While last week’s main highlight was Part II of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony to Congress, where she reiterated the Fed’s commitment to the tapering of asset purchases, several bellwether releases are due to release this week that will provide important clues to economic headwinds ahead of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (or FOMC) meeting later this month.
Two important consumer-related indicators are due for release this week that will shed light on past, present, and future consumption trends in the economy and their impact on inflation and interest rates. The Personal Income & Outlays Report was released on Monday, March 3, by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Consumer credit figures for the month of January will be released by the US Federal Reserve on Friday, March 7.
Manufacturing and non-manufacturing expansion for the U.S. economy in February will be covered by the Institute for Supply Management’s Indices, which release on Monday and Wednesday, respectively. Light vehicle auto sales for February were released on Monday, March 3, by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Indications on the housing market were provided by the construction spending figures released on Monday, March 3, by the Census Bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce. This will be followed by the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (or MBA) Purchase Applications Index to be released on Wednesday, March 5.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to release its monthly Employment Situation report on Friday. Market participants will watch this release eagerly because unemployment remains the “most important problem” for Americans, as revealed by Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index (or ECI) survey result.
We’ll cover the above-mentioned indicators and more in this series. To read about an indicator released on Monday, move on to Part 2 of this series.