The week ahead has plenty in store with new U.S. economic reports due out on first quarter GDP, consumer confidence, personal income & spending, manufacturing PMI, construction spending, and light vehicle sales, among other reports. The consensus forecast for Q1 GDP is a painful 4.3% contraction.
Investors will be paying extremely close attention to central bank announcements this week, with statements due out from the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, and Bank of Japan. The Financial Times reports, “Fed Chair Jay Powell… said projections for the economy or policy rates ‘didn’t seem to be useful’ given the intense uncertainties related to Covid-19 and there is nothing to suggest there will be forecasts at this meeting… Some are eager for the Fed to intervene more aggressively in the $4tn municipal bond market, where states and cities raise cash. Others see a need for more support to credit markets, specifically for high-yield borrowers.” Bear in mind the Fed’s balance sheet (total assets less eliminations from consolidation) already exceeds $6.5 trillion:
In Europe, in addition to the ECB announcement, Germany reports on consumer price inflation, retail sales, and the unemployment levels. In Asia, China releases official manufacturing PMI numbers and Japan reports on unemployment, industrial production, and retail sales. Hope you have a great week.