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31 July 2015 (AFR) – India will be most populous country sooner than thought, UN says

(31 July 2015, AFR, p31, by Rick Gladstone) ‘Demographers have known for some time that the number of people in India would surpass the number in China, the two most populous countries in the world. But they did not anticipate that the change would happen so quickly. The United Nations reported Wednesday that India’s population … Continue reading

31 July 2015 (AFR) – Analysts say iron ore recovery will be ‘short-term’

(31 July 2015, AFR, p23, by Rose Powell ) ‘Iron ore prices lifted on Thursday morning for the third consecutive day after weeks of startling price declines to a six-year low but analysts say its recovery will be short-lived. Iron ore was fetching $US55.89 a tonne on Thursday morning, up 4.57 per cent from Wednesday. However, … Continue reading

31 July 2015 (AFR) – China’s market woes are more than a distant explosion

(31 July 2015, AFR, p20, by David Pilling) ‘The world has finally woken up to the magnitude of what is happening in China. After months in which events in Europe overshadowed first the puffing up and then the popping of China’s stock market bubble, daily oscillations on the country’s once-obscure stock exchanges are being blamed … Continue reading

31 July 2015 (AFR) – Housing remains strong so don’t get distracted by the yo-yo

(31 July 2015, AFR, p8, by Michael Bleby ) ‘Keeping track of building approvals numbers is like watching a yo-yo – they go up and down. It’s not surprising when you consider the overall total is skewed by large blocks of units that will fall in or out of a particular month’s count according to … Continue reading

31 July 2015 (AFR) – Iron ore, coal price rout pushes terms of trade into steepest plunge since GFC

(31 July 2015, AFR, p6, by Jacob Greber ) ‘Australia’s terms of trade plunged in the three months through to June by the most since the global financial crisis, essentially extending the nation’s income recession into its fifth straight quarter. Official trade price data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday imply the … Continue reading

30 July 2015 (AFR) – China crash: China’s mums and dads shrug off the market upheavals

(30 July 2015, AFR, p47, by Huw McKay) ‘The July edition of the Westpac MNI China Consumer Sentiment Survey was conducted whilst the Chinese equity markets was in free fall to its early July trough. This accident of timing transforms this edition of the survey into a near-perfect experiment testing the importance of the equity market for the collective consumer psyche. So … Continue reading

30 July 2015 (AFR) – Record housing construction to stay strong into 2016

(30 July 2015, AFR, p41, by Jason Clout) ‘Record home commencements of 214,500 new dwellings in 2015 may not be replicated next year, but the expectation is construction will stay strong. Chief economist of the Housing Industry Association Harley Dale says new dwellings for this year will easily eclipse the previous cyclical record of 187,000 from 1994.’ Read more at (might need AFR … Continue reading

30 July 2015 (AFR) – Business as usual, even in boom – Housing boom no distraction for builder Tomkins

(30 July 2015, AFR, p38, by Matthew Cranston ) ‘Property development booms can give a false sense of comfort to many builders – but not Mike Tomkins. The fourth generation builder, who has just been awarded contracts with listed institutional investors such as Blue Sky and Fraser’s Australand, knows that an apartment boom, such as Brisbane is experiencing, can catch … Continue reading

30 July 2015 (AFR) – Chinese buyers ‘squeezed’ by sharemarket crash and banks

(30 July 2015, AFR, p34, by Duncan Hughes) ‘The Chinese sharemarket correction and tightening of local banks’ lending to overseas investors could slow foreign investment in Australian property markets, according to property specialists. Andrew Fawell​, director of the Beller Group, a diversified property group with offices in Shanghai selling Australian property to Chinese investors, said there … Continue reading

30 July 2015 (AFR,FinTimes) – Emerging market currencies stressed by stalling China equities and Yuan

(30 July 2015, AFR, p22, by Elaine Moore and Naomi Rovnick) ‘Emerging market currencies have slumped to 15-year lows as China’s equity rout and free-falling commodity prices reverberate throughout the ­global economy. Raw-material exporters Brazil, Russia and Colombia have suffered some of the heaviest sell-offs as the fall in the price of commodities such as … Continue reading

