The week ahead – week commencing the 8th of April 19
In economic data, the ECB meets to determine policy (with the judgment declared a day sooner than normal), while we likewise get Fed minutes and UK GDP. EU leaders also meet to deliberate a postponement to the Article 50 process for the UK.
Theresa May is arrayed to request a further stay to Britain’s exit date when the European Council meets in Brussels to consider the UK’s Brexit deadline on Wednesday. At the weekend the UK prime minister was still struggling to revive stalled Brexit talks with Labour amid reports she will introduce a “future proof” guarantee to Britain remaining in a customs union as a means of brokering a compromise. Mrs. May has maintained that there was shared ground between the two parties and that she was resolved to win a cross-party agreement shortly.
Central bankers and finance ministers will take stock of the global economy when the World Bank and IMF’s annual spring meetings begin in Washington this week. The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday releases the minutes of its March conclave, when it performed a U-turn on policy, abandoning plans for interest rates this year and signalling just one rise in 2020. Markets had foreseen a dovish shift, but the degree of the U-turn unnerved many investors, who speculated whether the central bank’s officials knew something about the health of the economy they did not. Investors will hope the March minutes offer valuable insight into the debate between policymakers. Economists expect an uneventful European Central Bank policy meeting this week, with no changes expected to be revealed on Thursday. At the March meeting, the ECB updated its forward direction on key interest rates and now expects these to continue at their present levels.
The UK’s economic growth figures for February are out on Wednesday. Some pullback is expected after a steady expansion of 0.5 percent during January. UK economy US consumer price inflation data is out on Wednesday and is forecast to show an increase of 0.3 percent in March, compared with a 0.2 percent rise in February. Chinese trade figures on Friday are predicted to show exports returning to growth, aided by positive seasonality as the lunar new year effect diminishes, with imports expected to show similar modest growth in volume and value terms.