Daily Agenda: The Week Ahead, February 8 – 12, 2016

Millions welcome the Year of the Monkey; New Hampshire hosts U.S. presidential primary; New York Fashion Week takes to the runway.


Billy H.C. Kwok

Markets across much of Asia, including in China and Korea, will be closed in observance of Lunar New Year this coming week, providing a break for investors concerned over cooling growth in China. Macro watchers won’t be left hankering though. Among the data releases for the week is Eurostat’s release of euro zone GDP data ahead of the March ECB meeting.

Monday, February 8: In China, nonconsumer segments of the economy will be all but shut down for a week of celebrations welcoming the Year of the Monkey. Throngs of city dwellers will head to their hometowns for celebrations including the annual family reunion dinner and traditions such as deep housecleaning with the idea of sweeping away bad luck to make room for good fortune. One New Year’s party that officials in Beijing frown upon, however, is the annual Losar celebration in Tibet, which features veneration of the exiled Dalai Lama.

Tuesday, February 9: The New Hampshire primary is the first major primary election in the U.S. that produces delegates who select nominees for the Democratic and Republican parties. The event’s prominence as a proving ground for national election cycles coincided with the rise of televised coverage in the 1950s. The ascendency of war hero Dwight Eisenhower over presumed frontrunner Robert Taft in 1952 cemented the Granite State primary’s reputation for political surprises.

Wednesday, February 10: New York Fashion Week kicks off a month-long extravaganza that also spans London, Milan and Paris as the fashion world’s movers and shakers take in the collections for spring/summer 2016. The financial stakes for designers at the shows are massive. According to a report from the Joint Economic Committee of U.S. Congress, total fashion spending in the country is in the ballpark of $250 billion.

Thursday, February 11: Days after BNP Paribas, France’s largest financial institution, reported a dramatic decline in earnings, local rival Société Générale Group will announce results for the final quarter of 2015. With concerns over the impact of diminishing returns from European trading business units mounting among investors, last week’s announcement that Société Générale withdrew from the status of primary dealer for U.K. government bonds suggests that the firm may plan on joining BNP in scaling back risk.

Friday, February 12: Eurostat releases preliminary fourth-quarter 2015 estimates for euro zone GDP levels. On the same day Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland will announce growth levels for Germany, the largest national economy in Europe, for the same period. With debt markets increasingly pricing in an expanded asset purchase facility announcement at the March meeting of the European Central Bank’s Governing Council, the data may have a significant impact on investor sentiment.