Weekly Fundamental Bulletin: Japan GDP & Eurozone/UK Inflation

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Last week’s highlights

RBNZ surprises with no rate cut

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand surprised the markets with no rate cuts at its meeting last week.

The central bank also ruled out any rate cuts until March next year, putting an end to all speculation.

The kiwi surged in response to the central bank’s inaction. The RBNZ also left its current stimulus purchases unchanged at 100 billion NZD.

The bank stated that starting December, it will begin funding for a lending program to help banks reduce funding costs and lower interest rates.

The decision was slightly hawkish and came as policymakers said that the economic activity since August proved to be more resilient.

UK Q3 GDP rebounds

The UK’s economy managed to move out of a recession at one of the fastest paces on record during the third quarter of the year.

However, this comes just before the nation went into a second lockdown.

Data from the UK’s office for national statistics showed that the GDP grew at a pace of 15.5% sequentially in Q3 2020. This was the biggest expansion in economic activity since record-keeping began.

The expansion was, however, slower than the forecasts of a 15.8% increase. The expansion comes after two consecutive quarterly declines.

US consumer prices stay unchanged in October

Consumer prices in the United States remained unchanged in October, according to official data released last week.

The Labor Department said that the consumer price index was unchanged in October, following a 0.2% increase in the previous month.

Forecasts pointed to an uptick in the headline inflation. Food prices grew at a pace of 0.2% in October while energy prices rose 0.1%.

Excluding food and energy prices, the core inflation rate was also unchanged during the month following a 0.2% increase previously.

German ZEW economic confidence hits a 7-month low

The latest surveys on the economy saw a sharp contraction in November.

The official German ZEW economic confidence survey fell to a seven-month low as a result. This came on the back of the second wave of lockdowns in Germany.

The economic sentiment index fell more than forecast to 39 points in November, down from 56.1 in October. The data was worse than the forecasts of a decline to 41.7.

The current conditions index fell to -64.3 from -59.5 in October. The official note said that the decline in economic confidence mirrors another patch of the economic slowdown in Europe’s largest economy.

China’s consumer prices fall to the lowest levels in 11-years

The latest inflation data from China saw the consumer price index falling to the lowest levels since October 2009.

Official data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that headline inflation fell to 0.5% in October. This follows a 1.7% increase in the month before.

The data was also well below the general forecasts. The declines came on the back of falling pork prices which fell 2.8% on the year following an increase of 25.5% in the previous month.

The core inflation rate was steady at 0.5% during the month.

Upcoming Economic Events

Japan Q3 GDP set to rebound

Japan will be releasing its third-quarter preliminary GDP report. Forecasts show that there is a strong likelihood that the Japanese economy rebounded in the third quarter following a steep contraction in the previous quarter.

As a result, the Q3 GDP for Japan is forecast to rise 18.9%, following a 28.1% drop in the second quarter.

Despite the rebound, Japan’s GDP still remains well below its pre-pandemic level. The expansion is likely to have been driven by stronger private consumption and exports, both of which were impacted during the second quarter.

Australia unemployment rate to rise in October

Expectations are for Australia’s labor market to slow in October. This comes amid the flare up of the pandemic and the re-introduction of lockdowns.

We can also expect the data for October to be mixed as restrictions eased in parts of Melbourne. An overall softening in the labor market across the states remains a consistent feature, however.

The unemployment rate is therefore forecast to rise to 7.0% or 7.1% for October. Meanwhile, the economy is set to see another month of negative job growth.

Eurozone headline CPI to remain weak

The final Eurozone inflation data is due this week.

Consumer prices continue to remain stubbornly low. Flash estimates pointed to a weak inflation growth of just 0.2%. However, the final HICP will likely provide a bit more details.

Inflation in the services sector hit a record low of 0.4% in October which offset the modest increase in non-energy sectors. Forecasts point to a -0.3% headline print for the Eurozone for October.

UK inflation and retail sales data on tap this week

UK retail sales for October are forecast to show a 0.2% decline on a month over month basis.

The report, which comes a bit too early, covers the period between October 4th through the 30th. Some anecdotal evidence of an increase in retail sales may come on the back of early Christmas shopping.

Online sales on the contrary are likely to keep up the strong trend amid the restrictions.

Earlier in the week, the UK’s inflation report will be coming out. Headline inflation is forecast to rise to 0.6% in October, marking a modest uptick in data.

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