Daily Agenda: The Week Ahead, March 28 – April 1, 2016

U.S. PCE and March employment data on deck; South Korea releases industrial output data; thousands flock to Bali for yoga.

Given that central bank policy continues to dominate market sentiment, upcoming data releases in the U.S. this coming week will be a focus for investors hoping to gain some perspective on the Federal Reserve’s next policy move. Argentina leaders will take a minute to take stock of the country’s economic challenges as it readies to re-enter global debt markets after years of acrimony. Numbers out of South Korea will shed some light into the health of northeastern Asia’s supply chain.

Monday, March 28: The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis releases February personal consumption and expenditure data (PCE) for February. The health of consumer spending is a critical factor for markets and, following the disappointing retail sales data out of the Department of Commerce earlier this month, investors will look for signals that overall household consumption and income holds up as the labor market continues to improve. The closely watched PCE index is expected to indicate that inflation levels remain far from Federal Reserve targets, implying that the slower pace of rate hikes telegraphed at the most recent FOMC announcement will remain the policy course.

Tuesday, March 29: The BaliSpirit festival kicks off in the town of Ubud on the event’s namesake island in Indonesia. Experts in various disciplines for yoga and representatives from health and wellness companies convene for a weeklong celebration of serenity. According to BaliSpirit’s Web site, visitors came from some 50 countries for the 2015 iteration of the annual event, which in addition to asanas and alternative health, features vegetarian food, traditional Wayang shadow puppet theatre and performances by gamelan orchestras.

Wednesday, March 30: One week after a state visit to Argentina by U.S. President Barack Obama, the Ministerio de Hacienda y Finanzas Publicas will release the Latin American nation’s GDP data, showing how much work lies ahead as the country struggles to reemerge from its debt crisis. In addition to consistent refusals to concede to creditors, the administration of former president Cristina Kirchner also alienated the International Monetary Fund, which accused her government of publishing phony economic data. The government under newly installed President Mauricio Macri is hoping to thaw that relationship with several reforms, including an overhaul of statistical agencies.

Thursday, March 31: Because of the country’s position within Asia’s supply chain, the economy of South Korea is often referred to as the canary in the coal mine for regional growth. As such, the announcement of February industrial output by the National Statistical Office of Korea will be closely watched for signals of improvement in demand driven by stimulus in China. January factory output fell by 1.9 percent year-over-year, with negative readings for subindex components as well.

Friday, April 1: After a much better-than-forecast expansion in payrolls for February, U.S. forecasters anticipate that the March employment report from the Department of Labor will moderate somewhat with no change for the headline unemployment rate. Even with a modest slowdown in the pace of job growth however, analysts expect that the FOMC will retain a dovish bias as prices remain stubbornly low and global growth prospects are downbeat.