Five things to know before the Singapore market trades this week: May 18-24

A container ship berthed at the Port of Singapore Authority's (PSA) Pasir Panjang Terminal. According to a Reuters poll, Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (NODX) are forecast to have fallen in April. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 
A container ship berthed at the Port of Singapore Authority's (PSA) Pasir Panjang Terminal. According to a Reuters poll, Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (NODX) are forecast to have fallen in April. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

1. April a cruel month for Singapore exports?

Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (NODX) are forecast to have fallen in April, a Reuters poll showed, indicating sluggish global growth may hobble shipments March's bounce. NODX are forecast to have fallen 4.2 per cent from a year earlier, according to the Reuters survey, after jumping 18.5 per cent in March.

Activity in Singapore's manufacturers touched its lowest in more than two years in April, contracting for a fifth straight month, with the electronics sector hit and new orders declining, a survey showed earlier this month.

2. Flash PMIs on Thursday

Flash Purchasing Managers' Indexes (PMIs) for May are due Thursday. The key forward-looking indicators of manufacturing growth are expected to show a solid recovery in the US, steady growth in the Eurozone, but ongoing weakness in the world's second-largest economy, China. Taken together, the data may not be enough to convince many that the global bias towards lower rates and easier monetary policy from the world's central banks is nearing an end, despite the bond market rout, says Reuters.

3. Inflation data and the global bond rout

More than US$450 billion has been wiped out across global bond markets in the past few weeks and for some, the trigger to sell was the fear of inflation on the rise, as oil prices rebounded and European economies showed signs of recovery. Because most bonds' coupon payments are fixed, rising inflation lessens the value of future payments. All eyes will be on the main inflation gauges for the US, euro zone and Britain due this week. Will they show no price rises as expected?

4. Fed cues this week

The US central bank releases minutes from its April meeting on Wednesday, and several Fed officials are scheduled to speak this week, including Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen, Charles Evans and John Williams. The minutes and speeches will offer insight into the likelihood of a interest rate increase in June or September amid a slew of recent soft economic data.

5. Top central bankers meet

Several of the world's top central bankers will meet at a three-day forum starting Thursday hosted by the European Central Bank in Sintra, Portugal, and billed as a discussion on inflation and unemployment in Europe. They include ECB president Mario Draghi, IMF economic counsellor Olivier Blanchard, Bank of England governor Mark Carney and Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda.