Week Ahead: ECB to tilt after strategic shift?

Week Ahead

The ECB clarifies its policy position following June’s strategic shift this week. Data is dominated by UK monthly retail sales following a bumper second quarter, and a flurry of PMI reports. Meanwhile, Q2 earnings season heats up on Wall Street.

Let’s start with the major central bank announcement of the week. This time, it’s the turn of the European Central Bank. Markets will be watching the ECB’s next moves with additional scrutiny as it committed to a strategic refresh earlier last month.

We’ve seen inflation rates rise in the UK and US recently. While Eurozone inflation dipped away from a two-year high a couple of weeks ago, inflation and its effects have been brought to the fore of EU monetary policymakers’ thinking.

Following an 18-month strategic review, the EU has shifted its inflation target to 2%. According to observers, that would give the bloc enough wiggle room to a) accept temporary inflation rates above that and b) keep interest rates near or at historic lows.

Could this feed into a change in pandemic monetary policy? It’s possible, but the fact there is space for ECB policymakers to keep rates low suggests there’ll be no major change from the bloc’s current monetary trajectory.

At June’s meeting, the European Central Bank reiterated its commitment to €1.85 trillion in asset purchases under its PEPP mechanism. This was said to remain in place until March 2022.

Turning to data, one of the week’s key releases is UK retail sales for June and the month-to-month comparisons.

We can gauge June’s figures by looking at the recently-released Q2 2021 retail numbers reported by the British Retail Consortium alongside KPMG.

According to BRC, retail sales jumped 10.4% between April-June when weighted against the same period in 2019. This was the fastest quarterly growth reported since records began back in 1995.

The report also comes with an initial British retail health check for June too. KPMG reports that, against 2019’s levels, retail sales in June shot up 13.1%.

For context, BRC and KMPG are weighing retail sales against 2019’s numbers, as 2020’s numbers have been distorted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A combination of lockdown easing, warmer summer temperatures, and Euro 2020 contributed to the rise in retail spending. Additionally, many UK holidaymakers have had no choice but to stay at home, thus keeping money that would be spent overseas in the local economy.

All of this is down to pent up demand being unleashed as lockdown restrictions lift. From Monday, nearly all of the major restrictions on British life are being removed, so the battle for wallets is now on.

What will be interesting to see is any change in habits from retail spending to experiences. This was the trend in the US for the past couple of months, so UK may shoppers may also move towards doing things rather than buying things.

We also have a wealth of PMI reports coming in from the US, UK, and the EU on Friday.

For the UK, both services and manufacturing IHS Markit PMIs showed the UK is still very much on a growth footing.

Starting with manufacturing, June’s reading came in at 63.9, a touch lower than May’s all-time high of 65.6, but still one of the highest rates in the survey’s 30-year history. However, industry insiders warned supply chain snarls and high input costs meeting surging demand could cause a slowdown in factory output going forward.

June’s services PMI reading was in line with UK manufacturing: a slight dip away from May’s high, but still showing strong growth. The actual reading came in at 62.4. However, rising operational expenses and staff shortages could impact growth in the short term, as could rising inflation. We’ll get a clearer picture with July’s reading.

The EU will be hoping to keep the momentum rolling into July too. June’s readings were some of the most positive for years. June’s composite flash index was 59.2 – an increase over the 57.1 registered in May. Services bounced from 55.2 to 58.0, suggesting pent up demand is driving the hospitality and services sector forward.

The US, while thriving, could have reached its peak, according to PMI releases. Its composite score for June was 63.7 – the second-fastest rate of expansion on record.

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said: “June saw another month of impressive output growth across the manufacturing and services sectors of the US economy, rounding off the strongest quarterly expansion since data were first available in 2009.”

“The rate of growth cooled compared to May’s record high, however, adding to signs that the economy’s recovery bounce peaked in the second quarter.”

Inflation will no doubt play a big role in July’s PMI calculations. Core and non-core prices are up in the economies mentioned above, but Friday’s release will give us a better understanding of its impact on US economic activity.

We also transition into the second week of US Q2 earning season. A mixture of tech and FMCG firms are reporting this week, including the likes of Netflix, Twitter, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, and Coca-Cola.

Oilfield services and engineering firm Schlumberger may be one to watch. Oil prices have gone from strength to strength this the tail end of last year. Has this fed into increased activity for multinationals like Schlumberger and consequently better financial results?

