The European Central Bank made purchases under the emergency program of assistance to the economy for 14 billion euros against 11.9 billion a week earlier. ECB President Christine Lagarde warned that the data will not show much growth, as the decision to increase the volume of purchases of securities was made on Thursday, and the indicators capture only Friday. Following the meeting, the ECB pledged to significantly increase purchases during the quarter. The designated target was in the range of 60 and 100 billion euros. The following data will be more important, as it will show the pace of purchases for the week as a whole.
Today, the US will publish the volume of retail sales in the US in February. Wells Fargo analysts forecast a 0.1% decline, while the market consensus forecast suggests a 0.5% decline. In January, sales increased by 5.3% year-on-year.
The slight pullback in the February retail sales data is due to an increase in spending in the previous month. Direct payments from the budget support package to consumers led in January to the strongest sales growth since June in the retail sector, so a small correction is quite natural. If consumption turns out to be better than expected in February, then the optimism of an improved economic background with further stimulus will support consumption. A worse indicator would suggest a more substantial pullback from the January spending increase. As a result, after the adoption of another round of budget incentives (direct payments to households, and 2 times more than the previous ones), the volume of retail sales in the United States is expected to increase in a few months.