Votes and consequences
- The Ukraine holds a separatist referendum this weekend (offering a choice of secession, or secession and union with Russia). The proper place for investors to focus their attention is on events in Washington, Berlin (and for now Vienna), and the escalation of sanctions.
- One "unintended consequence" that the Ukrainian crisis might generate is better relations between the US and Germany, enhancing the prospects for the TTIP trade deal between the US and the EU (a trade agreement of monumental importance if it ever is passed).
- Concerns about Chinese debt have hit headlines, but the prospects of a systemic threat seem to be overplayed. UBS has, however, revised its 2014 China GDP estimate to 7.5% (from 7.8%) on the weaker export and construction sector performance at the start of the year.
- US preliminary Michigan consumer sentiment is the most interesting data release of the day, as markets look for signs that the US consumer is emerging from a snow induced hibernation. Japan's BoJ minutes offered few clues as to the timing of the next stimulus (we think April).
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