You can find a run down of the large caps reporting on Wall Street this week below, but you can also see our full US earnings calendar here.

Major economic data

Date Time (GMT+1) Asset Event
Tue 20-Jul 2.30am AUD Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes
Wed 21-Jul 2.30am AUD Retail Sales m/m
  3.30pm OIL US Crude Oil Inventories
Thu 22-Jul 12.45pm EUR Monetary Policy Statement
  12.45pm EUR Main Refinancing Rate
  1.30pm EUR ECB Press Conference
  3.30pm GAS US Natural Gas Inventories
Fri 23-Jul 7.00am GBP Retail Sales m/m
  8.15am EUR French Flash Manufacturing PMI
  8.15am EUR French Flash Services PMI
  8.30am EUR German Flash Manufacturing PMI
  8.30am EUR German Flash Services PMI
  9.00am EUR Flash Manufacturing PMI
  9.00am EUR Flash Services PMI
  9.30am GBP Flash Manufacturing PMI
  9.30am GBP Flash Services PMI
  1.30pm CAD Core Retail Sales m/m
  1.30pm CAD Retail Sales m/m
  2.45pm USD Flash Manufacturing PMI
  2.45pm USD Flash Services PMI


Key earnings data

Mon 19-Jul Tue 20-Jul Wed 21-Jul Thu 22-Jul Fri 23-Jul
Philip Morris International Coca-Cola AT&T American Express
Netflix Johnson & Johnson Newmont Goldcorp Schlumberger
Verizon Communications Intel Corp
Snap Inc
Twitter Inc

Week Ahead: FOMC minutes, global PMI rush & UK CPI/Retail sales

Week Ahead

FOMC meeting minutes are released this week for April’s meeting as pressure mounts on Jerome Powell et al to take inflation seriously.

UK CPI data gives an insight into inflation there, while the first batch of post-lockdown retail sales data lets us see if shoppers are heading back to the British high street.

There’s a wealth of PMI data coming from the UK, US, and EU too. How will their economic recoveries compare?

FOMC meeting minutes – is the time act approaching?

We get a detailed look inside the FOMC this week as it releases its minutes for its April meeting.

We know the story now. Despite acknowledging the fact inflation is probably on its way, although rising fuel-led CPI data has shown this is already case, no major tweaks are coming to the Fed’s current policy.

Chairman Jerome Powell is content with letting the economy run hot. Rates remain at near zero. QE will remain in place for the foreseeable at $120bn a month in treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities.

We’ve spoken in the past about what it will take for Powell and Co. to switch things up. According to Powell, three criteria need to be met:

• Effective complete recovery in the labour market
• Inflation reaching 2%
• Inflation running above 2% for a sustainable period of time

Employment might be key here. Eight million Americans are still out of work – although job openings have leapt above that figure. April’s NFP data was not quite as stellar as March’s blockbuster performance either.

The US economy is strengthening. First quarter GDP grew 6.4% year-on-year. We’re not out of the woods yet though, but the momentum is building – maybe it’ll force Powell’s hand in June. For now, the course is steady.

UK CPI shines inflation spotlight on UK economy

We’ll get a taste of the state of inflation in the UK this week with April’s year-on-year CPI data release.

According to May’s Monetary Policy Report, the Bank of England puts current CPI below the Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC) target of 2.0%. However, we’ve seen indicators that inflation is coming in previous Office of National Statistics (CPI) releases.

March’s ONS CPI reading put the consumer price inflation at 0.7%, compared with 0.4% in February, and rebalancing with the 0.7% level seen in January.

Looking across the year, BoE forecasts think its 2.0% target might be hit by the end of the year. Other commentators have similar outlooks, maybe not hitting the full 2.0% level, but close to it. For instance, National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) puts year-end CPI at 1.8%, rising to 2.0% by Q2 2022.

Pantheon’s Chief UK Economist Samuel Tombs believes the 2.0% figure will come this month, with April’s printing clocking in at 1.7%. Tombs thinks, because the reading will come after shops have opened, alongside an anticipated semi-annual increase in electricity and natural gas prices, we’ll get a more accurate reading of the state of things.

First post-lockdown UK retail sales data inbound

UK retail sales data for April is coming, following preliminary data published last week.

As to be expected, with lockdown relaxing and non-essential shops open for trading again, initial sales data shows an encouraging spike across April. BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, overall retail sales in April rose 7.3% against April 2019 (when figures were unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic).

