Inflation likely remained weak
In a week shortened by the Good Friday Bank Holiday, the main focus will be on the UK consumer and producer prices reports for February due Tuesday. There are signs that cost-push pressures remained weak during the month. Even though the average price of Brent crude oil (the European benchmark) was a little higher than in January, it was still below that of February last year. Consequently, producer prices likely fell in annual terms by less than in January. At the same time, the UK’s healthy labour market should have continued to support domestic demand, with the annual rate of consumer price inflation probably rising slightly in February for the third consecutive month.
All eyes on manufacturing across the Channel
Also on Tuesday, we get a first look at the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for March in the euro zone. We’re hoping for a better performance than in February, when the PMI fell to a 12-month low and only remained in the territory associated with expansion by the skin of its teeth. Concern about the euro zone’s economic recovery recently prompted the European Central Bank to cut its main policy rate to zero, lower its deposit rate further into negative territory, and expand its asset purchase program. What happens in euro zone matters because the region's manufacturers use intermediate goods from the UK to make their final products. Also, the euro zone contains some of the main destinations for UK manufactured goods.
This week we’ll be blogging the UK CPI and PPI reports, and EEF’s pay bulletin.