Apr 1, 2023
Fed May Take Comfort With US Jobs Seen Showing Moderating Wages
(Bloomberg) -- The pace of US hiring in March likely continued to show firm yet moderating labor demand, just as an anticipated slowdown in wage growth may offer some comfort to Federal Reserve officials in their inflation battle.
Non-farm payrolls are seen climbing by nearly a quarter million after employers added 311,000 jobs in February, according to the median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists.
Employment growth in the world’s largest economy has exceeded expectations for 11 straight months, the longest stretch in data compiled by Bloomberg back to 1998.
While demand for workers is outstripping the supply of labor by an almost 2-to-1 margin, wage growth is showing further signs of cooling. The Good Friday jobs report is expected to show average hourly earnings increased 4.3% in March from a year ago, the smallest annual advance since July 2021.
The March jobs report will be the last before Fed policymakers gather May 2-3 to decide whether to keep raising their benchmark interest rate. While underlying inflationary pressures remain elevated, central bankers are also taking into account the cumulative effect on credit conditions of their year-long rate-hiking campaign. Even before the recent failures of several banks, lenders were tightening loan standards.
What Bloomberg Economics Says:
“Ultimately, labor supply and demand are coming into better balance, but rather slowly. A persistently tight labor market will limit the severity of the recession we expect in the second half of this year. It may also slow the Fed’s responsiveness to negative GDP prints, despite what’s currently implied by fed funds futures and OIS pricing.”
—Anna Wong, Stuart Paul, Eliza Winger and Jonathan Church, economists. For full analysis, click here
The monthly jobs report is also expected to show the jobless rate held close to historically low levels. Other US data on the agenda include February job openings and March purchasing managers surveys in manufacturing and services.
Fed Governor Lisa Cook and regional Fed bank presidents Loretta Mester and James Bullard are among the central bankers speaking in the coming week.
Further north, the Bank of Canada will release two closely watched surveys of business and consumer sentiment, along with a fresh batch of labor-market data to inform trader bets for the central bank’s April 12 rate decision.
And further afield, the Bank of Japan will get a new governor, while central banks from India to New Zealand may hike rates while peers in Chile and Poland probably keep borrowing costs on hold. Australia’s policy decision hangs in the balance.
Click here for what happened last week and below is our wrap of what’s coming up in the global economy.
Haruhiko Kuroda closes out his decade helming the Bank of Japan at the end of the week, handing over the reins to academic Kazuo Ueda.
On the data side, Japan’s latest Tankan figures are set to show strengthening domestic demand in the service sector, while manufacturers slow down. Wage data hold the key to the future of monetary policy by the central bank. On Friday, officials expanded the range of planned bond purchases next quarter, allowing the possibility to dial back buying.
In South Korea, inflation figures are expected to show a further deceleration, backing views that the BOK will remain in a holding pattern on rates for now.
Rates are also likely to be on hold in Sri Lanka as inflation pressures ease a little, while Pakistan may be set for another increase in benchmark rates as prices continue to rise thanks to slew of IMF-mandated reforms ranging from tax increases to petrol subsidy cuts.
India is likely to press on with its tightening cycle with another 25 basis point hike as the Reserve Bank of India keeps fighting core inflation as a priority.
It’s a line-ball call for the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Tuesday meeting, with a slight majority of economists expecting a pause to the tightening campaign Down Under. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand, meanwhile, meets Wednesday and is expected to deliver another hike.
- For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Asia
Europe, Middle East, Africa
The news flow will be a bit quieter in a week shortened across much of the region by the Easter holiday starting on Friday.
For the European Central Bank, that means fewer speaking events. Scheduled appearances include those of Chief Economist Philip Lane and governors from Croatia, Lithuania and Slovenia. There reactions to a new euro-era record in underlying inflation will be watched.
Key data in the euro zone in the coming week include Germany’s export, factory orders, and industrial production reports for February — released one day after the other, starting on Tuesday. Each may provide clues on the strength of growth during a quarter whose outcome will determine whether Europe’s biggest economy succumbed to a recession.
Final manufacturing purchasing manager indexes for the region will be published on Monday, completed with gauges of factory activity in Italy and Spain.
The same day, Switzerland may offer some of the most consequential hard data of the week, inflation for March. Despite concurrently fighting a banking crisis, the Swiss National Bank’s alarm on prospects for consumer prices prompted officials to raise their rate by a half point last month.
In the UK, aside from the final iteration of its PMI survey, policymaker comments will be the highlight. Bank of England chief economist Huw Pill speaks in Geneva on Tuesday. The same day, his colleague Silvana Tenreyro will feature at a conference in Glasgow, with a second appearance at the same event on Wednesday.
Turning east, three central-bank decisions are due. On Tuesday, Romania will probably keep its rate unchanged at 7% as it waits to see if inflation drops.
The next day, Polish policymakers may also keep borrowing costs on hold, with governor Adam Glapinski facing pressure from the IMF to refrain from signaling cuts.
Serbia’s central bank may deliver another rate hike on Thursday, extending an already steep tightening cycle. Inflation there shows no sign of decelerating.
Looking south, Israel on Monday may once more extend its longest monetary tightening cycle in decades. The latest inflation projections still show price rises expected to remain outside the central bank’s target range.
Israel’s top central banker has also waded into the fraught debate over planned judicial changes by criticizing the government, and further comments during his post-rates news conference may stoke friction.
In Africa on Tuesday, Lesotho’s monetary authority, whose currency is pegged to neighboring South Africa’s rand, might match the decision by that country’s central bank to raise rates by 50 basis points.
And on Thursday, Uganda’s monetary policy committee will likely hold its key rate at 10% as inflation is forecast to continue easing toward the medium-term target of 5%.
- For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for EMEA
On the monetary policy front, Banco Central de Chile is all but certain to keep its key rate at a record 11.25% for a third straight meeting with the economy past peak inflation and disinflation under way.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect Chile’s policymakers to begin cutting rates in the quarter that’s just begun, becoming the first central bank of the region’s big five to do so.
After posting monthly deflation in February for the first time since 2020, Chilean inflation in March may have decelerated for a sixth month out of the past seven to come in just above 11%, down from 14.1% in August.
In a quiet week for Mexico, the March consumer price report takes center stage and may print below 7% for the first time since late 2021. While still more than twice the 3% target it could possibly — April readings permitting — entice Banxico into a rate hold come May.
Colombia watchers will be eager to pore over the minutes of the central bank’s March meeting for any added nuance to officials’ data-dependent stance.
Meanwhile, consumer price data may make a prophet of Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo, who last month said inflation peaked in February.
Disinflation here would mean all five of Latin America’s big central banks have consumer prices in retreat, although getting back to target may prove to be a very painfully slow process.
- For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Latin America
--With assistance from Malcolm Scott, Paul Richardson, Robert Jameson, Michael Winfrey and Stephen Wicary.
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