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31 May 2018 (AFR) – Will the ECB really do ‘whatever it takes’ to prevent Quitaly?

(31 May 2018, AFR, p53, by Jamie McGeever) ‘Euro zone markets are gyrating like it’s 2012, with political crisis in Italy blowing out peripheral yield spreads and triggering the strongest demand for safe-haven German bonds since the depths of the euro crisis six years ago. But at the risk of uttering the dreaded words, this … Continue reading

31 May 2018 (AFR) – Where technology has hurt property: empty office parks

(31 May 2018, AFR, p44, by Nick Corasaniti) ‘The era of suburban business campuses looks over – Perched off a busy road in northern New Jersey with sweeping vistas of a vast reservoir sits a new relic of the suburban panorama: the international headquarters of Toys “R” Us slogging through its final days after the … Continue reading

31 May 2018 (AFR) – Brisbane office vacancy to fall to 8.9 per cent by end of year: CBRE

(31 May 2018, AFR, p42, by Larry Schlesinger) ‘Brisbane’s prime office vacancy rate is expected to fall to 8.9 per cent by the end of the year – down from more than 12 per cent at the start of the year – as the city benefits from business expansion underpinned by strengthening white collar employment … Continue reading

31 May 2018 (AFR) – Why investors are so worried about Italy’s latest political crisis

(31 May 2018, AFR, p36, by Karen Maley) ‘It’s the nightmare scenario that has worried financial markets for close to a decade – the prospect of a debt crisis in Italy, the eurozone’s third largest economy. So it’s scarcely surprising that financial markets are panicking as Italy sinks deeper into a political and institutional crisis. Investors … Continue reading

31 May 2018 (AFR) – Indonesia hikes rates again to prevent capital flight

(31 May 2018, AFR, p35, by Patrick Commins) ‘Indonesia’s central bank on Wednesday lifted rates for the second time in less than two weeks as policymakers moved aggressively to fend off the threat of further capital flight. Bank Indonesia (BI) lifted its key policy rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 4.75 per cent in an … Continue reading

31 May 2018 (AFR,FT) – EU leaders spar as Italy’s political crisis deepens

(31 May 2018, AFR, p33, by: Anne-Sylvaine Chassany in Paris, Tobias Buck in Berlin and Mehreen Khan in Brussels) ‘Europe’s confusion and tension over Italy’s deepening political crisis was manifest on Tuesday as some of the EU’s most senior figures sparred over how to respond. Günther Oettinger, Germany’s EU commissioner, hinted that the upheaval in … Continue reading

31 May 2018 (AFR,Bloomberg) – Soros Sees New Global Financial Crisis Brewing, EU Under Threat

(31 May 2018, AFR, p12, by: Nikos Chrysoloras and Helene Fouquet) ‘A surging dollar and a capital flight from emerging markets may lead to another “major” financial crisis, investor George Soros said, warning the European Union that it’s facing an imminent existential threat. The “termination” of the nuclear deal with Iran and the “destruction” of the … Continue reading

31 May 2018 (AFR) – Household debt the top Australian risk: OECD

(31 May 2018, AFR, p3, by Jacob Greber) ‘The faltering property market and heavy household debt are the biggest risks to the nation’s rebounding economy, which is benefiting from a global growth spurt fuelled by US tax cuts and fiscal stimulus, says the OECD. In its latest outlook the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development … Continue reading

31 May 2018 (AFR) – Italian crisis and trade spat rock markets

(31 May 2018, AFR, p1, by: Vesna Poljak, Patrick Commins) ‘Global markets face the prospect of months of elevated volatility as Italy’s political crisis threatens the stability of the eurozone, and the US signals it is willing to revive its trade dispute with China. In Europe, yields on Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Greek bonds have … Continue reading

31 May 2018 (TheAge) – ASX falls to the lowest since April 30

(31 May 2018, The Age, Business, p25, William McInnes) ‘Political uncertainty in Europe has sent Australian stocks diving amid a global sell-off as Italy’s economic future was thrown into doubt. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 28.9 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 5984.7, the market’s lowest close since April 30. The financial sector led the … Continue reading

