Economic Glossary2019-01-04T08:29:45+00:00


The Trade Balance measures the difference in value between imported and exported goods and services over the reported period. A positive number indicates that more goods and services were exported than imported. A higher than expected reading should be taken as positive bullish for the AUD, while a lower than expected reading should be taken as negative/bearish for the AUD.

Retail Sales measure the change in the total value of inflation-adjusted sales at the retail level. It is the foremost indicator of consumer spending, which accounts for the majority of overall economic activity.

Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) board members come to a consensus on where to set the rate. Traders watch interest rate changes closely as short term interest rates are the primary factor in currency valuation.

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) monthly rate statement contains the outcome of bank’s interest rate decision and discusses the economic conditions that influenced the decision. It can also give investors clues to the outcome of future decisions.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures the change in the inflation-adjusted value of all goods and services produced by the economy. It is the broadest measure of economic activity and the primary indicator of the economy’s health.

Employment Change measures the change in the number of people employed. Job creation is an important indicator of consumer spending.

The Westpac Consumer Sentiment Index measures the change in the level of consumer confidence in economic activity. On the index, a level above 100.0 indicates optimism; below indicates pessimism. The data is compiled from a survey of about 1,200 consumers which asks respondents to rate the relative level of past and future economic conditions.

Private Sector Credit measures the change in the total value of new credit issued to consumers and businesses.

Building Approvals (also known as Building Permits) measures the change in the number of new building approvals issued by the government. Building permits are key indicator of demand in the housing market.

Home Loans record the change in the number of new loans granted for owner-occupied homes. It is a leading indicator of demand in the housing market.

The Australian Industry Group (AIG) manufacturing index rates the relative level of business conditions in the sector. The data is based on a survey of about 200 manufacturers. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector; below 50 indicates contraction. Traders watch these surveys closely as purchasing managers usually have early access to data about their company’s performance, which can be a leading indicator of overall economic performance.