Eurozone February Flash PMIs in the spotlight. The Flash February PMIs for Germany, France and the eurozone are due Thursday. Consensus expects eurozone Manufacturing and Services PMIs to improve further. German Manufacturing PMI is expected to cross the 50 threshold for the first time since February 2012, while the Services index is seen edging slightly lower. French Manufacturing and Services PMIs are both expected to show improvement.
German 4Q12 GDP breakdown to show decline in investments. The detailed data regarding the breakdown of German 4Q12 GDP will be released on Friday. According to the Statistical Office’s statement issued last week, the shrinking of GDP in 4Q12 by 0.6%q/q was driven by the weak foreign trade: exports being down much more than imports, and investments being down markedly. At the same time household and government consumption were reported to have increased slightly in q/q terms. US existing home sales to show slight decline. Thursday's report on existing home sales in January is expected to show a slight decline, to 4.90mn from 4.94mn in December. Still, the pace of sales are likely to be strong enough to support construction and unlikely to worry markets. Earlier on
Wednesday, also housing starts and building permits data will be released. Fed minutes in focus. On Wednesday the Federal Reserve will release minutes of its January policy meeting. Any suggestion that Fed officials are growing increasingly worried about the current pace of asset purchases could negatively weigh on stock market sentiment. This was already the case when
December Fed meeting minutes were released.
Run-up to the Italian elections. Italy will hold a general election on 24 and 25 February. The centre-left, reform-friendly coalition victory, with Monti and Bersani, is still the most likely outcome. However, with Berlusconi getting higher in the polls, the potential 'hung' parliament is a risk. Such a scenario would be negative for the markets as it would increase uncertainty as to whether Italy would pursue further austerity reforms.
Polish industrial output to show another decline in January. The January industrial output figures will be released on Tuesday. We look for a 3.3%y/y decline, close to consensus expecting a 3.0%y/y decrease, vs. 10.6%y/y decline in December. Still, the January figures will point to continued difficult situation of Polish producers and will thus be in line with further monetary easing: we continue to expect another 25bp rate cut at the March meeting.