Next Week

January 16, 2009

The week to January 23rd would be a busy anyway.  The Obama inaugural at noon local time on Tuesday amid the worst economic recession since the 1930’s makes it historic.  U.S. markets are closed Monday for Martin Luther King Day, so some people may be tempted to make this a four-day holiday weekend.

Hungary’s central bank is expected to cut rates by 50 basis points on Monday.  The Bank of Canada on Tuesday and the Central Bank of Brazil on Thursday should do likewise. Japan and Malaysia have scheduled interest rate announcements on Wednesday and Thursday. China releases a slew of data, headed by fourth-quarter GDP but also including producer and consumer prices, retail sales, industrial production, and business investment.

The is the week in each month when Britain releases many statistics.  4Q08 GDP will hold the most interest to see if growth fell more or less than 5% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate.  Labor market statistics including unemployment and wage earnings are scheduled. So are consumer and retail prices, the CBI’s monthly survey of industrial trends, the Rightmove house price index, retail sales, M4, public finances, and minutes from the Bank of England’s policy meeting early this month, whose vote to cut rates 50 basis points to 1.5% should be unanimous.

Euroland data will be topped by Flash PMI scores on Friday for the whole area, Germany, and France.  Euroland industrial orders on Thursday will be second highlight.  In addition, The ZEW indices for German and Euroland investor sentiment, Belgian consumer and business sentiment, Italian industrial orders and sales, Italian retail sales, French personal spending, and German producer prices are scheduled. Trichet speaks on multiple days, and several other members of the ECB Governing Council also have planned public speaking engagements.  The monthly ECB Bulletin gets released.

From elsewhere in Europe are scheduled Swiss retail sales and investor sentiment plus Swedish labor statistics,.

From Japan comes revised industrial production, capacity usage, department and supermarket sales, the tertiary (services) index, the all-industry proxy for monthly GDP, and customs clearance trade.  After meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, the Bank of Japan Policy Board is not likely to cut interest rates but will probably announce selective steps to alleviate corporate financing strains and will unveil a new monthly economic assessment.

Canadian data that are due include stock and bond transactions with foreigners, the monthly manufacturing survey, index of leading economic indicators, wholesale turnover, retail sales, and consumer prices.  Australian releases comprise a leading index of inflation, monthly imports, consumer confidence, auto sales, and import prices.

U.S. scheduled figures are low and limited mostly to housing sector stuff, principally the National Association of Homebuilders index and housing starts, but weekly jobless claims will generate keen interest as they always do whenever the economy is in recession.


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