Investor Signposts 8 Oct 18: Business and consumer confidence in focus.
CommSec Senior Economist Ryan Felsman previews the economic data scheduled for the week ahead including the RBA Financial Stability Review and the consumer sentiment and business confidence surveys. 
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Australia: Business and consumer confidence in focus
• Surveys of business and consumer sentiment are amongst the key indicators to be released in Australia over the week. The Reserve Bank features also in new reports, economic data and speeches.
• The week kicks-off on Monday when ANZ releases September data on job advertisements.
• Job ads fell by 0.6 per cent in August after rising by 1.4 per cent in July. Job ads were up 5.1 per cent on a year ago. The number of jobs advertised (seasonally adjusted) was 177,241 in August, just 0.9 per cent down from the 7-year high of 178,768 set in May.
• On Tuesday, the National Australia Bank releases the September business survey.
• The business confidence index eased from +7.0 points in July to a 25-month low of +4.4 points in August. And the business conditions index rose from +12.6 points in July to a 4-month high of +15.2 points in August.
• The rolling annual average business conditions index was broadly unchanged at +17.1 points, not far from the record high of +17.3 points in June. 
• Also on Tuesday the regular weekly reading on consumer confidence is published by ANZ and Roy Morgan.
• On Wednesday, Westpac and the Melbourne Institute release the monthly variant of consumer confidence using similar questions and survey sample as the weekly survey. In September, consumer sentiment fell 3 per cent to a 10-month low but confidence has lifted since according to the weekly surveys.
• Also on Wednesday the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the June quarter building activity data, including the latest figures on dwelling starts or commencements. Merylin Coombs, Deputy Head of the Reserve Bank Economic Analysis Department, speaks in Broome.
• On Thursday, Luci Ellis, the Assistant Governor (Economic) at the Reserve Bank delivers a speech to the Melbourne Institute 2018 Economic and Social Outlook Conference.
• And on Friday, the Reserve Bank (RBA) releases its bi-annual Financial Stability Review. The RBA also releases data on credit and debit card lending. And the ABS issues the August data on housing finance (new home loans).
• The Reserve Bank should give the financial sector a clean bill of health but discussions about the impact of falling home prices will prove interesting. In terms of credit and debit cards, recent revisions have made the data harder to read, but consumers remain cautious about taking on new debt.
• In terms of home loans, the number of loans (commitments) by home owners (owner-occupiers) rose by 0.4 per cent in July. But loans are down by 6.2 per cent on the year – the biggest fall in 15 months.
Overseas: US inflation indicators dominate attention
• In the US in the coming week the focus is on inflation readings. Meanwhile politically-sensitive trade data is expected in China on Friday together with lending and money supply indicators.
• On Monday in the US the Columbus Day holiday is recognised in some states.
• On Tuesday the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) survey of Business Optimism will be issued together ISD/IPP Economic Optimism index. On the same day, the regular weekly data on chain store sales are also released. The International Monetary Fund will also release new global growth forecasts.
• The Business Optimism index was at record highs in August but the Economic Optimism index was at 3-month lows in September.
• On Wednesday the September data on producer prices is released with the monthly budget statement and wholesale inventories. On the same day the regular weekly data on new mortgage applications is also issued. The core measure of producer prices (excludes food and energy) stands 2.3 per cent higher than a year ago.
• On Thursday in the US the September data on consumer prices is issued with the regular weekly data on new claims for unemployment insurance.
• In August the core measure of consumer prices (excludes food and energy) rose by just 0.1 per cent in the month with the annual rate easing from 2.3 per cent to 2.2 per cent.
• On Friday in the US, the September data on export and import prices is released. And on the same day, the early reading of consumer sentiment for the month of October is also released.
• Export prices are tipped to have lifted by just 0.2 per cent in September with import prices up 0.1 per cent. Both prices are up near 3.6 per cent over the year.
• In China, the week kicks off on Monday with the results of the private sector Caixin purchasing manager’s survey for September. The survey results are released for the services sector as well as a composite indicator covering both the manufacturing and services sectors.
• And on Friday in China, a raft of money supply and lending indicators are set down for release together with new vehicle sales and the politically-sensitive international trade data. Exports are expected to have lifted 10.1 per cent over the year with imports up 18.7 per cent.

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