To say there is a quiet week in prospect for economic data borders on under-statement – certainly a very, very quiet week lies ahead in Australia.

  • In Australia the week kicks off on Monday when Commonwealth Bank releases the business sales indicator – a measure of economy-wide spending derived by looking at credit and debit card transactions across Commonwealth Bank terminals. 
  • On Tuesday, the usual weekly consumer confidence survey data is issued by ANZ and Roy Morgan. Consumers aren’t feeling confident at present because wage growth has slowed and some high-profile living costs like electricity and gas bills have gone up. Interestingly, while consumers are a little downbeat, the latest data shows that people are still spending. In fact real retail trade in the June quarter posted the biggest increase in eight years.
  • Over Tuesday and Wednesday the Australian Bureau of Statistics also releases some additional Census data covering topics such as families with school children and social security.
  • On Thursday the ABS provides more detailed data on the job market in July including regional and demographic group estimates. Recent data shows rising workforce participation for senior Australians while younger Australians prefer more education over getting a job.
  • Also on Thursday the Housing Industry Association releases its State and National Outlooks report (Winter 2017). The Reserve Bank is watching the housing market very closely at present, so any new estimates on where building is headed will be scrutinised.

US housing indicators to watch

  • In the coming week US housing market indicators dominate the schedule of economic data to be released.
  • The week kicks off in the US on Monday, with the release of national activity index for July.
  • In the US on Tuesday, the monthly home price index for June will be released by the Federal Housing Financial Agency. Currently home prices are up by a healthy 6.9 per cent compared with a year earlier.
  • Also on Tuesday the influential Richmond Federal Reserve index is released together with the usual weekly data on chain store sales.
  • On Wednesday, the Markit “flash” survey results for manufacturing and services sectors will be released in the US, Europe and Japan. The data is designed as an “update” on how the key sectors of the economy are travelling.
  • Also on Wednesday in the US is the release of the July new home sales as well as the usual weekly data on mortgage finance – both loans for new home purchases as well as refinancing of existing home loans. In July, new home sales may have lifted from a 610,000 annual rate to 616,000.
  • On Thursday, the weekly figures on claims for unemployment insurance are released together with the existing home sales data and the Kansas City Federal Reserve manufacturing index. Economists expect that existing home sales edged up from a 5.52 million annual rate to 5.53 million in July.
  • On Friday, the July data on durable goods orders is slated for release. “Durable goods” are those with a life of more than three years, including items like cars and aircraft. The data is seen as a measure of business investment. In June durable goods orders rose by an out-sized 6.4 per cent, so a 4 per cent downward correction is tipped in July.
  • The coming week is largely devoid of speeches by Federal Reserve officials although Dallas President Robert Kaplan fronts the lectern on Wednesday. The Jackson Hole symposium of world policymakers begins on Thursday.

Sharemarket, interest rates, currencies & commodities

  • The Australian earnings season hits top speed in the coming week. Amongst companies reporting results:
  • Monday: Beach, Energy; Bellamy, Fortescue, Goodman Group, BlueScope Steel and NIB Holdings.
  • Tuesday: BHP, Ingenia, Monadelphous, Inghams Group, Oil Search, Seven Group and Sydney Airport.
  • Wednesday: A2 Milk, APA Group, Charter Hall, Coca Cola Amatil, Insurance Australia Group, Woolworths, Worley Parsons, Qube, Star Entertainment, Tassal Group and Vocus Group.
  • Thursday: Alumina, Flight Centre, OZ Minerals, Perpetual, Reject Shop, Scentre Group, Santos, MYOB, South32, Sims Metal.
  • Friday: Medibank Private, Qantas, Breville, Costa Group.

Craig James, Chief Economist, CommSec