Economic data deluge as RBA board meets

·3-min read

By the end of this week Australians should have a good idea how the economy is travelling and what it may look like over the rest of the year.

A wide spread of economic figures will be released- from housing to international trade - but also the all important national accounts which will show whether last year's sharp recovery from recession continued in the first part of 2021.

Treasury Boss Steven Kennedy and Reserve Bank officials are due to face Senate hearings in Canberra this week, while the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development will give its view of the world in its latest Economic Outlook, which includes its latest Australian forecasts.

What does seem certain is that Tuesday's RBA board meeting will leave its key interest rates at a record low 0.1 per cent and other policies unchanged.

It has already flagged that its bond targeting and buying programs aimed at keeping interest rates low won't be reviewed until its July meeting.

Wednesday's national accounts are expected to show the economy grew by 1.1 per cent in the March quarter.

"This will leave GDP up 0.3 per cent on a year ago and see it back at its pre- pandemic high," AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said.

Economists will finalise their forecasts when March quarter data for company profits and inventories, exports and government finance are released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday.

Dr Kennedy will face a two hour grilling from senators on Tuesday morning, while Deputy RBA governor Guy Debelle will get his turn on Wednesday evening, which will give him the opportunity to provide the central bank's view of the national accounts.

Among a host of monthly numbers due, the CoreLogic home value index on Tuesday is expected show a further gain of around two per cent for May, driven by a three per cent in Sydney house prices.

However, building approval figures for April on the same day are not expected to be so upbeat, dropping 10 per cent as a result of the government's HomeBuilder grants scheme coming to a close in March.

Final retail spending data for April on Thursday are expected to be pretty much in line with the earlier preliminary result of a 1.1 per cent increase, while the April trade surplus is expected to be $8 billion compared to $5.3 billion the previous month.

Meanwhile, Australian shares are on course to reach an all-time high, supported by modest gains on Wall Street on Friday.

Australian share futures rose six points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7181.

It followed the S&P/ASX200 index closing 1.19 per cent higher on Friday to 7179.5, after coming within 11 points of its all-time peak.

In the US, the S&P 500 rose 0.1 per cent to 4,204.11, its third straight gain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.2 per to 34,529.45, while the Nasdaq gained 0.1 per cent to 13,748.74.