Few signs of inflation in Scandinavia

While global financial markets are obsessing over the possible rebirth of inflation, there are precious few signs that it is about to take off in Scandinavia. The increases in headline inflation for September in Norway and Sweden were due to higher energy inflation. This should drop sharply next year as the supply of renewable electricity rebounds. Meanwhile, the US Treasury is due to publish its latest report on “currency manipulators” in the coming week or so but Switzerland should again get a free pass.
Andrew Kenningham Chief Europe Economist
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Nordic & Swiss Economics Weekly

SNB’s patience appears to be wearing thin

We argued this week that the upside for the Swiss franc was limited and its inability to push past the CHF 1.04 per euro mark suggests that policymakers’ patience may already have been exhausted. We await the publication of the weekly sight deposit by the SNB on Monday to confirm our suspicions that the Bank has seen enough. But if the SNB is to avoid adding substantially to its already-bloated balance sheet, it will be hoping – like the rest of us – that Omicron fears blow over soon. Next week, we expect data to show that mainland GDP in Norway rose by about 0.2% m/m in October and that core inflation remained well below target in November.

3 December 2021

Nordic & Swiss Economics Update

Pandemic-era lessons for the Swiss franc

Given the uncertainty around Omicron, and the revealed preference of the SNB in recent weeks to largely stay out of the FX market, we would not be surprised to see the Swiss franc rise further against the euro in the near term. But any upside is limited, and the balance of risks is tilted towards depreciation in 2022. In view of the wider interest, we are also sending this Nordic and Swiss Economics Update to clients of our FX Market Service.

1 December 2021

Nordic & Swiss Data Response

Switzerland CPI & Manufacturing PMIs (Nov.)

Inflation surprised on the upside in Switzerland in November, but this was due to temporary factors and it is likely to fall back to below 1.0% over the coming months. The upshot is that there is next to no chance of the SNB tightening policy anytime soon, and the big question mark is when it might intervene.

1 December 2021

More from Andrew Kenningham

European Chart Book

Headwinds strengthening

Supply shortages and rising energy prices are becoming stronger headwinds to the euro-zone recovery. The latest data from Germany showed sharp falls in industrial orders and production, with manufacturers citing supply bottlenecks as a constraint on output. These problems have hit the vehicle sector particularly hard, and in the September German Ifo survey more car producers expected conditions to deteriorate in the next six months than improve. Firms in the construction sector also seem to be struggling to source materials. Meanwhile, the recent huge increases in energy prices are adding to producers’ costs and at the same time pushing up consumer price inflation. While the timeliest business surveys remain consistent with the economy as a whole growing, and we think that supply problems will ease and energy prices fall next year, the risk of stagnation in the final months of this year is rising.

7 October 2021

European Data Response

German Industrial Production (August)

The whopping 4.7% m/m fall in German manufacturing production in August left industrial output 9.0% below its February 2020 level. With conditions having worsened since then, Germany’s manufacturing problems threaten to keep overall economic activity well below its pre-pandemic level until next year.

7 October 2021

European Economics Weekly

“Transitory” inflation won’t spook the ECB

We have revised up our inflation forecasts this week and expect the surge in gas prices to keep inflation above the ECB’s target for longer than previously anticipated. Nonetheless, inflation looks sure to drop back early next year, and the ECB will not be following other major central banks in preparing to raise interest rates anytime soon. Meanwhile, we expect German industrial production and euro-zone retail sales data for August (due next week) to be underwhelming. But other parts of the economy should be holding up better.

1 October 2021
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