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Slowdown in key events next week

Craig James
Friday, March 08, 2019

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This week kicks off on Tuesday

The week kicks off on Tuesday when National Australia Bank releases its February business survey. In January the business conditions index rose from a four-year low of +2.6 points to +6.6 points (long-term average +5.8 points). And the business confidence index rose from +2.7 points to +3.6 points in January, below the long-term average of 6.0 points. But rolling annual averages for both business conditions and confidence were above long-term averages. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases its publication “Lending to households and businesses”. In December, lending commitments to households fell by 4.4 %. But more positively, data showed that the share of first home buyers eased only modestly from a 6-year high of 27% in November to 26.5% in December.

Tuesday also sees The Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Guy Debelle deliver a talk: “Climate Change & the Economy” at a Public Forum hosted by the Centre for Policy Development in Sydney. The regular weekly reading on consumer confidence is published by ANZ and Roy Morgan. Sentiment has been fluky from week-to-week, but the index is still above longer-term averages.

On Wednesday

Westpac and the Melbourne Institute release the March monthly consumer confidence report. The monthly consumer sentiment data is more of a check on the more frequent weekly series. But the monthly report will be of interest this month as it contains the latest quarterly views of households on the wisest place to put new savings.

On Thursday

The ABS issues a longer-term report: “Household and Family Projections, Australia, 2016 to 2041.” The report is of interest for governments and businesses for planning purposes.

On Friday

The ABS issues the January report: “Overseas Arrivals and Departures”. While there is much interest in the tourism arrivals and departures data, the report also contains figures on overseas migration.  Tourist arrivals rose by 0.6% to 782,700 in December. Arrivals rose 4.9% over the year. Tourist departures rose by 1.2% in December to be up 8.0% over the year – the strongest annual growth rate in 19 months. And in terms of migration flows, net permanent and long-term arrivals stood at 291,250 in the year to December – a fresh 4½-year high. 

Overseas: US and Chinese ‘top-shelf’ indicators

A bevy of ‘top-shelf’ indicators are due in the US and China in the coming week.

On Monday

The US retail sales data for January will be released on Monday. The December figures came as something of a shock, with sales down 1.2%, although after rising 1.1% in the two previous months. Economists tip a 0.1% lift in January sales.

On Tuesday

The February data on consumer prices is released with the NFIB business optimism index and weekly chain store sales. Economists estimate that the core measure (excludes food and energy) rose by 0.2% with the annual rate dropping from 2.2% to 2.1%.

On Wednesday

The equivalent inflation data for business (producer prices) is released with durable goods orders, construction spending and the weekly measure of mortgage finance. Economists estimate that the core measure (excludes food and energy) rose by 0.2% with the annual rate steady at 2.6%. And durable goods orders (a measure of business investment) are estimated to have fallen 0.7% in January.

On Thursday

Data on export and import prices are released with new home sales data and the weekly figures on new claims for unemployment insurance. In China the January and February readings on economic activity – retail sales, production and investment – are released. Given the variable timing of Lunar New Year, January and February data need to be read together. Money supply and lending data are also scheduled for Thursday

On Friday

The February data on industrial production is released with the Empire State manufacturing index, consumer sentiment, JOLTS job openings and capital flows. Economists tip a 0.1% lift in production after a 0.6% fall in January. Whilst in China data on house prices is released – the February reading was up 10% on the year.

Published: Friday, March 08, 2019

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