Friday 26 May 2017

Go figures: it's all about data before Budget

In economic terms, the dysfunctional housing market is one of the State's big challenges
In economic terms, the dysfunctional housing market is one of the State's big challenges
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

On the home front it's the last big data week before October's Budget, with unemployment, retail sales and exchequer returns due in the next five days.

In reality, bar last minute and electorally driven fine tuning, the broad strokes of the Budget are well set and understood at this stage. Still, the Coalition will be keen to see evidence of the year's overwhelmingly positive economic trends and tax receipts continuing before unveiling the Budget itself.

The week ahead is also due to see the Government announce its capital spending plans - for business readers the interest will be in the detail, especially in relation to any pre-tender but near-term schemes.

In economic terms, the dysfunctional housing market is one of the State's big challenges. House price data and Central Bank credit data may well show the property market cooled further over the summer, despite a rising population and a lack of new stock.

The Central Bank's mortgage rules may well be partly to blame for that slow down. However, the medium-to-long term prospects for the euro, which looks set to remain weak as long as the ECB keeps pumping out QE, has implications for the returns calculations of investors from outside the euro area.

Elsewhere, the fall-out from Volkswagen's emissions scandal will rumble on.

Extraordinarily, the cost of the crisis for the car maker could well turn out to have graver consequences for Europe's economic power-house than the half-decade long Greek debt fiasco.

On Wednesday, the European Commission will launch its Action Plan for a Capital Markets Union.

Meanwhile, the results front in both the UK and Ireland is relatively quiet this week. Building group Abbey holds its annual general meeting on Friday, however.

Wednesday also marks the end of the third quarter, which for US companies, by and large, is expected to have been a tough one.

Forecasts for third-quarter S&P 500 earnings now suggest a 3.9pc decline.

Irish Independent

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