The Week Ahead: Hang Out The Buntings

The televised US Presidential fun and games are far from over. On Tuesday Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence square off in the first Vice Presidential debate. It is unlikely to be as exciting as the Trump vs. Clinton encounter. But with markets dissecting every sinew of election news, anything could happen.

The US has Non-Farm Payroll numbers on Friday. The closely-watched employment numbers could provide rate-fretters with clues as to whether the US Federal Reserve could hike before the end of this year. Apart from a blip in May, the jobs market in the US has been healthy. But perhaps still not quite robust enough yet for the Fed to pull the trigger on a rate hike.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will also report the latest Labor Force Participation rate on Friday. This was the number that Fed chief, Janet Yellen, could not recall when she appeared before Congress. The number measures the proportion of people – both employed and unemployed – who are looking for a job. It has fallen from an all-time high of 67.3% to 62.8% last month.

Look out for the flash inflation rate for the Euro Area at the end of next week. They are expected to show another rise. The more important number though, could be the core inflation rate that excludes prices of the more volatile goods such as energy, food, alcohol and tobacco.

Has the lower pound been a benefit for the United Kingdom? We will find out when the UK Office for National Statistics reports the balance of trade for August. In July, Britain’s trade deficit with the rest of the world narrowed by £1.1 billion, thank to a lower pound.

Next week is Golden Week in China. It is expected to be a busy time for tourism not only in the Middle Kingdom but for the rest of the world too. Singapore retailers, hotels and restaurants are hanging out the buntings for some of the 500 million Chinese, who could be hopping on a plane to places afar. Their arrival could be welcome respite for shopping malls operators that include SPH REIT (SGX:  SK6U), hoteliers that include Far East Hospitality Trust (SGX: Q5T) and shopkeepers that include Metro Holdings (SGX: M01).

But it will be quiet time for Chinese economic statistics. We have to wait until Saturday before we get the first set of significant numbers – the Caixin China Services PMI. Provided that remains comfortably above 50, then all should be well in China’s services sector.

And finally, Singapore’s manufacturing sector has contracted for 14 consecutive months. But last month, there were signs that the rate of contraction was slowing. On Monday, we should find out if Singapore’s manufacturers have finally turned the corner.

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