Macroeconomic & Geopolitical

Will U.S. Stimulus Arrive Too Late?

December 2020 – 3 min read
U.S. consumer spending and employment are weakening amid Lockdown 2.0, though fiscal stimulus may be nearby. Meanwhile, improving activity data in China will likely keep the PBOC on the path to policy normalization.


Arrows indicate consensus forecast compared to the previous period. Local dates of release.


  • Personal income is set to decline further in November as fiscal support fades and employment gains slow amid rising cases and restrictions. This is set to weigh on consumer spending despite support from a draw-down of pent-up savings.
  • Housing data are expected to remain strong as demand is robust amid migration to suburbs and record-low mortgage rates.


  • A Brexit deal must be found by midnight on Sunday, December 20, according to the EU negotiator, and that seems possible. Negotiations on the U.K.-EU relationship will however continue next year, in particular for services, as those are excluded from the current deal. Higher trading costs will impact 2021 U.K. inflation.

Asia Pacific

  • The PBOC will likely keep rates steady when it meets on December 21. The bank has been injecting liquidity when needed to support market conditions, but it remains firmly engaged on a policy normalization path as the economic recovery is steady.
  • South Korea exports for the first 20 days of December are expected to signal that global trade remains robust.

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Christopher Smart, PhD, CFA

Chief Global Strategist & Head of the Barings Investment Institute

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