This week is set to be a relatively quiet one for investors in terms of economic data releases and earnings reports. Officials from the Federal Reserve will also enter their “blackout period” ahead of their June policy-setting meeting.
Asian stocks were steady and U.S. equity futures edged lower Monday as traders weighed Janet Yellen’s comments on higher interest rates and awaited this week’s U.S. inflation report.
New data on consumer price inflation will be of interest, since market participants have been looking for signs that the post-pandemic recovery is generating a surge in prices amid supply chain and labour shortages and booming demand.
The Labour Department’s May consumer price index (CPI) on Thursday will show the latest on these price trends for the average American. Consensus economists are looking for the index to register a 0.4% month-on-month increase after a 0.8% surge in April. And over last year, the headline CPI is expected to jump 4.7%, or by the most since 2008.
Speculation continues that the U.S. recovery from the pandemic may be strong enough to prompt Federal Reserve discussions in the weeks ahead on tapering asset purchases. Traders are looking ahead to the U.S. consumer-price index report Thursday for more clues.
The ECB meets on Thursday and will release its updated growth forecasts for 2021 and 2022.
Policymakers will debate whether to prolong their support for the euro zone recovery through emergency stimulus, a decision that will hinge on how strong they believe the region’s economic recovery is.
Recent dovish comments by several ECB policymakers have highlighted the risks of premature tightening. Any indication from ECB head Christine Lagarde that the debate on tapering is getting underway could push eurozone bond yields still higher and undermine the economic recovery in the bloc.
With the planned full reopening of the UK economy on June 21 looking increasingly doubtful, investors will be paying close attention to Friday’s figures on monthly GDP growth.
While the reopening of shops and the hospitality sector in April is unsurprisingly expected to have contributed to another solid monthly increase in growth, the recovery is likely to face its first real test over coming weeks as concerns surrounding the new ‘delta’ Covid-19 variant (first detected in India) grow.
The latest estimates indicate that it may be 50% more transmissible than the previous dominant strain, which means that hospitalizations could rise rapidly among unvaccinated groups.
While 50% of the population is now fully vaccinated there is likely to be a move to delay the planned reopening to allow for more vaccine coverage.
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