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James
Ryan Felsman
Economy Expert
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Hard core property and jobs data screening soon

Friday, September 14, 2018

The week kicks-off on Tuesday when the Roy Morgan-ANZ weekly consumer confidence survey and the Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) quarterly home prices data are both released. 
The ABS releases its publication “Residential Property Price Indexes” each quarter. The data is relatively “old”, focusing on the three-month period to June 30. Apart from home prices, there is other data covering the average value of homes and changes in the number of homes in each state. Annual Australian home price growth is the weakest in six years. 

And the minutes of the last Reserve Bank Board meeting are released. Each meeting a special issue or topic is discussed. And that discussion can prove useful in gauging member views on interest rate sensitivities. Commentary on the housing market will also be keenly observed.

On Wednesday, the Department of Jobs and Small Business releases the August skilled internet job vacancies data. Vacancies are up by 4.7% over the year to July, led by 
 Western Australia (up 16.3%) and Tasmania (up 13.6%).

On Thursday the ABS releases population data and detailed labour market figures. The Reserve Bank releases its quarterly Bulletin. And Commonwealth Bank releases the Business Sales Indicator – a measure of economy-wide spending.

Australia’s population is growing at a 1.6% annual rate – one of the fastest growth rates in the developed world. And the ABS labour market data will include the latest estimates of industry job creation.

What about the US?

Most
attention will be on US housing data releases in the week prior to the all-important US Federal Reserve meeting on September 25-26, where interest rates are expected to lift.

On Tuesday, the US National Association of Home Builders releases its September survey, together with the regular weekly data on chain store sales. The monthly index of builder sentiment fell one point to 67 points in August, the lowest level in eleven months and down from highs of 74 points in December. Mortgage applications to purchase a home have been falling as interest rates have lifted. Buyer traffic dropped two points to 49 points in August, the only component of the index in negative territory (below 50 points).

On Wednesday in the US, housing starts and building permits are issued for August. Despite rising building costs, property prices and mortgage rates, housing demand is supported by the strong labour market, lower taxes and improved finances. Around 175,000 homes were approved, but not yet started in July, the most since February 2008. And single-family permits in the South were the highest since July 2007. Economists tip starts to lift by 5.2% in September. Building permits are forecast to increase by 0.8% for the month.

On Thursday, US existing home sales, the influential Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing gauge, weekly claims for unemployment insurance and the US Conference Board leading economic index are all issued.

Existing home sales fell for a fourth straight month in July – the longest stretch of monthly declines since 2013. Supply constraints continue to drag on overall sales and push up home prices. The lower inventory and high prices on available inventory are crimping affordability, especially for first home buyers. The median house price increased 4.5% from a year ago to US$269,600 in July.

The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index increased by 0.6% in July after increasing 0.5% in June. Another 0.5% lift is forecast by economists in August, signalling a sustained pace of economic expansion in the near term.

Initial jobless claims for the week ending September 1 decreased by 10,000 to 203,000 – the lowest level of 
claims since December 6, 1969. The US unemployment rate is near 18-year lows at 3.9%. 

 

A rush of economic data ahead

Friday, August 31, 2018

The “Spring tsunami” gets underway on Monday. Around a dozen indicators will be released in the first two weeks of September, with economic growth and the Reserve Bank Board meeting in focus next week.

Monday 2 September

1. The week kicks-off with the release of five economic indicators. Both AiGroup and the Commonwealth Bank issue survey results on manufacturing activity early in the day.

2. CoreLogic releases the much-anticipated August data on home prices. Based on daily data released so far, home prices have fallen by 0.4% in the five mainland capital cities to stand 2.7% lower than a year ago. 

3. ANZ releases the August data on job advertisements on Monday and the Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the quarterly Business Indicators publication and retail trade data.

4. Job ads rose by 1.5% in July after falling 1.7% in June. Hiring has slowed from the frenetic pace of 2017.

5. The ABS business indicators publication includes data on sales, profits, wages and inventories so the data is important in rounding out our knowledge of the economy.

6. Retail trade may have lifted by a modest 0.2% in August.

Tuesday 3 September

1. The Reserve Bank Board convenes for what is expected to be an uneventful meeting with interest rates likely to remain unchanged for a 25th straight month (23rd meeting). In the evening Governor Philip Lowe speaks in Perth.

2. The weekly consumer confidence, government finance and the quarterly balance of payments data are due for release.

Wednesday 4 September

1. The ABS releases the June quarter estimate of economic growth – as judged by the change in gross domestic product (GDP). There are a number of components of the GDP equation still to be revealed, but on current information it seems like the economy grew by 0.6-0.8% in the quarter. The Reserve Bank is expecting annualised economic growth to lift to around 3.25% over the coming year.

2. New car sales data are scheduled. In July, 85,551 new vehicles were sold, down 7.8% over the year. In the 12 months to July, sales totalled 1,187,883 units, up 0.6% on a year ago. And the both the AiGroup and the Commonwealth Bank services gauges are issued.

Thursday 5 September

The ABS releases the July data on exports and imports. The trade surplus rose from $725 million to $1,873 million in June. It was the 11th surplus in 13 months. A July surplus of around $900 million is tipped.

