The Week Ahead – Economic Data and COVID-19 Updates to Drive the Majors

It’s another busy week ahead. The continued spread of the coronavirus and last week’s dire PMI numbers out of the U.S could get things off to a bad start…
Bob Mason
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On the Macro

It’s a relatively busy week ahead on the economic calendar, with 55 stats to monitor in the week ending 28th February. In the previous week, just 64 stats had been in focus.

For the Dollar:

It’s a busy week ahead for the Dollar.

The markets will have to wait until Tuesday, however, to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S consumer, with the all-important CB Consumer Confidence figures for February due out.

FED Chair Powell had talked of economic resilience and with the U.S equity markets close to record highs, there’s little reason to expect any deterioration. Forecasts are Dollar positive.

The focus will then shift to January durable goods orders and 4th quarter GDP numbers due out on Thursday. Barring revision from 1st estimates, we expect the durable goods orders to have the greatest influence.

COVID-19 is expected to have a material impact on key economies. The markets will want to ensure that the U.S economy remains unscathed… After all, there remains a distinct difference between survey-based and actual data.

At the end of the week, January inflation and personal spending figures are due out along with the Chicago PMI for February.

Barring material deviation from prelims, we would expect finalized consumer sentiment numbers to be brushed aside.

Over the week, housing sector figures will also draw attention mid-week, with new home and pending home sales figures due out.

The Dollar Spot Index ended the week up by 0.21% to 99.337.

For the EUR:

It’s a relatively busy week ahead on the economic data front.

In the 1st half of the week, Germany is on focus once more. February’s IFO Business Climate Index numbers are due out on Monday, ahead of 2nd estimate GDP numbers on Tuesday.

While the IFO numbers will be the key driver, any revisions to the GDP numbers will have a greater impact…

In the 2nd half of the week, French consumer spending and GDP numbers are due out along with German unemployment figures on Friday.

Expect Germany’s unemployment numbers to have the greatest influence on the day.

Through the 2nd half of the week, prelim inflation figures for February will likely have a muted impact on the EUR.

The EUR/USD ended the week up down by 0.15% to $1.0847.

For the Pound:

It’s a particularly quiet week ahead on the economic calendar.

There are no material stats scheduled for release, which leaves the hand firmly in the hands of Brexit.

On 25th February, the EU is due to deliver its starting terms for trade negotiations that begin next week. France has already talked of a tough time ahead and Britain has been clear that there can be no strings attached.

Expect chatter on trade to be the key driver in the week. Economic data out of the UK impressed last week. That should remove the near-term focus on the BoE and monetary policy.

The GBP/USD ended the week down by 0.64% to $1.2964.

For the Loonie:

It’s a relatively busy week ahead on the economic calendar.

In a quiet 1st half of the week, however, economic data is limited to December’s wholesale sales figures due out on Monday. While the numbers will provide direction, the focus will be on GDP numbers due out on Friday.

Any weak numbers and expect the chances of a rate cut to rise, which should send the Loonie back to C$1.33 levels.

Outside of the stats, market risk sentiment will also be a key driver.

The Loonie ended the week up by 0.20% to C$1.3225 against the U.S Dollar.

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Out of Asia

For the Aussie Dollar:

It’s a relatively quiet week ahead.

Key stats include 4th quarter construction work done and new CAPEX figures due out on Wednesday and Thursday.

While housing sector conditions have improved and are key to supporting consumer spending, CAPEX numbers will likely have a greater influence.

Business confidence has failed to bounce back at the turn of the year. Weak investment numbers will weigh on Thursday.

On Friday, private sector credit figures are unlikely to have a material impact on the Aussie.

Outside of the numbers, expect updates on COVID-19 to also provide direction.

The PBoC and Chinese Government have delivered support and will likely deliver more if the need arises. Will it be enough to support the RBA’s view that the impact of the virus will be short-lived?

The Aussie Dollar ended the week down by 1.30% to $0.6627.

For the Kiwi Dollar:

It’s a relatively busy week ahead on the economic data front. At the start of the week, 4th quarter retail sales figures will influence on Monday. The attention will then shift to January trade data and business confidence figures due out on Thursday.

Expect the retail sales and trade figures to have a greater impact, however.

On the trade front, there will be particular interest in export figures to China that are likely to have seen a sizeable decline.

In December, exports to China had accounted for 28% of NZ exports…

The Kiwi Dollar ended the week down by 1.38% to $0.6349.

For the Japanese Yen:

It’s a relatively busy week on the economic data. The markets will need to wait until Friday, however, for key stats.

Expect prelim January industrial production and retail sales figures to have the greatest influence.

Following some particularly dire numbers out of Japan last week, more doom and gloom should test the BoJ’s resolve…

Outside of the numbers, updates from China and the region on the coronavirus will also provide direction.  Expect any rise in cases within the region to weigh on the Yen.

The Japanese Yen ended the week down by 1.67% to ¥111.61 against the U.S Dollar.

Out of China

It’s a quiet week on the economic data front. Key stats are limited to February private sector PMI numbers that are due out on Saturday.

Outside of the numbers, chatter from Beijing and COVID-19 updates will continue to be the main area of focus.

The Chinese Yuan fell by 0.58% to CNY7.0271 against the U.S Dollar in the week.

Geo-Politics

Trade Wars: It’s simmering in the background. U.S President Trump may be quietly concerned over the impact of the coronavirus on his trade win against China… China is unlikely to meet any of the terms any time soon. With the Presidential Election campaign beginning to heat up, U.S farmers may not be getting the demand that Trump had promised…

Looking across to the EU, the Airbus v Boeing battle could send the EU into a trade dispute with the U.S. While hopes are of a resolution, progress on talks will need monitoring…

UK Politics: Terms of the EU’s starting point ahead of trade negotiations are due to be delivered on 25th February.

Expect plenty of reaction from Parliament and the markets from the terms that are likely to point to that tough time ahead…

Corporate Earnings

It’s a quieter week ahead on the corporate earnings calendar, as earnings season begins to wind down. Marquee names releasing earnings include:

From the U.S: Macy’s Inc. (Tue), JC Penny Co. Inc. (Thurs),

From of the UK: Standard Chartered PLC (Mon), Rio Tinto (Wed), British American Tobacco (Thurs), and International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (Thurs)

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