THE WEEK AHEAD

CPI data headlines a swathe of important indicators, while Macquarie, Wesfarmers and Newcrest report on earnings.

The week ahead brings a host of important economic indicators, dominated by the release of March quarter consumer price index data.

The inflation figures will come a day after the producer price index for the same period.

Overseas, first quarter gross domestic product data is due in the United States, while the Federal Reserve will meet to make its decision on interest rates for April.

In the United Kingdom, GDP data for the March quarter will also be released.

A big week in company news sees Macquarie Group report full-year results, while Wesfarmers, Newcrest Mining and OZ Minerals will report third-quarter figures.

Elsewhere, earnings season continues in the US, with Apple, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell all report.

RBA

While no official Reserve Bank of Australia activity is due in the week ahead, the highly anticipated inflation data set for release will go a long way to determining the central bank’s next move on interest rates.

In the minutes of its April policy meeting, the bank said it would use next week's consumer price index to decide if it is appropriate to cut the official cash rate.

The central bank said it had lowered its assessment of the pace of economic growth, and if this slowing shows an effect on inflation it may take action on rates.

The consumer price index is due out at 1130 AEST on Tuesday. The next RBA meeting is exactly one week later, on May 1.

Local news

A busy week in local news is dominated by data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Monday sees March quarter producer price index data released by the ABS. Analysts are tipping the figures to show that producer prices rose by 0.5 per cent in the quarter and by 2.2 per cent over the year, suggesting that price pressures at a producer or business level are contained.

Tuesday sees long awaited consumer price index figures for the quarter. Economists are expecting the data to show the headline rate of inflation rose by 0.5 per cent, with the annual growth rate easing from 3.1 per cent to 2 per cent.

Markets are closed on Wednesday for the ANZAC Day public holiday.

On Thursday, the Department of Education and Workplace Relations will release its skilled vacancies index for March.

Friday brings March new home sales data from the Housing Industry Association.

Corporate

A massive week in company news sees a number of key local releases as well as the continuation of US earnings season.

In the US on Monday, ConocoPhillips will unveil first-quarter results.

On Tuesday, Wesfarmers will release third-quarter sales data.

Newcrest Mining will release quarterly production figures, along with Oil Search and Beach Energy.

In the US, tech giant Apple Inc will release second-quarter results.

Wednesday sees Delta Airlines release quarterly earnings figures in the US.

Thursday brings quarterly production results from OZ Minerals, Aquarius Platinum and ROC Oil Group.

Overseas, Royal Dutch Shell PLC is due to release earnings results.

On Friday, Macquarie Group will report full-year earnings results. Goldman Sachs analysts expect the group will post annual cash earnings of $888 million, 8 per cent lower than last year’s result.

Chevron is due to release quarterly figures overseas, while results are also due from Samsung Electronics Co.

Offshore

A solid week in overseas news sees important data from both sides of the Atlantic.

On Monday, house price data for March is due in the United Kingdom.

Tuesday sees new home sales data for March released in the US, along with consumer confidence figures.

The Richmond Federal Reserve manufacturing index for April and the S&P Case-Shiller home price index is also on tap.

Wednesday brings March durable goods orders figures in the US, and the weekly Energy Information Administration petroleum status report.

Elsewhere, the US Federal Reserve will meet for its April policy meeting, where it will make its decision on interest rates for the month.

In the UK, first-quarter gross domestic product data will dominate news.

On Thursday, US jobless claims and the pending home sales index will be released.

April consumer confidence data is due in the United Kingdom.

Friday brings highly anticipated US gross domestic product data. Analysts tip annualised growth of 2.3 per cent – good but not great – but forecasts range from 2 per cent to 3.6 per cent.

Consumer sentiment data will also be released, while the employment cost index is also awaited.

Wrapping up

Rounding off the week, finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 nations will hold a meeting in Washington.

Elsewhere, the G24 will hold a policymakers' roundtable on financial inclusion.

On Monday, European Central Bank governing council member Ewald Nowotny will speak on the region’s monetary issues.

Tuesday sees Fletcher Building Group chief executive officer and managing director Jonathan Ling address a Trans-Tasman Business Circle event in Wellington.

International Monetary Fund deputy division chief Xavier Debrun will speak about fiscal consolidation at a European Union think tank.

The World Trade Organisation will hold a dispute settlement body meeting, and European Commission president Jos Manuel Barroso will address an economic seminar.

Wednesday brings the release of the European Union’s 2013 budget proposal.

The IMF, World Bank and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development will kick off a three-day bond forum In Washington.

Economy Ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations will meet for a four-day summit in Japan.

The European Council and the EU budget group will hold meetings.

On Thursday, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy will speak at a TTBC event in Sydney.

In the US, the New York Federal Reserve will hold a seminar on regulatory reporting practices.

European Council president Jose Manuel Barroso will speak in Brussels.

On Friday, Council of Australian Governments reform council chairman Paul McClintock will deliver the keynote address at a Committee for the Economic Development of Australia function in Sydney.

And finally, the Bank of Japan will hold it monetary policy meeting for April, and release its outlook report.

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