30 July 2015 (AFR,Bloomberg) – New models help Ford to step on gas – Profit Beats Estimates on Record North American Income

(30 July 2015, AFR, p11, by Keith Naughton, Bloomberg) ‘Ford Motor Co. posted a 44 percent surge in second-quarter profit, exceeding analysts’ estimates thanks to consumers paying big money for new models including fully loaded versions of the new aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup.’ Read more at

30 July 2015 (AFR) – Oil industry starts new round of cost cuts amid lower prices

(30 July 2015, AFR, p11, by Javier Blas and David Wethe) ‘BP and Chevron have fired the opening salvo for a further round of cost cuts by major oil companies grappling with low energy prices. “It’s really tough times for the industry,” BP Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said Tuesday, comparing the market to 1986 when … Continue reading

30 July 2015 (TheAge) – Farmer savings climb towards $5 billion

(30 July 2015, The Age, BusinessDay, p27, Darren Gray, Rural affairs reporter for The Age, View more articles from Darren Gray) ‘Australian farmers have more money stashed away in special savings accounts designed exclusively for farmers, more than $4.6 billion, than ever before. The cash reserves are an important buffer against drought, failed crops and other bad times. … Continue reading

30 July 2015 (TheAge,SMH) – The new $470,000 488 GTB Ferrari sells out as confidence soars among affluent Australians

(31 July 2015, The Age, BusinessDay, p25, Simon Evans, Senior Reporter, View more articles from Simon Evans) ‘The chief executive of Ferrari Australasia says confidence levels among the affluent in Australia are back to where they were before the global financial crisis. High-net worth individuals are clambering over themselves to snare the latest model Ferrari, … Continue reading

29 July 2015 (AFR) – Sydney economy drives first drop in industrial vacancies in three years

(29 July 2015, AFR, p40, by Larry Schlesinger ) ‘Industrial vacancies on the east coast fell for the first time in more than three years with the recovery driven mostly by the stronger NSW economy, rising levels of housing activity and the state’s massive infrastructure program.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access)

29 July 2015 (AFR) – South Korea listings approach record high

(29 July 2015, AFR, p22, by Song Jung-a) ‘South Korea’s equity capital markets are booming, with the volume of initial public offerings set to reach a record high this year as companies rush to raise funds against a backdrop of less red tape and robust investor demand.’ Read more at (might need AFR login … Continue reading

29 July 2015 (AFR) – Westpac’s hybrid is better, but buyers should still beware

[COMMENTS: We do continue to see words of caution from some people regarding investing in hybrid securities.] (29 July 2015, AFR, p19, by Christopher Joye ) ‘Following The Australian Financial Review‘s critique last week Westpac has been forced to improve the margin on its new non-voting, perpetual equity “hybrid” called Westpac Capital Notes III (ASX: WBCPF), … Continue reading

29 July 2015 (AFR) – China shares slip again as Beijing scrambles to calm markets

(29 July 2015, AFR, p11, by Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney) ‘Chinese shares fell on Tuesday, as Beijing scrambled once again to prop up a stock market whose wild gyrations have heightened fears about the financial stability of the world’s second biggest economy. After a plunge of more than 8 per cent in major indexes … Continue reading

28 July 2015 (AFR) – Banker’s profit season warning: companies ‘eating themselves’, world growth hit

(28 July 2015, AFR, p25, by James Thomson) ‘As profit reporting season gets under way you can bet that yield-hungry investors will have their eyes on one thing – dividends. Payouts have been increasing in recent years – with payout ratios also rising – while profits have remained flat. That trend is expected to continue.’ Read more at … Continue reading

28 July 2015 (AFR) – Downgrade fear as Brazil faces possible budget deficit

(28 July 2015, AFR, p23, by Joe Leahy) ‘Brazil’s economy may be in freefall but until recently its hard-pressed citizens could at least count on the commitment of their famously hawkish finance minister to limit the damage.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access)

