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Manufacturing in U.S. to Trade Balance in Brazil: Global Economy

In the global economy this week, data will probably show U.S. manufacturers are expanding at a faster rate than their counterparts in China and Europe. Growth at American producers held close to the highest level since early 2011. Elsewhere, Brazil may post its smallest annual trade balance in more than a decade. And price pressures are starting to build in parts of Asia as economies strengthen.


-- The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of manufacturing this month probably registered its second-strongest reading since April 2011 as factories responded to stronger demand for motor vehicles and a housing recovery that’s spurred sales of appliances and building materials. The ISM’s index is projected to ease to 56.9 from a 31-month high of 57.3 in November. The gauge, slated for release on Jan. 2, has advanced every month since May, when it stumbled to a four-year low. In contrast, China and the euro-area factory indexes are lagging behind.

-- “The factory sector accurately foreshadowed the acceleration in economic activity over the back half of the year,” Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., said in a note to clients. “Case in point, the manufacturing ISM averaged 55.8, in Q3, which was up substantially from the prior quarter (50.2). Rising domestic demand for large-ticket durable goods such as housing related appliances and autos has been an important driver of the aforementioned H2 manufacturing recovery.”

-- “The stronger performance of the economy in the second half of 2013 provides a strong base for better economic performance in 2014,” Lewis Alexander and Joseph Song, economists at Nomura Securities International Inc., said in a research note. “But, some significant headwinds remain -- most notably the inevitable slowing of the pace of inventory investment. But the strong performance of the economy in recent months gives us greater confidence that the long-anticipated cyclical acceleration of U.S. growth is happening.”


-- The Brazilian government’s Jan. 2 trade report may show a surplus of $1.35 billion for December. That would give the nation its worst accumulated annual trade balance in more than a decade as consumer demand stokes imports and slower global markets cut into exports.

-- “Terms of trade weren’t that supportive, and on top of that Brazilians are still consuming a lot, so imports are still relatively strong,” Pedro Tuesta, senior economist for Latin America at 4Cast Ltd., said by phone from Washington. “External demand is still weak, and Brazilian manufacturing exports are not very competitive.”

-- “It’s a gradual loss of external competitiveness and a currency that remains grossly misaligned, and by that I mean overvalued,” Alberto Ramos, chief Latin American economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said by phone. “This is the continuation of a trend that started several years ago.”


-- South Korean consumer prices probably gained 1 percent in December from a year earlier, according to a Bloomberg survey ahead of figures to be released Dec. 31.

-- “As the global economy gradually recovers, headline CPI is set to trend back up on demand-pull inflation,” said Ronald Man, a Hong Kong-based economist at HSBC Holdings Plc. By the second half of 2014, “we expect price pressures to prove sufficiently strong for the Bank of Korea to start normalizing its policy rate,” he said.


-- Singapore’s gross domestic product may have grown 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, a Bloomberg survey showed before advance estimates due Jan. 2. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will probably give the country’s 2013 growth estimate in his New Year message on Dec. 31.

-- “Growth outlook in the Group of Three economies is improving while China’s growth momentum is also picking up,” Irvin Seah, a Singapore-based economist at DBS Group Holdings Ltd., said in a note last month. “We expect such growth momentum to persist into 2014. These factors will keep Singapore’s GDP growth at a healthy pace in the coming quarters.”


-- Indonesia’s consumer prices probably rose 8.29 percent in December from a year earlier, a Bloomberg survey showed before data due Jan. 2.

-- “High inflation and wide trade and current account deficits have made Indonesian financial assets Asia’s underperformers this year,” Prakash Sakpal, a Singapore-based economist at ING Groep NV, wrote in a report. “We think the likelihood that Bank Indonesia will have to hike rates again to curb currency depreciation pressure is rising.”

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