It is a blockbuster week ahead for economics. There will be data on new building approvals, monthly inflation, the balance of payments, retail trade, GDP and international trade. On top of that is the monthly meeting of the RBA Board which is next to no chance of adjusting official rates from the current level of 1.5 per cent.
The GDP result will probably be the highlight. The market is forecasting a rise of 0.7 per cent for the December quarter which if delivered would actually see the annual growth rate slip marginally to 2.6 per cent, barring revisions. This ongoing mediocre growth rate should be enough to further soothe the few remaining interest rate hawks baying for a near-term interest rate rise from the RBA.
As important as the GDP result is, the monthly data flow on information into 2018 will also be rolling out. Suffice to say, the health of the household sector will be closely watched with retail sales and building approvals for January being released. It will also be vital to see if exports are bouncing back after a disappointing year in 2017 and are there any snippets of news in the Melbourne Institute inflation gauge that will give a clue on price pressures into February?