Fed, Stress Tests, Crimea, U.K. Budget: Week Ahead March 15-22

March 14 (Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve policy makers meet for the first time under Chair Janet Yellen, who has pledged to continue gradual reductions in monthly bond buying as long as the U.S. economy improves.

The Fed also will publish results of its bank stress tests later in the week, while Fitch Ratings will release its review of the nation’s credit rating.

Ukraine’s Crimea region will vote on joining Russia, sparking the worst standoff with the West since the Cold War.

Iran meets with the U.S., Russia and other nations for a second round of nuclear talks in Vienna.

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne presents his annual budget.

Companies releasing earnings include Oracle Corp., FedEx Corp., Inditex SA, Nike Inc., and Porsche Automobil Holding SE.


-Australian state elections. South Australia and Tasmania hold elections that will indicate the level of support for Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Liberal-National government. The opposition Labor party holds power in Tasmania and South Australia, with opinion polls suggesting Abbott’s coalition is poised to win in both, giving it power in all six states. The results are expected in the evening.

-Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and opposition candidates speak at rallies during a national holiday as they campaign for April 6 parliamentary elections. From 10:30 CET in Budapest (05:30 EDT).

-Italy plays England in Rome in the final round of games in rugby’s Six Nations championship at 13:30 CET (08:30 EDT). Wales hosts Scotland in Cardiff at 14:45 local time (10:45 EDT) and France plays Ireland in Paris at 18:00 CET.

-PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship continues at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida. Tee times to be determined. Through March 16.


-Ukraine’s Crimea region votes in a referendum on joining Russia as the Black Sea peninsula is at the focus of the worst standoff between Russia and the West since the Cold War. Timing to be announced.

-Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang visits Tokyo where he will meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Both Vietnam and Japan are involved in separate territorial disputes with an increasingly assertive China.

-Serbians vote in an early parliamentary election, with the Progressive Party led by Aleksandar Vucic holding a lead over the Socialist Party of outgoing Prime Minister Ivica Dacic. The results are due on March 20.

-Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is the favorite in the first round of the country’s presidential election. A run-off follows in two weeks. The results are due in the evening.

-National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament. The 68 teams selected to play this year are unveiled. (18:00 EDT).

-The 2014 Formula One season starts with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel is targeting a fifth straight drivers’ title. 17:00 local time (02:00 EST).


-Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, meet for a second round of nuclear talks in Vienna that may last several days. Ashton, representing the six world powers, will be pressing for a deal to limit the Persian Gulf nation’s nuclear work before an interim agreement expires in July.

-European Union foreign ministers meet in Brussels to discuss additional sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, including measures against individuals such as travel-visa bans and asset freezes. The meeting begins at 09:30 CET (04:30 EDT).

-U.S. industrial production probably rebounded in February following the biggest drop in nine months, according to a Bloomberg survey, as the world’s largest economy emerged from winter weather that slowed growth. The Federal Reserve releases data at 09:15 in Washington.

-Obama-Abbas talks. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visits President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss peace negotiations with Israel. The Obama administration has been pushing the two sides to agree to a framework by the end of April. In Washington, timing to be announced.

-Lew’s Latin America trip. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew will visit Brazil for meetings with Finance Minister Guido Mantega and Banco Central do Brasil Governor Alexandre Tombini. He then travels to Mexico to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto, Finance Minister Luis Videgaray and Banco de Mexico Governor Agustin Carstens. Lew will discuss how the region’s economies can create sustainable growth. Times to be determined. Through March 18.

-Madoff jury deliberates. The jury in the federal court trial of five ex-office employees of Bernard L. Madoff’s investment firm will begin deliberations on charges that they participated in the con man’s Ponzi scheme. Verdicts may come any time. In Manhattan.

-LightSquared Inc. vs. Charles Ergen. Both sides will make closing trial arguments in the lawsuit by Philip Falcone’s wireless broadband company against Ergen. LightSquared has accused Ergen of buying its debt on behalf his Dish Network Corp., a competitor, to acquire LightSquared’s airwaves for a below-market price. Ergen said he acted personally, not for Dish, and made no false representations. 10:00, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Manhattan.

-German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi head a joint cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin starting at 16:00 CET (11:00 EDT). A press conference is scheduled for 18:15 CET.

