Economic week ahead: imports, jobless claims, inflation

By WSJ staff 

Inflation figures for China and the United States highlight this week’s economic data series.


Chinese imports are expected to increase in May due to higher commodity prices and weak base a year earlier, according to 16 economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal. The country’s imports are forecast to increase 53% from a year ago. Outbound shipments, a key driver of Chinese economic growth, are expected to increase by 32.3%. The country’s trade surplus is expected to reach $ 47.9 billion from $ 42.9 billion in April.


The US trade deficit hit a record high in March as federal stimulus reinvigorated consumers and pushed import demand to a new high. Economists are forecasting a narrower trade gap in April, although the overall figure will likely remain high as the US reopening strengthens.


Inflation at China’s factory exits is expected to peak more than a decade in May, triggered by rising commodity prices, according to a median forecast by 16 economists. The producer price index is expected to increase 8.6% from the previous year, the highest level since August 2008. Meanwhile, the consumer price index is expected to have increased by 1.00%. 5% per year in May against 0.9% in April.


European Central Bank issues policy statement and staff forecast. In March, the ECB pledged to step up purchases under a € 1.85 trillion bond purchase program in a bid to contain borrowing costs amid economic growth sluggish. Now, with the rise in vaccinations against Covid-19, the easing of pandemic restrictions, the acceleration of activity and inflation exceeding the central bank’s target, some economists are looking for signs that these purchases could soon be reduced.

U.S. consumer prices rose the most in April in a 12-month period since 2008, stepping up deliberations over appropriate levels of fiscal stimulus, monetary policy, and whether the spike in inflation is temporary or the start of a potentially damaging price spiral. Economists expect another sizable gain for the Consumer Price Index in May, although a high second reading is unlikely to settle the debate over the medium-term path of inflation.

Unemployment claims in the United States hit a new pandemic low at the end of May, adding to signs of a healing labor market. Economists forecast a further drop in the week ending June 5 as employers cling to workers as the economy continues to reopen.


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 06, 2021 15:14 ET (19:14 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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About Natalee Broderick

Natalee Broderick

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