Week Ahead Calendar 16th March – 22nd March

16th March 2020

Markets are still seemingly paying little attention to macro data releases while central banks are cutting rates outside of their scheduled meetings. The Federal Reserve and Reserve Bank of New Zealand have cancelled their policy meetings originally scheduled for 18th and 25th March. Nevertheless some of this week’s data releases may provide a first inkling on how major developed economies fared in February and early March. 

The US is due to release NY and Philly Fed manufacturing indices, retail sales, industrial output and housing market figures. In Europe, UK labour market data and in particular German ZEW economic sentiment index numbers for March may get some attention, however short-lived. The Swiss National Bank holds its monetary policy meeting on Thursday with markets eye up possible easing measures. In Australia, labour market data for February (out Wednesday) are the highlight in a reasonably light calendar.


Monday 16th March  

United States: NY Fed Empire State manufacturing index (March). Will give a first glimpse of how US manufacturing sector in March when coronavirus became an epidemic. 


Tuesday 17th March 

United Kingdom: Labour market data (January). These are likely to be regarded as “old” data which nevertheless point to underlying robustness.

Eurozone: German ZEW economic sentiment index (March). Germany is a very open economy reliant on export growth and economic sentiment is likely to have fallen sharply in March given impact of supply-side constraints on manufacturing. 

United States: Retail sales (February). Consumer confidence is key to US consumer demand but February data are arguably unlikely to have fully captured any downturn in either measure as a result of the coronavirus. 

United States: Industrial output (February). 


Wednesday 18th March  

Australia: Reserve Bank of Australia Assistant Governor Ellis to speak. 

United States: Building permits and housing starts (February). 

New Zealand: GDP (Q4 2019). Analysts forecast that GDP growth slowed only slightly to 0.5% qoq in Q4 from 0.7% qoq in Q3 but ultimately it is the Q1 2020 data which will matter to policy-makers and markets.


Thursday 19th March  

Australia: Labour market data (February). 

Switzerland: Trade balance (February). 

Switzerland: Swiss National Bank monetary policy meeting. The SNB has so far kept its policy rate unchanged at -0.75% and seemingly been unable or unwilling to reign in its appreciating currency. The risk is that if follows other major central banks, including the ECB, in announcing monetary policy easing measures.

United States: Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index (March). 


Friday 20th March  

United States: Existing home sales (February).