While the ECB and many European officials have tried to evade the use of the word recession it may be heard far and wide as of today in the European Union. German, France, and Italy will be among those publishing their Prelim GDP reports today and the estimates are not glimmering. All three nations are expected to show minus growth. As of this morning the EUR continues to trade near relative highs as its range gets tested. Quarterly earnings from Europe have not been pretty the past week and today’s growth numbers (or lack of growth numbers) are likely to reflect the rather lackluster corporate reports.
While Mario Draghi and his associates have done their best to garner policy that has teeth and bolster Sovereign Debt yields, the question is what will confront the ECB in the coming months? If today’s data from Europe proves recessionary it will not shock many analysts but the reminder will be clear, and coming up from beyond the corner is an election in Italy that could shake foundations with a Silvio Berlusconi victory. Berlusconi remains a popular figure, but if he were to win the election or make a strong enough showing to disrupt recent government mandates it would certainly have an effect on investor confidence within the bond markets of Italy and other nations.
If political turmoil from Italy is combined with a EUR that is trading near the upper boundaries of its value, a financial crisis that continues to plague a large segment of the banking sector, and governments that are being forced to pursue austerity measures a cold dish of reality may be awaiting Europe this summer. While Mario Draghi said that he believes an economic recovery for Europe is possible in the summer, there are signs that the confidence game that has been played with agility may be blown apart rather easily.
Gold as of this morning continues to trade on the weaker side of its range. The precious metal is near 1645.00 USD per ounce. Crude Oil is however continuing to show signs of inching upwards and WTI should be watched.
From the U.S. today weekly Unemployment Claims will be released. Yesterday’s Retail Sales figures were not impressive. Tomorrow Consumer Sentiment will be presented via the University of Michigan’s Preliminary reading. The Empire State Manufacturing Index will also be brought forth tomorrow, last month’s reading was negative. Wall Street has continued its cautious pattern all week and these next two days of trading should prove interesting. While government officials in the U.S. have lined up to put a positive spin on economic reports, clouds still mar the landscape. Congress and the President have not come to an agreement regarding spending cuts for the budget and more rancorous debate from Washington will be heard from Republicans and Democrats.