Economic Indicators For Australia

Current Account

Describes the flow of all goods and services, income and transfer payments to and from Australia. This figure acts as a gauge of how Australia's economy interacts with the rest of the world. The Balance of Payments, the Capital and Financial Accounts deal mainly with financial assets and investments.

The Current Account provides a detailed breakdown of how the country intermingles with the rest of the global economy on a practical non-investment basis.

The Current Account comprises of the value of the trade balance (exports and imports for goods and services), income payments (such as interest, dividends and salaries) and unilateral transfers (aid, taxes and one-way gifts).

A positive value (current account surplus) indicates that the flow of capital from these components into Australia exceeds the capital leaving Australia.

A negative value (current account deficit) means that there is a net capital outflow from these sources.

Persistent Current Account deficits may lead to a natural depreciation of a currency as trade, income and transfer payments usually reflect Australian dollars leaving the country to make payments in a foreign currency (just as underlying surpluses act as an appreciating weight).

There are a number of factors that often work to diminish the impact of the Current Account release on the market:

  • The report is not very timely, released every quarter.
  • Many of the components that lead to the final Current Account production and trade figures are known well in advance.
  • Since the report reflect data for a specific reporting month, any significant developments in the Current Account should plausibly have been felt during that quarter and not during the release of data.

However, just like the GDP and Trade Balance, the Current Account is central to forecasting long term developments in foreign exchange rates. It gives a detailed picture of how the Australian economy interacts internationally, breaking down these interactions into separate components that can be tracked and often anticipated.

The weight of the Current Account has led it to be historically one of the more important Australian reports.

The figure appears in headlines as the Current Account balance in billions of Australian Dollars.

Relevance: Three StarTends to move markets on release
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); quarterly, with previous quarter released three months later
Revisions schedule: Revisions are made on an as-needed basis when more accurate data is available. As the report presents data for the past six quarters, each release may feature revisions not only to the preceding quarter but to previous ones as well.
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/5302.0

Exports

Goods and services produced domestically that are sold or awaiting sale outside of Australia.

As one of the world's largest exporters of gold and metal commodities, Australia relies heavily on its exports to fuel economic growth. For this reason our export is one of eight components used to construct the Conference Board Leading Index, a widely used index to forecast Australia's economic health. The headline number is the value of exports for the given time period.

The value of export is an important input in calculations of the Trade Balance and Current Account.

Exports are rarely considered in isolation. They are most often analysed in comparison to imports.

Generally, high exports indicate a country's goods are seen as desirable abroad, which signals that this country's currency is relatively weak (cheap) compared to that of its trading partners and may appreciate in the future due to robust demand.

Relevance: Three Star Tends to move markets on release
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); monthly, in the fifth week following the reporting month.
Revisions schedule: Monthly
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/5368.0

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

The market value of all final goods and services produced in Australia during a specific period.

Robust GDP growth signals a heightened level of activity that is generally associated with a healthy economy.

However, economic expansion raises concerns about inflationary pressures. Strong GDP growth may induce the Australian central bank to raise interest rates in order to combat inflation.

As a result, positive GDP readings are typically bullish for the Australian dollar, while slumping GDP growth is usually bearish.

GDP is calculated according to the following formula: GDP = C + I + G + (EX - IM)

C = private consumption
I = private investment
G = government expenditure
EX = exports of goods and services
IM = imports of goods and services

The headline figure for GDP is an annualised percentage growth rate.

Relevance: Three Star Tends to move markets on release
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); quarterly, with previous quarter's data released three months later
Revisions schedule: The revisions are of two types: those made quarterly to recent releases and those made annually as a consequence of redistribution across all quarters within a year following revisions to annual totals.
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/5206.0

RBA Bulletin Board

A bulletin board that lists all statistical data published by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Relevance: Three Star Tends to move markets on release
Release schedule: Updated constantly
Source of report: Reserve Bank of Australia
Web address: http://www.rba.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.rba.gov.au/Statistics/Bulletin/index.html
AKA: Bulletin Statistical Tables

RBA Governor's Speech

The RBA has a target inflation of 2-3 per cent. When the Governor for the RBA makes a speech regarding the current economy market participants will pay attention to a number of areas.

Markets tend to focus on what the RBA deems as key points that could suggest future interest rate changes. For example , if the speech states that high energy costs and a rapidly expanding housing market are fuelling inflation, then the financial markets will expect an interest rate increase in order to suppress inflation.