Friday 6 September

AiGroup releases its construction industry gauge for August. And housing finance data is issued for July. The number of loans (commitments) by homeowners (owner-occupiers) fell by 1.1% in June. The total value of new housing commitments fell by 1.6% in June. Investor loans are at five-year lows.

What’s ahead overseas?

On Monday

The week kicks off in China when Caixin releases its manufacturing survey. Manufacturing activity grew at its slowest pace in eight months in July amid shrinking export orders due to trade tensions with the US.

And Tuesday… 

1. The ISM manufacturing index is issued in the US. Manufacturing demand is strong and new orders have increased for 15 successive months, but input and raw materials prices are elevated.

2. The regular weekly data on chain store sales is scheduled together with the construction spending figures. Spending is expected to have fallen by around 1 per cent in July.

Then Wednesday…

1. China’s Caixin services gauge is released for the month of August. In July, new business growth was the weakest since December 2015, but remained expansionary.

2. Weekly data on new mortgage applications, vehicle sales and international trade data are issued in the US. The June trade deficit was the biggest in more than18 months as the boost to exports from soybean shipments faded and higher oil prices lifted imports. A deficit of US$46.4 billion is tipped in July.

Come Thursday…

The Challenger job cuts, ADP private sector employment report, factory orders and the weekly data on new claims for unemployment insurance are issued. In June, factory orders lifted by 0.7%, but business spending plans on equipment were not as strong as expected.

By Friday…

The much anticipated US non-farm payrolls (jobs) report is issued. In July, 157,000 jobs were created. Economists expect that a further 180,000 jobs were generated in August, but the unemployment rate may have held at 3.9%. Average hourly earnings are tipped to lift by 0.3% in August, with annual growth remaining at 2.8%.

And finally on Saturday…

China’s trade data for August is scheduled.

 

Are we growing or slowing?

Friday, August 24, 2018

The week kicks off on Tuesday when the latest weekly reading on consumer confidence is issued by Roy Morgan and ANZ.

On Wednesday, the Housing Industry Association’s survey of homebuilders in the five largest states is scheduled for release. New home sales rose by 2.2% in June 2018 – the first increase this year – reflecting changing conditions in the housing market.

On Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the Private Capital Expenditure publication (essentially business investment figures) for the June quarter. New business investment (spending on buildings and equipment) rose by 0.4% in the March quarter to be up 3.7% over the year – just shy of the best growth in five years.

Also the second estimate of investment in 2018/19 was reported at $87.74 billion, 1.4% higher than the second estimate for 2017/18. Expected investment by non-mining and manufacturing firms has never been higher.  And local council building approvals data for July is issued. Council approvals to build new homes rose by 6.4% in June – the largest increase since January. And approvals were up 1.6% on the year. Greater Brisbane house approvals rose to a record rolling annual total of 14,715 over the year to June.

On Friday, The Reserve Bank releases the monthly Financial Aggregates publication, a report that includes the private sector credit measure (effectively ‘loans outstanding’) for July.  Credit growth has slowed to four-year lows, led by the slowest ever growth in housing finance to investors. Tighter bank lending standards and falling home prices in Sydney and Melbourne are behind the weakness.

What’s happening in Yankee land next week?

 

Following the Jackson Hole central bankers annual economic policy symposium over the weekend, US economic growth, trade, inflation, consumer confidence and business surveys will be in focus during the week.

Monday

Business surveys from the Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago and Dallas are due.

Tuesday

The ‘advance’ July data on trade in goods is released. A deficit of US$68.3 billion was posted in June. The Trump Administration is keen on reducing big trade deficits maintained with other countries.  And the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price gauge is released with annual growth running at a he Conference Board’s consumer confidence index, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond Manufacturing survey and the regular weekly data on chain stores are also issued.

Wednesday

The second estimate of economic growth for the June quarter is released. GDP growth is expected to be revised down slightly to 4.0%, but remain at the best level in four years. And the July index of contract signings to purchase previously-owned homes (pending sales) is issued with weekly data on new mortgage applications.

Thursday

The personal income and spending report is scheduled. The Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation – the core personal consumption expenditure deflator – will be keenly observed. The deflator is expected to increase by 0.1% in July. And the weekly data on new claims for unemployment insurance is also issued. And the weekly data on new claims for unemployment insurance is also issued.

Friday

In the US, the Chicago purchasing managers index for August is released with the final August reading on consumer confidence from the University of Michigan. The preliminary reading fell to an 11-month low.

Who’s reporting next week?

The earnings season (profit-reporting season) comes to an end next Friday. Results so far have been broadly positive and stable. Among the Aussie companies expected to report earnings:

Monday: AUB Group, Japara Healthcare, Reliance Worldwide and Spark Infrastructure.

Tuesday: Sirtex Medical, Accent Group, Northern Star, Resources, Austal and Caltex Australia.

Wednesday: Boral, Autosports Group, Cabcharge Australia, Independence Group, Regis Resources, Oneview Healthcare, SpeedCast International, Virgin Australia and Westfield Unibail-Rodamco.

Thursday: Atlas Arteria, Gateway Lifetsyle Group, Galaxy Resources, Perpetual, Perseus Mining, Ramsay Health Care and Sandfire Resources.

Friday: GTN, Harvey Norman, Metals X, NEXTDC, Orocobre and Sino Gas & Energy.

 

 

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