Money Minute Monday 2 March: key events of the week ahead

This week we get a decision on interest rates in Australia, US jobs data and the latest Halifax house price index for the UK.

Good morning and welcome to Money Minute, your comprehensive preview of this week’s biggest financial stories.

The ongoing spread of the coronavirus and the resultant slide in markets will overshadow the majority of this week’s economic data releases, much of which will date back to before the virus disruption kicked in.

However, there are some key events that will give investors some insight into how the authorities are reacting to the panic.

The Reserve Bank of Australia makes its latest decision on interest rates on Tuesday. The central bank is seen as unlikely to cut the key Australian interest rate from its current all-time low of 0.75%. That’s because Australian economic data has been neither amazing – nor terrible – in recent months.

However, given the Australian economy’s dependence on China, it’s hard to believe that the coronavirus won’t hurt its economic growth. As a result, a cut at some point in the near future seems likely, and it might be signalled at the latest meeting.

Later the same day we get a raft of news from the eurozone, including employment data and inflation figures, plus the latest update on GDP growth for last year. The data will mainly be useful for gauging how vulnerable the eurozone is to any pending coronavirus-related slowdown.

In the US on Friday, we get the latest nonfarm payrolls data. This will give us an idea of how many jobs the US economy added in the past month. Markets typically pay a great deal of attention to these figures, because of the implications for the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy. However, with the coronavirus occupying much more of everyone’s attention, the jobs data may be deemed less important than usual.

Finally, we also get UK house price data from the Halifax. No doubt there will still be evidence of a Boris Bounce lifting prices. The question is whether we’ll see an offsetting Corona Crunch later in the year.

Have a good week!

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