Key Events This Week: Busy Week of Asian policy Meetings Amid Policy Tightening Angst

Here are the key economic events and data releases to look out for this week:

Monday, January 17

CNH: China 4Q GDP, December industrial production and retail sales
US markets closed for Martin Luther King Jr. holiday

Tuesday, January 18

JPY: Bank of Japan decision
EUR: Germany ZEW survey expectations
GBP: UK November jobless claims, December unemployment
Goldman Sachs Q4 earnings

Wednesday, January 19

EUR: Germany December inflation
GBP: UK December inflation
GBP: Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey speech
Bank of America Q4 earnings
Morgan Stanley Q4 earnings

Thursday, January 20

CNY: PBOC loan prime rate decision
JPY: Japan December external trade
AUD: Australia December unemployment
EUR: European Central Bank publishes Dec meeting account
USD: US weekly initial jobless claims
US crude oil: EIA inventory report
Netflix Q4 earnings

Friday, January 21

JPY: Japan December inflation
GBP: BOE policy maker Catherine Mann speech, UK December retail sales
EUR: Eurozone January consumer confidence

The potential for the removal of the liquidity punchbowl (aka monetary policy tightening) is dominating the market’s thinking at present.

The strong US CPI report released last week added more pressure on the US Federal Reserve to stat lifting rates earlier than once thought, potentially as soon as March. We’ve had numerous FOMC members recently marking a more hawkish bias to the committee’s views, including notably, the fabled dove Brainard in her Fed chair nomination appearance before the Senate.

Another Fed official, Waller, also mentioned the chance of five rates hikes this year, although he doesn’t favour a 50bp hike in March. It’s worth remembering that it is a US holiday on Monday, so their markets are closed, and the blackout period has started before the next Fed meeting on 26 January so there won’t be any more Committee members to listen out for on the wires.

Company earnings also continue with more bulge bracket US banks releasing their fourth quarter results. US stocks notched their second straight weekly decline, pushed lower by disappointing earnings from financial industry bellwether JPMorgan Chase which has clouded an already mixed outlook for the US economy.

S&P 500 daily chart

Asian policymakers in focus

We kick off the week with Chinese fourth quarter GDP (4% y/y vs. 3.3% est.), as well as December’s industrial production (4.3% vs. 3.7% est.) and retail sales (1.7% vs. 3.8% est.). The full-year GDP came in at 8.1%, slightly above the median estimate by economists but well above the government’s 2021 target of over 6%. Still, the data confirmed that the final quarter was losing momentum but the real test for the domestic economy will come in the first quarter of this year, due to current regional lockdowns on top of the ongoing woes in the property sector.

With this in mind, the PBoC lowered both the one-year medium-term lending facility rate abd the seven-day reverse repurchase rate by 10 basis points respectively, a move not seen in nearly two years, and also injected more liquidity into the financial system via US$110 billion in loans.

The Bank of Japan meeting on Tuesday is also getting some airtime after “sources” said it is thinking of a rate hike at some point beyond this year and debating how to manage the messaging. Inflation is picking up and possibly risks to prices may now be described as “balanced” but hitting the 2% inflation target is still a long way off.

USD/JPY daily chart

UK data to add pressure to the BoE

We get the usual mid-month data dump in the UK with signals about labour market strength, the pace of consumer price inflation and retail sales. These are the last official updates before the BoE meeting on 3 February, with CPI expected to rise above the forecast 5% going forward and a labour marker remaining tight.

GBP/USD daily

By Lukman Otunuga Senior Research Analyst

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Lukman Otunuga

Lukman Otunuga is a research analyst at FXTM. A keen follower of macroeconomic events, with a strong professional and academic background in finance, Lukman is well versed in the various factors affecting the currency and commodity markets. Lukman provides in-depth analysis on the global currency and commodity markets and is often quoted by leading international media outlets such as: MarketWatch, CNBC, NASDAQ, Reuters, AFP, The Guardian and Yahoo. Prior to joining FXTM, Lukman spent two years as a research analyst with international currency broker FXCM, where he focused on a technical and fundamental analysis of the global currency, commodity, and stock markets. Lukman was also responsible for leading educational seminars for international and local high net worth individuals, and has published a series of educational articles on forex trading with City A.M. Lukman holds a BSc (hons) degree in Economics from the University of Essex, UK and an MSc in Finance from London School of Business and Finance, where he studied corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions and the role of international financial institutions