Overseas central bank moves may hint at rates movement

As inflation cools, Australians will look to international inflation indicators for signals on whether the Reserve Bank might lower interest rates.

The United States' consumer price index, which will drop by Wednesday, is expected to increase 0.3 per cent on headline and core measures, CommSec economists Ryan Felsman and Craig James say.

China is also expected to reveal its inflation data via consumer and producer prices on Thursday, as the central banks of Canada, Europe and New Zealand hand down their interest rate decisions mid-week.

In Australia it is largely second-tier economic data that awaits investors, Mr Felsman and Mr James said.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release data on business turnover in February, which will provide an indication of broader economic activity in the wake of household spending insights from CBA.

Meanwhile, a NAB survey on business conditions is expected to show they were above the long-run average during March.

On Wednesday, building activity data from the ABS for the December quarter will also show whether Australia is on track to reach its target of 1.2 million new houses over the next five years. 

Building approvals data released on Thursday showed a 1.9 per cent fall in February due to a sharp drop in non-housing dwellings and a 10.7 per cent lift in housing approvals as the construction industry struggles with labour and material costs. 

Master Builders Australia chief executive Denita Wawn says ongoing changes to Australia's interest rates throughout 2024 will have "a significant influence on the direction of the economy and investment decisions in the housing market" but there is still no silver-bullet solution.

"The number of homes being built is 30 per cent lower than what is required to hit the ... target," she said.

Ms Wawn called on the federal government to increase opportunities for apprenticeships and incentivise skilled migration to address the sector's labour shortages.

She also called on state governments to accelerate planning reform to give the industry a better chance at hitting the housing targets.

US stocks finished higher on Friday after a strong jobs report reinforced the view that the economy remains healthy even as it suggested the Federal Reserve could delay cutting interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 307.06 points, or 0.80 per cent, to 38,904.04, the S&P 500 gained 57.13 points, or 1.11 per cent, to 5,204.34 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 199.44 points, or 1.24 per cent, to 16,248.52.

For the week, the Dow fell 2.3 per cent, the S&P 500 dropped 1.0 per cent and the Nasdaq declined 0.8 per cent.

Australian futures rose 41 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 7827.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Friday finished down 44 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 7,773. 

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