All eyes turn to the US presidential election on November 3rd, with polls suggesting Democrat Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump nationally by 10 percentage points. To win the presidency, Mr Trump or Mr Biden must get 270 electoral votes out of a total of 538, and battleground states including North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Arizona could all be decisive in the election's outcome. Still, many believe that the result may not be declared on Election night, but may take several days to emerge, as early voting, both by mail and in person, hit record levels amid the coronavirus crisis. Latest numbers from the US Elections Project at the University of Florida showed that almost 90 million people have already cast their ballots, more than 60 percent of the total turnout in the 2016 election.
Elsewhere, the US Federal Reserve is seen holding the target range for the federal funds rate steady at 0-0.25 percent at the end of their two-day meeting on Thursday, with investors focusing on Chair Jerome Powell's press conference for clues on the next monetary policy steps. Policymakers have been calling for continued aggressive fiscal and monetary stimulus for an economic recovery, but Democrat lawmakers and White House officials have been unable to agree on a relief package so far.
On the economic data front, the US jobs report will probably suggest the labor market recovery is slowing, with markets predicting a payroll increase of 600 thousand in October and an unemployment rate of 7.6 percent, below an all-time high of 14.7 percent hit in April but still well above pre-pandemic levels of about 3.5 percent. Other notable publications are the ISM PMI surveys; foreign trade; factory orders; construction spending; ADP employment change; and third-quarter productivity and labor costs.
Elsewhere in America, key data to follow include Canada employment figures, trade balance and Ivey PMI; Mexico inflation rate; and Brazil consumer price inflation, industrial output and foreign trade.
Across the Atlantic, investors turn their attention to the Bank of England's meeting at which policymakers are expected to increase £100 billion in the QE program, but hold interest rates at current levels. The British economic calendar will be light, with only Markit PMIs, Halifax House Price Index and new car sales scheduled. Elsewhere in Europe, investors will keep an eye on the final Markit PMI surveys for the Euro Area, Germany and France while Italy and Spain will publish their preliminary estimates. Other data to follow include: Euro Area retail sales and producer prices; Germany industrial production and factory orders; Sweden third-quarter GDP; and Turkey consumer and producer prices.
In China, October's Caixin PMIs and trade figures will provide an insight of the post-pandemic economic recovery. Meantime, the Bank of Japan will be publishing the minutes from its last monetary policy meeting while the Jibun Bank will be releasing final PMIs for October. The Reserve Bank of Australia will hold its monetary policy meeting on Tuesday, with markets expecting a 15bps rate cut which will bring borrowing costs to a fresh record low. On the economic data front, important releases include Markit October’s PMIs final reading; Ai Group indexes; trade balance; building permits; and retail sales final estimate.
Other key data for the Asia-Pacific region include: South Korea Markit manufacturing PMI, inflation rate and trade balance; New Zealand unemployment rate and building permits; India Markit PMIs; Indonesia Q3 GDP, inflation and business confidence; and Thailand and the Philippines consumer prices. Malaysia’s central bank will also be deciding on monetary policy.