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How to Start the Week: Analytics and Forecasts


2 August 2021

US consumer spending rose more than expected in June as vaccinations against COVID-19 boosted demand for travel-related services and recreation, but part of the increase reflected higher prices, with annual inflation accelerating further above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, rebounded 1.0% last month after dipping 0.1% in May, the Commerce Department said on Friday. Eurozone inflation rose faster than expected this month, moving decisively past the European Central Bank’s 2% target with much of this year’s surge still to come. Inflation in the 19 countries sharing the euro accelerated to 2.2% in July from 1.9% a month ago, easily beating analysts’ expectations for 2% as energy prices continued to surge, data from Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency showed on Friday.

Eurozone economic sentiment hit a record high in July, estimates from the European Commission showed on Thursday, but a drop in optimism among consumers and the slower rate of increase may signal the peak is fast approaching. The EU executive said its monthly survey that sentiment in the 19-country single-currency bloc rose to 119.0 points in July, a record since data began to be collected in 1985, from 117.9 in June, which was already a 21-year high.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s belief that the US economy has “learned to handle” the coronavirus and won’t be swamped in a fresh wave of infections or by rising inflation may get tested in coming weeks as schools reopen, supply chains remain clogged, and federal unemployment benefits wane. Data released on Thursday showed the risk ahead as the country navigates the transition from an economy dependent for the last year on federal government benefits to one where those emergency programs expire and private incomes take over.

US labor costs increased solidly in the second quarter as companies raised wages and benefits to attract workers, supporting views that high inflation could persist beyond this year amid supply constraints. The Employment Cost Index, the broadest measure of labor costs, rose 0.7% last quarter after gaining 0.9% in the January-March period, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Fundamental breakdown

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