Data Vault – A weekly wrap up of key economic releases in Australia and beyond

October 17, 2011

Economic Data Vault

October 17th 2011

Welcome to our weekly Data Vault. The Vault is put together by one of our team here at Lighthouse and edited by me – we offer it as a resource to readers and clients who want to quickly get a feel for the data over the week without having to read a full blog or economic report. It will be released each Monday morning and while our primary focus is Australia we also include our key overseas indicators.

Australian Data

ANZ Job Advertisements

The ANZ jobs ads report has continued its steady deterioration over the past six months at its latest reading. The latest report for September showed that total job ads fell 2.1% with the annual increase decelerating to 3.1%. Total jobs ads, including both internet and newspaper are now down 6.6% over the past 6 months. In their report the ANZ said that “Moderating job advertising points towards a further softening in employment growth in the months ahead and a modest rise in the unemployment rate”.

NAB Monthly Business Survey

After sharp falls in business confidence and business conditions in August, there were signs of stabilisation in the September survey with confidence rising 7 points to -2 while conditions rose 5 points to 2. The main driver behind the stabilisation was a sharp improvement in trading conditions which rose 8.1 points, which took the index back into positive territory at 4.7. However the biggest positive from the survey was another small improvement in the employment index which rose 2.5 points taking it to 2.9, a 3 month high.

Westpac Consumer Sentiment Survey

The October consumer survey saw further stabilisation in confidence after the solid bounce in September. This month’s survey was conducted over the week the saw the capitulation the bounce in markets. The overall confidence index edged up 0.4% to 97.2 however the expectations index rose a much stronger 2.7% while the conditions index dropped actually 2.6%. Breaking it up a little further, family finances compared to a year ago and for the year ahead rose 2.3% and 3.0% respectively while confidence in the economy over the next year and 5 years rose 0.9% and 4.1% respectively.

Housing Finance

Housing finance commitments for August remained soft with the number of owner occupier loans up 1.2% while the value of commitments rose 0.6%.  However adjusted for refinancing, the total number of loan commitments was only up 1% while the value of commitments ex refinancing actually fell 0.9%. Total investor lending over the month was up 1.8%, taking the total increase in the value of commitments to 1% or 0.1% ex re-financing. First home owner participation remains steady while the average loan size appears to be drifting lower


After two months of declines the Australian economy added an additional 20.4k jobs in September with the growth fairly evenly split between full time positions (+10.8) and part time positions (+9.6k). The better than expected growth saw the unemployment rate  fall back from 5.3% to 5.2% when rounded however the actual drop was only 0.4% from 5.28% to 5.24%. The economy has only added 5.4k jobs over the past three months and over the past 6 months it has actually lost 4.8k jobs. The positive is that despite the weakness in the non-mining sector of the economy and the strengthening headwinds from offshore, we are yet to see widespread net  job losses

Offshore Data

German International Trade

After falling for three of the past 4 months, German exports bounced back in August, rising by 3.5% which was much more than the 1.1% rise that was expected by the market with the increase taking the annual increase from 7% to 12.3%. While exports were strong, imports have largtely stalled over the past three months after being flat in August  following a 0.5% rise in July while imports were also flat in June. The stalling in imports could be a sign the forward orders are weak and demand is waning.

Eurozone Industrial Production

Eurozone industrial production rose more than 1% for the second straight month in August with the annual rate also climbing after the market was looking for a small decline. Capital goods drove the increase while intermediate goods and non-durable consumer goods also rose. Energy and durable goods were unchanged from a month earlier. Interestingly German industrial production fell for the second time in the past 3 months while French production experienced a modest improvement over the month.

China CPI

The annual pace of Chinese inflation eased back to 6.1% in September in line with market expectation after inflation rose by 0.5% over the month. The annual pace of food inflation remained unchanged at 13.4% while the annual pace of non-food inflation eased 0.1% to 2.9%. The pace of inflation of meat and poultry producted remains elevated at 28.4% along with egg productions while the past of increase of fresh fruit and vegetables has slowed considerably. The annual pace of inflation appears to have peaked for now.

Eurozone CPI

Inflation across the Euro-zone jumped 0.8% in September, which was in line with estimates, taking the annual rate to 3%, its highest level since October 2008. Core inflation jumped much more than expected, up 0.9% over the month, taking the annual pace back up to 1.6% which is the highest level since April 2009. Energy costs continue to push up inflation and are up 12.4% over the past 12 months while the annual increase in housing costs and transportation are the 2 other main drivers of inflationary pressure and are up 5% and 5.9% respectively.

US Advanced Retail Sales

US advanced retail sales jumped more than expected in September with total sales climbing 1.1% over the month against expectations of a 0.7% rise. Sales ex autos were also up strongly and more than twice the markets estimates, rising 0.6% while sales ex-autos and gas were 0.5% higher against market estimates of a 0.4% rise. The bounce in sales suggests that the consumer is remaining somewhat resilient in comparison to a number of other indicators of economic performance in the US

US University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment

The preliminary reading of the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index saw consumer confidence unexpectedly fall in October with the index dropping from 59.4 to 57.5 against expectations of a rise to 60.2. The economic conditions index was also marginally lower, falling to 73.8 from 74.9 after  bouncing from its lowest level August 2009 last month while the economic outlook fell to 47.0, its lowest level since May 1980.

Yours in data – The Lighthouse Team.

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