Markets & News

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

In the week ahead, global financial markets will continue to focus on U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump as he takes the Oath of Office and offers his inaugural address on Thursday.

In addition, there are a handful of Federal Reserve speakers on tap, including Chair Janet Yellen, as traders look for more clues on the likelihood of higher interest rates in the months ahead.

Meanwhile, in the U.K., market players will pay close attention to a highly-anticipated speech by Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday, at which she is expected to set out the approach her administration will take to Brexit.

In the euro zone, traders will await the outcome of Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting for fresh clues on the future path of the region’s massive stimulus program.

Elsewhere, China is to release what will be closely watched fourth-quarter growth data amid ongoing concerns over the health of the world’s second biggest 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. President-elect Donald Trump’s Inauguration

Ten weeks after shocking the world by winning the U.S. election, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States at 12:00PM ET (17:00GMT) on Friday in Washington, D.C.

Investors will welcome any detail he may give on his promises of tax reform, infrastructure spending and deregulation, as well as insight regarding policies on China and the domestic economy.

President-elect Trump has been credited with being a major catalyst behind the market’s impressive rally since election day, although he has yet to outline his economic policies in detail.

Markets were disappointed last week after Trump failed to offer details on his promises to boost fiscal spending and cut taxes at a highly-anticipated news conference on Wednesday.

2. Fed Chair Janet Yellen Speaks

A handful of Fed policymakers are due to make public appearances this week that may offer insight into how divided they are about raising rates in the coming months.

Tuesday sees New York Fed President William Dudley, Fed Governor Lael Brainard and San Francisco Fed President John Williams make public appearances.

On Wednesday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen is due to speak on the economy to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco at 3:00PM ET (20:00GMT).

On Thursday, San Francisco Fed’s Williams and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren are on tap. Later in the day, Fed Chair Yellen is scheduled to speak at an event at Stanford University at 8:00PM ET (01:00GMT Friday).

Finally, on Friday, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker and San Francisco Fed’s Williams are scheduled to deliver comments.

Markets remained unconvinced of the Fed’s projection of three rate hikes in 2017. Instead, investors are pricing in just two rate hikes during the course of this year, according to’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.

3. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May Speaks on Brexit

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is due to set out the approach her administration will take to Brexit in a speech at the Lancaster House in London on Tuesday before an audience including foreign diplomats as well as Britain’s own Brexit negotiating team and other senior officials.

May has previously stated she will trigger Article 50, which starts the formal withdrawal process from the European Union, by the end of March, but has given little away about what deal she will be seeking, frustrating some investors, businesses and lawmakers.

Many think she will take a hard line on immigration at the cost of Britain’s access to the single market, which would send the pound sharply lower.

4. European Central Bank Policy Meeting

The European Central Bank’s latest interest rate decision is due at 12:45GMT (7:45AM ET) on Thursday, with most not expecting any change in policy after the central bank surprised markets by saying it would trim its monthly bond purchases to 60 billion euros starting in April, down from 80 billion euros now.

Most of the focus will likely be on President Mario Draghi’s press conference 45 minutes after the announcement.

A recent Reuters poll found that the ECB’s next policy move after April, when it is due to reduce monthly bond purchases, will be to cut the size of the quantitative easing program further, citing signs of economic stabilization and rising inflation.

5. China Q4 GDP

China is scheduled to release data on fourth-quarter gross domestic product at 02:00GMT on Friday (9:00PM ET Thursday). The report is expected to show the world’s second largest economy grew 6.7% in the final three months of last year. The economy grew by a similar amount in the third quarter and if confirmed, it could be a sign that growth in China is finally bottoming out.

The Asian nation will also publish data on December industrial production, fixed asset investment and retail sales along with the GDP report.