Key Data This Week

October 27, 2008

Japanese corporate goods prices fell 0.4% in September, cutting on-year CGP inflation to 0.1% from 1.4% in August. As always, Japan will release many indicators in the final week of the month, including retail sales, industrial production, unemployment, consumer prices, household spending, housing starts, construction orders, the purchasing managers index, and the Shoko Chukin survey of small firm employees. On Friday, the Bank of Japan will release its semi-annual outook.  At the end of April, the BOJ projected point forecasts of 1.7 for GDP growth  and 1.0% for core CPI inflation in the fiscal year to March 2010. Both estimates will be cut.

Euroland also has a heavy calendar of data releases, starting with the German IFO index on Monday. Other German reports this week encompass consumer confidence, consumer prices unemployment, and retail sales. Producer prices will be reported by France and Italy. Euroland reports preliminary consumer prices business sentiment, consumer confidence and unemployment.

Britain‘s CBI will release results from its latest survey of retailers. U.K. consumer confidence and the Nationwide house price index also arrive. Canadian producer prices and monthly GDP figures get released.

The Bank of Korea, which raised its bank rate by 25 basis points on August 7th and then reversed that move on October 9th in its first rate cut since 2004, held an emergency policy meeting today and slashed the rate by a further 75 basis points to 4.25%. That was the first rate change not made at a scheduled meeting since the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks over seven years ago. The won and Korea stocks were clobbered last week amid concern about the fallout of the financial market crisis on real economic activity. The Norges Bank of Norway and the Fed’s FOMC have scheduled policy meetings this week, and each is expected to cut rates on Wednesday. Trichet and Bernanke have scheduled public speeches during the week.

In addition to the FOMC meeting, the United States is scheduled to release third-quarter GDP figures, the Case-Shiller house prices index, new home sales, consumer confidence, personal income and spending, and durable goods orders. Only eight days remain before the U.S. election. Obama is the favorite, but the polls show varying leads. The Democrats also seem likely to solidify their majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives.

Europe turned back the clocks this past weekend. The United States does not go back to standard time until next week. For this week only, London and Continental Europe are ahead of the United States by four and five hours, respectively.

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