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CommSec Chief Economist Craig James previews the economic data scheduled for the week ahead including the latest Wage Price Index, the October employment report and Chinese retail sales and industrial production. 
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Australia: Job market in spotlight
• The job market dominates proceedings in the coming week. The wage price index is released on Wednesday while the October monthly data on the labour force – employment and unemployment – is issued on Thursday.
• The week kicks off on Monday in Australia when the Reserve Bank releases September data on credit and debit card lending. Unfortunately there have been revisions to data, making it more difficult to uncover trends. But the evidence still seems to show that credit and debit cards are being actively used although account holders are keen to pay off outstanding credit card debt by the due date.
• On Tuesday, the National Australia Bank releases the October business survey. In September the index of business confidence lifted by 6.2 points while business conditions rose just under 1 point to a 3-month high. Notably the employment index posted a solid gain in the month.
• The regular weekly reading on consumer confidence is published by ANZ and Roy Morgan also on Tuesday. The key issues at present are petrol and home prices together with the volatility on the sharemarket. Overall, Aussie consumers seem to be weathering the choppy conditions.
• Also released on Tuesday is the broader array of lending figures. The data on home loans is provided, but together with business, lease and personal loans.
• In August, total new lending commitments (housing, personal, commercial and lease finance) fell by 1.5 per cent to $69.3 billion. And commitments were down by 4.2 per cent on the year. In trend terms, lending rose for the fourth month, up by 0.4 per cent.
• Of note, loans to buy new or used cars fell to 25-month lows in rolling annual terms in August.
• On Wednesday, the main gauge of wages in Australia – the wage price index – is released. In the June quarter, wages rose by 0.6 per cent, lifting the annual rate from 2.0 per cent to 2.1 per cent. And including bonuses, wages were up 2.5 per cent on the year.
• Overall we expect the tighter job market to show up in the September quarter with wages up 0.7 per cent in the quarter to stand 2.4 per cent higher for the year.
• Also on Wednesday Westpac and the Melbourne Institute release the November monthly reading on consumer confidence. This indicator is more of a check on the weekly consumer confidence survey.
• On Thursday, the October labour force data is released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). In September, jobs rose by just 5,600 but the unemployment rate hit a 6-year low of 5.0 per cent. Based on an array of solid survey evidence, we tip a 25,000 lift in jobs in October, leaving the jobless rate unchanged at 5.0 per cent.
• Also on Thursday Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Guy Debelle delivers a speech.
• On Friday the ABS releases the State Accounts – data that reveals how fast the state and territory economies grew over the past financial year.
Activity data in focus in the US and China
• In the US and China in the coming week, the ‘top shelf’ indicators of retail sales and industrial production are released.
• The week kicks off on Monday in China, with the Association of Automobile Manufacturers scheduled to release October sales figures. Vehicle sales are down almost 12 per cent on a year ago.
• And on Tuesday in China, the scheduled data are the lending and money supply indicators for October. Loans are growing at a solid 13.2 per cent annual rate.
• In the US, the week begins on Tuesday. The National Federation of Independent Business releases the Small Business Optimism index. In September the index fell from a record high of 108.8 to 107.9. The usual weekly data on chain store sales is also released on Tuesday with the October monthly federal budget figures.
• Also on Wednesday in the US, the October inflation data – the Consumer Price Index – will be issued. Inflation is creeping, not leaping higher. In fact the annual core rate (excludes food and energy) may have remained at 2.2 per cent in the month.
• On Wednesday in China and on Thursday in the US, retail sales data for October will be issued. There is also additional data in China in the shape of industrial production and investment figures. In the US, retail sales is growing at a 4.7 per cent annual rate. In China, sales growth is almost double the US with sales up 9.2 per cent over the past year.
• Also on Thursday in the US is data on export and import prices and two key manufacturing surveys – the Empire State and Philadelphia Federal Reserve surveys. The usual weekly data on claims for unemployment insurance is also expected.
• Data on home prices is slated for release in China on Thursday.
• On Friday in the US, data on industrial production is issued together with capital flows data. Economists expect a 0.2 per cent lift in October production.

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