– Data releases are thinning on the calendar this week, with speeches from central bank policymakers making up three of the remaining eight ‘high’ rated events through Friday.
– Inflation data in focus this week with New Zealand (Monday), British (Wednesday), Japanese (Thursday), and Canadian (Friday) CPI reports due out in the coming days.
– The June Australian labor market report (Thursday) is the only non-inflation ‘high’ rated data release due the rest of the week.
New Zealand is due to see a meaningful rise in Q2’18 inflation figures, lifted by the base effect from higheroil prices as well as a weaker trade-weighted New Zealand Dollar year-over-year. As a result, we’re looking for the Q2’18 New Zealand CPI figure to come in at +1.6% from +1.1% (y/y), the first rebound in three quarters. Nevertheless, inflation is due to remain below the RBNZ’s medium-term target of +2%,leaving little opportunity for 2018 rate hike expectations to rebound in a meaningful way. Currently, rates markets are not pricing in any RBNZ policy tightening in 2018; instead, a 10% chance of a 25-bps rate cut is priced-in for December 2018.
A consensus forecasts are calling to see inflation having increased by +0.2% from +0.4% (m/m) and by +2.6% from +2.4% (y/y). Core CPI is expected to have stayed on holdat +2.1% unch (y/y). The report is expected to show the first tick higher in headline inflation since November 2017 (when it moved from +3.0% to +3.1% (y/y)). Now that Bank of England policymakers are embracing the point of view that the Q1’18 growth slowdown was transitory, signs are pointing to a 25-bps rate hike in August. According to overnight index swaps, rates markets are pricing-in 91% chance of a hike next month. As such, given the limited upside in pricing in a hike, a miss could leave a bigger impact on GBP-crosses than a beat.
Australian employment increased by +12K in May, and despite labor market data proving stronger in recent months, focus remains elsewhere for traders. With the unemployment rate set to hold at 5.4%, the Reserve Bank of Australia is probably looking for nothing more than signs of stable growth rather than another blowout print to keep their optimism about the labor market intact. Current forecasts call for +16.5K jobs to have been added last month, in what should amount to another solid labor report overall.
But despite the steadily improving state of the labor market, uneven economic data appears to be a wrinkle in the outlook for the RBA, which continues to note that real wage growth trends aren’t strong enough to provoke a rate hike any time soon. Currently, rates markets are not pricing in any RBA policy tightening in 2018; instead, a 6% chance of a 25-bps rate cut is priced-in for December 2018.
Japanese inflation figures are expected to edgehigher, due in at +0.8% in June from +0.7% in March (y/y). Price pressures have been muted for most of 2018, ever since the February reading peaked at the fastest rate of price pressures since April 2015 – when Shinzo Abe government enacted the (unpopular) sales tax reform. Accordingly, a lack of inflationary pressures should help limit market participants’ speculation over an early termination to the BOJ’s easing policies; the BOJ has recently signaled that the end of the extraordinary easing measures will come around the start of FY2019 – next April. Additional soft inflation figures, particularly in the context of inflation rising in other developed economies (Canada, Eurozone, UK, and US) means more Japanese Yen weakness could be in the cards.
Canadian inflation is expected to holdabove the central bank’s medium-term midpoint target of +2.0% in April, set to hold at +2.3% (y/y). Despite recent improvements in the labor market, figures from Statistics Canada showed that overall wage growth is at its lowest since 1990. With both inflation and labor market data trending in the right direction, it seems that the only thing standing between the BOC hiking rates again this year is a resolution to the NAFTA negotiations.