Economy Week Ahead: China GDP, U.S. Housing

A man passed through Beijing’s central business district late last year.



Photo:

greg baker/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

U.S. housing construction and sales numbers highlight a relatively quiet week for economic data.

Monday

China’s economy in the fourth quarter is expected to have grown at the slowest pace since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal are forecasting gross domestic product advanced 3.8% from a year earlier as a government-induced property-sector slump and efforts to contain Covid-19 outbreaks damped growth. One recent bright spot for China’s economy: exports. The country’s trade surplus hit a record in 2021.

Tuesday

The Bank of Japan could raise its forecasts for economic growth and inflation, but is otherwise expected to keep its ultra-easy monetary policy on hold.

Wednesday

Construction of new homes in the U.S. is forecast to slow in December as builders contend with shortages of material and labor, as well as rising costs. Even so, 2021 will likely be the strongest for housing starts since the waning days of the bubble in 2006.

Thursday

U.S. existing-home sales could slow in December but would still be on track to post the best full year of sales since 2006. Housing has been one of the bright spots in the broader economy this year. Buyers have been motivated by low interest rates, higher household savings and a desire for more space to work from home. Demand also has been fueled by a large wave of millennials aging into their prime home-buying years.

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