Crypto Catalysts: Investors to Weigh Jobs, Retail Sales, Production Data for Latest Inflation Signals

The jobs market remains strong, a concern for the U.S. central bank which seems intent on raising the Federal Funds rate 25 basis points.

AccessTimeIconJul 17, 2023 at 8:09 p.m. UTC

Crypto investors will be eyeing a flurry of U.S.  jobs, housing and other macroeconomic data this week for signs of their dream scenario: that inflation is waning without casting the economy into a steep recession.

To be sure, even a continuation of recent encouraging signs, including last Wednesday’s slightly more than expected drop in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), is unlikely to stir the U.S. central bank from its plan to raise the interest rate by 25 basis points (bps). The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) begins its next two–day policy meeting, during which it will come to a rate decision, on July 25.

The FedWatch tool, which gauges sentiment about interest rate decisions, has risen above 97%, up slightly from its already lofty perch in recent weeks, and multiple bank officials have maintained that inflation remains a threat to the economy, even after halting rate increases last month. Monetary hawkishness has tended to weigh on crypto prices, raising investor angst about central bank overstep.

Last week’s 3.1% reading, which continued a downward trend, left crypto markets largely unmoved (a partly favorable court decision about Ripple’s XRP had a greater impact), as did the following day’s mildly encouraging Producer Price Index (PPI) for June and a few faint signs earlier this month that the job market is cooling.

This week will include retail, industrial productivity and home sales, along with the usual weekly jobless claims.

Retail Sales, Industrial Production

On Tuesday, the U.S. Commerce Department releases June retail sales, with consensus for a 0.5% rise, up from last May’s 0.3% reading, which beat expectations. Continued growth suggests that consumers are continuing to spend on household and other goods, a sign of the sort of economic expansion that leads to higher prices.

The same day, the Fed releases Industrial Production figures that will offer an additional snapshot of economic growth in May. Industrial Production ticked down 0.2% in May after rising the previous two months.

Jobless Claims

On Thursday, the Labor Department will release weekly jobless claims. Expectations are for 240,000 unemployment claims, up from last week’s 237,000 total. The number of claims has recently been hovering comfortably above 200,000 even as observers of the unemployment market look for more sizeable increases that would indicate a cooling of the hot job market.

Existing Home Sales

Also on Thursday, the National Association of Realtors, a trade group, publishes its June report on existing home sales with expectations for the market to continue slowing. A robust housing market has contributed to inflationary pressure. In May, existing home sales inched up 0.2% but were off 20% from the previous year, same month, while the median sale price of $396,100 was down 3.1%.

Bank Earnings

The earnings season for big banks started largely favorably last week with JPMorgan Chase net income and revenue surging 67% and 34%, respectively. This week, Bank of America (BAC), Morgan Stanley (MS), Charles Schwab (SCHW), PNC Financial Services (PNC), and Bank of New York Mellon (BK) will report on Tuesday, while Goldman Sachs (GS) will report the following day.

Edited by James Rubin.


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James Rubin

James Rubin was CoinDesk's U.S. news editor based on the West Coast.

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