28 July 2015 (AFR) – Oil groups have shelved $274bn in new projects as low prices bite

(28 July 2015, AFR, p10, by Christopher Adams) ‘The world’s big energy groups have shelved $US200 billion ($274 billion) of spending on new projects in an urgent round of cost-cutting aimed at protecting investors’ dividends as the oil price slumps for a second time this year.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access)

27 July 2015 (TheAge,SMH) – Shanghai plunge shatters calm after intervention program – China stocks fall as economic rout fears return

(27 July 2015, The Age, BusinessDay, p25, Kyoungwha Kim) ‘China’s stocks have tumbled the most since February 2007, in a sudden late selloff amid concern a three-week rally sparked by unprecedented government intervention is unsustainable. The Shanghai Composite Index plunged 8.5 per cent to close at 3725.56, shattering the sense of calm that had fallen … Continue reading

27 July 2015 (AFR) – US housing slump – Real-Estate Recovery Hiccups as Sales of U.S. New Homes Slump

(27 July 2015, AFR, p32, Bloomberg) ‘(Bloomberg) — The drumbeat of positive news on the U.S. residential real-estate front ended with a thud Friday as sales of new houses slumped. Purchases fell 6.8 percent in June to a 482,000 annualized pace, the weakest since November and lower than any forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, … Continue reading

27 July 2015 (AFR) – Boom hits Blacktown as developer sells $56m of units in hours

(27 July 2015, AFR, by Mercedes Ruehl) ‘Privately owned company Sphere Developments sold more than $56 million worth of stock at its new Blacktown apartment project in a matter of hours at the weekend, on the busiest July auction day on record. ‘ Read more at (might need AFR login access)

27 July 2015, (TheAge, SMH) – Miners to drag on otherwise solid reporting season

(27 July 2015, The Age, BusinessDay, p26, Vanessa Desloires, Reporter, View more articles from Vanessa Desloires) ‘The big miners will put a dampener on this year’s earnings season, with the worst outlook for earnings since the financial crisis, but an emphasis on cost cutting and a boost from the Australian dollar are likely to offer some upside … Continue reading

25 July 2015 (AFR) – Australian dollar falls below US73¢ on China data shock

(25 July 2015, AFR, p40, by Vanessa Desloires ) ‘The Australian dollar plummeted to a fresh six-year low on Friday, falling to US72.68¢ after Chinese manufacturing output data unexpectedly hit a 15-month low.  The local currency fell a much as half a cent from US73.47¢ to US72.92¢ just after midday following a surprise fall in the Caixin/Markit China flash manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) … Continue reading

25 July 2015 (AFR) – End of party for super savers – Lower superannuation returns tipped as party winds down

[COMMENT: I continue to be puzzled by the simplistic way in which the huge range of managed funds, with all their different options, can be directly compared to each other. So, this report simply compares the “Balanced” option because apparently this is where a majority of investors like to park their money. Even though many … Continue reading

25 July 2015 (AFR) – Goodbye 3pc, hello slow growth – How the Reserve Bank of Australia targeting growth below 3pc could affect you

(25 July 2015, AFR, p17, by Jacob Greber ) ‘Glenn Stevens has suggested the economy’s ideal cruising speed may be slower than first thought. If he’s right, it will have big consequences for governments, businesses and individuals. An oft-heard accusation by those who don’t like what economists have to say is that people live in … Continue reading

25 July 2015 (AFR) – S&P says Australia’s AAA rating at risk without budget repair

(25 July 2015, AFR, p3, by Jacob Greber, Mark Ludlow) ‘Australia has been put on notice that the government is running out of time to repair the budget through spending cuts or tax hikes without threatening its AAA credit rating. New York-based Standard & Poor’s on Friday reaffirmed the top-notch rating, but pointedly cautioned Canberra that further … Continue reading

25 July 2015 (AFR) – History’s guide: what happens to investors when buying off-the-plan goes wrong

(25 July 2015, AFR, p2, by Robert Harley ) ‘As regulators try to cool the property market and banks make investor loans more expensive, it’s worth reflecting on what can happen to off-the-plan apartment buyers when when housing markets turn. Nothing illustrates the dangers more than the experience of those who bought off-the-plan apartments in high priced towers on … Continue reading