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18 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Mortgage rate rises to follow business loan hikes

(18 March 2016, AFR, p7, by Su-Lin Tan) ‘The rise in interest rates for mortgages will follow recent hikes in business lending rates, as soon as next month, Market Economics economist Stephen Koukoulas says. The hikes of between 0.08 and 0.29 of a percentage point for business lending and overdrafts in February and early March … Continue reading

17 Mar 2016 (TheAge) – Iron ore extends slide on China, supply outlook

(17 March 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p27, Jasmine Ng) ‘Iron ore dropped for a sixth day, erasing gains from a record spike, as data showed Chinese steel production weakened further at a time when supplies from the biggest miners are set to increase. The steel-making ingredient has declined every day after a 19 per cent … Continue reading

17 Mar 2016 (TheAge,SMH) – Woolworths stretches supplier payments to save cash

[COMMENT: Is this simply a sign of the times and the tough economy? or is it just poor financial management?] (17 March 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter, View more articles from Sue Mitchell) ‘Woolworths is planning to stretch out payments to most of its food and grocery suppliers to 60 days – two or … Continue reading

17 Mar 2016 (AFR) – South African property deals dry up with bond market

(17 March 2016, AFR, p50, by Colin McClelland) ‘A record run in takeover deals in South Africa’s real-estate industry is coming to an end. The risk of a recession and a downgrade of the country’s credit rating to junk, interest rates at their highest level in six years, and a plunge in the rand, has all but … Continue reading

17 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Housing construction to remain strong, despite downturn, HIA says

(17 March 2016, AFR, p49, by Michael Bleby) ‘New housing construction is likely to trough at levels well above previous cyclical lows, defying the pattern of previous slowdowns, the Housing Industry Association says. Australia’s record level of new home building is likely to bottom out at 160,100 new housing starts in the year to June 2018 … Continue reading

17 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Lenders crack down on the nation’s biggest property buyers

(17 March 2016, AFR, p49, by Duncan Hughes) ‘Nervous lenders are tightening borrowing in some of the nation’s richest postcodes amid growing concerns about falling prices. The squeeze is already tight on former mining boom towns where oversupply and falling demand are already causing price tumbles and cancellation of planning projects. ‘ Read more (and see the table … Continue reading

17 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Gold Coast apartment sales up 80% but banks refuse to lend

(17 March 2016, AFR, p43, by Matthew Cranston) ‘New apartment sales on the Gold Coast have increased 80 per cent year-on-year but developers still can’t get the big banks to finance developments on the glitter strip. Sales activity ramped up in the final 2015 quarter, property analyst Urbis said, with 453 transactions across 58 projects, compared with 416 sales in the previous … Continue reading

17 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Pay increases surge for developers and builders amid boom and skill shortages

(17 March 2016, AFR, p42, by Larry Schlesinger) ‘Property companies are offering senior development managers pay increases of between 10 and 20 per cent to retain them as the battle for talent heats up, according to the latest Avdiev Property Industry Remuneration Report. These massive pay increases, off the back of huge project pipelines on … Continue reading

17 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Pedalling hard but going nowhere for 10 years

(17 March 2016, AFR, p33, by Philip Baker) ‘Almost 10 years ago when the key benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index broke through the 5100 level for the very first time there was much to celebrate.’ <snipped…> ‘The major index has gone nowhere for almost 10 years now since it closed at a then record high of … Continue reading

17 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Mineral exploration companies jump ship from ASX

(17 March 2016, AFR, p26, by Tess Ingram) ‘The erosion of struggling mineral exploration companies from the Australian Securities Exchange picked up pace in the December quarter, with 25 companies delisting, entering administration or switching their focus to another industry. On the back of low commodity prices, investors have predominantly turned away from junior resources stocks, with … Continue reading

16 Mar 2016 (TheAge,SMH) – Buyers continue rush into retail – Shop sales show strong start to year

(16 March 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p31, Simon Johanson, Property Editor for The Age, View more articles from Simon Johanson) ‘Small suburban stores continue to attract investors in 2016.’ ‘The headlong rush by investors into small stores in suburban strips appears far from over with new-year transactions continuing to set record prices. The retail sizzle … Continue reading

