Next Week’s News Today: All Eyes On Janet Yellen

As we inch closer to the next interest-rate meeting by the US Federal Reserve, all eyes will be on Janet Yellen next week. The Fed chair makes two official appearances within the space of a few hours.

On Thursday, the Chair of the US Federal Reserve will appear before a joint committee Congress to talk about the US economic outlook. Later that same day, she will make a speech to the Economic Club of Washington. Yellen is unlikely to say anything that could give away the vital interest-rate decision later in December. But she might.

Staying with interest rates, the European Central Bank will announce its latest decision on Thursday. Last month, Mario Draghi said it would review its asset-purchasing programme in December. That could mean an expansion of Quantitative Easing, especially if the rate of inflation remains subdued and the unemployment rate stays stubbornly high. So hang on to your hats.

On the other side of the globe, Japan, which is in a technical recession, will announce retail sales and industrial production for October. It will also report on capital spending for the third quarter of 2015. The general consensus is that the numbers are likely to point to a greater need for the Japanese government to do even more to revive its moribund economy.

Staying in Asia, the Reserve Bank of India will announce its latest interest-rate decision on Tuesday. The RBI is expected to interest rates on hold, given that it cut them by a more-than-expected 0.5% in September. That said, the key to the RBI’s decision could hinge on how quickly the economy grew during the third quarter. Those numbers will be announced on Monday.

And finally some local economic numbers for bank investors, when the Monetary Authority of Singapore reports on loans to the private sector in October. In September bank lending dipped from the previous month but it was higher than a year ago. Lending is crucial to the performance of banks. So look for reaction to the numbers from DBS Group (SGX: D05), Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (SGX: O39) and United Overseas Bank (SGX: U11).

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