(Bloomberg) — European Central Bank officials will set policy this week against a backdrop of investors betting on a global upturn even as the euro zone remains mired in pandemic lockdowns and painfully slow vaccinations.
President Christine Lagarde will need to test her institution’s current stimulus plans against the challenges presented by those contrasting situations. While some of her colleagues have signaled concern over rising global bond yields, driven partly by the faster vaccine drive and bigger stimulus plans of the U.S., others are taking it in their stride for now. Investors will be watching Monday’s bond-buying data to see if the ECB ramped up purchases last week.
Meanwhile the ECB will assess the damage to growth from another lost quarter, with lockdowns throughout the euro region freezing activity as health authorities’ immunization efforts struggle to gain traction compared with the U.K. and U.S. Along with the decision on Thursday, Lagarde will unveil new quarterly forecasts at a press conference.
Where the Frankfurt institution can take some comfort is that it already has extensive stimulus in place. The centerpiece of that is its pandemic purchase program, whose original aim was to keep yields in check. That’s currently set to last at least another year.
But sooner or later, as officials observe how a recovery takes shape, they are going to have to decide whether the support currently pledged with that tool is enough.
What Bloomberg Economics Says:
“The ECB has emphasized its intention to maintain favorable financing conditions in an effort to support the recovery. We anticipate a clear message from the Governing Council that higher bond yields are triggering an unwarranted tightening of conditions.”
–Maeva Cousin, David Powell and Jamie Rush. For full preview, click here.
Elsewhere, Canada, Serbia and Kazakhstan are among countries with interest-rate decisions, the OECD presents its latest economic forecasts, and the U.K. will release data that may show the initial impact of post-Brexit trading.
Click here for what happened last week and below is our wrap of what is coming up in the global economy.
U.S. and Canada
Investors in the U.S. are watching for the latest consumer price data Wednesday as debate heats up over fears of inflation rising in pockets of the economy. Other reports due out this week include updates on the federal budget, weekly jobless claims and consumer sentiment. Federal Reserve policy makers are in blackout ahead of the central bank’s next meeting on March 16-17.
President Joe Biden’s signature $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill passed the Senate on Saturday, following a more than 25-hour marathon of amendment votes that was completed only after a lengthy interruption while Democrats settled an intra-party dispute over unemployment aid. The measure, the American Rescue Plan Act, now heads back to the House, where Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said a vote will be held Tuesday.
Bank of Canada policy makers meeting Wednesday are likely to indicate they have no plans to withdraw stimulus from the economy any time soon, even as they prepare to adjust their quantitative easing program.
- For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for the U.S.
Europe, Middle East, Africa
A turning point in the U.K.’s pandemic response is due on Monday, when schools in England reopen. The measure is an initial step unveiled as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to unlock the economy as vaccinations roll out.
Britain’s other pressing economic challenge, its exit from the European Union, may feature in gross domestic product for January. That report on Friday will reveal a glimpse of the growth impact from the country’s new trading relationship with the bloc as of the start of this year, in addition to the third lockdown.
The U.K.’s two most senior economic policy makers will also speak, with Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey delivering a speech, and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak testifying to Parliament’s Treasury Committee about last week’s budget.
In the euro region, policy makers will be bound to a quiet period before the ECB decision later in the week. German industrial production data for January on Monday will signal how the factory base there is weathering the global slump and a continuing lockdown.
Elsewhere on the European continent, Serbia’s central bank will release its latest policy decision on Thursday, showing whether officials will keep the interest rate on hold at 1% for a third month after a surprise cut to that level in December.
Data on Tuesday will probably show the South African economy still contracted from a year earlier in the three months through December, even as it’s expected to reflect strong quarter-on-quarter annualized expansion. Israel will move into the next stage of reopening its economy from lockdown restrictions, with restaurants and cafes that will be allowed to open for full service in the world’s most vaccinated country.
- For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for EMEA
Chinese trade data released Sunday, inflation numbers on Wednesday and credit figures for February will all be closely watched after PMIs pointed to slowing momentum for the world’s No. 2 economy.
Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Masayoshi Amamiya speaks on Monday ahead of a policy review later this month. The words of one of the principal architects of yield-curve control will be closely scrutinized for possible signaling from the central bank of what is in the pipeline.
A raft of data including household spending, wages and bankruptcies will show how the Japanese economy was faring during the state of emergency, while revised GDP figures for the last quarter may show slightly slower growth after the release of weaker capital spending data last week.
- For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Asia
In Chile on Monday, look for year-on-year inflation data to come in right around the 3% target, where expectations appear well-anchored, yet again.
On Tuesday, Mexico’s inflation reports are the next-to-last price readings before the central bank’s March 25 meeting. The figures here may keep a quarter-point interest rate cut in play.
