Data and ECB may help set tone for investors looking ahead to 2014

Sun Dec 1, 2013 1:10pm EST
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By Andy Bruce

LONDON (Reuters) - A rush of key economic releases this week and the European Central Bank's last meeting of the year may help set the tone for investors and traders looking ahead to 2014.

Like the two years preceding it, 2013 has been a damp squib for the global economy, beset by political wrangling in the United States, recession in Europe and disappointing growth in China.

Economists are optimistic that next year augurs better - even if only slightly - and data this week should point the way towards this gradual improvement.

Surveys from the world's No.1 economy are expected to show steady growth in American businesses going into next year, even if few expect much of an improvement.

And official data are expected to confirm the U.S. economy grew at the fastest pace in a year from July through September, although the pace of hiring probably sagged last month.

"The U.S. is looking in the strongest position," said Andrew Kenningham, senior global economist at Capital Economics, on the prospects for next year.

Data last week showed that the British economy grew at its fastest pace in three years in the third quarter.

"So you've got the Anglo-Saxon world doing pretty well, the euro zone doing poorly - despite Germany - and Japan still doing poorly."   Continued...

European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi looks on at the start of an Eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels November 14, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir