This week kicked off with U.S. retail sales data barely moving the markets due to a downward revision to the February numbers. However, there is plenty of data ahead at home and abroad. Here’s what to expect this week:
U.S. housing starts, industrial production up next
Retail data for the month of March beat expectations increasing 0.6% compared to the 0.4% estimate. The control group met expectations. But that wasn’t enough to help the dollar against a rising pound and euro.
The revision of February sales from a 0.1% increase to flat dampened the March data.
Next up on the U.S. data docket is housing starts for March, released on Tuesday. The number is expected to increase month over month, however, colder weather in March could have held back single-family construction. Multi-family construction is likely to offset the decline. Most estimates say housing starts will come out at 1.269 million for March compared to 1.236 million for February.
On the commercial side, industrial production numbers on Tuesday are likely to show an increase for March, but at a slower pace than February, which saw elevated output from auto factories. Colder weather in March means that utility output could help the overall numbers.
If these numbers come out higher than expected, we could see the dollar getting a boost.
Key U.K. indicators could shift the pound
The pound is reaching its highest levels since June 2016 amid a weak dollar, Brexit optimism and strong economic sentiment.
This week, there are three economic indicators that will give us more insight into the pound and if it will climb higher.
We’ll get a better reading of the U.K. labor market on Tuesday as average earnings for March are released. Wages are expected to increase at a greater rate than February, but it is too early to tell if wage growth is outpacing inflation, which would mean workers are getting richer. We’ll know more on that in the coming months.
Speaking of inflation, the consumer price index for March will come out Wednesday. It’s expected to be unchanged at 2.7%. Retailer margins are still under pressure, showing that clothing and grocery prices have yet jump significantly.
Retail sales for March on Thursday are expected to increase, but at a much slower rate than February, due to snow in the U.K. There are also big picture problems, like consumer credit and Brexit, weighing on the retail landscape.
All three indicators could impact the Bank of England’s May 10 meeting, but the likelihood of rate increase is pretty much priced in at this point.
Bank of Canada monetary policy
The Bank of Canada will release its monetary policy statement and interest rate decision on Wednesday. It’s widely expected to hold rates at the current 1.25%.
On Friday, the bank will release a plethora of data, including retail sales for February and March CPI. Retail sales are expected to show only a slight increase, much lower than January. The BoC CPI core is expected to remain at 1.5% year over year.
We’ll see what impact this has on USD/CAD, which has been struggling to regain 1.26.
China GDP and Japanese inflation
In the earlier part of the week, China’s Q1 gross domestic product numbers will be the main economic indicator out of Asia.
The numbers come out Monday night and are expected to be 6.7% year over year and 1.5% quarter over quarter, slightly down from Q4.
Japanese consumer price index excluding fresh food is out Thursday night and is expected to increase 0.9% for March, down from 1.0% in February. The change is attributed to the volatile accommodation prices.