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Week Ahead – Fed, BoE, BoJ, SNB, SARB, CBRT and more to look forward to

Federal Reserve could be cautious as data continues to show economic resilience BoE may raise rates for the last time in this cycle BoJ eyed for more clues…

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  • Federal Reserve could be cautious as data continues to show economic resilience
  • BoE may raise rates for the last time in this cycle
  • BoJ eyed for more clues on interest rates after recent hints

US

The main event of the week will be the September FOMC meeting. Powell and Co. are expected to keep rates steady but may still signal one more rate increase is coming.  Too many upside surprises with service/jobs/consumer readings will keep the Fed upbeat on the economy, forcing them to revise up their GDP forecasts and to price in one more rate hike.  

Investors will also pay close attention to a steady dose of housing data.  On Tuesday, the release of both building permits and housing starts should show the housing market is stabilizing. On Thursday, weekly jobless claims are expected to show the labor market slowdown is slowly happening and existing home sales are steadying.   The key economic release of the weak is the flash PMIs, which are expected to show the economy is losing momentum.  

Eurozone

The ECB probably brought an end to its tightening cycle at its September meeting but it doesn’t end there, with traders now switching their focus to when the easing cycle will begin. Lagarde was keen to stress that they could hike again if necessary but the likelihood is that they won’t. 

Final HICP inflation data will be of interest on Tuesday, although revisions are not common and when they do happen, they’re usually small. Flash PMIs at the end of the week for the eurozone, Germany, and France will also be eyed.

UK 

It feels like a pivotal week for the UK, with inflation figures for August being released on Wednesday, one day before the Bank of England rate decision. While the central bank is believed to be near the end of its tightening cycle – in part due to the comments from policymakers in front of the Treasury Select Committee recently – one more on Thursday looks highly likely. 

And the inflation data a day earlier is not expected to complicate the discussion, with the headline CPI seen rising to 7.1% – driven by energy prices as we’ve seen elsewhere – and the core reading falling slightly to 6.8%. I can’t imagine that will inspire a majority to declare job done or even consider pausing just yet. Retail sales and flash PMIs will also be released on Friday. 

Russia

A quiet week following the CBR meeting on Friday, at which the central bank raised the Key Rate by another 100 basis points to 13%. Resurgent inflation and a slumping rouble is driving the central bank’s tightening efforts and more may be needed. PPI data on Wednesday will be eyed for signs of price pressures cooling, something we haven’t seen much of yet. We’ll also hear from various CBR policymakers throughout the week which will be interesting under the circumstances.

South Africa

The SARB is one of the few central banks that is not expected to raise interest rates next week, with the Repo Rate seen staying at 8.25%. Inflation data released a day earlier could spark a more lively debate but with headline and core both at 4.7% – well within the 3-6% target range – it probably won’t change the outcome. Retail sales figures will also be released on Wednesday.

Turkey

The CBRT meeting on Thursday brings a wide array of possibilities. Markets are expecting another 5% rate hike, taking the Repo Rate to 30% but expectations will vary massively. With inflation at almost 59% and the lira near record lows, there’s clearly a lot more to do to clean up the mess left by the previous Governor. 

Switzerland

Inflation is back below 2% – 1.6% in August – and yet the SNB is widely expected to raise interest rates by 25 basis points on Thursday. It’s expected to be the final hike in the cycle, leaving the Policy Rate at 2%, with the first cut not priced in until late next year. 

China

The only data to focus on will be the PBoC decision on the 1-year and 5-year loan prime rates on Wednesday. After they left the 1-year medium-term lending rate unchanged at 2.50% on Friday following a reduction on the commercial banks’ reserve requirements ratio by 25 basis points, it is likely that the 1-year and 5-year loan prime rate rates will remain unchanged at 3.45% and 4.2% respectively.

Chinese economic data recently has started to improve. Retail sales in August rose 4.6% y/y, above the consensus of 3%, and surpassing July’s 2.5%; the strongest pace of growth since May. August’s industrial production also managed to beat expectations of 3.9% with a growth of 4.5% y/y; the highest reading since April.

All things considered, the latest set of economic data suggests that the risk of a deflationary spiral in China has abated by another notch.

India

No key data releases.

Australia

On Tuesday minutes of the recent RBA meeting will be released. At the last monetary policy meeting, the RBA extended its interest rate pause at 4.1% for the third consecutive meeting. Market participants will be looking for more clues on whether there will be further hikes after the latest jobs data rebounded following a surprise drop in July.

Next up, flash services and manufacturing PMIs for September will be released on Friday. A deeper contraction in the services PMI is expected, falling to 46.5 from 47.8 in August. That would be the third consecutive month of contraction in the services sector. Meanwhile, manufacturing is expected to remain almost unchanged at 49.5 versus 49.6 in August.

