Friday June 12, 2015 - 23:42:12 GMT
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Week Ahead: Economic Data Analysis 12 June 2015
MARKETS WATCH FOR HINTS OF WHEN THE FOMC WILL MOVE
Fed policy to be unchanged, but a September rate rise remains on the cards
Greece deadline approaches with June 18th the next key date
Expected rises in headline inflation will help to further alleviate deflation concerns
Fed policy key to market sentiment. While the coming week’s FOMC meeting (Wed) may not be the pivotal event it was expected to be at the start of the year, it could still have an important impact on market expectations for US interest rates. Not long ago, June was seen by many as the likely date of a first Fed rate hike. That now looks highly unlikely as a number of Fed policymakers have acknowledged. Nevertheless, the meeting could still provide clues about the timing of the first move, the extent to which interest rates are likely to eventually rise and the Fed’s assessment of the ‘neutral’ rate, that could be a source of market volatility.
FOMC statement to sound more positive. An important indication of the likelihood of a relatively early move will be the extent to which the post-meeting statement is more upbeat about recent economic developments compared to the last meeting in April. A number of recent indicators, including May employment and retail sales, have suggested that economic growth has rebounded, after hibernating over the winter. Markets will also look for hints from both the statement and Chair Yellen’s post-meeting press conference for the timing of lift-off. However, the Committee will probably be reluctant to add anything to previous comments that any move will be “data dependent”. Finally, the updates to FOMC participants’ interest rate forecasts (the ‘dot plot’) will show whether most still expect interest rates to rise this year, and their expected path over both the short and longer term. We expect a first change in policy rates at the September FOMC meeting.
Greek deadline approaches. The coming week also seems a crucial one for Greece. While it now has until the end of the month before it has to make a repayment to the IMF, the Eurogroup meeting on June 18th is an important interim deadline, before the expiry of the current programme. Indications are that if Greece has not reached an agreement with its creditors by this point, it may be difficult to get required legislation through the German Bundestag in time before its July 3rd summer recess. Notwithstanding recent comments from the IMF that it has halted talks, there have been some positive signs that a compromise is close. However, the level of uncertainty remains high and time is running out.
Deflation fears dissipating. The coming week should also provide evidence that inflation has bottomed in a number of economies. The final print of May inflation for the euro area is expected to confirm the ‘flash’ estimate that both headline and core inflation was up from April. Estimates of headline inflation in both the UK (Tue) and the US (Thu) are also forecast to have risen. This is, in part, due to higher petrol prices, which alongside the relative firmness of ‘core’ inflation in both countries provides an indication that inflation could rebound quite sharply in both economies in late 2015 and early 2016 as the impact of the oil price decline wanes. This may add to the recent upward pressure on market interest rates.
MPC remain cautious for now. The minutes of the June MPC minutes are likely to show little change in the Committee’s thinking compared to May. While the majority expect the next move in interest rates to be upwards, the MPC is in no hurry to move given the current low level of inflation. A recent speech by McCafferty, who is on the hawkish fringe of the MPC, suggests that he is still conscious of the potential upside risks for inflation from a tightening labour market. But both he and Weale are unlikely to have voted for a hike in June. Evidence that wage pressures are continuing to build will be key to any change in their views, with signs of this expected in the labour market release (Wed) in the coming week.
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