The DAX index continues to have a quiet week and is almost unchanged in the Thursday session. Currently, the DAX is trading at 12,765.00. On the release front, there are only a few events on the schedule. German WPI posted a gain of 0.3%, beating the estimate of 0.1%. The EU released its Spring 2017 Economic Forecast, which presented a generally optimistic picture of the economies of EU members. In the US, PPI is expected to show a slight gain of 0.2%, and unemployment claims is forecast to climb to 245 thousand. On Friday, Germany releases Preliminary GDP. It will be a busy day in the US, which will publish retail sales, CPI and consumer confidence.
ECB President Mario Draghi addressed a Dutch parliamentary committee on Tuesday, and reiterated that the ECB continues to monitor growth and inflation levels, but has no plans at present to modify its monetary policy. Draghi said that that central bank would tighten its policy once the “tail risks” of a drop in inflation receded and growth improved. Currently, the ECB is making monthly purchases of EUR 60 billion under its asset-purchase scheme, which is scheduled to expire in December. Inflation levels were higher in the first quarter, which led to calls for Draghi to tighten policy. However, the ECB was reluctant to make any moves during the French election campaign, and this aversion could continue, with Germany holding elections in September. Bottom line? We can expect the ECB to hold course, unless eurozone growth and inflation levels climb sharply.
The eurozone has posted stronger numbers in the first quarter, and this has included industrial better production and manufacturing numbers in Germany. Industrial production in March declined 0.4%, but this was just a blip, as industrial production in the first quarter posted a respectable gain of 1.6%. German Factory Orders came in at 1.0%, above the forecast of 0.7%. An improvement in global economic conditions has boosted the demand for German exports, notably cars and machinery. A weak euro has made European exports more attractive and helped boost the manufacturing sector. Germany releases Preliminary GDP for the first quarter on Friday, with the markets predicting a gain of 0.6%. A better than expected GDP report could shake the DAX out of its slumber and push the index to higher levels.
ECB Study Shows Eurozone Unemployment Higher than Official Data
Donald Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey has stunned political Washington. Trump has been embroiled in a number of controversies in his short presidency, but the political earthquake he has now stirred could become political quicksand. Comey, who has been conducting an investigation into possible collusion between Trump and Russia during the presidential campaign, clearly has been a thorn in Trump’s side. The White House has claimed that it fired Comey over his handling of an email scandal involving Hillary Clinton, but the move has been roundly condemned by the Democrats, and some key Republicans have also voiced opposition as well. The firestorm could heat up further, with calls in Congress to appoint a special prosecutor into Trump’s connections with Russia. Has Trump gone one step to far? If this controversy continues, jittery investors could send stock markets to lower levels.