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.


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


  • 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.


  • 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. 

Want to read the full article?

View PDF

Matteo Cominetta

Director, Economist

Agnès Belaisch

Managing Director, Chief European Strategist

Max Bennett


Christian Floro

Associate Director

Kathryn Asher

Associate Director, Economist

Christopher Smart, PhD, CFA

Chief Global Strategist & Head of the Barings Investment Institute

Any forecasts in this material are based upon Barings opinion of the market at the date of preparation and are subject to change without notice, dependent upon many factors. Any prediction, projection or forecast is not necessarily indicative of the future or likely performance. Investment involves risk. The value of any investments and any income generated may go down as well as up and is not guaranteed by Barings or any other person. PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS.

Any investment results, portfolio compositions and or examples set forth in this material are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not indicative of any future investment results, future portfolio composition or investments. The composition, size of, and risks associated with an investment may differ substantially from any examples set forth in this material No representation is made that an investment will be profitable or will not incur losses. Where appropriate, changes in the currency exchange rates may affect the value of investments. Prospective investors should read the offering documents, if applicable, for the details and specific risk factors of any Fund/Strategy discussed in this material.

Barings is the brand name for the worldwide asset management and associated businesses of Barings LLC and its global affiliates. Barings Securities LLC, Barings (U.K.) Limited, Barings Global Advisers Limited, Barings Australia Pty Ltd, Barings Japan Limited, Baring Asset Management Limited, Baring International Investment Limited, Baring Fund Managers Limited, Baring International Fund Managers (Ireland) Limited, Baring Asset Management (Asia) Limited, Baring SICE (Taiwan) Limited, Baring Asset Management Switzerland Sarl, and Baring Asset Management Korea Limited each are affiliated financial service companies owned by Barings LLC (each, individually, an “Affiliate”).

NO OFFER: The material is for informational purposes only and is not an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument or service in any jurisdiction. The material herein was prepared without any consideration of the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of anyone who may receive it. This material is not, and must not be treated as, investment advice, an investment recommendation, investment research, or a recommendation about the suitability or appropriateness of any security, commodity, investment, or particular investment strategy, and must not be construed as a projection or prediction.

Unless otherwise mentioned, the views contained in this material are those of Barings. These views are made in good faith in relation to the facts known at the time of preparation and are subject to change without notice. Individual portfolio management teams may hold different views than the views expressed herein and may make different investment decisions for different clients. Parts of this material may be based on information received from sources we believe to be reliable. Although every effort is taken to ensure that the information contained in this material is accurate, Barings makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information.

Any service, security, investment or product outlined in this material may not be suitable for a prospective investor or available in their jurisdiction. Copyright in this material is owned by Barings. Information in this material may be used for your own personal use, but may not be altered, reproduced or distributed without Barings’ consent.