On Monday

The week kicks off on Monday when CoreLogic releases its estimates of home prices for March. In February, the CoreLogic Home Value Index of national home prices fell by 0.7% to be down 6.3% over the year.  Also, on Monday, NAB issues its March business survey ahead of the Federal Budget. Business confidence fell to three-year lows of 2 points in February. Political uncertainty, challenging retail conditions, drought, falling property prices and slowing domestic demand are weighing on sentiment. The AiGroup and CBA also issue their manufacturing activity gauges. 

On Tuesday

The Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publishes the building approvals data – a key leading indicator for home building. And the regular weekly reading on consumer confidence is published by ANZ and Roy Morgan. The Reserve Bank Board meets on Tuesday, but no rate change is expected. Also, on Tuesday, the Federal Budget is handed down at 7.30pm AEDT. The Federal Budget is seen as a once-a-year event. But the reality is the government’s finances can be tracked over time. Furthermore, the government’s finances are better-than-expected. In the twelve months to February 2019, the Budget deficit stood at $953 million (0.05% of GDP) – the smallest rolling annual result in a decade. Over the same 12-month period to February, the fiscal balance was in surplus by $7,445 million with the net operating balance in surplus by $10,219 million.

On Wednesday

The ABS issues continue with the international trade and retail trade data for February. Consumer spending is a key uncertainty for the interest rate outlook. But Australia’s trade position is in good shape with the biggest surplus in two years posted in January ($4,549 million). Also, new vehicle sales data is issued with sales down by 5.2% over the year to February.

On Friday

The AiGroup’s construction gauge is also issued. Residential housing construction activity is slowing.

Overseas: US jobs and retail spending in focus

US reports on jobs and retail sales are the key interest points in the coming week. Manufacturing and services activity gauges in the US and China will also be keenly observed. 

On Monday

The week begins on Monday in the US when retail sales, the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing gauge, business inventories and construction spending data are all released. US retail sales are forecast to lift by 0.3% in February after increasing by 0.2% in January. The ISM manufacturing index is tipped to increase by 0.6 points in March after falling to a two-year low of 54.2 points in February.  

On Tuesday

Weekly chain store sales, durable goods orders, the ISM New York Index and vehicle sales data are scheduled. New orders for core capital goods rose by 0.8% in January - the most in six months - and shipments increased. But durable goods orders are forecast to fall by 0.8% in February.

On Wednesday

In the US, weekly mortgage applications, the ISM non-manufacturing business activity index and the ADP employment data are issued. ADP private payrolls are forecast to have lifted by 180,000 in March after a similar 183,000 jobs were added in February. Private sector labour market demand remains solid with broad based gains from construction to professional and business services.

On Thursday

The usual weekly data on claims for unemployment insurance is released with the Challenger job cuts figures. In February, US employers announced the largest number of monthly job cuts (76,835) in more than 3½ years.

On Friday

In the US, the all-important employment report is released for March. Only 20,000 jobs were added in February – the least since September 2017. Winter weather likely reduced payroll growth with construction jobs down by 31,000. But the unemployment rate remained steady near five-decade lows at 3.8%. And average hourly earnings grew by 3.4% over the year to February – the strongest growth rate in a decade. Also, on Friday consumer credit data is scheduled. Credit is forecast to lift by US$15 billion in February after rising by US$17.05 billion in January.