Global Economy Week Ahead: Fed Minutes, China Trade Surplus and CPI

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This week, the U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank release minutes of their latest meetings, and China reports import, export and inflation data.

WEDNESDAY: The Bank of Japan releases its corporate goods price index for March (release time is Tuesday evening in the U.S.). The Japanese economy recently has seen a gradual uptick in inflation, and the central bank’s chief,

Haruhiko Kuroda,

said for the first time the bank would consider exiting from its loose policy. The speculation over a possible rate increase sent the yen and 10-year Japanese government bond yields sharply higher, illustrating markets’ sensitivity to any exit talk.

The Federal Reserve releases minutes from its March 20-21 meeting. On Friday, Fed Chairman

Jerome Powell

reaffirmed the central bank’s slow and steady path of raising interest rates. The March meeting minutes likely will reflect plans to continue this pace.

China’s consumer inflation likely retreated in March from a more than four-year high in February as Lunar New Year holiday effects waned. Economists expect the consumer-price index to rise by about 2.6% in March from a year earlier, compared with February’s 2.9%. The country’s producer-price index probably rose about 3.2%, easing from February’s 3.7%. (Release time is Tuesday evening in the U.S.)

THURSDAY: The Bank of Mexico releases a policy statement on the heels of a robustly strengthening peso. In late March, the peso was the best performing currency of the 16 tracked by the WSJ Dollar Index. Still, some analysts say Mexico’s central bank may raise rates again after doing so at its last meeting in February. In its policy statement from that meeting, the bank left the door open to additional rate increases, saying it “will act in a timely, firm way to keep inflation expectations anchored.”

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The European Central Bank releases minutes of its March 7-8 meeting, when it signaled a shift toward tighter monetary policy by dropping a long-held pledge to accelerate its bond-buying program if the region’s economy deteriorates. ECB President

Mario Draghi

also criticized tariffs proposed by U.S. President

Donald Trump

at a press conference following the March meeting.

FRIDAY: China’s strong exports probably lost some steam last month, leading to a smaller trade surplus, economists say. Exports likely climbed by around 9% in March, after a spike of 44.5% in February. Imports likely rose by about 10%, versus February’s 6.3% growth.

Appeared in the April 9, 2018, print edition as ‘Economic Calendar.’



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