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Economic Calendar - Top 5 Things to Watch This Week

Published Nov 25, 2018 06:08AM ET
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Please name your holdings portfolio - Trade-related headlines are likely to be the main driver of sentiment this week, as investors look ahead to a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and China President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.

Washington and Beijing have been engaged in a trade spat for the most part of the year, with both countries slapping tariffs on several of each other's imports.

The tariffs have raised concern in the market about a potential slowdown in global economic growth.

Meanwhile, in Europe, Brexit headlines will be in focus after European Union leaders endorsed Theresa May's Brexit plans on Sunday, setting up a showdown with lawmakers in her own country.

Global financial markets will also pay close attention to comments from a handful of Federal Reserve officials, including Chair Jerome Powell, for additional insight into the outlook for monetary policy in the months ahead.

The Fed is widely expected to announce its fourth rate increase of 2018 in December, but investors are beginning to question how many rate hikes it can implement next year, having noted the cautious tone creeping into policymakers' comments of late.

On the data front, there is important third-quarter U.S. growth data this week, which should lend further support to the notion that the economy is on solid footing.

Elsewhere, traders will also focus on flash euro zone inflation figures.

In commodities, market players will be watching oil prices, which continued their collapse last week to reach their lowest level in more than a year, amid signs of swelling global inventories ahead of an important OPEC gathering next month.

Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of the five biggest events on the economic calendar that are most likely to affect the markets.

1. Trump-Xi Meeting

With global growth increasingly suffering from frictions over tariffs and trade between the world's two largest economies, tensions will come to a head when Donald Trump and Xi Jinping meet on the sidelines of a two-day G20 summit in Buenos Aires, which starts Friday.

It will be the first time the leaders have met since Trump imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports to force concessions from Beijing on greater access to Chinese markets, forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft. China responded with import tariffs on U.S. goods.

Market players are not optimistic about any progress at the Trump-Xi talks, but are leaving room for surprises. There is hope that both sides will show a willingness to negotiate and hold off on a further escalation of tariffs.

Tensions between the two countries have dominated economic headlines this year, with both sides imposing tit-for-tat tariffs on each other's products.

Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports - about $267 billion more in goods - if Beijing fails to address U.S. demands.

2. Brexit Developments

European Union leaders gathered in Brussels on Sunday to officially endorse UK Prime Minister Theresa May's withdrawal agreement on how the UK will leave the bloc in March of next year.

But the EU's acceptance of the deal has only enraged some pro-Brexit politicians in the UK, who believe that May is making too many concessions to the EU.

That now sets up a showdown between May and lawmakers in her own country, as the UK leader nears a crucial vote on her proposals next month. The Parliamentary vote is likely to be on December 11.

Lawmakers in the opposition Labour party, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party have all indicated that they will vote against the deal. The Northern Irish DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) party, which is propping up May's government in Parliament, also said it would vote against it.

Failure could lead to May being toppled as prime minister and significantly raise the risk of a no-deal Brexit.

3. Fed Chair Powell Speaks

A number of Fed speeches will get market attention in the week ahead, as traders watch for further clues on interest rates.

Topping the agenda will be remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who will be speaking at the Economic Club of New York at 12:00PM ET (1700GMT) Wednesday.

Speeches from Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, Kansas City Fed President Esther George, and New York Fed President John Williams (NYSE:WMB) will also be in focus.

Their speeches will be useful for investors who have been scaling back their expectations for future rate hikes following recent remarks from a number of Fed officials that were interpreted as dovish.

Also on the agenda are minutes of the last Fed meeting, which will be released Thursday.

A fourth rate hike for this year is expected next month, though cautious comments by Fed officials about the global economic outlook suggested the central bank could slow the pace of its monetary policy tightening cycle.

4. U.S. 3Q GDP - Second Estimate

The U.S. Commerce Department is to release revised figures on third-quarter economic growth at 8:30AM ET (1330GMT) Wednesday.

The data is expected to show that the economy grew at a 3.6% annual rate in the three months ending Sept. 30, a slight upward revision from a preliminary estimate of 3.5%.

Besides the GDP report, this week's rather light economic calendar also features data on U.S. personal income and spending, which includes personal consumption expenditures (PCE) inflation figures, the Fed's preferred metric for inflation.

The latest CB consumer confidence survey, as well as the October readings on pending and new home sales will also capture the market's attention.

Recent data has painted a worrying picture of the U.S. housing market, which is struggling with rising mortgage rates and tight inventory.

5. Euro Zone Flash Inflation

The euro zone will publish flash inflation figures for November at 5:00AM ET (1000GMT) on Friday.

The consensus forecast is that the report will show consumer prices rose 2.1%, a tad slower than the 2.2% increase a month earlier. The core figure, without volatile energy and food prices, is seen holding steady at 1.1%, unchanged from the preceding month.

Germany, France, Italy and Spain will produce their own CPI reports throughout the week.

The European Central Bank kept its policy unchanged last month, staying on track to end bond purchases at the end of this year. However, slowing growth, weak business sentiment, and rising political instability have seen markets dial back bets on a December 2019 rate hike.

Fresh comments from ECB President Mario Draghi, who is scheduled to speak twice during the week, may shed further light on the ECB's monetary policy outlook.

Stay up-to-date on all of this week's economic events by visiting:

Economic Calendar - Top 5 Things to Watch This Week

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Comments (4)
David Wu
David Wu Nov 25, 2018 6:48PM ET
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how about ngas?
Madubuko Chidiebere
Madubuko Chidiebere Nov 25, 2018 11:17AM ET
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usdjpy will also be volatile when Trump-Xi meets regardless of the outcome.
Dar Smith
Dar Smith Nov 25, 2018 10:36AM ET
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Also, you forgot to mention oil prices. While low prices will hurt the oil sector of the economy and s&p, they drive consumer spending. Also, low oil prices will drive down the Fed's inflation number. I welcome any arguments and comments please!
Dar Smith
Dar Smith Nov 25, 2018 7:58AM ET
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You forgot to mention that a possible outcome, and in my opinion, a probable outcome, based on leaks and what we know about Trump, of the Trump / Xi meeting at the G20 would be a temporary truce with the January tariff increases to 25% being put on hold. This would change economists outlook for 2019.
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