THE WEEK AHEAD

The Reserve Bank will make its decision on the official cash rate for May, while National Australia Bank will report its half-year earnings.

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s May board meeting will be the focus of a very busy week on the local front.

Elsewhere, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will lift the lid on the latest reads on unemployment and Australia’s trade balance.

In the corporate sphere, the last of the big four banks’ half-yearly earnings reports will be closely watched alongside a slew of resources AGMs.

While offshore, the latest reads on China’s trade balance and inflation will garner most attention.

Reserve Bank

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s interest rate decision will be the focus of the entire week, with all eyes waiting to see if the central bank will make a move on the official cash rate for the first time this year.

Tuesday will see the Reserve Bank board meet in Sydney, with the cash rate decision and accompanying statement on monetary policy due at 1430 AEST.

Economists are widely expecting the official cash rate will be left on hold at 3 per cent.

On Friday, the Reserve Bank will release its quarterly statement on monetary policy. Of particular interest will be any commentary on the state of the Australian dollar and its continuing impact on specific industries

Local data

The focus on local data will be the latest read on unemployment, however a private inflation survey and March’s retail sales will also be of interest.

On Monday, the TD-Melbourne Institute inflation gauge for April is due, as is the ANZ job advertisements survey for the month.

Elsewhere, the ABS will release the March read on retail sales, which economists expect to show a 0.5 per cent lift.

Tuesday will bring with it the April read on Australia’s trade balance. Economists expect the trade balance will rebound from the $178 million deficit in February to a surplus of $300 million.

Elsewhere, the Australian Industry Group releases its performance of construction index for April, and Victoria will unveil its state budget for 2013-14.

On Thursday, the ABS will lift the lid on April’s labour force data. Economists are expecting the unemployment rate to drop from 5.6 per cent to 5.5 per cent, while total employment is tipped to have increased by 15,000 jobs.

Corporate

The last of the big four banks’ half-yearly results and a string of high-profile AGMs in the resources sector will be the focus for company news this week.

On Tuesday, Coca-Cola Amatil will hold its annual general meeting.

Wednesday will bring to a close the period of exclusivity for Paul Naude and his Sycamore consortium with regards to its takeover proposal for Billabong International.

Elsewhere, Bank of Queensland will trade ex-dividend, while Sigma Pharmaceuticals will convene its annual general meeting.

Thursday unleashes a cluster of important company news, starting with National Australia Bank’s first-half earnings report. Bloomberg is tipping the lender’s net adjusted income will lift 6.5 per cent, year-on-year, to $5.789 billion.

Elsewhere, Rio Tinto, AMP, Santos and Caltex will all convene their 2013 annual general meetings in Sydney.

On Friday, Oil Search will hold its 2013 AGM in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Offshore

China’s latest trade balance and inflation reads will be the main focus, while the Bank of England’s May rates decision will also garner some attention.

On Monday, the HSBC services purchasing managers’ index is due out of China, while US consumer credit for March is also expected.

Tuesday will see China unveil its trade balance for April. Bloomberg expects a rebound from the $US880 million deficit recorded in March to a surplus of $US23 billion.

On Wednesday consumer credit data for March is due out of the US, with Bloomberg forecasting a final read of $US16 billion.

On Thursday, the latest read on inflation out of China is expected in the form of the producer price index and consumer price index for April. Bloomberg is expecting the PPI to fall 2 per cent and the CPI to increase 2.2 per cent in the month.

Elsewhere, the Bank of England will hand down its rates decision for May. Bloomberg expects the central bank will hold the official cash rate steady at 0.5 per cent.

On Friday, US wholesale inventories for March are due out, with Bloomberg tipping a lift of 0.4 per cent in the month.

Elsewhere, the UK’s total trade balance for March will be released and Japan will lift the lid on its current account balance for the month.

Wrapping up

On Tuesday, shadow assistant treasurer Matthias Cormann will address a Committee for the Economic Development of Australia lunch in Sydney entitled Superannuation: system architecture and policy instruments. BT Financial Group chief executive Brad Cooper will also present.

Elsewhere, Orica Australia managing director Ian Smith will address an American Chamber of Commerce  in Australia luncheon.

Wednesday will see shadow education minister Christopher Pyne address a CEDA lunch event in Adelaide discussing the future of education.

Elsewhere, chair of Universities Australia Professor Sandra Harding will address the National Press Club of Australia on the future of Australian universities.

In Sydney, Commonwealth Bank chief marketing officer Andrew Lark and chief information officer Michael Harte will address a Trans-Tasman Business Circle event and Sonic Healthcare chief executive Colin Goldschmidt will address an American Chamber of Commerce  in Australia luncheon.

Thursday will see John Brumby, chair of the COAG Reform Council,  deliver his first address to New South Wales CEDA members at a lunch in Sydney titled COAG - Australia's most powerful vehicle for reform.

In New Zealand, Fonterra Co-operative Group chief financial officer Jonathon Mason will speak at a Trans-Tasman Business Circle event.