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central banks gear up for critical rate decisions amidst inflation data insights 1955


Central Banks Gear Up for Critical Rate Decisions Amidst Inflation Data Insights


Lauren Miller

May 18, 2024 - 21:13 pm


Global Economic Week Ahead: Transatlantic Divergence in Monetary Policy

As the world's major economies release critical inflation data, central bankers from the G7 group of countries are slated to convene in Italy. They will discuss pivotal interest rate decisions amid overarching concerns about the state of the global economy. This comes in the wake of the U.S. reporting a cooler than anticipated rise in consumer prices. The sequence of inflation updates is expected to impact key central banks' decisions on lending rates as they gather for a summit to ruminate on financial issues affecting the globe.

Inflation and Interest Rates Data Source: IMF WEO April 2024

Inflation Data to Guide Monetary Decisions

In the immediate future, nations such as the UK, Canada, and Japan will all release their inflation figures for the month of April, forecasted to demonstrate a deceleration. Additionally, the euro-zone's report on wages will provide critical insights for policymakers.

Canada is positioned to take the lead on Tuesday. There has been a notable dialing-back of expectations for a rate cut at the upcoming June meeting, now seen as less than a fifty-fifty chance. This shift is due to surprisingly robust job market data. However, a continued moderation in core inflation could maintain prospects for an impending rate decrease.

The UK is bracing for a substantial cooling in consumer price inflation on Wednesday—anticipated to plummet by over a full percentage point close to the 2% target set by Bank of England officials. Consequently, these developments, particularly with another report due just before the June 20 BOE meeting, might provide substantial encouragement for officials to trim borrowing costs.

ECB Wages Report Holds the Key

The European Central Bank is planning to release important wage statistics on Thursday. Officials closely watch these numbers as they significantly influence assessments of underlying price trends. The growth figures in negotiated wages are not expected to show a substantial decrease from year-end levels, thus urging caution as the ECB prepares for a rate cut highlighted for June 6, with the potential of further monetary easing later.

According to Bloomberg Economics, preliminary 2024 data from heavyweights Germany, France, Italy, and Spain indicate that euro area wages are experiencing an upward trend. There’s only a marginal downshift from 4.5% in the fourth quarter of 2023 to an increase of 4.3% year-over-year in the first quarter of the current year. Should this pace persist, it likely wouldn't prevent the ECB's initial rate reduction in June, yet policymakers might remain apprehensive about endorsing a prolonged period of easing.

David Powell, a seasoned economist for the euro zone, comments on this issue. For an in-depth analysis, one can click here.

Diverging Paths Among Global Counterparts

Japan’s data will round out the week on Friday, with prognostications implying consumer price growth excluding fresh food plummeting to 2.2% year-over-year, a downtick from 2.6% in March. A more comprehensive inflation measure, which also removes energy costs, is forecast to decelerate further.

Bank of Japan officials may draw contrasting conclusions from these figures compared to their global counterparts. Persistently high, above-target readings could bolster the case for an interest rate hike as early as June 14 or by October. With the yen's fluctuating potency as a factor, an early adjustment in the interest rates is plausible.

Amidst these significant data releases, a backdrop is formed: G-7 financial ministers and central bankers will gather at the northern Italian resort of Stresa to deliberate on the global economy. This offers them a chance to reflect on divergent interest-rate prospects across the Atlantic. While European and Canadian outlooks are skewing towards cuts, the U.S. maintains a 'higher-for-longer' approach for now.

Observations from the Americas

The Federal Reserve's last meeting minutes, which hint at a longer period of high-interest rates due to persistent inflation, will be brought to the public's attention. The sentiment was echoed by Fed Vice Chair Philip Jefferson alongside Fed Governor Christopher Waller, both slated to address the economic outlook and policy shortly.

The U.S. economic agenda seems light, with housing market stats and company investment insights on the horizon. Meanwhile, Canada will share insights into consumer strength through retail sales data after indications of a spending slump.

For a comprehensive outlook of what lies ahead for the U.S economy, readers can refer to Bloomberg Economics' detailed Week Ahead for the US.

Asia's Economic Indicators and Policy Moves

China is anticipated to maintain stability in its mortgage benchmark rates early in the week, with potential modest cuts forecasted over the following year to boost the property sector. Central Banks in Asia-Pacific countries like New Zealand, Indonesia, and South Korea are expected to remain steady, while Australia's central bank will release policy meeting minutes.

Furthermore, consumer inflation reports from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and PMIs from Australia, Japan, and India will shed light on economic activity. Trade statistics from Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand are also due.

For a detailed projection for Asia, one can delve into Bloomberg Economics' Week Ahead for Asia.

European, Middle Eastern, and African Outlooks

The upcoming PMIs from the euro zone and the UK will illuminate the vigor of business activities, while consumer sentiment reports will lend more clarity to the economic milieu. Concurrent events of note include BOE Governor Andrew Bailey’s speech and a distinguished acknowledgment towards U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in Frankfurt, Germany.

Interestingly, inflation rate figures expected from South Africa might have broader implications for regional policies. For more extensive coverage of what's ahead for EMEA, Bloomberg Economics provides an elaborate Week Ahead for EMEA.

Upcoming Central Bank Decisions

Several pivotal central bank decisions are imminent:

  • Hungary may cut its exceptionally elevated rate on Tuesday, signaling a nearing end to the current monetary relaxation period.
  • In Nigeria, a potential full percentage-point hike could further demonstrate determination to curb high inflation.
  • Egypt will likely pause rate adjustments in light of recent inflation trends and potential financial assistance overtures.
  • Turkey’s central bank is expected to keep its rate constant, with predictions of peaking inflation soon, followed by a hoped-for rapid decline.

For a nuanced look at these decisions, further reading is encouraged at Bloomberg Economics' comprehensive review of upcoming monetary policies.

Latin America's Economic Pulse

Chile is expected to see substantial growth in its Q1 output on Monday, propelled by multiple economic factors, including a recent governmental GDP forecast revision. Thursday's likely rate cut from Chile's central bank may be tempered by unexpected inflation metrics.

Furthermore, Mexico's central bank remains vigilant with its hawkish stance due to stubborn consumer price trends. Even with additional data due before the June 27 meeting, any rate cuts are not a given, and upcoming Banxico meeting minutes could provide more clarity on price expectations.

For those seeking additional insights into Latin America's fiscal week ahead, Bloomberg Economics presents an in-depth analysis in its Week Ahead for Latin America.

In summary, the upcoming week places significant focus on how the diverging economic paths between North America and Europe will shape the global economy's mid-term. The various central banks’ policy decisions, informed by fresh economic data, will be vital in gauging the future landscape of global interest rates. Markets and policymakers around the world will be closely following these developments as they unfold in a series of strategic meetings and data releases.

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