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Economic diary winds down for Christmas

The economic events diary winds down this week ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will release the minutes of its December 7 board meeting on Tuesday but they are unlikely to shine any fresh light on the outlook for interest rates.

In a speech last week, RBA governor Philip Lowe said he didn’t expect conditions to lift the cash rate will be met in 2022 despite financial markets having predicted an increase for some time.

He reiterated the RBA board would not increase the cash rate from a record low 0.1 per cent until actual inflation was sustainably in the two to three per cent target range.

“We are still a fair way from that point. In our central scenario, the condition for an increase in the cash rate will not be met next year,” he said.

“It is likely to take time for that condition to be met and the board is prepared to be patient.”

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release its latest payroll report on Wednesday for the fortnight ending November 27.

The full labour force report for November was issued last week and covered the period until November 13.

Those figures showed unemployment dropped to 4.6 per cent from 5.2 per cent as a result of the recent COVID-19 lockdowns in NSW and Victoria ending and as 366,100 people rejoined the workforce.

The RBA will also release its monthly credit data for November on Thursday, which economists at Commonwealth Securities expect will show a further 0.5 per cent increase in total credit, again led by demand for home loans.

Meanwhile, Australian shares look set to start a shortened trading week down after Wall Street, weakened by big tech and with investors worried about Omicron, finished Friday lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.48 per cent to end at 35,365.44 points, while the S&P 500 lost 1.03 per cent to 4,620.64 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.07 per cent to 15,169.68.

Australian share futures were down 30 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 7177 on Friday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 8.3 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 7304 points.

Central banks tightening policy were blamed locally for complicating the global outlook.

The Bank of England became the first to raise borrowing costs since the pandemic began while the European Central Bank will begin easing stimulus in March.

Yet AMP head of investment strategy Shane Oliver says he is not worried.

“The upshot is that key central banks are moving towards monetary tightening but at different speeds,” he said on Friday.

Mr Oliver said monetary policy would still be easy next year, just less so than this year.

The share market closes at lunchtime on Christmas Eve on Friday.

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