On a like-for-like basis, sales were up 46%.

“Following the reopening of so-called non-essential stores on 12th April in England and Wales and continued online growth, retail sales enjoyed a welcome boost last month. With the short-term pent-up demand for the shopping experience drawing consumers back to stores, non-food sales across stores and online increased by a quarter between March and April,” BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said.

“Many fashion retailers saw an uptick in sales, particularly in outerwear and knitwear, as the public braved the cold spring weather for outdoor meeting and dining with friends. Furniture also saw a boost as consumers can once again try before they buy,” Dickinson added.

In the three weeks following the first reopening of stores across England and Wales, overall non-food sales in the UK rose 25% against spending levels of seen in March when the lockdown was still in full effect.

Inevitably, the growth rate will slow once the retail segment fully normalises. In the short term though, the sector looks like it’s being buoyed by an expected post-lockdown surge.

Worldwide PMI rush

An avalanche of flash PMI readings are on their way. The EU reports this week, as does the UK and US.

Starting with the EU, the bloc will be hoping to build on April’s forward momentum. Services flash PMI that month hit a nine-month high, with a score of 53.7. Manufacturing was rated at 62.9 according to IHS Markit ratings.

The EU, then, may mirror the course the UK is on: GDP contraction in the first quarter, followed by growth across the year.

Looking to the UK, April saw a record increase in services PMI, reaching its highest level for seven years. March’s reading was 56.3. April’s was 61.0. The partial reopening of the hospitality sector has put it on a growth footing once more, and we may see further growth when venues allow indoor service from Monday.
IHS Markit’s April manufacturing PMI for the UK also showed very strong performance, after nudging record highs. The index rose to 60.9 over 58.9 for March. Growth is back in the sector as orders pick up, but IHS did flag supply chain delays and input issues that could affect ongoing performance.

While the EU and UK look to grow, US manufacturing might be taking a step back. April’s ISM manufacturing PMI data came in at 60.7 – far lower than the expected 65. Supply chain woes are holding the sector back, according to ISM.

We’ll get further information on the economic health of these key industries with the week’s PMI releases.

Major economic data

Date Time (GMT+1) Currency Event
Tue 18-May 2.30am AUD Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes
Wed 19-May 7.00am GBP CPI y/y
  1.30pm CAD CPI m/m
  3.30pm USD US Crude Oil Inventories
  7.00pm USD FOMC Meeting Minutes
Thu 20-May 2.30am AUD Employment Change
  2.30am AUD Unemployment Rate
  1.30pm USD Phily Fed Manufacturing Index
  1.30pm USD Unemployment Claims
  3.30pm USD US Natural Gas Inventories
Fri 21-May 2.30am AUD Retail Sales m/m
  3.00am NZD Annual Budget Release
  7.00am GBP Retail Sales m/m
  8.15am EUR French Flash Manufacturing PMI
  8.15am EUR French Flash Services PMI
  8.30am EUR German Flash Manufacturing PMI
  8.30am EUR German Flash Services PMI
  9.00am EUR Flash Manufacturing PMI
  9.00am EUR Flash Services PMI
  9.30am GBP Flash Manufacturing PMI
  9.30am GBP Flash Services PMI
  1.30pm CAD Core Retail Sales m/m
  1.30pm CAD Retail Sales m/m
  2.45pm USD Flash Manufacturing PMI


Key earnings data

Date Company Event
Mon 17-May Bridgestone Q1 2021 Earnings
  Ryanair Q4 2021 Earnings
Tue 18-May Walmart Q2 2022 Earnings
  Home Depot Q1 2021 Earnings
  Vodafone Q4 2021 Earnings
  LG Corp Q1 2021 Earnings
  Take Two Q4 2021 Earnings
  Tata Motors Q4 2021 Earnings
Wed 19-May Cisco Q3 2021 Earnings
  Lowe’s Q1 2021 Earnings
  JD.com Q1 2021 Earnings
  Target Q1 2021 Earnings
  Analog Devices Q2 2021 Earnings
  Experian Q4 2021 Earnings
Thu 20-May Tencent Holdings Q1 2021 Earnings
  Applied Materials Q2 2021 Earnings
  National Grid PLC Q4 2021 Earnings
  Palo Alto Networks Q3 2021 Earnings
  Ralph Lauren Q4 2021 Earnings
Fri 21-May Deere & Co. Q2 2021 Earnings



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