Investor Signposts 10 Dec 18: Consumer and business confidence surveys in focus
CommSec Senior Economist Ryan Felsman previews the economic data scheduled for the week ahead including consumer and business surveys and housing and wealth data.
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Australia: Consumer and business confidence surveys in focus
• The year begins to wind down with consumer and business surveys complemented by housing and wealth data. The Reserve Bank (RBA) releases its quarterly Bulletin and speeches are made by Assistant Governor (Financial Markets) Christopher Kent and Marion Kohler, Head of Domestic Markets Department.
• The week kicks off on Monday when the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases data on housing finance. Investor lending continues to decline due to weakening demand for homes (and falling home prices) in Sydney and Melbourne following greater regulatory oversight of bank lending practices. But the value of owner-occupier home lending is forecast to rebound by 3 per cent in October, supported a pick-up in lending to first home buyers.
• Also on Monday, RBA Assistant Governor (Financial Markets) Christopher Kent speaks about “US Monetary Policy and Australian Financial Conditions” at the Bloomberg event in Sydney.
• On Tuesday, the ABS releases its publication Residential Property Price Indexes. The data is relatively “old”, focusing on the three-month period to September 30. Apart from home prices there is other data covering the average value of homes and changes in the number of homes in each state.
• Also on Tuesday, the regular weekly reading on consumer confidence is published by ANZ and Roy Morgan. And NAB releases the November business survey. The NAB business conditions index eased from +14 points to +12 points in October. Business confidence fell from +6 points to +4 points.
• On Wednesday broader lending figures are released. The data on home loans is provided, but together with business, lease and personal loans. Total new lending commitments (housing, personal, commercial and lease finance) rose by 3.6 per cent in September to a 10-month high of $71.8 billion.
• Also on Wednesday Westpac and the Melbourne Institute release the December monthly reading on consumer confidence. The index rose by 2.8 per cent in November. Falling petrol prices should boost sentiment. And the Reserve Bank releases October data on credit and debit card lending.
• On Thursday the ABS releases the Finance & Wealth publication, which contains the most complete figures on household finances. Total household wealth (net worth) rose by 1.0 per cent to $10,357.5 billion at the end of June 2018. In per capita terms, wealth rose from $411,821 to $414,463 in the June quarter.
• Also on Thursday the Reserve Bank’s Marion Kohler, Head of Domestic Markets Department, speaks at the 31st Australasian Finance and Banking conference, Sydney. The Bank’s quarterly Bulletin is also issued.
• On Friday, the CBA releases its November ‘flash’ purchasing manager’s manufacturing and services surveys.
Overseas: China monthly economic data steals the limelight from US inflation and retail sales
• China releases inflation, retail sales, industrial production, investment and house price data over the week. In the US, inflation, industrial production and retail sales data will be in focus.
• The data week kicks off on Sunday when China releases its producer and consumer prices data. Business inflation has decelerated for four consecutive months due to weakening domestic demand and trade concerns.  
• On Monday in the US, the Labor Department releases its JOLTS survey for October. Job openings edged lower in September to just over 7 million from a record 7.3 million in August.
• The usual weekly data on US chain store sales is released on Tuesday along with producer prices and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism index. Producer prices rose by 0.6 per cent in October – the most in six years – as the cost of goods and services lifted. 
• On Wednesday in the US, the regular weekly data on mortgage applications is released together with inflation data. Headline consumer prices rose by the most in nine months in October. Increases in the cost of gasoline and rents pointed to steadily rising inflation that likely will keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates again on December 19.
• Also on Wednesday the US Treasury releases the November update on the government’s fiscal position. The US budget deficit likely widened to US$100 billion in October, up from US$63 billion a year ago.
• On Thursday the weekly data on new claims for unemployment insurance and export/import prices data are issued for November.
• On Friday in China, monthly retail sales, industrial production and investment data are all scheduled. Investment is expected to continue lifting on the back of government stimulus. Retail sales are also forecast to rebound, supported by tax cut plans. 
• Also on Friday in the US, industrial production and retail sales data are issued.
• And Markit’s ‘flash’ purchasing managers’ indexes will be released globally. Manufacturing gauges have eased recently.
• On Saturday, China house prices are scheduled for release. Annual house prices were up by 8.6 per cent in October.

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