THE WEEK AHEAD

Reserve Bank minutes headline the week ahead in economics, while production reports from BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue are on tap.

The minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s latest policy meeting headline a massive week ahead in economic news.

Locally, trade price data, building activity figures and lending finance numbers are due.

Offshore, the United States government will release its Beige Book, a quarterly report on the state of the country’s economy.

A huge week in company news sees Australia’s major miners release second quarter production reports.

BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals are all due to release figures, while Woodside Petroleum is also expected to detail its quarterly performance.

The American earnings season brings results from companies including Bank of America and Citigroup.

Finally, the International Monetary Fund will releases updates to its global growth forecasts this week.

RBA

A busy week for the Reserve Bank of Australia kicks off on Tuesday, with the minutes of the central bank’s July policy meeting due for release.

Investors will watch with great interest for any reflection on the future of monetary policy, after the bank left rates on hold at 3.5 per cent last month.

The minutes take extra importance after recent data showed Australia’s unemployment rate rose to 5.2 per cent, leading some analysts to speculate there may be more rate cuts to come this year.

RBA deputy governor Philip Lowe has said that the RBA has cut the official interest rate more than necessary in recent years as a means to offset rises in bank funding costs.

On Thursday, RBA head of economic research Alexandra Heath will sit on a discussion panel at the Australian Economic Forum in Sydney.

Friday sees RBA assistant governor Christopher Kent sit on a separate discussion panel at the AEF.

Investors will look carefully at both of these events for any commentary on the minutes and the future of rates.

Local news

The week in local news brings a solid mixture of data from both public and private sources.

On Monday, May lending finance data is due from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Tuesday brings new car sales figures for June from the ABS. Economists are expecting the data to show a lift in sales of between 2-3 per cent.

Wednesday sees the ABS release building activity numbers for the March quarter.

The latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute leading index is also due.

On Thursday, National Australia Bank will release its business confidence index for the second quarter.

Friday sees the ABS release trade price data for June. Analysts are tipping the figures to show import prices rose by around 1 per cent in the month, while export prices probably fell by 3 per cent.

Corporate

A massive week in company news sees all the big resources names release production data as the market gears up for earnings season in August.

Monday sees PanAust release sales and revenue data for the full year.

Overseas, financial giant Citigroup Inc will reveal earnings results.

On Tuesday, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group will release quarterly production figures for the three months to June.

In the US, Johnson & Johnson and Yahoo! Inc are expected to release financial results.

Wednesday sees BHP Billiton release second quarter production data.

Elsewhere, Pharmaxis will release full year earnings results.

Offshore, Bank of America Corp and eBay Inc are due to report earnings.

Thursday brings second quarter activities report from crude giants Woodside Petroleum and Santos.

PanAust will also release June quarter production data.

In the US, Microsoft Corp and Morgan Stanley will reveal earnings figures.

Elsewhere, SP Austnet will meet shareholders at its annual general meeting.

On Friday, Sydney Airport will release full year sales, revenue and traffic data.

Offshore

In overseas news, key releases are due from both the United States and Europe this week.

In the US on Monday, retail sales data for June and business inventories figures for May will be released.

The figures are expected to show a 0.2 per cent lift in sales for the month.

The New York Empire State manufacturing survey is also due.

Elsewhere, European Union consumer price index data for June is due.

Tuesday brings the US consumer price index for June, along with industrial production data for the month.

Production is tipped to have rebounded by 0.4 per cent in the month. Consumer prices are expected to have risen by 0.2 per cent.

US Treasury international capital figures for June and the housing market index for July are also on tap.

In the UK, the June consumer price and retail price indexes are awaited.

Wednesday sees the United States government release the Beige Book, a quarterly report on the state of the US economy.

Housing starts and the weekly Energy Information Administration petroleum status report are awaited.

Economists expect starts are to show a 5 per cent rise.

Mortgage Bankers Association applications data is also on tap.

Elsewhere, the Bank of England will release the minutes of its latest policy meeting.

UK average earnings data for the June quarter and claimant count change figures for the month are due.

Quarterly ILO unemployment rate figures round out a busy day.

On Thursday, US jobless claims and existing home sales figures for June are due. Analysts tip the data to show a 2 per cent rise.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve survey will also be released.

In the UK, retail sales data for June will be released.

Friday sees June public sector net borrowing made available to the public in the UK.

Wrapping up

Rounding off the week, Monday sees the International Monetary Fund release updates to its global growth forecasts.

The three-day Asia-Pacific Economic Conference business advisory council meeting kicks off in Hong Kong.

In the US, Kansas Federal Reserve president Esther George will speak on monetary policy.

Tuesday brings a speech from AGL managing director and chief executive officer Michael Fraser to a Trans-Tasman business circle event in Sydney.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke will deliver his semi-annual monetary policy report to the US Senate Banking Committee.

European Central Bank executive board member Joerg Asmussen will address a think tank in Brussels.

On Wednesday, Commonwealth Bank of Australia chief information officer Michael Harte will speak at a TTBC event in Sydney.

The European Union will release a report on public finances in the eurozone.

Mr Bernanke will address the US House financial services committee.

Friday sees Virgin Australia chief executive officer John Borghetti addresses an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia business briefing in Melbourne.

In Brisbane, QR National managing director and chief executive officer Lance Hockridge will speak at a separate AMCHAM event.