Diary: Fed, RBA Minutes, Oz Jobs

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

While the Fed’s meeting will hold most attention, for Australia it will be the jobs report for last month on Thursday that investors, economists and the Reserve Bank will be looking at.

While that’s for the markets – the continuing fallout from the terrible massacre at the two mosques in Christchurch will continue to dominate the news flow outside markets.

And next Saturday sees the NSW state election – it looks close and will provide a guide to the likely result at the federal election expected in May.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force report for February on Thursday is forecast to show a 5,000 gain in jobs and unemployment of 5.1%.

But of more importance will be the annual growth rate now 2.4% and well above the 1.6% or so growth in the population and the 2.0% annual average rise in the size of the labour force over the past 20 years.

That faster growth is the key statistics that the RBA will be watching – so long as there is a comfortable margin above the average rate, the RBA will hold off on a rate cut.

But should it fall towards or reach 2%, the chances of a quick rate cut from the RBA will rise sharply.

To that end, the minutes from the last RBA board meeting are out tomorrow and while they maintain a neutral bias on interest rates, the wording will be analysed to see if there are any changes in emphasis that might show a change of tack by the central bank.

House price falls will headline the latest house price index from the ABS tomorrow – the AMP’s Dr. Shane Oliver says we can expect a 2% fall over the quarter.

And there will be a handful of companies reporting a half year or full year figures this week (see separate story).

The Fed meeting ends early Thursday morning with a statement issued around 5 am Sydney time. Dr. Oliver reckons the Fed will sit (See separate story).

US data releases include home builder conditions, the Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing conditions index, March business conditions surveys, and existing home sales figures.

Eurozone manufacturing conditions surveys on Friday could show a rise after falling below 50 in February.

But Brexit will dominate with a meeting of EU ministers due this week and no doubt more meetings in Brussels and elsewhere and more action in the House of Commons. Just where things stand remains very confused.

The Bank of England will also reveal its latest monetary policy decision – no change in interest rates will be the news, especially with all the confusion over Brexit.

Japanese core inflation for February out Friday is expected to remain weak at 0.4% year on year, keeping the Bank of Japan’s ultra-easy policy, as it confirmed last Friday with no change in its stance.

Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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