The Week Ahead: 5 Things To Watch On The Economic Calendar

Global financial markets will focus on a key batch of U.S. economic data in the week ahead, with Thursday's inflation report in the spotlight, for further clues on the timing of the next Federal Reserve rate hike.

Market players will also focus on a monetary policy decision from the Bank of England amid recent calls from policymakers for higher interest rates in the months ahead.

A monetary policy announcement from the Swiss National Bank will also be in focus.

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

Meanwhile, Australia is to publish the closely-watched employment report as investors seek further hints on wage growth and the course of inflation.

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

1. U.S. inflation data

The Commerce Department will publish inflation figures for August at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT) on Thursday. Market analysts expect consumer prices to ease up 0.3%, while core inflation is forecast to rise 0.2%.

On a yearly base, core CPI is projected to climb 1.6%. Core prices are viewed by the Federal Reserve as a better gauge of longer-term inflationary pressure because they exclude the volatile food and energy categories. The central bank usually tries to aim for 2% core inflation or less.

Markets remain skeptical the Fed will raise rates again before the end of this year due to worries over the subdued inflation outlook, but it is widely expected to start the process of reducing its balance sheet some time this fall.

Besides the inflation data, this week's data-heavy calendar also features reports on retail sales, producer prices, and weekly jobless claims, as well as industrial output, JOLTS job openings and preliminary Michigan consumer sentiment. A survey on manufacturing conditions in the New York region is also on the agenda.

Investors are also likely to continue to monitor the latest headlines coming out of Washington in regards to tax reform. Worries over the impact of Hurricane Irma on economic growth and ongoing tension between the U.S. and North Korea will also be in focus.

2. Bank of England policy announcement

The Bank of England will announce its rate decision at 1100 GMT (7:00 AM ET) on Thursday. Most economists expect the central bank to keep rates at their record low as a struggling economy and Brexit fears offset any concerns over inflation sailing well above target.

Some BOE policymakers have started to call for higher interest rates in the months ahead due to the recent surge in inflation, which was caused largely by the plunge in sterling following last year's Brexit vote.

But a recent run of weak data and deep uncertainty about the impact of Brexit on the economy have cooled the speculation that the BOE is poised to start removing its crisis-level stimulus.

Besides the BOE, traders will focus on monthly inflation and employment reports for further indications on the continued effect that the Brexit decision is having on the economy.

3. SNB policy assessment

The Swiss National Bank's quarterly monetary policy assessment is due on Thursday at 0730 GMT (3:30 AM ET). Most economists expect the central bank's benchmark interest rate to remain unchanged at -0.75%.

The SNB is also expected to stick to its commitment to foreign currency interventions if necessary, in order to reduce demand for the franc.

SNB Chairman Thomas Jordan recently repeated that the Swiss franc remains "significantly overvalued."

4. China industrial output

China is to release August industrial production figures at around 0200 GMT on Thursday, amid expectations for an increase of 6.6%, compared to a gain of 6.4% in July.

At the same time, the Asian nation will publish reports on August 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.

5. Australia employment report

Australia is to produce August employment data at 0130 GMT on Thursday.

The consensus forecast is that the data will show jobs growth of 19,200 last month, following an increase of 27,900 in July, with the unemployment rate forecast to hold steady at 5.6%.

The Reserve Bank of Australia kept interest rates unchanged at a record low of 1.5% for the 12th straight meeting earlier this month and maintained its neutral policy stance, as it balances the risk of fueling further borrowing in the country's red-hot property market against tepid inflation.

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