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Economic week ahead: A slew of SA data

South Africa
The South African Reserve Bank will release its latest quarterly bulletin – including third quarter current account data – on Monday. The median forecast of 13-economists recently surveyed by Bloomberg is that South Africa’s current account deficit narrowed to 5.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter from 6.2% in the second. 

South Africa’s October mining and manufacturing figures will follow from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) on Tuesday. Consensus is that industrial output slowed to 2.0% monthly growth in October from 4.0% in September.

November’s consumer price index (CPI) and October’s retail sales data will take centre stage on Wednesday. Stats SA’s report may show that South Africa’s consumer inflation rate slowed to 5.8% in November from 5.9% in October. 

November’s producer price index (PPI) will headline Thursday’s choc-a-bloc data docket, which includes October’s civil cases for debt, wholesale trade and building statistics along with third quarter employment statistics, amongst others.  PPI – a measure of price rises at the factory gate – may show a 6.5% increase from a year earlier, down from 6.7% in September. 

United States
Tuesday’s job openings and labour turnover survey (JOLTS) report is the first significant release on America’s economic calendar this week. Consensus is that the report will show that there were 4.790-million job openings on the last business day of October, up from 4.735-million in September.   Later in the day, attention will turn to October’s wholesale inventories count. Inventories likely rose 0.2%, down slightly from September’s 0.3% growth.

On Wednesday, the U.S Treasury’s monthly budget report may show a $63.0-billion deficit for November, down from $135.2-billion in November of 2014. For the past 10 years, November’s deficit has averaged $115.2-billion. 

Next up, on Thursday, economists and investors will focus on last month’s retail sales and import and export price reports along with October’s business inventories update. Consensus is that retail sales ticked-up 0.4% from October to November. Less auto sales, the figure is likely to be a more modest 0.1% monthly increase. 

Closing out the week on Friday, the Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer confidence index for December is likely to rise to its highest level in more than seven-years. Americans’ sentiments towards the state of the world’s largest economy have been on the rise as petrol prices fall, stock prices climb and the country’s labour market continues to improve. 

Europe
Euro zone finance ministers will gather in Brussels on Monday to discuss their budgets for 2015. A possible extension of Greece’s bailout programme and what, if anything, to do about countries in the currency bloc that miss their deficit reduction targets are expected to dominate the discussions. 

Monday will also bring updates from the European Central Bank (ECB) on the activities of its asset purchase programme, from Germany on industrial output, and from France on business sentiment. Economists expect Germany – Europe’s largest economy – to report industrial output growth of between 0.3% and 0.5% for October, down from a 1.4% monthly gain in September.  

On Tuesday, markets will turn their attention to Germany’s latest trade data and the United Kingdom’s October industrial production figures. Consensus is that Germany’s trade surplus narrowed to €19.0-billion in October from €21.9-billion in September and that the UK’s industrial output climbed 0.2%, month-on-month.

The UK’s October trade figures will follow on Wednesday along with Ukraine’s third quarter growth figures. Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said late last month that he expects the embattled country’s real gross domestic product (GDP) to shrink 7.0% in 2014.  On Thursday, Germany and France – Europe’s two largest economies – will release last month’s consumer inflation figures. Inflation likely remained essentially flat in both countries, highlighting the continuing risk of deflation faced by the wider euro zone economy.

On Friday, ratings agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor’s will publish updated ratings of the United Kingdom. Both companies are widely expected to leave their top-notch ratings of the country unchanged. 

Asia
China released last month’s trade figures on Monday. Exports rose 4.7% from a year earlier, down from an 11.6% increase in October and well below consensus expectations for an 8.2% rise in November. Imports fell 6.7% from a year earlier, leaving thee world’s number two economy with a $54.5-billion surplus for the month.

China will provide consumer and producer price inflation updates on Wednesday. Economists expect this week’s data to show that the country’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.6% from a year earlier in November. Prices at the factory gate, however, probably continued to fall last month. Consensus is that China’s producer price index (PPI) fell 2.4%, year-on-year.

Wednesday will also bring China’s latest aggregate financing and money supply data. Aggregate financing probably climbed following a rate cut and further monetary policy easing last month. Consensus is that aggregate financing climbed to 890-billion renminbi from 663-billion in October. 

New yuan lending may have increased as well, though by a much lower amount. Money supply may have increased 12.5% from a year earlier.  On Friday, China will release retail sales, industrial production, and urban fixed income investment data. Industrial production climbed 7.7% in October and likely expanded at roughly the same rate last month. Retail sales likely climbed 11.5% from a year earlier.

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Matt Quigley
Matt Quigley writes the weekly economic preview for the Mail & Guardian. His blog on the South African economy can be found at www.thoughtleader.co.za/mattquigley

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