Data to focus on sub-zero inflation and money supply
Published 28/03/2016 | 02:30
The coming week will see a cluster of economic releases in Europe, with many countries releasing estimates of inflation. The Eurozone's annual inflation rate returned to below zero in February in a symbolic setback for the European Central Bank.
While the headline rate is likely to remain sub-zero in March, there is little evidence that underlying pricing pressures are slipping.
The Eurozone money supply figures are also likely to garner more attention than usual given the ECB's focus on lending.
Outside the Eurozone, attention will be on the final UK GDP figure for the fourth quarter of last year. Updated figures in the Quarterly National Accounts published at the end of December suggested growth in 2015 was weaker than previously estimated.
A Reuters poll last month suggested Britain's economy will grow 2.2pc this year and next, weaker than official November projections which pegged GDP expansion at 2.4pc in 2016 and 2.5pc in 2017.
The Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee may discuss the potential financial stability risks that may arise ahead of a referendum on the country's EU membership.
There is also likely to be particular interest on the buy-to-let sector, with Chancellor George Osborne indicating Governor Mark Carney is set to gain the power to limit borrowing by investors in rental housing within months.
Closer to home, the Central Bank will release its latest quarterly bulletin on Friday, while the Central Statistics Office (CSO) will release the retail sales index on Wednesday.
The week begins tomorrow for economic data, though not with anything meaty.
Italy will also release consumer confidence figures for March, though the release rarely attracts the attention of markets.
In the UK, the Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee (FPC) will release the statement from its March policy meeting as well as information about the 2016 bank stress tests and the outcome of the Prudential Regulation Authority's work on underwriting standards in buy-to-let mortgages.
On Thursday, France will kick off a flurry of inflation releases. The influence of package holidays is less evident in France, which is one reason to expect reduced pressure on the annual inflation rate in March than in Germany. The consensus is for a slight uptick relative to February. Spain will follow, then Italy and then the Eurozone aggregate.
The general picture is one of energy costs weighing significantly on Eurozone inflation, but there's little evidence that underlying pricing pressures are slipping. (Bloomberg)