Investor Signposts: August 27, 2018

A quiet week coming up in Australia, but plenty happening in the US.

Australia: Business investment, credit growth and housing data in focus

  • A relatively quiet week beckons in terms of new economic data. Private sector credit, building approvals and business investment are the indicators of most interest.
  • The week kicks off on Tuesday in Australia, when the latest weekly reading on consumer confidence is issued by Roy Morgan and ANZ.
  • On Wednesday, the Housing Industry Association's survey of home builders in the five largest states is scheduled for release. New home sales rose by 2.2 per cent in June 2018 – the first increase this year – reflecting changing conditions in the housing market.
  • On Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the Private Capital Expenditure publication (essentially business investment figures) for the June quarter.
  • New business investment (spending on buildings and equipment) rose by 0.4 per cent in the March quarter, to be up 3.7 per cent over the year – just shy of the best growth in five years.
  • Also, the second estimate of investment in 2018/19 was reported at $87.74 billion, 1.4 per cent higher than the second estimate for 2017/18. Expected investment by non-mining and manufacturing firms has never been higher.
  • Also on Thursday, local council building approvals data for July is issued. Council approvals to build new homes rose by 6.4 per cent in June – the largest increase since January. And approvals were up 1.6 per cent on the year. Greater Brisbane house approvals rose to a record rolling annual total of 14,715 over the year to June.
  • On Friday, the Reserve Bank releases the monthly Financial Aggregates publication, a report which includes the private sector credit measure (effectively ‘loans outstanding') for July.
  • Credit growth has slowed to four-year lows, led by the slowest ever growth in housing finance to investors. Tighter bank lending standards and falling home prices in Sydney and Melbourne are behind the weakness.

Overseas: US economic growth and inflation data in focus after Jackson Hole

  • Following the Jackson Hole central bankers annual economic policy symposium over the weekend, US economic growth, trade, inflation, consumer confidence and business surveys will be in focus during the week.
  • The week kicks off on Monday in China, when industrial profits are scheduled to be released.
  • Also on Monday in the US, business surveys from the Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago and Dallas are due.
  • On Tuesday, the ‘advance' July data on trade in goods is released. A deficit of US$68.3 billion was posted in June. The Trump Administration is keen on reducing big trade deficits maintained with other countries.
  • Also on Tuesday, the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price gauge is released, with annual growth running at a healthy 6.5 per cent. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond Manufacturing Survey and the regular weekly data on chain store sales are also issued.
  • On Wednesday, the second estimate of economic growth for the June quarter is released. GDP growth is expected to be revised down slightly to 4.0 per cent, but remain at the best level in four years.
  • Also on Wednesday in the US, the July index of contract signings to purchase previously-owned homes (pending sales) is issued, with weekly data on new mortgage applications.
  • On Thursday, the personal income and spending report is scheduled. The Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation – the core personal consumption expenditure deflator – will be keenly observed. The deflator is expected to increase by 0.1 per cent in July.
  • Also on Thursday, the weekly data on new claims for unemployment insurance is also issued.
  • On Friday in the US, the Chicago purchasing managers index for August is released, along with the final August reading on consumer confidence from the University of Michigan. The preliminary reading fell to an 11-month low.

Financial markets

  • The earnings season (profit-reporting season) comes to an end in the coming week. Results so far have been broadly positive and stable.  Among the Aussie companies expected to report earnings:
  • On Monday: AUB Group, Japara Healthcare, Reliance Worldwide and Spark Infrastructure.
  • On Tuesday: Sirtex Medical, Accent Group, Northern Star Resources, Austal and Caltex Australia.
  • On Wednesday: Boral, Autosports Group, Cabcharge Australia, Independence Group, Regis Resources, Oneview Healthcare, SpeedCast International, Virgin Australia and Westfield Unibail-Rodamco.
  • On Thursday: Atlas Arteria, Gateway Lifetsyle Group, Galaxy Resources, Perpetual, Perseus Mining, Ramsay Health Care and Sandfire Resources.
  • On Friday: GTN, Harvey Norman, Metals X, NEXTDC, Orocobre and Sino Gas & Energy.

Ryan Felsman is a Senior Economist at CommSec


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