24 February 2020
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Australia: Quiet week ahead

Craig James
7 February 2020

On Tuesday

On Tuesday, there are three indicators to be released. ANZ and Roy Morgan issue the consumer sentiment index for the week ended February 9. The National Australia Bank issues the January business survey. And the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the December “Lending Indicators” publication. The ABS has dramatically revised its monthly lending figures. Unfortunately, a lot of series have been revised and a lot of data history has been lost. The value of total new home loan commitments to households rose by 1.8% in November to be up 5.9% on a year ago.

Aussie consumers are relatively relaxed about their finances. But where they have concern is about the short and medium-term outlook for the economy. Also, in the NAB business survey, main interest will be in the impact of the US-China trade ceasefire and the coronavirus outbreak on business confidence. The NAB business confidence index fell from a reading of zero in November to near 6½-year lows of -1.9 points in December. And the business conditions index fell from +4.3 points in November to +2.7 points in December.

On Wednesday

On Wednesday the Reserve Bank issues the December data on credit and debit cards. And Reserve Bank Head of Economic Analysis Alexandra Heath delivers a speech. The value of purchases made with credit and charge cards in November was up 3.7% on a year ago. The value of debit card purchases was up by 9.7% on the year.

On Thursday

On Thursday, Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe engages in panel participation at the 7th Australia Canada Economic Leadership Forum (11.15 AEDT).

Overseas: US Federal Reserve testimony in focus

In the coming week, the Federal Reserve chair delivers testimony and inflation data is due in the US and China. Key US retail sales and production data are on Friday.

On Monday

The week kicks off in China on Monday with the release of consumer and producer prices data. Economists tip the annual rate of consumer prices to rise from 4.5% to 4.9% underpinned by high food prices (especially pork). The annual rate of producer prices may have lifted from -0.5 per cent to +0.1 per cent. On Monday in the US, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York releases the January reading of consumer inflation expectations.

On Tuesday

In the US on Tuesday, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) issues the business optimism index with the JOLTS series of job openings or vacancies. And the regular weekly data on chain store sales is also released. The business optimism index eased from 104.7 to 102.7 in December, but it was still above the September and October results. And the JOLTS series may have lifted from 6.8 million to 7.23 million in December, highlighting the strength of the job market.

On Tuesday and Wednesday in the US, the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, delivers testimony to Congress. Expect some questioning on whether the federal funds rate is too “high”.

On Wednesday

On Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association releases weekly data on mortgage applications and the monthly budget result for January is expected.

On Thursday

On Thursday in the US, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is released with the regular weekly data on claims for unemployment insurance is issued. In China on Thursday, vehicle sales data for January is expected with foreign direct investment. And on Friday money supply and lending figures are tentatively scheduled.

On Friday

And on Friday in the US, data on retail sales, import & export prices, production, business inventories and consumer sentiment are issued. The main interest will be on the retail sales and industrial production data. Interestingly while production is down 1% on a year ago while retail sales are up by 5.8%.

Financial markets

The Australian corporate reporting season lifts another gear with more household names to report their results in the week ahead.

On Monday

Companies reporting on Monday include Aurizon Holdings, GPT Group, JB Hi-Fi. 

On Tuesday

On Tuesday: Beach Energy, Challenger, Suncorp.

On Wednesday

On Wednesday: Bapcor, CSL, Computershare, CBA, Downer EDI, Elmo Software, IAG, Evolution Mining, Insurance Australia, IDP Education, Transurban.

On Thursday

On Thursday: AGL, AMP, Arena REIT, ASX, Goodman Group, Magellan Financial, Newcrest Mining, Northern Star, Orora, S32, Telstra, Woodside Petroleum, Treasury Wine Estate.

On Friday

On Friday: Baby Bunting.

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