Week Ahead – An encouraging recovery

Are investors correct to be optimistic?

Investors appear remarkably calm at the moment given the level of uncertainty we’re facing this year, from inflation to interest rates and even Covid, when you consider China is still embracing lockdowns.

Throw soaring commodity prices into the mix and there’s plenty of reason to be pessimistic. But when you look at financial markets, that isn’t what we’re seeing. Equities aren’t far from record highs in many cases and the yield curve isn’t yet inverted in a way that suggests a recession is coming.

Instead, the Fed is warning of a very aggressive tightening cycle, telling us the labor market is too strong and that inflation will be under control again soon enough. For once, the central bank and markets appear on the same page. Which probably makes me feel more uneasy than it should.

Further evidence of “unhealthy” trend in labor market to come?

EU continues to turn its back on Russia

Evergrande back in the headlines

US

The focus on Wall Street remains on geopolitics, but many traders will pay close attention to the economic readings about the US jobs market, consumer, inflation, and manufacturing activity. The Fed is confident that the economy is on solid footing despite surging inflation, but if the economic data tells a different story, that could change the front-loaded approach of supersized rate hikes.    

The nonfarm payroll report will confirm that the labor market remains strong. The consensus estimate for jobs created in March is 450,000 which would be a decrease from the 678,000 gain in February. The unemployment rate is expected to tick lower to 3.7%, while average hourly earnings could rebound to 0.4%, an improvement from the flat reading seen a month ago.

EU 

It goes without saying that the focus next week will continue to be what’s happening in Eastern Europe and what the EU is doing in order to reduce its reliance on Russian energy and allow it to impose more severe sanctions. The latter is unlikely any time soon but the US LNG deal was a step towards it.

Next week offers an abundance of economic data, with the standout being flash inflation indicators. The eurozone flash CPI on Friday will be the one to watch but we could get hints from individual nations earlier in the week.

Central banks have been forced to back down on their transitory message in recent months and the ECB took a step in that direction a couple of weeks ago. Further unexpected inflation spikes will further pile on the pressure and make comments from President Lagarde and her colleagues all the more interesting.

UK

Mostly tier two and three data from the UK next week, with a speech from BoE Governor Andrew Bailey on Monday the highlight. The MPC last week gave the impression that they were slightly softening their hawkish stance after three consecutive hikes but inflation last month accelerated faster than expected which may force them to persevere for a few more meetings yet. Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent also speaks on Wednesday.

Russia

Against the backdrop of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, sanctions imposed on it by the West, and the Kremlin’s attempts to hit back – for example, the decision this week to insist on purchases of Russian gas to be made in rubles – there’s going to be little hype about the unemployment and manufacturing data next week.

Negotiations are continuing with Ukraine but appear to be making little progress. Meanwhile, sanctions are continuing to be imposed and the EU is slowly severing energy ties which will be damaging in the long run. In the near future, the economy is expected to fall into a two-year recession, with this year’s contraction being particularly sharp at up to 10%.

South Africa

The SARB raised interest rates by 25 basis points this week but two members (out of five) of the MPC voted for a 50 basis point hike. The tightening cycle looks set to continue with inflation running at the upper end of its 3-6% target range and commodity pressures increasing. 

Turkey

A relatively quiet week is in store for Turkey, with the manufacturing PMI the only notable release. 

China

There is a myriad of forces impacting Chinese markets in the week ahead. Evergrande is back in the headlines with foreign bondholders running out of patience. Covid-19 continues spreading in the mainland, raising the threat of lockdowns impacting manufacturing and logistics. US authorities are less positive about the audits of US-listed China companies than the noise from China. Russian support, tacit or official, is a huge risk point from a sanctions point of view.

China also releases its official and Caixin manufacturing and services PMIs. 

All of this provides downside risk to Chinese equities which have quickly run out of steam after government jawboning to support the market last week. China left its LPRs unchanged, disappointing participants who wanted to see concrete action. 

India

India releases its balance of trade on Friday, which could show the impact of higher oil prices. As a huge net energy importer, and with the central bank continuing its reluctance to hike interest rates, the INR remains near the weak end of its range. A sharp rise in oil prices, or US yields next week, could spark more INR weakness which could also see hot money exit the Sensex.

Australia 

The AUD/USD is close to recent highs thanks to the new surge in commodity prices and potentially some haven inflows, although risk sentiment remains better than the previous week. Employment data was strong and the week ahead features retail sales, private sector credit, and manufacturing PMI. AUD and local equities will also be sensitive to the China PMI prints.

