In the euro area, January industrial output data for France, as well as the euro area average, should confirm that economic activity stabilised at the beginning of the year. German exports are expected to recover, after a weak phase at the end of 2012. Inflation in France could rise back up by two tenths in February, to +1.4% y/y, although the euro area average should be confirmed on the decline by two tenths to 1.8% y/y…….
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Many data releases are due this week in the United States. Activity data should confirm the reacceleration of the manufacturing sector, with the Empire Index in expansive territory in March, and industrial output showing solid growth in February. As regards spending, retail sales should snow a modest rise in February in real terms, and the recovery in confidence should be put on hold due to renewed uncertainties over US fiscal policy. February price indicators (CPI, PPI, imports) are estimated on the rise, driven by energy prices, as opposed to a very modest uptrend of the core components. In Japan, Parliament will vote the appointment of the new BoJ leadership, paving the way for the likely implementation of new monetary stimulus already in April.
Monday 11 March
Germany. January data should outline a +0.7% m/m rise in exports, as opposed to a 1.5% m/m contraction at the end of 2012, in line with the recovery in global demand signalled by the global PMI and by international trade indicators. The trade balance is estimated to show a surplus of 13 billion euros.
France. Industrial output is estimated to come in broadly stable in January, after contracting slightly at the end of December. Manufacturing output should remain very sluggish (+0.1% m/m), as opposed to a one point drop in the production of energy. The January rate would leave output on course for a stagnation in March, following a 1.8% q/q in December 2012. While French surveys at the turn of the year pointed to a stabilisation of the economic cycle, a recovery in step Germany’s did not materialise.
Spain. Annual data should confirm the public sector deficit, net of the bank bailout, at 6.7%, in 2012, down from 8.96% in 2011. The deficit increases to 9.4% of GDP in 2010 and 9.9% in 2011, when taking into account the recapitalisation of banks.
The Lower House of Parliament will vote on the appointment of the new BoJ leadership, with the replacement of the governor and the two vice governors. The government has nominated H. Kuroda (current chairman of the Asian Development Bank) as governor, and Mr Nakaso and Mr Iwata as vice-governors. The Upper House should vote by 15 March. The nominees are expected to be appointed, so that the Board will be operational on 19 March, the date which marks the end of the current governor’s and vice-governors’ mandates. The new leadership will be in office in time for the April meeting (3-4 April). We think additional monetary stimulus (open-ended purchases in terms of size and time) and the extension of the maturities of purchased JGBs are likely to be announced with the publication of the six-monthly report, which will include the new macroeconomic forecasts, at the meeting of 24-25 April.
Tuesday 12 March
Germany. Inflation in February should be confirmed as having dropped at the national level, to 1.5% y/y from 1.7% y/y the previous month, with the harmonised rate down to 1.8% y/y from 1.9% y/y. German inflation is expected to slow further in the months ahead, but to rise back in second half of the year. Inflation is forecast to average 1.9% in the year, vs. 2.1% in 2012.
Wednesday 13 March
Industrial production is estimated to have increased by +0.2% m/m in January, following the surprise surge at the end of 2012 (+0.7% m/m). For the time being the recovery is proving modest, in line with confidence surveys. If confirmed, the January rate would leave output on course for a stabilisation in March, as opposed to a -2.4% q/q drop at the end of 2012.
The Inflation should climb back in February by two tenths, to 1.4% from a 1.2% y/y the previous month, due to the energy component and to seasonal effects. In the month, consumer prices are estimated to have risen by +0.6% m/m. Harmonised inflation is forecast at 1.5%, from a previous rate of 1.4%. Inflation should stay close to the levels estimated for February, and subsequently rise back towards the end of 2013.
Import prices in February are expected to have increased by 0.6% m/m, driven by higher oil prices for the second month in a row. Net of oil, import prices should record a limited rise, of 0.1% m/m. In February, and even more so in March, import prices should moderate as a result of the appreciation of the exchange rate.
