Hot China Inflation Lead to More Tightening, UK CPI Next
Chinese inflation and retail sales rise again in May provoking further tightening concerns, BoJ leaves rates unchanged, UK CPI and RPI in focus as MPC member Weale calls for a rate rise. PBOC raised the reserve rate ratio by 50 bps to a new high of 21.5%.
The next move in central bank interest rate policy in China and the UK is the centre of attention today as the likelihood of further tightening measures in China increased in the near term, after May CPI data showed another rise in inflation from 5.3% in April to 5.5%. Chinese retail sales also showed no sign of abating, despite recent tightening steps, rising year to date from 16.5% in April to 16.6%, while growing year on year to 16.9%. Producer prices also remained high rising 6.8% against expectations of a rise of 6.5%.
With those numbers, it was no surprise from the Peoples Bank of China were to have taken further steps to tighten monetary policy further as it raised its RRR by 50 bps to 21.5%.
The Bank of Japan left interest rates at record lows as the Japanese economy continues to grapple with the after effects of the earthquake earlier this year, but the bank did announce measures to lend more, expanding its special lending facility to promote economic growth and weaken the yen.
Concerns about rising prices are not just confined to the Asian economies with UK INFLATION TAKING CENTRE STAGE later this morning with May CPI expected to remain unchanged from Aprils 4.5% level, but still well above the Bank of England's 2% target. This consistently high level of inflation prompted MPC member Martin Weale last night to suggest that interest rates may have to rise irrespective of whether the economy continues to grow, due to the risk that inflation expectations may become entrenched.
Meanwhile still rumbling away in the back ground the single currency shrugged off the decision by S&P to cut Greece three notches to worlds lowest credit rating at CCC with a negative outlook. The euro will continue to remain susceptible to further weakness as ECB officials and EU politicians continue to wrangle about how best to deal with the question of how to deal with a Greek default. Meanwhile peripheral bond yields continue to blow out with Portuguese 10 year yields hitting their highest ever post euro level, at 10.7%.
Later today. US retail sales for May could give further clues as to the health of the US consumer in the face of rising food and gasoline prices.
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