Category Archive: 2) Swiss and European Macro

Main Author George Dorgan
George Dorgan
George Dorgan (penname) predicted the end of the EUR/CHF peg at the CFA Society and at many occasions on SeekingAlpha.com and on this blog. Several Swiss and international financial advisors support the site. These firms aim to deliver independent advice from the often misleading mainstream of banks and asset managers. George is FinTech entrepreneur, financial author and alternative economist. He speak seven languages fluently.

Devil is in the details: Italian and French deficits are not quite comparable

Italy’s structural weakness explain higher level of concern around its deficit target.Each EU member state is currently preparing 2019 budget plans for formal submission to the European Commission (EC) before mid- October. Among them, France and Italy’s budget plans have been raising eyebrows. Why is the EC concerned about Italy’s proposed 2.4% GDP deficit target for 2019 and not France’s target of 2.8%?

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Swiss Producer and Import Price Index in September 2018: +2.6 percent YoY, -0.2 percent MoM

The Producer and Import Price Index fell in September 2018 by 0.2% compared with the previous month, reaching 103.2 points (December 2015 = 100). The decline is due in particular to lower prices for scrap. Compared with September 2017, the price level of the whole range of domestic and imported products rose by 2.6%. These are some of the findings from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

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Squaring off over the Italian budget

The Italian government’s budget plans set it on a collision course with the European Commission. The road to some kind of agreement is likely to be long and bumpy. The Italian government has confirmed its deficit target at 2.4% of GDP for 2019. This represents significant slippage from a previous budget deficit target of 0.8% in 2019.

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German September PMIs surprisingly weak

Recent German soft and hard data in the manufacturing sector has been surprisingly weak. Data released today showed that the final manufacturing PMI fell to 53.7 in September, from 55.9 in August. Factory orders rose by 2.0% month-on-month (m-o-m) in August, having contracted for six out of the seven previous months.

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Swiss Consumer Price Index in September 2018: +1.0 percent YoY, +0.1 percent MoM

The consumer price index (CPI) increased by 0.1% in September 2018 compared with the previous month, reaching 101.9 points (December 2015 = 100). Inflation was 1.0% compared with the same month of the previous year. These are the results of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

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Further consolidation of EUR/USD rate likely

Short-term noise means we are neutral on the euro over the next three months, but see potential for its gradual appreciation against the dollar thereafterWe have long argued that growth and interest rate differentials are two key components for the direction of the US dollar. Both these drivers should continue to support the dollar over the short term.

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Chinese PMI data points to further growth moderation

More policy support is expected, and may lead to slight rebound in Q4.China’s manufacturing PMIs softened further in September, indicating that growth momentum is likely continued to moderate in Q3 and that the weakness may extend into Q4.In response to the weakening growth momentum, especially in the context of escalating trade tensions with the US, the Chinese government has turned to policy easing since June.

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Italy tests the EU’s tolerance

The populist government’s plans to increase the deficit could set it on a collision course with Brussels. We remain bearish Italian bonds and euro peripheral bonds in general.Leaders of Italy’s coalition government and the finance minister yesterday agreed on a 2.4% GDP deficit target. The new target is higher than our expectation of a deficit “above but close to 2.0%” in 2019.

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Swiss Retail Sales, August 2018: +1.1 percent Nominal and +0.4 percent Real

Turnover in the retail sector rose by 1.1% in nominal terms in August 2018 compared with the previous year. Seasonally adjusted, nominal turnover rose by 0.3% compared with the previous month.

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A bit too early to be worried about French consumers

Despite the recent fall in French consumer confidence, spending should pick up in the second half of the year. The French economy disappointed in the first half of this year. While there was a widespread ‘soft patch’ in the euro area, the source and size of the slowdown in France stands out. The real GDP growth rate fell by 0.5 points, much more than the rest of the euro area. Moreover, while the slowdown in the other countries was mainly due to...

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Credit Growth Remains Buoyant in the Euro Area

Financial conditions remain supportive and are not expected to tighten much in the coming months. Lending to non-financial corporations in the euro grew by an annual 4.2% in August, its fastest rate since April 2009. Forward-looking indicators suggest that euro area credit growth should remain strong over the coming months.

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Business Indicators Present a Contrasting Picture of the Euro Area

Euro area flash composite PMI dipped slightly to in September and came in slightly below consensus expectations. Activity in services picked up and weakened further in manufacturing, which continued its decline since the start of the year, falling to 53.3 in September from 54.6 in August. New export orders failed to grow for the first time since June 2013.

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Cut to Swiss inflation forecast

The Swiss National Bank has revised down its medium-term forecast for consumer inflation. We still expect a first SNB rate hike in September 2019. At the end of its quarterly monetary assessment meeting, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) left its main policy rates unchanged.

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Italian material deprivation rates still the worst among large euro area economies

Latest poverty figures provide government with an argument for fiscal stumulus.Severe material deprivation rates gauge the proportion of people whose living conditions are severely affected by a lack of resources. According to Eurostat, “it represents the proportion of people living in households that cannot afford at least four of the following nine items: mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, hire purchase instalments or other loan payments;...

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Contrasting Fortunes within the Euro Area

The four biggest euro area economies slowed in H1 2018 due to a number of factors, including weak exports. We expect a rebound in H2—except in Italy, where political uncertainty has been denting business confidence. Forward indicators show that Italy is the only of the four major euro area economies to face weaknesses both in export-led manufacturing and services, due domestic political uncertainties (including the upcoming state budget) as well as...

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Swiss Trade Balance August 2018: Exports above the 18 billion Franc Mark

After the dynamism registered until May 2018, Swiss foreign trade has been stalled since. In August and after seasonal adjustment, exports stagnated at a high level and imports fell by 1.1%. The trade balance has a surplus of 1.4 billion francs.

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European labour market remains in rude health

But there is room for further improvement.This week euro area employment data confirmed that labour market recovery remains on track. Employment grew at 0.4% q-o-q in Q2 2018, marking the 20th consecutive quarter of expansion. Employment is now 2.4% above its pre-crisis (2008) level. Since Q2 2013, 9.2 million jobs have been created in the euro area.

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A successful bank should be boring

No changes to the ECB’s monetary stance and policy guidance mean we are holding to our forecasts for quantitative easing and rate hikes.The ECB made no change to its monetary stance and policy guidance at its 13 September meeting. The end of quantitative easing (QE) was confirmed for after December, following a final reduction in the pace of net asset purchases to EUR15bn per month in Q4 2018.Much of the focus was on the updated ECB staff...

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Swiss Producer and Import Price Index in August 2018: +3.4 percent YoY, unchanged MoM

The Producer and Import Price Index remained unchanged in August 2018 compared with the previous month. The index stood at 103.4 points (December 2015 = 100). Prices were higher in particular for pharmaceutical and chemical products, while scrap became cheaper. Compared with August 2017, the price level of the whole range of domestic and imported products rose by 3.4%.

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Switzerland Q2 growth numbers are impressive, but details are mixed

Manufacturing and sports events served as boosts to growth, while domestic consumption was a letdown.The latest Swiss GDP figures were impressive. According to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs’ quarterly estimates, Swiss real GDP grew by 0.7% q-o-q in Q2, slightly above our 0.6% projection and consensus. Average growth in the first half of 2018 was therefore the strongest since 2010.

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