Australia: A quiet week in prospect

  • Surveys of business and consumer confidence are the highlights in Australia in the coming week.
  • On Monday, the usual weekly data on petrol prices will be released. Also Datium Insights publishes the latest weekly figures on used car prices and the movement in sales.
  • On Tuesday, ANZ and Roy Morgan release the weekly consumer sentiment gauge. And weekly Commonwealth Bank (CBA) household credit and debit card spending data is scheduled. Focus will be on Western Australia given the 5-day virus lockdown.
  • Also on Tuesday, the National Australia Bank (NAB) issues the January business survey with readings on confidence and activity levels. In December, the NAB business confidence index fell from a 31-month high of +12.7 points to +4.5 points. But the business conditions index lifted from +7.0 points to a 28-month high of +14.2 points. The employment conditions sub-index rose from ‑4.2 points to a 27-month high of 9.3 points.
  • On Wednesday, Westpac and the Melbourne Institute release the February consumer confidence report. In January the index eased by 4.5 per cent to 107.0 points after hitting a decade high of 112.0 points in December (highest since October 2010). A reading above 100 points denotes optimism. The index is up 41.5 per cent after hitting 29-year lows of 75.6 points in April, 2020.
  • Also on Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics issues the regional or ‘small area’ data on building approvals for December. This data will show the regions that will likely be strongest for home building activity over the first half of 2021.

Overseas: US and China inflation in focus

  • In the coming week inflation data is released in the US and China. The Chinese Lunar New Year holiday starts on Thursday February 11 with financial markets closed.
  • The week kicks off in the US on Monday when the Federal Reserve Bank of New York releases the January data on consumer inflation expectations.
  • In the US on Tuesday, the regular weekly Johnson Redbook chain store sales data is released. In addition, the small business optimism index is issued by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the JOLTS survey of job openings is released.
  • The NFIB small business optimism index in fell to 95.6 in December, the lowest since May. And job openings fell by 105,000 in November to 6.527 million.
  • On Wednesday in China, the January data on consumer and producer prices is issued. Consumer prices are up just 0.2 per cent over the year while producer prices are down by 0.4 per cent.
  • On Wednesday in the US, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) issues weekly data on mortgage applications while the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, delivers a speech. In terms of economic data, the Consumer Price Index for January is issued. The annual core inflation rate (excludes food and energy) stands at 1.6 per cent.
  • Also on Wednesday, data on wholesale inventories is released with the monthly budget statement for January. Separately, the Budget Plan for the 2021 fiscal year is expected.
  • For the first three months of the 2021 fiscal year (year beginning October), the US federal deficit was a record-breaking US$573 billion, up over 60 per cent on a year ago.
  • On Thursday in the US, the regular weekly data on claims for unemployment insurance is issued. In the week to January 23, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell by 67,000 to 847,000 after falling by 13,000 in the previous week.
  • On Friday, the University of Michigan issues its preliminary survey estimates for consumer sentiment in February. In January, the consumer sentiment index was revised lower to 79 from a preliminary reading of 79.2 and below 80.7 in December. Before the pandemic, the index stood at 101.0.
  • On Saturday February 13, Chinese data on new vehicle sales for the month of January is issued. Currently sales are up 6.4 per cent on the year.

Australian profit-reporting season

  • ASX-listed companies expected to report over the week include (dates subject to change):
  • Monday: Argo Investments Ltd
  • Tuesday: Emeco Holdings Ltd; Shopping Centres Australasia; Suncorp Group Ltd; Boral Ltd; Dexus; Challenger Ltd; James Hardie
  • Wednesday: Insurance Australia Group Ltd; Commonwealth Bank; Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield
  • Thursday: AMP Ltd; ASX Ltd; Bailador Technology Ltd; Transurban Group; Downer EDI Ltd; Magellan Financial Group Ltd; Telstra Corp Ltd; AGL Energy Ltd;  Newcrest Mining Ltd; Charter Hall; GUD Holdings
  • Friday: Mirvac Group; Computershare; Baby Bunting

Published by Craig James, Chief Economist, CommSec