The economic highlight of the coming week is surely the US Federal Reserve Bank's final meeting of 2017. The big question is whether the Fed will continue its gradual tightening of US monetary policy by edging up interest rates another 25 basis points, or whether it will pause in the so-called normalisation process.
Investment house Schroders sees a rise on Friday and three further increases in 2018. The Fed funds rate is now forecast to end 2017 at 1.5%, 2018 at 2.25% and 2019 at 2.5%, it says.
Opinion is divided on the enduring strength or otherwise of economic growth and on the likely trends for inflation. If growth and other cyclical forces pick up, experience shows that inflation will too.
But that experience comes from vastly different economic times and deflation (falling prices) and stagflation (higher inflation but no economic growth) remain on the risk radar. The Goldilocks environment (not too hot, not too cold) is widely expected to fade from the scene.
NY Empire State Manufacturing Index
The New York Federal Reserve is scheduled to publish its most recent manufacturing index, widely known as the Empire State Survey, on Friday. It is keenly watched as an indicator of growth and inflation trends.
Recent reports have confirmed that business activity has continued to grow strongly in New York state. Manufacturing is expanding. Employment and optimism are growing.
PMI - purchasing manager indexes
Markit will publish three separate preliminary US purchasing manager indexes on Thursday: manufacturing PMI, PMI Composite and Services PMI. All are expected to remain in positive territory.
On the same day it will publish the same figures for the European Union as a whole, and France, Germany and Italy
European Central Bank and others
The ECB's latest monetary policy statement and press conference will take place on Thursday. Some investment professionals see a tighter line on monetary policy from the Fed, the ECB and the Bank of Japan. Others agree that the Fed will continue to tighten but not the other two.
The Bank of England's policy as stated several times in recent weeks in high profile speeches by senior representatives is to raise its key rate to 1% by 2020. Its latest decision on interest rates to be announced on Thursday is expected to leave the key rate unchanged at 0.5%.
The Swiss National Bank will be announcing its decision that same day. The consensus there is that the SNB will also leave its key rate unchanged, at -0.75%. In terms of interest rate differentials, the pound could see its recent gradual recovery come to a halt, at least against the US dollar.
On the other hand, in terms purely of sentiment, the pound could be positively affected by the reported progress in Brexit negotiations.