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Week ahead: RBNZ rate, US economic indicators eyed

February 26, 2024

As we approach the end of February 2024, the financial world turns its focus towards a series of crucial economic updates slated for release. These reports, spanning from Japan’s inflation rates to the ISM Manufacturing PMI in the United States, are poised to provide fresh insights into the global economic landscape. Among these, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s rate statement stands out as a particularly significant event. Here’s what to expect in the week ahead:

February 27, 2024: Japan’s inflation rate 

The annual inflation rate in Japan has seen a decrease, landing at 2.6% in December 2023, down from 2.8% the previous month. This marks the lowest inflation rate since July 2022. Analysts are now eyeing a further drop to 2.1% for January 2024, with the data expected to be unveiled on 27 February. This anticipated decrease could signal easing inflationary pressures within the Japanese economy, offering a glimpse into the country’s current economic health.

February 27, 2024: US durable goods orders

In the United States, new orders for manufactured durable goods showed no significant change in December 2023, a stark contrast to the 5.5% rise observed in November. The forecast for January 2024 is less optimistic, with analysts predicting a 4.5% decline. Set to be released on 27 February, this data could reflect the changing dynamics in U.S. manufacturing and consumer confidence.

February 28, 2024: Australia’s CPI 

Australia’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key indicator of inflation, increased by 3.4% in the year to December 2023, a slowdown from the 4.3% climb seen in November. Projections suggest a slight easing to 3.2% for January 2024, with the figures due on 28 February. A moderation in CPI growth may indicate that inflationary pressures are beginning to stabilise in Australia.

February 28, 2024: Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s rate decision

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) previously held its official cash rate (OCR) steady at 5.5% during its November meeting. This pause, consistent for the fourth consecutive time, met market expectations. Analysts widely anticipate that the RBNZ will maintain the OCR at 5.5% in its upcoming 28 February meeting. The decision is keenly awaited, as it could signal the central bank’s outlook on New Zealand’s economic conditions and inflationary trends.

February 29, 2024: Canada’s GDP 

Canada’s GDP growth for November exceeded expectations, registering a 0.2% increase. This improvement followed three months of stagnant growth. The forecast for December 2023 points to a further rise of 0.3%, with the announcement scheduled for 29 February. A consecutive growth increment would signify a strengthening in the Canadian economy’s recovery momentum.

February 29, 2024: US core PCE price index

The core PCE price index in the US, an important measure of inflation that excludes food and energy costs, experienced a slight uptick of 0.2% in December 2023. Analysts are now expecting a more pronounced increase of 0.4% for January 2024, with data due on 29 February. This anticipated growth could reflect persisting inflationary pressures within the core sectors of the U.S. economy.

March 1, 2024: US ISM manufacturing PMI

The ISM Manufacturing PMI in the United States showed signs of improvement in January 2024, reaching 49.1 from 47.1 in December, marking the highest level since October 2022. The forecast for February remains optimistic, with analysts predicting the index to hold at 49.1. The upcoming release on 1 March will be closely watched as an indicator of the health and direction of the U.S. manufacturing sector.