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Home Smart Commentary Smart Look At The Week Ahead: What More Can Central Banks Do?

Smart Look At The Week Ahead: What More Can Central Banks Do?

The Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, will provide his semi-annual report before Congress over two days next week. The Fed has promised to use its “full range of tools” to pull America out of a deep recession. The lawmakers will want to know what the Fed can do after it predicted that the recovery could be slow with “well into the millions” of Americans who will not be able to get their old jobs back.

The US will also provide retail sales for May that is expected to show a near 25% decline year on year. In April, retailers experienced the sharpest decline in sales ever because of the coronavirus pandemic.

China will report unemployment numbers for May. They could show an increase on the previous month from 6% to 6.2%. Elsewnere, the rate of slowdown in retail sales could have moderated from 7.5% in April to 2.6% last month.

The Bank of Japan will announce its latest interest-rate decision. It is expected to keep the short-term rate unchanged at -0.1%. But it could continue to inject cash into the banking sector to boost lending to businesses and consumers.

The Bank of England will also announce its latest interest-rate decision. It could maintain the ley bank rate at a record low of 0.1%. But it could announce fresh monetary stimulus after two members of the rate-setting committee signalled that they were in favour of increasing the bond-buying programme.

Staying in the UK, Brexit talks continue. The Johnson government has stated that it will not extend discussions with the European Union beyond the expiry deadline of 31 December. It means that the UK could exit from the EU with a no-deal Brexit.

The UK will also announce its latest unemployment count. It could show that the unemployment rate has climbed to 4.4%.

In Malaysia, the number of people out of work is also expected to rise. In March, the unemployment rate was 3.9%. It is expected to rise to 4.2% in April.

And finally, Singapore is expected to register another positive trade balance. In April, the surplus was a healthy S$2.6 billion. The surplus for May could come in slightly lower at S$2.5 billion.

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Disclosure: David Kuo does not own any of the shares mentioned.

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