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Economic Calendar - Top 5 Things To Watch This Week

EconomyJun 17, 2018 10:50
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© Reuters. Top 5 things to watch this week in financial markets - With a lack of major economic reports and earnings news in the week ahead, trade-related headlines will likely dictate sentiment after the Trump administration announced new tariffs of $50 billion of Chinese imports and Beijing threatened to respond in kind.

Global financial markets will also turn their attention to the European Central Bank's "Forum on Central Banking" in Portugal this week, with a panel discussion including the heads of the European, U.S. and Japanese central banks in the spotlight.

Staying on the central bank front, the Bank of England is expected to keep interest rates on hold, but the focus will be on indications for its following meeting in August, when markets put the chance of a hike at about 50%.

Meanwhile, market players will eye flash survey data on euro zone business activity to gauge if the region's economy is merely encountering a soft patch or entering a more lasting decline.

Also of note, energy markets will be focused on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries highly-anticipated meeting to see whether major producers plan to increase production.

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. U.S.-China Trade Tensions

Escalating trade rhetoric will keep investors on their toes after President Donald Trump announced hefty tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports on Friday, prompting Beijing to warn of a similar response.

Trump laid out a list of more than 800 strategically important imports from China that would be subject to a 25% tariff starting on July 6, including cars, the latest hardline stance on trade by a U.S. president who has already been wrangling with allies.

China's Commerce Ministry said it would respond with tariffs "of the same scale and strength" and that any previous trade deals with Trump were "invalid." The official Xinhua news agency said China would impose 25% tariffs on 659 U.S. products, ranging from soybeans and autos to seafood.

Trump said in a statement that the U.S. would pursue additional tariffs if China retaliates.

Washington and Beijing appeared increasingly headed toward open trade conflict after several rounds of negotiations failed to resolve U.S. complaints over Chinese industrial policies, lack of market access in China and a $375 billion U.S. trade deficit.

2. ECB's "Forum on Central Banking"

The fifth annual European Central Bank (ECB) "Forum on Central Banking" is scheduled to take place in Sintra, Portugal from Monday to Wednesday.

It will focus on price and wage-setting in advanced economies.

During three days of sessions and panels, approximately 150 central bank governors, academics, financial journalists and high-level financial market representatives will exchange views on current policy issues and discuss the chosen topic from a longer-term perspective.

The highlight of the summit is likely to be Wednesday's panel discussion including ECB President Mario Draghi, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Bank of Japan (BoJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.

All three have had their moment in the spotlight last week at their central bank meetings.

The BoJ kept monetary policy steady on Friday and offered a weaker view on inflation than in April, signaling that it will be in no rush to dial back its massive stimulus program.

Meanwhile, the ECB on Thursday indicated it would not be raising interest rates through the summer of 2019. The bank's unexpectedly dovish guidance on interest rates overshadowed its statement that it aimed to wrap up its massive stimulus program at the end of this year.

The Fed, on the other hand, hiked interest rates for the second time this year on Wednesday, and took a slightly more hawkish policy tone in signaling two additional rate hikes by year-end, rather than the one additional move that had previously been expected.

3. Bank of England Policy Announcement

The Bank of England (BoE) is widely expected to keep policy on hold when it meets this week, though most of the focus will be on signals on what the appetite is for hikes further out in 2018.

A decision is due at 1200GMT (8:00AM ET) on Thursday, with no news conference, though BoE governor Mark Carney will deliver a speech at the annual banker's dinner at London's Mansion House that evening.

A Reuters poll of economists published earlier this month showed the British central bank was expected to raise rates in August, but that call was hanging in the balance as policymakers await confirmation that the economy is past its early 2018 slowdown.

The BoE has said it wants to be sure the economy has recovered from near-stagnation in an unusually cold early start to the year, before pushing ahead with only its second rate hike since before the global financial crisis.

Financial markets are pricing in a little over a 50% chance of an August hike, when the BoE next updates its economic forecasts and holds a news conference.

4. Flash Euro Zone PMIs

IHS Markit's composite flash Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the euro zone is due at 0800GMT (4:00AM ET) on Friday, amid expectations for a modest decline to 53.9, which would be the lowest reading in nearly two years.

The index measures the combined output of both the manufacturing and service sectors and is seen as a good guide to overall economic health.

Ahead of the euro zone PMI's, France and Germany will release their own PMI reports at 0700GMT and 0730GMT respectively.

A cold snap from February into March, later Easter holidays than usual and strikes took their toll in the first quarter, but hard data since have not pointed to a clear rebound, raising concern over the strength of Europe's economy.

5. OPEC Meeting

Oil ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other major producing countries will meet in Vienna on Thursday and Friday to review their current production agreement.

Most market analysts expect the oil cartel to consider altering a production deal that has held back 1.8 million barrels a day from the market for the past 18 months.

Russia has pushed for returning a million barrels per day back into the market relatively quickly. However, Saudi Arabia would like to try a lower amount to prevent the price from dropping too much, experts said.

However, not all OPEC members agree. Iran, Venezuela and Iraq have all said the current production agreement should stay in place.

Oil prices took a beating Friday, losing around 4% as traders anticipated higher global supplies.

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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