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US economic performance is likely to warrant further gradual increases in the federal funds rate. Chair Yellen reiterated her view that "waiting too long to remove accommodation would be unwise, potentially requiring the FOMC to eventually raise rates rapidly, which could risk disrupting financial markets and pushing the economy into recession."
As widely expected, the FOMC left its monetary policy unchanged with the Fed funds rate target range maintained at 0.5% to 0.75% at its February meeting. The Fed's balance sheet reinvestment policies were also unchanged.
Highlights: Azerbaijan is at the mercy of oil... Serbia and Kosovo have awoken their old demons. In Saudi Arabia, a reformist 2017 budget has been drawn up on the basis of Brent at USD 50/bbl. In Côte d'Ivoire, the crisis has multiple faces. In China, 2017 will be a year of challenges. Is Mexico staring at the end of NAFTA?
The housing market saw a marked recovery in both 2016 and 2015. The number of transactions rose by 5% in pre-owned and saw a further very sustained increase of 17% in new-build. Prices are picking up once more, although modestly, rising by 1.7% over 12 months in pre-owned in Q3 2016. However, this boom is not quite comparable to a traditional cyclical rebound, and features some weaknesses. In 2017-2018, we lean towards a scenario featuring a slight rise in 10-year OAT rates and lending rates, leading to a slowly declining trend on the market.
On 17 January, UK PM Theresa May clarified the broad objectives of her government's plan for the Brexit. The UK will leave the Single Market and the customs union. It will seek a comprehensive free trade agreement with the European Union and ambitious trade deals with third countries. May also promised a parliamentary vote on the final terms of the Brexit.
The issue of populist movements does not stop at elections. In the longer term, it poses the problem of the legitimacy of elites and solutions for reconciling democracy and globalisation. In fact, we have now entered into a political cycle, ie, a point in history where politics has taken over from the economy and is imposing its own rationality. There is no going back: we are seing a transition of both internal and external political equilibrium.
The ECB has been in full Barbadian-pop-star mode between September and December 2016: "work, work, work, work, work, Draghi said they have to work…". Now, after the announcement, the explanation and the publication of the legal acts, the relevant committees, the ECB and NCB staff and the Governing Council members can take a break.
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