Week Ahead

The Federal Reserve’s policy meeting will be keenly watched next week, with investors looking for any change in the central bank’s stance alongside its updated economic projections.

Meanwhile, European finance ministers will hold a call on Thursday to debate the economic situation and policy measures to support the recovery from the coronavirus crisis. Key economic data to follow include US Michigan consumer sentiment and inflation data; UK monthly GDP figures; Eurozone final Q1 GDP figures and industrial output; China trade balance and inflation rate; Japan final Q1 GDP and machinery orders; Australia business and consumer morale; and India inflation and industrial production.

In the US, Fed officials are seen holding the target range for the federal funds rate at 0-0.25 percent at the end of their two-day meeting on Wednesday, with all eyes on Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference and the latest FOMC economic projections. In March, policymakers lowered interest rates to record low levels and launched a massive quantitative easing program, aiming to support businesses and households hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

On the economic data front, the preliminary reading of Michigan consumer sentiment for June will likely show a slight improvement in consumer morale as the economy reopens, while May’s inflation rate is set to slow to the lowest since October 2015. Other notable publications are producer and foreign trade prices, JOLTs job openings, IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism, the government’s monthly budget statement and the final reading of wholesale inventories.

Elsewhere in America, Canada will be publishing housing starts, while Brazil and Mexico will be releasing inflation data.

In the UK, investors await monthly GDP figures, which will probably show an unprecedented contraction in Britain’s economy during April amid restrictive lockdown measures, dragged by record falls in industrial and construction output. Foreign trade balance data will also be in the spotlight.

Elsewhere in Europe, an Eurogroup meeting will be held on Thursday, with European finance ministers seen debating the economic situation and policy measures to support the recovery from the coronavirus crisis, among others. Meanwhile, traders are eyeing the publication of the Eurozone final first-quarter GDP growth and industrial production. The bloc’s factory activity will most likely fall at the sharpest rate on record in April due to Covid-19 containment measures. Other key data includes: Germany foreign trade and industrial output; Italy industrial production; France trade balance, industrial activity, non-farm payrolls; Switzerland unemployment rate; the Netherlands, Ireland and Sweden inflation rates; and Turkey jobless rate, retail sales, industrial production and current account.

In Asia, all eyes are on China’s trade balance with markets expecting a drop in both exports and imports as the coronavirus crisis hurts global demand. The country will also be publishing consumer and producer inflation. Consumer prices should rise at the softest pace in a year during May and producer deflation rate will probably deepen to the steepest since April 2016. Meanwhile in Japan, investors will turn their attention to the final reading of first-quarter GDP, machinery orders, current account, producer prices and average cash earnings.

In Australia, important releases include NAB business confidence, Westpac consumer confidence and home loans, while in India consumer prices and industrial output will be in the spotlight.

Other key data for the Asia-Pacific region include: South Korea unemployment rate; Taiwan and the Philippines trade figures; Malaysia industrial production; Indonesia consumer confidence and retail trade; and New Zealand Business NZ PMI, Westpac consumer confidence and food inflation.