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Australia: Jobs and wealth in focus

  • The coming week features a ‘hodge-podge’ of economic data releases include data on household wealth and jobs by industry.
  • The week kicks off on Monday with the usual weekly updates on petrol prices (from Australian Institute of Petroleum) and the used car market (from Datium insights).
  • On Tuesday, Commonwealth Bank (CBA) Group economists release the weekly data on credit and debit card spending. Also ANZ-Roy Morgan issue the weekly consumer sentiment index.
  • On Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases International Merchandise Trade (preliminary February data). The preliminary trade data is not seasonally adjusted. But the data will confirm the strong shape of our trade position. In the year to January the goods trade surplus (exports less imports) was $75.2 billion, up from $69.8 billion in December but off the record high of $87.3 billion in the year to April 2020.
  • Also on Wednesday, IHS Markit will release the ‘flash’ (or preliminary) March survey results of purchasing managers. The data gives a guide to conditions in manufacturing and services sectors. And skilled internet job vacancies are issued for February. The preliminary release saw ads at 9-year highs.
  • On Thursday, the ABS releases three more publications. The first provides more detail on the labour force in February including quarterly estimates of employment by industry.
  • The second publication from the ABS is its latest survey of business: Business Conditions & Sentiment for March.
  • And the third ABS report is the December quarter National Accounts: Finance and Wealth The wealth data should confirm the strong position of household finances. In the September quarter, total household wealth (net worth) rose by 1.7 per cent to a record high $11,351.1 billion to be up 3.5 per cent on a year ago.

Overseas: Focus on US housing activity

  • In the coming week, there is a paucity of Chinese economic data releases. In the United States, there are a number of readings of housing activity.
  • The week kicks-off on Monday in China with the monthly decision on the loan prime rate. The 1-year rate stands at 3.85 per cent and the 5-year rate stands at 4.65 per cent.
  • On Monday in the US, February data on existing home sales is due together with the national activity index from the Chicago Federal Reserve.
  • On Tuesday, the data docket includes new home sales, the usual weekly data chain store sales and the December quarter current account – the broadest trade measure.
  • Also on Tuesday, the Richmond Federal Reserve releases the details of its closely-watched survey of the manufacturing sector.
  • On Wednesday in the US, the February data on durable goods orders is issued. A ‘durable’ good is any good considered to have a work life of more than three years such as machinery and equipment. As such, the data can provide insights on business investment.
  • In January, durable goods orders rose by 3.4 per cent – the biggest gain in six months and the ninth straight monthly rise.
  • Also on Wednesday in the US the weekly data on mortgage applications is released with the ‘flash’ March results of surveys of purchasing managers. The equivalent ‘flash’ readings are also issued in a raft of other countries.
  • On Thursday, the final print of the December quarter economic growth – as measured by GDP – figures is obtained. The usual weekly data on new claims for unemployment insurance (jobless claims) is issued.
  • And on Friday in the US, data on personal income & spending is released with international trade in goods and the preliminary March survey of consumer sentiment.
  • In addition to readings on income and spending, the personal finance data includes a key price or inflation estimate – the personal consumption expenditure deflator (PCE deflator). With the global focus on inflation, this data takes on additional importance.
  • In China on Saturday the February data on industrial profits is released. Profits are up 4.1 per cent on the year.

Published by Craig James, Chief Economist, CommSec