Tag Archive: Macroview

2018 ECB outlook – Mission: possible

We expect the ECB to announce a tapering of its asset purchase programme in the summer, but not to overreact to strong economic data. Our first choice as the title for our 2018 ECB outlook was “The courage not to act”, but regular readers will know that we used this hommage to Ben Bernanke earlier this year.

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Chinese demand leads the Swiss watch industry’s recovery

The most important driver of the Swiss watch industry’s recovery has been the revival of the mainland China market. After years of impressive growth, the Swiss watch industry faced difficult conditions in 2015 and 2016, when exports declined by 3.2% and 9.9% respectively in value terms.

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US to overtake Switzerland in WEF competitiveness survey?

The US is about to enact significant corporate tax cuts, and could therefore edge closer to the number 1 spot in the World Economic Forum’s ranking – currently held by Switzerland. The US is about to enact significant corporate tax cuts, that will see the federal statutory corporate tax rate drop to 21%, from 35%, starting in January (see our latest note ‘US tax cuts update – 19 December 2017’).

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US tax bill looks set to pass

The tax bill continues to make its way through Congress at a swift pace, and now looks increasingly likely to be enacted into law this week, after clearing the conference committee hurdle (a compromise between the House and Senate versions). A few hesitating Republican Senators have eventually said they will vote in favour of the bill, which is key as the Republican majority in the Senate is slim at 52-48. It will shrink to 51-49 in January after...

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Increasingly optimistic on Swiss outlook

At its December meeting, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) left its accommodative monetary policy unchanged. More specifically, the SNB maintained the target range for the three-month Libor at between - 1.25% and-0.25% and the interest rate on sight deposits at a record low of - 0.75%. The SNB also reiterated its commitment to intervene in the foreign exchange market if needed, taking into account the “overall currency situation”.

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ECB closer to the 2% inflation target than meets the eye

During an uneventful ECB press conference on Thursday, attention centred on the new staff projections. The headline projections were in line with expectations, albeit slightly higher on GDP growth and lower on inflation. The key word was “confidence” - in a strong expansion leading to a “significant” reduction in economic slack, as well as in the ECB’s capacity to meet its mandate.

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Euro area: The sky is the limit

Momentum in the euro area picked up further at the end of the year. The flash composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI) increased to 58.0 in December, from 57.5 in November, above consensus expectations (57.2). The improvement was once again broad-based across sectors.

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Fed’s enthusiasm on tax cut plans remains limited

The 13 December Fed decision – and Chair Yellen’s last press conference – was much as expected. The Fed hiked rates 25bps, bringing the interest rate on excess reserves to 1.5%. Meanwhile, Fed officials maintained their rate-hiking forecasts for next year: three rate increases, according to the ‘dot plot’.

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Slow wage growth to keep Fed on prudent normalisation track

The November employment report showed another ‘Goldilocks’ set of conditions for investors: employment growth remained firm, especially in cyclical sectors like manufacturing and construction. At the same time, wage growth stayed soft – which means the Federal Reserve is unlikely to shift its current prudent communication on interest -rate hikes (although it is still very likely to hike 25bps on 13 December).

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ECB preview: close to target…by 2020

The ECB’s meeting on 14 December would be a non-event if it were not for two specific points to make clear before the Christmas break – the staff forecasts for inflation, and the not-so-constructive ambiguity on QE horizon. We expect no major surprise from the new staff projections, reflecting the ECB’s cautiously upbeat tone.

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Fed rate unlikely to move much above 2 percent next year

The Federal Reserve is probably looking back at 2017 with satisfaction. After on the rate rise expected on 13 December, it will have pushed through the three rate hikes it signalled earlier in the year. For once, it has not under-delivered. Meanwhile, the gradual, ‘passive’ decline in the Fed’s balance sheet has been mostly ignored by markets. In fact, broader financial conditions have eased this year despite the Fed’s monetary tightening....

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A crucial step towards US tax cuts

With the approval of the Senate tax bill in the early hours of Saturday 2 December, a key step has been taken toward tax cuts. The next chapter in the process is to reconcile this version with the House of Representatives’ tax bill, most likely in a ‘conference committee ’ from which a final version will emerge.

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The Swiss economy is gaining momentum

Swiss growth was disappointing at the end of 2016 and in the first half of 2017. Consequently, GDP growth this year is likely to be just 1.0% , its lowest level since 2012 . However, a wide set of statistics are already painting a considerably more positive picture of strengthening growth as we approach the end of 2017. Of particular note is the increasing contribution of manufacturing to real GDP growth.

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Euro Area Forecast to Grow 2.3percent in 2018

2017 was the year of the ‘Euroboom’ and the removal of political tail risks. Moving into 2018, we mark-to-market strong economic data, including carryover and revisions. We forecast annual GDP growth of 2.3% both in 2017 and 2018. Qualitatively, our forecasts reflect our view that the euro area has reached ‘escape velocity’, with important implications for investors.

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Strong Swiss growth lessens chance SNB will act

Swiss real GDP growth data surprised on the upside in Q2, expanding by 0.6% q-o-q (and 2.5% q-o-q annualised). In addition, growth in the three previous quarters was revised significantly higher. As a result, our GDP growth forecast for growth in Switzerland rises mechanically from 0.9% to 1.5% for 2016.

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