Markets will also monitor these key sectors in the upcoming period in order to gauge the likelihood of rate increases continuing in the future.

Markets focus heavily on the language used in the Governor's speech.

If the Governor is cautious about the inflationary outlook for the economy ("Hawkish"), then the market sees a higher likelihood of future rate increases.

Optimism in the Governor's outlook ("Dovish") would suggest to markets that inflation is in check and that future rate increases are less likely and there is even a possibility of declines in rates.

The Governor's speech is also an opportunity to better understand what his or her goals are in managing the RBA, changes in policies and what stance he or she may take on controversial economic issues.

For example, some Governors promote a weaker currency in order to promote the export sector. They keep interest low so that the Australian Dollar depreciates against foreign currencies; causing imports to drop and exports to increase.

Speeches are opportunities for the Governors to explain how monetary policy may be implemented.

Relevance: Three Star Tends to move markets on release
Release schedule: The Board normally meets eleven times each year, on the first Tuesday of the month except in January
Source of report: Reserve Bank of Australia
Web address: http://www.rba.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.rba.gov.au/Speeches/index.html

RBA Rate Decision

Meeting eleven times a year, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) stands as the central monetary authority for the Australian economy.

The bank's main responsibility is to keep inflation tamed to the target 2-3 percent band, set by its own policy makers, by changing the overnight cash rate.

By adjusting the overall rate, central bankers attempt to keep price increases stable, at the consumer and producer level, while maintaining healthy economic growth.

The RBA's Cash Rate Target decision has a huge influence on its financial markets.

Changes in rates affect interest rates in consumer loans, mortgages, and bond rates.

Since short term interest rates essentially reflect the return on holding a currency, rate decisions usually affect the exchange rate of the Australian Dollar.

Increases in rates, or even expectations for increases, tend to cause the Australian Dollar to appreciate, while rate decreases cause the currency to depreciate.

Relevance: Three Star Tends to move markets on release
Release schedule: 23:30 (GMT); The Board normally meets eleven times each year, on the first Tuesday of the month except in January
Source of report: Reserve Bank of Australia
Web address: http://www.rba.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.rba.gov.au/Statistics/cashrate_target.html
AKA: Reserve Bank of Australia Monetary Policy, Target Overnight Rate, Key Interest Rate, Key Interest Policy Rate, Cash Rate Target

Retail Trade

Measure of the total sales of goods and services by retail stores in Australia.

Retail Sales is an important measure of consumer spending and inflationary pressures in Australia.

Steady increases in retail sales apply significant inflationary pressures to consumer prices.

With Retail Trade being the foremost indicator for consumer spending, this figure is extremely important in understanding Australia's economy.

The headline number percentage change in Retail Sales from that of the previous month.

Relevance: Three Star Tends to move markets on release
Release schedule: 22:45 (GMT); monthly, roughly 30 days following the end of the reporting month
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8501.0

Trade Balance

The difference between the amount of exports and imports of Australian goods and services for the reported month between Australia and other foreign trade partners.

Subsequently, when exports are greater than imports (positive net exports) a trade surplus is created.

When imports are greater than exports, a deficit is created. Simply put, there is more money leaving the country than coming in.

The report is taken into heavy consideration as it indicates flow of goods and services and stand as one of the biggest components of the Balance of Payments report.

There are a number of factors that work to diminish the market impact of the Australian Trade Balance:

  • The report is released nearly a month after the reporting period.
  • Developments in many of the figures' components are usually well anticipated.
  • Since the report reflects data for a specific reporting month, any significant changes in the Trade Balance should plausibly have been already felt during the month and not during the release of data.

Despite these considerations, the Trade Balance is essential to forecasting long term trends in foreign exchange rates and has historically been one of the more important reports out of Australia.

The Trade Balance is reported in headlines seasonally adjusted, usually in millions of AUD.

Technical Note: More specifically, Trade Balance is the aggregate of two separate balances: visible and invisible trade balance. Visible trade covers physical goods whereas invisible trade covers intangibles like services.

Relevance: Three Star Tends to move markets on release
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); monthly, near the end of every month
Revisions schedule: Monthly
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/5368.0

Cashcard Retail Index

Gauges Australian consumer spending.

The Cashcard Retail Index(RAI) tracks cash, Electronic Point of Sale (Debit), credit cards and check transactions in Australia.

