Week Ahead: US GDP and consumer confidence shake as inflationary pressure grows

Week Ahead

It’s relatively quiet in terms of major announcements this week. The bulk of the key market-moving data will be coming from the US, as preliminary quarterly GDP figures are released alongside the latest CB consumer confidence sentiment. Both will be enlightening as to US economic sentiment as inflation stops lurking in the background and comes to the fore. 

We start, though, with New Zealand. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s latest cash rate decision and statement is due early on Wednesday morning. No major changes are expected to the current official cash rate (OCR) of 0.25%, although inflationary pressures look like they are starting to make their mark on New Zealand’s economy.  

RBNZ targets 2% inflation, which may have already been breached.  

“We are forecasting a 0.6% increase for the quarter yielding 2.6% annual inflation. Another way of thinking about this is that CPI inflation for the three quarters to March 2021 was already 2.0%,” says Bank of New Zealand’s Head of Research Stephen Toplis. 

While inflation is probably already here, the likelihood of a rate hike is low. ANZ’s Chief Economist Sharon Zollner and senior strategist David Croy suggest rates won’t rise until August 2022, rising to 0.75%. The pair also predict a further two rate increases across 2023, culminating in a final 1.75% figure.  

Looking to US data, preliminary q/q GDP figures are released on Thursday, following up the advance reading from late April. At 6.4%, annualised US GDP growth was the second-largest since 2003, surging as the economy reopens again. Growth was stimulated by numerous sectors, including increased personal consumption, fixed residential and nonresidential investment, and government spending.  

Preliminary readings are the mid stage of the overall GDP reporting process before the final reading is released at the end of the month. The advanced reading is generally the strongest indicator, but revisions to final figures are not uncommon. 

US consumer confidence is in focus too. Friday sees the latest printing of the CB consumer confidence index. April’s reading beat expectations, rising from 109 points in Mach to 121.7. Consumers had more cash in their pockets, thanks to Biden’s stimulus cheques, and were happy to spend it. 

However, inflation could cloud May’s Consumer Board readings. The preliminary reading for the University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment dipped to 82.8 for May from 88.3 in April – a 6.2% month-on-month decline. 

Consumer sentiment has taken a knock due to higher-than-expected headline inflation, recorded at 4.6% in April. This is the sharpest rate of increase since 2008. Headline inflation stood at 2.6% in March. 

Increased consumer spending was a cornerstone of Q1 GDP growth. Should that retract as inflation grows, the calls for the Fed to shake up its monetary policy could become all the more louder as the year rolls on.  

 

Major economic data 

Date  Time (GMT+1)  Currency  Event 
Tue 25-May  9.00am  EUR  German ifo Business Climate 
  3.00pm  USD  US CB Consumer Confidence 
       
Wed 26-May  3.00am  NZD  Official Cash Rate 
  3.00am  NZD  RBNZ Monetary Policy Statement 
  3.00am  NZD  RBNZ Press Statement 
  4.00am  NZD  RBNZ Press Conference 
  3.30pm  USD  US Crude Oil Inventories 
       
Thu 27-May  1.30pm  USD  Preliminary GDP q/q 
  1.30pm  USD  Unemployment claims 
  3.00pm  USD  Pending house sales 
  3.30pm  USD  US Natural Gas Inventories 
       
Fri 28-May  1.30pm  USD  Core PCE Price Index m/m 

 

Key earnings data 

Date  Company  Event 
Tue 25-May  Intuit  Q3 2021 Earnings 
     
Wed 26-May  Nvidia  Q1 2022 Earnings 
     
Thu 27-May  Salesforce  Q1 2022 Earnings 
  Costco  Q3 2021 Earnings 
  Royal Bank of Canada  Q2 2021 Earnings 
  Toronto-Dominion Bank  Q2 2021 Earnings 
     
Fri 28-May  National Bank of Canada  Q2 2021 Earnings