-Bank of England Deputy Governor for Financial Stability Jon Cunliffe speaks at the Global Financial Markets conference at Chatham House in London. 09:30 U.K. time (05:30 EDT).

-Russia’s Ministry of Finance publishes the Urals oil price used to set its crude export duty for the following month. 11:00 in Moscow (03:00 EDT).

-New Zealand Prime Minister John Key visits China, its biggest trading customer, where he will discuss food safety and a review into contaminated milk exported to China.

-ECONOMY: U.S. capital flows (Jan.), Empire manufacturing (March), Argentina inflation (Feb.), Hong Kong unemployment (Feb.), Turkey unemployment (Dec.), Nigeria consumer price inflation (Feb.), U.K. Rightmove house prices (March).



-U.S. housing starts probably climbed in February for the first time in three months, according to a Bloomberg survey. The Commerce Department reports at 08:30 in Washington.

-U.S. consumer prices were probably little changed in February, according to a Bloomberg survey, rising 0.1 percent for a second month as clothing stores and auto dealers boosted discounts to lure buyers. The Labor Department reports at 08:30 in Washington.

-Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz speaks to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. Poloz is unlikely to raise the central bank’s 1 percent rate until 2015, according to a Bloomberg survey. His remarks will be published on the central bank’s website at 11:40 EDT. A press conference follows at 13:00 EDT in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

-Illinois governor primary. Voters in President Barack Obama’s home state choose which Republican will challenge incumbent Democratic Governor Pat Quinn. Illinois is the lowest-rated among U.S. states and pension costs and spending have dominated the debate. Polls show private-equity investor Bruce Rauner, who has criticized public employee unions, leading the field. Polls close at 19:00 (20:00 EDT).

-U.S. Medal of Honor. President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor, the highest military honor for acts of valor, to 24 U.S. Army veterans, 21 of them posthumously, stemming from a congressional review. The recipients include some who were denied the medal earlier because of ethnic prejudice. In Washington, time to be announced.

-Bank of England Governor Mark Carney will deliver the annual Mais Lecture in the City, London’s financial district. Carney, who brought in McKinsey & Co. last year to conduct a review of the BOE’s strategy, has said he will unveil the details of the report today. London 18:00 (14:00 EDT).

-Daniele Nouy, chairman of the European Central Bank’s Supervisory Board, gives an introductory statement at a hearing before the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament in Brussels. 11:00 CET (06:00 EDT).

-Russia’s central bank publishes its monetary policy report following its rate decision. Timing to be announced.

-China February property prices. New-home price growth in the country’s first-tier cities slowed in January as local governments implemented property measures to rein in escalating values and banks tightened lending. 09:30 in Beijing (03/17 21:30 EDT).

-The European Fuels Conference takes place in Rome. The annual event is attended by refiners, contractors and analysts. 08:50 CET (03:50 EDT).

-The Jeddah Economic Forum starts, with speakers including Saudi Arabian ministers and senior executives. Runs through March 20.

-Portugal’s IGCP debt agency head Joao Moreira Rato is scheduled to participate in a debate entitled, “The Portuguese Economic Adjustment and the Role of the Markets in the Near Future.” 12:30 (08:30 EDT).

-ECONOMY: U.S. building permits (Feb.), Chile GDP (fourth quarter), Italy trade balance (Jan.), Swiss government economic forecasts.

-CENTRAL BANKS: Reserve Bank of Australia’s minutes of March meeting, Turkey rate decision.

-EARNINGS: Oracle Corp., Celesio AG, Porsche Automobil Holding SE.

-In European soccer’s Champions League round of 16, Chelsea hosts Galatasaray after drawing 1-1 away to the Turkish club in the first leg. 21:45 local time (15:45 EDT). Real Madrid has a 6-1 advantage as it goes into the second match at home against Germany’s Schalke. 20:45 CET (15:45 EDT).

-National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament first-round begins with games today and tomorrow, March 19, in Dayton, Ohio. Second-round and third-round games are March 20-23.


-Fed policy decision. The Federal Open Market Committee meets for the first time under Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who has pledged to continue gradual reductions in monthly bond buying as long as the economy continues to strengthen. With the jobless rate at 6.7 percent last month, the FOMC is discussing changing its pledge to keep the main interest rate at zero well past the time unemployment falls below 6.5 percent. The FOMC releases a statement at 14:00. Yellen will hold her first press conference as Fed chief at 14:30 in Washington.

