July 13, 2018
By Marc Jones
LONDON (Reuters) – Following are five big themes likely to dominate thinking of investors and traders in the coming week and the Reuters stories related to them.
1/TRADE WAR GAMES
China releases quarterly GDP data next week and it should make interesting reading now that the first salvos have been exchanged in a trade war with the United States.
It is expected to show growth easing very marginally to 6.7 percent — no big deal of course and perhaps even a positive if it is part of China’s multi-year drive to rein in over-zealous credit expansion and force discipline in less-regulated parts of the banking industry.
But the broader backdrop is the simmering trade tensions. Economists suspect the direct impact from the two sets of U.S. tariffs aimed at Beijing — the $50 bln underway and another set of targeted tariffs on $200 bln of imports — could drag China’s GDP down by 0.3 percentage points in the longer run.
It comes too after data on Friday showed that China enjoyed its biggest ever trade surplus in dollar terms with the United States last month, and following a 6 percent fall in the yuan since late March.
(GRAPHIC: China’s trade has limited role in GDP – https://reut.rs/2NPd9Ke)
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will deliver his semiannual monetary policy report to the Senate Banking Committee on July 17. Powell’s testimony will be closely watched as the Fed tries to navigate towards higher interest rates at a pace that keeps inflation under control but without going so far or fast that it slows the economy.
Already, investors have been raising red flags about the U.S. Treasury yield curve, which is at its flattest in nearly 11 years and at risk of inversion. An inverted yield curve involves short-term interest rates rising above long rates, which is typically a precursor of recession as it reflects tightening monetary policy.
Powell’s last response on the yield curve was: “It’s true that yield curves have tended to predict recessions if you look back over many cycles,” before suggesting that this time was different. Investors will see if he has changed his tune.
(GRAPHIC: U.S. yield curve – https://tmsnrt.rs/2LbMVQJ)
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold their first summit in Helsinki on Monday.
Geopolitical analysts expect Putin to urge Trump to soften sanctions imposed over Ukraine, while Trump has said he will press Putin on everything from allegations of meddling in the 2016 U.S. election to the war in Syria.
European leaders will be watching the outcome closely, especially after Trump called Germany a “captive” of Russia at a testy NATO summit in Belgium, due to its plans for a major new gas pipeline.
EU chiefs have their own plans too. Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk head to China on Monday for meetings with its leaders where there might be a show of unity against Trump’s trade war maneuvers.
(GRAPHIC: Russian rouble vs the dollar – https://reut.rs/2NMkASB)
4/EUROPE’S FINAL COUNTDOWN
Europe’s second-quarter corporate earnings season begins in earnest next week with analysts predicting robust average growth of 8.1 percent year-on-year.
The figures will be heavily flattered by the energy sector, where profits have been turbo-charged by the near 50 percent leap in oil prices over the last year.
To show just how good it has been, oil and gas firms are expected to report earnings growth of 72 percent, according to data from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Stripping that out would see overall European estimates drop to more modest 2.9 percent.
The 8.1 percent headline figure is also well below the 20.9 percent growth expected from U.S. earnings season which is already into its stride. But as in the United States, investors will be watching for any signs that trade war worries have dented confidence, particularly if firms delay capital expenditure plans.
Those that will set the tone next week include industrial firms Sandvik <SAND.ST> and SKF <SKFb.ST>, tech firms SAP <SAPG.DE> and ASML <ASML.AS> and miners BHP Billiton <BLT.L> and Anglo American <AAL.L>, which both report sales figures.
(GRAPHIC: Stoxx 600 Q2 earnings IBES – https://reut.rs/2JloG0q)
5/LIRA UNDER PRESSURE
Turkey’s new finance minister Berat Albayrak, son-in-law of the country’s President Tayyip Erdogan, is expected to travel to Argentina next week for the G20 finance ministers meeting on Friday.
The trip will be his first international outing since Erdogan gave him the job as one of his first moves when he got his new powers as executive president.
Turkey’s lira crashed to a record low after that decision and markets will be watching Albayrak’s performance in Buenos Aires closely. Any sign of a slip up likely to crank up the pressure on the lira ahead of Turkey’s next central bank meeting on July 24.
(GRAPHIC: Turkish lira moves since April – https://reut.rs/2Lb7IDS)
(Reporting by Marc Jones, Alasdair Pal, Dhara Ranasinghe, Jennifer Ablan, Karin Strohecker and Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by Catherine Evans)