After being dominated by the oil price for the first few days, markets finally be able to look to the economic calendar for direction today as data comes flooding in from across the globe. Oil prices are still likely to remain in focus of course, but with data kicking off in Asia and running throughout the day, and continuing for the rest of the week investor attention is likely to turn towards the bigger releases.
Things kicked off in Asia overnight as a mixed session set to leave European futures a little undecided over the open first thing this morning. GDP readings from Australia and PMI from China were the main focus for traders overnight and it was Australia in focus first unexpectedly posting a weaker than expected number. GDP came in at 2.7% vs an estimate of 3.1% pushing the Australian dollar down to a four year low against the US dollar. The poor data was confounded by gross domestic income actually contracting by 0.4% in the quarter meaning that that despite a positive GDP reading Australians were actually worse off due to the prices of exports fell alarmingly. This pushes the Australian economy into income recession meaning that there is now real pressure on the central bank to potentially cut interest rates in the coming months.
Today is an important day in the UK as it sees the release of the chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn statement. Expectations had been high that today’s announcement will pull the rabbits out of the hat, however it is becoming increasingly apparent that Mr Osborne just does not have the rabbits to do so. As always there will be a big noise around today’s announcement but the real thing that the markets care about are the GDP, inflation and debt estimates, and seeing as a lot of these were given to us by Mark Carney a couple of weeks ago at the inflation report then it could well be that markets will largely ignore the statement and see it instead as a political event rather than an economic event. We must all remember that we are running into an election year and the conservatives will be desperate to give people a good news story to grab on to. We already know about the extra £2bn for the NHS that was announced last week and a plan to tackle the housing shortage but if there are more measures like this one announced then the obvious question will be, where is the money coming from?
Elsewhere in the markets we will look to the ADP payroll in the US as the biggest release from across the pond today as we gear up for the big jobs report and NFP on Friday. Traders will also be aware of the ECB rate decision tomorrow, as Mario Draghi looks to yet again tell us what he may not be doing, but is willing to do to save the Eurozone economy. There is no doubt that the week will now hot up in terms of data and volatility as all regions remain in focus now for the rest of the week. Ahead of the open today we expect to see the FTSE open 20 points higher, and the German DAX 35 points higher.