-U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne presents his annual budget to the House of Commons, announcing new growth and deficit forecasts and outlining tax changes and spending initiatives. 12:30 in London (08:30 EDT).

-Hewlett-Packard Co.’s annual meeting. Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman will make her presentation to investors following a year in which the company’s stock and bonds rallied as she stabilized its finances and operating performance. Hewlett-Packard may face questions from shareholders about her plans to bolster revenue, which fell last year, and the fallout from the company’s acquisition of Autonomy Corp., which resulted in an $8.8 billion writedown. 14:00 in Santa Clara, California (17:00 EDT).

-Japan reports February trade after a record shortfall in January, the 19th straight deficit. Energy imports have soared as all nuclear plants are closed and export growth has been weak. 08:50 in Tokyo (03/18 19:50 EDT).

-Bank of England minutes. The BOE releases minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee’s March meeting, providing insight into its members’ outlook for growth, spare capacity and inflation. The minutes will be released at the same time as the latest unemployment data. 09:30 in London (05:30 EDT).

-Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan speaks on a panel at the University of Bern at 18:45 CET (13:45 EDT).

-Bank of Japan board member Takahide Kiuchi gives a speech in Otsu, western Japan, at 10:30 (03/18 21:30 EDT), followed by a press conference at 14:00.

-Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is expected to speak during the 23rd International Financial Symposium at the Institute for International Monetary Affairs in Tokyo. 14:00 (01:00 EDT).

-Bank of Japan board member Takehiro Sato speaks at the Japan Society in New York. The speech is called “Recent Developments in Japan’s Economy and Monetary Policy.” 08:00 in New York.

-Bank of Korea Governor Nominee Lee Ju Yeol takes questions from lawmakers at a parliamentary vetting, the first in the central bank’s history. Lawmakers on the Strategy and Finance Committee will query Lee on his ethical record and capacity to conduct policy making. 10:00 in Seoul (03/18 21:00 EDT).

-ECONOMY: U.S. current-account balance (fourth quarter), South Korea producer prices (Feb.), South Africa consumer price inflation (Feb.), South Africa retail sales (Jan.), U.K. ILO unemployment rate (Nov.-Jan.), French current account balance (Jan.), Swiss ZEW survey (March).

-EARNINGS: FedEx Corp., General Mills Inc., David Jones Ltd., Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd., China Telecom Corp., HeidelbergCement AG, Inditex SA, Smiths Group Plc.

-In European soccer’s Champions League round of 16, last season’s losing finalist Borussia Dortmund hosts Zenit St. Petersburg after defeating the Russian team 4-2 in the first match. 20:45 CET (15:45 EDT). Manchester United faces a 2-0 deficit as it hosts Olympiacos of Greece. 19:45 local time (15:45 EST).


-Fed bank stress tests. The U.S. Federal Reserve releases the results of its stress tests to help assess whether the largest financial institutions have enough capital to absorb losses and support operations during adverse conditions. The results, mandated under the Dodd-Frank Act, include data on capital ratios, revenue and loss estimates. 16:00 in Washington.

-U.S. existing home sales probably rose in February after falling to the weakest level in more than a year, according to a Bloomberg survey, as the market began to stabilize. The National Association of Realtors will report at 10:00 in Washington.

-Swiss National Bank policy decision. The SNB’s three-member governing board will announce its rate decision at 09:30 CET (04:30 EDT). The central bank’s benchmark interest rate target is at zero, and SNB President Thomas Jordan reaffirmed its franc ceiling against the euro on March 8.

-Sabine Lautenschlaeger, a member of the European Central Bank’s Executive Board, takes part in a panel discussion in Duesseldorf, Germany, at 16:00 CET (11:00 EDT).

-European Union leaders convene in Brussels for two days of talks likely to be dominated by the bloc’s response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, including possible sanctions. Other topics on the agenda include climate and energy policy, industrial competitiveness and economic policy. Timing to be announced.