The RAI is a timely indicator of Australia's retail spending and is released monthly, about 10 days after the reporting period.

An increasing figure signals consumer confidence and economic growth. Higher consumption may also lead to inflationary pressures.

The headline figure is the monthly percentage change in the index.

Relevance: Two Star Moderate market impact
Release schedule: 20:00 (GMT); monthly, on the first 10 days following the reported month
Source of report: Cashcard
Web address: http://www.cashcard.com.au
Address of release: http://www.cashcard.com.au/News.htm

Conference Board Leading Index

A composite index used to forecast short to mid-term growth in the Australian economy.

Changes in the indicators selected are thought to precede developments in the economy as a whole.

An increase in the index forecasts economic expansion while a decrease in the index projects a future contraction.

The Conference Board of Australia considers eight indicators in the calculation of the index: money supply, share prices, rural goods exports, building approvals, sales to inventories ratio, gross operating surplus, yield spread, and medium-term government bond yields.

The index is calculated as a percent change from a base year; headlines report the figure in a percent change from the previous month.

Relevance: Two Star Moderate market impact
Release Schedule: 0:00 (GMT); monthly, third week of the following month
Revisions Schedule: Subject to revisions
Source of Report: The Conference Board
Web address: http://www.conference-board.org
Address of Release: http://www.conference-board.org/economics/bci/press_archive.cfm?cid=7

Consumer Price Index (CPI)

The headline inflation gauge for Australia.

Inflation reflects a decline in the purchasing power of the Australian Dollar, where each Dollar buys fewer goods and services.

CPI is the most obvious way to quantify changes in purchasing power. The report tracks changes in the price of a basket of goods and services typically purchased by metropolitan Australian households.

An increase in the index indicates that it takes more Australian Dollars to purchase this set of basic consumer items.

Unlike most other countries, Australia publishes CPI quarterly instead of monthly this increases the report's market impact upon release.

The headline number is released as the percentage change from the previous quarter or year.

Relevance: Two Star Tends to move markets on release
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT), quarterly, one month after the quarter
Revision schedule:Major benchmark revisions are made every 5 years
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6401.0

Employment Change

Tracks the number of persons employed in Australia.

The figure appears in the monthly Labour Force Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

A surge in new employment suggests higher spending potential and budding inflation pressures, which the RBA often counters with rate increases.

The headline figure is the annualised percentage change in employed workers.

Relevance: Two Star Moderate market impact
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); monthly, first week of every month
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/6202.0u> AKA : Change in Employed Persons

Housing Industry Association New Home Sales

The number of new dwellings sold in the past month.

An increase in home sales suggests a growing housing market which tends to promote the rest of the economy.

New Home Sales confirms trends in housing reports that record earlier stages of construction such as Building Approvals and Construction Work Done and is considered a leading indicator for broader economic developments.

The headline figure is the percentage change in housing sales from the previous month.

Relevance: Two Star Moderate market impact
Release schedule: 4:00 (GMT); monthly, end of every month
Source of report: Housing Industry Association Economics Group
Web address: http://economics.hia.com.au<
Address of release: http://economics.hia.com.au/archive.aspx

New Motor Vehicle Sales

Tracks automobile sales in Australia.

Though motor vehicle sales are a small component of the overall economy, expenditures of such "big-ticket" items give good insight into consumers' spending ability.

Additionally, the figure gauges consumer confidence as consumers and businesses are only likely to make the outlays needed for motor vehicles if they are optimistic about their current and future economic well being.

The figure is reported both as number of new automobile sales and as monthly percentage change.

Relevance: Two Star Moderate market impact
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); monthly, on approximately the 20th of the following month
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/9314.0

Producer Price Index (PPI)

Measures changes in the selling prices received by producers.

Because PPI analyses changes in price that occur before the goods reach the retail level, it gives an early indication of inflationary pressures consumers will later face for finished goods.

The PPI reports data is broken into stages of production to track how manufacturers pass on increased costs or efficiency gains to the final consumer.

The index may be used as a detailed picture of how inflationary pressures feed through production lines and as a leading indicator for inflation pressures.

The headline is the percentage change in the index from the previous quarter and year.

Relevance: Two Star Moderate market impact
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); quarterly, on approximately the 20th of the month following the end of the reporting quarter
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6427.0

Unemployment Rate

The percent of unemployed persons (those who have no job but are actively seeking work) in the labour force.

