The state of the U.S. labour market in March will consume economists and investors in the week leading up to Easter, adding to the seesaw debate over when the Federal Reserve will spring its first interest rate hike. Fed Chair Janet Yellen made it clear on Friday that the U.S. central bank is likely to start raising borrowing costs later this year, adding that continued improvement of the labour market would be an important factor in deciding when to move. Labour market data are therefore likely to be the highlight of the economic week, providing a further signal to the Fed on the health of the U.S. economy and its capacity to withstand rate rises. Yellen said a significant pickup in core inflation was not a precondition for the Fed to pull the trigger on rates.
China's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan warned on Sunday that the country needs to be vigilant for signs of deflation and said policymakers were closely watching slowing global economic growth and declining commodity prices. Zhou's comments are likely to add to concerns that China is in danger of slipping into deflation and underline increasing nervousness among policymakers as the economy continues to lose momentum despite a raft of stimulus measures. "Inflation in China is also declining. Zhou added that the speed with which inflation was slowing was a "little too quick", though this was part of China's ongoing market readjustment and reforms.
The chairman of China National Chemical Corp (ChemChina) said on Sunday he hopes to re-list Italy's Pirelli (PECI.MI) on the Italian stock exchange after his firm agreed earlier this month to acquire the world's fifth-largest tire maker. Ren Jianxin also warned that a counterbid for Pirelli would hurt the Italian firm's investors and long-term strategy. ChemChina has agreed to become majority owner of Pirelli as part of a multi-layered 7.3 billion euro ($8 billion) deal, putting one of Italy's storied manufacturing names in Chinese hands. On Thursday, Pirelli CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera told Reuters his firm is not talking to others about a possible counterbid.