While March’s consumer price index will get a lot of attention next Friday, the Bank of Canada is likely to steal the limelight with its April 18 announcement and Monetary Policy Report (MPR).
In a week-ahead report, National Bank says, “The unexpected strength of inflation in Q1 may cause some headaches at the Bank of Canada […]. While the central bank had estimated Q1 CPI to grow only 1.7% y/y, inflation is in fact heading for a 2.1% print.”
National Bank predicts the central bank will stay on the sidelines, perhaps pointing to “the latest Business Outlook Survey, which showed a below-average ratio of firms reporting that labour shortages were restricting their ability to meet demand.”
The BoC is expected to comment not only on NAFTA but also, in its MPR, “on the potential upward risk to its growth forecast on account of the fiscal stimuli announced in provincial budgets,” the report adds.
Retail sales in February, also due out next Friday, are “likely expanded for a second month in a row,” says National Bank.
CIBC discusses similar points in its week-ahead report, noting that, with rising oil prices, “Canadian inflation is set to reach its fastest pace in more than six years.” It expects manufacturing and retail sales will be “positive, but not the barnburners that may be anticipated following a lacklustre few months.”
CIBC is not expecting the BoC to raise rates next week. Despite the strong sentiment reported in the Business Outlook Survey, it points to January’s GDP decline, Q1 job losses, pipeline controversy and a housing market “going through its biggest test since 2008” as reasons to put off a rate hike.
That said, “another upside surprise on inflation come Friday would see those expectations ratcheted up again,” the report says.
U.S. and global news to watch
In the U.S., look for March industrial production, housing and retail sales data.
Globally, Japan will release trade balance and CPI news, and China will have Q1 GDP numbers.