-Bloomberg LINK Mexico Economic Summit. Speakers include: Luis Videgaray, Mexico’s finance minister; Enrique Ochoa, chief executive officer of Comision Federal de Electricidad; Luis Tellez, chairman and CEO of Bolsa Mexicana de Valores SAB; Miguel Angel Mancera, mayor of Mexico City. 08:30 in Mexico City (10:30 EDT).

-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda speak at the Japan Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. From 14:30 in Tokyo (01:30 EDT).

-Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive officer of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., holds a briefing on the Dream Center, an entertainment district his company is building with partners in Shanghai to rival New York’s Broadway and London’s West End. Li Ruigang, chairman and CEO of China Media Capital, and Allan Zeman, chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Holdings Ltd., will also attend the event. 15:30 in Shanghai (03:30 EDT).

-The U.S. Energy Information Administration releases its weekly natural gas supply report. 10:30 in Washington.

-ECONOMY: U.S. initial jobless claims (weekly), Bloomberg consumer comfort (weekly), U.S. leading indicators (Feb.), Colombia GDP (fourth quarter), Taiwan export orders (Feb.), Hong Kong inflation (Feb.), New Zealand GDP (fourth quarter), U.K. factory orders (March), Swiss exports (Feb.), German PPI (Feb.).

-EARNINGS: Nike Inc., PetroChina Co., Li & Fung Ltd., China Mobile Ltd., Lanxess AG, Havas SA, Hermes International.

-PGA Tour. The $6.2 million Arnold Palmer Invitational begins in Orlando, Florida. Tiger Woods is the defending champion. Tee times to be determined. Through March 23.

-National Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s basketball second-round and third-round games begin. Through March 23.


-U.S. credit rating. Fitch Ratings announces its review of the U.S. sovereign-credit ranking, which is now AAA with a negative outlook. A downgrade would mean two of the three biggest ratings firms grade the U.S. lower than AAA. Standard & Poor’s stripped the U.S. of its top rating in 2011. Moody’s Investors Service still rates the nation’s debt Aaa. Time to be determined.

-The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission holds a public meeting to discuss proposed revised guidelines for the storage of nuclear waste at power plants. A federal court in 2012 ruled that the NRC’s existing rules were inadequate. The agency has delayed final licensing decisions for new units and for 100 reactors now in operation. The NRC plans to issue a new rule by September. 13:00 in Rockville, Maryland.

-Euro-area consumer confidence for March, first report. Consumer confidence unexpectedly declined in February, adding to signs that the currency bloc’s recovery may be cooling. 11:00 CET (06:00 EDT).

-The U.S. Department of Agriculture releases its monthly cold storage report and cattle-on-feed data. 15:00 in Washington.

-ECONOMY: Brazil mid-month inflation (March), U.K. budget balance (Feb.).

-CENTRAL BANKS: Mexico rate decision, Colombia rate decision, Sri Lanka rate decision.

-EARNINGS: Tiffany & Co.

-SOVEREIGN RATING UPDATES: Belgium (DBRS), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Moody’s), Cape Verde (Fitch), Croatia (Moody’s), Cyprus (Moody’s), Greece (S&P), Macedonia (Fitch), Nigeria (S&P), U.S. (Fitch), Zambia (Fitch)


-European Central Bank Vice President Vitor Constancio speaks in Washington. Constancio will give the keynote speech at the International Research Forum on Monetary Policy. 12:30 in Washington.

-Major League Baseball opens its regular season in Sydney as the Los Angeles Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks in a two-day, two-game series. Clayton Kershaw will be the Dodgers’ starting pitcher after signing a seven-year, $215 million contract in the offseason, the largest in the sport’s history for a pitcher. (04:00 EDT) Baseball’s official Opening Day is March 31 with 13 games.

-Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda speaks at the London School of Economics. The speech is called “Towards a More Balanced Growth Model - The Case of Japan.” 16:30 in London (12:30 EDT).

Note to our readers: Click on blue ECONOMY headline at bottom of given day for access to Bloomberg’s complete global economic calendar.

To contact the reporters on this story: James Amott in London at +44-20-3216-4206 or jamott@bloomberg.net; Greg Miles in New York at +1-212-617-5877 or gmiles1@bloomberg.net; Keat Kian Koh in Singapore at +65-6212-1580 or kkoh@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andy Davidson at +1-212-617-8977 or adavidson@bloomberg.net Nancy Moran