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Australia: Monthly job statistics in focus

  • In a rare tame week for key economic data it is Thursday’s job figures that clearly stands out.
  • But the week kicks off on Monday when the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) issues provisional data on overseas travel during August. Borders are closed except for exceptional circumstances.
  • Also on Monday, the ABS releases one of its new publications. The Australian Statistician’s analytical series will discuss: “A series of unprecedented events – the June quarter, 2020.”
  • On Tuesday, the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) releases its weekly data on credit and debit card spending and ANZ-Roy Morgan issues weekly consumer sentiment data. Spending remains firm outside Victoria and confidence levels have lifted for three out of the past four weeks.
  • Also on Tuesday, CBA releases its August Household Spending Intentions report and the ABS issues the June quarter figures on residential property prices. Given that August data on home prices has already been issued by CoreLogic, the ABS data is largely of historical interest. But the report also gives some guide on wealth contained in established homes.
  • Also on Tuesday, the Reserve Bank issues minutes of the Board meeting held on September 1. At that meeting the Board decided to extend and enhance the Term Funding facility.
  • On Thursday the week’s stand-out data is released – the August Labour Force figures. Understandably the data has proved volatile, affected by community and business lockdowns and the JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs.
  • In July, employment rose by 114,700 in July after rising by a record 228,400 jobs in June. The unemployment rate rose from 7.4 per cent to 7.5 per cent – the highest jobless rate in 22 years.
  • Also on Thursday the Reserve Bank issues the latest quarterly Bulletin – a publication that includes timely articles on economic and financial issues. And a speech is delivered by Marion Kohler, Head of the Reserve Bank’s Domestic Markets Department, at the Australian Financial Markets Association (AFMA) conference.

Overseas: ‘Top shelf’ US and Chinese data. US Federal Reserve meeting

  • A big week for key economic data in the US and China. And the US Federal Reserve hands down its monetary policy decision.
  • The week kicks off on Monday in China with the release of the house price index, new vehicle sales data and foreign direct investment data. Home prices are up 4.8 per cent on the year.
  • In the US on Monday, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York releases details of its consumer price expectations survey.
  • On Tuesday in China the monthly ‘download’ of key monthly statistics occurs – data on retail sales, production and investment are released for August. The data is crucial in showing how the economic recovery is proceeding.
  • On Tuesday in the US, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) begins a two-day meeting (decision handed down 4am AEST on Thursday morning). Investors will be watching for any comments on “average inflation” targeting and updated forward rate guidance. And the Fed will issue the latest economic projections followed by Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference.
  • Also on Tuesday in the US, data on industrial production and international trade prices (exports and imports) are released. The influential Empire State manufacturing index is also issued with weekly data on chain store sales and capital flows. Industrial production rose 3 per cent in July but it was still down 8.2 per cent on the year.
  • On Wednesday in the US, retail sales data is issued with business inventories, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) sentiment index and the weekly Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) mortgage applications reports. Retail sales rose 1.2 per cent in July to be up 2.7 per cent on the year.
  • On Thursday in the US, data on building permits (applications) and housing starts is issued with the release of weekly claims for unemployment benefits (initial jobless claims). Housing starts rose 22.6 per cent in July – a 5-month high. Permits were up 17.9 per cent to 6-month highs.
  • On Friday in the US, the June quarter current account figures are issued with the leading index from the Conference Board and the early September data on consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan.

Published by Craig James, Chief Economist, CommSec