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This week ahead: Interest Rate Decisions, GDP

This week ahead: Interest Rate Decisions, GDP

We have a relatively fair number of economic events this week ahead. However, they are relatively significant in their effect on the financial markets and further fundamental guidance.

We've seen risk-on in currency markets recently, with many pairs against the U.S Dollar rallying on confidence that the economy will fare better in 2021. GBP/USD. Broke 1.40, while NZD/USD and AUD/USD both broke 0.78 and 0.73, respectively. Oil has been rallying on supply restriction due to middle east tensions and the snowstorm currently taking over Texas. Here is your week ahead.

Monday, 22nd February – People's Republic of China's Interest Rate Decision

PBoC's 1-Year Interest Rate Decision

With China stomping the virus faster than any country, their road to recovery has been patchy. With a couple of flare-ups in community transmission similar to that of New Zealand, China acted swiftly to secure the cases, ready emergency and hospital units, and shut the Coronavirus. With their economic recovery fully underway, Yi Gang has stated that China's central will not "prematurely" exit from its supportive monetary policies. "Looking forward, I think our monetary policy will continue" and that "we will keep a delicate balance between supporting the economic recovery, at the same time, preventing risk."

With the strength and the interest in the Chinese Yuan skyrocketing in 2020, the PBOC will introduce some measures to bring down the Yuan's strength as it is fundamental to their exports. With that said, analysts predict the PBOC to lower the headline 1-year rate from 3.85%.

Monday, 22nd February and Wednesday, 24th February – NZ Retail Sales & Reserve Bank of New Zealand

RBNZ's Interest Rate Decisions

With strict lockdowns imposed earlier in 2020, New Zealand has stomped the virus, China has, and life for its citizens has returned to a relative normal. With a flare-up in Auckland's community cases last week, Auckland was put in a snap lockdown for three days for the government to assess the situation. They had come out of that lockdown after the three days but still face social distancing and capacity constraints in level 2.

However, with the domestic economy has been in full swing before the snap lockdown, analysts predict retail sales to stay healthy at 26.7% growth, slightly lower from the 28% growth the previous quarter.

REINZ Housing Report January 2021

Regarding the RBNZ's interest rate decision, the mandate for the central bank of New Zealand is like many other central banks: Employment and Price Stability. A mandate they do not have is the control of house prices. However, with house prices skyrocketing almost 20% the past year, there has been pressure from politicians and analysts for the RBNZ to implement pricing controls.

The bank has reinstated loan-to-value ratios from first home buyers and investors, requiring investors to front up 40% of the house price as a deposit when purchasing a house, stating that the initial removal of LVR's has done its job.

The initial optimism on negative rates has subsided on the New Zealand economy's incredible bounce bank. Many banks are now rescinding their calls on negative rates, with banks such as ANZ calling a 15-basis point cut from 0.25% to 0.1%. ANZ's economists stated that "If the housing market and domestic economy maintains momentum well into autumn, the RBNZ will not cut again at all." However, they further stated that "If Covid-19 returns to our shores in a significant way, a negative OCR will once more be game on."

Tuesday, 23rd February – U.K's Unemployment Rate

United Kingdom's vaccination program is leading the charge for their recovery. With their seven-day average way down from all-time highs, the start of the recovery is near for the United Kingdom. Nearly 18 million people in the United Kingdom had received at least one Coronavirus Vaccine dose, around 27 doses per 100 people. These were aimed at citizens aged 70 and higher, alongside healthcare workers, who have accounted for 88% of the United Kingdom's Coronavirus deaths. Analysts predict
the 3-month rolling unemployment rate to rise slightly from 5% to 5.1% this week ahead.

Thursday, 25th February – U.S' GDP 4th Quarter

Like that of the United Kingdom, the vaccine has led the charge for the recovery in the United States. Seven-day averages are nearly three months now, with over 61 million doses of the vaccine, or around 18.6 doses per 100 people. With Jerome Powell continuing to pledge his unwavering support for the American economy, alongside an optimistic 1.9 trillion-dollar stimulus, the potential for a rebound in the U.S economy may be on its way. Analysts predict a slight nudge higher in GDP growth at the end of the 4th quarter, up 0.1% to 4.1%, compared to 4% in the previous quarter.

A light week ahead events-wise. However, the events are heavy. Stay say, and trade safe.