Business

Economic week ahead: Politics, policy and data

Matt Quigley

The US will dominate this week ahead of its final presidential debate, while the rest of the world will be keeping an eye on developments in Europe.

A final presidential debate before next month's election, a federal reserve meeting, growth snapshot and corporate earnings reports will keep the United States in the headlines this week. (AFP)

A final presidential debate before next month's election, a federal reserve meeting, growth snapshot and corporate earnings reports will keep the United States in the headlines this week. 

Elsewhere in the world, markets will be watching developments in Europe, waiting for central bank decisions from South America to New Zealand and tracking data releases from across multiple emerging markets. Here is your complete guide to the week ahead.

North America
The United States's data week will kick-off on Tuesday with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's manufacturing index. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the regional gauge to improve to a reading of 6.0 in October from 4.0 in September, its first positive reading since May. 

On Wednesday, new home sales are forecast to improve to a seasonally adjusted annualised rate of 385 000 units in September from 373 000 in August and the federal reserve will announce its latest policy decisions. Markets expect no change in rates after last month's announcement that the bank would resume quantitative easing (asset purchases) under the so-called "QE3" programme. 

On Thursday, durable goods orders data are expected to show that new orders rose 7% last month following a staggering drop of 13.2% in August. Separately, new filings for jobless benefits are expected to show a weekly decline of 16 000.

On Friday, gross domestic product data is expected to show that the world's largest economy expanded by 1.9% in the third quarter, up from lacklustre 1.3% growth in the quarter ended in June.

Beyond these data releases, investors will continue to keep a close eye on corporate earnings reports this week. Eight of the Dow Jones component companies and 155 of the S&P 500's companies will release third quarter results. Analysts pay particular attention to third quarter statements because they are the typically the first in which companies begin to paint a picture of how they might fare in the following year. 

Europe
Deeply indebted Spain remains a major source of uncertainty in Europe and investors will continue to watch this week to see if Madrid finally asks for the bailout many consider inevitable. As markets continue their wait, they will have plenty of data to mull over. 

On Tuesday, investors will be keeping an eye out for the eurozone's latest consumer sentiment index release. Markets expect the index to remain steady at -25.9. 

On Wednesday, investors will turn their attention to purchasing managers' index (PMI) readings for Germany, France and the eurozone as a whole. Manufacturing PMIs are expected remain below the 50-mark separating expansion from contraction in all three regions.

Germany's manufacturing PMI is forecast to improve to 48 in October. The country's services PMI may breach the 50-mark. France's manufacturing PMI is forecast to improve to 43.5 in October. The country's services PMI is expected to remain unchanged at 45. The eurozone's flash composite PMI may improve to 46.5. 

On Thursday, the United Kingdom's third quarter economic growth figures will take centre stage. Analysts surveyed by Reuters expect Europe's third largest economy to return to positive growth of 0.6% in the third quarter from a 0.4% contraction in the second.  

On Friday, snapshots of consumer and business sentiment in Germany, France and Italy are likely to garner significant attention. Markets expect Germany's GFK consumer sentiment index to remain unchanged, France's INSEE consumer confidence index to fall slightly and Italy's ISAE business sentiment index to improve marginally. 

Asia
On Tuesday, Taiwan will report last month's industrial output data. According to a recent survey by the country's Ministry of Economic Affairs, 11% of respondents thought that industrial production for September would improve from August, 66% thought the production climate would remain unchanged and 23% expected deteriorating conditions.  

On Wednesday, Australia will release its latest consumer price index (CPI). Thailand will report trade figures and New Zealand's central bank will announce its cash rate decision. Economists surveyed by the Australian Associated Press expect the country's CPI to rise by 1.1% in the third quarter, for an annual rate of 1.6%. Markets expect Thailand's trade deficit to narrow to $261-million in September from $1.02-billion in August. New Zealand's central bank is expected to leave rates on hold at 2.5%. 

On Thursday, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the Philippines will report trade data and Singapore will issue industrial output figures. Markets expect trade gaps to widen in all three nations and for Singapore's industrial output to expand.

On Friday, markets will be watching for Korea's third quarter gross domestic product (GDP) release, Japan's CPI data and a rates decision in the Philippines. Markets expect South Korea's economic growth to slow to 1.7% growth in the third quarter from 2.3% expansion in the second. Analysts surveyed by Market News International expect Japan's CPI to register a 0.2% year on year drop in September, its fifth consecutive decline. The Philippines' central bank is expected to leave its benchmark rate on hold at 3.75%.

Latin America
On Monday, Mexico will report retail sales figures for August. Markets expect the data to show a 3.4% year on year rise in sales, an improvement on July's 2.6% growth.

Also on Monday, Argentina's Torcuato di Tella University (UTDT) will report its latest consumer confidence index readings. UTDT's gauge is expected to drop further below the 50-mark separating optimism from pessimism this month, to 42 in October from 42.7 in September, its lowest level since March 2010. 

On Tuesday, Brazil will report current account figures and Argentina will report shop centre sales and trade balance data. Markets expect Brazil's current account deficit to fall slightly to $2.5-billion in September. Argentina's trade surplus is expected to narrow from $1.628-billion to $1.107-billion over the same period. 

On Wednesday, markets expect Mexico's global economic activity indicator (IGAE) to show that the country's economy slowed from 3.8% annual growth in August from 4.7% in July. 

On Thursday, Brazil's Foundation Getulio Vargas (FGV) will report its latest consumer confidence readings and government will issue September's employment data. Mexico will release trade numbers and Argentina will report on industrial production. 

Brazil's FGV consumer confidence index and unemployment rate are both expected to remain unchanged. Mexico's trade deficit is expected to expand by $338.9-billion and Argentina's industrial production is forecast to have declined 0.7% last month. 

On Friday, central banks in Mexico and Columbia will announce their latest monetary policy decisions. Both banks are expected to leave rates on hold at 4.50% and 4.75%, respectively. 

Africa
Two key measures of inflation will dominate South Africa's economic calendar this week. Last month's consumer price index (CPI) and producer price index (PPI) data will be released on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. 

Markets expect consumer inflation to have risen 5.1%, year on year, up slightly from a 5.0% rise in August. Producer inflation is expected to have risen 5.4%, year on year, but to have fallen 3.0%, month on month.

No major data releases are scheduled in Nigeria this week, but an auction of 111.26-billion naira of treasury bills on Thursday will garner attention. Traders expect yields to rise slightly as the country's central bank continues to mop up excess liquidity.

Elsewhere on the continent, Monday will bring last month's CPI figures from Morocco and an interest rates decision in Ghana. Namibia will follow with a rates announcement on Wednesday. Both banks are expected to leave their benchmark rates on hold at 15% and 5.5%, respectively. 

Closing out the data week, Zambia will release its latest CPI numbers on Friday. Analysts expect the country's inflation to average 6.6% in 2012, down from an average of 8.6% last year. 

Beyond these data releases, a three-day conference on copper and cobalt mining opportunities in the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) enormous Katanga belt will begin in Lubumbashi, DRC on Tuesday. And, on Thursday, the Petroleum Institute of East Africa will kick-off its inaugural East Africa Upstream Summit in Nairobi, a two-day conference focusing on the region's oil and gas potential. 

Matt Quigley writes a weekly economic preview for the Mail & Guardian Online. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattquigley.


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