-year loan prime rate is at 3.65% and the five-year is at 4.30%, which are both at the lowest level in the past two decades.
No major releases are expected from India. Markets are still pricing in one more rate hike in the tightening cycle at the next meeting on April 6th as inflation still remains well above their 6% target ceiling.
Australia & New Zealand
On Monday, Reserve Bank of Australia Assistant Governor Christopher Kent is expected to speak at the KangaNews DCM Summit in Sydney. The focus in Australia will fall on the minutes to the March 7th rate decision that saw a 25 bps rate increase, but also a signal that they will have a ‘completely open mind’ at the April 4th policy meeting. The Westpac Leading index for February will also be released on Wednesday.
In New Zealand traders are eyeing February trade data and Westpac consumer confidence.
It is all about inflation in Japan this week. The national CPI reading for February is expected to cool from 4.3% to 3.3% as utility bills softened over energy subsidies. Pricing pressures however should remain robust as the ex-fresh food and energy is expected to rise on an annual basis from 3.2% to 3.4%.
High inflation has been keeping pressure on MAS to keep policy tight. The February inflation report is expected to show inflation decelerated from 6.6% to 6.5%, with some analysts expecting a stronger drop to 5.8%.
Saturday, March 18
The safe-transit deal for grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports is due to expire
German Chancellor Scholz to meet with Japanese PM Kishida in Japan
Sunday, March 19
House Republicans begin a three-day policy retreat in Orlando, Florida
Monday, March 20
China loan prime rates
Taiwan export orders
EU foreign ministers, defense ministers meet in Brussels
RBA’s Kent speaks at the KangaNews DCM Summit in Sydney
ECB President Lagarde appears before European Parliament’s economic committee
Tuesday, March 21
Fed begins two-day policy meeting
US existing home sales
Eurozone new car registrations
Germany ZEW survey expectations
New Zealand trade
UK Chancellor Hunt appears in the House of Commons and before the House of Lords economic affairs committee
Chinese President Xi Jinping expected to visit Moscow for a meeting with Russian leader Putin
ECB’s Enria speaks at the European Parliament’s economic committee to discuss fallout from SVB’s collapse
ECB President Lagarde and Villeroy speak at Bank for International Settlements “innovation summit”
RBA releases minutes of its March policy meeting
Finnish economic forecast from ETLA research institute
Riksbank’s Breman speaks on the economy and monetary policy in Stockholm
Wednesday, March 22
FOMC rate decision: Banking turmoil has shifted expectations from a half-point rate rise to a possible hold. Inflation worries should support one last quarter-point rate hike
Australia leading index
Japan machine tool orders
Mexico international reserves
New Zealand consumer confidence
South Africa CPI
ECB’s Lagarde, Lane, Wunsch and Panetta speak at “The ECB and Its Watchers” conference at the Goethe Institute in Frankfurt
Bundesbank President Nagel speaks on the future of the euro area at OMFIF in London
ECB’s Rehn speaks in Brussels on “Lessons from Europe’s crises”
US Treasury Secretary Yellen to appear at a Senate subcommittee hearing focused on 2024 budget
Riksbank Governor Thedeen speaks on a panel organized by the Bank of International Settlements
BOC releases summary of most recent deliberations
EIA crude oil inventory report
Thursday, March 23
US new home sales, initial jobless claims
BOE rate decision: Expected to raise bank rate by 25bps to 4.25%
SNB rate decision: Expectations are between a 25-50bps rate increase
Norges rate decision: Expected to raise rates by 25bps to 3.00%
CBRT rate decision: Expected to keep rates steady at 8.50%
China Swift global payments
Eurozone consumer confidence
Japan department store sales
New Zealand heavy traffic index
Taiwan industrial production, rate decision
EU leaders meet in Brussels for a two-day summit
ECB’s Holzmann speaks after the release of the Austrian National Bank annual report
Hungary’s parliament may vote on approval of the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO
US Treasury Secretary Yellen testifies on the budget to a House Appropriations subcommittee
President Joe Biden to visit Canada
Friday, March 24
US durable goods
Canada retail sales
European Flash PMIs: Eurozone, Germany, France, and the UK
Japan CPI, PMI
Singapore industrial production
Taiwan jobless rate, money supply
Thailand foreign reserves, forward contracts
Bundesbank President Nagel speaks on the labor market
BOE’s Mann speaks at a Global Interdependence Center conference
Sovereign Rating Updates
Editor’s Note: The summary bullets for this article were chosen by Seeking Alpha editors.