Week Ahead

The novel coronavirus will continue to dominate the headlines, with investors monitoring the spread of Covid-19 and hoping for more stimulus measures from central banks and governments worldwide.

On the economic data front, the US jobless claims are seen jumping to a record high, while flash PMI surveys for the US, UK, Eurozone, Japan and Australia will provide an insight into the early impact of the pandemic on the global economy. Other key data to follow include the US final Q4 GDP, personal income and outlays, and durable goods orders; the UK interest rate decision and inflation rate; and the Eurozone consumer morale.

The Markit PMI survey for the US is set to highlight the damage from the coronavirus outbreak on the world’s largest economy. All forecasts suggest the private sector activity is falling at a record pace this month. In addition, the weekly jobless claims are seen jumping to an all-time high due to the COVID-19 crisis, while the final estimate of fourth-quarter GDP will probably see the confirmation of a 2.1 percent expansion. Other notable publications include: personal income and outlays; PCE price index; durable goods orders; new home sales; Chicago Fed National Activity Index; the advance estimates of goods trade balance and wholesale inventories; and the final reading of Michigan consumer sentiment.

Elsewhere in America, the central bank of Mexico will be deciding on monetary policy on Thursday, following an emergency rate cut on March 20th. Other key reports to follow include Canada average weekly earnings, wholesale sales and budget balance; Mexico unemployment, trade balance and retail trade; Brazil current account and retail sales; and Argentina fourth-quarter GDP and jobless rate.

Across the Atlantic, the Bank of England will meet to deliver its latest policy decision, after surprising markets with two unscheduled rate cuts in the last two weeks. It is also a particularly busy week ahead on the UK economic calendar, with investors awaiting flash Markit PMIs, inflation rate, retail trade, and CBI gauges for factory orders and distributive trades.

Elsewhere in Europe, flash Markit PMIs for the Eurozone, Germany and France are likely to point to a severe contraction in the private sector during March due to the coronavirus outbreak. Investors will also keep an eye on consumer morale from the Eurozone, Germany, France and Italy as well as industry confidence from France and Italy.

In Japan, the Jibun Bank will be publishing its flash PMIs for March, with markets expecting weak results as the factory industry and the service sector have been hardly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Other important releases include Tokyo inflation and January’s final leading economic index. Meanwhile in Australia, investors will focus on Commbank flash PMIs as the Covid-19 hit manufacturing supply chains and the service sector.

Other key data for the Asia-Pacific region include: China industrial profits; South Korea consumer confidence; Hong Kong inflation, industrial production and trade balance; Taiwan industrial activity and retail sales; New Zealand foreign trade; Malaysia inflation rate; Singapore industrial output, consumer and producer prices; and Thailand industrial output and trade balance. The Bank of Thailand will hold its monetary policy meeting, with traders expecting further monetary support amid weak domestic growth, the coronavirus outbreak and local drought.