A quick review of the issues and events driving the markets this past week... and what's on tap for the week ahead.

Weekly Market Snapshot

September 29, 2014

"It will be difficult to find a place to put everything"

— Derrick Bruhn, grain merchandiser for US-based Topflight Grain Cooperative, on the impact of this summer's record corn crop (Financial Times, September 23, 2014)

The week in review...


Housing: Through the roof August sales of new homes surged 18% vs. July to the highest rate in more than six years, and well above even the most optimistic forecast. The supply of new homes at the current sales rate dropped to 4.8 months from July's 5.6 months, which could help housing prices. While new home sales accounted for roughly 8% of the residential market in 2013, they are considered a bellwether for the overall housing market.

Dollar: Big in Japan Optimism about the US economy and skepticism about Europe's combined to push the US$ higher against the euro, hovering around the $1.27 mark. Against the yen, the greenback held onto significant gains made since August, at a level not seen since the fall of 2008.


Tourism: Southern exposure The summer season wasn't overly kind to Europe's troubled economies. Italy's hotel owners' association reported a 5% fall in hotel revenue between June and August vs. 2013. Spain had better results, with 45mn foreign visitors between January and August, and August's total exceeding 9mn for the first time on record. Even more encouraging: the number of Spaniards taking vacations in their own country rose 3% vs. Aug 2013. Greece reports that tourist numbers are up since last year, but that spending hasn't risen as quickly – possibly due to lower prices.


Japan: Inflation elusive Annual core consumer inflation backslid to 3.1% year-over-year in August, down from 3.3% in July – numbers that are all the more distressing given that much of those figures was accounted for by the country's recent sales tax increase. Minus that, August inflation was running at roughly 1.1%, with speculation growing about whether the Bank of Japan might implement additional stimulus measures.

Signs of the times:

Merkel praises France's economic reform plans – Deutsche Welle

Eurozone recovery stutters in September – Financial Times

Treasury-Bill Yield Tips Into Negative Territory – Wall Street Journal

Sources: Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, EU Observer

...And the week ahead:




Other Americas

Europe, UK, Africa, Mideast

Japan, Asia Ex Japan & Pac Rim

Sep 28




South Korea: current account

Sep 29

Personal income & spending, pending home sales


Eurozone: consumer confidence
Germany: consumer prices
Spain: retail sales
UK: consumer credit, mortgage lending

Japan: industrial production, household spending, unemployment rate
China: Manufacturing PMI
India: central bank rate decision

Sep 30

Case-Shiller home prices, consumer confidence

Canada: GDP
Brazil: debt to GDP

Eurozone: consumer prices, unemployment rate
Germany: unemployment
France: consumer spending

Japan: construction orders
South Korea: trade balance
Indonesia: inflation

Oct 1

Manufacturing PMI, construction spending, ADP employment

Brazil: trade balance

Eurozone: manufacturing PMI
UK: manufacturing PMI

India: manufacturing PMI
Indonesia: trade balance

Oct 2

Initial unemployment claims, factory orders

Brazil: industrial production

Eurozone: producer prices, ECB interest rate decision

China: non-manufacturing PMI

Oct 3

Nonfarm payrolls, unemployment rate, Non-manufacturing PMI, trade deficit

Canada: trade balance
Mexico: consumer confidence
Brazil: composite PMI

Eurozone: retail sales, non-manufacturing PMI

India: bank loan growth

Oct 4






Core consumer price measures exclude the prices of food and energy.

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.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is responsible for the monetary system of the European Union (EU) and the euro currency.

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. PMI greater than 50 indicated economic expansion; below 50, contraction.

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Which Asian country will have the strongest growth in the coming year?


Which Asian country will have the strongest growth in the coming year?

Japan, as Shinzo Abe's policy initiatives take hold
India, as Narendra Modi's new government enacts changes
China, as Xi Jinping's reforms promote a stronger financial sector
South Korea, as President Park Geun-hye's plan to boost growth bears fruit

Previous month Poll

Go for growth: Where will a global recovery be strongest this year?

Europe, as countries emerge from bailouts
US, as consumers regain optimism
Japan, as stimulus programs begin to bear fruit
China, as reform and pro-growth policies continue