Next Week

February 21, 2009

Fed Chairman Bernanke presents his semi-annual testimony on the economy and policy, formerly known as the Humphrey-Hawkins hearings, to the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday and the House Banking Committee on Wednesday.  Revised fourth-quarter GDP statistics will be released by the United States, Germany and Britain.  GDP figures are also getting released in Switzerland, South Africa, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand.  Being the final week of February, a bunch of Japanese and euro are statistics are scheduled.

U.S. releases in the coming week have a housing market flavor.  The Case-Shiller index, FHFA house price measure, new home sales and existing home sales are all due.  Additional information on the state of households will be showcased by the Conference Board consumer confidence report, the U. Michigan index and weekly jobless claims.  The KC and Dallas Fed surveys and Richmond Fed indices, plus durable goods and Midwestern PMI’s will shed light on the corporate side.

Japanese data next week will include corporate service prices, the Shoko Chukin small firm sentiment index, customs trade, the manufacturing PMI, consumer prices, unemployment, real household spending retail sales, industrial production, housing starts and construction orders.

From the euro area, figures will arrive for the current account, money and credit, overall sentiment, industrial and consumer confidence, consumer prices, unemployment, and the retail sector PMI.  From individual members of Euroland, we will get the German IFO index of business sentiment and conditions, German, Italian, Spanish and Belgian consumer prices, Belgian and Dutch business sentiment, French and Italian consumer confidence, French Housing starts, Italian retail sales and business confidence, and the aforementioned revised and more complete German national income accounts.

British data focus mostly on the consumer, with consumer sentiment, the nationwide house price index, and the CBI’s distributive trades survey.  The British Banking Association releases monthly figures on mortgage lending.

Switzerland reports labor statistics and the index of leading economic indicators.  Sweden‘s consumer and business confidence indices, trade figures, household credit number, producer prices, retail sales, and GDP data are due.  So is Norwegian growth in factory wages.

From Asia other than Japan are scheduled consumer prices and GDP in Hong Kong.  Malaysia and Thailand also report GDP.  Taiwanese industrial production and export orders arrive, too, as do Thai and Singaporean industrial production and Thai trade data.

Data due in economies of the southern hemisphere include South African GDP, unemployment, consumer and producer prices, and growth in money and credit.  Australia reports wages and capex from last quarter, construction spending, and private sector credit growth.  New Zealand announces trade figures, business sentiment, credit card spending and expected inflation.

Canada’s main data releases next week over retail sales, producer prices and the current account.

Planned central bank meetings are limited to emerging markets.  However, the Humphrey-Hawkins testimony against the current backdrop will be a bigger event than last month’s FOMC meeting.  Fed Governor Duke and at least six different Fed district presidents will also be speaking publicly next week.  Several Bank of England policymakers including Governor King will be testifying in British parliament.  The dovish and hawkish wings of the Monetary Policy Committee will be showcased in speeches by Messrs Blanchflower and Sentance. President Trichet and Gonzalez-Paramo, Weber, and Smaghi of the ECB will make speeches,as will Noda of the Bank of Japan Policy Board.  Among the central bank meetings, those in Thailand and Colombia will announce rate cuts.  A rate cut in Poland looks iffy because of the Zlotty’s difficulties, although Polish retail sales and unemployment figures will underscore that economy’s recession. Hungary, Malaysia, and Israel are not expected to change benchmark rates.

The performance of equities will continue to command considerable attention from currency traders following a week like the last one in which the German Dax tumbled 10.3%, the British Ftse dropped 7.2%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 6.2%, and the Nikkei fell 4.7%.

Copyright 2009 Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.


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