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Week Ahead: Lockdown Easing Spurs Optimism

By MarketPulse (Ed Moya)Market OverviewApr 19, 2020 03:04AM ET
Week Ahead: Lockdown Easing Spurs Optimism
By MarketPulse (Ed Moya)   |  Apr 19, 2020 03:04AM ET
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Make or Break

The upcoming week could be a make or break moment for global equities and the demand for safe-haven currencies.

Wall Street bulls seem to have already priced in all the dismal data and are growing confident that US has made it through the worst of new coronavirus cases. Another positive for the economy is that confidence improved in the functioning of key funding markets, alongside constant bond offering.

The dollar may continue to weaken if coronavirus cases continue to plateau across big cities and on further progress with clinical trials that are showing positive results with the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Key Economic Releases and Events:

Sunday, April 19th

UK Time Country Relevance Indicator Name Period
23:45 New Zealand High CPI QQ Q1
23:45 New Zealand Medium CPI YY Q1

Monday, April 20th

00:50 Japan High Trade Balance Total Yen Mar
09:30 Hong Kong Low Unemployment Rate Mar
14:00 Russia High Unemployment Rate Mar

Tuesday, April 21st

07:00 United Kingdom High Claimant Count Unem Chng Mar
07:00 United Kingdom High ILO Unemployment Rate Feb
07:00 United Kingdom Medium Avg Wk Earnings 3M (NYSE:MMM) YY Feb
07:00 United Kingdom Medium Avg Earnings (Ex-Bonus) Feb
08:30 Sweden Medium Unemployment Rate Mar
10:00 Germany High ZEW Economic Sentiment Apr
13:00 New Zealand High Milk Auctions 21 Apr, w/e
13:30 Canada High Retail Sales MM Feb
15:00 United States High Existing Home Sales Mar
21:30 United States Not Rated API weekly crude stocks 13 Apr, w/e

Wednesday, Apr 22nd

07:00 United Kingdom Low Core CPI MM Mar
07:00 United Kingdom Low Core CPI YY Mar
07:00 United Kingdom Medium CPI MM Mar
07:00 United Kingdom High CPI YY Mar
07:00 Denmark High Consumer Confidence Apr
12:00 Turkey High CBT Weekly Repo Rate Apr
12:00 Turkey High O/N Lending Rate Apr
12:00 Turkey High O/N Borrowing Rate Apr
12:00 Turkey High Late Liquidity Window Rate Apr
13:30 Canada High CPI BoC Core YY Mar
13:30 Canada High CPI BoC Core MM Mar
14:00 Russia High Industrial Output Mar
15:30 United States Not Rated EIA Weekly Crude Stocks 17 Apr, w/e

Thursday, Apr 23rd

00:00 Australia High Manufacturing PMI Apr
00:00 Australia High Services PMI Apr
00:00 Australia High Composite PMI Apr
00:00 South Korea Medium GDP Growth QQ Advance Q1
00:00 South Korea Medium GDP Growth YY Advance Q1
01:30 Japan High Jibun Bank Mfg PMI Flash Apr
06:00 Singapore Low Core CPI YY Mar
06:00 Singapore Medium Consumer Price Index YY Mar
08:15 France High Markit Mfg Flash PMI Apr
08:15 France High Markit Serv Flash PMI Apr
08:15 France High Markit Comp Flash PMI Apr
08:30 Germany High Markit Mfg Flash PMI Apr
08:30 Germany High Markit Service Flash PMI Apr
08:30 Germany High Markit Comp Flash PMI Apr
09:00 Euro Zone High Markit Mfg Flash PMI Apr
09:00 Euro Zone High Markit Serv Flash PMI Apr
09:00 Euro Zone High Markit Comp Flash PMI Apr
09:30 United Kingdom High Flash Composite PMI Apr
09:30 United Kingdom High Flash Manufacturing PMI Apr
09:30 United Kingdom High Flash Services PMI Apr
09:30 Hong Kong Not Rated CPI MM NSA Mar
09:30 Hong Kong Not Rated CPI NSA Mar
12:00 Mexico Low Retail Sales YY Feb
12:00 Mexico Low Retail Sales MM Feb
13:30 United States High Initial Jobless Claims 13 Apr, w/e
13:30 United States Low Jobless Claims 4-Wk Avg 13 Apr, w/e
13:30 United States Medium Continued Jobless Claims 6 Apr, w/e
14:00 Russia Low Cbank Wkly Reserves 13 Apr, w/e
14:45 United States High Markit Comp Flash PMI Apr
14:45 United States High Markit Mfg PMI Flash Apr
14:45 United States High Markit Svcs PMI Flash Apr