15 Mar 2016 (AFR,SMH) – Local players dare to hope that worst is over for oil prices

(15 March 2016, AFR, p15, Angela Macdonald-Smith, Energy Reporter, View more articles from Angela Macdonald-Smith) ‘Tentative confidence is returning to the local oil and gas sector after the International Energy Agency declared that prices “might have bottomed out”, helping stock prices make further gains off their January lows. “The strong sense that I get is that … Continue reading

15 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Chinese coal miners protest over unpaid wages

(15 March 2016, AFR, p12, by Sue-Lin Wong and Kathy Chen) ‘Thousands of Chinese coal miners marched through the streets of a mining town in northeastern China over the weekend protesting against unpaid wages, as China grapples with rising unemployment due to overcapacity in heavy industries. The protesters are employees at Shuangyashan Mine, owned by … Continue reading

14 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Apartment boom stimulates Melbourne retail strip recovery

(14 March 2016, AFR, p34, by Larry Schlesinger) ‘Cafe operator Randy Dhamanhuri​ is betting big on the rising popularity of Melbourne’s suburban retail strips, off the back of the city’s apartment boom.’ <snipped…> ‘On High Street, Prahran, the number of vacant shops counted by Beller Commercial agents has more than halved in less than a year, … Continue reading

14 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Have oil prices bottomed? The international energy agency thinks so

(14 March 2016, AFR, p19, by Anjli Raval, Neil Hume and David Sheppard) ‘Oil prices may have “bottomed out”, the west’s energy adviser says anticipating an end to a 20-month rout that is finally forcing high-cost producers to curtail output. The International Energy Agency, which in February warned that recovering prices might be a “false dawn” … Continue reading

14 Mar 2016 (AFR) – China’s property construction rises for first time in 15 months

(14 March 2016, AFR, p11, by Angus Grigg) ‘Construction activity in China’s property sector staged a surprising turnaround during the first two months of the year, suggesting a recent rally in the iron ore price is being supported by the commencement of new projects in the world’s second biggest economy.’ Read more at (might … Continue reading

12 Mar 2016 (AFR) – ECB president Mario Draghi brings out the big bazooka

(12 March 2016, AFR, p40, by Vanessa Desloires) ‘It didn’t take long for the European Central Bank’s latest wave of monetary policy easing to get a catchy description: Mario Draghi’s “bazooka”.  The measures were much bigger than expected, but after an initial rally in European shares and a fall in the euro in response to the stimuli, the market sentiment quickly turned, … Continue reading

12 Mar 2016 (AFR) – ECB cools on negative interest rates experiment, returning focus to credit

(12 March 2016, AFR, p40, by Vesna Poljak) ‘The European Central Bank is leading the retreat away from negative interest rates and focusing instead on boosting credit in the real economy, bowing to concerns that negative rates are too risky and penalise the banking sector. It is the first sign that negative interest rates are a failure … Continue reading

12 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Mega apartment project gets green light in Melbourne CBD

(12 March 2016, AFR, p39, by Nick Lenaghan) ‘A syndicate of expatriate Chinese investors has won approval to develop a $1 billion, high-rise apartment project, creating one of the largest residential developments in the Melbourne CBD. Approval for the massive project, which will deliver 1800 apartments in twin 79-storey towers, comes amid growing unease the apartment boom will culminate in oversupply.’ Read more at … Continue reading

12 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Are we at the bottom yet? Sorting the signal from the noise

(12 March 2016, AFR, p14, by Jacob Greber) ‘A resurgent iron price has given hope that the economy may have reached a turning point, but other factors at play may tarnish the outlook.’ ‘This week’s wild iron ore price gyrations, including Monday’s extraordinary record 19 per cent overnight surge, demonstrate how much of the broader … Continue reading

12 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Draghi expands ECB stimulus but plays down prospects of further easing

