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Look Ahead - May

Updated: Apr 28

By - Tim Rosado


Policy situational awareness for the month of May:


Overall

  • The primary focus of May will be on the Federal debt limit. While there is no clear certainty on when the Federal Government will run into trouble financing its operations without increased borrowing authority, current tax revenue trends suggest the so-called "x-date" will be earlier in the summer, rather than later (e.g., June vs. August). If there is no clear path to a political compromise on raising the debt limit, financial markets could start to be affected during May.

  • The Federal Reserve meets during the first week of May. The big question is whether or not the Fed decides to stop raising interest rates; the Fed has raised rates after every meeting since March of 2022.

  • The COVID-19 official "Public Health Emergency" (PHE) ends on May 11. This is significant because this will trigger (and already has) public program management actions that, for example, will lead to millions of US persons losing Medicaid-based health insurance. Later this summer, millions of student loan borrowers will need to restart monthly loan repayments. Perhaps immediately, there could be an immigration crisis at the southern US border as COVID-era restrictions are lifted.

Week One (April 30-May 6)

 
  • Congress The Senate is in session, the House is not.

  • Federal Reserve & Interest Rates The Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets May 2-3. The FOMC will announce its stance on interest rates on May 3. The FOMC last raised rates by 25 bps (0.25%) after its March meeting.

  • Employment Data Employment data for the month of April will be released on Friday, May 6. Jobs rose by 236,000 for March, down from an increase of 311,000 for February. The unemployment rate fell slightly to 3.5%, from 3.6%.

Week Two (May 7-13)

 
  • Congress Both the House and Senate are in session.

  • COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) Ends The COVID-19 PHE officially ends on Thursday, May 11. Federal, State, and local government have begun implementing measures to reinstate program policies that were suspended during the PHE, such as eligibility assessments for Medicaid-based healthcare, student loan repayments, and the use of telehealthcare. COVID-based immigration restrictions will be lifted for at the southern US border.

  • Key Inflation Measures - April Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for the month of April will be released on May 10, and April Producer Price Index (PPI) data will be released on May 11. CPI-measured inflation has been coming down through March, but it was still running at a 5.0% annual rate. PPI has come down significantly, with an annualized 2.7% rate through March.

Week Three (May 14-20)

 
  • Congress Both the House and Senate are in session.

  • Ukraine-Russia Grain Deal Expiration The current Ukraine-Russia grain deal, permitting the safe transit of Ukrainian grains via the Black Sea, could expire on May 18 unless extended. A world-wide food crisis was largely averted with the deal last summer, which was periodically extended, but Russia is asking for additional liberalizations of its own trade for the deal to continue.

  • G-7 Summit A heads-of-state summit meeting of G-7 nations is being held in Hiroshima, Japan (May 19-21).

  • USPS Labor Agreement Expiration The current collective bargaining agreement expires on May 20 between the Postal Service and letter carriers. The current agreement could potentially be extended through mutual agreement if a new one is not reached on time.


Week Four (May 21-27)

 
  • Congress Both the House and Senate are in session.

  • Key Personal Income & Spending Data - April Personal Income and Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) data for the month of April will be released on May 26.

Week Five (May 28-June 3)

 
  • Congress The Senate is in session, the House is not.

 

June Summary Preview

  • The Federal Government could run out of financing to sustain current operating levels as soon as June if an increase in the statutory debt limit to permit new Federal borrowing is not enacted.

  • Turkey's general election is being held on June 18. The election potentially has significant implication for Sweden's bid to join NATO, as well as Turkey's leadership in helping to manage regional issues that help western interests, such as the security of Ukraine grain shipments through the Black Sea.

Get more on Policy Highway's Policy Calendar.

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