STORY: From inflation data in the U.S. and Europe, to an uncertain election in South Africa, these are the stories to watch in business and finance in the coming week.

:: Look Ahead

:: U.S. inflation data

Key U.S. inflation data due on Friday will offer hints about the Federal Reserve's stance on lowering interest rates.

The personal consumption expenditures price index follows separate data earlier this month that showed monthly consumer prices rising less than expected.

While that fuelled investors' hopes for rate cuts, the Fed has indicated it wants to hold out for several months, and make sure inflation is set to hit its 2% target, before making moves.

:: Euro zone inflation data

The European Central Bank has all but promised to cut its deposit rate from a record high of 4% in June.

But it could keep markets guessing on how far and fast it will lower borrowing costs after that...

...especially if monthly inflation data due on Friday shows price pressures are still volatile.

Economists polled by Reuters expect euro zone inflation to have gone up to 2.5% in May year-on-year, compared to 2.4% in April.

:: South Africa votes

Polls suggest South Africa's ruling African National Congress party could lose its parliamentary majority for the first time since the end of apartheid when voters head to the polls on Wednesday.

The ANC may need a coalition partner to govern.

The rand and other assets will likely take the result in stride if the ANC teams up with the business friendly Democratic Alliance.

But there could be drama if the party turns to the far-left Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters led by ex-President Jacob Zuma.