Week ahead: UK and global services PMIs, ECB and Fed minutes

Suban Abdulla
·5 min read
Waiter at a restaurant wearing a facemask and cleaning the tables during the COVID-19 pandemic - reopening of businesses concepts
The global services sector will be in the spotlight this week to see how countries' services industries have held up well, as services continues to bear the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Getty

Investors will focus on Purchasing Managers Index (PMIs) results for service sector activity from around the world, as the second quarter of the year kicks off following an eventful first three months. 

Otherwise it is a light week data-wise with the UK having an abbreviated week ahead due to a four-day Easter break. 

Central banks will be closely watched as well, with minutes from both the Federal Reserve (Fed) and the European Central Bank (ECB) last policy meetings on the slate for Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has a few things on the docket for Tuesday. 

The IMF's managing director Kristalina Georgieva, president David Malpass, and US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen are due to speak at IMF's spring meetings. It will also hold virtual press briefings on the 2021 Global Financial Stability Report and the updated World Economic Outlook. 

As ever, COVID-19 is still a market mover, with fresh lockdowns being imposed across European nations, including France and Italy which implemented a strict Easter lockdown and the continuing row of vaccine supplies.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) criticised the continent for its "unacceptably slow" inoculation programmes on Friday and said the situation in the region is now worse than it has been for several months.

Elsewhere: The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is due to announce its interest rates decision on Tuesday, China's Caixin Services PMI is also released the same day. Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga is due to meet US president Joe Biden at the White House on Friday 9 April.

Weekend developments that might interest during the week:

UK: Services and construction sector PMIs, COVID foreign travel update, Halifax House Price Index

Tables and chairs stand vacant outside a branch of Italian food chain Pizza Express on Haymarket in London, England, on March 17, 2020. Hospitality industry figures are warning of dire consequences for the sector as a result of the coronavirus crisis. London's streets and squares were noticeably quieter today than just 24 hours ago, albeit not deserted. The emptying-out follows new guidance issued yesterday for people to avoid all non-essential social contact and avoid places such as restaurants and pubs to help stem the tide of covid-19 coronavirus cases. But the British government has so far not followed the path taken by some other countries to require everyone to remain in their homes. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
With the UK economy currently in the second stage of reopening and businesses and non-essential retailers gearing up to reopen on 12 April, hopes are high for a second quarter rebound amid the UK's COVID vaccine rollout. Photo: David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Britain will have a shorter week, with financial markets closed for Easter Monday. 

But, it is expected that prime minister Boris Johnson will announce on 5 April that foreign travel will be allowed to reopen under a traffic light system once the coronavirus restrictions ease and his stance on vaccine passports. 

Although the PM has hinted that vaccine passports will "definitely" play a role in the reopening of international travel.

The majority of foreign travel in and out of the UK is currently banned, however the Global Travel Taskforce, which was due to report on potential new rules on 12 April, could now publish it as soon as this Monday.

Outside of foreign travel, PMI data will be the key economic releases of the week. March PMI figures for the UK's biggest sector, services is due on Wednesday. 

With the UK economy currently in the second stage of reopening and businesses and non-essential retailers gearing up to reopen on 12 April, hopes are high for a second quarter rebound amid the UK's COVID vaccine rollout. 

The flash PMI numbers at the end of last month saw activity in the sector rise to 56.8 from 49.5 in February. It is expected keep up the upward tick and show moderate growth, with a forecast of 56.8.

Construction PMI is on the slate for Thursday, with a forecast of 51.0, indicating a slight expansion.

Other than that, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and mortgage lender Halifax are due to publish house price survey findings for March, on Wednesday and Friday, respectively. 

The Bank of England's (BoE) quarterly bulletin is also scheduled to be published on Friday.

Key company results:

  • AA, Hilton Food (HFG.L), Saga (SAGA.L) — finals (Wednesday)

  • Asos (ASC.L) — half year (Thursday)

  • Dunelm (DNLM.L) — Q3 (Thursday)

WATCH: Vaccine passports will 'definitely' become part of international travel, PM says

Eurozone: ECB minutes, services PMIs, France and Germany industrial data

Coronavirus will once more dominate the region, which is currently battling a third COVID wave as rising infections wreak havoc across several EU nations. 

Slow coronavirus vaccine rollouts and the various lockdowns that are popping up across the EU are all likely to remain top of the list for the Eurozone this month.

While the zone has been grappling with all the issues EU indices have not let up and remained relatively robust throughout the ongoing crisis, especially Germany's DAX (^GDAXI), which has hit fresh highs several times. 

in terms of releases, there is the final zone-wide services PMIs for March on Wednesday. This is followed by German factory orders and ECB minutes on Thursday, with German and French industrial production readings due on Friday.

US: Federal Reserve minutes, weekly unemployment claims, trade data

Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell speaks during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on 'The Quarterly CARES Act Report to Congress on Capitol Hill, on December 1, 2020 in Washington,DC. (Photo by Susan Walsh / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SUSAN WALSH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell's comments at the IMF spring meetings will also be closely watched. Photo: Susan Walsh / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

A lot of attention on the Fed’s Minutes for the 16-17 March FOMC meeting, with any hints on inflation thresholds and views on the central bank’s monthly purchases, having the potential to move financial markets.

There is plenty of Fed chatter as well, with speeches from Chicago Fed’s Charles Evans, Dallas Fed’s Robert Kaplan, St Louis Fed’s Jim Bullard, Minneapolis Fed’s Neel Kashkari. 

Investors will hone in on the nature of discussions by FOMC members, to gauge where, if any, splits on the timing of a taper or rate hike are likely to come from. Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic has already suggested that the central bank may start to look at rate increases in 2023 if the data supports it. 

Meanwhile, Fed chair Jerome Powell’s comments at the IMF spring meetings will also be closely watched. 

That aside, the final services PMIs and factory orders readings are on the slate for Monday, followed by the JOLTS job openings figure on Tuesday, jobless claims on Thursday and PPI numbers on Friday.

WATCH: What is inflation and why is it important?