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31 Dec 2011 – Jobless claims show recovery gaining momentum

(31 Dec 2011, The Weekend Australian, p25, Ben Casselman, from Wall Street Journal) “Fewer Americans are filing new claims for jobless benefits than at any time since the end of the recession, the latest signal that the U.S. economy is ending a year of uncertainty on a positive note.” “The Department of Labor said Thursday … Continue reading

30 Dec 2011 – We’ll ride out turmoil in Europe (economic forecast for 2012)

(28 Dec 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p6, Peter Martin) [This is The Age’s Economic Survey of high profile people – economists and academics. Note that the only two people to come close with forecasts a year ago were Steven Keen and Jakob Madsen – both academics. Everyone else on the list were quite away off … Continue reading

30 Dec 2011 – Desperate families give up children as Greece’s financial crisis hits home

(30 Dec 2011, TheAge, p7, Helena Smith from Athens, from The Guardian) Greek economic crisis turns tragic for children abandoned by their families “Nation shocked by stories of parents forced to give up children because of poverty – but charities warn of more cases to come.” “Even before Greece‘s economic crisis engulfed his own home, … Continue reading

29 Dec 2011 – America cashes in as cashed-up Brazilians go on a massive splurge

(29 Dec 2011, The Age, p11, Lizette Alvarez, in Miami, from New York Times) “MIAMI — Even in a city that has embraced so many waves of Latinos that it is jokingly referred to as the only South American capital in North America, no one group has been as courted and pampered as the Brazilians. … Continue reading

28 Dec 2011 – Float Review – no survivors

[The AFR summary of IPOs in 2011] – (28 Dec 2011, AFR, p23, Tony Featherstone) “The runaway euro crisis has turned the Australian float market into roadkill. Capital raised through initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2011 was the lowest in more than a decade, share price losses were horrendous and dozens of companies abandoned their … Continue reading

28 Dec 2011 – Brazil steps up the pace

(28 Dec 2011, AFR, p10, from Bloomberg) Brazil to Remain Ahead of U.K. as Economy Now Sixth in World, Mantega Says “Brazil will remain one of the fastest-growing nations in the coming years after overtaking the U.K. this year to become the world’s sixth-largest economy, the country’s Finance Minister Guido Mantega said.” ” “The countries … Continue reading

28 Dec 2011 – Danger signal: Europe heads for recession

(28 Dec 2011, AFR, p10, from The Guardian) The euro crisis deepens “Every week brought more dire forecasts in the battle to save Europe’s economic club. But 2012 will be its worst year yet.” “Europe‘s leaders have spent most of the euro crisis denying there’s a euro crisis. A “specific Greek problem”, that they’d give you. Irish … Continue reading

28 Dec 2011 – UK plans clamp on cash flow

(28 Dec 2011, AFR, p10, from UK Telegraph) Treasury plans for euro failure “The Government is considering plans to restrict the flow of money in and out of Britain to protect the economy in the event of a full-blown euro break-up.” “The Treasury is working on contingency plans for the disintegration of the single currency … Continue reading

25 Dec 2011 – Don’t Worry About China: World Bank Chief Economist

(25 Dec 2011, Forbes, Gordon G. Chang, Contributor) “As the Chinese economy tumbles into recession, the World Bank’s chief economist is embarking on a campaign to reverse negative perceptions about his home country’s prospects.  “China has the potential to achieve another 20 years of 8% growth,” said Justin Yifu Lin in a speech sponsored by … Continue reading

23 Dec 2011 – US jobless claims fall as momentum grows

(23 Dec 2011, The Age) “The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits hit a 3-1/2 year low last week, bolstering views the economy was gaining momentum, even though third-quarter growth was revised down.” “Other data on Thursday underscored the firming tone in the economy, with consumer sentiment scaling a six-month high in … Continue reading

23 Dec 2011 – Recession nears as UK services shrink

(23 Dec 2011, The Guardian, Phillip Inman, Economics correspondent) “Britain’s economy looks on course for a second recession in three years after official figures for October showed the dominant service sector contracted at its fastest pace since the spring.” “A fall of 0.7% in services output, which accounts for about three-quarters of the economy, was … Continue reading

22 Dec 2011 – Conservative values stifling home sales

(22 Dec 2011, AFR, p22. Matthew Cranston) “Lower than expected bank valuations on Queensland residential properties have caused up to half of all sales contracts to fall through, with industry bodies warning the problem is spreading to other states.” “Buyers are required to have a property valued if they are seeking bank funding for the … Continue reading

21 Dec 2011 – Online spree floods post with parcels

[Comment – This article gives us a glimpse of a developing part of the Aussie economy – online retail sales.] (21 Dec 2011, AFR, p3, Jason Murphy) “Australia Post has extended trading hours, rented extra depots and sent head office staff down to dispatch to help cope with a 13 per cent surge in parcel … Continue reading

21 Dec 2011 – Home buyers paying their way despite crisis: report

[Comment – This story is positive news for our economic outlook.] (21 Dec 2011, The Age, p6, Simon Johanson) “FEWER Australians are defaulting on their mortgage payments despite the global economic uncertainty.” “The proportion of home owners failing to pay their loan instalments on time fell nationally in September, down nearly a quarter since March, … Continue reading

19 Dec 2011 – $34m investor funds in limbo

(19 Dec 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p1, Adele Ferguson) “MORE than six weeks after the spectacular worldwide collapse of MF Global, the $313 million pot of Australian client money remains frozen with little hope of a full recovery as the liquidators, lawyers and regulators try to unravel some poor regulatory decisions made worse by the … Continue reading

