Week ahead 17-21 March

WEEK IN REVIEW:

This week, the EU and the US have made little progress in the fourth round of trade negotiations under the  Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) first announced last year. Agriculture is a major area of dissent, such as the EU’s decision not to eliminate tariffs on beef, chicken or pork and the requirement by the US to sell geographically labelled products such as feta or parmesan cheese. On the investment front, the most contentious issue regards the rights that investors should have in case of rogue or poor regulations. These recent news are a reminder of how difficult it is for each region to open-up, particularly in the agricultural sector that has been one of the most protected. However, it is very clear that there are large gains to be made from closing up ties between the two regions, as they face the prospect of rising trade with Asia, especially China. Moreover, in recent weeks, as the Crimea crisis deepens, it has become even more important to reach some deal, as a show of unity relative to Russia.

In the Portuguese-speaking world, Portuguese Q4 GDP was revised up to 0.6%qoq and +1.7%yoy. The details show a decline in consumption qoq, but a strong contribution from export and investment growth. In Angola, the Government has initiated a public consultation on the private investment law. Currently, only investments over one million dollars benefit from the state’s support (though domestic investment may benefit from other programmes).

WEEK AHEAD:

19 March: Federal Reserve Open Market Committee Meeting followed by President Yellen’s press conference: no major surprise expected, the Fed is likely to confirm the gradual reduction in the asset purchase programme.

21 March: EU March Flash Consumer confidence: anlysts expect further small gains.