The week kicks off on Tuesday

The regular weekly reading on consumer confidence is published by ANZ and Roy Morgan. Confidence levels have been a bit fluky on a week-to-week basis, but readings are still above ‘normal’ or longer-term averages.

On Wednesday

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the “Construction Work Done” estimates for the December quarter. The figures on home building activity are most important as they shine a light on the size of the “dwelling investment” component of gross domestic product (GDP or the economic growth measure). Construction work done fell by 2.8% in real (inflation-adjusted) terms in the September quarter with residential building down 1%.

On Thursday

The ABS issues the publication Private New Capital Expenditure and Expected Expenditure” for the December quarter. In the September quarter spending on buildings and equipment fell by 0.5%. But the report also includes estimates of future investment and the upgrade in the September quarter was the biggest in 19 years. Also on Thursday, the ABS issues more detailed estimates on the job market including regional and demographic estimates. And the Reserve Bank releases its “Private Sector Credit” data on Thursday (a measure of loans outstanding). Annual credit growth fell to a near 5-year low of 4.3% in December.

On Friday

There are two survey measures of activity in the manufacturing sector – from the Commonwealth Bank and the Australian Industry Group. Also on Friday, CoreLogic releases its comprehensive estimates of home prices for February. In January, the CoreLogic Home Value Index of national home prices fell by 1% to be down 5.6% over the year.

In the USA

US economic growth data and testimony by the Federal Reserve chair are the two key events in the coming week.

Next Monday

In the US when the Chicago Federal Reserve national activity index is released with the Dallas Fed manufacturing index and wholesale inventories data.

Tuesday

The Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, testifies on monetary policy and the economy to the Senate Banking Committee. The follow-up appearance before the House Financial Services Committee is on Wednesday. The Fed chair will give his latest assessment on jobs and inflation and may provide a few words on whether the flat yield curve is still of consequence in the current environment.  In economic data on Tuesday, data on housing starts will be released with consumer confidence. Both the FHFA and S&P/Case Shiller home price measures are also released.

Wednesday 

In the US, data on factory orders and pending home sales are scheduled with the regular weekly gauge of mortgage applications.

Thursday

In the US the delayed economic growth data for the December quarter is expected. Economists believe the US economy expanded at a 2.6% annual pace in the quarter, down from 3.4% in the September quarter. Also on Thursday, the US goods trade balance for January is issued with the Chicago purchasing managers index, wholesale inventories and the weekly data on new claims for unemployment insurance (jobless claims).

Friday

In the US a plethora of economic data is set down for release. Included is personal income, the ISM manufacturing gauge, new auto sales figures and the February reading on consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan. The personal income release includes a key inflation reading. The personal consumption deflator is the preferred inflation measure of the Federal Reserve. Also the ISM manufacturing gauge is seen little-changed from January’s reading of 56.6

The last of earnings season

The Australian corporate reporting season winds down in the coming week. Major companies expected to release earnings results include:

Monday: Boral, BlueScope Steel; LendLease; QBE Insurance;

Tuesday: Caltex; Estia Health; Spark Infrastructure.

Wednesday: Bellamy’s; OZ Minerals; Rio Tinto; SEEK.

Thursday: Harvey Norman; Adelaide Brighton; Ramsay Health Care.