Next week is going to be one of those two or three such weeks each year when by its end, we will have a deeper understanding of the direction of the economy — although with the qualifier that the impact on business and consumer confidence of the budget remains to be seen.
We have already seen early signs of the damage from the budget in a fall in consumer confidence, but the question is whether that has continued into this month. We will get a sign of that from the Fairfax Media (Nielsen) and News Corp (Newspoll) opinion surveys due on Monday and Tuesday. But next week we’ll also see the first-quarter economic growth figures, as well as quarterly data on wages and profits, trade and investment, as well as government finance, and the important building approvals, trade and retail sales figures for April. Treasury will also be appearing before estimates, giving the government, via Treasury secretary and Malcolm Turnbull dining companion Martin Parkinson, the opportunity to explain its budget strategy and likely impact on the economy.