Financial calendar – what to expect in the week of 2-6 May

A selection of economic events to watch out for in the coming week, including a decision from the Federal Reserve on raising US interest rates, and German retail sales figures.

Hello and welcome to the start of the week,

Next week is a moment that many market watchers have been anticipating: the US Federal Reserve, America's central bank, is widely expected to raise interest rates by half a percentage point on 3 May.

It comes after the Fed raised interest rates by 0.25 percentage points last month, up from near zero. The half a percentage point interest rate rise – which will almost certainly go ahead – would mark the first time since 2006 that the Fed has raised the policy rate at consecutive meetings.

The last time the central bank raised interest rates by as much as half-point increase was in 2000.

Interest rate rises

The meeting is also likely to mark the start of quantitative tightening, in effect a reversal of quantitative easing when the central bank is expected to curtail its $9trn asset portfolio

The expected rate rise comes amid a resurgence of Covid cases in China, and Russia’s war with Ukraine, which are already causing supply chain issues and a sharp rise in the price of goods.

Other Fed presidents have also raised the spectre of more aggressive rate rises. While markets are expecting 0.5 percentage point rises at each of the next Fed’s three meetings, some market watchers even think a 0.75 percentage point rise may be underway.

If the expected rises do happen, then that could take the Fed’s key rate to as high as 2.25%.

Markets are also widely anticipating the UK to raise interest rates at a 5 May meeting, alongside the publication of the Bank of England’s Inflation Report as purchasing managers are expected to confirm that prices are still rising sharply.

The central bank raised its key Bank Rate by 0.25 bps to 0.75% last month at its March meeting. The rate rise marked the central bank’s third consecutive rise in interest rates and took the rate back to pre-Covid levels. Events such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is likely to further drive asset prices, and inflation is expected to be at least 8% in Q2 2022.

Other economic data

Purchasing managers data (PMIs) for the eurozone across both services and manufacturing is due next week. While the reading for the services sector is expected to show that the services sector is expanding, the eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers’ index is expected to contract from the previous reading.

Elsewhere, both month-on-month and year-on-year German retail sales data is also coming out next week. According to estimates by Trading Economics, retail sales are expected to rise by 1% by the end of this quarter. German retail sales rose 0.3% in February, marginally missing a forecast of an increase in 0.5% in January. Retail trade recovered in the first few months of 2022 after turnover fell in December, but the sector is still continuing to recover from pandemic restrictions.

Some key events to watch next week

Monday

  • German Retail Sales data for March for (MoM) and (YoY) are due.
  • Eurozone unemployment rate figures for April are due.
  • Eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for April is due.

Tuesday

  • China markets are shut for Labour Day on 3 May.
  • UK Manufacturing PMI for April is due.
  • German unemployment data for April is due.
  • Japanese markets are shut for a public holiday 3-5 May.

Wednesday

  • The Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision is due.
  • Eurozone Services Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for April is due.
  • Monthly and yearly European retail sales figures are due for April.

Thursday

  • The Bank of England interest rate decision and inflation report is due.

Friday

  • The US unemployment rate and April jobs report is due.
  • US Nonfarm payrolls data is due.

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