Investors will this week finally get a comprehensive read of how China’s economy is faring this year as worries mount over the outlook for the rest of the world.
Retail sales, investment, credit and industrial production data for January and February are all scheduled for release just as the National People’s Congress is set to wrap up with a speech on Friday from Premier Li Keqiang.
“China’s credit and activity data will help in assessing the extent of any stabilization in growth,” said Chang Shu, chief Asia economist at Bloomberg Economics. “China’s credit data are important to help determine whether the economy is stabilizing.”
China aggregate social financing
The snapshot of the world’s number two economy comes the week after the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development cut its forecasts for global growth, Citigroup Inc.’s global surprise index fell to its weakest since 2013 and the European Central Bank injected fresh monetary stimulus.
Here’s our weekly rundown of other key economic events.
US and Canada
The main event is Sunday evening’s appearance on CBS’s “60 Minutes” program by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as investors wonder how permanent the pause in interest rate hikes will prove. Tuesday is another big day for trade news with Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s testimony to the Senate Finance Committee. The most important indicators of the week are retail sales for January, which are expected to rebound from December declines, and the consumer price index, whose growth is seen holding steady at 1.6 per cent. Bank of Canada Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins speaks on Thursday.
What Bloomberg’s economists say
“Retail sales likely rebounded from their eye-popping plunge, which should demonstrate that consumers remain the dominant force behind economic growth. Meanwhile, the February CPI data will likely start showing nascent signs of an acceleration in wage-driven inflation.”
Chinese retail sales data arrive on Thursday with the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg pointing to a 8.1 percent increase from the previous year, down from 9 percent in the prior report. Industrial production, released the same day, is also seen slowing to 5.5 percent from 6.2 percent. Elsewhere in the region, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will speak on Friday, after he and his board meet to decide on monetary policy. No change in stimulus settings is anticipated, though there’s likely to be a discussion of whether or not to downgrade assessments of industrial production, exports and overseas economies.
Europe, the Middle East and Africa
Days after the ECB acted to support demand, industrial production data for January from Germany and the euro region will provide a glimpse of the health of the economy in the first quarter, and may perhaps shed further light on the extent of weakness induced by international trade tensions. Scheduled for release on Wednesday, industrial production in the region will grow 0.5 percent after falling 0.9 percent, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. In the U.K., attention will focus on the government’s Tuesday vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, just a day before Chancellor Philip Hammond is scheduled to deliver the spring budget statement.
In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in full-on campaign mode as he looks to energize supporters ahead of municipal elections on March 31. Output data to be released on Monday may dampen the mood a bit, as it’ll almost certainly confirm the view of Bloomberg Economics that Turkey has entered a technical recession.
Brazil’s new central bank chief, Roberto Campos Neto, will formally assume his post in a ceremony on Wednesday, the day after February’s inflation figures are released. Argentina’s monthly inflation numbers come out on Thursday. In Ecuador, the IMF executive board is expected to approve a multi-billion dollar loan on Monday or Tuesday, while in Mexico the industrial production statistics published on Wednesday will offer another indicator of how much activity has cooled since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took power.