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Central bankers take to stage as dovish outlooks spread

Central bankers take to stage as dovish outlooks spread
Business
Central bankers get a chance to flesh out their increasingly dovish outlooks for monetary policy this year as economic data continue to disappoint.

The U.S. Federal Reserve will on Wednesday publish minutes from its recent meeting, which will likely show how much conviction there was among policy makers to suspend their interest rate hiking campaign. Fed officials John Williams, Richard Clarida and Randal Quarles are among those speaking on Friday.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve will publish minutes from its recent meeting.  (Paul Brady / TNS file photo)

“Policy makers over-corrected in a dovish direction in January,” said Carl Riccadonna, chief U.S. economist at Bloomberg Economics. “However, the dovish tone of the meeting statement may not necessarily reflect a universal consensus among meeting participants. Public comments since the meeting, suggest the hawkish contingent may be regrouping.”

Over in Europe, President Mario Draghi and Chief Economist Peter Praet are among several European Central Bank policy makers delivering speeches at a time when the euro-area economy keeps falling short of expectations. Those commentaries and the Thursday release of the minutes of their last meeting might give clues on policy makers’ intentions March, in particular whether they plan new loans for banks.

“The minutes will bring more colour on the January gathering, at which policy makers described risks to the outlook as to the downside,” said Jamie Murray, chief European economist at Bloomberg Economics. “Growth in the euro area has slowed, but the worst is probably over.”

Elsewhere, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz speaks on Thursday and Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe gives parliamentary testimony on Friday. Investors are looking for clues on whether Canada will harden its position around its pause on rates and what the recent dropping of a tightening bias means for Australia.

Here’s our weekly rundown of the other key economic events.

U.S.

Talks between the U.S. and China over trade are set to recommence in Washington before tariffs on Chinese imports more than double when a truce ends March 1. A Commerce Department report on auto imports is also headed to President Donald Trump’s desk. As well as the Fed speeches, there are a couple of important numbers out, both on Thursday: durable goods orders and existing-home sales.

Europe, Africa and Middle East

The Americas

Canada releases retail sales data on Friday. A proposed overhaul of Brazil’s pension system is headed for Congress as President Jair Bolsonaro, back in Brasilia after 17 days in the hospital, put his final touches to the bill. On Thursday, Argentina’s consumer confidence is likely to take another hit from additional increases in transport and utility prices, further challenging President Mauricio Macri’s re-election bid. Meanwhile, a mission from the International Monetary Fund is in Ecuador for bailout negotiations with the government of President Lenin Moreno.

Asia

The trade wars rumbles on with the Washington talks. Japan sees a release of key data including machine orders on Monday, trade on Wednesday, manufacturing PMI on Thursday and inflation on Friday. They will likely underscore the Bank of Japan’s preference for keeping stimulus in place. In Indonesia, the central bank is predicted to keep its key rate unchanged.
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