Week Ahead (28 March)
Monday, 28 March - Chancellor Rishi Sunak to appear before Treasury Committee to discuss his Spring Statement
Later today, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will appear before the Treasury Committee to discuss his Spring Statement which has been widely criticised with many commentators of the view that it has effectively ended Sunak’s chance of becoming Prime Minister.
In the wake of the statement, the current Prime Minister admitted the UK government needs “to do more” to tackle the cost of living crunch. Sunak’s decision not to increase benefits has seen renewed emphasis on his own personal wealth and that of his wife. The latter’s 0.91% stake in Infosys, the Indian IT company founded by her father that has kept its office in Moscow despite the invasion of Ukraine, has led to claims that his family is doing business with Russia when most of the civilised world is pulling back. Sunak will hope to use today’s hearing as an attempt to repair some of the damage.
Wednesday, 30 March - CSO Crops and Livestock Survey to be released
The publication of the CSO Crops and Livestock Survey for June 2021 is set for 30 March. The survey will be watched with particular interest this year, following the announcement of an intervention package for the tillage sector by the Irish government. The package amounts to €12 million and aims to provide support for Irish farmers to increase crop production. This package comes in response to rising uncertainty over grain supply as the war in Ukraine - a major grain producer - unfolds.
Friday, 1 April – Eurostat to release flash estimate for Eurozone inflation
Eurostat will release its latest flash estimate for Eurozone inflation in March on Friday. Final figures for February, released on 17 March, show that inflation in the Eurozone hit 5.9% during the month, an increase of 0.8 percentage points on January’s results. In the EU as a whole, inflation was measured at 6.2% in February, up 0.6 percentage points from the 5.6% recorded a month earlier.
The ECB adjusted its inflation forecast earlier in March, and now expects headline inflation to average at 5.1% for the year, before falling to 2.1% in 2023 and below its target to 1.9% in 2024. Despite the war in Ukraine, and the knock-on effects for the Eurozone economy, several members of the Governing Council have indicated in recent weeks that the ECB will not be deterred from combatting inflation.
Friday, 1 April – Latest Eurozone manufacturing PMI to be released
On Friday, IHS Markit will release its PMI manufacturing indicator, based on a survey of around 5,000 manufacturing and services firms across the eurozone. The last survey, released on 24 February, was too early to incorporate the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the consequent impact on the Eurozone economy. The European Commission’s consumer confidence index, released on Wednesday, showed the second largest monthly drop on record amid concerns of high inflation and the Russian invasion.