Daily Agenda: The Week Ahead, May 23 – 27, 2016

Critical economic data for Japan and the U.K.; IIF holds summit in Madrid; St. Petersburg celebrates the long days of summer.

Monday, May 23: April trade data will be closely watched for any signs of further erosion of external demand caused by currency fluctuations. Japan’s Cabinet Office released surprisingly strong first-quarter GDP figures this past week. The economic mood was tempered, however, by disappointing earnings announcements from banks on the back of the Bank of Japan’s negative interest rate policy and by lowered guidance by manufacturing and automotive firms grappling with a rebounding yen.

Tuesday, May 24: The 2016 Institute of International Finance spring membership meeting in Madrid will feature an array of speakers including Banco Santander Executive Chair Ana Botín and Gurjeet Singh, CEO and co-founder of big-data analytics software producer Ayasdi. The IIF was created in 1983 after the early 1980s Latin American debt crisis prompted global financial institutions to work together more closely to manage systemic risk in credit markets.

Wednesday, May 25: Prices for front-month delivery futures contracts for West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil hit a seven-month high this past week before selling off after the Energy Information Administration revealed a decline in U.S. inventories. When the next report arrives on Wednesday, investors will look for any signal of a return to a contractionary trend that might support the rebound in oil prices that saw crude rise from a 12-year low by nearly 80 percent.

Thursday, May 26: With the Brexit vote only a month away, the U.K. National Office of Statistics releases preliminary GDP. Unemployment data for the nation released this past week showed improvement, but at a moderating pace with a slight dip in the three-month moving average for wages. Any signal that overall economic activity in the U.K. may be moderating could add fuel to the fire for those economists who regard separation from the EU as a major mistake.

Friday, May 27: St. Petersburg, Russia, located at roughly 60 degrees N latitude, welcomes the seemingly endless daylight of summer with the White Nights Festival, a celebration of art, ballet and fireworks. Among the most famous of the weeks-long festival is the Scarlet Sails, when an actual 18th-century frigate sails through the harbor to the Winter Palace in emulation of Alexander Grin’s classic children’s story of the same name. Since being reorganized into an official citywide festival in 1993, the event has inspired other cities to adopt their own version, notably Nuit Blanche in Paris.