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  • Weekly Overview 16th-20th March 2020

Weekly Overview 16th-20th March 2020

Simon Alagbe


The highly anticipated meeting of OPEC and its allies could not turn the tide for black gold as Russia, a major non-OPEC oil-producing nation rejected an agreement with OPEC to cut oil supplies in a bid to bolster the price of the commodity. The ripple effect of the face-off between Saudi Arabia and Russia has led the price of crude oil to the lowest level since January 2016 and might translate to tougher economic condition for Oil dependent economies like Nigeria, where falling Oil revenues mean less money for government to run the economy. 

Euro Area apex bank, the European Central Bank decided to keep its refinancing rate constant at the meeting held on the 12th of this month. The President of the Bank, Christine Lagarde acknowledged the impact of COVID-19 stating that it has been a major shock to growth prospects and that governments must be up to the task and mitigate the economic impact of the deadly virus.

The Bank of England at its policy meeting reduced the bank rate and launched a new term funding scheme with extra incentives for SMEs. The decision to reduce rate was unanimous and the bank reduced rate by 50 basis points from 0.75% to 0.25%. The outgoing Governor of the bank, Mark Carney, in his last major official outing talked about the economic impact of the virus stating that the economic shock from the virus could be large and sharp even though he expects it to be temporal. The incoming Governor, Andrew Bailey, said the virus situation will be kept under constant review to guide the bank’s decision. 

As the impact of the deadly virus continues to bite harder and countries result in restricting inbound movement from some countries, we will examine other economic data that will influence the direction of financial instruments.

Monday 16th March 

USD: The monthly survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for manufacturers in New York State will be released by 1:30 PM. Business activity picked up in the state at the last release as business conditions index moved up by eight points to 12.9. 

 Tuesday 17th March 

AUD: Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes by 1:30 am. The Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia at its last policy meeting decided to ‘support the economy’ in the face of COVID19 by lowering the Cash rate to 0.50% by 25 basis points from 0.75%. The minutes will provide more insight into the economic condition of the country. 

GBP: Office for National Statistics will release Average Earnings Index 3m/y by 10:30 am. This data represents a 3-month moving average compared to the same period last year. This is a leading indicator of inflation as it measures the change in earnings of labour. When labour is well paid, disposable income will be high and patronage of products from firms as well as savings and investment will benefit.

EUR: German ZEW Economic Sentiment to be released by Zentrum fur Europaische Wirtschaftsforschung (ZEW) by 11 am. The sentiment fell far below expectations at the last release as analysts’ price in the impact of coronavirus on the German economy. A repeat of such could further fuel the proposition of a recession in the biggest economy of the Euro bloc.

CAD: Manufacturing Sales m/m will be made available by Statistics Canada by 1:30 pm. This data will bring to the fore the early impact of COVID-19 on Manufacturers in Canada.

USD: Core Retail Sales m/m and Retail Sales m/m will be released by Census Bureau by 1:30 pm. Economists pay more attention to the Core data due to the exclusion of Automobiles which is highly volatile thereby distorting the trend.

Wednesday 18th March 

CAD: A series of CPI data will be released by Statistics Canada. CPI data is a leading indicator of inflation and a major consideration for rate decisions by the Bank of Canada.

OIL: Crude Oil Inventories will be released by the Energy Information Administration at 3:30 PM. The slowdown in global economies is affecting demand for Crude Oil in the face of the deadly COVID-19. The face-off between Russia and Saudi Arabia for market domination is adversely affecting black gold. The data has lost its prominence in recent weeks to the dominating force of COVID19 and power tussle between Saudi and Russia.

USD: FOMC Economic Projections, FOMC Statement, and Federal Funds Rate slated for 7 pm. 10-year US treasury slumped heavily last week and forced the hands of the Fed to cut-rate and also incorporate other policy tools to stabilize the economy. Analysts are expecting further cut at this meeting due to the current slowdown in the US economy. The Fed may have to further lower rates in order to stimulate economic growth so as to encourage borrowing and investing.

USD: FOMC Press Conference by 7:30 pm.  The Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell will hold a press conference after making the rate decision known. He will also entertain questions as he will give more insight into the reason for the decision of the bank’s monetary policy committee. 

NZD: Statistics New Zealand will release GDP q/q by 10:45 pm. This GDP data scheduled to be released is for the last quarter of 2019 when COVID19 is non-existent (at least in the media). The data is envisaged to come out well.

Thursday 19th March

AUD: Employment data in the form of Employment Change and Unemployment rate to be released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics by 1:30 am. Job data is an important indicator of consumer spending which eventually drives economic activities.

CHF: Policy Rate and Monetary Policy Assessment from the Swiss National Bank by 9:30 am. This is the first in-depth assessment of the monetary policy of the country with some expectation on how the bank will help manage the economy despite the ravaging effect of COVID19. Switzerland is one of the ten countries most affected by the deadly coronavirus with 7 confirmed deaths. Swiss health officials have been on their toes especially at the borders of the Country with Italy in a bid to stem down the infection rate. The chairman of the Bank, Thomas Jordan had in December projected that the bank could further cut its rate into the negative territory at a time when the Coronavirus was not in full force. With the impact of the virus growing day by the day and the Swiss government placing bans on all major events with more than 1000 people in attendance, it seems there is only one expected outcome from this meeting. FURTHER, CUT INTO THE NEGATIVE TERRITORY!!!

Friday 20th March

CAD: Core Retail Sales m/m and Retail Sales m/m by 1:30 PM from Statistics Canada

Time is GMT+1

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