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Investor Signposts 17 Dec 18: Mid-Year Review & jobs are the highlights
CommSec Chief Economist Craig James previews the economic data scheduled for the fortnight ahead including the US Federal Reserve interest rates decision and the November employment numbers. 
Watch Video:  https://youtu.be/vQkmsvpcqZk

Australia: Mid-Year Review & jobs are the highlights
• The long wind-down to Christmas and the New Year is underway. And while there are still a few statistical hurdles to clear before Christmas, the Christmas-New Year period is very quiet.
• On Monday the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the Overseas Arrivals & Departures publication – timely considering so many people jet off for holidays at this time of year.
• The Federal Government will also hand down its Mid-Year Review on Monday.
• On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank releases the minutes of the last Board meeting. No new insights are expected. And on the same day ANZ and Roy Morgan release the weekly consumer confidence data.
• On Thursday the ABS releases the June quarter population estimates together with the November labour market data. Annual population growth probably held near 1.5 per cent – one of the fastest rates across advanced nations. Meanwhile probably near 20,000 jobs were created in November, leaving the jobless rate near a 6-year low of 5.0 per cent.
• Also on Thursday, Commonwealth Bank releases its Business Sales Indicator.
• On Friday the ABS releases yet more jobs data – this time the more detailed estimates for November including the figures on employment by industry.
• Looking further out, the Reserve Bank releases the Private Sector Credit data on New Year’s Eve. On Wednesday January 2 CoreLogic will release December data on home prices. The CBA manufacturing purchasing manager’s index is released also on January 2 with the services gauge on January 4.
Overseas: Federal Reserve rate decision in focus
• There is no shortage of economic data and events in the US and China over the next three weeks.
• In China, the highlights are: House prices (December 15); Industrial profits (December 27); the ‘official’ manufacturing and services purchasing managers indexes (December 31); Caixin manufacturing (January 2); Caixin services (January 4).
• In the US on Monday (December 17) the influential Empire State manufacturing index is released with the NAHB housing market index and capital flows data.
• On Tuesday the housing starts and building permits data are issued with weekly chain store sales.
• The US Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meet over Tuesday and Wednesday with the decision announced on Thursday morning Sydney time at 6am. While a rate hike is likely, it is by no means assured. More Federal Reserve officials have indicated that the federal funds rate is near “neutral”.
• On Thursday, data on existing home sales is issued with the weekly data on unemployment insurance claims.
• And then there is ‘Super Friday’. It appears that all data issuers want to clear the decks before Christmas and the end of the year. Included on Friday December 21: Economic growth (GDP); Personal income & spending; Durable goods orders; Chicago Federal Reserve national activity index; Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing index; S&P/Case Shiller home price index; Consumer sentiment; Leading index; and the Kansas Federal Reserve manufacturing index.
• The following week, on Thursday December 27, FHFA home prices, new home sales, consumer confidence and the Richmond Federal Reserve index are released with weekly data on unemployment insurance claims. While on Friday the goods trade balance is issued with the Chicago purchasing manager’s index.
• The New Year datafest begins on Thursday January 3, with the ISM manufacturing index released with construction spending, ADP employment, Challenger job cuts and new vehicle sales. The US economy continues to perform well. At 59.3, the ISM index is well above the 50 reading that separates expansion from contraction. In November new vehicle sales were the second highest recorded in the past year.
• And on Friday January 4, the ISM services index is released with the non-farm payrolls (employment) data, ADP employment and Challenger job cuts. Just like the manufacturing gauge, the services index indicates solid activity given the reading stands at 60.7. The jobless rate remains at a 49-year low of 3.7 per cent but annual wage growth is still relatively modest at 3.1 per cent.

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