It’s time to find out how the world’s No. 2 economy is faring

LONDON: Investors will this week finally get a comprehensive read of how China’s economy is faring this year as worries mount over the outlook for the rest of the world.

Retail sales, investment, credit and industrial production data for January and February are all scheduled for release just as the National People’s Congress is set to wrap up with a speech on Friday from Premier Li Keqiang.

“China’s credit and activity data will help in assessing the extent of any stabilisation in growth,” said Chang Shu, chief Asia economist at Bloomberg Economics. “China’s credit data are important to help determine whether the economy is stabilising.”

The snapshot of the world’s number two economy comes the week after the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development cut its forecasts for global growth, Citigroup Inc’s global surprise index fell to its weakest since 2013 and the European Central Bank injected fresh monetary stimulus.Here’s the weekly rundown of other key economic events.

United States and Canada

The main event is Sunday evening’s appearance on CBS’ “60 Minutes” programme by Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell as investors wonder how permanent the the pause in interest rate hikes will prove. Tuesday is another big day for trade news with trade representative Robert Lighthizer’s testimony to the Senate Finance Committee. The most important indicators of the week are retail sales for January, which are expected to rebound from December declines, and the consumer price index, whose growth is seen holding steady at 1.6%. Bank of Canada senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins speaks on Thursday.

What Bloomberg economists say

“Retail sales likely rebounded from their eye-popping plunge, which should demonstrate that consumers remain the dominant force behind economic growth. Meanwhile, the February CPI data will likely start showing nascent signs of an acceleration in wage-driven inflation.”


Chinese retail sales data arrive on Thursday with the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg pointing to a 8.1% increase from the previous year, down from 9% in the prior report. Industrial production, released the same day, is also seen slowing to 5.5% from 6.2%.

Elsewhere in the region, Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda will speak on Friday, after he and his board meet to decide on monetary policy. No change in stimulus settings is anticipated, though there’s likely to be a discussion of whether or not to downgrade assessments of industrial production, exports and overseas economies.

Europe, the Middle East & Africa

Days after the ECB acted to support demand, industrial production data for January from Germany and the euro region will provide a glimpse of the health of the economy in the first quarter, and may perhaps shed further light on the extent of weakness induced by international trade tensions. Scheduled for release on Wednesday, industrial production in the region will grow 0.5% after falling 0.9%, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. In the United Kingdom, attention will focus on the government’s Tuesday vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, just a day before Chancellor Philip Hammond is scheduled to deliver the spring budget statement. — Bloomberg

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