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Craig James – Chief Economist – CommSec

Bevy of indicators at home & abroad
• In Australia, another bevy of economic indicators await investors in the coming week. There is also a solid list of ‘top shelf’ economic indicators to wade through in the US. The Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, also delivers the semi-annual testimony to Congress. In China, inflation data is in focus on Tuesday.
• In Australia, the week kicks off on Monday when the Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the Overseas Arrivals & Departures publication. This publication includes data on tourist arrivals and departures together with longer-term migration data.
• Tourist arrivals fell by 0.7 per cent in November. And departures fell by 3.5 per cent. Arrivals were up 8.7 per cent on the year with departures up 3.3 per cent.
• Also on Monday, data on credit and debit card lending will be released from the Reserve Bank. Compared with a year ago, the average credit card balance was up by just 0.3 per cent. In smoothed terms (12 month average) the average balance was down by 1.7 per cent.
• On Tuesday, ANZ and Roy Morgan release weekly consumer sentiment survey results with the focus not just on sentiment but also on the gauge of inflation expectations.
• Also on Tuesday, NAB releases its January business survey. There were solid readings posted in the December survey with trading conditions at the best levels in nine years.
• Lending finance figures are also issued on Tuesday, covering new housing, lease, personal and business commitments made in December.
• On Wednesday there is yet another reading on consumer confidence – this time the Westpac/Melbourne Institute survey. For the record, the Reserve Bank looks at both surveys to ensure it is well versed on how consumers are feeling.
• Also on Wednesday the ABS recasts the data on new vehicle sales, expressing the figures in seasonally adjusted and trend terms. Sales were the second highest for any January month in January 2017.
• On Thursday, the ABS issues the January employment report. In December employment rose by 13,500 after rising by 37,100 in November. Full-time jobs rose by 9,300 while part-time jobs rose by 4,200. In fact full-time employment lifted by 95,000 in the December quarter – the best result since the September quarter 2010.
• We expect a more modest 5,000 lift in jobs in January with the jobless rate unchanged at 5.8 per cent.
Overseas: Famine to feast in the US
• There are ‘top shelf’ US indicators and testimony from the Federal Reserve Chair in the coming week.
• The week kicks off on Tuesday with the Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, to deliver semi-annual testimony on monetary policy. The Fed chief speaks to the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday and then the House Financial Services committee on Wednesday.
• Also the business optimism index from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is released on Tuesday with the producer price index (PPI) or the main measure of business inflation. Excluding food and energy, producer prices are up just 1.6% over the year.
• On Wednesday the consumer price index (CPI) is released alongside retail sales, industrial production, the NAHB housing market index and capital flows data. The core CPI (excludes food and energy) is expected to remain 2.2 per cent higher than a year ago. Non-auto retail sales may have lifted 0.4 per cent in January while production may have eased 0.1 per cent after an out-sized 0.8 per cent gain in December.
• On Thursday, data on building permits and housing starts are released together with the influential Philadelphia Federal Reserve survey. Housing starts soared by over 11 per cent in December but they may have eased by 0.3 per cent in January. Also on Thursday the weekly data on new claims for unemployment insurance is issued.
• On Friday the leading index for January is released with a 0.4 per cent lift tipped after the solid 0.5 per cent increase in December.
• In China the National Bureau of Statistics releases inflation data on Tuesday. Currently producer prices are up 5.5 per cent on the year with consumer prices up 2.1 per cent.
Sharemarkets, interest rates, exchange rates and commodities
• The Australian profit reporting season lifts into top gear in the coming week. On Monday, earnings are scheduled to be released by Newcrest, Ansell, Bendigo & Adelaide Bank, Aurizon, Amcor and JB Hi-Fi.
• On Tuesday earnings announcements are expected from Challenger, Cochlear, GPT Group and Treasury Wine Estates.
• Amongst those expected to report earnings on Wednesday are A2 Milk, Boral, CSL, Commonwealth Bank, Computershare, Domino’s Pizza, Dexus Property, Inghams, Wesfarmers and Sonic Healthcare.
• On Thursday, a raft of companies are expected to issue results including: Goodman Group, Mirvac, Origin Energy Telstra, Tatts Group, Star Entertainment, Sydney Airport, South32, Spark New Zealand, IPH Limited, Bapcor, Evolution Mining and Mineral Resources.
• On Friday, ASX Group is amongst those listed to issue earnings with Duet, Mantra, Link and Abacus. 

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