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Week Ahead Economic Preview: Week of 17 May 2021

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  • Flash PMI surveys for the US, Eurozone, Japan, UK and Australia
  • China industrial production, retail sales data
  • Trade and inflation data due for the eurozone and various Asian economies

A busy economic calendar is seen for the week ahead with special attention on May's flash PMI data due from the US, Eurozone, Japan, UK and Australia on Friday. The survey will provide eagerly awaited updates to economic recovery momentum and inflation trends.

China's retail sales, industrial output and investment data are meanwhile due Monday, while the Eurozone's economic releases include GDP and CPI, and the UK updates its labour market and retail sales numbers. Mish-mashed between which will be a series of trade and inflation data from several Asia economies plus GDP updates from Japan and Thailand.

Flash PMI surveys for May

Key questions awaiting answers from the upcoming flash PMI surveys will surround the themes of economic recovery momentum, supply shortages and inflation.

April surveys had indicated an acceleration of the global economic recovery as lockdown measures eased in many parts of the world. The US notably led the global expansion as consumer sectors increasingly supported the upturn. However, when good economic news turns out to be bad news for the markets is when stronger economic growth is being accompanied by rising prices, which has ruffled the markets in recent sessions. Higher inflation has been a key feature in recent PMIs, with new peaks for various survey price gauges often linked to record supply delays, notably for semiconductors.

Although central banks including the Fed have kept an emphasis on jobs, markets have grown concerned over inflation, and will be eager to see signs of demand shifting from goods to services, supply constraints easing and price gauges moving off their highs.

In Europe, the flash PMI surveys for May are increasingly expected to add to signs that UK and Eurozone economic recoveries are moving up a gear in the second quarter, following the declines in GDP seen in the first quarter, which is likely to be confirmed by the eurozone GDP numbers. Renewed expansions were signalled in April as the PMIs beat expectations, showing surging UK activity alongside record Eurozone manufacturing growth, with the latter's services sector also expanding for the first time since August 2020.

China data dump plus pan-Asia trade and inflation releases

China is meanwhile also expected to find industrial production and retail sales figures faring strongly in the upcoming releases as the economy continues to build on its recovery from the pandemic.

Further across Asia, trade and inflation data will be in abundance. Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia will provide updates on their April trade performances. Consumer inflation data will meanwhile arrive from Japan and Hong Kong SAR, while South Korean producer prices will also be updated.

Notably, Japan's GDP - released Tuesday - is expected to revert into decline as COVID-19 restrictions weighed on consumption in the first quarter. However, recent surveys have shown an improving trend, albeit with a k-shaped recovery in Japan as manufacturing gains were offset by service sector woes.

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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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