Next week, factory, auto sales and employment data could cement views that U.S. economic activity accelerated in the first quarter, despite tighter fiscal policy, after almost stalling in the last three months of 2012.
The Institute for Supply Management is expected to report on Monday that its index of national factory activity held at a 1.5-year high in March. Auto sales data on Tuesday probably will come in at an annual pace of 15.3 million in March, marking the fifth straight month that the sales rate has held above 15 million.
Friday's closely watched jobs report is expected to show that employers added 200,000 jobs in March, while the unemployment rate held steady at a four-year low of 7.7 percent.
It will also be a busy week for U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers, with remarks coming from both hawks and doves.
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In Europe, the main event will be the European Central Bank’s interest rate announcement and press conference.
The crisis in Cyprus, together with the continued deterioration in indicators of euro zone economic activity, should lead the ECB to strike a more supportive tone. But Jonathan Loynes at Capital Economics expects the Governing Council to leave interest rates unchanged.
Also on Thursday, the Bank of Japan’s Policy Board meeting will likely announce only small policy changes, with any more substantial reforms on hold for the April 26 meeting. (Read: BOJ April 3-4 Meeting Preview.)
In the coming week, Asia is due to release a slew of PMIs. The data are likely to show that Asia’s manufacturing sector is continuing to struggle.
Below are entries on the economic calendar April 1-5. All listed times are EDT.
8:58 a.m. -- Markit Manufacturing PMI for March, final reading.
10 a.m. – Construct spending probably rose by 1 percent in February, following a 2.1 percent decline in January.
10 a.m. -- After increasing for three months in a row since falling below the breakeven level of 50 in November, economists now expect the ISM manufacturing index to remain unchanged at 54.2 in March, as the global recovery stumbles again. While the Philadelphia Fed and Empire State surveys have both risen to positive territory in March for the first time since early 2012, the Chicago PMI came in significantly weaker than expected.
Japan -- Auto sales.
China -- NBS manufacturing PMI index for March.
China -- Final HSBC manufacturing PMI index for March.
All day – Auto sales for March. Analysts polled by Reuters expect the annual sales pace to be 15.3 million in March, marking the fifth straight month that the sales rate has held above 15 million.
9:45 a.m. -- ISM New York index for March.
10 a.m. – Economists expect factory orders to increase by 2.9 percent in February, following a 2 percent decline in the prior month.
1 p.m. -- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Narayana Kocherlakota (FOMC non-voter) speaks on "Improving the Outlook with Better Monetary Policy" before the Grand Forks/East Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce in North Dakota.
1:30 p.m. -- Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart (FOMC non-voter) speaks on the economic outlook and monetary policy before the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham in Alabama.
7:30 p.m. -- Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans (FOMC voter) and Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker (FOMC non-voter) participate in panel, "Monetary Policy: Opportunities and Limits" before the Virginia Commonwealth University 2013 Spring Investors Circle.
Russia -- Overnight deposit rate and overnight repo rate.
Australia -- RBA cash rate.
E17 -- ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure speaks on currency wars in Washington, D.C.
E17 -- Final manufacturing PMI index for March.
E17 -- Unemployment rate for February.
Italy -- Unemployment rate for February.
UK -- Manufacturing PMI index for March.
7 a.m. -- The Mortgage Bankers Association's, or MBA's, mortgage-applications indexes for the week ended March 29.
8:15 a.m. – ADP private payrolls likely increased by 200,000 in March, after rising by 198,000 in February.
10:00 a.m. – Economists look for a slightly lower reading of 55.8 in March nonmanufacturing ISM, compared with 56.0 in February.
3:30 p.m. -- Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams (FOMC non-voter) speaks on the economic outlook and monetary policy before the Town Hall Los Angeles.
4 p.m. -- Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard (FOMC voter) holds media availability in Missouri.
5 p.m. -- Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard (FOMC voter) gives welcoming remarks before the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis annual Homer Jones Memorial Lecture.
Thailand -- Benchmark interest rate.
China -- NBS non-manufacturing PMI index for March.
E17 -- "Flash" HICP for March.
7:30 a.m. -- Challenger layoffs for March.
8:30 a.m. -- Economists see initial jobless claims at 347,000 in the week ending March 30, down from 357,000 in the prior week.
8:45 a.m. -- Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans (FOMC voter) and Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart (FOMC non-voter) participate in Federal Reserve Presidents' Panel before the Redefining Investment Strategy Education (RISE) 13th Student Investment Forum hosted by the University of Dayton in Ohio.
10:30 a.m. – [Via prerecorded video]: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (FOMC voter) speaks on financial and economic education before the RISE 13th Annual Forum in Dayton, Ohio.
12:30 p.m. – Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Esther George (FOMC voter) speaks on the U.S. economy before an event hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's Oklahoma City Branch.
5 p.m. -- Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen (FOMC voter) speaks on "Communication in Monetary Policy" before the Society of American Business Editors and Writers 50th anniversary conference in Washington.
Japan -- BoJ target rate.
UK -- BoE bank rate decision and asset purchase decision.
E17 -- ECB interest rate announcement and press conference.
E17 -- ECB Executive Board Member Coeuré speaks in Paris.
E17 -- Final services PMI index for March.
E17 -- Final composite PMI index for March.
E17 – PPI for February.
8:10 a.m. -- Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren (FOMC voter) speaks on early educational attainment and economic development before the Early Childhood Summit 2013: Innovation and Opportunity hosted by the Boston Children's Museum in Boston.
8:30 a.m. -- After rebounding to $44.4 billion in January, from $38.1 billion at the end of last year, economists suspect a pickup in the cost of imported oil pushed the monthly trade deficit up further to $44.6 billion in February.
8:30 a.m. -- For the March employment report, economists look for a 200,000 increase in headline payrolls, a 209,000 increase in private payrolls, and an unchanged unemployment rate of 7.7 percent. Average weekly hours probably held steady at 34.5 and average hourly earnings likely rose by 0.2 percent.
3 p.m. – Economists look for an expansion of $16 billion in February consumer credit, with the most significant contribution coming from growth in non-revolving credit. Federal student loans have been the driving force behind this growth in non-revolving credit -- a trend that is expected to continue.
E17 -- ECB Executive Board Member Coeuré speaks to association of economic and financial journalists in Paris.
E17 – February retail sales.
Germany – February factory orders.
Singapore – Q1 GDP, advance estimate.
Sources: Central banks, European Commission, Reuters, Market News, Capital Economics, Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Nomura, Societe Generale.