Investor Signposts: September 3, 2018

Lots of data in Australia, while Chinese and US trade data lead the way globally.

Australia: “Spring tsunami”

  • Each change in season is accompanied by a marked increase in the amount of new Australian economic data. As such, the “Spring tsunami” gets underway in the coming week. Around a dozen indicators will be released in the first two weeks of September, with economic growth and the Reserve Bank Board meeting in focus in the coming week.
  • The week kicks-off on Monday, with the release of five economic indicators. Both AiGroup and the Commonwealth Bank issue survey results on manufacturing activity early in the day.
  • Also on Monday, CoreLogic releases the much-anticipated August data on home prices. Based on daily data released so far, home prices have fallen by 0.4 per cent in the five mainland capital cities to stand 2.7 per cent lower than a year ago.
  • ANZ releases the August data on job advertisements on Monday, and the Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the quarterly Business Indicators publication and retail trade data.
  • Job ads rose by 1.5 per cent in July after falling 1.7 per cent in June. Hiring has slowed from the frenetic pace of 2017.
  • The ABS business indicators publication includes data on sales, profits, wages and inventories, so the data is important in rounding out our knowledge of the economy.
  • Also on Monday, retail trade may have lifted by a modest 0.2 per cent in August.
  • On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank Board convenes for what is expected to be an uneventful meeting, with interest rates likely to remain unchanged for a 25th straight month (23rd meeting). In the evening, Governor Philip Lowe speaks in Perth.
  • Also on Tuesday, the weekly consumer confidence, government finance and the quarterly balance of payments data are due for release.
  • On Wednesday, the ABS releases the June quarter estimate of economic growth, as judged by the change in gross domestic product (GDP). There are a number of components of the GDP equation still to be revealed, but on current information, it seems like the economy grew by 0.6-0.8 per cent in the quarter. The Reserve Bank is expecting annualised economic growth to lift to around 3.25 per cent over the coming year. 
  • Also on Wednesday, new car sales data is scheduled. In July, 85,551 new vehicles were sold, down 7.8 per cent over the year. In the twelve months to July, sales totalled 1,187,883 units, up 0.6 per cent on a year ago. Both the AiGroup and the Commonwealth Bank services gauges are issued on Wednesday as well.
  • On Thursday, the ABS releases the July data on exports and imports. The trade surplus rose from $725 million to $1,873 million in June. It was the 11th surplus in 13 months. A July surplus of around $900 million is tipped.
  • On Friday, AiGroup releases its construction industry gauge for August. Also, housing finance data is issued for July. The number of loans (commitments) by home owners (owner-occupiers) fell by 1.1 per cent in June. The total value of new housing commitments fell by 1.6 per cent in June. Investor loans are at five-year lows.

Overseas: US and China trade data; US jobs report take centre stage

  • US and China trade, Caixin's activity gauges in China, and the US jobs report will be in focus during the week.
  • The week kicks off on Monday in China, when Caixin releases its manufacturing survey. Manufacturing activity grew at its slowest pace in eight months in July amid shrinking export orders due to trade tensions with the US.
  • On Tuesday, the ISM manufacturing index is issued in the US. Manufacturing demand is strong, and new orders have increased for 15 successive months, but input and raw materials prices are elevated.
  • Also on Tuesday, the regular weekly data on chain store sales is scheduled, together with the construction spending figures. Spending is expected to have fallen by around 1 per cent in July.
  • On Wednesday, China's Caixin services gauge is released for the month of August. In July, new business growth was the weakest since December 2015, but remained expansionary.
  • Also on Wednesday, weekly data on new mortgage applications, vehicle sales and international trade data are issued in the US. The June trade deficit was the biggest in more than 18 months, as the boost to exports from soybean shipments faded and higher oil prices lifted imports. A deficit of US$46.4 billion is tipped in July.
  • On Thursday, the Challenger job cuts, ADP private sector employment report, factory orders and the weekly data on new claims for unemployment insurance are issued. In June, factory orders lifted by 0.7 per cent, but business spending plans on equipment were not as strong as expected.
  • On Friday, the much-anticipated US non-farm payrolls (jobs) report is issued. In July, 157,000 jobs were created. Economists expect that a further 180,000 jobs were generated in August, but the unemployment rate may have held at 3.9 per cent. Average hourly earnings are tipped to lift by 0.3 per cent in August, with annual growth remaining at 2.8 per cent.
  • On Saturday China's trade data for August is scheduled.

Ryan Felsman is a Senior Economist at CommSec.


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