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Week Ahead (22 August)

Monday, 22 August – CSO to release Irish Wholesale Price Index

The latest Irish wholesale price index data will be released today, showing the prices of industrial products manufactured in Ireland through July. The previous release indicated that overall construction material prices increased by 2.4% in the between May and June, and by 18.5% for the first six months of the year. Further increases in the cost of construction materials may deal a blow to the government’s hopes of meeting its housebuilding targets for the year. Housebuilding is a politically sensitive issue in Ireland; Sinn Féin, the leading opposition party, has focused strongly on the government’s failure to increase supply and make housing more affordable for citizens. Initiatives are expected to be announced in the annual budget, scheduled for 25 September, aimed at increasing the supply of rental accommodation in particular.

Tuesday, 23 August - Eurozone Flash Composite PMI to be released

The latest Eurozone flash composite purchasing managers index data will be released on Tuesday, showing the state of the services and manufacturing sectors through August. Eurozone output declined in July for the first time since February 2021 when a reading of 49.9 was recorded. As a reminder, a reading below 50 indicates contraction while a reading above 50 indicates growth.

Manufacturing in particular was noted as a drag on the European economy through July as production continued to fall, while services continued to grow, albeit at the slowest pace recorded since the Omicron wave of Covid-19 at the beginning of 2022.

Thursday, 25 August - ECB to release minutes of July meeting

The European Central Bank will release the minutes of its July meeting on Thursday, which will indicate the level of support for the governing council’s decision to increase interest rates by 50 basis points.

Since the July meeting several members of the governing council have indicated that the ECB is likely to again increase interest rates at its September meeting as inflation has shown no signs of slowing down. Isabel Schnabel, the German member of the ECB’s executive board and the head of its market operations, said last week that July’s issues had not gone away and that a second 50 basis point interest rate hike could be on the cards. Her comments indicating that prices could rise further caused Eurozone government bonds to rise on Thursday. Martins Kazaks, the Latvian central banker, has also said that he expects the ECB to continue to hike interest rates in circumstances where the inflation rate in some Eurozone member states – namely Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – is well above 20%.

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