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The week ahead: Money for nothing

Craig James - CommSec
July 12, 2018

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Australia: Money for nothing 

·         The mid-winter lull in economic data continues in Australia. However, the all-important June employment report is issued on Thursday. Tourism and business sales data will also be keenly observed.

·         The week kicks-off on Monday with the “Overseas Arrivals & Departures” publication from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). As well as providing data on tourist arrivals and departures, there are figures on longer-term migration flows. Tourist arrivals fell by 1.9% to 756,300 in April, down from a downwardly-revised record high of 770,800 (previously 771,600) in March. Departures rose by 1.3 per cent in April to a record high of 923,400, up from 911,200 in March. Over the past year a record 800,240 permanent and long-term migrants moved to Australia, up by 4.0 per cent. 

·         On Tuesday the minutes of the last Reserve Bank Board meeting are released. Each meeting there is a special issue or topic that is discussed. And that discussion can prove useful in gauging member views on interest rate sensitivities. For example, wages growth remains a key focus of Board members. In the July 3 policy Statement, the commentary highlighted that, “there are increasing reports of skills shortages in some areas”. Economists will be keeping an eye out for some evidence of this development through its business liaison program.

·         Also on Tuesday is the regular weekly gauge on consumer confidence from Roy Morgan and ANZ.

·         On Thursday the ABS issues the June employment report. Job-creation has slowed in recent months, with 12,000 full-time jobs added in May. The unemployment rate is at six-month lows of 5.4 per cent and the last time it was lower was 5½ years ago in January 2013. And key leading employment indicator – the Bureau of Statistics’ job vacancies – was at record high levels in May with the strongest annual growth rate in 7½ years. Economists tip an increase in total jobs of around 15,000 during the month.

·         On Friday the CBA Business Sales Indicator is released for June. Growth in economy-wide spending slowed in May, growing at the weakest trend pace for over a year. The BSI rose by 0.3 per cent in trend terms in May. And the annual trend growth in sales held at 7.7 per cent – the fastest growth for 3½ years.

Overseas: China data blockbuster 

·         Over the coming week China economic growth, investment, production, retail sales and house price data are all issued. In the US, retail spending, housing, industrial production and the US Fed’s Beige Book will be in focus. 

·         The week begins in China on Monday when the much-anticipated June quarter GDP report is released, together with the June monthly retail sales, investment and production activity data. Growth appears to have decelerated in most industries, including construction, consumption, service, manufacturing, employment and trade. 

·         Chinese production was strong in April, but weakened in May. And the June official manufacturing purchasing managers index was softer, signalling weaker growth momentum. A rebound in retail sales is tipped in June after annual spending growth was the slowest in 15 years in May. Fixed asset investment is expected to moderate further as the economy rebalances. Overall, annual GDP growth is tipped to fall by 0.1 per cent to 6.7 per cent.

·         Also on Monday, US retail spending data and the New York Fed purchasing managers’ index is released. Consumer spending surged 0.8 per cent in May and a further 0.6 per cent lift is forecast in June.  

·         On Tuesday China house prices data is scheduled to be issued. Out of the 70 cities the National Bureau of Statistics monitors, more cities saw housing prices increase in May compared with April. 

·         Also on Tuesday in the US, the National Association of Home Builders releasing the activity survey for July, industrial production and weekly data on chain store sales are issued. Sentiment among US homebuilders fell in June to equal the lowest level this year, reflecting sharply elevated lumber costs. And industrial production is tipped to rebound by 0.5 per cent in June after a contraction in manufacturing output in May.

·         On Wednesday the US Federal Reserve takes centre stage. In the most recent Beige Book – a national survey – Fed officials characterised the economy as performing well. Manufacturers raised production, banks reported stronger loan demand and home builders’ activity was robust. Trade worries will be a key focus in June’s edition. 

·         Also on Wednesday US housing starts and building permits are issued for June. In May, starts posted the biggest increase since July 2007, up 5 per cent, led by a 62 per cent surge in the US Midwest.   

·         On Thursday the weekly data on new claims for unemployment insurance is issued, together with the influential Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing gauge and Conference Board's Leading Economic index. Seven of ten leading indicators increased in May, with building permits, manufacturing workweek and initial claims down.   

Published: Friday, July 13, 2018


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