Economy Week Ahead: Inflation, Retail Sales, GDP
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
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
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
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
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 11, 2021 15:14 ET (19:14 GMT)
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