Focus shifts to US prices after jobs disappointment

10 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

NEW YORK: Inflation and retail sales reports receive top billing on the US economic calendar this coming week in the wake of surprisingly disappointing jobs figures.

The consumer-price index excluding volatile food and energy components is projected to increase a healthy 0.3 per cent in April, matching the previous month’s advance and signaling moderate inflation. While the CPI will accelerate sharply from a year earlier, when the pandemic depressed activity, Federal Reserve policy makers are taking the increases in stride.

The figures will help show the extent that surging commodities and materials prices are being passed through to households. The Labor Department’s report on Wednesday precede figures on retail demand at week’s end.

Economists project the value of purchases at US retailers climbed another 1 per cent last month after a March surge that was the largest in 10 months and fueled by a fresh round of government stimulus checks.

Industrial production, the number of job openings and prices paid to producers round out a flurry of US economic data.

Elsewhere, China also will release inflation data, while Australia’s federal budget will be revealed, the UK publishes a gross domestic product report, and central banks in Mexico, Chile, Peru, Romania and Serbia hold interest-rate decisions.

U.S. economic data will be closely watched by the dozen Fed officials set to make public appearances throughout the week. Scheduled speakers include Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, New York Fed President John Williams, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly and Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida.

Australia on Tuesday will announce its federal budget for the year starting July 1, with a rapidly recovering jobs market and booming iron-ore price set to narrow its previously announced deficit and provide Prime Minister Scott Morrison with more room to support the recovery with targeted programs. That budget will include more spending to improving women’s economic and health outcomes, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

That’s the same day China releases consumer and factory inflation data that’s set to show producer prices are accelerating, adding to global inflation pressures. Census results also will finally be released this week, after a delay in the report sparked concern China’s population may have shrunk for the first time in modern records.