Investor Signposts: August 20, 2018

A quiet week in Australia, while the Fed and housing data lead the way in the US.

Australia: Reserve Bank again dominates the calendar

  • A quiet week is on the way in Australia. The Reserve Bank again dominates the calendar of events. In the US, the minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting will be of most interest.
  • The week kicks off on Monday in Australia, when the Commonwealth Bank releases the latest Business Sales Indicator – a measure of economy-wide spending. Recent data has indicated firm growth in sales.
  • Also on Monday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the June data on arrivals and departures – both tourist movements and migration flows. Tourist arrivals rose by 1.4 per cent to 766,300 in May, up from a downwardly-revised 755,800 (previously 756,300) in April.
  • Departures also rose, up by 1.2 per cent in May to a record-high of 938,800, up from an upwardly-revised 927,700 (previously 923,400) in April.
  • China was again the largest source of tourists to Australia – 1,432,600 people came to Australia from China, ahead of the 1,366,500 visitors from New Zealand.
  • On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank releases the minutes of the meeting held on August 7. Much has already been communicated, but analysts will be looking for insights provided by the Bank's liaison program.
  • The Reserve Bank Governor also delivers a speech in Canberra on Tuesday at the breakfast event to launch ASIC's National Financial Capability Strategy 2018.
  • Also on Tuesday, the latest weekly reading on consumer confidence is issued by Roy Morgan and ANZ. Consumers are generally positive, with the strength of the job market a key influence.
  • On Wednesday, the ABS releases building data: Construction Work Done for the June quarter. The estimates on residential building is incorporated in the dwelling investment component of the quarter's economic growth data.
  • Construction work done rose by 0.2 per cent in real (inflation-adjusted) terms in the March quarter – the fifth gain in six quarters. Work done was up 5.0 per cent on a year ago. Residential building rose by 0.4 per cent in the March quarter.
  • Also on Wednesday, the skilled vacancies data is released by the Department of Jobs and Small Business. Job vacancies have fallen for three straight months, suggesting a slowing of the strong job gains. The Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Guy Debelle also delivers a speech at the Economic Society of Australia in Brisbane.
  • On Thursday, the ABS issues the detailed job market estimates for July, including demographic and geographic data.

Overseas: Release of US Federal Reserve meeting minutes

  • In the US, the release of minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting will attract interest, while housing dominates the data docket.
  • The week kicks off on Tuesday, when the usual weekly data on chain store sales is released.
  • On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve releases minutes of the last policy-setting meeting held over July 31/August 1. Analysts will be looking for anything which confirms views that a rate hike will be delivered next meeting.
  • In terms of economic data, existing home sales figures are expected on Wednesday. In June, data showed a 0.6 per cent fall in sales to a 5.38 million annual rate – a five-month low. Home sales still stand 2.2 per cent higher than a year ago.
  • Also on Wednesday in the US, weekly data on new mortgage applications is issued.
  • On Thursday in the US, data on new home sales is released. In June, sales were down by 5.3 per cent to a 631,000 annual rate – an eight-month low. Not only were sales down, but the stock of homes increased, and the average sales price was down on a year earlier. Sales may have lifted 0.6 per cent in July.
  • Also on Thursday, the weekly data on new claims for unemployment insurance is also issued, together with the influential Kansas Federal Reserve manufacturing gauge.
  • The Markit “flash” purchasing manager survey estimates are also issued on Thursday for the US, France, Germany, the Eurozone and Japan.
  • On Friday in the US, the July data on durable goods orders is released – a measure of business investment. Orders rose by 1 per cent in June – led by transport – after two months of declines. In July, economists tip another 1 per cent lift in orders.

Financial markets

  • The peak of the earnings season (profit-reporting season) has arrived.
  • Among the Aussie companies expected to report earnings on Monday are: Woolworths Group, Fortescue Metals Group, Ansell, Beach Energy, Greencross Ltd, NIB.
  • On Tuesday: Oil Search Limited, BHP Billiton Limited, Altium, Healthscope, Super Retail Group.
  • On Wednesday: A2 Milk Company Limited, Seven Group Holdings, Sydney Airport, Newcrest Mining Limited, Adelaide Brighton Limited, LendLease Group, South32 Limited, Ardent Leisure, APA Group, APN, Coca Cola Amatil, Worley Parsons.
  • On Thursday: Qantas Airways Limited, Santos Limited, Qube Holdings Limited, Flight Centre Travel Group, Stockland, Alumina, Webjet, Village Roadshow, South32.
  • On Friday: Medibank Private Limited, Tassal, Sims Metal, Nine Entertainment, Mayne, Brambles, Afterpay.

Craig James is the Chief Economist at CommSec.


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