The Unemployment Rate serves as a leading indicator of the health of the labour market.

The report is very timely, coming out just a few weeks after the reporting period.

The figure has a significant impact on the market because of the overall importance of employment for the economy. Higher unemployment leads to less income for Australian workers who, in turn, may reduce consumption.

As consumer spending contributes to a majority of Australia's GDP, developments in the labour market directly affect prospects for Australian growth.

Relevance: Two Star Moderate market impact
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); monthly, mid-month following the reporting month's end
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/6202.0

Westpac Consumer Confidence

officially called the Consumer Sentiment Index, this figure measures the level of consumer confidence and is an average of five indexes measuring different aspects of consumer fiscal health.

This is one of the few indicators that are entirely based on expectation.

Households report their views on current buying conditions for household items and where they feel are the "wisest" places to invest savings.

Views on future political policy (taxes, politicians, government) and economic conditions (wages, inflation, unemployment) are also surveyed.

Confidence figures are often leading indicators for consumer spending and the economy as a whole. The headline figure is percentage of change in the index value from that of the previous month.

Relevance: Two Star Moderate market impact
Release Schedule: 0:30 (GMT); monthly,
Source of Report: Australian Industry Group
Web address: http://www.unimelb.edu.au
Address of release: http://melbourneinstitute.com/research/macro/csi.html

AIG Performance of Service Index

Tracks monthly developments in the Australian services sector, condensing data into an overall boom or bust index.

The composite index by American International Group (AIG) based on surveys of sales, new orders, employment, inventories and deliveries compiled. The AIG Performance of Service Index excludes industrial manufacturing sectors that tend to be volatile and seasonal, giving a clean picture of Australia's service sector that accounts for a majority of Australian GDP.

The headline number uses a 50 baseline. Above 50 signifies growth, while a number below 50 shows a contraction in the services sector.

Relevance: One StarRarely affects markets
Release schedule: 23:30 (GMT); monthly, in the first week following the reporting month
Source of report: Australian Industry Group
Web address: http://www.aigroup.asn.au
Address of release: http://www.aigroup.asn.au/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=aigroup/ccms.r?PageId=808

ANZ Job Advertisements

A monthly report measuring the number of jobs advertised in the major daily newspapers and internet sites in major Australian cities.

This release has historically been a good leading indicator of future labour market conditions and therefore an effective tool for forecasting employment growth.

The report features two headline numbers, one for newspapers and the other for internet postings. Both are expressed as a percentage change from the previous month's figures.

Relevance: One StarRarely affects markets
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); monthly, in the first half of the following month
Source of report: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ)
Web address: http://www.anz.com
Address of release: http://www.anz.com/corporate/research/australian-industry-economics/job-advertisement-series/

Building Approvals

The number of domestic building permits granted for the month.

Strong growth in new approvals and permits indicates a growing housing market.

Because real estate generally leads economic developments (housing tends to thrive at the start of booms and wane at the onset of recession) the figure can be used with others to forecast future growth in the economy as a whole. A strong housing market also tends to lead consumer spending.

For this reason Business Approvals is one of eight components used to construct the Conference Board Leading Index, a widely used index for forecasting Australia's economic course.

The headline number is the seasonally adjusted percentage change in new building approvals from the previous month.

Relevance: One StarRarely affects markets
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); monthly, first week of every month
Revision schedule: Monthly
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/8731.0
AKA: Building Permits

Company Operating Profits

The profits of Australian companies after all expenses have been accounted for.

Company Operating Profits are an important indicator of economic health.

Positive profits allow firms to re-invest to increase efficiency and expand output. Higher profits also suggest stronger demand and productivity and therefore a better overall economic outlook.

The headline number is the percentage of change in quarterly Company Operating Profits from that of the previous quarter.

Relevance: One Star Rarely affects markets
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); quarterly, data released three months after the reported quarter
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/5676.0

Construction Work Done

Measures the value of all construction completed in Australia during the previous month.

Officially referred to as Building Activity, this figure is used to track developments in the construction sector.

Because the construction sector is a leading indicator of economic output in the rest of the housing market, a consistent decline in this number (particularly in conjunction with a decline in new building permits or housing financing) predicts a contraction in the economy as a whole.

The headline number is the percentage change in the value from the previous month.

Relevance: One StarRarely affects markets
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); quarterly, data released three months after the reported quarter
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/8752.0
AKA: Building Activity

DEEWR Skilled Vacancies

Measures the monthly change in skilled job vacancies across Australia.