New Zealand

Two key data releases to take note of. Firstly, Q2 GDP on Thursday could see a dip to 1.2% y/y from 2.2% in Q1. That would be the weakest annualized quarterly growth since Q2 2022.

Balance of trade data for August is due on Friday with the trade deficit expected to narrow slightly to NZ$-0.9 billion from NZ$-1.11 billion in July. Imports are seen falling to NZ$6.1 billion from NZ$6.56 billion recorded in July.

Japan

A pivotal week with inflation data and the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision. After BoJ Governor Ueda’s recent “quiet exit” comment from the current ultra-easy monetary policy stance, expectations for an earlier exit have dialed up with the first interest rate hike seen as early as Q1 2024.

Therefore, the upcoming inflation numbers for August out on Friday will be scrutinized closely. The core inflation rate is expected to be almost unchanged at 3% y/y versus 3.1% in July. That would be the eighteenth consecutive month that it exceeds BoJ’s target of 2%. Interestingly, the core-core inflation rate (excluding fresh food & energy) is expected to accelerate further to 4.4% y/y in August from 4.3% in July. 

The BoJ’s monetary policy decision will be on the same day. No change is expected after the “flexible” yield curve control policy on the 10-year JGB yield was enacted at the previous meeting. No release of the latest economic forecasts for Japan, hence all ears will be on Ueda’s press conference for hints on how confident he is on the inflation trajectory. 

Singapore

Balance of trade data for August will be out on Monday with export growth expected to be still in contractionary mode albeit at a slower pace, -15.8% y/y from -20.2% in July. This would be the 11th straight month of contraction.


Economic Calendar

Saturday, Sept. 16

Economic Events

Global Geothermal Conference in Beijing

Informal meeting of EU finance ministers concludes in Spain

Sunday, Sept. 17

Economic Events

No major events

Monday, Sept. 18

Economic Data/Events

US cross-border investment, NY Fed services business activity, NAHB housing market index

Canada housing starts

Singapore trade

Russian and Chinese foreign ministers to talk in Moscow

RBA Deputy Governor Bullock becomes central bank chief

German Finance Minister Lindner speaks at the Bloomberg Future of Finance Conference in Frankfurt

Ukraine defense ministers meet in Germany 

Tuesday, Sept. 19

Economic Data/Events

US housing starts

Canada CPI

Eurozone CPI

Mexico international reserves

RBA releases minutes of this month’s policy meeting

General debate starts at the United Nations’ 78th general assembly

OECD releases interim economic outlook report on the global economy

New Zealand PM Hipkins debates National Party leader Christopher Luxon  

ECB’s Elderson addresses conference at Goethe-Universität/Center for Financial Studies in Frankfurt

BOC Deputy Governor Kozicki speaks at the University of Regina

EU European affairs ministers to meet in Brussels

Wednesday, Sept. 20

Economic Data/Events

FOMC Rate Decision: Expected to maintain benchmark lending rate target at 5.25% to 5.5%

China loan prime rates

Eurozone new car registrations

Japan trade

South Africa retail sales, CPI

UK CPI

Bank of Canada issues summary of this month’s policy meeting

ECB’s Elderson speaks at Springtij Forum 2023 in Netherlands

FedEx reports earnings

Thursday, Sept. 21

Economic Data/Events

US leading index, initial jobless claims, existing home sales

BOE Rate Decision: Expected to raise rates by 25bps to 5.50%

Eurozone consumer confidence

New Zealand GDP

Norway rate decision: Expected to raise rates by 25bps to 4.25%

South Africa rate decision: Expected to keep rates steady at 8.25%

Spain trade

Sweden rate decision: Expected to raise rates by 25bps to 4.00%

Switzerland rate decision: Expected to raise rates by 25bps to 2.00%

Turkey rate decision: Expected to raise rates by 500bps to 30.00%

ECB’s Schnabel speaks at the ECB Annual Research Conference

ECB chief economist Lane addresses Money Marketeers of New York University in New York

Friday, Sept. 22

Economic Data/Events

US Sept flash manufacturing PMI: 47.9e v 47.9 prior; Services PMI: No est v 50.5 prior

Australia manufacturing PMI, services PMI

Canada retail sales

European flash PMIs: Eurozone, Germany, France, and the UK

Japan BOJ rate decision: No change expected with rates, to keep ultra-easy policy

Japan CPI and preliminary PMIs

New Zealand trade

Spain GDP

Taiwan jobless rate

ECB VP de Guindos addresses online event

China’s Bund Summit

Atlantic Council’s “Transatlantic Forum on GeoEconomics” in Berlin, with German Economy Minister Habeck and others

Riksbank Governor Thedeen speaks on “Why is the Swedish krona so weak” in separate events 

Sovereign Rating Updates

Germany (S&P)

Poland (Moody’s)

Finland (DBRS)

France (DBRS)

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Four burning questions about the future of the $16.5B Novo-Catalent deal

To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.
Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand…

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To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.

Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand its own production capacity for its weight loss drugs, the Danish drugmaker said Monday it will pay $11 billion to acquire three manufacturing plants from Catalent. It’s part of a broader $16.5 billion deal with Novo Holdings, the investment arm of the pharma’s parent group, which agreed to acquire the contract manufacturer and take it private.

It’s a big deal for all parties, with potential ripple effects across the biotech ecosystem. Here’s a look at some of the most pressing questions to watch after Monday’s announcement.

Why did Novo do this?

Novo Holdings isn’t the most obvious buyer for Catalent, particularly after last year’s on-and-off M&A interest from the serial acquirer Danaher. But the deal could benefit both Novo Holdings and Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest challenge has been simply making enough of the weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes therapy Ozempic. On last week’s earnings call, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said the company isn’t constrained by capital in its efforts to boost manufacturing. Rather, the main challenge is the limited amount of capabilities out there, he said.

“Most pharmaceutical companies in the world would be shopping among the same manufacturers,” he said. “There’s not an unlimited amount of machinery and people to build it.”

While Novo was already one of Catalent’s major customers, the manufacturer has been hamstrung by its own balance sheet. With roughly $5 billion in debt on its books, it’s had to juggle paying down debt with sufficiently investing in its facilities. That’s been particularly challenging in keeping pace with soaring demand for GLP-1 drugs.

Novo, on the other hand, has the balance sheet to funnel as much money as needed into the plants in Italy, Belgium, and Indiana. It’s also struggled to make enough of its popular GLP-1 drugs to meet their soaring demand, with documented shortages of both Ozempic and Wegovy.

The impact won’t be immediate. The parties expect the deal to close near the end of 2024. Novo Nordisk said it expects the three new sites to “gradually increase Novo Nordisk’s filling capacity from 2026 and onwards.”

As for the rest of Catalent — nearly 50 other sites employing thousands of workers — Novo Holdings will take control. The group previously acquired Altasciences in 2021 and Ritedose in 2022, so the Catalent deal builds on a core investing interest in biopharma services, Novo Holdings CEO Kasim Kutay told Endpoints News.

Kasim Kutay

When asked about possible site closures or layoffs, Kutay said the team hasn’t thought about that.

“That’s not our track record. Our track record is to invest in quality businesses and help them grow,” he said. “There’s always stuff to do with any asset you own, but we haven’t bought this company to do some of the stuff you’re talking about.”

What does it mean for Catalent’s customers? 

Until the deal closes, Catalent will operate as a standalone business. After it closes, Novo Nordisk said it will honor its customer obligations at the three sites, a spokesperson said. But they didn’t answer a question about what happens when those contracts expire.

The wrinkle is the long-term future of the three plants that Novo Nordisk is paying for. Those sites don’t exclusively pump out Wegovy, but that could be the logical long-term aim for the Danish drugmaker.

The ideal scenario is that pricing and timelines remain the same for customers, said Nicole Paulk, CEO of the gene therapy startup Siren Biotechnology.

Nicole Paulk

“The name of the group that you’re going to send your check to is now going to be Novo Holdings instead of Catalent, but otherwise everything remains the same,” Paulk told Endpoints. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

In a worst case, Paulk said she feared the new owners could wind up closing sites or laying off Catalent groups. That could create some uncertainty for customers looking for a long-term manufacturing partner.

Are shareholders and regulators happy? 

The pandemic was a wild ride for Catalent’s stock, with shares surging from about $40 to $140 and then crashing back to earth. The $63.50 share price for the takeover is a happy ending depending on the investor.

On that point, the investing giant Elliott Investment Management is satisfied. Marc Steinberg, a partner at Elliott, called the agreement “an outstanding outcome” that “clearly maximizes value for Catalent stockholders” in a statement.

Elliott helped kick off a strategic review last August that culminated in the sale agreement. Compared to Catalent’s stock price before that review started, the deal pays a nearly 40% premium.

Alessandro Maselli

But this is hardly a victory lap for CEO Alessandro Maselli, who took over in July 2022 when Catalent’s stock price was north of $100. Novo’s takeover is a tacit acknowledgment that Maselli could never fully right the ship, as operational problems plagued the company throughout 2023 while it was limited by its debt.

Additional regulatory filings in the next few weeks could give insight into just how competitive the sale process was. William Blair analysts said they don’t expect a competing bidder “given the organic investments already being pursued at other leading CDMOs and the breadth and scale of Catalent’s operations.”

The Blair analysts also noted the companies likely “expect to spend some time educating relevant government agencies” about the deal, given the lengthy closing timeline. Given Novo Nordisk’s ascent — it’s now one of Europe’s most valuable companies — paired with the limited number of large contract manufacturers, antitrust regulators could be interested in taking a close look.

