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ECB Confronts Shifting Markets as Economy Stays Frozen: Eco Week – Financial Post

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(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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Asia

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

Latin America

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.

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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

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Bloomberg.com

In-depth reporting on the innovation economy from The Logic, brought to you in partnership with the Financial Post.

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Economy

TSX extends gains as gold prices rise, set to rise for third week

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(Reuters) -Canada’s main stock index extended its rise on Friday after hitting a record high a day earlier as gold prices advanced, and was set to gain for a third straight week.

* At 9:40 a.m. ET (13:38 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange‘s S&P/TSX composite index was up 24.24 points, or 0.1%, at 19,326.16.

* The Canadian economy is likely to grow at a slower pace in this quarter and the next than previously expected, but tighter lockdown restrictions from another wave of coronavirus were unlikely to derail the economic recovery, a Reuters poll showed.

* The energy sector climbed 0.6% even as U.S. crude prices slipped 0.1% a barrel. Brent crude added 0.1%. [O/R]

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.3% as gold futures rose 0.7% to $1,777.9 an ounce. [GOL/] [MET/L]

* The financials sector gained 0.2%. The industrials sector rose 0.1%.

* On the TSX, 117 issues advanced, while 102 issues declined in a 1.15-to-1 ratio favoring gainers, with 14.26 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Cascades Inc, which jumped 4.2%, and Ballard Power Systems, which rose 2.9%.

* Lghtspeed POS fell 5.6%, the most on the TSX, while the second biggest decliner was goeasy, down 4.9%.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Zenabis Global Inc, Bombardier and Royal Bank of Canada.

* The TSX posted 23 new 52-week highs and no new low.

* Across Canadian issues, there were 160 new 52-week highs and 12 new lows, with total volume of 29.68 million shares.

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru;Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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Canadian economy likely to slow, but COVID-19 threat to growth low

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By Indradip Ghosh and Mumal Rathore

BENGALURU (Reuters) – The Canadian economy is likely to grow at a slower pace this quarter and next than previously expected, but tighter lockdown restrictions from another wave of coronavirus were unlikely to derail the economic recovery, a Reuters poll showed.

Restrictions have been renewed in some provinces as they struggle with a rapid spread of the virus, which has already infected over 1 million people in the country.

After an expected 5.6% growth in the first quarter, the economy was forecast to expand 3.6% this quarter, a sharp downgrade from 6.7% predicted in January.

It was then forecast to grow 6.0% in the third quarter and 5.5% in the fourth, compared with 6.8% and 5.0% forecast previously.

But over three-quarters of economists, or 16 of 21, in response to an additional question said tighter curbs from another COVID-19 wave were unlikely to derail the economic recovery, including one respondent who said “very unlikely”.

Canada is undergoing a third wave of the virus and while case loads are accelerating, the resiliency the economy has shown in the face of the second wave suggests it can ride out the third wave as well, without considerable economic consequences,” said Sri Thanabalasingam, senior economist at TD Economics.

The April 12-16 poll of 40 economists forecast the commodity-driven economy would grow on average 5.8% this year, the fastest pace of annual expansion in 13 years and the highest prediction since polling began in April 2019.

For next year, the consensus was upgraded to 4.0% from 3.6% growth predicted in January.

What is likely to help is the promise of a fiscal package by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau late last year, which the Canadian government was expected to outline, at least partly, in its first federal budget in two years, on April 19.

When asked what impact that would have, over half, or 11 of 20 economists, said it would boost the economy significantly. Eight respondents said it would have little impact and one said it would have an adverse impact.

“The economic impact of the federal government’s promised C$100 billion fiscal stimulus will depend most importantly on its make up,” said Tony Stillo, director of Canada economics at Oxford Economics.

“A stimulus package that enhances the economy’s potential could provide a material boost to growth without stoking price pressures.”

All but two of 17 economists expected the Bank of Canada to announce a taper to the amount of its weekly bond purchases at its April 21 meeting. The consensus showed interest rates left unchanged at 0.25% until 2023 at least.

“The BoC is set to cut the pace of its asset purchases next week,” noted Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics.

“While it will also upgrade its GDP forecasts, we expect it to make an offsetting change to its estimate of the economy’s potential, implying the Bank will not materially alter its assessment of when interest rates need to rise.”

 

 

(Reporting and polling by Indradip Ghosh and Mumal Rathore; editing by Rahul Karunakar, Larry King)

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Economy

CANADA STOCKS – TSX rises 0.78% to 19,321.92

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* The Toronto Stock Exchange‘s TSX rises 0.78 percent to 19,321.92

* Leading the index were Martinrea International Inc <MRE.TO​>, up 7.4%, Fortuna Silver Mines Inc​, up 7.1%, and Hudbay Minerals Inc​, higher by 6.7%.

* Lagging shares were AcuityAds Holdings Inc​​, down 6.7%, Ballard Power Systems Inc​, down 6.5%, and Northland Power Inc​, lower by 6.0%.

* On the TSX 165 issues rose and 60 fell as a 2.8-to-1 ratio favored advancers. There were 18 new highs and no new lows, with total volume of 203.0 million shares.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Royal Bank Of Canada, Suncor Energy Inc and Air Canada.

* The TSX’s energy group fell 0.59 points, or 0.5%, while the financials sector climbed 0.86 points, or 0.3%.

* West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 0.27%, or $0.17, to $63.32 a barrel. Brent crude  rose 0.36%, or $0.24, to $66.82 [O/R]

* The TSX is up 10.8% for the year.

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