Next week should bring evidence of a US economic upturn.
Official figures should show that real GDP rose at an annualised rate of just over 4 per cent in the first quarter, despite the impact of severe winter storms. Although this would still leave economic activity below pre-pandemic levels, further growth is likely this quarter. This will be hinted at by durable goods orders, which should post a rise, and by the Conference Board’s measure of consumer confidence. It could show a second successive large rise, thanks to people receiving their stimulus cheques.
The Fed is supporting the recovery. It will repeat next week its intention to keep the fed funds rate near zero until consumer price inflation looks like staying above 2 per cent “for some time”. Such loose money is already fuelling asset price inflation. S&P is likely to say next week that house prices have risen by over 11 per cent in the last 12 months, the fastest rise for seven years.