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Week Ahead Economic Preview: Week of 11 January 2021

The following is an extract from IHS Markit's latest Week Ahead Economic Preview. For the full report, please click on the 'Download Full Report' link

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  • China's fourth quarter GDP
  • US industrial production and retail sales
  • UK monthly GDP plus Eurozone industrial production

With COVID-19 infections rising sharply in many countries, the focus will be on the path of the virus and extent to which economies will have to be locked down in the first quarter, as well naturally as the policy response, notably in the US. However, the week ahead also sees some important economic data releases which will give further clues as to the extent to which various major economies managed to continue to recover in the fourth quarter.

Leading the bill is fourth quarter GDP for China which, with just around 100,000 virus cases and 5,000 deaths reported in total, has seen life return almost to normal, boosting economic activity according to the PMI surveys. Hence the fourth quarter is expected to have seen China's GDP growth accelerate from 4.8% in the third quarter to approximately 6.5%. Of particular interest will be the accompanying higher frequency data on industrial production and retail sales, as these will give details of growth momentum both among manufacturers and consumers in December.

Similarly in the US, where tensions could build again in the lead up to the Presidential inauguration on 20th January, industrial production and retail sales data will provide important steers on fourth quarter economic growth nowcasts, albeit only up to November. The University of Michigan Consumer sentiment survey will add some more timely insight into how the pandemic and political environment have affected sentiment in January. Jobless claims and job openings data will meanwhile help clarify the latest labour market trends, and we also see updates to the NFIB survey and the Beige Book.

In Europe, Brexit-watchers will be further assessing the impact of the end of the UK's transition period, the lead up to which is likely to have provided a temporary boost to November's GDP numbers, which are released on Friday. The Eurozone also sees updated industrial production data, which surveys hint at showing robust growth, albeit dependent to a large extent on Germany.

Central bank action meanwhile comes in the form of interest rate decisions in South Korea and Poland.

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PMI commentary: Chris Williamson

Europe commentary: Ken Wattret

APAC commentary: Rajiv Biswas

© 2021, IHS Markit Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Purchasing Managers' Index™ (PMI™) data are compiled by IHS Markit for more than 40 economies worldwide. The monthly data are derived from surveys of senior executives at private sector companies, and are available only via subscription. The PMI dataset features a headline number, which indicates the overall health of an economy, and sub-indices, which provide insights into other key economic drivers such as GDP, inflation, exports, capacity utilization, employment and inventories. The PMI data are used by financial and corporate professionals to better understand where economies and markets are headed, and to uncover opportunities.

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