Newsquawk week ahead: Highlights include US CPI, China CPI, UK GDP

MON: Chinese Trade Balance
(Apr); EZ Sentix Index (May).
TUE: Australian Retail Sales
(Q1); German ZEW Survey (May); UK Prelim GDP (Q1); EIA STEO.
WED: Chinese Inflation (Apr); UK
GDP Estimate (Mar); US CPI (Apr).
THU: Banxico; New Zealand
Inflation Forecast (Q2); IEA OMR; OPEC MOMR.
FRI: US Uni of Michigan Prelim
Survey (May).

Previews are listed in day-order

Chinese Trade Balance (Mon): April’s Trade Balance will be
impacted by the COVID situation in China – which remains fluid and contingent
on zero transmissions in some places. Production was largely shuttered with
supply chain problems also rising. A recent piece by RBC suggested global
supply chain problems look set to worsen, as China’s COVID-19 lockdowns and
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine cause longer delays at ports and inflate costs.
Export growth is expected to fall to 3.2% (prev. 14.7%) and imports are seen
contracting 3.0% (prev -0.1%). Overall, the trade balance surplus is expected
at USD 50.65bln (prev. USD 47.38bln).


Chinese Inflation (Wed): April CPI Y/Y is expected to
tick higher to 1.9% (prev. 1.5%), although the PPI Y/Y is seen easing to 7.8%
(prev. 8.3%). Taking the Caixin PMI as a proxy, the composite release suggests
“Prices data showed the rate of overall input cost inflation moderated slightly
from March, but remained marked overall. Composite selling prices meanwhile
fell for the first time since May 2020, albeit only marginally”. Nonetheless,
as inflation remains rampant overall, Chinese policymakers are seemingly more
focused on growth, with markets expecting the PBoC and the government to both
maintain easy policies.


US CPI (Wed): Headline consumer prices are
seen rising 0.2% M/M in April (prev. 1.2%), and core consumer prices are
expected to rise 0.4% M/M (prev. +0.3%). Analysts will be watching the data to
see if the trends in the March CPI and PCE data–where annualised rates eased,
leading to many ‘peak inflation’ calls–will be seen again. Credit Suisse
expects the data will show a second month of slowing inflation, but notes that
consumer prices are still shooting well-above the Fed’s target. For the
headline, seasonally adjusted gasoline prices fell around 7% in the month,
which should drive the slowdown. For core, the Swiss bank believes that the
annualised rate of prices will pare back to 5.9% in April from 6.5% in March,
with used vehicle prices expected to ease for the third straight month. Shelter
inflation is expected to remain elevated, while services inflation is also seen
remaining high amid further reopening in April and the consumer shift in
spending to services from goods. “We expect the Y/Y readings in both headline
and core CPI inflation likely peaked in March, but inflation will still run
well-above the Fed’s 2% target,” CS writes, but warns that “Chair Powell has
laid out a base case of 50bps rate increases for the next two FOMC meetings,
but a significant upside surprise could leave room for more-aggressive


UK GDP (Thu): Investec’s analysts expect March
GDP will grow just 0.1% M/M (prev. +0.1%), and the 3m/3m rate is also seen
remaining at 1.0%. Investec says that the dynamics that we saw in the February
monthly data will be similar to those in the March report. “This would give
quarterly GDP growth in Q1 of +1.0% – somewhat slower than Q4’s +1.3%, but
firmly ahead of the Eurozone’s +0.2% and the US’s -0.4% (de-annualised) pace of
growth” Purchasing managers’ data suggest that manufacturing may have
contracted again, although services output will likely have remained positive,
and the bank sees less drag in March than February from human health and social
work activities, as much of the slowdown in Covid vaccinations and testing
appears to have taken place earlier. However, it adds that the potential for a
rebound in hospitality, entertainment and recreation after the peak of the
Omicron wave of Covid infections was probably largely exhausted by March. “More
generally, the data on hospitality and recreation output will shed light on the
extent to which the weakness in retail spending in late Q1 was due to high
inflation squeezing households’ purchasing power, or a rotation in spending
towards services, unwinding more of the pandemic shift in sales patterns,”
Investec writes, “the more spending on consumer services suffered too, the more
of a worrying signal this would be for the further outlook for activity.” The
bank says declining GDP will be hard for the UK to avoid in Q2 since this
period will include the impact of higher utility bills as well as an additional
bank holiday, but says that the depth and magnitude remain uncertain.


Banxico Preview (Thu): At its March meeting, the
Banxico voted unanimously to hike rates by 50bps to 6.5%, as the market had
expected; analysts also noted that the central bank did not describe the 50bps
increment of the hike as „on this occasion“, which might be taken as
a sign that it is comfortable with lifting rates by that magnitude at future
meetings. Banxico continues to take a data-dependent approach. Since the March
meeting, the latest bi-weekly CPI data showed inflation rising to 7.7% Y/Y in
the first part of April, amid broad-based price gains. Additionally, Q1 GDP
data rose 0.9% Q/Q, a little short of the 1.1% analyst forecast, and although
it was an encouraging start the year, analysts note the risks that lie ahead.
„Looking ahead, the economic outlook remains challenging,“ Pantheon
Macroeconomics said, „for a start, inflation will remain too high for
comfort, disposable income is under renewed strain, remittances from the US
likely will slow as the US housing market continues to roll over, and Banxico
likely will continue to tighten to at least 8.25% over the coming
meetings.“ Pantheon also notes that there is increased political
uncertainty after President Lopez Obrador’s populist policies, which will act
as a headwind to capex and business sentiment. Internationally, the war in
Ukraine is keeping inflation pressures alive, China’s lockdown is having an
impact on not only the domestic economy, but the global economy too, while the
Federal Reserve in the US is pursuing a hawkish trajectory. Other analysts have
said that this will keep the prospect of a 75bps rate hike at the Banxico’s May
meeting on the cards.


New Zealand Inflation Forecasts
(Thu): The
RBNZ’s quarterly survey of inflation expectations is expected to show a sharp
rise in forecasts over short-term horizons – namely the one and two-year
timeframes. Westpac suggested the jump higher in revisions in the Q1 release
underpinned the case for a 50bps hike in April. “A result in that vein would
support our forecast for another 50bp OCR hike in May,” Westpac says.


This article originally appeared
on Newsquawk.

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