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Why they did what they did, and what they will do

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  • The Fed minutes for the meeting that decided to scale back bond purchases are due. Comments around the decision (including Fed President Williams last night) suggest that the Fed has some kind of regular road map in mind â€Â“ today's minutes could offer additional guidance.
  • US trade data suggests upside risks to US Q4 GDP data, but is less convincing as a support for international growth. Although US exports were strong (suggesting some global demand) the import picture was patchy, suggesting US consumer hedonism will transmit less clearly to the rest of the world.
  • The Bank of England credit survey will be watched for evidence of bank lending to corporates (a policy objective) and for home purchases (a media obsession). Halifax house price data is also due, as the Bank starts a two day policy meeting.
  • Euro area retail sales (a nominal figure) should not be impacted by the softer consumer price inflation data of yesterday, as this seemed to be driven more by weaker service sector prices. The structural focus is on the divergence of consumer spending across the Euro area, rather than the aggregate.

    Listen to the audio version of this briefing.