© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Customers visit Macy’s flagship store in New York City, New York, U.S., May 20, 2021. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File photo
1/ HIGH ALERT
A critical view into inflation comes with Thursday’s May U.S. consumer price index.
It is shaping up as one of the most watched numbers for some time after consumer prices jumped by the most in nearly 12 years in April and a debate rages over whether a pick-up in price pressures is fleeting or more sustained.
The reading is also one of the last key pieces of economic data before the Federal Reserve’s June 15-16 meeting.
The Fed’s Randal Quarles believes a recent jump in inflation will prove transitory. Another strong inflation print that lifts Treasury yields could pressure valuations on tech and other growth stocks.
– Fed’s Quarles: Still expects inflation jump will be transitory
– Pent-up demand, shortages fuel U.S. inflation
Graphic – US consumer price index: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/ygdpzxwzdpw/Pasted%20image%201622666561189.png
2/ MADE IN CHINA
Trade data from around the Pacific should show goods going west from Japan, China and South Korea, and money flowing east, from North America. Updates from the United States, Germany and Britain are also on the calendar.
The focus on the U.S.-China figures has shifted from “trade war” scoreboard back on fundamentals.
Currency markets will watch the trade data closely for signs that China’s huge surplus is moderating, which could stall the runaway yuan. The currency hit a three-year high versus the dollar in May, triggering a flurry of jawboning from policymakers.
Meanwhile Chinese producer price data on Wednesday will indicate how much inflation is exported as factories start to pass on higher raw material costs to customers.
– China’s banks are bursting with dollars, and that’s a worry
Graphic – Inflation: Made in China?: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/dgkplnddnpb/Pasted%20image%201622703652481.png
3/ ECB BALANCING ACT
The ECB meets Thursday. It has to find a balance between the need to support the euro zone recovery through emergency stimulus and accepting a brighter outlook means its PEPP scheme may not be needed for much longer.
Dovish comments suggest the ECB will continue buying bonds at close to the current pace. This view has pushed sovereign bonds yields down from May’s multi-month highs, the euro is steady, having risen since April.
A modest slowdown in purchases is not ruled out, especially as the quiet summer period approaches. And any signs from ECB chief Christine Lagarde that the taper debate is underway will end the calm in bond markets.
– ECB to keep policy loose this year despite high inflation risks
Graphic – eurozone markets: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/bdwpkxeznvm/eurozone%20markets.JPG
4/TALKING TAX IN CORNWALL
Leaders of the G7 economies are set to meet in the English seaside county of Cornwall, their first face-to-face encounter since COVID-19 struck and the first for U.S. President Joe Biden.
The summit will be a major test of whether cooperation between Washington and the rest of the world has improved since Donald Trump’s departure, not least as Biden pushes for agreement on a crucial global tax deal.
Finance ministers meet first on Friday and Saturday in London. Hopes of a breakthrough were boosted after British finance minister Rishi Sunak said a U.S. proposal to focus on the world’s 100 biggest firms as part of a tax deal could work.
But considerable detail remains to be agreed. The summit will test the G7’s ability to prove it can work together on complex topics such as increasing taxes on multinationals enjoying a business boom during the pandemic.
– UK’s Sunak says U.S. plan to break global tax deadlock could work
Graphic – Corporate tax rates in select countries: https://graphics.reuters.com/G7-FINANCE/TAX/yzdpxmdjgvx/chart.png
Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats face a key election test before September’s federal election.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s would-be successor, Armin Laschet, desperately needs his party to win Sunday’s regional vote in Saxony-Anhalt to fend off doubts about his ability to deliver success in September.
Laschet’s party is neck-to-neck with the surging Greens in national polls, both holding around a quarter of the vote.
The left-leaning Greens, meanwhile, kick off their party conference on June 11 and will formally declare Annalena Baerbock their first ever chancellor candidate. Less of a formality will be finalising the ecologist party’s election manifesto – a guide on what might lie ahead for policy in Europe’s largest economy.
– Laschet faces eastern test in bid to succeed Germany’s Merkel
Graphic – German election polling: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/qmyvmzamypr/German%20elections%20polling.PNG