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Watch U.S. Inflation for Hidden Price Momentum: Eco Week Ahead

(Bloomberg) — A flurry of U.S. economic reports this week may signal the underlying strength of growth and inflation pressures as the country’s thaw from the coronavirus crisis begins to spread.One of the most-watched reports will be the consumer price index, with March data likely to show a heady acceleration from last year’s pandemic conditions. Economists may zero in on the monthly change to gauge momentum however, with a 0.5% gain forecast.Investors are watching such figures to determine the odds of elevated price pressures becoming self-sustaining, amid possible supply-chain constraints, massive fiscal and monetary stimulus and pent-up consumer demand.The March retail sales report will likely bear out that demand theme, which has prompted economists to raise growth forecasts for this year. Their median estimate calls for a 5.5% increase in purchases after a winter weather-depressed February.Meantime, industrial production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities is projected to rebound strongly, led by robust manufacturing. Factory production is forecast to rise 4%. While lean inventories and solid demand are bolstering order books at manufacturers, materials shortages, elevated input prices and shipping delays are complicating production efforts.At week’s end, the government will issue its housing starts report for March, which may have rebounded from February when winter storms delayed construction efforts. While home sales have shown signs of leveling off, builder backlogs remain hefty.What Bloomberg Economics Says:“Narrow pockets of elevated demand and localized supply-chain disruptions will create price spikes in a limited subset of categories. However, the more dominant factor containing inflation will come from excess labor slack and the resulting absence of rising wage pressures.”–Carl Riccadonna, Yelena Shulyatyeva, Andrew Husby and Eliza Winger. For full analysis, click hereElsewhere, a slew of Federal Reserve and European Central Bank officials are scheduled to speak before the two central banks’ quiet periods set in and the World Trade Organization holds a meeting with vaccine makers on export restrictions. Turkey watchers will be keeping a close eye on the interest-rate decision on Thursday.Click here for what happened last week and below is our wrap of what is coming up in the global economy.U.S. and CanadaInvestors will be watching a phalanx of Fed speakers this week before they enter a pre-meeting quiet period. Chair Jerome Powell addresses the Economic Club of Washington on Wednesday, and at least seven of his colleagues are scheduled to make appearances. The Fed’s Beige Book — a collection of economic and business activity assessments within each of the central bank’s 12 regions — is also due.In Canada, the quarterly business sentiment survey will be the central bank’s last data point before its April 21 decision.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for the U.S.AsiaChina’s trade data on Tuesday is set to show another surge in both exports and imports in March from a year earlier, when Covid-restrictions were still curbing commerce. On Friday, industrial production, retail sales and investment data for the same month and GDP figures for the first quarter are all projected to race higher for the same reason.Central banks in New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea all have meetings, with no changes to their main policy settings expected, according to early survey responses from economists.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for AsiaEurope, Middle East, AfricaData in coming days will start hinting at how the region fared in the first quarter at a time of renewed lockdowns and varying efforts at vaccinations.In the U.K., gross domestic product probably rose in February, but by too small a quantum to cancel out the 2.9% drop recorded in the previous month. Meanwhile euro-zone industrial production is likely to show a decline in February, with data from national statistics offices so far pointing to a pullback in the sector.The coming week offers ECB policy makers a final chance to air views before a quiet period begins preceding their April 22 meeting. President Christine Lagarde will be among a line-up of speakers scheduled for the coming days. Executive Board member Fabio Panetta said in an interview published Sunday that two years of euro-area economic expansion may have been permanently lost.Elsewhere in Europe, Serbia’s central bank will probably keep its interest rate unchanged, while monetary officials in Ukraine may continue tightening policy as inflation surges and a deal with the International Monetary Fund remains far away.In Turkey, the new central bank governor, Sahap Kavcioglu, is expected to hold the benchmark rate at 19% at his first monetary-policy meeting on Thursday. He’s been fighting to win over investors with a commitment to tight monetary policy after his predecessor was fired following a 200 basis-point increase last month.Uganda may hold its key rate for a fifth straight meeting on Wednesday and the same day, the Bank of Namibia will probably leave its rate unchanged too after its neighbor South Africa held in March. Namibia’s benchmark is 25 basis points higher than South Africa’s, helping to protect the country’s reserves and currency peg.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for EMEALatin AmericaThe faltering nature of recoveries in Colombia and Brazil should be laid bare by their February retail sales reports as the former again imposed restrictions to contain the virus while the latter’s national health crisis has deepened.Jobs reports in Mexico, Brazil and Peru can also be expected to underscore the damage inflicted by the pandemic. Millions of workers in the region’s two largest economies remain sidelined while the labor market in Peru’s capital, the megacity of Lima, is off last year’s lows but still far removed from pre-pandemic form.Argentina posts its March consumer prices report Thursday. Annual inflation is over 40% and some forecasts see 50% before year-end as midterm elections and stalled talks with the IMF on a $45 billion loan restructuring may serve to discourage fiscal restraint.A number of the region’s smaller economies join Brazil and Peru in reporting trade figures in the coming week. Taken as a whole, Latin America’s bigger economies saw a surge in trade surpluses in 2020 as the pandemic’s demand shock curbed imports.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Latin AmericaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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