Macroeconomic & Geopolitical

Consumption Resumption or Data Malfunction?

May 2021 – 3 min read
In the U.S., April retail sales eased following a stimulus check-induced surge. Separately, supply constraints may have weighed on housing starts, but strong demand should support new construction this year. Elsewhere, in China, investment and manufacturing continue to be strong.

Watchlist

Arrows indicate consensus forecast compared to the previous period. Local dates of release.
 

U.S.

  • Personal income should decline in April following a surge in March driven by stimulus checks. Keep an eye on the wage and salary component to gauge the handoff from fiscal support. Separately, we will watch personal spending for a rebound in services spending that is not captured in retail sales.
  • The core PCE deflator—the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation—is expected to rise in April. Following upside surprises in CPI and PPI last week, keep a close watch on market reactions for upside data surprises.
     

Europe

  • May business and consumer confidence for the eurozone and its three biggest economies will tell if the expected recovery in the single currency area is finally taking hold. After big jumps and positive surprises in April, another similar outcome would signal a strong Q2 is ahead.
     

Asia Pacific

  • China industrial profits for April should ease as base effects fade.  Profit growth should remain positive, given the robust industrial production backdrop driven by global demand. Its strength should support this year’s corporate investment recovery.
  • Japan’s jobless rate will likely be overshadowed by the third state of emergency declaration announced in late April. Unemployment may rise in the months ahead but should stay below last year’s peak, given diminishing damage from subsequent lockdowns. 

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Matteo Cominetta

Director, Economist

Agnès Belaisch

Managing Director, Chief European Strategist

Max Bennett

Analyst

Christian Floro

Associate Director

Kathryn Asher

Associate Director, Economist

Christopher Smart, PhD, CFA

Chief Global Strategist & Head of the Barings Investment Institute

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