Tag Archive: Macroview

Switzerland: So far so good

According to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)’s quarterly estimates, Swiss real GDP rose by 0.6% q-o-q in Q4 (2.4% q-o-q annualised; 1.9% y-o-y), above consensus expectations (0.5%). The Swiss economy expanded by 1.0% in 2017 overall, in line with our own forecast. This comes after GDP growth of 1.4% in 2016 and 1.2% in 2015.

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Who will tackle Italy’s root problems?

The Italian general election campaign is in its final stretch before voting on 4 March. The election will take place under the new electoral law (Rosatellum bis), which allocates 37% of parliamentary seats via the principle of "first-past-the-post" and 61% via proportional representation, with the remaining 2% reserved for overseas constituencies (see our previous Flash Note for further details).

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Europe chart of the week – Business surveys

There was a broad-based setback in euro area business surveys in February, whether in terms of country or of sector. The Flash composite PMI slipped to 57.5 in February from 58.8 in January. The month-to-month dip was the biggest since 2014. National business surveys painted a similar picture.

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Less scope for yen and Swiss franc depreciation

The start of the year has seen the Japanese yen and Swiss franc appreciate strongly against the US dollar (they rose by 5.6% and 4.4% respectively between 1 January and 22 February) despite higher US yields. However, this rise in US yields came with heightened market volatility, favouring safe haven currencies such as the yen and franc.

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Euro area: Flash PMI surveys pass their peak

The IHS Markit flash composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the euro area eased to 57.5 in February from 58.8 in January, below consensus expectations (58.4). The index marked its the largest monthly decrease since August 2014. Activity in both services PMI (-1.3 points to 56.7) and manufacturing (-1.1 points to 58.5) cooled in February. But while the breakdown by sub-indices showed that the pace of growth in new orders and output slowed...

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Our emerging market currencies scorecard gives good marks to real and rouble

The scope of this note is to present a score card for Emerging Market (EM)currencies, designed to assess the attractiveness of a given currency over the coming 12 months. The scorecard (see chart), constructed using a rules - based methodology, suggests that the Russian rubble and the Brazilian real are currently among the most attractive EM currencies.

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Europe chart of the week – French unemployment

French unemployment fell surprisingly fast in Q4 2017, to a new cyclical low.France registered the largest drop in unemployment in about ten years in Q4 2017. In metropolitan France, the number of unemployed fell by 205,000 to 2.5 million people, pushing the ILO unemployment rate down to 8.6% of the labour force (-0.7pp), its lowest level since Q1 2009.

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Euro area inflation: the Phillips curve and the ‘broad unemployment’ hypothesis

Monetary policy in 2018 is all about the Phillips curve. The extent to which wage growth and inflation respond to falling unemployment will shape the monetary tightening cycle. If recent price action is any guide, any surprise on that front could result in market overreaction and volatility spikes. The most elegant description of the current state of research was provided by ECB Executive Board member Benoît Coeuré last year, who described the...

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Europe chart of the week – Italian productivity

With less than 30 days to go, the Italian general election remains highly unpredictable. The new electoral system and the fact that 37% of seats are to be allocated on a ‘first-past-the-post’ system make projecting seats from voting intentions particularly hard. Importantly, Italy is going into this election with an economy that is performing relatively strongly relative to recent history. However, cyclical strength is masking structural...

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Switzerland: inflation edged lower in January

According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO), the headline consumer price index (CPI) inflation eased to 0.7% y-o-y in January from 0.8% y-o-y in December, in line with consensus and our own expectations. Core inflation (CPI excluding food, beverages, tobacco, seasonal products, energy and fuels) also eased, from 0.7 % y-o-y in December to 0.5% y-o-y in January (see Chart 1), back to the level of October 2017.

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When will the SNB start the process of policy normalisation?

When the Swiss National Bank (SNB) scrapped its currency floor three years ago, its monetary policy strategy was clear: to fight Swiss franc appreciation. It did so verbally, by calling the currency “significantly overvalued”, and physically, by implementing a negative interest rate and intervening in the foreign exchange market as necessary. Three years on, the interest rate on sight deposits at the SNB remains unchanged at a record low of -...

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China: PMIs suggest moderation in momentum in Q1

China’s official manufacturing purchasing manager index (PMI) came in at 51.3 in January, down slightly from December (51.6). The Markit PMI (also known as the Caixin PMI) stayed at 51.5, the same as in the previous month (Chart 1). The official non - manufacturing PMI rose slightly to 55.0 in January from 44.8 the previous month.

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Strong growth and Abenomics mean Japanese equities continue to provide opportunities

Japanese growth momentum is at its strongest in over a decade, with the quarterly Tankan survey of business conditions and sentiment strengthening to an 11 - year high in Q4 2017. The economy may have expanded by 1.8% in 2017, up from 0.9% in the previous year. In 2018, the growth rate may moderate slightly to 1.3%, but should remain well above Japan’s potential growth, which currently stands at 0.85%, according to the Bank of Japan (BoJ, see...

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Tax cuts and ‘animal spirits’ mean higher US growth in 2018

December’s US tax cuts – which saw corporate taxation reduced particularly sharply – are being echoed in signs that ‘animal spirits’ are finally kicking in. Both set the stage, in our view, for higher US growth, in large part driven by greater investment. We therefore upgrade our 2018 US growth forecast from 2.0% to 3.0%. We forecast that real non-residential investment growth will accelerate to 7.0% in 2018, up from an estimated 4.6% in 2017. We...

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Europe chart of the week – The beginning of the ‘re-anchoring’

Professional Forecasters survey shows a substantial improvement in economic growth and employment, consistent with the ECB’s own assessment.The ECB will be pleased by its latest Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF). The headlines are unambiguously positive, fuelled by the uninterrupted improvement in economic data, with expectations of GDP growth and HICP inflation revised higher for the next couple of years, sometimes substantially.

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China: 2018 GDP forecast revised up

The Chinese economy ended 2017 on a strong note. In Q4 2017, China’s GDP amounted to Rmb23.4 trillion (about USD3.7 trillion), rising 1.6% over the previous quarter and 6.8% year-over-year (y-o-y) in real terms. Full-year GDP came in at Rmb82.7 trillion (about USD12.9 trillion), growing by 6.9% in real terms and beating the consensus forecast as well as our own estimate (both at 6.8%).

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US chart of the week – Texas rebounds

One of the major rivalries in the US is that between California and Texas, the country’s biggest and second-biggest states respectively in GDP terms. They have different growth drivers (most notably Silicon Valley in California and the energy industry in Texas), and they also have different political landscapes – and local taxation regimes. But which one’s ahead when it comes to employment growth?

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Euro area: Business activity expanding at its fastest pace in nearly 12 years

The flash composite Purchasing Managers’ index for the euro area increased to 58.6 in January from 58.1 in December, above consensus expectations (57.9). The services sector index rose, offsetting the decline in the manufacturing index . Companies also expressed growing optimism about this year’s outlook, with business expectations up to an eight-month high.

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Upside risks to wages from IG Metall negotiations

German wage negotiations are in full swing amid growing calls for strikes. This comes at a crucial time for the ECB as strong growth and falling unemployment are expected to feed into higher inflation. IG Metall is by far the most important union to watch, representing almost 4 million German workers and being seen as a benchmark, including in the car industry or the construction sector this year.

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China: FX reserves rise again

According to the Chinese State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), China’s FX reserves amounted to USD3.14 trillion at end - December 2017, up USD20.7 billion from the previous month. This marks the 11th consecutive monthly increase in Chinese FX reserves since February 2017.

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