With some EU leaders already declaring the end of the debt crisis, notable data scheduled for release in the week ahead from the world's first and second-largest economies will offer an opportunity for a fresh new assessment of global economic conditions.
In preparation for the new trading week, here is the outlook for the Top 10 spotlight economic events that will move markets around the globe.
1. EUR- Eurozone Industrial Production, the main gauge of industrial activity measuring the output of factories, mines and utilities, Monday, January 14, 5:00 am, ET.
Following last week's disappointing factory orders and industrial production reports from Germany, it would not be surprising to see weaker than expected figures from the entire euro-area, despite the forecasts for a small 0.2% m/m increase in November from the 1.4% m/m drop in October.
2. GBP- U.K. CPI- Consumer Price Index, the main measure of inflation preferred by the Bank of England, Tuesday, January 15, 4:30 am, ET.
Inflationary pressures in the U.K. are forecast to remain at 2.7% y/y in December, same as the 2.7% y/y reading in the previous month. With some economists voicing concerns about the possibility of a triple-dip recession in the U.K., inflation will not be an obstacle if the Bank of England finds it necessary to ease monetary policy further in upcoming months.
3. USD- U.S. Retail Sales, an important gauge of consumer spending measuring sales at retail establishments, Tuesday, January 15, 8:30 am, ET.
Consumer spending in the U.S. is expected to inch higher for a second month with retail sales rising by 0.2% m/m in December following the 0.3% m/m increase in November.
4. USD- U.S. CPI- Consumer Price Index, the main measure of inflation, Wednesday, January 16, 8:30 am, ET.
The inflation gauge of the world's largest economy is forecast to stay at 1.8% y/y in December, still far from the 2.5% level designated by the Fed to signal the end of its aggressive monetary policy easing. The USD should stay under pressure if traders continue to price expectations that the Fed's QE is not going away anytime soon.
5. USD- U.S. Industrial Production, the main gauge of industrial activity measuring the output of factories, mines and utilities, Wednesday, January 16, 9:15 am, ET.
Forecasts point to another month of increase, but at a slower pace, as industrial output rises by 0.3% m/m in December, compared with 1.1% m/m in the previous month.
6. AUD- Australia Employment and Unemployment Rate, the main gauges of labor market conditions measuring job creation and unemployment, Wednesday, January 16, 7:30 pm, ET.
The Australian economy is forecast to add up to 2,500 jobs on December- less than the 13,900 created in November, while the unemployment rate rises to 5.4% from 5.2% in the previous month.
7. USD- U.S. Housing Starts, a leading indicator of housing market activity measuring new construction, Thursday, January 17, 8:30 am, ET.
In line with the recent trend of improvement in the U.S. housing market, housing starts are forecast to rise to 880K in December, compared with 861K in November.
8. CNY- China GDP- Gross Domestic Product, the main measure of economic activity and growth, Thursday, January 17, 9:00 pm, ET.
Growth in the world's second-largest economy is expected to pick up the pace with an increase to 7.8% q/y in the fourth quarter of 2012 from 7.4% q/y in Q3. Stronger Chinese economic data should boost investor sentiment, risk appetite and the higher-yielding currencies.
9. GBP- U.K. Retail Sales, an important gauge of consumer spending measuring sales at retail establishments, Friday, January 18, 4:30 am, ET.
After the unimpressive flat reading in November, the U.K. retail sales are forecast to increase by 0.2% m/m in December. Should consumer spending disappoint again, pressures on the GBP could mount on expectations that the Bank of England might be forced into additional QE as economic conditions deteriorate.
10. USD- U.S. Consumer Sentiment, the University of Michigan's monthly survey of 500 households on their financial conditions and outlook of the economy, Friday, January 18, 9:55 am, ET.
The outlook of U.S. consumers is forecast to become more optimistic with a preliminary sentiment index reading of 75.1 in January, compared with 72.9 in the previous month.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.