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Investor Signposts 3 Dec 18: A ‘Summer Tsunami’ of local economic indicators
CommSec Chief Economist Craig James previews the economic data scheduled for the week ahead with a ‘Summer Tsunami’ of indicators or events scheduled in the next fortnight.
Watch Video: https://youtu.be/S4tmExB-Fic


Australia: Summer tsunami
• A strange quirk of the statistical calendar is that each change of seasons in Australia is ushered in by a bevy of economic events. And so the ‘Summer Tsunami’, with more than a dozen indicators or events scheduled in the next fortnight.
• The week kicks off on Monday when the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the Business Indicatorspublication for the September quarter. The data on inventories or stocks is a direct input to Wednesday’s economic growth figures.
• The ABS also publishes the building approvals data on Monday – a key leading indicator for home building.
• Also on Monday, both the AiGroup and CommBank release separate survey results on manufacturing activity.
• And CoreLogic publishes the November results for home prices also on Monday. Home prices may have fallen by 0.8 per cent in November with weakness concentrated in Sydney and Melbourne.
• On Tuesday, the regular weekly reading on consumer confidence is published by ANZ and Roy Morgan. And the ABS publishes quarterly data on government spending and the Balance of Payments – the broader data on the trade position.
• The Reserve Bank Board meets on Tuesday but no rate change is expected.
• On Wednesday the ABS releases the National Accounts – containing the key reading of economic growth in the September quarter. The current annual growth rate of 3.4 per cent is well above the 2.75 per cent long-term average.
• Also on Wednesday the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries issues the November new vehicle sales figures. And both AiGroup and CommBank publish their respective purchasing manager survey results for the services sector.
• On Thursday, the ABS releases the International trade data (data on exports and imports) for October. Retail trade data is also issued while Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Debelle delivers a speech.
Overseas: US jobs data in focus. But also the US-China trade war and OPEC meeting
• Ordinarily the US jobs data would hog the limelight in the first week of December. But financial markets will respond to the US-China trade discussions (November 30-December 1), testimony of the US Federal Reserve chair on Wednesday and the OPEC oil ministers meeting on Thursday.
• The data week kicks off on Monday in the US when the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) issues the manufacturing purchasing managers survey. An equivalent survey is released in China by the private sector, Caixin media group.
• Also in the US on Monday, data on construction spending is released with new vehicle sales data. A modest 0.4 per cent lift in construction spending is tipped for October. And vehicle sales were at an 11-month high in October at a 17.57 million annual rate. Investors will be interested as to whether the upward sales trend continued into November.
• The usual weekly data on US chain store sales is released on Tuesday along with the ISM New York index and IBD/TIPP economic optimism gauge.
• On Wednesday in the US, the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, will give testimony of the economic outlook before the congressional Joint Economic Committee. Expect more focus on ‘neutral’ interest rates.
• Also on Wednesday, the ISM issues the services sector purchasing manager’s survey. Little change is expected on the current index of 60.3 – well above the 50 reading that separates expansion from contraction.
• The regular weekly data on mortgage applications is released also on Wednesday with the ADP employment survey, productivity & labor cost data and the Federal Reserve Beige Book.
• The ADP survey is expected to show that 189,000 private sector jobs were created in November. The Beige Book is a summary of conditions in Federal Reserve districts and is an important signpost ahead of the expected rate hike to be delivered on December 19.
• On Thursday in the US, the October data on international trade is issued together with the weekly data on new claims for unemployment insurance, factory orders and the Challenger survey of job cuts.
• Economists expect little improvement in the trade deficit for October, with a deficit near US$54 billion. Interestingly, the Chinese trade data is scheduled to be released on Saturday (December 8). Inflation data follows on Sunday December 9.
• On Friday, the non-farm payrolls (employment) data is issued with the jobless rate, hours worked and average earnings data. A 205,000 lift in jobs is expected.
• Also on Friday in the US, the preliminary December reading of consumer sentiment is issued with consumer credit and wholesale inventories figures.

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