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Week Ahead – FOMC the next big event after ECB

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The following week will be a busy one as there will be many important economic data releases. The highlight of the week will be the FOMC rate decision. GDP numbers from various major economies will be out as will inflation data.

Looking at the Eurozone, the main data will be from Germany, its largest economy. The German Ifo business climate data will be published on Monday while retail sales and import price numbers are due on Thursday. Another consumer confidence survey is published on Wednesday by Gfk. Thursday sees the publication of inflation and unemployment numbers.

Staying in the Eurozone, flash inflation numbers for the whole euro region are out on Friday for the month of January.

The UK will be in focus on Tuesday as the Office for National Statistics publishes its first estimate of GDP for the fourth quarter. Recent weak data suggest that the rate of economic growth slowed at the end of last year and so markets wouldn’t be surprised if GDP eased  down in the final quarter of 2014 from 0.7% in the third quarter.

From the Australasia region, there will be some inflation data as well. Japan publishes its inflation numbers on Friday, along with some other data on industrial output, unemployment and housing starts. Australia releases its inflation figures on Wednesday.

Finally, the US will release a slew of data next week. As mentioned, the most important event will be the Fed’s interest rate decision on Wednesday.  No change is expected though and many investors are now pushing back expectations for the first Fed rate hike.

The other most important data to look out for from the US will be the first estimate of fourth quarter GDP due on Friday. Other important data on the same day will be the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index.

Meanwhile, US durable goods orders data are out on Tuesday. Also on this day, consumer confidence numbers, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index and the latest Markit Flash US Services PMI are out. On Thursday the weekly initial jobless claims numbers will be important to watch.

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