THE WEEK AHEAD

The Reserve Bank's interest rates decision will headline economic news, while financial reports from Rio Tinto, Telstra and Tabcorp are on tap.

An incredibly busy week lies ahead for the local market with the latest reads on the nation’s trade balance and unemployment rate set to be released alongside several key private surveys.

The Reserve Bank will also be a key focus for the week, with its August interest rates decision and its quarterly statement on monetary policy set to be unveiled.

On the corporate front, August earnings season ramps up with financial reports due from Rio Tinto, Telstra and Tabcorp.

Offhsore, the latest read on Chinese inflation will be of interest, as will data on US consumer credit.

Reserve Bank

All eyes will be on the Reserve Bank of Australia as it hands down August’s highly anticipated rates decision, as well as a quarterly statement on monetary policy.

On Tuesday, the central bank’s board convenes its August meeting in Sydney, following which a decision on the official cash rate will be announced. The Reserve has held the cash rate at 2.75 per cent since May, but economists are tipping the board will lower the rate to a record-breaking 2.5 per cent, with the local market already seen to have factored in further easing.

Wednesday will see Reserve Bank assistant governor Guy Debelle take part in a panel discussion at the Funding Australia's Future Forum hosted by the Australian Centre for Financial Studies in Sydney.

Friday will deliver the central bank’s quarterly statement on monetary policy. The release will be closely scrutinised, with media speculation building that the bank will lower its growth forecasts for the year ahead. Thus far Governor Stevens and his troops have remained coy on any potential downgrades.

Local data

It’s a jam-packed week on the domestic front with official reads on unemployment, trade balance and housing finance released alongside a private gauge of inflation.

Monday will deliver retail sales data for June out of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, alongside the Australian Industry Group’s performance of services index and the TD-Melbourne Institute inflation gauge for July.

On Tuesday, Australia’s trade balance for June will be released, with economists expecting a trade surplus for the month of $800 million.

The latest read in ANZ’s job advertisements series and the second-quarter house price indices from the ABS are also on tap.

Wednesday brings with it June’s housing finance figures from the ABS, as well as the AiG performance of construction index. Economists expect new lending to have risen by 2 per cent in the month.

On Thursday, July’s labour force figures will be unveiled. Economists tip the unemployment rate to hold at 5.7 per cent, with 12,000 jobs created in the month.

Corporate

August earnings seasons ramps up this week with the latest financial reports from the likes of Rio Tinto, Telstra and Tabcorp set to be unveiled.

Tuesday will see full-year results from Cochlear and Downer EDI.

On Wednesday, 21st Century Fox, one of two businesses spun out of News Corporation just over a month ago, will release its first financial report since demerging. 21st Century Fox holds the broadcasting and film assets of the former News Corporation.

It is also the date payable for Australand.

Thursday will bring Rio Tinto’s first-half earnings, alongside full-year earnings for Telstra Corporation.

On Friday Tabcorp will lift the lid on its 2013 results, as will junior miner Aquila.

Offshore

China dominates international news this week, with the latest read on the Asian nation’s trade balance and inflation due out.

Monday will deliver the HSBC/Markit services purchasing managers’ index out of China.

On Wednesday the US June trade balance is due. Bloomberg is expecting the nation’s trade deficit to narrow slightly to $44 billion.

Meanwhile in China, July trade balance figures will be released.

On Thursday, the latest read on US consumer credit will be revealed.

Friday delivers a trifecta of important data out of China. First is the latest read on Chinese inflation through the July consumer prices index. Later in the day, July reads on industrial production and retail sales will also be unveiled.

Late on Friday, June’s wholesale inventories will be released out of the US, with Bloomberg tipping a month-on-month increase of 0.3 per cent.

Wrapping up

Tuesday will see Business Council of Australia president Tony Shepherd address a Trans-Tasman Business Circle event in Melbourne.

On Wednesday, Fairfax chairman Roger Corbett will address an Australian Institute of Company Directors lunch in Sydney delivering a keynote speech entitled ‘How does 2014 look for Australia’.

In Canberra, Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney will address the National Press Club, delivering a speech entitled ‘what’s at stake for Australian workers in the 2013 election’.

In Brisbane, Super Retail Group chief executive officer Peter Birtles will address a Trans-Tasman Business Circle lunch. Origin Energy chairman Kevin McCann will also address a Trans-Tasman Business Circle event in Sydney.

Thursday will see CSIRO chairman Simon McKeon take part in an Australian Institute of Company Directors leaders’ lunch in Tasmania.

In Perth, Sundance Resources chief executive officer Giulio Casello will deliver a business briefing to an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia lunch event.

On Friday, Atlas Iron executive chairman David Flanagan will address an Australian Institute of Company Directors leaders’ lunch in Western Australia.

In Melbourne, Rio Tinto head of innovation John McGagh will deliver a business briefing to an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia lunch.

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