Daily Agenda: The Week Ahead, December 1 – 5, 2014

The ECB’s rate announcement on Thursday and U.S. Energy Information Administration crude oil data are among the major financial headlines for the first week of December.


At its meeting yesterday in Vienna, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) failed to come to an agreement to cut production levels, further depressing crude prices and supporting a stronger U.S. dollar as inflationary pressures appear even more elusive. Analyzing a market structure with such strong correlations across asset classes and geographies makes risk management a difficult task for any allocator considering their exposures. For now at least, consensus appears to be that the forces in motion will remain strong through the last few weeks of 2014 as central banks continue to follow the path of least resistance and defensive investors favor increasingly pricy U.S. dollar-denominated assets.

Monday, December 1: In China, final manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data for November is scheduled for release. Initial readings for both the official National Bureau of Statistics and HSBC have been consistently soft in recent months stoking concerns over slowing demand growth prospects in commodities markets. Final November manufacturing PMI indexes will also be published for the primary European Union economies, with consensus forecasts showing a marginal contraction from the initial reading for the aggregate euro zone measure. In the U.K., October M4, consumer credit and mortgage lending data will provide more insight into the impact on Bank of England easing on the domestic economy. in the U.S. the primary data release stands to be November ISM manufacturing indexes, as markets return to activity after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Tuesday, December 2: The Bank of Japan is scheduled to release data on the country’s monetary base. Over Down Under, the monthly benchmark rate announcement from the Reserve Bank of Australia could potentially lend some insight into the bank’s view of the broader Asia-Pacific regional economy, particularly with regard to demand from China. On a domestic level, October building permits will be a focus, as Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens continues to make statements wary of a new property bubble resulting from accommodative rates. October unemployment levels for Spain are to be announced, placing one of the most fragile economies in the euro zone under the microscope. In the U.S. November motor vehicle sales will be released. Note that consumer credit data for October, scheduled for Friday, is forecast to see further expansion in the nonrevolving segment, suggesting that automotive lending continues to be expanding at a healthy rate as producers vie to accommodate more sales through financing.

Wednesday, December 3: Financial data firm Markit will deliver final nonmanufacturing PMI data for China and the primary EU economies, although the bigger financial headline out of Europe stands to be revised third-quarter euro zone gross domestic product data, with forecasts for growth levels to remain anemic. In the U.S., as they wind down from the inconclusive OPEC meeting, commodities analysts will have their eyes on Energy Information Administration crude oil inventory levels. The release of the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, scheduled for 2 pm U.S. Eastern, will provide fresh insight into the FOMC’s view of the health of the U.S. economy. In Toronto, Royal Bank of Canada, the nation’s largest financial institution by assets, will announce third-quarter results with expectations that the bank will post strong numbers.

Thursday, December 4: The biggest story of the day is likely to be the European Central Bank’s rate announcement. As markets increasingly anticipate action instead of rhetoric from ECB president Mario Draghi, there will be even more pressure to act, should the euro zone GDP release on Wednesday disappoint. Export data in Australia’s October trade data report is forecast to improve marginally over the prior month, as the private sector anticipates the future impact of the country’s sweeping new trade agreement with China. There will be fresh interest in U.S. weekly initial jobless claims data following last week’s unwelcome uptick in the newly unemployed. As earnings season for primary financial institutions continues in Toronto, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce quarterly earnings will be a focus for equity investors sizing up the health of the Canadian banking sector.

Friday, December 5: German factory orders and industrial output for October is scheduled for release. Concerns about the continued impact of economic sanctions against Russia have weighed on the German industrial sector in recent months. The Department of Labor’s November employment situation report will be the focus of U.S. market narratives. Consensus forecasts show improvements in nonfarm payrolls and wages and no change in the headline unemployment rate. Separately, October trade data is expected to see a reduced deficit recorded as a strong dollar and softer oil prices tip the scales in favor of importers. Scotiabank will release earnings for the third quarter before equity markets open in Toronto.