Sunday, February 18 2018 | ASIA TODAY INTERNATIONAL - Reporting the Business that Matters in Asia
Updated: 11 hours 51 min ago
The authorities have released trade data today and foreign reverses data yesterday, pointing to a mixing picture of the country’s external balance amid global uncertainties. On the trade front, imports significantly rocketed to 36.9% in terms of USD, narrowing trade balance significantly. On the other hand, foreign reserve has increased in 12 consecutive months.
The inflation outlook improvement warrants a more dovish tone. We expect wording changes to signal a possible pause in coming meetings.
Following a slump in October, home sales plateaued in November. Information from subsequent months, however, points to reinvigorated sales, with mortgages up in December and both employment and consumer confidence showing improvements at the outset of 2018. Visas, meanwhile, were down in November.
The annualised growth of March (15%), July (10.8%), October (19%) and December (11.2%) of 2017 contributed greatly to reaching this record figure, mitigating the falls that occurred in some months of the year.
For many years, INFONAVIT had a clear raison d'être: for decades, Mexico had no long-term mortgage options in the private sector. This was principally due to the fact that the country did not have a yield curve with any depth.
President Trump gave his first State of the Union speech in the Congress to highlight his administration’s policies. Rivalry between Washington and Russia/China and the intention to contain Iran and North Korea have been revealed once again in his remarks. Europe remained calm, while some hot spots were observed in Latin America and Asia.
Consumer prices increased by 1.02% (mom) in January, higher than our forecast (0.75%) but lower than the market call (1.3%). Annual consumer inflation fell to 10.35% from 11.92% thanks to favorable base effects mostly on food. We expect the headline to ease slightly below 10% by end 1Q but then show some volatility before falling to around 9% at the end of the year.
The progressive deceleration of domestic demand and foreign tourism, together with an improvement in the export sector of goods and the effects of Catalan political tension, bias the growth towards the peninsular center. The unemployment rate will approach minimums at the end of 2019 in some Autonomous Communities.
In a kind of déjà vu, the European Central Bank (ECB) is once again showing how ill at ease it is with exchange rate volatility. It did so when the euro appreciated to 1.20 against the dollar, and this was a factor in the downward revision of its inflation forecast and the subsequent announcement of the extension of its asset purchase programme for another nine months.
In an environment of persistently low inflation and real equilibrium interest rates, the Fed will not be able to raise rates much further, limiting the space to cut interest rates during the next downturn. On average, the Fed has cut interest rates by 500 basis points during recessions.
Following the positive surprise in 1H January, our forecast for the January headline inflation print is 0.40% MoM, translating into a 5.40% YoY number (1.4pp lower than in December).
For 2018 we foresee GDP growing by around 3.5% (and 3.8% in 2019). The increase of just over a percentage point in growth will come about in a context in which the international panorama continues to be favourable for the Peruvian economy. On the domestic front, as well as the return to normal of weather conditions, there will be a fiscal stimulus.
Highlights: SRB published non-confidential documents on the resolution of Banco Popular. ESRB published a report on SBBS. EBA launched the 2018 stress test in cooperation with ECB. EC published sustainable finance report. EU Council adopted the Brexit negotiation directives for the transition period. Finally, ESMA published the results for CCPs stress test.
The FOMC left Fed funds rate unchanged. An increase in yields is supported by a soft but sustained increase in Inflation expectations. Term premium remains negative coupled with a low market volatility environment. The baseline remains for a gradual increase in long-term yields with an upward bias for 2018 year-end long-term rates.