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Top 5 things to watch in markets in the week ahead

Published 06/16/2024, 05:54 PM
© Reuters

Investing.com -- U.S. retail sales data will be scrutinized as investors try to assess the impact of higher interest rates on the economy. Investors will also get a chance to hear from several Federal Reserve policymakers during the week. The Bank of England is to meet, along with central banks in Switzerland, Norway and Australia. Here’s your look at what's happening in markets for the week ahead.

1. U.S. retail sales, Fedspeak

Investors trying to get a handle on the strength of the U.S. economy - and the timing of Federal Reserve rate cuts which are now not expected before September - will be looking closely at Tuesday’s retail sales data for May.

Economists are expecting retail sales to have risen 0.3%, after they were unexpectedly flat in April.

Consumer spending is an area of focus for Wall Street as investors seek to gauge the impact of higher interest rates on the economy.

Last week the Fed reiterated that it needs to see more evidence of cooling inflation before lowering borrowing costs.

Investors will also get the chance to hear from several Fed speakers during the week, including New York Fed President John Williams, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, San Francisco Fed head Mary Daly and Richmond Fed head Thomas Barkin.

2. China data deluge

China is to release a deluge of economic data this week as investors look for signs that the recovery in the world’s second largest economy is gaining momentum, particularly with the beleaguered property sector continuing to weigh on the outlook.

Data on China's home prices is due on Monday - the first such release after Beijing announced "historic" steps to stabilise the property market last month, though to limited effect so far. May data on industrial output, the urban unemployment rate and retail sales are all due too, with hopes the latter could point to a stronger uptick after April's disappointment.

Still, recent data continues to underscore the need for further stimulus from policymakers with the loan prime rate decision due on Thursday.

Souring trade relations add to the woes, with Europe set to slap extra duties on imported Chinese electric cars.

3. Bank of England meeting

The BoE is to hold its latest policy setting meeting on Thursday and will likely dash any hopes the ruling Conservative party had of a pre-July 4 election rate cut. Markets now expect easing later rather than sooner, pricing a roughly 40% chance of an August quarter point move and a 70% chance in September with pay and services inflation sticky.

The U.K. is to release May inflation data a day before the BoE meets, with the consumer price index expected to come down to the bank’s 2% target for the first time in nearly three years.

But underlying inflation is expected to remain above 3% and with the election campaign in full swing the BoE is seen holding for now.

Switzerland and Norway are also to hold central bank meetings on Thursday. The SNB kicked off rate cuts in March and another cut is seen as 50-50 after steady March inflation data. No change is expected from Norway’s central bank. Meanwhile, Australia's central bank meets on Tuesday but is not expected to ease for some time.

4. Eurozone

The Eurozone is to release the latest set of purchasing manager indexes for June on Friday, with markets watchers on the lookout for signs that the economic recovery in the bloc is gaining momentum.

European Central Bank officials due to speak during the week include President Christine Lagarde and Chief Economist Philip Lane on Monday, and Vice President Luis de Guindos on Tuesday.

Lagarde dodged a question about turmoil in French financial markets on Friday, merely saying the ECB would deliver on its inflation target.

French markets endured another brutal sell-off on Friday as investors cut their positions ahead of a snap election that might give a majority to the far right.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned that the euro zone's second-biggest economy was at risk of a financial crisis if the far right won the parliamentary election in the coming weeks.

5. Oil prices

Brent and the U.S. benchmark gained nearly 4% last week, the highest weekly rise in percentage terms since April, buoyed by forecasts for solid demand for crude oil and fuel in 2024.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) upgraded its oil demand growth estimate for 2024 slightly, and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stuck to a forecast for relatively strong growth of 2.2 million barrels a day (bpd).

The International Energy Agency (IEA) meanwhile cut its demand growth forecast to under 1 million bpd.

However, all three forecasters predicted a supply deficit at least until the beginning of winter, Commerzbank analysts pointed out.

"In view of the still uncertain economic outlook for the major economic regions, a further price increase is not to be expected for the time being," said Commerzbank analyst Barbara Lambrecht.

--Reuters contributed to this report

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