Friday, April 24th

00:30 Japan High CPI, Core Nationwide YY Mar
00:30 Japan High CPI, Overall Nationwide Mar
06:00 Singapore Medium Manufacturing Output MM Mar
06:00 Singapore Medium Manufacturing Output YY Mar
07:00 United Kingdom High Retail Sales MM Mar
07:00 United Kingdom High Retail Sales Ex-Fuel MM Mar
07:00 United Kingdom High Retail Sales YY Mar
07:00 United Kingdom Medium Retail Sales Ex-Fuel YY Mar
09:00 Germany High Ifo Business Climate New Apr
11:30 Russia High Central bank key rate Apr
13:30 United States High Durable Goods Mar
15:00 United States High U Mich Sentiment Final Apr



This will be a huge week for the earnings season. Updates from Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), IBM (NYSE:IBM), SAP (NYSE:SAP), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Ericsson (BS:ERICAs) highlight the first major round of tech results. If US stocks are going to avoid a retest of the March 23rd lows, tech will have to lead the way. Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) and Alcoa (NYSE:AA) earnings updates will also be closely watched.

On the economic data front, the focus falls on the housing, jobless claims and the flash PMI readings. April could be as bad as it gets so Wall Street might be a little forgiving for worse-than-expected misses.

US Politics

Capitol Hill will debate how much and when will we see a second round of payments to Americans. Another set of direct cash payments to Americans will likely happen but we could start to see some resistance if parts of the economy begin to reopen.

The spread of COVID-19 across America will closely be watched in seven midwestern states. Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky are attempting a coordinated effort in reopening the Midwest regional economy. If this goes smoothly, we could see this pretty much solidify some of these battleground states for President Trump.


The lockdown has been extended by at least another three weeks, not a surprise given the numbers we’ve been seeing. The number of new cases may be leveling off but the government won’t be taking any risks having been heavily criticized for their initial response.


The return to normality is likely to have many bumps in the road but with each passing week, it’s looking more and more encouraging in Italy. The lockdown has clearly worked which means we’re now into

easing mode. Shops selling books, stationery and clothes for babies and young children have been allowed to reopen which is a promising first step.


Some businesses in Spain have been allowed to return to work but, as with elsewhere, extreme caution is being urged and the government is likely to take baby steps, to begin with. Again though, the trend is extremely encouraging, throughout the region as a whole.


The bloc eventually agreed on a €500 billion rescue package for countries hit by the coronavirus, with the ESM making up €240 billion in spending guarantees, the European Investment Bank €200 billion and the rest the European Commission via working schemes. The deal is a typical euro fudge that tries to appeal to all parties while satisfying none. In times of stress, the EU has typically delivered the bare minimum needed, late and via the backdoor. Some things never change.


It’s feared Turkey could become a new hotspot for the coronavirus after the government took much longer to implement lockdown measures, instead prioritizing the economy which had already suffered considerably in recent years. The number of cases have been rising fast since the country started recording them, as has the death toll forcing some to question whether the situation is destined to get much worse. The CBRT announced measures on Friday to mitigate the economic impact and is expected to cut rates next week by 50 basis points, taking the repo rate to 9.25%.


Central bank interest rate decisions have become another entirely unpredictable event in this crisis, with many choosing to not even wait for scheduled meetings to make changes. It’s worth, therefore, taking expectations with a pinch of salt and they will differ depending on the platform you’re looking at. Some are suggesting that the Central Bank of Russia will cut by at least 25 basis points next week but expectations, as ever, are broad.

