US leads way on rates

 

Washington will be keeping a watchful eye as both the Bundesbank and the bank of France meet this week in the wake of the US Federal Reserve's surprise second cut in interest rates in three weeks. The US is looking for Europe to unite in lowering rates to stimulate the world economy and mitigate the worst effects of the various crises in Asia, Russia and Latin America. However, both the Bundesbank and the European Central bank have been reluctant to allow themselves get enmeshed in a global policy of rate cutting. Markets, which rose dramatically on news of the US rate cut, will be hoping for a continuation of the trend.

IMF/Russia: With agreement on funding under its belt, the IMF returns to Russia this week to see if it can broker a deal allowing it to release a tranche of promised loans in return for responsible economy policy on the part of the new Russian government. Pressure for reform of the IMF, including greater openness and tougher controls on lending will reduce the scope of the fund to give the Russian government an easy out in concluding any deal. Separately the beleaguered Malaysian Prime Minister, Mr Mahathir Mohamad presents his 1999 budget to parliament, hopefully providing some clues as to future economic policy following regressive controls on foreign investment in recent times.

Monday

Results: Bellway, Blacks Leisure (H1), Chelsea Village, Concurrent Technolgies (H1), Newcastle United, Newport Holdings (H1), WPP Group (Q3).

Meetings: European Commissioners Sir Leon Brittan, Mr Karel Van Miert and Ms Emma Bonino hold talks on future global trade liberalisation talks and proposed transatlantic economic partnership with US Trade Representative Ms Charlene Barshefsky (Brussels).

Others: IBEC publishes its pre-Budget submission.

Tuesday

Results: Airflow Streamlines (H1), Boxmore International (H1), Honeywell (Q3), IBM (Q3), Microsoft (Q1), Paterson Zochonis, Proteome Sciences (H1), SmithKline Beecham (Q3), Scottish Metro Prop, Wescol, Wolseley.

Meetings: IBEC workshop on structural funds priorities post-1999 (IBEC HQ); Second Internet Business Conference (RDS); LIFFE future and options market board meeting votes on a range of options for the future strategy of the exchange; South Dublin Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting on "Managing Traffic - Implications for Commerce" (Plaza Hotel, Tallaght); Irish Institute of Training and Development begin nationwide seminar programme (Radisson SAS St Helen's Hotel, Dublin).

Indicators: British building society net mortgage approvals (Sep) and M4 and M0 data (Sep); US international trade (Aug).

Others: IMF mission to resume assessment of Russia's economic policies; Bear Stearns & Co announces details of new Dublin operation.

Wednesday

Results: ABB (Q3), Action Group, Alizyme (H1), DFS Furniture, Ocean Wilsons (H1), PolyGram (Q3), Premier Direct Group, Volvo (Q3).

Meetings: Joint Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply/Irish Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management conference on "Drivers for Success in an Island Economy (Newcastle, Co Down).

Indicators: European Commission due to release its autumn economic forecast for EMU-11 and EU-15; British retail sales (Sep); US housing data (Sep); French trade balance (Aug) and industrial production (Jul/Aug); German ifo survey (Sep).

Others: Dresdner bank/NorCom joint venture announcement; AIB Capital Markets special finance unit conference on how Ireland can benefit from public-private partnerships.

Thursday

Results: Arcadia, Body Shop (H1), Boeing (Q3), Ericsson (Q3), L Gardiner Group, Hitachi Credit (H1), ICI (Q3), Legal & General (Q3), Novartis (Q3), Philips (Q3), Reebok International (Q3), Reuters (Q3).

A.G.M.: Powerscreen International (e.g.m.).

Meetings: Bundesbank council meeting; Bank of France monetary policy council meeting; European Investment Bank annual forum (London); The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland meeting (ESRI, Dublin).

Others: Dublin Chamber of Commerce annual dinneranaiste, Ms Harney as guest speaker (Burlington Hotel, Dublin); Irish Association of Pension Funds awards scheme and annual lunch (Jurys Hotel, Cork)

Friday

Results: Brown, Nokia (Q3), Scottish Oriental, Versailles Group.

A.G.M.: African Gold.

Meetings: EU leaders gather for weekend summit on future of the EU (Austria).

Indicators: Irish retail sales (Aug) and public sector earnings data (Mar); British GDP (Q3).

Others: International Monetary Fund presentation on its World Economic Outlook (Tokyo); Malaysian Prime Minister, Mr Mahathir Mohamad presents government's 1999 budget to the lower house of parliament; Denim Day in aid of Irish Youth Foundation.