EM Preview for the Week Ahead

EM ended the week firm on rising optimism regarding US-China trade. Talks will continue this week ahead of Friday’s deadline. It may be too soon to strike a deal, however, and so we expect a 60-day extension. China provides the first snapshot of February activity with its PMI readings this week, where some stability is seen after recent stimulus measures. Downside risks remain in place, however.

Singapore reports January CPI Monday, which is expected to rose 0.6% y/y vs. 0.5% in December. January IP will be reported Tuesday, which is expected to contract -2.4% y/y vs. +2.7% in December. While the MAS does not have an explicit inflation target, low price pressures should allow it to keep policy unchanged at its semiannual meeting in April.

Brazil reports January current account and FDI data Monday. January PPI and February IGP-M wholesale inflation will be reported Wednesday. Central government budget data will also be reported Wednesday, followed by consolidated budget data Thursday. Q4 GDP will also be reported Thursday, with growth expected at 1.5% y/y vs. 1.3% in Q3.

Mexico reports Q4 current account data Monday. January trade will be reported Wednesday and a deficit of -$3.7 bln is expected. Banco de Mexico also releases its quarterly inflation report Wednesday. Mid-February CPI came in lower than expected at 3.89% y/y. Inflation is back within the 2-4% target range for the first time since December 2016. We don’t think Banxico can cut rates too soon but expect odds to pick up after mid-year. Next policy meeting is March 28, no change expected then.

Bank of Israel meets Monday and is expected to keep rates steady at 0.25%. CPI rose 1.2% y/y in January, back within the 1-3% target range after falling below it in December. Still, low price pressures should allow the central bank to maintain a very modest pace of tightening this year.

Taiwan reports January IP Tuesday, which is expected to contract -1.6% y/y vs. -1.2% in December. CPI rose only 0.2% y/y in January. While the central bank does not have an explicit inflation target, low price pressures should allow it to keep policy unchanged at its quarterly meeting in March.

National Bank of Hungary meets Tuesday and is expected to keep policy steady. CPI rose 2.7% y/y in January, within the 2-4% target range but at the cycle lows. Low price pressures should allow the central bank to maintain steady rates this year.

Korea reports January IP Thursday. Bank of Korea also meets that day and is expected to keep rates steady at 1.75%. CPI rose 0.8% y/y in January, below the 2% target and the lowest since January 2018. Low price pressures should allow the central bank to maintain a very modest pace of tightening this year. February trade data will be reported Friday.

China official February manufacturing PMI will be reported Thursday and is expected to remain steady at 49.5. Caixin reports its February manufacturing PMI Friday and is expected to rise to 48.7 from 48.3 in January. These will be the first snapshots of the economy for this month and could start to show the impact of previous stimulus measures.

South Africa reports January trade, budget, PPI, money and loan data Thursday. The economy remains sluggish even price pressures are finally easing. CPI rose 4.0% y/y in January, the lowest since March 2018 and near the bottom of the 3-6% target range. It’s too early for the SARB to cut rates but the odds go up after mid-year. Next policy meeting is March 28, no change is expected then.

Turkey reports January trade Thursday, and a deficit of -$2.5 bln is expected. If so, the 12-month total would fall to -$48.4 bln, the lowest since March 2010. Both exports and imports are collapsing, but imports are doing so at a faster pace and so the external accounts are improving.

Colombia reports Q4 GDP Thursday, which is expected to grow 2.7% y/y vs. a revised 2.5% (was 2.6%) in Q3. The economy is picking up modestly, but price pressures remain limited. CPI rose 3.15% y/y in January, the lowest since August and still within the 2-4% target range. Next policy meeting is March 29, no change is expected then.

Thailand reports February CPI Friday, which is expected to rise 0.67% y/y vs. 0.27% in January. If so, inflation would remain below the 1-4% target range for the fourth straight month. Low price pressures should allow the central bank to maintain a very modest pace of tightening this year. Next BOT meeting is March 20, no change is expected then.