South Africa

The SARB held an unscheduled meeting this week and cut interest rates by 1% to 4.25% as the country heads for a severe contraction this year. The country is now expected to contract by 6.1% vs 0.2% at its last meeting three weeks ago. The country lost its final investment-grade credit rating at the end of March.


On Monday, China expected to cut a 1-year Loan Prime Rate by 10 bps to 3.95% and 5-year to 4.65%. No other significant data for the rest of the week.

China retail sales disappointed suggesting the domestic recovery is elusive. Also, markets will look for more data on the possibility that previously recovered cases can spontaneously have COVID-19, in much the same way that malaria reoccurs.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong unemployment on Monday is likely to remain officially stable at 3.70%, although the situation on the ground is likely to be at odds with official data. No other significant data.

Hong Kong remains under tighter restrictions following a recurrence in COVID-19 cases. Progress on this front will be the center of market attention.


Inflation and Industrial production Thursday and Friday. After today’s huge rebound in non-oil exports, the potential for upside surprise with Industrial Production. Potential positive overflow in SGD,

Tightened COVID-19 “circuit-breaker” restrictions continue for the 3rd week, most of the economy that can is working from home. Singapore faces a moment of truth in the coming week, with COVID-19 breaking out in worker dormitories. A huge increase in COVID-19 cases has occurred this week from this source.That would be very negative for an economy deep in recession already despite government stimulus efforts.


No significant data next week.

Attention remains focused on the number of COVID-19 cases and a timetable for the easing of lockdown restrictions that were recently extended. Social unrest concerns are elevated. The worst is yet to come for India in all likelihood.


RBA minutes Tuesday to be uneventful. No other significant data.

The AUD has risen 9.0% this month, and the ASX 200 by 11.40% this month. Currency and stock market at the forefront of the peak-virus, reducing lockdown, and central bank reflation trade. That leaves both the currency and the stock market vulnerable unexpected bad news.

New Zealand

No significant data with the country entering the last week of the four-week national lockdown. Virus cases appear to have peaked. A lockdown extension could renew pressure on the stock market and currency.

NZD has rallied 4.1% this month and the stock market by a huge 14.0% on “peak-virus” and a China recovery. Disappointments on either front leave the NZD vulnerable to an aggressive downward reversal.


Monday, Japan Balance of Trade. Thursdays Jibun comp. PMI. Friday Inflation Rate. None are expected to materially affect markets.

Japan’s government has been found wanting in its COVID-19 response and is perceived as putting business and the Olympics first. Cases are increasing along with the scale of lock-downs.

The Nikkei 225 has rallied 19.0% in the past month on global recovery hopes. Any bad news next week leaves Japan stocks vulnerable to an aggressive sell-off.



Oil prices are making small gains but continue to trade not far from their lows. The near-term WTI contract is taking a beating though as it approaches expiry, as storage facilities rapidly approach capacity and production isn’t falling fast enough. The inventory data is accelerating higher even as US output declines, now 800,000 barrels a day off its peak a month ago. The prospect of a treatment and economies reopening is obviously positive for prices but the near-term problems aren’t being resolved fast enough.


Gold profit-taking has properly kicked in now, with the yellow metal off 2% today and temporarily back below $1,700. The dollar has remained strong despite the bounce in risk appetite, although the prospect of the US economy reopening should be good for the currency. These relationships are never particularly straightforward. Either way, gold is under a little pressure, with $1,680 the key level below now and $1,640 notable below that.


The battle is not over yet, with bitcoin bulls taking another run at the upper end of the $6,500-7,500 range. News of Libra 2.0 overnight may have aided the rebound even if the proposal isn’t quite the digital currency that purists believe in. As we saw before though, that isn’t necessarily important and prices have been boosted just by being in the headlines and this does just that. In this sense, Libra is very much bitcoin’s friend. Whether Libra 2.0 will generate the same level of excitement, generally, despite having more realistic targets is another thing.

Original Post

Week Ahead: Lockdown Easing Spurs Optimism

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Week Ahead: Lockdown Easing Spurs Optimism

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