30 May 2018 (AFR) – Got less than $1m in assets? Forget a self-managed super fund

[COMMENT: Bah!! Humbug!!    We’ve heard a lot about superannuation and the Productivity Commission report, in recent days, including the so-called performance of funds, and fund performance comparisons. HOWEVER, there seems to be one key flaw in this reporting. The fund performance comparisons appear to be over a 10-year period – from 2009, the end of … Continue reading

30 May 2018 (TheAge) – Economists warn against complacency – ‘Forecasting is a sexy business’: the past and future are on the minds of the world’s leading economists

(30 May 2018, The Age, Business, p34, By David Goodman & Rafaela Lindeberg) ‘… warning that economists and officials may last year have gone “a little too overboard” in their belief in a synchronised global upswing. Former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan called for tighter oversight over shadow banking, financial technology and emerging … Continue reading

29 May 2018 (TheAge,SMH) – Row over minister pick plunges new Italian government into chaos

(29 May 2018, The Age, p15, Steve Scherer) ‘Rome: Italy’s President is expected to ask a former International Monetary Fund official on Monday to head a stopgap government amidst political and constitutional turmoil, with early elections looking inevitable. Efforts to form a government broke down on Sunday after the President Sergio Mattarella rejected a eurosceptic pick … Continue reading

29 May 2018 (AFR) – Energy stocks slide on OPEC, Russia output hike fears

(29 May 2018, AFR, p26, by Sarah Turner) ‘Fund managers remain upbeat on the outlook for Australian energy stocks even after they sustained their worst losses in three months as oil slid on fears that OPEC producers and Russia are eyeing a lift in output.  The big energy names fell sharply on Monday with Woodside Petroleum down 3.5 per … Continue reading

28 May 2018 (AFR) – Chinese mainland stocks go mainstream – joining key global benchmarks

(28 May 2018, AFR, p23, by Jonathan Garner) ‘On Friday this week, 234 China “A-shares” will join the MSCI global and regional indices. Their inclusion is a significant moment and has been many years in the making. It means the world’s second-largest equity market, with a capitalisation approaching $US9 trillion, is for the first time incorporated … Continue reading

28 May 2018 (AFR) – Brickworks Lindsay Partridge tips soft landing for house prices

(28 May 2018, AFR, p17, by Simon Evans) ‘The managing director of Australia’s largest brick maker has predicted a soft landing for the nation’s housing market even if it has finished “running along the top”, with low interest rates and robust migration levels providing a solid buffer. Lindsay Partridge, who has been at the helm … Continue reading

28 May 2018 (AFR) – Auction bounce back for Sydney, Melbourne but market still ‘unforgiving’

(28 May 2018, AFR, p3, by Matthew Cranston) ‘Bargain hunters have jumped back into the housing market sending auction clearance rates back above 60 per cent in Sydney and Melbourne, but agents and experts don’t expect a recovery in house prices any time soon. Economists’ predictions of further falling house prices did not deter buyers … Continue reading

26 May 2018 (AFR) – Uptick in horse prices gallops on – Horse breeders back on a winner

[COMMENT: This it NOT advice of any sort. This is merely reporting of the news.] (26 May 2018, AFR, p2, by Fiona Carruthers) ‘Fancy breeding and selling a racehorse? Now could be the time. As the annual yearling sales season draws to a close, it’s fair to conclude that a decade on from the global financial crisis … Continue reading

26 May 2018 (AFR) – The fuse that could light China’s debt bomb

(26 May 2018, AFR, p13, by Michael Smith) ‘A financial planning manager in a major Shanghai bank branch points to a flickering computer screen displaying a list of wealth management products for customers wanting a higher yield to normal deposits. For a deposit of 100,000 yuan ($20,600), he recommends a “low risk” product with an … Continue reading

26 May 2018 (AFR) – From emerging to submerging markets – Emerging markets become submerged in ‘classic’ cycle

(26 May 2018, AFR, p29, by Patrick Commins) ‘Imagine that your country’s currency had lost a fifth of its value in a matter of months. Inflation is running at 13 per cent. The central bank, in an effort to stem the falls, has just hiked rates by three percentage points to 16.5 per cent. But … Continue reading

