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EM Preview for the Week Ahead

EM may get a little support from a potential OPEC+ deal to limit oil.  Even if a deal is struck, the impact is likely to be fleeting as the global growth outlook remains terrible.  We remain negative on EM for the time being.

AMERICAS

Mexico reports March CPI Tuesday, which is expected to rise 3.37% y/y vs. 3.70% in February.  If so, inflation would move further towards the 3% target.  February IP will be reported Wednesday, which is expected to contract -1.2% y/y vs. -1.6% in January.  Central bank minutes will also be released that day.  At that emergency meeting, Banxico cut rates 50 bp to 6.5% and noted that it will repeat unscheduled decisions if needed.  As such, another 50 bp cut to 6.0% is likely either before or at the next policy meeting May 14.

Brazil reports February retail sales Tuesday, which are expected to rise 2.3% y/y vs. 1.3% in January.  March IPCA inflation will be reported Thursday, and is expected to rise 3.36% y/y vs. 4.01% in February.  If so, inflation would be the lowest since November and move further towards the bottom of the 2.5-5.5% target range for 2020.  another 50 bp cut to 6.0% is likely Next COPOM meeting is May 6 and the CDI market is pricing in a 50 bp cut to 3.25%.

Chile reports March trade data Tuesday.  March CPI will be reported Wednesday and is expected to rise 3.8% y/y vs. 3.9% in February.  If so, inflation would move a little bit further away from the top of the 2-4% target range.  The central bank just cut rates 50 bp to 0.5% last week and signaled this is the lower bound and that rates will stay there for an extended period.  Next policy meeting is May 6 and no change in policy is expected.  The bank has started an asset purchase program and so if the outlook worsens in the coming months, it will likely be expanded.

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Czech Republic reports February industrial and construction output and trade data Monday.   Retail sales will be reported Tuesday and are expected to rise 2.4% y/y vs. 2.1% in January.  The economy was already slowing before the impact of the virus hit, which is why the bank cut rates 75 bp to 1.0% last week.  EUR/CZK has risen nearly 7% since its first rate March 16, and the bank’s model suggests each one percentage point weakness in the koruna is equivalent to 25 bp of easing.

Bank of Israel meets Monday and is expected to cut rates 15 bp to 0.10%.  Late last month, the bank restarted QE for the first time since the financial crisis and committed to purchasing ILS50 bln ($13.6 bln) of government bonds in the secondary market to ease financial conditions and support the economy.  As such, a complementary rate cut this week makes sense.

Russia reports March CPI Monday, which is expected to rise 2.7% y/y vs. 2.3% in February.  If so, inflation would remain well below the 4% target.  Central bank Governor Nabiullina opened the door for more easing last week, saying “There is potential to cut interest rates in 2020.  We’ll chose the right moment to start using that potential.”  Next policy meeting is April 24 and another 25 bp cut to 5.75% seems likely.  Q1 current account data will be reported Thursday and is expected at $14.1 bln vs. $10.2 bln in Q4.  February trade data will be reported Friday.

Hungary reports February IP Tuesday, which is expected to rise 1.8% y/y WDA vs. 2.7% in January. It then reports March CPI Wednesday, which is expected to rise 3.6% y/y vs. 4.4% in February.  If so, inflation would be the lowest since November and back within the 2-4% target range.  The central bank had to take some tightening measures last week to help support the forint, introducing a new 1-week deposit facility offering a 0.90% rate vs. the -0.05% rate on overnight deposits.

National Bank of Poland meets Wednesday and is expected to keep rates steady at 1.0%.  A handful of analysts look for a cut, however.  After the 50 bp emergency cut March 17, the central bank seems split on the need for further easing.  It has already started asset purchases and we suspect that program will eventually be expanded.

ASIA

Korea reports February current account data Tuesday.  Bank of Korea meets Thursday and is expected to keep cut rates 25 bp to 0.50%.  However, analysts are split as many analysts are looking for steady rates.  CPI rose 1.0% y/y in March vs. 1.1% in February, and moves further below the 2% target.  For now, fiscal policy is likely to be the focus but we cannot rule out monetary easing ahead.

Philippines reports March CPI Tuesday, which is expected to rise 2.3% y/y vs. 2.6% in February.  If so, inflation would be the lowest since November and further towards the bottom of the 2-4% target range.  This should allow the central bank to continue easing.  Next policy meeting is May 21 and another 25 bp cut to 3.0% is expected.  February trade data will be reported Wednesday, with exports expected to rise 3.5% y/y and imports by 1.8% y/y.

Thailand reports March CPI Tuesday, which is expected to fall -0.55% y/y vs. +0.74% in February.  If so, inflation would be the lowest since November and further below the bottom of the 1-4% target range.  This should allow the central bank to continue easing.  Next policy meeting is May 20 and another 25 bp cut to 0.5% is expected.

Taiwan reports March trade data and CPI Wednesday.  Exports are expected to contract -2.2% y/y and imports by -4.8% y/y, while inflation is expected at -0.10% y/y vs. -0.21% in February.  The central bank just eased last month at its quarterly policy meeting.  Next one is in June and another cut then seems likely.

Full story here
About Win Thin
Win Thin
Win Thin is a senior currency strategist with over fifteen years of investment experience. He has a broad international background with a special interest in developing markets. Prior to joining BBH in June 2007, he founded Mandalay Advisors, an independent research firm that provided sovereign emerging market analysis to institutional investors. He received an MA from Georgetown University in 1985 and a B.A. from Brandeis University 1983. Feel free to contact the Zurich office of BBH
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