The week kicks-off on Tuesday when the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) issues data on home prices for the June quarter in its publication Residential Property Price Indexes. The figures are dated – early September data from CoreLogic is already being issued. But the publication includes the latest estimates on the number of homes in each state and territory.
On Tuesday weekly consumer confidence data is issued by ANZ and Roy Morgan. Sentiment is just below the long-run average levels. Worries about the economic outlook dominate although people are generally happy about the state of their finances. Also, on Tuesday the Reserve Bank issues minutes from the Board meeting held on September 3. Little guidance is expected on a future rate cut. But each month Board members discuss a topic of interest and that may provide fresh information for investors to contemplate.
On Thursday, the ABS released the August Labour Force publication. Not only is data provided on employment and unemployment, but there are also estimates on hours worked and under-utilised labour. The Reserve Bank will assess all these measures – not just the unemployment rate – when deciding if another rate cut is required. Commonwealth Bank Group economists expect that 20,000 jobs were created in August with the jobless rate unchanged at 5.2%. The Reserve Bank is expected to stay on the interest rate sidelines if the results are in line with forecasts. The jobless rate has been steady in recent months as more people entering the job market have picked up the new jobs on offer.
Also, on Thursday, the ABS releases population estimates for the March quarter. Australia’s population has grown by 1.6% over the past years, near the average growth pace over the past decade. Population is growing fastest in Victoria although Tasmania’s population is growing at the fastest rate in 28 years. And finally, on Thursday, the Reserve Bank issues its quarterly Bulletin – a publication that contains topical reports on the economy and financial markets.
Overseas: US Federal Reserve to decide on a rate cut
There are two stand-out events in the coming week. China releases monthly activity data and the US Federal Reserve holds its policy meeting over Tuesday and Wednesday.
The week begins on Monday in China when the National Bureau of Statistics issues August data on retail spending, investment and industrial production. The data is important as it will show what impact that the trade dispute with the US is having on the Chinese economy.
On Monday in the US, the September Empire State manufacturing index is produced by the New York Federal Reserve, the index is regarded as an influential regional gauge on the economy.
Over Tuesday and Wednesday, the US Federal Reserve policy-making committee meets – the FOMC. Financial markets are tipping another rate cut of 25 basis points (or a quarter of a percent) in order to sustain the record economic expansion.
On Tuesday in the US, the regular weekly reading on US chain store sales is due together with industrial production data, capital flows figure and the housing market sentiment index from the National Association of Home Builders.
On Wednesday in the US, the weekly reading on mortgage applications is issued as well as the building permits and housing starts data for August. In July, building permits grew by a sizeable 8.4% – suggesting stronger building activity lies ahead. But the number of homes where work started in August fell by 4% to a 1.19 million annual rate.
On Thursday, the weekly figures on jobless claims are issued in the US, along with data on existing home sales and the leading index. In July sales of existing homes hit a 5-month high (second highest reading over the past year), up 2.5% on the previous month. The National Association of Realtors estimated the median house price at $280,800 in July, compared to $269,300 a year earlier. The leading index in the US is calculated by the Conference Board. After two modest 0.1% declines in May and June, the leading index lifted by 0.5% in July. There are ten indicators that make up the leading index including new orders, building permits and share prices. The Conference Board says the latest results “suggest the US economy will continue to expand in the second half of 2019, it is likely to do so at a moderate pace.”
Also, on Thursday the Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing index is released. Just like the Empire State index, the Philly Fed index is seen as an influential gauge of the broader economy. On Thursday in the UK, the Bank of England policymaking committee meets. In New Zealand, economic growth data is released.
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