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Friday Wrap-Up

Friday feeling, general election for May ruled out, update on US retail sales and PPI, third test flight for Space X's Starship, and what's happening today.

Friday Feeling

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Sunak Rules out GE on 2 May

Yesterday, the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak quelled speculation over a general election being held on 2 May. Some commentators had considered that the Conservatives may look to coincide the general election with existing local elections. By law, the latest the election could be is on 28 January 2025, though Sunak has indicated that it will take place in H2 2024.

Presently, there are 59 Conservative MPs who have announced that they will stand down at the next general election. This represents the highest number of Conservative MPs to announce that they will not seek election since 1997 – when the number stood at 75. It also comes well above the 13 MPs which announced that they would not seek re-election in 2017 and 41 in 2019.

US Retail Sales and PPI

US Retail Sales came in lower than expected yesterday, rising 0.6% on a month-over-month over February, against projections of a 0.8% print. The figures followed last month’s print where retail sales sunk at their highest level in a year.

Yesterday, US PPI figures hit 0.6% on the month coming in double the market forecast and double that of last month. Given its potential impact on consumer prices, the hotter-than-expected print suggests that the Federal Reserve still face headwinds in brining inflation back down to their 2% target. Yesterday’s publication of the producer price index for February follows the consumer price index rising 10bps to 3.2%.

Starship

Space X launched the third test flight of its Starship rocket in Boca Chica on the Gulf of Mexico yesterday. With Starship being the world’s most powerful rocket, it is hoped that a rocket of this sort will one day transport humans back to the Moon and onto Mars.

With the Starship entering space, the vessel reached speeds of over 26,000kmh at altitudes exceeding 200km. However, shortly after mission control lost communication with the vessel upon re-entry, it disintegrated. Despite the ending, the latest Starship test flight is understood to have exceeded the past two tests with a number of engineering goals reached.

Today’s Data

Fresh data is a little light on the ground today, though market attention will centre on the release of the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index at 1400. Here the general market consensus is pointing to a print of 76.9, in line with last month. This follows the release of the Consumer Inflation Expectations released by Bank of England in the UK where consumers will make projections on the rate of inflation over the next 12 months.

Today’s data releases come as markets gear up for the FOMC next Wednesday at 1800 ahead of the Bank of England Monetary Policy meeting at 12 noon on Thursday. Though the market consensus is pointing to a hold from both central banks, investors are looking for further forward guidance over their respective future monetary pathways.

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