This could shape up to be a big week for the euro as the latest batch of PMI readings will be released right before the ECB makes its policy statement.
Euro zone PMI readings (Jan. 24, starting 8:15 pm GMT)
As leading indicators, these PMIs for the current month should provide early clues of whether or not the euro zone economy is still stuck in a rut. Recall that the earlier rounds reflected a slowdown that prompted market participants to pare ECB tightening expectations.
For instance, the French manufacturing PMI has been on the decline since August last year and has even dipped below the 50.0 mark to signal industry contraction. A recovery from 49.7 to 50.0 is expected this time, along with a pickup in their services PMI from 49.0 to 50.6.
In Germany, the manufacturing PMI has also been falling short of estimates and sliding since August 2018. Only a tiny bump up from 51.5 to 51.6 is expected this month, but another disappointing result could spell more doom for the region’s top dog. Their services PMI is projected to tick higher from 51.8 to 52.2.
Overall, the region’s composite manufacturing PMI is expected to pull up from 51.4 to 51.5 while the services PMI could post a slightly larger rebound from 51.2 to 51.5.
ECB monetary policy decision & presser (Jan. 24, 12:45 pm GMT)
Now that the ECB bond-buying program is a thing of the past, traders are fixated on the timing of the central bank’s tightening plans. So far, though, it doesn’t look like a hike is happening soon, given how economic performance is turning out.
No actual monetary policy changes are expected for now, which means that market watchers will be trying to scour more clues from the press conference that will follow. In last week’s speech to parliament, ECB head Draghi acknowledged that the slowdown could last longer than expected but assured that the euro zone is not headed towards a recession.
Note that his remarks and insights from other ECB policymakers will likely be taken in the context of the recent PMI reports. In other words, another round of disappointing PMI figures and more signs of caution from the ECB could create a very bearish situation for the shared currency. Upbeat ECB remarks in light of weak PMI readings could be taken with some skepticism.