Next Week

February 19, 2010

Chairman Bernanke with a fresh four-year term will be back at Congress doing his semiannual rundown on monetary policy.  It’s funny how the timing of Fed moves make so much more sense after the fact.  The Fed did a good job of preparing the public for a possible discount rate hike in the not-distant future, yet hardly anyone realized how soon it would come.  With the Humphrey-Hawkins testimony on tap, Bernanke’s got a concrete framework to demonstrate considerable progress on his exit strategy.  He will not have to answer a whole lot of questions about how soon officials might act or to listen to lecture about it being premature to go down that road.  Besides the Chairman, quite a few other Fed officials have speaking engagements including Tarullo, Kocherlakota, Evans, Dudley, Bullard twice, and Yellen.  Meanwhile, the Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Richmond and New York Fed will be releasing their monthly activity indices.

Many more comments will hit the wires about Europe’s fiscal debt problems, and the reopening of Chinese markets after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday could elicit statements about how the yuan will be managed in the coming year.

Several U.S. housing market indices will arrive: the Case-Shiller price index, the FHFA index, and both existing and new home sales.  Other scheduled releases are revised 4Q GDP, durable goods orders, both the Conference Board and U. Michigan measures of consumer sentiment, the Chicago PMI, and perhaps most importantly revised real GDP.

Central banks hold interest rate policy meetings next week in Poland, Colombia, Hungary and Israel.  The last of these is one of the few central banks that already have raised rates and could implement another adjustment next week.  Minutes from previous meetings will be released by the Bank of Japan and the Swedish Riksbank.

From Euroland, investors will learn the latest data results of money and credit growth, industrial orders, and economic sentiment including measures of consumer confidence and industrial confidence.  Final consumer price figures are also due.  Germany, Belgium, Spain and Italy release their national CPI statistics, while France reports producer prices as well as consumer confidence.  The German IFO business climate index is slated for release, as are business sentiment gauges in Belgium and Italy.  German labor statistics, which always attract good interest, also will be published.  So will German consumer confidence.

Sweden reports producer prices, retail sales, trade figures, and consumer sentiment, while the Swiss index of leading economic indicators and the UBS gauge of Swiss consumption arrive as well. Norway announces unemployment, and Poland releases retail sales.

In Britain, where many statistics got released this past week, more data will be arriving next week.  Revised GDP will likely draw the most interest in light of the disappointing initial estimate of growth, and business investment earlier in the week will give some indication if growth will be revised upward as many assume.  The British Bankers Association releases loan data, while the industrial lobby, CBI, reports its monthly retail survey results.  British consumer confidence will be compared to similar consumer gauges getting announced in Euroland and the United States.

Being the final week of the month, Japan has a thick slate of releases: customs trade, corporate service prices, small business sentiment, consumer prices, retail sales, housing starts, and industrial production.  But it could be worse; labor market data, the PMI readings, and household spending are not due until the first week of March.

Highlights from scheduled Asian indicator releases other than Japan’s are Thai, Malaysian, Hong Kong and Taiwanese GDP, Thai and Singapore industrial production, and South Korea’s current account.

Australia will be reporting fourth-quarter labor costs and investment as well as monthly private credit, auto sales and construction spending.  From New Zealand comes trade data, building permits and business sentiment, and South Africa is scheduled to release GDP, CPI, and PPI data, as well as money growth and trade figures.

In Latin America, Mexican GDP, Argentine trades and Brazilian retail sales are slated for release.

Copyright Larry Greenberg 2010.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.



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