This week kicks off on Tuesday

The week kicks off on Tuesday with a speech on “Bonds and Benchmarks” by Reserve Bank Assistant Governor (Financial Markets) Christopher Kent at the KangaNews DCM Summit in Sydney. And the Reserve Bank’s March 5 monetary policy meeting minutes will be released at 11:30am Sydney time.

On Tuesday we also see a speech on “Bonds and Benchmarks” by Reserve Bank Assistant Governor (Financial Markets) Christopher Kent at the KangaNews DCM Summit in Sydney. And the Reserve Bank’s March 5 monetary policy meeting minutes will be released at 11:30am Sydney time.

The regular weekly reading on consumer confidence is published by ANZ and Roy Morgan. And the Bureau of Statistics’ releases its quarterly publication “Residential Property Price Indexes”. Apart from home prices there is other data covering the average value of homes and changes in the number of homes in each state.

On Wednesday

The Commonwealth Bank issues its Business Sales Indicator for February. And the Department of Jobs and Small Business releases the Internet Vacancy Index for February. In January, the index rose by 1.3% to a 6½-year high of 88.2 points. It was the fourth straight gain in the trend index. The index is 3.3% higher than a year ago. 

On Thursday

The February employment report is released. Leading indicators of jobs growth have been mixed and there has been a loss of momentum in private-sector activity. That said, 65,400 full-time jobs were added in January with the NSW unemployment rate falling to 3.9% – the lowest level since the 1970s. CBA economists’ forecast 15,000 jobs to be added with the unemployment rate steady at 5 per cent.

Also, on Thursday the Bureau of Statistics’ releases the September quarter population estimates. Annual population growth probably held near 1.5-1.6% – still one of the fastest rates across advanced nations. 

On Friday

The Commonwealth Bank releases the ‘flash’ Purchasing Manager indexes for March.  

Overseas: The US Federal Reserve takes centre stage

In the absence of any ‘top shelf’ data releases in China, the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision is the highlight for investors in the week ahead. 

On Monday

The week begins on Monday in the US when the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for February is released. According to NAHB Chair Randy Noel, the “Ongoing reduction in mortgage rates in recent weeks coupled with continued strength in the job market are helping to fuel builder sentiment. In the aftermath of the fall (autumn) slowdown, many builders are reporting positive expectations for the spring selling season.” The home builder sentiment index is currently at 4-month highs at 62 points.

On Tuesday

The January data on US factory orders is released along with the weekly chain store sales figures. Economists estimate that factory orders fell by 0.1%. New orders for US-made goods rose by just 0.1% in December and business spending on equipment was much weaker than expected, pointing to a softening in manufacturing activity.

On Wednesday

The US Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee (FOMC) hands down its interest rate decision at the conclusion of its two-day meeting. Chair, Jerome Powell, is expected to reiterate in his press conference the FOMC’s recently stated position that it can be patient when it comes to the future path of monetary policy. With inflation pressures “muted”, the US facing “crosscurrents” from slowing global growth and likely winter-impacted March quarter economic activity, we expect the Federal Reserve to remain sidelined this year.