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ECONOMIC DIARY

IN a quiet and short week, the big news on the agenda will be the revisions – if any – to third quarter GDP figures for the UK and the US on Tuesday.

The UK third quarter data will be released on Tuesday at 9.30am. Despite an upward revision to -0.4 per cent from -0.6 per cent, the UK is the only major economy that remains mired in recession, behind countries such as Italy and Greece. Capital Economics is forecasting a contraction of just 0.1 per cent in the three months to September.

Across the Atlantic, the US third quarter GDP data will be announced at 1.30pm UK time. The initial estimate of 3.5 per cent annual GDP growth has already been revised down to 2.8 per cent.
Barclays Capital is expecting another downward revision to 2.6 per cent, as weak construction spending in September implies a greater decline.

After the Federal Reserve noted an improvement in the US economy, traders will be watching the housing and consumer confidence figures out this week.

The October house price index and November’s existing home sales come out at 3pm on Tuesday but you will have to wait until Wednesday at 3pm for the November new home sales. Economists expect the number of new homes sold to slip 2 per cent following a 6.2 per cent gain the previous month. Also out on Wednesday is the University of Michigan’s index of consumer spending at 3pm. The index may inch slightly higher – the consensus is for a a reading of 74 in December compared to 73.4 last month.

The Bank of England’s December minutes released on Wednesday at 9.30am will spark some interest, as markets watch for any indications of when quantitative easing (QE) might be extended, paused or withdrawn.

Also released in the UK on Wednesday at 9.30am are October’s index of services and November’s loans for house purchase data from the British Bankers’ Association (BBA).

In the Eurozone this week, October industrial new orders at 10am on Wednesday should give some idea of how well manufacturers in the single currency area are coping with a strong euro and the aftermath of a deep recession.