Week Ahead: Central Bankers Convene in Jackson Hole

Week Ahead: Central Bankers Convene in Jackson Hole

Written by: Phil Evans

The biggest events in the markets over the coming week.

Jackson Hole

August is the quietest month. Traders are on holiday and volumes are thin. In this environment it’s all eyes on Jackson Hole for the annual gathering of central bankers and economists. Last time they got together in Portugal earlier in the summer there appeared to be a degree of coordinated hawkishness, but has this survived?

In Jackson Hole there are two big questions that traders will want answers to. First, how close is the European Central Bank to dialling back stimulus. In July president Mario Draghi said the Governing Council is likely to discuss tapering in the autumn. What he wasn’t clear about was whether the next meeting in September counts as the autumn. The euro, which has ripped higher as markets seem to be front-running ECB tapering, could be left exposed to any dovish sentiment.

Second, will the Federal Reserve hike again this year. The most recent FOMC projections say it will, but the market has turned increasingly sceptical. Bearish bets on the dollar have risen and the odds of a third hike in 2017 have declined as weaker inflation readings temper any bullishness from the strong labour market. Nevertheless New York Fed president William Dudley recently reaffirmed his view that another increase would be appropriate if the economy “evolves in line with [his] expectations”.

UK GDP Reading

The second estimate of UK GDP in Q2 is out on Thursday. The first reading came in at a fairly lacklustre 0.3%. This was up from 0.2% in the first quarter but yearn-year growth has slowed to 1.7% from 2%. There are not too many hopes of an upwards revision.

While growth is anaemic, sterling has come under renewed pressure in the last few days with inflation losing momentum, which seems to have curtailed any immediate need for the Bank of England to raise rates.

BHP Results

Among a paucity of company results, the highlights are a couple of the FTSE’s mining giants – Antofagasta and BHP Billiton, which are both due to report on Tuesday.

For BHP, rising iron ore prices and output has lifted the share price but run-ins with investors, notably activist fund Elliott Advisers, over plans to spend more on its US shale asserts and enter a potentially lucrative fertiliser market means it’s not all plain sailing. This month the world’s biggest miner also announced plans to place itself at the heart of the electric car battery market.

Eurozone PMIs

Purchasing mangers’ indices (PMIs) for the Eurozone are due on Wednesday. The surveys of the manufacturing and services sectors for August will provide an outline of GDP growth in Q3. With signs of the recovery in Europe becoming more sustained, there is growing pressure on the ECB to look at reducing stimulus. Another strong performance is expected.

Source: ETX Capital

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