Week Ahead

First-quarter earnings season gets underway next week, with updates expected from major banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo. On the economic data front, important releases to follow include US and Eurozone retail sales and industrial production figures; UK monthly GDP; China Q1 GDP and trade balance; Australia employment data, business and consumer morale; and India inflation and industrial output. Central bank meetings will be held in South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and Turkey.

In the US, retail sales and industrial production numbers are seen pointing to robust growth in domestic trade and activity in March as more businesses reopened due to the vaccine rollout programme and the government’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package. In addition, the preliminary reading of Michigan consumer sentiment for April will likely show a solid improvement in morale, while March’s inflation rate will probably accelerate to the highest since January 2020. Other important publications are housing starts and building permits, foreign trade prices, NY Empire State Manufacturing Index, Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index, NAHB Housing Market Index, business inventories, overall net capital flows and the government’s budget statement.

Meanwhile, the first-quarter earnings season will kick off, with big banks including JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley reporting.

Elsewhere in America, key data to follow include Canada flash producer prices, manufacturing and wholesale sales, housing starts and ADP Employment Change; Brazil retail trade and business morale; Peru monthly GDP figures and unemployment rate; and Argentina inflation rate.

In the UK, the ONS will be publishing monthly GDP figures, alongside industrial production, construction output and trade balance. Britain’s economy most likely rebounded only marginally in February as the country was still under lockdown.

Elsewhere in Europe, investors will keep an eye on the Eurozone industrial production, retail sales and foreign trade; Germany investor morale and wholesale prices; Sweden inflation rate; and Italy and Turkey industrial output figures. Turkey’s central bank is expected to hold interest rates at 19% next Thursday, the first policy meeting following President Erdogan’s decision to replace Naci Agbal, the former central-bank governor, with Sahap Kavcioglu, a critic of high interest rates.

In Asia, all eyes turn to China’s first-quarter GDP, alongside March’s industrial production, retail sales, unemployment rate, fixed asset investment and house price index. The GDP is expected to have grown 18.8 percent in the three months to March, faster than the fourth quarter’s 6.5 percent, as the world’s second-largest economy consolidated its recovery from last year’s massive slump. The country’s trade balance will also be in the spotlight, with forecasts pointing to sharp increases in both exports and imports. Other important releases include monetary indicators and foreign direct investment.

Investors in Australia will turn their attention to employment figures, Westpac consumer confidence, NAB Business Confidence, and HIA new home sales. Across the Tasman Sea, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is seen leaving its monetary policy unchanged when it meets on Wednesday.

Other highlights for the Asia-Pacific region include: Japan machinery orders and producer prices; India consumer and wholesale prices, industrial production and the final estimate of March’s trade figures; South Korea interest rate decision and unemployment; Singapore first-quarter GDP advance estimate, trade balance and monetary policy statement; and Indonesia trade balance.