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Macro week preview - Greek debt buyback and avoiding fiscal cliff

Macro week preview - Greek debt buyback and avoiding fiscal cliff

3.12.2012 9:20

The eco calendar is enticing at the start of the week with the final euro zone manufacturing PMI’s and the US manufacturing ISM. Euro area Finance Ministers meet in Brussels.

According to the first estimate, the euro zone manufacturing PMI rose from 45.4 to 46.2 in November, reaching its highest level since March. The final figure is forecast to confirm this outcome. We believe that the risks remain for an upward surprise. Since the first release of the PMI’s, also the German IFO and the European Commission confidence indicators surprised on the upside of expectations and improved for the first time in several months. If confirmed in the coming months, the data suggest that the worst is probably behind us. In the US, the manufacturing ISM is forecast to weaken for the first time in three months. The consensus is looking for a drop from 51.7 to 51.4. It is unsure whether the index will feel impact from the Tropical Storm Sandy. Nevertheless, regional manufacturing surveys mostly surprised on the upside of expectations, except for the Philadelphia Fed index, which was distorted by Sandy. We believe that the risks might be on the upside of expectations for the manufacturing PMI as the index is still at relatively low levels. Nevertheless, a downward surprise is not excluded, due to Sandy.

Further out this week, there will be a lot to do about the Greek debt buyback (see above) and ongoing talks about avoiding the fiscal cliff. The conditions of the debt buyback will be made public later. House majority leader said he was “just flabbergasted” by the proposal Mr. Geithner had put forward. He told Geithner that they wasted three valuable weeks of the precious time span until Christmas with this nonsense. Geithner though said it was time the republicans would put forward the spending cuts they want to see. Some political theatre was inevitable he added and showed optimism an agreement would be concluded. We will see more of this posturing until the very end. It will be difficult to know whether or not in the last minutes before the deadline an agreement will be reached. As trading will now rapidly thin, price moves on the fiscal cliff may be bigger than usual. All in all, markets seem ready to look through the tactical plays of the protagonist and keep a ‘risk-on” attitude.

The ECB and BoE will meet for the last time this year (Thursday), while the Fed will do so next week. The Fed probably will offer a Christmas gift and announce another Treasury buyback programme that should start when the operation twist ends (by the end of December). No Christmas gifts expected from ECB and BoE though. A preview flash report on the ECB meeting will be published tomorrow.

Beside today’s ISM, the US payrolls report on Friday is another potential market mover. We see some upside risk to a low consensus estimate (90 000), but Superstorm Sandy might play havoc with the data. We will fine-tune our expectations during the week, as some more info on the report may become available.

No regular US Treasury Note/Bond auctions this week, but the Treasury will announce the details of next week’s auctions (3-, 10- and 30-year). In EMU, the German Dec 2014 Schatz will be tapped, Spain will auction the Oct 2015 Bono and the July 2019 and Jan 2022 Obligacion (both on Wednesday), while France holds its OAT auctions on Thursday.

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