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Economics Weekly - Focus on US data and Q1 corporate earnings

Economics Weekly 13 April 2009

 

Focus on US data and Q1 corporate earnings

 

It is a busy week for data in the US, which should provide some important clues about the pace of the overall economic contraction in the first quarter of 2009. First quarter corporate earnings releases will also beinformative and are likely to influence equity markets this week. There will also be considerable interest in the latest inflation data, which may show annual US CPI inflation turned negative for the first time since 1955. A quiet week for data in the UK is headed by the RICS house price survey on Wednesday and the BRC retail sales monitor on Thursday. In the euro zone, we expect confirmation that annual EU-16 CPI inflation fell to a record low of 0.6% in March. Results of government bond auctions in the US, UK and Germany could have a significant impact on secondary yields, as markets gauge the appetite for sales and purchases. There are several prominent central bank speakers this week, including Fed chairman Bernanke and ECB president Trichet.

 

􀂄 The minutes of the March 17-18 FOMC meeting, published last week, showed heightened concern about near-term downside risks to the outlook for activity led members to vote unanimously for an additional $1.1 trillion worth of measures to support credit markets, including the purchase of up to $300bn of longer-term treasuries over the next six months. We expect data this week to suggest that the threat may have since eased slightly. We forecastUS retail sales rose by 0.5% in March, after a modest 0.1% fall in February. However, with rising unemployment and falling house prices, the main driver is likely to have been aggressive discounting as retailers shed their excess inventory. We forecast business inventories fell by a further 1.1% in February, the sixth consecutive decline. US trade data last week showed a surprise rise in exports in February, which should help to cushion the current downturn in manufacturing activity. We forecast industrial production fell by 1.0% in March, the least in five months, and a modest improvement in the April Empire and Philadelphia manufacturing surveys. However, we forecast both housing starts and building permits declined in March, while weekly jobless claims remained above 600,000, indicating that underlying economic conditions remain very fragile and any sustainable recovery in overall activity is still some way off. We also expect data this week to show the first annual decline in US consumer prices since 1955 in March, with the ‘core’ rate easing slightly to 1.7%, from 1.8% in February. After surprise net sales of $43bn in January, we forecast net foreign purchases of US long-term securities rebounded to $25bn in February.

 

􀂄 It is a quiet week for data and events in the UK. We expect the headline RICS house price index to show a small rise in March, to -77% from -78.3%. The DCLG (official) house prices index is also expected to show an improvement, with an annual fall of 11.1% in February, up from 11.5% in January, although primarily reflecting favourable base effects. The BRC retail sales monitor, published overnight on Thursday, will provide an early indication of how retailers fared in March. There will also be keen interest in the outcomes of the two DMO bond auctions and the BoE reverse auctions this week.

 

􀂄 Data from the euro zone this week are likely to raise pressure on the ECB to loosen monetary policy further. On Thursday, we expect confirmation that annual EU-16 CPI inflation slowed to a record 0.6% in March ,from 1.2% in February. EU-16 industrial output is forecast to show a sixth consecutive fall in February, although at a slower pace than in recent months based on the results from individual countries.

Jeavon Lolay, Senior Economist, Corporate Markets

 

Economic Research,
Lloyds TSB Corporate
Markets,
10 Gresham Street,
London EC2V 7AE
,
Switchboard:
0207 626 - 1500
www.lloydstsb.com/corporatemarkets

 

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09:00 DE- ZEW Survey
09:00 EZ- Final HICP
Wed 18 Oct
12:30 US- Housing Starts & Permits
14:30 US- EIA Crude
Thu 19 Oct
01:30 AU- Employment
08:30 GB- Retail Sales
12:30 US- Weekly Jobless
Fri 20 Oct
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  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: HIGH Tue-- 08:30 GMT GB- CPI top tier confirmation of Inflation.

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  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: Medium Tue-- 09:00 GMT EZ- final HICP revision to flash report. Revisions are usually minor.

  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: Medium Tue-- 13:15 GMT US- Industrial Production. Top output indicator.



  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: Medium Wed-- 12:30 GMT US- Housing Starts and Permits revision to flash report. Useful housing leading indicator.

  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: Medium Wed-- 14:30 GMT US- EIA Crude. Top WTI inventory measure.



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