The week ahead: 5 things to watch on the economic calendar

The week ahead: 5 things to watch on the economic calendar  | Aug 13, 2017 04:24AM ET

5 things to watch on the economic calendar in the week ahead - Global financial markets will focus on minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting in the week ahead, as investors look for more hints on the timing of the next U.S. rate hike and clues on how the central bank plans to pare back its balance sheet.

Market players will also keep an eye on key U.S. economic data, with the monthly retail sales report in the spotlight.

In the U.K., market participants will be looking ahead to data on consumer price inflation for further indications on the continued effect that the Brexit decision is having on the economy.

Meanwhile, in the euro zone, Germany will publish preliminary data on second-quarter economic growth for further hints on the strength of the region's economy.

Elsewhere, China is to release monthly industrial production data amid recent signs that momentum in the world's second largest economy remains strong.

Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of the five biggest events on the economic calendar that are most likely to affect the markets.

1. Fed FOMC meeting minutes

The Federal Reserve will release minutes of its most recent policy meeting on Wednesday at 2:00PM ET (1800GMT).

The Fed left interest rates unchanged as widely expected following its meeting on July 26 and said it expected to start shrinking its massive holdings of bonds "relatively soon".

The central bank also noted weakness in U.S. inflation more explicitly than before. The recognition of soft inflation added to expectations that the Fed's plan to raise interest rates a third time this year might be delayed.

Futures traders are pricing in about a 35% chance of another rate hike by December, according to’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.

2. U.S. retail sales

The Commerce Department will publish data on July retail sales at 8:30AM ET (1230GMT) Tuesday. The consensus forecast is that the report will show retail sales rose 0.4% last month, after dipping 0.2% in the preceding month.

Core sales are forecast to inch up 0.3%, following a decline of 0.2% in June.

Rising retail sales over time correlate with stronger economic growth, while weaker sales signal a declining economy. Consumer spending accounts for as much as 70% of U.S. economic growth.

Besides retail sales, this week's calendar also features data on housing starts, building permits, industrial production and preliminary Michigan consumer sentiment. Surveys on manufacturing conditions in the Philadelphia and New York regions are also on the agenda.

In the stock market, chain store retailers such as Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Target (NYSE:TGT), Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and TJX (NYSE:TJX) report results, as do a number of smaller chain stores, in what will be the last busy week of earnings season.

Focus will also be on North Korea-related headlines coming out of the White House. The investigation into President Donald Trump campaign's ties to Russia will remain on the agenda.

3. U.K. inflation figures

The U.K. Office for National Statistics will release data on consumer price inflation for July at 0830GMT (4:30AM ET) on Tuesday. Analysts expect annual CPI to rise 2.7% from 2.6% a month earlier.

Besides the inflation report, traders will focus on monthly unemployment and retail sales data for further hints on the strength of the economy.

The Bank of England cut its forecasts for growth and wages earlier this month, and appeared in no rush to raise interest rates, as it warned that Brexit was weighing on the economy.

4. German Q2 GDP

Germany will publish a preliminary report on second-quarter economic growth at 0600GMT (2:00AM ET) on Tuesday. The euro zone's largest economy is forecast to expand 0.7% in the April-June period, compared to growth of 0.6% in the preceding quarter.

The euro zone will release revised second-quarter growth data on Wednesday at 0900GMT (05:00AM ET). An initial estimate published earlier this month showed that the region's economy grew 0.6% in the three months ended June 30, accelerating from growth of 0.5% in the first-quarter.

5. China industrial output

China is to release July industrial production figures at around 0200GMT on Monday, amid expectations for an increase of 7.2%, compared to a gain of 7.6% in June.

At the same time, the Asian nation will publish reports on July fixed asset investment and retail sales.

China's economy grew a faster-than-expected 6.9% in the second quarter, matching the first quarter's pace, supported by solid exports, industrial production and consumption.

Stay up-to-date on all of this week's economic events by visiting:

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