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Australia: Reserve Bank and jobs data ahead of Easter holidays

Craig James
Friday, April 12, 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. The survey will be closely monitored in the lead up to the Federal election in May. Also, the Reserve Bank will release minutes of the April 2 monetary policy meeting. Furthermore, the Board changed the last sentence of their April Statement for the first time since Governor Philip Lowe was appointed in September 2016, giving members greater flexibility to support slowing domestic demand. The Statement said, “The Board will continue to monitor developments and set monetary policy to support sustainable growth in the economy and achieve the inflation target over time”.

On Thursday

The March employment report is released. Leading indicators of jobs growth have been mixed. That said, on average, 23,700 job have been added on a monthly basis over the 12 months to February. The national unemployment rate fell to 4.9%, a rate that hasn’t been bettered in a decade. CBA group economists’ forecast 20,000 jobs to be added, but the unemployment rate is expected to edge up to 5% with the participation rate at 65.6%. Also, on Thursday, the Commonwealth Bank issues the Business Sales Indicator for March.

Overseas: China economic growth data in focus

The much-anticipated Chinese economic growth and monthly activity data are released on Wednesday. In the US, consumer and manufacturing surveys, together with retail and international trade data are of most interest. 

On Monday

The week begins on Monday in the US when the New York Empire State Manufacturing Index is issued with capital flows data. In China, money supply and lending data are scheduled.

On Tuesday

The regular US weekly data on chain store sales is scheduled along with the monthly readings on industrial production and homebuilding sentiment. Factory output is tipped to lift by 0.3% in March. The National Association of Home Builders’ index is tipped to lift by 1 point to 63 points in April.  

On Wednesday

Attention turns to China when the March quarter economic (GDP) growth data is released. The annual growth rate is expected to decelerate to 6.3%, down from 6.4% in the December quarter. Also, on Wednesday, in the US, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book is released. In the March report, 10 of 12 districts reported growing economic activity, while the remaining two saw flat growth. At the same time, the Beige Book reported that “Labour markets remained tight for all skill levels, including notable worker shortages for positions relating to information technology, manufacturing, trucking, restaurants, and construction”. Wednesday also saw the US international trade balance is reported. The US trade deficit in goods and services fell to US$51.1 billion in January, down US$8.8 billion compared to December due to a 14% drop in imports from China ahead of potential tariff increases on March 1 (which didn’t materialise).

On Thursday

Figures for retail sales, the leading index and the usual weekly data on claims for unemployment insurance are all issued. The influential Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing index is also released. Retail sales are tipped to rebound by 0.8% in March after cold winter weather and the US government shutdown constrained consumer spending in February. 

On Friday

Leading US housing market indicators, such as housing starts and building permits data, are expected to rebound in March, supported by falling mortgage rates and a still-solid jobs market.

Financial Markets

The US earnings (profit-reporting) season moves up a gear in the coming week. Companies expected to report earnings, include:

On Monday

Citigroup & Goldman Sachs.

On Tuesday

Bank of America, BlackRock, Charles Schwab, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Netflix and UnitedHealth Group.

On Wednesday

Alcoa, Bank of New York Mellon, Morgan Stanley and PepsiCo.

On Thursday

American Express, Schlumberger and Travelers.

Published: Friday, April 12, 2019

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