The Week Ahead

Retail trade, trade balance and building approval numbers will be the focus of local news this week, while US jobs data and China manufacturing figures will also be of interest.

Official data will be plentiful in the first week of April. Locally, building approvals, retail trade and trade balance numbers are due out.

Offshore, investors will be watching employment data from the United States for hints about the health of the world’s largest economy and whether the country’s central bank will continue to reduce monetary stimulus as expected. Official and private manufacturing figures are also set to print in the US and China.

Local corporate news flow is set to be light, while the Reserve Bank of Australia’s cash rate decision is not likely to contain any surprises.

Speakers to watch include RBA Governor Glenn Stevens, BHP Billiton coal president Dean Dalla Valle and Trade Minister Andrew Robb.

RBA

The Reserve Bank of Australia has only one speech scheduled for this week, following last week’s deluge, and is tipped to keep interest rates on hold again.

On Monday, the central bank will publish financial aggregates data.

On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank will hold its monthly board meeting, and is widely expected to leave the official cash rate on hold at a record low 2.5 per cent.

The bank will also release its index of commodity prices.

On Wednesday, RBA Governor Glenn Stevens will speak at an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia lunch in Brisbane.

Local news

The first week of the month brings manufacturing data from the Australian Industry Group and official data on building approvals, retail trade and the trade balance.

On Monday, HIA new home sales data for February is due out and the TD Securities-Melbourne Institute is expected to release the March inflation gauge.

On Tuesday, the Australian Industry Group will release its March performance of manufacturing index and the RPData/Rismark house price index for March is expected.

On Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will release February building approvals and job vacancies data.

On Thursday, the ABS will publish February retail trade figures and the trade balance for the same month.

Ai Group will also disclose its March performance of services index.

Corporate

With no earnings reports scheduled for this week, corporate news flow is set to be relatively light.

On Wednesday, QBE Insurance Group will hold its annual general meeting.

On Thursday, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has its date payable.

Overseas

Official and private manufacturing numbers are expected from China and the United States this week, while investors will also be eyeing official American employment data.

On Monday, European CPI for March is expected.

On Tuesday, in the United States, annual wholesale inventory and sales revisions will be released.

In China, the March official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index is tipped to fall slightly to 50.1 points, while the rival HSBC manufacturing PMI for the same month is expected to hold steady at 48.1 points.

On Wednesday, in the United States, Markit manufacturing PMI for March is expected to lift to 56.3 points, while the ISM manufacturing survey for the same month is forecast to rise to 54 points.

On Thursday, in the United States, the March ADP private payrolls read is expected to lift to 190,000.

March total vehicle sales are tipped to lift to 15.8 million, while February factory orders are expected to rise to 0.8 per cent.

In China, March official non-manufacturing PMI data and the HSBC services PMI for the same month are expected.

On Friday, in the United States, the February trade balance is tipped to narrow to $38.5 billion, while weekly initial jobless claims and the Bloomberg consumer comfort survey are also expected.

Late Friday, March employment data is due out, with the change in nonfarm payrolls forecast to lift to 190,000 and the unemployment rate tipped to fall to 6.6 per cent.

Wrapping up

Key speakers this week include BHP Billiton coal president Dean Dalla Valle, Trade Minister Andrew Robb and Commonwealth Bank chief information officer Michael Harte.

On Monday, in Melbourne, Senator Mitch Fifield will speak at a lunch hosted by the Centre for Economic Development of Australia.

On Tuesday, in Canberra, Australian Greens leader Christine Milne will speak at the National Press Club.

In Perth, Professor Ross Garnaut will speak at a CEDA lunch.

On Wednesday, in Sydney, Commonwealth Bank chief information officer Michael Harte and Westfield director of information technology for Australia and New Zealand Peter Bourke will speak at a CEDA lunch.

In Brisbane, BHP Billiton coal president Dean Dalla Valle will speak at a CEDA lunch.

On Thursday, in Sydney, Dalla Valle will speak at another CEDA lunch.

Also in Sydney, Trade Minister Andrew Robb will speak at an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia lunch.