Week ahead: Brexit endgame, UK jobs data and IMF World Economic Outlook

Suban Abdulla
·5 mins read
Coronavirus and the possibility of second lockdowns is sure to give markets the jitters. Photo: Getty
Coronavirus and the possibility of second lockdowns is sure to give markets the jitters. Photo: Getty

Markets will be steered by coronavirus infection rates and whether fresh data will show a resurgent impact of COVID-19 on the global economy.

Meanwhile, investors will also eye the politics and stimulus talks in the run up to the US presidential election.

All focus will be on the closely followed International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook report, with expectations of a modest upgrade in 2020 figures to -4.9% and +5.4% in 2021.

“While we may see a modest upgrade to the 2020 number, expect much focus on the downside risk to the 2021 figure based on second wave challenges. A concerted push for fresh fiscal stimulus from central bank speakers looks likely too,” analysts at ING said.

On Tuesday, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will release its latest analysis of the UK economy — it could be tough reading for a government trying to address the twin challenges of coroanvirus and Brexit.

There is another “special” Apple (AAPL) event on Tuesday, the last one in September saw the tech giant delay the release of the iPhone 12 after the coronavirus pandemic slowed production. There are rumours the flagship smartphone will come in four different sizes and that Apple will release new over the head headphones.

Elsewhere: September trade balance for the second-largest economy, China is due on Tuesday. The country is the world’s largest importer of minerals so the perception of the nation’s health often influences commodity prices. Watchers will also focus on vehicle sales, credit and money supply data to assess the pace of economic recovery.

Other weekend developments markets will also digest:

UK: Brexit deal deadline, unemployment data and more COVID-19

So is the Brexit endgame really in sight? The EU summit on 15 and 16 October will evaluate the progress. . Photo: Aaron Chown / POOL / AFP via Getty
So is the Brexit endgame really in sight? The EU summit on 15 and 16 October will evaluate the progress. . Photo: Aaron Chown / POOL / AFP via Getty

It is once again poised to be a huge week for Britain and investors are keen to see how the government will deal with the issues of the hour, Brexit, coronavirus and jobs.

This week sees prime minister Boris Johnson’s self-imposed Brexit deal deadline on 15 October creeping up as Europe and UK talks are still deadlocked.

Last week, there was speculation that talks could drag on beyond that deadline but whatever happens the UK will exit the Brexit transition period on 1 January 2021, meaning negotiators will still only have weeks to reach a deal.

On Saturday, Johnson said the UK is committed to “exploring every avenue” to reach an agreement on Brexit talks, in a phone call to France’s president Macron in which he also urged the need for progress to be made in the coming days.

So is the Brexit endgame really in sight? The EU summit on 15 and 16 October will evaluate the progress.

It’s in the best interest of both sides to strike a trade deal, otherwise they could be forced to trade under World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms come January.

This week will also see jobs figures released, to gauge signs of rising unemployment as the furlough scheme is unwound. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has mapped out plans for when the furlough scheme ends in October.

On Friday, Sunak announced new support for employees and businesses, hit by local lockdowns ahead of tougher local lockdowns expected to be unveiled on Monday.

Under the extension, staff unable to work will be able to claim wages from the government in a similar manner to the furlough scheme. The government will pay two-thirds of wages, up to a maximum of £2,100 ($2,740) per month.

Company results to watch for:

  • French Connection (FCCN.L) — half-year (Tuesday)

  • ASOS (ASC.L) — full-year (Wednesday)

  • Allied Minds (ALM.L) — half-year (Thursday)

  • JD Wetherspoon (JDW.L) — finals (Friday)

Eurozone: Tuesday sees German inflation and ZEW economic sentiment readings, industrial production on Wednesday, French inflation on Thursday and the region-wide inflation and trade balance numbers on Friday.

US: Trump back in action? Economic data and a host of bank results

The White House hasn’t given any updates on Trump’s health since last Thursday. Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty
The White House hasn’t given any updates on Trump’s health since last Thursday. Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty

On Saturday, US president Donald Trump held his first public event, since being diagnosed with COVID-19, speaking in front of a crowd at the White House, one week after leaving hospital.

Officially, the event was said to be a “peaceful protest” however critics have said that it looked like a Trump campaign rally.

While the White House hasn’t given any updates on Trump’s health since last Thursday, the president, who is no longer taking any medication for coronavirus, told his supports that he was “feeling great.”

That being said, Trump refused to engage in a virtual presidential debate with opponent Joe Biden, the clash which was scheduled for Thursday has since been cancelled.

Economic data releases this week will be keenly eyed in the lead up to the election, with analysts eager to see updates to industrial production and retail sales to determine whether the recovery is losing steam.

US jobless claims is also on the slate for Thursday. The latest initial jobless claims reading fell from 849,000 to 840,000, which was the lowest reading since the onset of COVID-19. The counting claims report measures the number of people who are still receiving unemployment benefit, and it dropped to 10.97m — the lowest mark since early April.

Key releases: Q3 earnings season gets underway, with JP Morgan (JPM), Citigroup (C), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Procter & Gamble (PG) and Delta (DAL) on Tuesday; Bank of America (BAC) and Goldman Sachs (GS) on Wednesday; and PayPal (PYPL) and Morgan Stanley (MS) on Thursday.

Watch: What is a no-deal Brexit and what are the potential consequences?