(12 March 2016, AFR, p12, by James Chessell) ‘The European Central Bank has cut its benchmark interest rates to a new low and is expanding its quantitative easing package in a bolder-than-expected attempt to revive the continent’s flagging economic recovery and prevent the eurozone slumping into a Japan-style deflationary slump. In moves that briefly pushed the euro 1 per cent lower against … Continue reading

12 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Slater & Gordon dropped from the ASX200

[COMMENT: The constituent stocks of the market indexes are reviewed periodically – known as the index rebalance. Some indexes are reviewed quarterly. See the latest news announcment from Standard & Poor’s to see which other stocks are off the index, and which ones come onto the index.] (12 March 2016, AFR, p7, Sarah Danckert, SMH) … Continue reading

11 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Chinese housing boom to the rescue – Chinese authorities are swapping a share market boom for a property boom

(11 March 2016, AFR, p36, by Angus Grigg and Lisa Murray) ‘In the three weeks between putting his house on the market and selling it, a Shanghai school teacher saw the price rise 24 per cent. The sudden spike in value meant the three-room apartment on the outskirts of China’s commercial capital eventually sold for … Continue reading

11 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Nasdaq buys Deutsche Boerse options market for $1.5b

(11 March 2016, AFR, p29, by Annie Massa and Brian Louis) ‘Nasdaq agreed to buy Deutsche Boerse’s International Securities Exchange for $US1.1 billion ($1.5 billion), catapulting it to the top of the US options market. The transaction could also help Deutsche Boerse fund another acquisition. The Frankfurt-based company is in merger talks with London Stock … Continue reading

11 Mar 2016 (AFR,SMH) – Chi-X says ASX can cut clearing fees by at least 23pc

(11 March 2016, AFR, p27, Shaun Drummond) ‘ASX Ltd’s share trading competitor Chi-X Australia says the dominant exchange should be cutting its clearing fees by at least a quarter with the advent of a two-day settlement limit this week. But ASX has hit back, pointing out its clients’ margin requirements have already been cut by a … Continue reading

11 Mar 2016 (AFR) – New Zealand interest rates headed as low as Australia’s

(11 March 2016, AFR, p27, by Mark Mulligan and Will Willitts) ‘New Zealand’s central bank on Thursday cut interest rates for the fifth time in less than a year, leaving them just above Australia’s record low cash rate with another reduction still a prospect. Reserve Bank of New Zealand governor Graeme Wheeler said the board … Continue reading

11 Mar 2016 (AFR) – BIS Shrapnel tips ‘very messy end’ to the apartment boom

(11 March 2016, AFR, p2, by Robert Harley) ‘Australia’s apartment boom is reaching its crescendo and all cities, except Sydney, will be in housing oversupply by 2017, forecaster BIS-Shrapnel has warned. “In Melbourne the oversupply will be significant, in Brisbane it will be worse. It is an accident waiting to happen,” said BIS-Shrapnel managing director Robert Mellor at the … Continue reading

10 Mar 2016 (TheAge,SMH) – Consumer confidence dips as Canberra, markets unnerve punters

(10 March 2016, The Age, BusinessDay, p24, Mark Mulligan, Senior markets and economy writer, View more articles from Mark Mulligan) ‘Consumer confidence dipped in March, according to the latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute survey, as talk of taxation reform, the federal budget and a possible housing crash wiped out some of the upbeat sentiment around Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership.’ … Continue reading

9 Mar 2016 (AFR) – Volatility bites: US commercial property prices drop in January

(9 March 2016, AFR, p38, by Kara Wetzel and Hui-yong Yu) ‘Commercial real estate prices in the US dropped in January for the first time since 2010, a sign of weakening demand by investors after a six-year rally that pushed values to records.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access, or try:

9 Mar 2016 (AFR) – How did experts get it so wrong?

(9 March 2016, AFR, p31, by Philip Baker) ‘Oil falling to $US10 a barrel. The Australian dollar plunging to US40 cents. Iron ore at $US30 a tonne and the Reserve Bank cutting the official cash rate to 1.5 per cent. They are just a few of the “big calls” made so far this calendar year.’ … Continue reading