The Skilled Vacancies Index (SVI) is a leading indicator for the Australian Labour market.

A high number of vacancies indicate a job market where labour is in demand and employers are pressured to increase wages. Rising wages put upward pressure on inflation than can lead to interest rate changes. Fewer skilled vacancies imply a tighter job market where skilled workers face greater difficulty finding employment, possibly weighing wages down.

The headline value is the percentage change in the SVI from the previous month.

Relevance: One StarRarely affects markets
Release schedule: 1:00 (GMT); monthly, the last week of every month
Revisions schedule: Revisions are published monthly for the data up to six months back from the current release
Source of report: Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Web address: http://www.workplace.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.tenders.tas.gov.au/domino/dtf/dtf.nsf/LookupFiles/DEEWR-Vacancy-Report.pdf/$file/DEEWR-Vacancy-Report.pdf
AKA: Skilled Vacancies Index

Home Loans

Tracks developments in the number and value of outstanding home loans in Australia.

Home Loans, also known as Owner Occupied Housing Loans, are a measure of activity in the housing market. The figure acts as a gauge for consumer confidence since consumers usually take out large loans only when they have sufficient saving or believe they will be able to pay them back in the future.

The sale of a new home usually triggers a sequence of consumption as buyers are likely to spend more money on furnishing and customising their home.

Consequently, growth in the housing market spurs more consumption, generating demand for goods, services and the employees to provide them. Hence an increase in loans may forecasts growth in the economy.

The headline figure is the percentage change in the value of outstanding loans from the previous month.

Relevance: One StarRarely affects markets
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); monthly, first week of every month
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/5609.0
Refer > Under number of dwelling commitments > Owner Occupied Housing
AKA: Owner Occupied Housing Loans

House Price Indexes

Tracks changes in housing prices in Australia's eight provincial capital cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Darwin and Canberra.

The headline number is the weighted average percentage change from the previous quarter.

Like any price index, the housing price indexes measure inflationary pressures, in this case specifically from the housing sector.

The headline number is the quarterly percentage change in the index.

Relevance: One StarRarely affects markets
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); quarterly, two months after the reported quarter
Revision schedule: Quarterly
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of release http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/6416.0

Imports

Goods and services produced overseas that are sold or awaiting sale inside of Australia.

The value of imports is an important input in calculations of the Trade Balance and Current Account.

They are most often analysed in comparison to exports to give a detailed picture of the demand for Australian goods and services as well as the demand in Australia for outside goods and services.

Relevance: One Star Rarely affects markets
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); monthly, in the fifth week following the reporting month.
Revisions schedule: Monthly
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: Address of releasehttp://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/5368.0

Inventories

Tracks unsold goods among Australian industrial firms.

Inventories are often able to accentuate economic turning points.

A significant decrease in inventories implies that the economy is on the verge of rapid growth because stockrooms for businesses are empty and need to be replenished, which triggers higher production overall.

Declines in inventory are often indicative of productivity increases rather than changes in demand.

Recent technological advancements have allowed firms to manage inventories quicker and more efficiently, keeping inventory levels lower. Logistical advances have put particular emphasis on growing inventories. Increases in stocks of goods signal declining demand in Australian.

The headline number is the percentage change in inventories from the previous quarter.

Because of the many factors involved with changes in inventory, it is best to consult news reports and in depth analysis of the figure to avoid data misinterpretation.

Relevance: One Star Rarely affects markets
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); quarterly, three months after the reported quarter
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/5676.0

Investment Lending

The value of loans provided to individuals and corporations.

An increase in Investment Lending forecasts growth in the economy. Greater capital investments typically finance expansions of output and productivity and usually occur in periods of high consumer and business confidence.

During these periods borrowers are willing to make investments because they hold reasonable expectations that their investments will pay off in the future.

By making these investments, borrowers both increase private expenditure and enhance the future productive capacity of the economy.

This figure typically does not have significant impact upon markets.

The figure is reported as a seasonally adjusted percentage change from the previous month.

Relevance: One Star Rarely affects markets
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); monthly, approximately 40-45 days after the reporting month
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/5609.0
Refer > Investment Housing - Fixed Loans
AKA: Investment Housing Loans

Labour Price Index

Measures quarterly changes in Australian wages.

