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Week Ahead Economic Preview: Week of 15 March 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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  • FOMC, Bank of England and Bank of Japan policy meetings
  • China industrial production, retail sales, inflation and investment updates
  • US industrial production and retail sales

The main events of the week ahead will be central bank policy meetings in the US, UK and Japan, which are accompanied by some key indicator releases, most notably including industrial production and retail sales data for the US and China.

The FOMC meets amid growing signs that the US economy is set for bumper growth in 2021, as well as a rise in inflationary pressures. It's a similar situation in the UK, where the Bank of England likewise convenes to set monetary policy, albeit with somewhat greater uncertainty over the growth outlook for the coming year. Many UK forecasters remain wary of upping their predictions for growth due to both COVID-19 and Brexit. Both FOMC and BOE meetings will nevertheless be watched closely for any signs that the improving outlooks, and recent upward pressures on bond yields, could potentially lead to policy accommodation being tapered earlier than previously signalled.

In Japan, markets have been speculating that recent bond yield gyrations could cause the Bank of Japan to tweak its asset purchase program. In particular, the bank could widen the bands of its yield curve control when it announces the findings of its policy framework review at its upcoming monetary meeting. The bank has meanwhile stressed the need for long-term rates to remain low to bolster the COVID-19 economic recovery.

However, it's China's monthly data dump that will set the scene for the week. Industrial production, retail sales, investment, house price and unemployment data are all released on Monday to cover the January to February period, encompassing the holidays. While the latest export data showed trade surging, PMI numbers have indicated a slowing in the pace of economic growth amid COVID-19 restrictions and logistics delays.

Elsewhere in Asia, trade, inflation, manufacturing output and service sector data are issued in Japan, with trade numbers likewise updated for India and Indonesia. The latter also sees its central bank meet to set monetary policy, having cut its main interest rate in February, as does Taiwan.

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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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