Are Catalent’s problems finally a thing of the past?

Catalent ran into a mix of financial and operational problems over the past year that played no small part in attracting the interest of an activist like Elliott.

Now with a deal in place, how quickly can Novo rectify those problems? Some of the challenges were driven by the demands of being a publicly traded company, like failing to meet investors’ revenue expectations or even filing earnings reports on time.

But Catalent also struggled with its business at times, with a range of manufacturing delays, inspection reports and occasionally writing down acquisitions that didn’t pan out. Novo’s deep pockets will go a long way to a turnaround, but only the future will tell if all these issues are fixed.

Kutay said his team is excited by the opportunity and was satisfied with the due diligence it did on the company.

“We believe we’re buying a strong company with a good management team and good prospects,” Kutay said. “If that wasn’t the case, I don’t think we’d be here.”

Amber Tong and Reynald Castañeda contributed reporting.

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Petrina Kamya, Ph.D., Head of AI Platforms at Insilico Medicine, presents at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb….

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Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

Credit: Insilico Medicine

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

The session will look at how the latest artificial intelligence (AI) tools – including generative AI and large language models – are currently being used to advance the discovery and design of new drugs, and which technologies are still in development. 

The BIO CEO & Investor Conference brings together over 1,000 attendees and more than 700 companies across industry and institutional investment to discuss the future investment landscape of biotechnology. Sessions focus on topics such as therapeutic advancements, market outlook, and policy priorities.

Insilico Medicine is a leading, clinical stage AI-driven drug discovery company that has raised over $400m in investments since it was founded in 2014. Dr. Kamya leads the development of the Company’s end-to-end generative AI platform, Pharma.AI from Insilico’s AI R&D Center in Montreal. Using modern machine learning techniques in the context of chemistry and biology, the platform has driven the discovery and design of 30+ new therapies, with five in clinical stages – for cancer, fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and COVID-19. The Company’s lead drug, for the chronic, rare lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is the first AI-designed drug for an AI-discovered target to reach Phase II clinical trials with patients. Nine of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have used Insilico’s AI platform to advance their programs, and the Company has a number of major strategic licensing deals around its AI-designed therapeutic assets, including with Sanofi, Exelixis and Menarini. 

 

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a global clinical stage biotechnology company powered by generative AI, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques for novel target discovery and the generation of novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is developing breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and aging-related diseases. www.insilico.com 


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Another country is getting ready to launch a visa for digital nomads

Early reports are saying Japan will soon have a digital nomad visa for high-earning foreigners.

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Over the last decade, the explosion of remote work that came as a result of improved technology and the pandemic has allowed an increasing number of people to become digital nomads. 

When looked at more broadly as anyone not required to come into a fixed office but instead moves between different locations such as the home and the coffee shop, the latest estimate shows that there were more than 35 million such workers in the world by the end of 2023 while over half of those come from the United States.

Related: There is a new list of cities that are best for digital nomads

While remote work has also allowed many to move to cheaper places and travel around the world while still bringing in income, working outside of one's home country requires either dual citizenship or work authorization — the global shift toward remote work has pushed many countries to launch specific digital nomad visas to boost their economies and bring in new residents.

Japan is a very popular destination for U.S. tourists. 

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This popular vacation destination will soon have a nomad visa

Spain, Portugal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Latvia and Malta are some of the countries currently offering specific visas for foreigners who want to live there while bringing in income from abroad.

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With the exception of a few, Asian countries generally have stricter immigration laws and were much slower to launch these types of visas that some of the countries with weaker economies had as far back as 2015. As first reported by the Japan Times, the country's Immigration Services Agency ended up making the leap toward a visa for those who can earn more than ¥10 million ($68,300 USD) with income from another country.

The Japanese government has not yet worked out the specifics of how long the visa will be valid for or how much it will cost — public comment on the proposal is being accepted throughout next week. 

That said, early reports say the visa will be shorter than the typical digital nomad option that allows foreigners to live in a country for several years. The visa will reportedly be valid for six months or slightly longer but still no more than a year — along with the ability to work, this allows some to stay beyond the 90-day tourist period typically afforded to those from countries with visa-free agreements.

'Not be given a residence card of residence certificate'

While one will be able to reapply for the visa after the time runs out, this can only be done by exiting the country and being away for six months before coming back again — becoming a permanent resident on the pathway to citizenship is an entirely different process with much more strict requirements.

"Those living in Japan with the digital nomad visa will not be given a residence card or a residence certificate, which provide access to certain government benefits," reports the news outlet. "The visa cannot be renewed and must be reapplied for, with this only possible six months after leaving the countr

The visa will reportedly start in March and also allow holders to bring their spouses and families with them. To start using the visa, holders will also need to purchase private health insurance from their home country while taxes on any money one earns will also need to be paid through one's home country.

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