There is a lot of good news built into AUD at these levels, helped also by AUD/JPY buying. Weak data, a sharp sentiment swing, or weak China PMIs could cause an abrupt correction lower by AUD, which could also be reflected in equity markets.

New Zealand

The New Zealand Dollar has rebounded sharply on commodity prices and haven inflows as markets prime for a faster RBNZ tightening. There is a lot of good news built into the price like AUD/USD, and that leaves NZD vulnerable to a sharp correction lower.

ANZ business confidence on Tuesday may provide that excuse if confidence slumps due to the Ukraine war and soaring inflation.

Japan

USD/JPY has risen 400 points in the past week as the US/Japan rate differential exploded wider. The BoJ and MoF have tried to talk them down with limited success. Currency markets should now be on alert for more “watching FX closely” comments, which could send USD/JPY sharply lower intraday over the coming weeks.

Japan has a heavy data calendar featuring unemployment, retail sales, and arguably most important industrial production and the Tankan Large Manufacturers Survey. The latter two will give a snapshot into whether the Ukraine disruption and inflation wave are impacting business. Low prints could be a headwind for local equities.

Singapore

Inflation rose this week, setting up a MAS tightening in April. Local markets have been buoyant though as Covid restrictions were dramatically eased. PPI has upside risk this week which could increase the MAS noise and dampen equities. USD/SGD remains content to continue running with the USD/Asia pack, which is moving entirely on Ukraine sentiment swings right now.


Economic Calendar

Sunday, March 27

Economic Data/Events

China industrial profits

Monday, March 28

Economic Data/Events

US wholesale inventories

President Biden to reveal 2023 budget request

South Africa unemployment

Mexico trade

Norway Norges Bank Deputy Governor Borsum speaks to the bank’s regional network

UK Chancellor Sunak appears before Treasury Committee to discuss his Spring Statement

BOE Gov Bailey speaks on the economy at an event organized by European think tank Bruegel

Tuesday, March 29

Economic Data/Events

US consumer confidence

Australian Treasurer Frydenberg presents the annual budget

Philadelphia Fed President Harker discusses the economic outlook at an event hosted by the Center for Financial Stability in New York

Bank of England quarterly bulletin

Japan unemployment

Australia retail sales, consumer confidence

Mexico international reserves

Wednesday, March 30

Economic Data/Events

US Q4 final GDP

Germany CPI

Fed’s Barkin speaks at a conference on investing in rural America hosted by his bank

BOE’s Deputy Governor Broadbent speaks at “The MPC at 25” conference

UK PM Johnson appears before the Liaison Committee

Russia unemployment

Mexico unemployment

New Zealand building permits, business confidence

Thailand rate decision: Expected to keep benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.50%

Japan retail sales

Eurozone economic confidence, consumer confidence

EIA crude oil inventory report

Thursday, March 31

Economic Data/Events

US consumer income, initial jobless claims

OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial meeting on output

SNB’s Maechler, Moser speak at a money market event in Zurich

Fed’s Williams makes opening remarks at a conference  

Bank of Italy Governor Visco makes an annual address on the state of the economy

France and Italy CPI

UK GDP

Czech Republic GDP

Japan industrial production

South African trade balance

Eurozone and German Unemployment:

China manufacturing PMI, non-manufacturing PMI

Australia job vacancies, building approvals

India fiscal deficit, eight infrastructure industries, BoP

Thailand BoP

Japan housing starts

Singapore money supply

Friday, April 1

Economic Data/Events

US Mar change in nonfarm Payrolls: 450K v 678K prior, construction spending, unemployment,  ISM Manufacturing, vehicle sales

Europe-EU virtual summit with Chinese President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang along with European Council President Michel and European Commission President von der Leyen

Eurozone Manufacturing PMI, CPI

Eurozone ECB’s Schnabel and Knot speak at an event in Cernobbio, Italy

Poland CPI

Germany manufacturing PMI

UK Manufacturing PMI 

New Zealand house prices, consumer confidence

Japan vehicle sales, PMI

Singapore home prices

Australia home loans value, house prices

China Caixin PMI

Thailand PMI, foreign reserves, business sentiment index

Sovereign Rating Updates

– Poland (S&P)

– Turkey (S&P) 

– Italy (Moody’s)

– South Africa(Moody’s)

– France (DBRS)

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA at OANDA
Based in London, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a market analyst. With many years of experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while producing macroeconomic commentary. His views have been published in the Financial Times, Reuters, The Telegraph and the International Business Times, and he also appears as a regular guest commentator on the BBC, Bloomberg TV, FOX Business and SKY News. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and is recognised as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.
Craig Erlam