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ECONOMIC DATA ANALYSIS - AN IMPORTANT WEEK FOR POLICY OUTLOOKS
ANALYSIS FRIDAY 7 - 13 FEB 2014
IMPORTANT WEEK FOR POLICY OUTLOOKS
• New Fed
Chair Yellen gives semi-annual monetary policy testimonies to Congress
Inflation Report press conference to provide an update on forward guidance
• Euro area’s
Q4 GDP to build ECB view ahead of March meeting
Coincident, not coordinated policy ... Over the coming week we will see
key monetary policy addresses from Fed Chair Yellen and BoE Governor Carney.
Both look likely to maintain a dovish bias to the outlook for policy. However, the
pace of Fed tapering has already raised concerns over the spill-over effects
for emerging market economies, prompting Indian central bank Governor Rajan to
call for coordinated policy action. The ECB’s Draghi cast doubt on such an idea.
Chinese economic releases over the coming week are likely to maintain the focus
on emerging markets.
Yellen to set out her stall ... New Fed Chair Yellen makes her
semi-annual monetary policy testimony to Congress on Tuesday (the House) and
Thursday (the Senate). It seems unlikely that Yellen will change the Fed’s key
messages. We expect her to discuss an improving economy, but one that still has
further to go; to suggest that the present pace of tapering of $10bn per meeting
is the appropriate outlook for now, but will remain data dependent; and to
reiterate the Fed’s rate guidance for policy on hold until at least mid-2015.
In short, Yellen looks unlikely to shake the current, broad consensus. But as
her first public address as Fed Chair, the testimony will be closely
scrutinised, particularly for details on the labour market outlook and emerging
market developments. The coming week’s economic releases may add to doubts over
the pace of activity in 2014. We expect retail sales and industrial output to
come in below consensus, with risks
that both are weather-affected.
to guide beyond forward guidance ... Governor
Carney will be quizzed about the outlook
for monetary policy at Wednesday’s Inflation
Report press conference. The lack of an MPC
statement this week adds to our conviction
that the MPC will let forward guidance broadly expire,
adopting a looser form of guidance, widening the parameters it uses to assess
spare capacity and avoiding numerical quantification. Such a policy could see
yields rise a little. But the Inflation Report is
likely to include inflation projections that add to arguments for policy stability.
Moreover, the Governor is likely to reiterate themes raised in Davos,
specifically that demand growth will spur supply growth. Such a view appears
consistent with keeping policy accommodation in place for some time yet.
ECB awaiting Euro area Q4 GDP ... This
week’s ECB meeting has only shifted the expectation forfurther stimulus to
March. President Draghi outlined a number of reasons why the Council had
decided to leave policy unchanged, with a number of key pieces of data (and ECB
staff forecasts) to be released over the coming month. Draghi specifically
mentioned Euro area Q4 GDP, due on Friday. We forecast this to rise by 0.2% in Q4,
marginally firmer than in Q3. Such a pick-up, or more - in line with consensus,
combined with firmer survey evidence for Q1 would go some way to underpinning
Draghi’s more positive outlook at this week’s meeting. However, the focus remains
clearly on inflation and risks to medium-term expectations. As such, we
continue to see a risk of additional stimulus measures from the ECB at next
China keeps emerging markets in focus ... China
also publishes key economic releases in the coming week, including CPI
inflation, lending figures and January’s trade balance. PMI’s suggest more
modest export growth in January. Moreover, other anecdotal evidence points to
downside risks to activity in January. It is unclear how much of an impact the
New Year celebrations will have on the data - an uncertainty that will persist
into next month. Yet doubts over activity should maintain focus on other
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