16/03/2015- Last week’s markets and economic data expected in the week ahead
Economic data released last week was, on balance, mixed but provided little in the way of highlights. On the positive side, the UK trade in goods and services deficit fell to £4.4bn over the 3 months to January (from £8.0bn over the 3 months to October), its lowest quarterly level since October 2000, largely influenced by a sharp fall in the value of imported fuels in January. Chinese inflation rose to 1.4% in February (from 0.8% in January), recovering from its lowest level since November 2009, whilst Japanese industrial production posted a very strong rise of 3.7% month-on-month in January.
On the negative side, Chinese retail sales and industrial production over the January-February period (now aggregated to minimise distortions from the Lunar New Year holiday) both rose by less than expected. US retail sales were surprisingly weak, falling by 0.6% month-on-month in February to mark the third consecutive monthly decline, the first such occurrence since 2012.
Stock markets posted another week of mixed performance. The FTSE 100 index fell by 2.48% over the course of the week; the S&P 500 index fell by 0.86%; the Dax index rose by 3.04%; whilst the Nikkei index rose by 2.68%. In sovereign bond markets, yields have moved lower once more. The UK 10-year Gilt yield is currently at 1.74%, the US 10-year Treasury yield is at 2.11% and the German 10-year Bund yield is at 0.26%.
Economic data due for release this week is very limited. The domestic highlight will be the Budget on Wednesday afternoon, whilst the US Federal Reserve announcement later that day will be scrutinised for any clues as to the timing of an interest rate rise.
US – Industrial production
Germany – ZEW economic sentiment survey
UK – Unemployment
UK – Budget announcement
US – Federal Reserve announcement
UK – Public borrowing