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Top 5 things to watch in markets in the week ahead By

© Reuters — Investors will be holding out for an update on plans to raise the U.S. debt ceiling this week, while remarks by Federal Reserve policymakers will be parsed for insights on the future path of interest rates. Equity markets are likely to remain in the doldrums while data out of the Eurozone, U.K. and China will offer more insight into the strength of the global economic outlook.

  1. Fed speakers and data

With investors worried that the Fed’s aggressive rate hikes could tip the economy into recession, appearances by several central bank officials in the coming days will be closely watched.

Fed Vice Chair for Supervision before Congress on recent banking sector stresses and the central bank’s response. On Friday, and former Fed head Ben Bernanke are to participate in a panel discussion on monetary policy in Washington.

Other Fed officials scheduled to make appearances during the week include New York Fed President John , Cleveland Fed Governor Loretta , Minneapolis Fed President Neel and governors Philip and Michelle .

Bowman said Friday that the Fed will probably need to raise rates again if inflation stays high.

The U.S. is also to release April data on and on Tuesday, with retail sales expected to rebound. The weekly report on is due out on Thursday.

  1. Debt ceiling worries

Worries over a potential U.S. default as early as June 1st are weighing on investors, amid a stalemate in Congress over raising the borrowing limit.

The Congressional Budget Office warned Friday the U.S. faces a “significant risk” of defaulting within the first two weeks of June if lawmakers fail to increase the amount of debt the country is legally allowed to take on.

Talks between U.S. President Joe Biden and top lawmakers on raising the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling are due to resume early this week, after a planned meeting on Friday was postponed to allow staff to continue negotiations.

Republicans are insisting on drastic spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, while Democrats are insisting the debt ceiling is not an appropriate vehicle to make budget changes.

The International Monetary Fund has warned that a U.S. default would have “very serious repercussions” for the U.S. economy as well as the global economy, including likely higher interest rates.

  1. Stock markets

U.S. stock markets ended last week broadly lower with the down 1.1%, the sliding 0.3% and the gaining 0.4% as a combination of concerns over the debt ceiling impasse and monetary policy weighed.

Data on Friday showing a steeper-than-expected drop in U.S. consumer sentiment added to worries that political haggling over raising the debt ceiling could trigger a recession.

Meanwhile, comments by Fed officials on Friday (see above) added to uncertainty over whether the central bank will pause rate hikes next month as had been widely expected.

Earlier this month the Fed indicated it may pause further rate hikes as it assesses the impact of its past tightening, as well as the effect of recent bank sector stress on lending and credit.

Earnings season continues in the week ahead with results due from companies including Walmart (NYSE:), Home Depot (NYSE:) and Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:).

  1. Eurozone/UK data

The Eurozone is to release revised data on data on Tuesday with economists expecting the bloc’s economy to have expanded by just 0.1% in the three months to March. Some economists say stagnation has continued and could result in a recession later this year.

The more forward-looking Institute surveys of business conditions and sentiment in the region’s largest economy Germany are to be released the same day.

Meanwhile, in the U.K. the wage component data of Tuesday’s jobs report will be closely watched as inflation remains in double digits. The Bank of England has indicated that the decision on whether to hike rates again at its June meeting will hinge on the wage and inflation data out before then.

  1. China data

China is to release a flurry of economic data on Tuesday, including reports on , and fixed asset investment. Economists are expecting retail sales and industrial production to have accelerated at a rapid annual rate, while fixed asset investment is also expected to pick up significantly.

But the monthly comparison may offer a more accurate comparison as China’s economy was still under strict COVID lockdowns during the same period last year.

Economic data out of China last week indicated that the world’s second-largest economy is struggling to gain momentum amid an uneven recovery after pandemic restrictions were lifted, adding to doubts over how much it can contribute to growth in the global economy this year.

–Reuters contributed to this report

This story originally appeared on Investing

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