20 Dec 2011 – Reins on CFDs pulled in to stop next MF Global

(20 Dec 2011, AFR, p19, Edited by Sarah Thompson, Christine Lacy and Stephen Shore ) “The largest providers of contracts-for-difference in Australia, IG Markets and CMC Markets, may feel the pinch of tighter regulation in the wake of the collapse of MF Global.” “The federal Treasury is now consulting on regulation regarding client money protection, … Continue reading

20 Dec 2011 – Fewer in arrears

[Comment – Interesting observation of the Australian mortgage market – perhaps the worst of the economy is behind us? – just waiting for Europe to bottom out.] (20 Dec 2011, AFR, p10, Ben Hurley) “Fewer mortgage holders are in arrears, according to Fitch Ratings. In September, 1.42 per cent of mortgages were in arrears, down … Continue reading

20 Dec 2011 – Exodus as investors see no equity in equities

(20 Dec 2011, TheAge, BusinessDay, p1, Gareth Hutchens) “INVESTORS continue to pull their money out of the stockmarket at record rates, ploughing their savings into term deposits in an attempt to escape the turmoil on global markets.” “Australian term deposits have swelled by $276 billion since July 2007, growing at an annualised rate of 22.3 … Continue reading

19 Dec 2011 – Fitch move ups pressure on Europe

(19 Dec 2011, AFR, Emma Ross-Thomas, Madrid) “France’s credit outlook has been lowered by Fitch Ratings, which also put the grades of nations including Spain and Italy on review for a downgrade, citing Europe’s failure to find a “comprehensive solution” to the debt crisis.” “Fitch affirmed France’s AAA rating and placed Spain, Italy, Belgium, Slovenia, … Continue reading

17 Dec 2011 – Where will the money come from?

(17-18 Dec 2011, AFR, p43, Andrew Cornell, Paulina Duran and Matthew Cranston) [A lengthy feature article with a great graphic in the Weekend AFR. The link below is for AFR print or online subscribers – AFR recently changed their subscriptions policy and a print subscription now includes online access – at long last.] “European banks … Continue reading

17 Dec 2011 – Banks downgraded as IMF warns of recession

(17-18 Dec 2011, AFR, p14, Louise Armitstead, London) “Some of the world’s most powerful investment banks were downgraded by ratings agency Fitch as the International Monetary Fund warned that the global economy faced a 1930s style depression.” “IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said that the world risked sliding into a 1930s-style slump unless countries settled … Continue reading

17 Dec 2011 – ANZ’s chief warns of toxic threat from Europe

(17 Dec 2011, AFR, p1, John Kehoe, Andrew Cornell and Andrew White) “ANZ Banking Group chief executive Mike Smith has warned that the European sovereign debt crisis is becoming more “toxic”, posing further risks to the world economy.” “Mr Smith said at the bank’s annual shareholder meeting on Friday that investors were worried about the … Continue reading

17 Dec 2011 – Retailers face grim Christmas as profits fall

(17-18 Dec 2011, AFR, p1, Michael Bleby) “Retail chains face a Christmas profit crunch as cautious consumers, intense competition and widespread discounting hit their biggest selling weeks of the year.” “Retail stocks dived on Friday after a profit warning from JB Hi-Fi spooked investors and the federal Treasury warned of a squeeze on retail profit … Continue reading

Dec 2011 – RBS Collapse investigation by The Telegraph

(Dec 2011, The Telegraph) Read a 5-part investigative report into the collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland, by The Telegraph. See the lead-in here…

16 Dec 2011 – European manufacturing, services output keeps falling

(16 Dec 2011, AFR, p18, Jennifer Ryan, London, Bloomberg) “European services and manufacturing output contracted for a fourth month in December as the region’s leaders failed to stem the worsening debt crisis.” “A euro zone composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers in both industries rose to 47.9 from 47 in November, London-based … Continue reading

16 Dec 2011, Signs point to big lay-offs

(16 Dec 2011, AFR, p6, Adrian Rollins) Rate cut hopes up, manufacturing shrinks “Workers are facing the threat of significant lay-offs as besieged manufacturers look to cut payrolls and governments slash spending.” “Manufacturing activity has contracted for a third consecutive quarter and firms expect little improvement early next year, a business survey has found, underlining … Continue reading

16 Dec 2011 – Banks told to prepare for the worst

(16 Dec 2011, AFR, p1, Jonathan Shapiro and Andrew Cornell) “Australian banks have been ordered to urgently stress test their ability to withstand a sharp rise in unemployment, a ­collapse in the property ­market and economic recession amid rising anxiety over the European debt crisis.” “The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has told banks to model what … Continue reading

14 Dec 2011 – Slump puts India in tailspin

(14 Dec 2011, AFR, p13, Unni Krishnan, New Delhi) “India’s industrial output shrank for the first time in 28 months, pushing stocks and the rupee lower on concern that faltering growth would force the central bank to suspend its fight against inflation.” “India’s rupee tumbled to a record low yesterday on the poor industrial production … Continue reading

14 Dec 2011 – Retail vacancy rates tumble in CBD

(14 Dec 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p8, Philip Hopkins) “DESPITE retailers doing it tough, the vacancy rate in Melbourne’s CBD retail core has fallen to its lowest level in four years. Many new leases are being signed in the CBD and suburban centres.” “Knight Frank research manager Justin Mahnig said the overall vacancy rate for … Continue reading

13 Dec 2011 – Future looks tough for residential builders hit by cash-flow problems

(13 Dec 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p2, Adele Ferguson) “RESIDENTIAL property builder National Builders Group is the latest company to be issued with an ultimatum from its bank: either refinance its loan with another bank or sell the business.” “The group, which generates revenue of between $25 million and $30 million selling home building services … Continue reading