Following a mixed bag of euro zone GDP data last week which showed Germany charging on and Spain holding its own but France stagnating and Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands slipping back into contraction, flash PMI surveys for the euro zone, Germany and France certainly have the power to jolt the markets today.
As things stand, there seems little to dissuade the European Central Bank from loosening policy next month. Five senior sources told us it was preparing a package of policy options for its early June meeting, including cuts in all its interest rates and targeted measures aimed at boosting lending to small- and mid-sized firms.
Bundesbank chief Jens Weidman speaks later. He told a German newspaper it was not yet certain that action would be taken in June. The three PMI readings are not expected to move much from April with the French numbers lagging those of the euro zone and Germany.
The British and Dutch kick off voting for EU elections today. Most of the bloc’s 28 member states vote over the weekend and no results will be released until Sunday night.
However, the UK also has local government polls, results for which will dribble out overnight and give an early indication of how strongly the UK Independence Party is doing and to what extent it can heap pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron to adopt a more extreme position on repatriating powers from the EU and change the dynamics of a planned in-out referendum in 2017.