China’s trade and inflation data this week will likely signal that the economy’s recovery remains fragile, keeping pressure on policymakers to roll out more stimulus.
Thursday’s trade report is expected to show exports and imports contracted again in August from a year earlier, although at a milder pace than in July, according to the median estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists.
Deflation may also have eased, with figures due Sept. 9 probably showing an increase in consumer prices, according to state media.
Economists warn that China’s growth outlook remains far from certain despite the likely improvement in the data.
Global demand for Chinese goods is still weak, as reflected by the depressed level of manufacturing gauges in the country’s main export markets. And an ongoing slump in the property market is curbing China’s import demand for building materials.
Beijing has taken more concerted steps in recent days to shore up the ailing housing market, while also stepping up its defense of the currency and expanding some tax breaks to households. It may take some time for those policy measures to show up in the economic data, though.
What Bloomberg Economics Says:
“The mortgage rate cuts announced by China’s regulators are bigger than we previously envisaged, and are well designed to stimulate consumption while avoiding inflating more property bubbles.”
—Chang Shu and David Qu.
Economists have downgraded growth forecasts for the year closer to Beijing’s target of about 5%, while also lowering their expectations for inflation.
Purchasing managers’ surveys for August showed a pickup in manufacturers’ input and output prices, suggesting an easing in producer-price deflation. Rising food prices and stronger spending on services such as travel and eating out also probably helped to lift consumer inflation in August, according to economists at Citigroup Inc.
Elsewhere, testimony by UK policymakers and key pre-decision speeches by euro-zone and US officials will punctuate the week.
Central banks in Canada, Australia, Malaysia and Israel may keep rates on hold, while officials in Poland and Chile are likely to cut them.