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Week Ahead – Focus will be on US inflation, China GDP and ECB

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Monday will be quiet as there are no tier one economic data that would have a big impact on the markets. China releases trade balance data and the Bank of Japan published monetary policy meeting minutes.

On Tuesday Australia releases its NAB Business Confidence report. Inflation figures from the UK will be closely watched. The nation’s CPI index is forecast to fall into negative territory for the first time on record, having already slipped to zero in February. From the Eurozone, we will see industrial production data.

In the US, retail sales numbers are out. It would be interesting to see whether the numbers improved from the previous dismal drop of 0.6% in February, providing some concern for the pace of the US economic recovery.
On Wednesday, one of the data highlights of the week is Chinese first quarter GDP data. The growth target was lowered to “around 7%” for 2015 compared to 7.5% in 2014 by Chinese authorities. Apart from GDP, China also releases industrial production and investment data.

Consumer sentiment data are due from Australia, while revised industrial production data are out in Japan.
Inflation numbers are meanwhile updated in France and Germany.

Another highlight of the week and on Wednesday will be the European Central Bank’s latest monetary policy decision, as well as Eurozone trade data. The ECB is expected to maintain current policy unchanged as its quantitative easing program has already shown positive signs in the Eurozone economy. Recent PMI survey data showed the pace of economic growth in the region picked up speed in March.

Later in the day, the US publishes industrial output numbers while the Bank of Canada announces its latest monetary policy decision.

On Thursday, Australian unemployment data are important to watch. Then, watch for initial jobless claims numbers and building permits data out of the US.

On Friday, consumer confidence data are issued in Japan. The highlight of the day will be UK jobs data, including wage data and the ILO unemployment rate. Then, current account data and final inflation figures are released for the Eurozone. The US will also release inflation data. With the Fed rate hike being ‘data dependent’, all eyes will be on this CPI number. The minutes from the latest FOMC meeting showed policymakers split on whether to start hiking rates in June or use current low inflation as a reason to delay the rate hike until later in the year, or even until next year.

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