26 May 2018 (AFR) – ASX suffers worst week in two months

(26 May 2018, AFR, p33, by William McInnes) ‘The Australian sharemarket closed lower on Friday to deliver its worst week since March. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 4.3 points, or 0.1 per cent, on Friday to 6032.8, down 54.6 points, or 0.9 per cent, for the week. The market recorded most of its losses on Tuesday when the … Continue reading

25 May 2018 (AFR) – 2018 AFR Rich List: The six eras of the Rich List – 35 years of history charts a changing economy

(25 May 2018, AFR, p36, by: James Thomson, John Stensholt) ‘… Since 1983, when Business Review Weekly named Australia’s richest 200 people for the first time, the list has become a crucial tool for not only tracking our biggest fortunes, but also the changing nature of the economy. Just like Triguboff’s dolls, the Rich List … Continue reading

25 May 2018 (AFR) – Franklin Templeton’s Hasenstab says four ‘hurricanes’ to rock US government bonds

(25 May 2018, AFR, p15, by Sarah Turner) ‘A top bond investor has warned “complacent” investors that four “hurricanes” are approaching the US Treasury market and revealed he is positioned for a deeper selloff in the world’s largest bond market. “One of the biggest investments I have is short US Treasuries,” Franklin Templeton’s Michael Hasenstab … Continue reading

25 May 2018 (AFR) – Turkey lifts key rate to 16.5pc in bid to stem currency slide

(25 May 2018, AFR, p13, by Onur Ant and Benjamin Harvey) ‘Turkey’s central bank raised interest rates at an emergency meeting, bowing to pressure from financial markets after the government’s rejection of higher borrowing costs plunged the nation into a currency crisis. The central bank raised its late liquidity window rate by 300 basis points … Continue reading

25 May 2018 (TheAge,Domain) – Victoria’s best architecture projects of the year shortlisted at the Australian Institute of Architects awards

(25 May 2018, The Age, p16, Jenny Brown, Domain) ‘A beefed up total of 268 entries into this year’s Victorian Australian Institute of Architects Chapter Architectural Awards talks of a booming building design sector. Across 14 categories, there were 20 per cent more submissions than last year. This is great news because architecture is one … Continue reading

24 May 2018 (TheAge) – Chinese debt a major risk to Australia, says RBA governor Philip Lowe

(24 May 2018, The Age, p6, Peter Martin, Jennifer Duke) ‘Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe has pointed to the build-up of debt and bad loans in China as one of the biggest risks facing the Australian economy, noting similar situations in the past have led to a slowdown in growth or financial crisis. “Perhaps the … Continue reading

24 May 2018 (AFR) – Big Un investors turn dark after ‘life changing’ losses

[COMMENT: This is another very good example of why we should not be committing a large chunk of our investing portfolio to just one stock. No matter how convincing or compelling the story from the company, there is a possibility that something might go wrong.] (24 May 2018, AFR, p52, by Jonathan Shapiro) ‘ “Think … Continue reading

24 May 2018 (AFR) – Cheers and jeers for oil’s massive price rise

(24 May 2018, AFR, p31, by Patrick Commins) ‘As petrol prices push above $1.50 a litre and energy stocks like Woodside and BHP drive the ASX near its post-GFC peaks, Australians have time to reflect on the pros and cons of crude oil’s massive rally. The global Brent crude benchmark has climbed nearly 20 per … Continue reading

24 May 2018 (AFR) – Mass financial adviser exodus puts $900 billion in play

(24 May 2018, AFR, p17, by Alice Uribe) ‘A mass exodus of financial planners over the next five years will put $900 billion of client wealth in play as the reality of tougher educational standards and the fallout from damning royal commission revelations set in. The stunning shift in the industry is a key finding … Continue reading

23 May 2018 (AFR) – Rental Affordability Index: Hobart overtakes Sydney as worst city for renters

(23 May 2018, AFR, p30, by Michael Bleby) ‘Hobart has overtaken Sydney as the least affordable city for renters, with rents having pushed up to near mainland prices, even as wages remain much lower, the latest Rental Affordability Index shows.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access, or try: