THE WEEK AHEAD

Myer releases its half-year results, while labour force and business confidence figures are on tap.

It’s a quieter week ahead with only a few significant data releases locally and very little in the way of corporate news after an exhaustive earnings season.

Locally, labour force data for February will be the biggest economic event, while Myer’s half-yearly earnings will be the focus of the corporate world.

Not much is expected from the Reserve Bank of Australia following its rates decision. A speech by assistant governor Guy Debelle will be the highlight.

Offshore, the United States will be the focus with the latest consumer price index reading, current account balance and retail sales all due.

Reserve Bank

There’s very little on the agenda this week for the central bank, following its widely-expected decision to keep the official cash rate on hold at three per cent at its March board meeting.

Only the release of the latest credit and debit card lending figures on Tuesday will see the Reserve Bank in the spotlight. Economists are expecting the data to show a preference for spending your own money over credit.

Local data

The centrepiece for local data this week will be the latest labour force figures, but there are also key indicators peppered throughout, including several private surveys.

Tuesday brings the National Australia Bank survey of business confidence and business conditions for February.

On Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will release its housing finance data for the month of January. Economists are expecting the demand for home loans to have lifted by 2 per cent in the month.

Elsewhere, the Melbourne Institute-Westpac consumer sentiment index for March will be released.

On Thursday, the bureau will unveil its labour force figures for the month of February. The general consensus is for the unemployment rate to rise slightly to 5.5 per cent, while it’s expected the number of jobs will have risen by around 8,000.

Also the Melbourne Institute-Westpac expectations for consumer inflation and unemployment in March will be released.

Corporate

It’s another quieter week for companies, as data releases continue to take centre stage after the conclusion of February’s reporting season.

On Tuesday, Chandler Macleod will hold an extraordinary general meeting to pass resolutions in relation to the banking facilities and acquisitions of Vivir Healthcare and AHS Services Group.

Elsewhere, Sundance Resources will release its half-yearly earnings report.

On Wednesday, Myer Holdings will release its half-yearly earnings results. Bloomberg expects the group’s net adjusted income to have fallen 6.9 per cent year-on-year to $131.286 million.

APA Group will also pay its unfranked interim dividend of 17 cents to shareholders.

Friday will see Perseus Mining unveil its interim results.

Offshore

The United States takes centre stage this week, with a slew of crucial releases including the most recent reads on current account balance and retail sales.

The week kicks off somewhat unofficially on Saturday with two major indices due out of China. Both the producer price index and consumer price index are set to be released, with the consensus forecast for a 1.5 per cent fall and a 3 per cent lift, respectively.

On Monday, the Central Bank of Japan will release the minutes of its most recent monetary policy meeting. Machinery orders for January are also due out of Japan.

Tuesday will bring February’s consumer confidence out of Japan, alongside January’s trade balance figures for the United Kingdom. Monthly budget figures will also be released in the US.

Wednesday kicks off a busy few days for data out of the US, with retail sales for February, as well as import and export prices indices for the month expected. Economists are tipping a 0.3 per cent rise in retail sales.

On Thursday, current account balance data for the fourth quarter is due out of the US. America’s producer price index for February is also expected, with headline prices tipped to have lifted 0.7 per cent.

Friday will deliver two highly anticipated consumer price index reads. First, from the US, where Bloomberg analysts expect the February data to show a rise of 0.4 per cent in headline prices. CPI for February is also due out of the EU, and a European Council meeting is also slated to take place.

Wrapping up

On Tuesday, KPMG partner Matthew Woods will facilitate the West End briefing event centred on governance in the mining services. Downer Group non-executive director Kerry Sanderson and non-executive chairman of Swick Mining Andrew Simpson are due to speak.

Wednesday will see group chief executive officer of Jetstar Jayne Hrdlicka speaking at an American Institute of Business in Australia briefing in Melbourne.

On Thursday, Reserve Bank assistant governor Christopher Kent will deliver a speech to the Australian Institute of Builders at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Also on Thursday, chairman of Westpac Banking Corporation and BHP Billiton director Lindsay Maxstead will offer insights into the Australian economic outlook and issues affecting the banking sector at a Trans-Tasman Business Circle event in Sydney. At a separate TTBC event in Auckland, Commonwealth Bank of Australia chief executive officer Ian Narev will deliver a keynote address focusing on the benefits of a strong Australasian banking system.

Dr Ziggy Switkowski, Suncorp Group chairman and RMIT University chancellor will address a Committee for the Economic Development of Australia lunch in Melbourne on the future of work.

Elsewhere, diversity in the boardroom will be the focus of the latest Director’s Lunch in Sydney. ASX Limited director Jillian Segal and Origin Energy chairman Kevin McCann are set to speak at the event.

Friday will see the 37th Annual Rottnest Conference take place in Western Australia, with Katie Lahey, managing director Australasia of Korn/Ferry International and comedian Charles Firth set to speak.

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