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The week ahead: 5 things to watch on the economic calendar

5 things to watch on the economic calendar in the week ahead

Investing.com - Global financial markets will focus on the annual meeting of top central bankers and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the heads of the U.S. and European central banks will be making keynote speeches.

Traders will also keep an eye out on U.S. housing data to gauge the strength of the world's largest economy and how it will impact the Federal Reserve's view on monetary policy.

Meanwhile, in Europe, market players will eye flash survey data on euro zone business activity to gauge the strength of the region's economy and how it will impact the timing of when the European Central Bank will start unwinding its asset purchase program.

In the U.K., investors will be looking ahead to a second reading on British growth data for further hints on the health of the economy and the likelihood of the Bank of England raising interest rates this year.

Elsewhere, Japanese inflation data will also be in focus as investors assess the need for further stimulus in the world's third's largest economy.

Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of the five biggest events on the economic calendar that are most likely to affect the markets.

1. Jackson Hole summit

An annual meeting of top central bankers and economists hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is set to take place from Thursday to Saturday, with keynote speeches from Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi in the spotlight.

Their comments will be closely watched for fresh policy signals from the world’s two most powerful central banks.

Fed chair Yellen will speak on the topic of financial stability at 10:00AM ET (1400GMT) Friday. With minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's latest deliberations showing concern about soft inflation, she is not likely to give new guidance on policy.

Later in the day, ECB chief Draghi will deliver remarks at 3:00PM ET (1900GMT). While market expectations had been previously high that Draghi would use his address to signal ECB tapering in the autumn, reports last week suggest he will not be making major policy announcements.

2. U.S. housing data

The Commerce Department is to publish a report on new home sales for July at 10:00AM ET (1400GMT) on Wednesday. The data is expected to show an increase of 0.5% to 610,000, following a gain of 0.8% in June.

On Thursday, the National Association of Realtors is to release data on existing home sales for July at 10AM ET (1400GMT), amid forecasts for an increase of 0.9% to 5.57 million, following a slump of 1.8% a month earlier.

Besides the housing-related data, this week's rather light calendar also features reports on durable goods orders, initial jobless claims and flash Markit manufacturing and service sector activity surveys.

Markets remain skeptical the Fed will raise rates a third time this year due to worries over the subdued inflation outlook, but it is widely expected to start the process of reducing its balance sheet by September.

Investors are likely to continue to fret over the latest headlines coming out of Washington after political developments shook the market last week.

The deepening turmoil surrounding President Donald Trump's administration intensified doubts that he would be able to follow through on his campaign promises for tax cuts, deregulation and fiscal stimulus.

3. Flash euro zone PMIs

The euro zone is to publish preliminary data on manufacturing and service sector activity for August at 0800GMT (4:00AM ET) on Wednesday, amid expectations for a modest decline.

Ahead of the euro zone PMI's, France and Germany will release their own PMI reports at 0700GMT and 0730GMT respectively.

In addition to the PMI data, there are also a pair of surveys on German business morale from both the IFO and ZEW institutes.

The ECB kept borrowing costs at record lows and called for patience and persistence in getting inflation back up to its target earlier this month, with policymakers adding that discussions on the future of the bank’s asset purchase program would take place in the fall.

4. U.K. Q2 GDP - second estimate

The Office for National Statistics is to produce a second estimate on U.K. economic growth for the second quarter at 0830GMT (4:30AM ET) on Thursday.

The report is forecast to confirm the economy grew 0.3% in the three months ended June 30, underlining worries that Britain's economy is slowing just as it prepares to start negotiations to leave the European Union.

On a year-over-year basis, the economy is forecast to grow by 1.7%, also unchanged from an initial estimate.

The second reading will include a breakdown of business investment growth.

Some BOE policymakers have started to call for higher interest rates in the months ahead due to the recent surge in inflation, which was caused largely by the plunge in sterling following last year's Brexit vote.

5. Japan inflation data

Japan's Statistics Bureau will publish July inflation figures at 23:30GMT Thursday (7:30PM ET). Market analysts expect the headline figure to remain positive, rising 0.5% year-on-year, which would be the seventh straight month of annual increases.

But the modest year-on-year increase will be well off the Bank of Japan's target and keep the central bank under pressure to maintain its massive monetary stimulus.

The BoJ last month pushed back the timing for achieving its 2% inflation target, reinforcing expectations that it will lag other central banks in tightening monetary policy.

Stay up-to-date on all of this week's economic events by visiting: http://www.investing.com/economic-calendar/

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