It could be another week of dire economic numbers as the pandemic inflicts more damage on countries around the world.
Retail sales in the US could have slumped by as much as 16% in April. It would the second month of declines following a 5.8% drop in March, which was the biggest decline since September 2009.
On Wednesday, Fed Chair, Jerome Powell will speak at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Listeners will be keen to hear his views on the elevated level of unemployment and how long it could take for the economy to return to previous levels before the crisis.
China could say that the its unemployment rate rose to a record high of 6.3% in April. Experts have been sceptical of the country’s unemployment data. But China points out that people who can comfortably live on “piecemeal income” are not considered unemployed!
The world’s second-largest economy will also report retail sales for April that could show a slowdown in the rate of decline to 9.3%. In February they dropped 15.8%, following a 20.5% decline in January and February.
Japan will release its preliminary reading for economic growth in the first quarter. It is expected to show a contraction of around 10%, compared to a shrinkage of 7.1% in the fourth quarter to 2019.
Malaysia will also release GDP for the first quarter, which is forecast to show a contraction of 2%. In the final quarter of 2019, the economy grew 3.6%, which was the slowest growth rate since the third quarter of 2009.
On the results front, there are numbers from a host of blue chips that include UOL Group (SGX: U14), ST Engineering (SGX: S63), City Developments (SGX: C09), ComfortDelGro (SGX: C52), Singtel (SGX: Z74), Genting Singapore (SGX: G14) and Sembcorp Industries (SGX: U96).
But all eyes will on Singapore Airlines (SGX: C6L), which is expected to post its first-ever annual net loss. The Singapore flag carrier said it should report a small operating profit thanks to strong performance in the first nine months. However, the airline expects operating cashflow to remain negative until June. It also expects additional hedging losses.
And finally, Singapore will relax some of its “circuit breaker” measures on Tuesday. From 12 May, all traditional chinese medicine outlets will be able to sell retail products. Shops that sell green bean soup, bak kwa and cupcakes will also be allowed to operate, as will barber shops and salons.
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Disclosure: David Kuo does not own any of the shares mentioned.