Global data on net are coming in right at expectations, at plus 3 on the Relative Performance Index; zero on this index marks exact matching of consensus forecasts with actual results.
The Eurozone has been lagging market expectations for some time but at 13, the RPI less prices (RPI-P) shows real economic activity now moving slightly ahead of forecasts. Importantly though, the RPI remains sub-zero at minus 4, meaning that inflation surprises remain on the downside. The ECB is widely seen leaving key interest rates unchanged at their December 14 meeting but the unexpectedly rapid decline in inflation is boosting speculation about a cut by mid-2024.
In the UK, a run of surprisingly firm data have lifted both the RPI (14) and RPI-P (10) back above zero. However, current readings still point to overall economic activity running only slightly ahead of expectations and will not provide much support for Bank of England hawks at this bank’s next meeting, also on Thursday, December 14.
In Switzerland the RPI and RPI-P, both at 21, are in positive surprise territory for the first time since early in the year, showing economic activity in general is finally outpacing expectations. Even so, with both headline and core inflation having seemingly steadied below 2 percent, there is good reason for supposing that the Swiss National Bank will leave policy on hold at the bank’s next meeting, yet another on December 14.
In Japan, recent data have been mixed, albeit with a tendency to undershoot the market consensus. Last week’s data followed a similar pattern but overall were firm enough to lift the RPI to minus 4 and the RPI-P to 8. All in all, economic activity is performing broadly as expected.
Much the same can be said of China where the RPI ended at 7 and the RPI-P at exactly zero. However, with forecasts already weak, the lack of surprises in the aggregate will do nothing to ease investor concerns about recovery prospects.
Canada once again is at the top, at 17 and at 28 less prices, the latter signaling underlying strength for the real economy. The Bank of Canada next meets on Wednesday of the coming week and though no action is expected, extending strength in the country’s data would push back talk of rate cuts and perhaps even raise the risk of a resumption in rate hikes.
US data are coming in very near expectations, at 3 for the RPI and at 5 for the RPI-P to indicate that underperformance or outperformance (pending of course the coming week’s employment report) will not be issues for the Federal Reserve at its mid-month meeting.