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Friday March 7, 2014 - 17:22:24 GMT
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ECONOMIC DATA ANALYSIS - MARKETS TAKE UKRAINE CRISIS IN THEIR STRIDE - FOR NOW

ECONOMIC DATA ANALYSIS  FRIDAY 7 MARCH 2014

 

MARKETS TAKE UKRAINE CRISIS IN THEIR STRIDE - FOR NOW

 

• Markets take Ukraine crisis in their stride, but tensions still pose key risk

• Chinese data to provide first clear steer on how the economy is performing this year

• Strength of euro poses risk to euro area recovery

 

Ukraine tensions continue to pose key risk... With Russia's military presence looming large, and the country at risk of civil war, the economic and financial market implications of the tensions in the Ukraine remain centre stage. Although there have been bouts of volatility, so far global markets have taken recent events in their stride. The presumption, it seems, is that some form of compromise will be reached or the West will ultimately turn a blind eye. The situation, however, remains on a knife-edge. A referendum on the status of Crimea (planned for 16 March) poses an obvious flash point, with the Ukraine government, the EU and US all condemning it as illegal.

 

A quiet week for data... With the notable exception of China, it is a fairly quiet week for economic data, but there are still some important events and releases to watch out for. In the US, the focus will be on retail sales and business inventories (both Thurs), PPI (Fri) and the Senate nomination hearings for Fed Board members (Weds). The House will also debate President Obama’s FY14-15 Budget. As has been the case for some weeks, the data are likely to be heavily distorted by the unusually cold winter. The question is whether this disguises some underlying weakness.

 

Retail sales boosted by rise in petrol prices... We expect retail sales, both headline and ex-autos, to have risen by 0.3%m/m in February. The rise in petrol prices over the past month, however, is expected to have contributed to this, as the US retail sales data are measured in values not volumes. Petrol price increases are also likely to have boosted the PPI (we look for +0.3%m/m). Business inventories will be watched especially closely for signs of an ongoing correction to the build-up in the second half of last year. The performance of inventories poses a key swing factor for US GDP growth in the next couple of quarters. Lastly, the Senate confirmation hearings for potential Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer and two other Fed governors will be watched for any differences of opinion with Fed Chair Yellen.

 

Fragility of China in the spotlight... Elsewhere, the coming week will provide the markets with the first clear steer on how the Chinese economy is performing year to date, allowing for both the the pre- and post-seasonal distortions caused by the Lunar New Year. Data include external trade (Sat), CPI (Sun), and retail sales and industrial production (Thurs). The data will be scrutinised amid scepticism that the government will be able to achieve its 7.5% growth target for this year - a goal unveiled at this week’s Annual Congress. This continues over the coming week, drawing to a close late Wednesday.

 

Strength of euro poses downside risk... After the 0.8% gain in German industrial production on Friday, French and Italian output data (Mon) will be watched for signs the recovery is broadening. Although we expect the January data to bounce back after the prior month’s sharp decline, the improvement could be short-lived. With the euro pushing ever closer to 1.40 against the US dollar, currency strength poses a key risk to the region’s growth and inflation prospects. Although ECB President Draghi is expected to continue to skirt round these concerns at a speech in Austria on Thursday, we suspect politicians could be more vocal if the euro continues to strengthen.

 

TSC may tease out signs of dissent... In the UK, markets will be watching the BoE’s Carney, Fisher, Miles and Weale who are all due to appear before the Treasury Select Committee (Tues). Although they have had an opportunity to express their individual views in recent speeches, the TSC hearing provides an opportunity for politicians to tease out any emerging signs of dissent among MPC members. The main domestic release of the week is industrial production (Tues). We look for a flat out-turn, which, if confirmed, would add to signs of a slight moderation in UK growth (see back page). Finally, markets will be watching for the usual ‘leaks’ on what the following week’s Budget may contain.

 

 

 

 

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