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Australia: Historic week in prospect

Craig James
28 August 2020

A quirk of the statistical schedule is that each change of season is ushered in by a barrage of economic data and events. And there will be more than a dozen indicators released over the week. The highlight of the week is the National Accounts on Wednesday. The economy may have contracted a record 6 per cent in the June quarter.

On Monday

The week kicks off on Monday with the Business Indicators publication from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).The data includes readings on profits, sales, inventories and wages. Also, on Monday the ABS releases a survey of COVID impacts on the household sector for August. The Reserve Bank issues private sector credit data. The Melbourne Institute releases the monthly inflation gauge.

On Tuesday

On Tuesday weekly indicators are issued, including Commonwealth Bank (CBA) data on credit and debit card spending and the ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer sentiment index.

Included also on Tuesday: The Reserve Bank Board meeting; Balance of Payments; AiGroup manufacturing survey; building approvals and government financial statistics. The Reserve Bank Board meeting is usually the highlight, but monetary policy measures have maxxed out.

On Wednesday

On Wednesday the ABS issues the National Accounts for the June quarter. Usually the focus is on economic growth estimates. But in the June quarter it will be a case of economic contraction rather than growth. A record 6 per cent contraction in output is expected, reflecting the virus lockdown period.

On Thursday

On Thursday, the ABS issues the July international trade data (exports and imports). Data on new vehicle sales is issued. And AiGroup’s construction gauge is scheduled.

On Friday

And on Friday the ABS releases the final, detailed retail trade estimates for July. Preliminary data showed retail spending lifting 3.3% in the month.

Overseas: Focus on jobs data and purchasing managers surveys 

Purchasing manager indexes across the globe will be in focus in the coming week as investors gauge the strength of economic recoveries. As always, Friday’s monthly US jobs data is the highlight.

On Monday

The week kicks off on Monday in the US with the influential Dallas Federal Reserve manufacturing index. And in China the week kicks off with the ‘official’ purchasing manager surveys for manufacturing and services sectors from the National Bureau of Statistics.

On Tuesday

And on Tuesday in China the Caixin purchasing manager survey for August is issued. In July, the index was above 50 for the third straight month and was near decade highs.

On Tuesday in the US there are two purchasing manager surveys released for the manufacturing sector – from both the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) and IHS Markit. Also, on Tuesday in the US, data on construction spending is issued with new vehicle sales and the weekly Johnson Redbook chain store sales report.

On Wednesday

On Wednesday in the US, a hodgepodge of data is issued: ADP private sector payrolls; ISM New York index; factory orders; the Federal Reserve Beige Book; and the usual weekly data on US mortgage applications from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Most interest will be in the Federal Reserve Beige Book to get a sense of the strength and breadth of economic recovery.

On Thursday

On Thursday in China, the August results of the private sector Caixin purchasing manager survey for the services sector is issued. The index retraced from decade highs in July.

On Thursday in the US, there is another eclectic array of economic data: purchasing manager services indexes from both the ISM and IHS Markit; international trade for July; quarterly unit labour costs and productivity; and the usual weekly data on jobless claims (unemployment benefits).

On Friday

On Friday in the US, the August jobs data is released. The data on employment (non-farm payrolls) usually dominates attention. But the unemployment rate, hours worked, and average hourly earnings data also vie for attention. In April, payrolls fell by almost 20.8 million. But in the following three months around 9.5 million jobs were created. The unemployment rate has eased to 10.2% in July after peaking at 14.7% in April.

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