Another big week of economic events is in prospect in Australia over the coming week including data on business and consumer confidence and housing finance.

In addition you could be forgiven for thinking that the Reserve Bank would take a step back given the prominence it held over the past week with an interest rate decision and also with the release of the Statement of Monetary Policy.

But with the Governor fronting the House of Representatives Economics Committee on Friday, the Reserve Bank will continue to dominate investor attention.

In China, the Chinese New Year will take precedence.

And in the US, Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen, gives testimony on the economy. US retail sales and consumer confidence data are also due.

In Australia, the week kicks off on Monday with the release of data on job advertisements by ANZ.

In the past, budding employers would advertise positions in newspapers or on job websites. Now positions are more likely to be found on individual company websites or through social media.

So while the data on job ads is less instructive, figures show that they have still risen for seven out of the past nine months.

On Tuesday, investors will be looking for a rebound in the NAB business survey after the December results suggested that business confidence and conditions both eased a touch in response to recent global jitters.

Since the last business survey was held, oil prices and global sharemarkets have recovered from lows and central banks have vowed to maintain economic stimulus.

Also on Tuesday the Housing Industry Association will release figures on new home sales. There are signs that activity is topping out.

New home sales have fallen for three consecutive months and are holding at 16-month lows. It’s clear that there is greater caution on the part of buyers and builders and that suggests slower price growth over in 2016.

On Wednesday, the Westpac/Melbourne Institute monthly measure of consumer sentiment is released – a survey that provides a useful check on the similar and timelier Roy Morgan weekly survey.

On Friday home loans (housing finance) and data on tourist arrivals is released. The home loan data may prove a surprise with data from the Bankers Association suggesting the number of owner-occupier home loans may have lifted by almost 5 per cent in December while the value of all loans lifted by 0.5 per cent.

While foot traffic has reduced at auction sites, if the results prove correct, it will show that the low interest rates are still an attractive reason for potential home buyers to upgrade their homes, albeit at a slower pace than what was witnessed last year.

The tourism numbers will contain the figures for the calendar year. Interestingly tourists to Australia from mainland China have lifted to record highs.

Tourists from China and Hong Kong combined exceeded 1.2 million in the past year, closing fast on the 1.3 million visitors from New Zealand.

Also on Friday the Reserve Bank Governor is scheduled to appear before the House of Representatives Economics Committee.

There are a few ‘hot button’ issues at present and it is likely committee members will ask the Governor’s views on the weakness in China, the weaker Australian dollar and the implications of the volatility in share markets and views on the concerted effort by central banks to continue to add stimulus.

Fed Testimony and retail sales in focus

Turning attention overseas, there are sparse helpings of ‘top shelf’ US economic data in the coming week with the main economic data of interest being in retail sales on Friday.

However ahead of that the focus will be on the testimony by Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen, to the US House of Representatives financial services committee on Wednesday and her testimony to the equivalent US Senate Committee on Thursday.

Investors will be hoping for clues on the timing of future rate hikes.

In terms of data the week kicks off on Tuesday with the release of the monthly US wholesale sales and inventories figures. While on Wednesday the monthly US Federal Budget is slated for release. And on Thursday the usual weekly jobless claims numbers are released.

On Friday retail sales figures, business inventories, import prices and the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index are released). Forecasts centre on retail sales lifting by 0.1 per cent in January after a 0.1 per cent fall in December.

Similarly a modest 0.1 per cent lift in business inventories is expected. The preliminary January reading on consumer sentiment is expected to show a modest lift from 92.0 to 93.0.

Sharemarkets, interest rates, exchange rates and commodities

The Australian profit reporting season cranks up a notch in the coming week as the US earnings season starts to wind down. As we have noted previously, the problem in Australia is that it is difficult to accurately determine when companies are reporting. That is, there is no “official” or central calendar of corporate news or events, in part because many companies are tentative about reporting dates and make changes with little notice.

As far as we can ascertain, on Monday earnings announcements are expect from Coffey International, Ansell, Capilano Honey, AV Jennings, and News Corp.

On Tuesday, Bradken, Cochlear, Slater and Gordon, and Royal Wolf Holdings are listed to issue results.

On Wednesday, as many as 27 companies will report earnings including AGL, Aquarius Platinum, Boral, Commonwealth Bank, Computershare, CSL, Domino’s Pizza, Goodman Fielder, OZ Minerals, Stockland, Skilled Group, Skycity, and Suncorp Group.

Amongst companies scheduled to issue results on Thursday are ASX, Goodman Group, Mirvac, Mesoblast, Paladin, Rio Tinto, Transurban, Tassal Group, and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory.

And on Friday, Automotive Holdings, GBST Holdings, Newcrest, and Sims metal, are tipped to report.

Upcoming economic and financial market events


Monday 8 February: ANZ Job ads (January). The labour market continues to positively surprise.

Tuesday 9 February: NAB Business survey (January). Business conditions remain healthy.

Tuesday 9 February: New home sales (December). Housing activity levels have pared back.

Wednesday 10 February: Consumer sentiment (February). The lower Aussie dollar is dampening sentiment.

Friday 12 February: Housing finance (December). The number of new loans may have lifted by 4.8%.

Friday 12 February: Tourist arrivals (December). Includes data on longer-term migration.

Friday 12 February: Testimony by RBA Governor. House of Representatives Economics Committee.


Tuesday 9 February: US Wholesale inventories (December. A 0.2% fall is forecast.

Wednesday 10 February: US Federal Budget (January). Monthly update on the budget position.

Wednesday 10 February: Fed Reserve Chair Testimony. House of Representatives financial services.

Friday 12 February: US Import prices (January). A 1.2% fall is expected courtesy of weak oil prices.

Friday 12 February: US Retail Sales (January). Economists tip a 0.1% lift post Christmas.

Friday 12 February: US Business inventories (December). A flat result is expected.

Friday 12 February: US Consumer confidence (February). Preliminary reading from University of Michigan.