February retail sales are expected to be up by +0.7% m/m in terms of the total aggregate, and by 0.6% m/m net of the auto component. In February, motor vehicle sales increased compared to the previous month, rising from 15.2 million units ann. to 15.3 million (+0.7% m/m): the industry is estimated to make a positive contribution to overall sales. Data should record a sharp increase in the gasoline item, due to higher prices, although an overall improvement in spending is expected following the slowdown in January (+0.1% m/m), due to the negative impact of the tax hikes enforced at the beginning of 2013. The indications provided by weekly sales data are mixed, with the Redbook index pointing to a +1.3% m/m increase, and the ICSC index only just in positive territory at +0.1% m/m. Beyond monthly volatility, the underlying picture is improving on the whole: consistently recovering home prices and stock market indices, while interest rates stay at historically low levels, have positive implications on the net wealth of households and on the spending trend. In real terms, retail sales should show a moderate increase (+0.2% m/m),
and the CPI is forecast to rise by 0.5% m/m.
Thursday 14 March
The February PPI is estimated to be up by 0.6% m/m (1.6% y/y), pricing in the rise in energy prices at the end of January, not included in the January survey. The core index is forecast to increase by 0.2% m/m (1.8% y/y), just above the trend of between 0.1% and 0.2% m/m observed since mid-2012. February should bring a modest rebound in auto prices, that were especially weak in January. There are no indications of an acceleration in producer prices, even in light of the manufacturing sectors survey, which show only a marginal increase in prices received.
Friday 15 March
The second estimate should confirm euro area inflation at 1.8%, down from a previous rate of 2.0%. The trend of consumer prices net of the energy and fresh food components (as preferred by the ECB) could slip to 1.4% from 1.5% previously, hitting a low since 2010. Average inflation in 2013 is still estimated at 1.8%, but risks are skewed to the downside, on core prices in particular.
The number of employed people is estimated to have dropped by -0.3% q/q in the closing months of 2012, following a -0.2% q/q contraction over the Summer months. Recession in the euro area will continue to weigh on the employment trend at least until the beginning of the Summer.
The NY Fed’s Empire index is forecast to rise in March to 12.5 from 10.04 in February. The breakdown of the survey was positive in February, and pointed to an expansion of all the main components; the index for the six-month outlook also rebounded sharply in February. Manufacturing sector surveys univocally indicate an improvement, and are compatible with an acceleration of growth in the sector.
The February CPI is estimated to come in at +0.5% m/m, after staying flat in January. The core index should show an increase of +0.1% m/m (2% y/y), down from +0.3% m/m in January. The headline index will probably be affected by the rise in gasoline prices, after three consecutive months on the decline: gasoline prices reversed at the end of January, and between the survey date of the January CPI and the end of February they grew by 13.7%. Seasonal factors are not expected to have significantly capped price increases in the sector in February, but they should do so in the months ahead. As regards the core index, apparel is estimated to correct (after the +0.8% m/m rise recorded in January), with the education and communication item also slowing after the +0.4% m/m change in January. The ex-energy shelter component should keep up its trend of moderate 0.2% m/m increases.
Industrial production in February should show a 0.4% m/m increase, as opposed to a -0.1% m/m decline in January. Manufacturing output is expected to grow at a more solid pace (0.5% m/m), based on the rise in the output component of the ISM, up to 57.6 in February (a high since April 2012) vs. an average of 53.2 in the previous four months.
Consumer confidence as surveyed by the University of Michigan a March (prel.) should stay close to last month’s reading, rising to 78 from 77.6 in February. The positive trend of the markets and the gradual improvement in labour market conditions should outbalance the negative effects of the announcement of the enforcement of automatic cuts on public spending, also considering that initially the cuts are not expected to have negative repercussions on households. The latest confidence indicators were mixed: the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (weekly) kept rising, returning on levels close to those recorded in the summer of 2012, while the March IBD Tipp corrected sharply, on the worsening of the economic policy picture.
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