Investor Signposts: August 13, 2018

Wages data leads the way in Australia.

Australia: The wait for wages is over

  • The release of the June quarter Wage Price Index dominates the local agenda in the coming week. The semi-annual update on average weekly earnings will also be keenly observed, together with the July jobs report.
  • The week kicks off on Monday, with the Reserve Bank estimates of credit and debit card lending.
  • On Tuesday, the NAB business survey is issued. Business confidence fell to its lowest level in 20 months in June. However, business conditions are just below the best levels on record, supported by the lower Aussie dollar, with profits near all-time highs.   
  • Also on Tuesday, the latest weekly reading on consumer confidence is issued by Roy Morgan and ANZ.
  • On Wednesday, arguably the most important data release for the inflation and interest rate outlook is scheduled – the wage price index (WPI). The WPI rose by 0.5 per cent in the March quarter. Annual wage growth remained steady at 2.1 per cent. Wages including bonuses rose to a three-year-high of 2.7 per cent over the year to March. An increase in the minimum wage and new Enterprise Bargaining Agreements are expected to push wages up by around 0.6 per cent during the quarter.
  • Also on Wednesday, the monthly Westpac and Melbourne Institute consumer confidence reading is released. The gauge rose by 3.9 per cent to 106.1 in July – the highest level in over four years – with improving job security a key influence.
  • On Thursday, the ABS issues the July employment report. The unemployment rate is at five and a half-year-lows of 5.37 per cent, with a blockbuster 50,900 jobs created in June. Strong population growth and a robust labour market have pushed the participation rate to near record-highs of 65.7 per cent. CommSec tips an increase in total jobs of around 10,000 during the month.
  • The average weekly earnings data is released every six months by the ABS. The figures – also released on Thursday – are important as they provide dollar estimates of wages in the economy across states and industries.
  • On Friday, the Reserve Bank Assistant Governor (Economic), Luci Ellis, delivers a speech at the Sir Leslie Melville Lecture Series Event in Canberra.

Overseas: China monthly activity data in focus

  • Over the coming week, Chinese investment, production, retail sales and house price data are all issued. In the US, retail spending, housing, industrial production, business and consumer activity gauges will be in focus.
  • The week kicks off on Tuesday, when China issues its monthly retail sales, investment and production activity data. During July, the Chinese government announced a “more proactive” fiscal policy stance, pledging to deliver additional tax cuts and quicken the issuance of local governments' special bonds to support infrastructure spending. However, domestic demand was hampered by extensive flooding, and US auto import tariffs took effect on July 6 – likely impacting sales.
  • Also on Tuesday, the US export and import prices, weekly data on chain store sales and the small business sentiment gauge – the NFIB business optimism index – are all released.
  • On Wednesday, China house price data is issued by the National Bureau of Statistics. New house prices rose by 1.1 per cent in June, up from 0.8 per cent in May. It was the strongest growth rate in 21 months.
  • Also on Wednesday in the US, industrial production and retail sales data are issued. Household consumption rose by 4 per cent in the June quarter, boosting overall economic growth to four-year highs of 4.1 per cent. Retail sales and industrial production are both tipped to lift by 0.3 per cent in July. Also, the National Association of Home Builders releases its August survey, with the New York Federal Reserve manufacturing gauge and weekly data on new mortgage applications.
  • On Thursday, US housing starts and building permits data are issued for July. US home building eased to a nine-month low in June, and permits declined for a third successive month amid an acute shortage of homes available for sale. The weekly data on new claims for unemployment insurance is also issued, together with the influential Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing gauge.
  • On Friday, the US Conference Board leading economic index and the University of Michigan consumer confidence survey are both released.

Financial markets

Among the Aussie companies expected to report earnings:

  • On Monday: Baby Bunting, Bendigo & Adelaide Bank, Bluescope Steel, Domain and JB Hi-Fi. 
  • On Tuesday: Aurizon, Challenger, Cochlear, GPT Group, SG Fleet Group and Whitehaven Coal.
  • On Wednesday: Aveo, CSL, Dexus, IAG, Iluka Resources, Wesfarmers and Woodside Petroleum.
  • On Thursday: ASX, Computershare, Charter Hall REIT, Downer EDI, Origin Energy, OZ Minerals, SEEK, Sonic Healthcare, Seven West Media, Telstra and Treasury Estate Wines.
  • On Friday: Breville Group, Goodman Group, Infigen Energy, IPH and Primary Health Care.

Ryan Felsman is a Senior Economist at CommSec.

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