THE WEEK AHEAD

The Reserve Bank's July board minutes will be closely examined, while BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto production updates are on tap.

A mixed week is ahead in terms of data, with Reserve Bank minutes headlining a sparse line-up of local economic releases, and some key reads expected overseas.

The minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s July board meeting will closely watched by investors and business, while the latest reads on lending finance and car sales will also be of interest.

On the corporate front dual production updates from the major miners – BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto – will be in focus.

Offshore, China’s latest reads on GDP and retail sales will dominate the start of the week, while later the focus will shift to consumer prices and housing starts in the United States.

Reserve Bank

Tuesday will deliver the minutes of the Reserve Bank’s July board meeting.

In this week’s National Australia Bank survey of business confidence and conditions, the lender said it was now expecting a cut to the official cash rate in August. Investors will pore over the minutes seeking any hint that the central bank may be leaning in that direction.

Local data

It's a relatively subdued week ahead locally, after a deluge of private surveys and labour force data this week. The latest reads on lending finance and new vehicle sales will be of most interest.

On Monday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will unveil its latest stats on personal and business lending, through its May lending finance figures.

The latest read on new motor vehicle sales is also due.

Wednesday will bring with it the release of the July Westpac-Melbourne Institute leading index of economic activity.

Elsewhere, the ABS will unveil its building activity read for the first quarter.

Corporate

As August earnings season looms, resources companies begin the deluge of production updates – led this week by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

Monday will see NetComm convene an extraordinary general meeting in Sydney.

On Tuesday, Rio Tinto will lift the lid on its second-quarter sales and production numbers.

Wednesday brings fourth-quarter sales and production figures from BHP Billiton, as well as full-year fiscal results from Pharmaxis.

On Thursday both Woodside Petroleum and Santos will deliver second-quarter sales and production updates.

Offshore

Overseas, the week kicks off with a data haul out of China while the latest reads on consumer prices and housing starts will be of interest in the United States.

Monday will see three releases from China, with the latest reads on GDP, industrial production and retail sales due.

Second-quarter GDP is expected to increase by 1.7 per cent, while industrial production for June is set to lift by 9.1 per cent after a rise of 9.2 per cent the previous month.

Economists expect China’s June retail sales to have increased by 12.9 per cent.

On Tuesday, retail sales for June are set for release in the US, with Bloomberg analysts expecting a slight lift of 0.4 per cent. Business inventories for May are also set to be unveiled, with the consensus forecast for a 0.3 per cent lift.

Wednesday delivers the latest read on consumer prices in America. Bloomberg expects core prices, excluding automotives, in June to have edged up 0.2 per cent. Industrial production figures for the month are also due, with the forecast for a 0.3 per cent uptick.

Thursday brings a trio of key construction data out of the US. Housing starts and building approvals for June are on tap, with Bloomberg analysts tipping a 4.4 per cent lift and 1.5 per cent lift respectively.

The latest read on the National Association of Home Builders housing market index will also be revealed.

In China, property prices for June will be unveiled.

On Friday, the US Federal Reserve will release its latest Beige Book.

Wrapping up

Tuesday will see New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell deliver his state of the state address to a Committee for the Economic Development of Australia luncheon in Sydney.

On Wednesday, Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton will deliver a speech to the National Press Club entitled ‘Voters want better access to health services’.

Thursday will see newly appointed Treasurer Chris Bowen deliver an address to the National Press Club outlining ‘a blueprint for modern Labor’.

In Brisbane, Bank of Queensland chief financial officer Anthony Rose will address a Trans-Tasman Business Circle luncheon.

In Sydney, Kerry Brown, executive director of the China Studies Centre, will deliver an address to CEDA trustees, while Beach Energy managing director Reg Nelson will speak at an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia luncheon.

In Melbourne, Linfox Logistics chief executive officer Michael Byrne will speak at an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia luncheon.

In Adelaide, Wolf Blass, executive chairman of the Wolf Blass group of companies and ambassador for the Australian wine industry abroad, will address an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia Deloitte business luncheon.

On Friday, Orica chairman Peter Duncan will take part in an Australian Institute of Company Directors leaders’ luncheon in Bendigo.

Elsewhere, Atlas Iron managing director Ken Brinsden and Brookfield Rail director Ian Campbell will be part of a CEDA panel discussion entitled ‘future-proofing resources infrastructure’ in Perth.