THE WEEK AHEAD

Trade balance data and AIG's manufacturing index will headline the week to come, while US Fed minutes are due offshore.

The first week of the New Year sees the economic calendar return to form, with a number of important indicators set for release.

The week starts slowly around the world, as markets kick off 2012 late due to New Year holidays.

Locally, trade balance data for November will be released, as well as Australian Industry Group PMI data.

Overseas, minutes of the United States Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting will be on tap, along with jobless claims and construction spending data.

In company news, Wah Nam shareholders will meet to vote on its takeover offer for Hong Kong-based Brockman Resources.

A number of bureaucratic arrangements come into effect on the international political scene this week, with the presidency of the Group of 8 and European Union changing hands.

Local news

The week in local news is again pretty thin, with markets closed on Monday for the New Year’s Day holiday.

Tuesday sees the Australian Industry Group release its performance of manufacturing index for December. The index has remained below 50 for eight of the last nine months.

On Thursday, trade balance data for November will be released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. CommSec analysts are expecting a surplus near $2 billion.

Offshore

The week begins with China's official and private sector purchasing managers indexes on Sunday.

Overseas, the markets are closed throughout the US and Europe on Monday due to New Year celebrations.

In the United Kingdom, Halifax will announce house price data for the December quarter.

On Tuesday, the minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s December policy meeting will be released.

November construction spending data is also due, along with the ISM manufacturing index for December. Economists are tipping a reading of 53.2, up slightly from November.

December prices paid figures from ISM are also awaited.

In the UK, the December purchasing manager index for manufacturing is out.

Wednesday sees new car sales for December and November factory orders figures from the US.

November consumer credit data is on tap in the UK, along with M4 money supply data for November.

Mortgage approvals for November and PMI construction figures for December are on tap.

On Thursday, jobless claims data and the November ADP unemployment report are on tap in the US. CommSec analysts expect a 180,000 rise in the ADP employment index.

The ISM non-manufacturing index for December and the Energy Information Administration’s weekly petroleum status report are due.

The December purchasing manager index for services is set for release in the UK.

Friday brings the US employment situation report, including the unemployment rate and average hourly earnings data. Economists tip a 148,000 lift in non-farm payrolls and a rise of around 160,000 in private sector jobs.

Companies

On Friday, Wah Nam Holdings will hold an extraordinary general meeting, where shareholders will vote to approve its off-market takeover bid for Brockman Resources. The company already owns a 56 per cent stake in the Hong Kong based group.

Wrapping up

Rounding off the week, the turn of the new year sees Mexico assume the presidency of the Group of 20 countries. The US will assume the presidency of the Group of 8.

In Europe, Denmark will be handed the presidency of the European Union.

On Thursday, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde will visit South Africa to discuss economic challenges.

Friday sees Boston Federal Reserve president Eric Rosengren speak at the Connecticut Economic Summit.

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