Although Donald Trump’s victory in the US Presidential elections resulted in an immediate upturn in business sentiment in the country, the highly ambitious policies being proposed by the Trump administration have created an environment of great uncertainty across the world. Here’s a look into the major events that could move markets in the month of March.
March 1: US ISM Manufacturing PMI (February), Germany Unemployment Rate (February)
The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Manufacturing PMI had risen to 56 in January, from 54.5 in December 2016. This was not only higher than expectations, but marked the highest reading since November 2014. The expectations for this measure of business confidence remains high, backed by the positive sentiment of President Trump being good for business.
Germany’s jobless rate is expected to have remained flat month-over-month at around 4% in February.
March 7: Eurozone GDP Growth Rate (Third Estimate for Q4)
The second estimate for Eurozone GDP growth in the fourth quarter ended December of 2016 had come in at 0.4% sequentially. The data had revealed higher GDP growth in Germany and France and a slowdown in growth in Italy. The third estimate is expected to come in at 0.5% sequentially and 1.8% year-over-year.
March 9: ECB Interest Rate Decision & Monetary Policy Statement
The European Central Bank’s (ECB) rate setters said on February 23 that although there were signs of an upturn in the region’s economic recovery, underlying inflation remained weak. This reinforced expectations of the ECB keeping its benchmark refinancing rate at 0% for the ninth consecutive time.
March 10: US Nonfarm Payrolls & Unemployment Rate (February)
US Non Farm Payrolls had risen by 227,000 in January 2017, from 157,000 in December. The increase was led by higher employment in retail trade, construction and financial activities. The figure might be expected to have declined to 175,000 in February. US unemployment rate had risen beyond market expectations to 4.8% in January 2017. Expectations are for the rate to have remained flat at 4.8% in February.
March 14: Germany Economic Sentiment Index (March)
The ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment for Germany had plummeted to 10.4 in February 2017, from a reading of 16.6 in January. A further deterioration is expected in March, with projections being in the high single-digit range.
March 15: US Retail Sales (February), US Consumer Price Index (February), FOMC Economic Projections, Fed Interest Rate Decision
The Ides of March has a lot in store from the US. Retail sales had grown 0.4% month-over-month in January 2017, despite the steep decline in motor vehicle sales. US retail sales are expected to have grown in February, albeit at a lower rate closer to 0.3%.
Projections are for a decline in the February core inflation rate for the US to 2.2% from the 2.3% recorded in January. Rates of inflation are calculated using the latest Consumer Price Index which is published monthly by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Against the backdrop of uncertainties related to the Trump administration’s proposed policies, the Federal Reserve had indicated after its two-day meeting over January 31 and February 1 that a rate hike may be announced “fairly soon.” The Fed is, however, expected to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.75% in March, with the previous hike of 25 basis points having been announced in December 2016.
March 16: BoE Interest Rate Decision
The Bank of England (BoE) had voted unanimously to hold the benchmark rate at a record low of 0.25% in February and is widely expected to do the same in March.
March 21: UK Consumer Price Index (February)
Inflation in the UK was on an uptrend through most of 2016 and the trend continued in January 2017. The UK consumer price index has risen from around 0.3% in April 2016 to 1.8% in January 2017. Expectations are for inflation to have risen to 2% in February.
March 29: Germany Consumer Confidence (April Projection)
The forecast for Germany’s consumer sentiment had declined from 10.2 in February to 10.0 in March. The forecast for April could come in marginally lower.
March 30: EU Business Confidence (March)
The Eurozone Business Climate Indicator recorded a figure of 0.77 in January, unchanged from the figure released for December 2016, when it touched the highest recording since June 2011. Expectations are for the trend to continue in the near term.
Source:: March 2017 Market Outlook for EU