The April FOMC gathering headlines a crowded economic events calendar this week. The post-meeting statement, released Wednesday afternoon, should continue to strike a cautious tone. There will be no press conference and updated economic and financial forecasts will not be released.
One reason the Fed is expected to be cautious is Q1 real GDP, which is the second-most important event this week. While policymakers will not have the data when their meeting ends on Wednesday—the figures are released on Thursday—expectations will be for a soft print. Consensus is looking at a 0.6% (six tenths of a percent) growth .
However, expectations of advance Q1 GDP could change based on the March data for durable goods orders, released on Tuesday, and the advance international goods trade balance, released on Wednesday.
On Friday, we get the March personal income and consumption data, which will provide more details on the quarterly profile of consumer spending, as well as the latest reading on core PCE inflation.
Finally, in terms of the factory sector, we get the April Chicago purchasing managers’ index on Friday as well. The very soft April Philadelphia Fed survey increases the chances of a weak Chicago report. If this turns out to be the case, then the manufacturing ISM survey, which is released on May 2 is likely to fall back below 50.