The Week Ahead: Is Anyone Out There?

The dearth of economic data is all too apparent next week. The only piece of economic data from the US that might be of any interest could be the Baker Hughes oil rig count.

Last week the oil services company said the number of rigs rose by 12 to 510. The number of rigs in operation plunged with oil prices. But the rebound in oil prices has led to a corresponding increase in the rig count. It is now back to where it was at the start of the year.

Even China is embracing the spirit of Christmas, with no economic numbers over the Yuletide. But it will report PMI data on New Year’s Day. Two sets of numbers are due on 1 January. They are the closely watched Non-Manufacturing PMI and Manufacturing PMI. Any number above 50 could imply that economy is still growing.

Japan will report inflation numbers for November before the end of the year. The rate of price increases edged into the positive in October, following five months of falls. The rise was attributed to higher fresh food prices. But before we get too excited, core inflation, which strips out

Other numbers of interest from Japan include household spending and Retail sales. Consumer spending is vital to ensure that Abenomics has a fighting chance of succeeding.

And finally, it is time for the latest Singapore bank lending figures. A surge in consumer loans in October lifted bank lending for the first time in a year. Total lending by Singapore banks increased to S$608 billion compared to S$603 billion a month earlier. Things could be looking up for Singapore banks that include UOB (SGX: U11), DBS Group (SGX: D05) and OCBC (SGX: O39).

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