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Australia: Reserve Bank and consumer confidence in focus

Craig James
Friday, April 05, 2019

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On Tuesday

The week kicks off on Tuesday when the weekly consumer sentiment index is issued from ANZ and Roy Morgan. This survey will provide the first indication on how the Federal Budget went down with Aussie consumers. Also, on Tuesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases the February data from its publication: “Lending to households and businesses”. In January, the value of lending to households fell by 2.4% after a 3.6% decline in December. Lending for housing fell by 2.1%, investor lending was down 4.1% and lending for owner-occupier dwellings fell by 1.3%.

On Wednesday

There is another check on consumer confidence, this time from the monthly survey by Westpac and Melbourne Institute. In March, consumer sentiment index fell by 4.8% to 98.8 after rising by 4.3% to 103.8 points in February. The sentiment index is below its long-term average of 101.3. Also, on Wednesday, the ABS release two building publications – “Building Activity and “Construction Activity” – both for the December quarter. Most interest will be in the component data on dwelling starts. There are a few speeches from Reserve Bank officials on Wednesday. Deputy Governor, Guy Debelle, speaks at the American Chamber of Commerce event in Adelaide. Melissa Hope, Head of Note Issue Department, and Lindsay Boulton, Assistant Governor (Business Services), speak at a currency conference in Dubai.

On Thursday

The ABS releases “Overseas Arrivals and Departures” containing data on tourism and migration flows. This Thursday also saw, Deputy Governor, Guy Debelle, delivers a speech via video conference to an audience in Hong Kong.

On Friday

The Reserve Bank releases the February data on credit and debit cards. Furthermore, on Friday the Reserve Bank releases the semi-annual Financial Stability Review.

Overseas: US inflation data and Federal Reserve in focus

A raft of reports on inflation are released in the US over the coming week. In addition, the minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting are released. In China inflation and trade data are of most interest

On Monday

The week begins on Monday in the US when data on factory orders and consumer inflation expectations are expected. Orders may have fallen 0.3% in February after two gains of 0.1%.

On Tuesday

in the US, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) releases its business optimism index for March together with the IBD/TIPP economic optimism gauge, JOLTS job openings and the regular weekly data on chain store sales.

On Wednesday

In the US, the consumer price index is due for release alongside the monthly Budget Statement, weekly mortgage finance data and the minutes of the last Federal Reserve policymaking meeting – the Open Market Committee. 

On Thursday

In the US, another gauge of inflation – the producer price index (PPI) – or measure of business inflation, is released. The annual core PPI is expected to ease from 2.5% to 2.4%. Also, on Thursday the usual weekly data on claims for unemployment insurance is issued. In China, the key data is released over Thursday and Friday. On Thursday data on consumer and producer prices is released together with vehicle sales.

On Friday

There yet two more inflation measures are to be released – data on export and import prices. The University of Michigan releases its preliminary estimate of consumer sentiment for April. On Friday in China, export and import figures for March are issued. At present forecasts suggested a widening of the trade surplus from US$4.1 billion to US$26.4 billion.

Published: Friday, April 05, 2019

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