Markets & News

The Week Ahead: 5 Things to Watch on the Economic Calendar

In the week ahead, market players will be turning their attention to Wednesday’s minutes of the Federal Reserve’s most recent policy meeting, given a U.S. interest rate hike in December is now a near-certainty.

In addition, investors will continue to focus on U.S. economic reports to gauge the health of the world’s largest economy, with Wednesday’s durable goods data in the spotlight.

Meanwhile, market participants will be focusing on comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi for fresh hints on whether the ECB will extend its stimulus program to boost inflation and prop up the economy.

In the U.K., traders will be looking ahead to a second reading on British growth data for further indications on the continued effect that the Brexit decision is having on the economy.

Elsewhere, Japanese inflation data will also be in focus as investors assess the need for further stimulus in the world’s third’s largest economy.

Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of the five biggest events on the economic calendar that are most likely to affect the markets.

1. Fed FOMC Meeting Minutes

The Federal Reserve will release minutes of its November policy meeting on Wednesday at 2:00PM ET (19:00GMT). The U.S. central bank left interest rates unchanged following its meeting on November 2, in a widely expected decision, but signaled it could hike in December as the economy gathers momentum and inflation picks up.

While Fed Chair Janet Yellen did not explicitly say the central bank would hike rates at its December 13-14 policy meeting, she told a congressional panel last Thursday that a rate increase was likely “relatively soon.”

According to’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool, odds for a rate hike at the Fed’s December 13-14 meeting are at 95.4%. 2. U.S. October Durable Goods Orders

The Commerce Department is scheduled to release data on October durable goods orders at 8:30AM ET (13:30GMT) Wednesday. The consensus forecast is that the report will show orders for durable goods jumped 1.5% last month, following a decline of 0.3% in September.

Core orders are forecast to inch up 0.2%, after rising 0.1% a month earlier.

Besides the durable goods report, this week’s holiday-shortened calendar also features U.S. data on existing home sales, new home sales, initial jobless claims and Michigan consumer sentiment.

U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and Friday will be a half-session day.

3. ECB President Draghi Delivers Comments

ECB President Mario Draghi is due to testify about the European Central Bank’s Annual Report before the European Parliament, in Strasbourg on Monday at 16:00GMT (11:00AM ET).

Investors will be looking for indications that the ECB is moving towards boosting monetary stimulus at its December meeting.

While the ECB has not been clear about its bond-buying program plans, most economists expect the bank to announce an extension to its quantitative easing program beyond the originally-planned end date of March 2017.

4. U.K. Third Quarter GDP – Second Estimate

The Office for National Statistics is to produce a second estimate on U.K. third-quarter economic growth at 09:30GMT (4:30AM ET) on Friday.

The report is forecast to confirm the economy grew 0.5% in the three months ended September 30, unchanged from a preliminary reading, indicating that the British economy shrugged off the immediate shock of the June 23 Brexit referendum.

On a year-over-year basis, the economy is forecast to grow by 2.3%, also unchanged from an initial estimate.

Ahead of the GDP report, British finance minister Philip Hammond will offer firm plans and an outlook on the U.K. economy as it prepares for Brexit talks with his Autumn Statement to parliament on Wednesday.

5. Japanese October CPI

Japan’s Statistics Bureau will publish October inflation figures at 23:30GMT Thursday (6:30PM ET). Market analysts expect the headline figure to remain negative, falling 0.4% year-on-year, which would be the 11th straight month of declines.

The country has been struggling to hit its 2% consumer price target, keeping pressure on the Bank of Japan to maintain its aggressive stimulus package when it meets next month.