In Brazil events have overtaken policy, with the February report out Thursday expected to show inflation bumping up against the top of target range. Economists see a strong likelihood of a half-point interest rate increase at next week’s central bank meeting while swap traders have priced that in with six more to follow by year-end.
Later in the day, Argentina’s statistics agency posts consumer price data, and Peru’s central bank is expected to keep the key rate unchanged at 0.25%.
The week concludes with January reports on Brazilian retail sales and Mexico’s industrial production.
- For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Latin America
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CANADA STOCKS – TSX ends flat at 19,228.03
* The Toronto Stock Exchange’s TSX falls 0.00 percent to 19,228.03
* Leading the index were Corus Entertainment Inc <CJRb.TO>, up 7.0%, Methanex Corp, up 6.4%, and Canaccord Genuity Group Inc, higher by 5.5%.
* Lagging shares were Denison Mines Corp, down 7.0%, Trillium Therapeutics Inc, down 7.0%, and Nexgen Energy Ltd, lower by 5.7%.
* On the TSX 93 issues rose and 128 fell as a 0.7-to-1 ratio favored decliners. There were 26 new highs and no new lows, with total volume of 183.7 million shares.
* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Toronto-dominion Bank, Nutrien Ltd and Organigram Holdings Inc.
* The TSX’s energy group fell 1.61 points, or 1.4%, while the financials sector climbed 0.67 points, or 0.2%.
* West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 0.44%, or $0.26, to $59.34 a barrel. Brent crude fell 0.24%, or $0.15, to $63.05 [O/R]
* The TSX is up 10.3% for the year.
Canadian dollar outshines G10 peers, boosted by jobs surge
By Fergal Smith
TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian dollar advanced against its broadly stronger U.S. counterpart on Friday as data showing the economy added far more jobs than expected in March offset lower oil prices, with the loonie also gaining for the week.
Canada added 303,100 jobs in March, triple analyst expectations, driven by the recovery across sectors hit by shutdowns in December and January to curb the new coronavirus.
“The Canadian economy keeps beating expectations,” said Michael Goshko, corporate risk manager at Western Union Business Solutions. “It seems like the economy is adapting to these closures and restrictions.”
Stronger-than-expected economic growth could pull forward the timing of the first interest rate hike by the Bank of Canada, Goshko said.
The central bank has signaled that its benchmark rate will stay at a record low of 0.25% until 2023. It is due to update its economic forecasts on April 21, when some analysts expect it to cut bond purchases.
The Canadian dollar was trading 0.3% higher at 1.2530 to the greenback, or 79.81 U.S. cents, the biggest gain among G10 currencies. For the week, it was also up 0.3%.
Still, speculators have cut their bullish bets on the Canadian dollar to the lowest since December, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed. As of April 6, net long positions had fallen to 2,690 contracts from 6,518 in the prior week.
The price of oil, one of Canada‘s major exports, was pressured by rising supplies from major producers. U.S. crude prices settled 0.5% lower at $59.32 a barrel, while the U.S. dollar gained ground against a basket of major currencies, supported by higher U.S. Treasury yields.
Canadian government bond yields also climbed and the curve steepened, with the 10-year up 4.1 basis points at 1.502%.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
Canadian dollar rebounds from one-week low ahead of jobs data
By Fergal Smith
TORONTO (Reuters) -The Canadian dollar strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday, recovering from a one-week low the day before, as the level of oil prices bolstered the medium-term outlook for the currency and ahead of domestic jobs data on Friday.
The Canadian dollar was trading 0.4% higher at 1.2560 to the greenback, or 79.62 U.S. cents. On Wednesday, it touched its weakest intraday level since March 31 at 1.2634.
“We have seen partial retracement from the decline over the last couple of days,” said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets.
“With oil prices where they are – let’s call WCS still at roughly $49 a barrel – I still think CAD has room to strengthen over the medium term and even over a one-week horizon.”
Western Canadian Select (WCS), the heavy blend of oil that Canada produces, trades at a discount to the U.S. benchmark. U.S. crude futures settled 0.3% lower at $59.60 a barrel, but were up nearly 80% since last November.
The S&P 500 closed at a record high as Treasury yields fell following softer-than-anticipated labor market data, while the U.S. dollar fell to a two-week low against a basket of major currencies.
Canada‘s employment report for March, due on Friday, could offer clues on the Bank of Canada‘s policy outlook. The central bank has become more upbeat about prospects for economic growth, while some strategists expect it to cut bond purchases at its next interest rate announcement on April 21.
On a more cautious note for the economy, Ontario, Canada‘s most populous province, initiated a four-week stay-at-home order as it battles a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canadian government bond yields were lower across a flatter curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries. The 10-year fell 3.3 basis points to 1.469%.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith;Editing by Alison Williams and Jonathan Oatis)