THE WEEK AHEAD

The Reserve Bank's March interest rate decision headlines a busy week of economic news, ahead of key GDP data both locally and overseas.

A massive week ahead in market-moving indicators is headlined by the Reserve Bank of Australia’s interest rate decision for March.

Locally, gross domestic product data for the fourth quarter will be released, as well as current account figures for the period.

Elsewhere, labour force data and trade balance figures are on tap.

Offshore, US international trade figures and factory orders data are due.

European Union gross domestic product data for the fourth quarter is also set for release.

The European Central Bank and the Bank of England will make interest rate decisions in the week ahead.

In corporate news, Sundance Energy and Linc Energy reveal earnings results, while Bendigo Bank chief executive officer and managing director Mike Hirst will speak at a conference in the week ahead.

RBA

The Reserve Bank of Australia will dominate news in the week ahead, with its board meeting to discuss the current level of interest rates.

On Tuesday, the RBA will hold its March policy meeting, its first since its shock decision in February to leave rates on hold.

Board members will decide whether or not to changes the current level of rates, which has been cut twice since November last year.

Analysts are expecting the RBA to make no official change, leaving the current level at 4.25 per cent.

Wednesday sees RBA deputy governor Phillip Lowe speak at the Australian Industry Group’s annual economic forum in Sydney.

Local news

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics dominates the week in local news, while a number of private releases are also on tap.

On Monday, the ABS will release business indicator figures for the month of December.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the Australian Industry Group will release their performance of services index for February.

TD Securities will release it February inflation gauge, while ANZ will release data on internet job advertisements for the month.

Tuesday brings highly anticipated current account balance data for the December quarter from the ABS.

Wednesday sees gross domestic product data for the fourth quarter released by the ABS.

Economists are tipping the data to show a 0.8 per cent gain in the period.

Elsewhere, the Australian Industry Group’s performance of construction index for the month of February is due.

On Thursday, the ABS is set to unveil labour force data for February. Experts are tipping the jobless rate to have remained stable at around 5.1 per cent, with a lift of 15,000 jobs in the month.

January trade balance data is set for release on Friday by the ABS, and is expected to show the economy secured a $1.4 billion trade surplus during the month.

Building approvals figures for the month are also on tap.

Corporate

Company news takes a well-earned breather in the week ahead, after the end of the official earnings period.

On Monday, OneSteel will go ex-dividend, while China Steel Australia will hold its annual general meeting.

In Europe, Swiss giant Glencore International will report earnings figures.

Wednesday sees Linc Energy arrive late to the earnings party, with its half-year earnings report due.

Friday sees Sundance Energy reveal interim earnings figures.

Offshore

Overseas, US factory orders data for January will be released on Monday, alongside the ISM non-manufacturing index for February.

Economists are tipping orders to have risen by 0.5 per cent in the month, while the ISM index is expected to show a reading of 56.8.

In Europe, the February purchasing managers index for services for the European Monetary Union is due.

Sentix investor confidence data for March and January retail sales figures are also on tap.

In the United Kingdom, the purchasing managers index for services for February will be released.

On Tuesday, BRC will release its February retail sales monitor in the UK.

Highly anticipated EU gross domestic product data for the fourth quarter is also due.

Wednesday sees the release of the ADP employment report in the US, along with fourth quarter productivity and costs data. Private sector employment is tipped have risen by 210,000 jobs in February.

Weekly Mortgage Bankers Association mortgage applications data is expected.

The weekly Energy Information Association petroleum status report is also on tap.

The BRC shop price index for February is due in the UK.

On Thursday, jobless claims data is awaited in the US.

The Bank of England will hold its March policy meeting, where it will make its interest rate decision for the month.

The European Central Bank will also meet to discuss interest rates.

Friday brings US trade balance data for January, as well as the February employment situation report.

Analysts believe that 200,000 jobs were likely created in the month, leaving with unemployment unchanged at 8.3 per cent.

The trade figures are tipped to show a deficit of close to $US49 billion.

In the UK, January trade balance data is expected to be released, alongside industrial production figures for the month.

January manufacturing production figures and the February producer price index are also on tap.

Elsewhere, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research will release its GDP estimate for the three months to February.

A suite of data for the month of February will be released in China on Friday. Retail sales and industrial production figures will be released, while consumer price and producer price index data is also due.

Wrapping up

Rounding off the week, Monday sees European Central Bank executive board member Gonzalez-Paramo address the BANKIA 2012 conference in Spain.

US Treasury assistant secretary George Miller is due to appear at the Institute of International Bankers annual conference in Washington.

Chicago Federal Reserve president Charles Evans will also speak at the event.

Dallas Federal Reserve president Richard Fisher will speak on the US economic outlook.

Elsewhere, a two-day European tax forum will kick off in Brussels.

On Tuesday, federal trade minister Craig Emerson will speak at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia event in Melbourne.

In Germany, the world’s biggest computer convention, CeBit, will begin, with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Google chairman Eric Schmidt making appearances.

Wednesday will see eurozone competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia speak at a competition conference in Copenhagen.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development will hold a two-day roundtable of mayors and ministers in Chicago.

Thursday brings a speech from Coles general manager of corporate affairs Robert Hadler at a Trans-Tasman Business Circle function in Melbourne.

Council of Australia Governments reform council chairman Paul McClintock is due to deliver a speech at a CEDA event in Melbourne.

Bendigo Bank chief executive officer and managing director Mike Hirst will speak at an AICD event in Geelong.

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