Author: Danny Popescu | August 16, 2021
The most important news released last week was the U.S. consumer inflation rate for July. Prices rose 5.4% higher than the previous year. The core inflation rate that excludes food and fuel rose 4.3%, which was slightly lower than June’s year-over-year increases. Categories that are closely associated with reopening, and have had large increases in previous months, have slowed their rise and in some cases retreated. Overall, the increases were in line with expectations and the slowing of price increases is excellent news.
The Federal Reserve is of the opinion that these larger than desired inflation numbers are temporary and that they would moderate quickly. It appears that the Fed has been correct, and its watch-and-wait approach to monetary policy changes has been prudent.
As a result, equity markets have responded favourably, with new highs achieved for major indices in the U.S. and Canada. Despite a small loss for the NASDAQ last week, the major indices have risen 15 to 19 percent in 2021 continuing to froth equity valuations. MSCI’s All-Country World Index (ACWI) has gained nearly 14% over the same period, which is remarkable and somewhat mind-boggling with the unevenness of economic recovery based on vaccination rates around the world.
Another positive contributor for equity markets in North America last week was the predicted increase in fiscal spending by the U.S. federal government. The Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill as a larger $3.5 Trillion package pursued by Democrats, which is causing additional negotiation and perhaps delay.
In Canada, the spending continues to accelerate by the governing Liberals. The trend could be in jeopardy if their negotiated mandate with the NDP ends following the next election.
What’s up next week and beyond?
In Canada, last week’s light calendar for economic announcements rebounds with a full slate, including June’s manufacturing sales, wholesale trade, new orders and retail sales, July’s housing starts and existing home sales.
In the U.S., after last week’s important news regarding domestic inflation, the calendar is lighter with July’s retail sales, industrial production, housing starts, and Federal Reserve meeting minutes scheduled for release.
Globally, production and inflation will dominate the news with China’s retail sales, industrial production, Japan’s real GDP, inflation, trade balance, and industrial production, and the Eurozone’s real GDP and inflation scheduled.
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