Two versions of the Labour Price Index exist; one which includes bonuses and one which excludes them.

The Labour Price Index is similar to the US Employment Cost Index and is an early indicator of wages' pressure on inflation.

An increase in the index suggests rising inflation pressures as firms tend to pass higher labour costs onto consumers in the form of higher prices.

The headline figure is the quarterly percentage change in the Labour Price Index.

Technical Note: The index is constructed by combining eight separate indexes.

The four wage price indexes are:

  • ordinary time hourly rates of pay excluding bonuses index
  • ordinary time hourly rates of pay including bonuses index
  • total hourly rates of pay excluding bonuses index
  • total hourly rates of pay including bonuses index

The four non-wage price indexes are:

  • annual and public holiday leave
  • superannuation
  • payroll tax
  • workers' compensation

Relevance: One Star Rarely affects markets
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); quarterly, approximately a month and a half following end of reporting quarter
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6345.0

National Australia Bank Business Survey

A survey of the current state of the business sector in Australia.

Based on a survey of hundreds of small to large sized companies, the National Australia Bank delivers monthly and more comprehensive quarterly reports from statistical and anecdotal data.

This comprehensive survey primarily provides insight into the state of the Australian economy and puts forth leading indicators that signal its future direction.

The survey's findings, if unexpected, have the power to move markets directly.

The quarterly is more comprehensive, surveying around 1000 small to large non-farm* firms and provides greater detail on the data as well as a short to mid-term outlook for Australia.

*Due to seasonal volatility and government protections the survey excludes the farm sector.

Relevance: One StarRarely affects markets
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); Monthly and Quarterly
Source of report: National Australia Bank
Web address: http://www.national.com.au
Address of release: http://www.national.com.au/Business_Solutions/0,,148,00.html

Participation Rate

The seasonally-adjusted proportion of the entire population that is currently employed or unemployed but actively seeking employment.

The Participation Rate indicates how much of the population is willing and able to work and is a snapshot of the productivity potential and current conditions of Australia's labour market.

The report has little market impact on markets.

Relevance: One StarRarely affects markets
Release schedule: 1:30 (GMT); monthly, approximately mid month following the reporting month
Source of report: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Web address:
Address of release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6202.0

Private New Capital Expenditures and Expected Expenditures

Value of actual and expected purchases of new capital.

Capital purchases are investments in productive capacity like new machinery, plants, or improvements and additions to existing assets. Such purchases are made by companies optimistic that costs will be surmounted by future demand. For instance, gold mines may purchase new mining equipment to increase productivity in order to meet rising demand for gold.

Private Capital Expenditures generally indicate higher business confidence and reflect a healthy economy.

The headline number is the seasonally adjusted percentage change in new private capital expenditures from the previous quarter.

Technical Note: The figure is derived from the results of an Australian Bureau of Statistics survey of 8000 private firms.

The survey asks for three items: expenditures for the reference period (Act, actual), expected expenditures in the short-term (E1) and expected expenditures in the long-term (E2).

Long-term prospects can be assessed by looking at time-specific data as businesses optimistic about the long-run will have higher planned expenditures in both the short and long-term. Capex Image

Relevance: One Star Rarely affects markets
Release Schedule: 1:30 (GMT); quarterly, with previous quarter's data released three months later
Revision Schedule: Quarterly
Source of Report: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
Web address: http://www.abs.gov.au
Address of Release: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/5625.0

TD Securities Inflation

A monthly estimate of inflation in the Australian economy.

The report replicates the methodology used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics to calculate the quarterly Consumer Price Index (CPI), striving to correspond closely with official government numbers.

The figure is important because it acts as a timelier indicator of inflation, coming out monthly instead of the quarterly CPI figures.

Released one day before interest rate decisions are made, the figure may influence RBA considerations for rate hikes or reductions.

As with any gauge of inflation in Australia, a high value in the figure is bullish for the Australian dollar, since real inflationary pressures are usually met by the Reserve Bank of Australia with bullish rate hikes.

The headline figure is the month-over-month or annualized inflation rate.

Relevance: One Star Rarely affects markets
Release schedule: 0:00 (GMT); monthly, on the day prior to each monthly meeting of the Reserve Bank of Australia Board
Source of report: The University of Melbourne - Faculty of Economics and Commerce
Web address: http://www.ecom.unimelb.edu.au
Address of release: http://melbourneinstitute.com/research/macro/tdsec.html

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