The bulk of next week’s data releases come from the United States. Final fourth quarter GDP data are due on Friday. The initial Q4 estimate of 2.6% was revised lower to 2.2% in the second reading. This was a disappointing pace of growth compared to the third quarter’s 5.0% rate. If there are significant revisions to give a lower final Q4 reading, this could affect the timing of the first Fed rate hike. Last Wednesday’s FOMC statement and Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech led markets to downgrade their expectations of a June rate hike.
Other important data expected from the US next week will be on inflation. Forecasts are for the CPI number to remain negative last month on a year-on-year basis. Consumer prices in the US have been kept down by falling oil prices.
Also from the US, flash manufacturing and services PMI by Markit will be important to watch next week, as will be home sales and initial jobless claims data. The week will end with the final version of the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index.
From the Eurozone, focus will be on consumer confidence numbers on Monday. Then the Markit flash manufacturing and services PMI data on Tuesday will be interesting to watch to see if business activity is growing in the Eurozone since the launch of the ECB’s new quantitative easing program which involves 60 billion euros of bond purchases a month.
On Wednesday, Germany publishes the closely watched economic sentiment survey by IFO. The index climbed to a 7-month high of 106.8 in February.
Inflation data from the UK are due on Tuesday. CPI is expected to remain well below the Bank of England’s target in February, after printing a reading of just 0.3% in January.
Other important data out of the UK will be on Thursday on retail sales, published by the Office for National Statistics.
Japan will be releasing a series of data next week. These include Markit flash PMI data, household spending, inflation numbers and unemployment figures.
March’s HSBC flash manufacturing PMI survey for China will be released on Tuesday. It would be interesting to see if the world’s second largest economy’s manufacturing sector has performed better.