The Week Ahead: Inflation Watch
Consumer prices in the US fell for the first time in 13 months in March. The drop was largely due to the fall in energy prices. But on an annual basis, the headline rate of inflation rose 2.4%, which could put the US Federal Reserve on course for a couple or three rate hikes this year. The latest inflation numbers will be released on Friday.
Retail sales in the US have been sluggish in February and March. Sales declined in most categories, most noticeably in sales at car dealers. The forecast is for retail sales to remain slow, when they are announced on Friday.
China will announce its closely-watched GDP numbers on Monday. In the final quarter of 2016, the Chinese economy advanced 6.8%, year on year. The figures for the first quarter of 2017 could provide a useful marker for the rest of the year.
China will also report its latest retail sales numbers. In both January and February, retail sales rise 9.5% year on year. It was the weakest growth on record, with office equipment, personal care and garments all showing signs of a moderation in growth.
Japan’s balance of trade with the rest of the world will be on show on Thursday. Strong exports last month and a modest rise in imports helped the Land of the Rising Sun to post a trade surplus of JPY813 billion.
And finally, Singapore will report its inflation numbers. The price of basket of goods rose 0.7% year on year In February. It was the third month in a rose that consumer prices had risen. The higher inflation numbers had been driven by a faster increase in the cost of transport and food prices.