AFTER the Bank of England announced that it would be pausing, at least for now, its quantitative easing policy, the big event in the UK this week will be the quarterly inflation report on Wednesday morning. The Bank is expected to revise down its growth forecast while revising up its inflation predictions and will give markets a clearer insight into the logic behind last week’s decision.
It’s not just the central bank that will be issuing its forecasts either – respected think-tank the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (Niesr) will be giving its predictions slightly later on Wednesday.
Wednesday also sees December industrial and manufacturing production figures released – these should give some explanation as to the paltry fourth quarter GDP growth.
Halifax data last week indicated that the rally in the housing market is losing momentum. Will figures tomorrow from the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors add weight to this argument?
Also out tomorrow is the British Retail Consortium’s January retail sales survey – CBI data has already pointed to a poor January for the high-street after strong Christmas trading.
BRC figures showed December sales were the strongest in eight years.
Across the Atlantic, the big events this week include January retail sales on Thursday at 1.30pm UK time and preliminary estimates for February’s University of Michigan confidence survey on Friday at 2.55pm.
In the Eurozone, we will get German trade and inflation data tomorrow at 7am. And on Friday at 10am, fourth quarter GDP figures for the Eurozone will be announced – the expectation is for modest growth of 0.4 per cent. The European Union is holding on Thursday a special summit to tackle the the economic and social crisis.
An initiative of the new EU president Herman van Rompuy, it is hoped that the summit will start to map out the EU’s economic agenda for the next decade.