Last week was a very volatile week for many currencies, especially the Euro which moved almost 4c against the dollar. The collapse of the Irish Government looks to have limited implications for the evolution of the sovereign debt crisis, provided the Finance Bill (which meets the IMF criteria for aid) is passed – which appears likely before elections in March. Euro-dollar is at $1.3586 this morning, a shade off its high but is still being supported by views that a comprehensive re-jig of the EFSF will be forthcoming by the March EU summit.
In the eurozone today the advance estimate of manufacturing and service sector PMI’s are released. The indices are expected to show similar levels to the December figures, with manufacturing activity growth outpacing that in the service sector. German levels are higher than those in France, with the German PMI manufacturing index at 60.9. Also out later this morning, eurozone industrial new orders are looked to rise by 1.9% in November, up from 1.4% in October.
Looking to the rest of the week, it’s a busy one for releases. Tomorrow’s UK GDP for the fourth quarter will be a key input into the developing debate on whether the central bank will decide to raise interest rates soon to head off a rise in inflation expectations. Further flesh on those bones may be delivered in the MPC Minutes, out on Wednesday. Governor King is also speaking tomorrow in Newcastle (at 7.40pm) and ‘hawk’ Sentance is talking tonight in London.
In the US, the FOMC meeting this Wednesday is unlikely to see any fresh policy moves. US data releases suggest the recovery is gaining some traction, but the level of unemployment remains high and the core rate of inflation remains low. So there is little to dissuade Committee members from continuing the QE2 program. US Q4 GDP out on Friday is expected to show growth of around 3.5% (annualised), an improvement on
2.6% in Q3.