The week ahead – week commencing 29th April

There will be a good deal of economic data for investors to review throughout the week, including the US jobs report, the UK and US central banks convene. US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and trade representative Robert Lighthizer travel to Beijing as the world’s two largest economies continue trade talks, which are now nearing the final stretch.

Central banks:  The US central bank, headed by chairman Jay Powell, is expected to hold policy unchanged when it completes its two-day session on Wednesday. With US activity improving after a rocky start to the year and foreign risks diminishing, many remain confident the Fed will keep rates constant for the rest of the year.

The Bank of England meets on Thursday to set interest rates and renew its economic forecasts, but also no rate changes are foreseen. The bank’s inflation report, published alongside the judgment, will allow policymakers a chance to indicate their thinking.

Economic data: It is a lively economic calendar this week. First off, the US where the jobs report on Friday will highlight a roster of key economic data. Non-farm payrolls are foreseen to come in at 180,000 for April, while the unemployment rate is set to remain level at 3.8 per cent. Other US data include auto sales, home prices, ISM manufacturing and consumer confidence.

Elsewhere, China releases manufacturing and non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ indices. The UK has manufacturing, construction and services PMIs; while Mexico and Canada release gross domestic product figures.

In Europe, first-quarter GDP data are due for France, Italy and Spain, and the wider Eurozone, with flash inflation data also released for France, Germany and the Eurozone. Italian GDP is likely to be of interest. Growth continued in negative territory in the decisive quarter of last year, confirming a technical recession. Italy has lowered its GDP forecast to 0.2 percent for 2019. The latest data point to a slight pickup, but the picture is by no means complete. The consensus among economists is that the country will have scraped out of recession during the first quarter, with a growth rate of 0.1 percent.

The Eurozone unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.8 per cent in February, the lowest level since September 2008. Economists believe it improbable the unemployment rate can drop much further over the medium term and predict no shift when March figures are issued on Tuesday.