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June 29, 2015
"There has to be a deal. The EU has to save us, right?"
The week in review...
The meetings will continue; morale unchanged Thursday's failed Eurozone finance ministers' negotiation spawned yet another gathering, scheduled for Saturday June 27. The next payment to the IMF of €1.54 bn ($1.73 bn) is due on June 30; the EU portion of the €245 bn bailout program expires the same day. Successful negotiations would unlock €7.2 bn in bailout aid, making Tuesday's IMF payment possible. The creditors' requirements now come down to hikes in Greece's tax rates and collection efforts, as well as further cuts and reforms in the complex, generous and politically sensitive pension system. Prime Minister Tsipras faces potential collapse of his Syriza coalition government if he accedes to creditors' demands.
US GDP: Consumers to the rescue Previous estimates for 1Q2015 growth had to be revised upward, with improved consumer spending the key upside factor: new data showed, a 2.1% annualized increase in household consumption, revised upward from the previous 1.8% estimate. The hike is consistent with 1Q2015's 5.3% annualized increase in inflation-adjusted after-tax income, the biggest gain since the end of 2012. With earnings rising faster than spending at the end of 2014, increased savings may have been the impetus for greater consumption.
Argentina: China to the rescue Foreign currency reserved rose for the first time in five years, up $2.4 bn to $33.8 bn in the first half – despite declining exports. China's central bank made all the difference; Argentina has some $2.6 bn in currency swaps available to boost the supply of dollars, according to one estimate. The arrangement greatly improves the odds that payments of $6.3 bn on bonds, due in October, will be made – despite Argentina's longstanding avoidance of borrowing in international debt markets since its 2001 default.
China banks: Unreserved lending? Monetary easing continues, with the State Council's proposed removal of the requirement that banks cap loans at 75% of their deposits. The idea is to remove the incentive to offer extravagant rates to depositors in order to boost banks' capacity to lend, or to add strain to the interbank market. One remaining challenge is to boost underlying demand for new loans. With borrowers struggling to make payments in a slowing economy, the move could have a more positive impact on interbank rate volatility than on economic growth.
Japan: Prices begin to move Consumer prices ex fresh food rose 0.1% year-on-year in May, higher than expected. While the hike was welcomed by the central bank as evidence that its record-breaking stimulus is having a positive impact, it's unclear how households will react. If consumer spending drops in response to rising prices, the impact of the price rise on future growth could be dampened.
Signs of the times:
Euro-Area Bank Lending Grows at Fastest Pace Since February 2012 – Bloomberg
China's maritime economy outpaces GDP growth – Xinhua
Russia takes over as top oil supplier to China – Financial Times
More Builders See First-Time Home Buyers Returning - Developments – Wall Street Journal
Orders for U.S. Capital Equipment Rise as Investment Stabilizes – Bloomberg
Sources: Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, Xinhua, Mainichi News, Japan Today, Market News International. Quartz
...And the week ahead:
GLOBAL ECONOMIC CALENDAR: June 28 – July 4, 2015
Europe, UK, Africa, Mideast
Japan, Asia Ex Japan & Pac Rim
Pending home sales
UK: mortgage approvals
Germany: inflation Eurozone: economic confidence
Japan: industrial output
Japan, Hong Kong: retail sales
Home prices in 20 key cities, consumer confidence
Greece: IMF payment due;
European Union bailout expires
Eurozone: consumer prices, unemployment
Vehicle sales, manufacturing output, job cuts, employment, construction spending
S. Korea: consumer prices, trade
Monthly employment figures, weekly jobless claims, factory orders
Brazil: industrial production
UK: housing prices, construction PMI
Russia: GDP, gold & currency reserves
Eurozone, UK: services PMIs
Australia: retail sales
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization of member countries, established to promote international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and orderly exchange arrangements.
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union established in 1993 by members of the European Community. The EU now comprises 28 countries after its expansion to include numerous Central and Eastern European nations.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is an economic statistic which measures the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time.
Purchasing Managers Indexes (PMI) measure the manufacturing and services sectors in an economy, based on survey data collected from a representative panel of manufacturing and services firms.
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Please note that an investor cannot invest directly in an index. Forward-looking statements are subject to uncertainties that could cause actual developments and results to differ materially from the expectations expressed. This information has been prepared from sources believed reliable but the accuracy and completeness of the information cannot be guaranteed and is not a complete summary or statement of all available data. Individual securities mentioned are intended as examples of portfolio holdings and are not intended as buy or sell recommendations. Information and opinions expressed by either Legg Mason or its affiliates are current as at the date indicated, are subject to change without notice, and do not take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs of individual investors.
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