Diary: RBA To Meet.

Diary: RBA To Meet.
March 31st. 2008 - Australasian Investment Review – (AIR)

The focus for markets this week will be in Australia tomorrow with the monthly board meeting of the RBA; and in the US on Friday night (our time) with the March jobs figures and unemployment rate.

That is expected to show a third fall, with Reuters saying US analysts are working on a fall of 58,000 jobs in the month.

Japan has the Tankan survey of business confidence from the Bank of Japan later today and here major stats will include retail sales for February and a leading monthly inflation estimate.

The RBA won’t move rates, so the statement accompanying the decision at 2.30 pm tomorrow will be interesting for that and to compare with recent speeches and statements from Governor, Glenn Stevens and the bank.

The RBA will leave interest rates on hold to see if there is any firming up of early (described astentative in the February board meeting minutes) evidence that domestic demand is slowing and the sharp tightening in monetary conditions and increasing concerns about the global outlook are having an impact.

That’s why Friday’s retail sales figures for February will be of great interest: retail sales appeared to stall in January and according to David Jones CEO, Mark McInnes last week, the slowdown really hit in February and has continued into this month.

RBA Governor Glenn Stevens appears before the major economics committee of the House of Representatives on Friday and this is likely top see a major battle of wills between him and opposition members, especially over the November rate rise during the election campaign last year.

Mr Stevens is likely to affirm that the RBA retains a tightening bias, but is prepared to sit back and see what happens for now.

The March quarter Consumer price Index is out on April 23 and will be critical to whether the RBA lifts rates at its May meeting. Unless inflation charges well over 4.5% towards 5% in the quarter, the bank will stay put. It and Mr Stevens have already said to the market they expect a rate of 4% plus for March.

Besides the RBA action, we will also see figures for new home sales, private sector credit and the TD Securities/Melbourne Institute’s Inflation Gauge.

The US focus will be on the payroll employment and unemployment figures Friday, and on the ISM business conditions survey.

The US has already seen a loss of jobs in January and February, and another fall in employment in March will be taken as further confirming that the US economy is in recession.

US Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke is also scheduled to speak on the US economic outlook and Bank of Japan’s Tankan business conditions survey is likely to be watched closely as it is expected to fall sharply consistent with other recent business surveys and figures, such as last week’s exports surge in February.

The US will also see factory orders for February and revised durable goods orders for February.


The ABS releases Australian Economic Indicators for April; Tankan survey released in Tokyo; TD Securities/Melbourne Institute inflation estimates out today; Virgin Blue media briefing; Financial aggregates for February from the RBA; Lion Selection interim results due.


Reserve Bank board meets with interest rate decision at 2.30 pm; RBA Commodity price Index to be released; PricewaterhouseCoopers/Aust. Industry Group Performance of Manufacturing March index.



Aust Industry group, Commonwealth bank March Performance of Services Index; Mount Burgess shareholder meeting in Perth.


RBA Governor, Glenn Stevens first of two appearances this year before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics in Sydney; ABS releases retail trade figures for February; US employment figures out; SP Telemedia EGM in Sydney; Carrick Gold meeting in Perth.

This article is contributed by Australasian Investment Review – (AIR) You can subscribe for their free newsletter at www.aireview.com.au

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