Australia: Inflation data in focus

· In the coming week, the quarterly inflation data dominates the data docket. Readings include consumer, producer and export/import prices. Much of Australia observes an Anzac Day public holiday on Monday.

· But the week kicks off on Tuesday when CommSec releases the State of States economic performance index. All economies have expanded over the quarter.

· Also on Tuesday, ANZ and Roy Morgan issue the weekly consumer sentiment index. And the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the 2019/20 publications of Government Finance and Taxation Revenue.

· On Wednesday the ABS publishes the March quarter Consumer Price Index (CPI). This is the main inflation measure used by policymakers.

· Commonwealth Bank Group economists expect that the ‘headline’ CPI rose by 1.1 per cent in the quarter. Higher prices for food, petrol, housing costs, pharmaceuticals and education will be offset by weaker clothing prices. If the forecast is correct, the annual growth rate would rise from 0.9 per cent to 1.6 per cent.

· Excluding volatile price components, the trimmed mean measure is tipped to have lifted by 0.6 per cent in the quarter, lifting the annual rate from 1.2 per cent to 1.3 per cent.

· Also on Wednesday, the ABS issues the Weekly Payroll & Jobs report and Preliminary International Trade data.

· There are also two other inflation (or price) measures to be released over the week. On Thursday the ABS releases the International Trade Price Indexes publication (export and import prices). And on Friday the ABS issues the Producer Price Indexes report (business inflation data).

· Other data to watch on Thursday is the Agricultural Census from the ABS.

· And on Friday the ABS releases the Business Conditions & Sentiments report while the Reserve Bank releases the Financial Aggregates. The later includes money supply and private sector credit data (basically loan outstanding).
Overseas: US Federal Reserve policymakers to meet

· There are two highlights in the US in the coming week. The Federal Reserve rates decision is handed down on Wednesday (Thursday morning, Sydney time) and the economic growth figures are released on Thursday.

· The week kicks-off on Monday in the US when the March data on durable goods orders is issued alongside the Dallas Federal Reserve manufacturing figures. Orders for goods that last more than three years (proxy for business investment) may have lifted 2.0 per cent in March.

· On Tuesday in the US, two measures on house prices are released, both for the month of February. The first is from S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller with the other produced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Also on Tuesday the April Conference Board consumer confidence is released with the Richmond Federal Reserve manufacturing index and the regular weekly Johnson Redbook chain store sales figures.

· In China on Tuesday, data on industrial profits is released for March.

· On Tuesday and Wednesday the US Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets to decide monetary settings. The decision is handed down 4am Sydney time on Thursday. No policy changes are expected.

· On Wednesday, the advance international goods trade data is issued with wholesale sales and the weekly mortgage applications data are issued by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

· On Thursday, the ‘advance’ economic growth (GDP) data for the March quarter is issued with pending home sales and the closely-followed weekly data on jobless claims (claims for unemployment benefits).

· On Friday in the US, the personal income/spending data is released with the employment cost index (wages and benefits), Chicago purchasing managers index and consumer sentiment.

· In China on Friday, ‘official’ purchasing managers’ indexes for April are issued.

Financial markets: US corporate reporting season

· Corporate earnings for S&P 500 firms are expected to increase by around 31 per cent in the March quarter compared with the year-ago quarter, according to the latest IBES data from Refinitiv.

· Companies scheduled to report on Monday: Otis Worldwide; Phillips; Tesla.

· On Tuesday: 3M; BP; Corning; Crocs; Eli Lilly; General Electric; Hasbro; JetBlue Airways; Novartis AG; UBS AG; UPS; Advanced Micro Devices; Microsoft; Pinterest; Starbucks; Teradyne; Visa.

· On Wednesday: Automatic Data; Boeing; Carnival; Garmin; Moody’s; Spotify; Shopify; Apple; eBay; Facebook; Ford Motor.

· On Thursday: Altria; Bristol Myers; Caterpillar; Comcast; ConocoPhillips; Domino’s Pizza; Kraft Heinz; MasterCard; McDonald’s; Merck; PG&E; Atlassian; ResMed; Twitter.

· On Friday: AstraZeneca; Chevron; Exxon Mobil.

Published by Craig James, Chief Economist, CommSec