By WSJ Staff 

This week's economic calendar includes key readings on China's exports and gross domestic product, as well as U.S. inflation, consumer spending and industrial production.


China's March exports are expected to rebound sharply from a year earlier when Covid-19 depressed economic activity at home and abroad. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal are forecasting a 40% annual increase, a sharp reversal from the 6.6% contraction in the year-earlier period. Similar to the exports, the country's import sector is expected to see 25% growth in March, reversing a year-earlier decline of 0.9%.

U.S. consumer prices are expected to pick up in March, a potential signal of building inflation pressures amid a big dose of fiscal stimulus, rising consumer spending and supply-chain bottlenecks. Most policy makers and many economists, however, are forecasting that relatively strong consumer-price gains will be short-lived.


Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks virtually to the Economic Club of Washington. Mr. Powell is likely to maintain the central bank's mantra on inflation -- that any upward pressure on consumer prices from fiscal stimulus "will be neither particularly large nor persistent."


U.S. retail sales are expected to surge in March, more than reversing a weather-induced soft spot in February. Household incomes rose substantially last month as tax refunds and $1,400 stimulus checks hit bank accounts, and employers added 916,000 jobs.

U.S. jobless claims are hovering near pandemic-era lows, though the number of people filing applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose two weeks in a row through the end of March. Economists are forecasting a drop in claims for the week ending April 10, which would suggest steady improvement in the labor market.

U.S. industrial production fell sharply in February as severe winter weather hit Texas and other parts of the country. The measure of factory, mining and utility output is expected to bounce back in March amid strong demand for factory goods.


China's gross domestic product for the first quarter of 2021 is expected to grow 19.5% from a year earlier, a figure that reflects last year's short but sharp pandemic-induced downturn -- GDP contracted 6.8% in the first quarter of 2020 -- as much as it does a return to economic growth. Looking through distortions caused by Covid-19, China's economy is on track for a year of strong gains.


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 11, 2021 15:14 ET (19:14 GMT)

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