There are no prizes for guessing what the highlight next week will be. The US jobs report is widely regarded as being the most important economic report each month, although inflation probably currently just about edges it. The March report is expected to show a slower pace of job growth, albeit still strong at 240,000, and wages growing at a decent rate. That may not be enough to stop the Fed from tightening another 25 basis points in May, although that’s something markets can’t currently make their minds up on. It remains a coin toss.
ISM manufacturing surveys on Monday will also be eyed, alongside JOLTS job openings on Tuesday, ISM services on Wednesday, and jobless claims on Thursday.
A shortened week for some in the eurozone due to the Good Friday bank holiday. The rest of the week isn’t looking much more interesting at this point, with final PMI surveys the only highlight and even these may not be overly impactful.
It’s also a shortened week for the UK and much like the euro area, the rest of the week is a little thin on major economic releases or events. The highlight will probably be appearances from BoE policymakers, the most notable of which being Huw Pill and Silvana Tenreyro on Tuesday.
A relatively quiet week with a few pieces of data standing out, notably the PMI surveys on Monday and Wednesday, as well as fourth quarter GDP figures on Friday.
The SARB surprised markets and raised rates by 50 basis points in March, taking the policy rate to 7.75%. This is despite the fact that inflation is currently only a little above target at 7% while core is well within at 5.2%. February’s upside surprise may have caused some concern and inspired a more hawkish outlook but the central bank may still refrain from further rate hikes in the future. There are no major data releases due next week.
March inflation data will be the core focus next week, with the annual reading seen moderating a little further to 51.33%. That’s still far too high albeit not sufficiently so to discourage the central bank from slashing interest rates should it opt to continue, as we’ve seen over the last year or so.
Inflation data next week will be eyed for signs of slowing, easing pressure on the central bank to continue tightening. Inflation is only a little above target and is expected to slip back to 3.2% in March but that may not be enough for the SNB, which has promised more if necessary. Markets are currently pricing in a 60% chance of another 25 basis point hike in June, with a 40% chance of that being 50.
China’s house prices rose in most cities in February, signaling the start of an upturn, and the property sector is likely to turn neutral from being a growth drag in the first half of the year and even provide a small boost in the second half. After the lifting of pandemic restrictions, consumer services experienced a dramatic rebound. Following a year-on-year drop of 14.1% in December last year, catering and retail sales in February surged by 9.2% annually. Suppressed demand was particularly evident during the Spring Festival holiday, with domestic tourism revenue increasing by 30% compared with a year ago.
The Caixin PMIs on Monday and Thursday will be in focus next week, while bank holidays early in the week may mean activity is more muted.
Markets are currently split between a 25 basis point hike and none from the RBI next week. Slightly punchier inflation at the start of the year may swing it in favor of one final hike in the cycle although recent turmoil in the US and European banks could tip the balance the other way. Either way, the end is nigh for rate hikes in India.
Australia’s CPI annual rate for February came in at 6.8%, lower than the previous reading of 7.8%, which may support considering a pause on interest rate hikes at the April meeting. At the same time, Australian retail sales for February initially recorded a monthly rate of 0.2%, exceeding market expectations of 0.1% but showing a significant decline from the 1.8% recorded in January.
Chief Economist at Reserve Bank of New Zealand Paul Conway stated that high and widespread inflation is due to solid demand exceeding supply. It is determined to bring inflation and inflation expectations back to target levels. The official cash rate (OCR) is currently slightly above the neutral level and has achieved the expected tightening effect. The RBNZ is expected to hike by 25 basis points to 5% on Wednesday.
Next week the focus will be on the Tankan large enterprises’ business conditions and the final PMI readings.
Retail sales and PMI data are the only notable economic releases next week.