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14 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Retailers search for green shoots as consumers save rather than spend

(14 September 2019, AFR, p23, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘With wages stagnating and the cost of living rising, discount department store chain Best & Less should be thriving. But Andrew Moore, chief financial officer of the 196-store chain, says trading is tougher than it was 12 months ago and recent stimulus in the form of … Continue reading

14 Sept 2019 (AFR) – ECB cuts key rate, to restart bond buys

(14 September 2019, AFR, p12, Yuko Takeo and Piotr Skolimowski) ‘Frankfurt | The European Central Bank cut interest rates further below zero and revived bond purchases after president Mario Draghi overcame critics of his stimulus policies to make a final run at reflating the euro-area economy. The ECB reduced the deposit rate to minus 0.5 … Continue reading

14 Sept 2019 (AFR) – ASX: Trade war hopes, ECB stimulus push ASX higher

(14 September 2019, AFR, p33, Elouise Fowler, Reporter) ‘The local sharemarket closed the week higher after the European Central Bank pushed the stimulus button and trade war tensions eased ahead of high-level talks between the US and China in October. The S&P/ASX200 ended the week up 14.33 points, or 0.33 per cent, higher at 6669.19, … Continue reading

13 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Melbourne land prices falling as lot sizes shrink

(13 September 2019, AFR, p34, Larry Schlesinger, Reporter) ‘The median price of a housing lot in Melbourne’s growth corridors fell 4 per cent to $312,000 in the three months to June, according to new figures from real estate group Oliver Hume. Discounting for incentives, which  average between $15,000 and $30,000 per lot but are higher … Continue reading

13 Sept 2019 (AFR) – July’s strong housing loan growth continues

(13 September 2019, AFR, p34, Duncan Hughes and Michael Bleby) ‘Mortgage brokers and banks say July’s strong home loan growth is continuing as investors and owner-occupiers take advantage of lower serviceability ratios and become more confident about stabilising prices. New home loan commitments jumped 5.1 per cent – the biggest month-on-month gain in four years … Continue reading

13 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Recession fears have peaked and things are looking up

(13 September 2019, AFR, p30, Patrick Commins, Columnist) ‘With a hot northern hemisphere summer behind us, the mood in global markets has become more temperate in recent weeks. Sharemarkets have responded positively to the changing vibe. Aussie stocks fell 3.1 per cent last month, but are up 0.5 per cent since. American equities have bounced … Continue reading

13 Sept 2019 (AFR) – US, China swap tariff concessions ahead of fresh talks

(13 September 2019, AFR, p13, Jeff Mason and Yawen Chen) ‘Washington/Beijing | US President Donald Trump on Thursday (AEST) welcomed China’s decision to exempt some US anti-cancer drugs and other goods from its tariffs and announced a short delay to scheduled tariff hikes on billions worth of Chinese goods. Stock markets in Asia rose on … Continue reading

13 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Luxury cars following rising house prices

(13 September 2019, AFR, p3, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘Luxury car sales have risen for the second month in a row, matching the recovery in the housing market, in a signal the economy could be getting back on track. Overall luxury car sales in the year to August were up 0.6 per cent following a … Continue reading

12 Sept 2019 (TheAge) – The Volfefe index shows Trump’s tweets come at a cost

(12 September 2019, The Age, Business, p23, Stephen Bartholomeusz) ‘The attempts by investment banks to relate and measure Donald Trump’s tweets to movements in financial markets are being treated as something of a curiosity. The impacts of Trump’s Twitter out-pourings are, however, real and come at a genuine cost to financial market participants. Trump’s Twitter … Continue reading

12 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Residential property: Suburbs that have quietly bolted

(12 September 2019, AFR, p38, Nila Sweeney, Reporter) ‘Australia’s biggest property markets are just coming out of the downturn but some areas have already bolted, new data from CoreLogic shows. Over the past 12 months, a number of lifestyle suburbs and affluent areas around the country have surged by at least 10 per cent even … Continue reading

12 Sept 2019 (AFR) – US companies trim China investment as economic, trade fears grow

(12 September 2019, AFR, p13, Michael Smith, China Correspondent) ‘Hong Kong | More than a quarter of American companies in China are re-directing investment elsewhere as concerns about a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy and a prolonged Sino-US trade war drive confidence levels to their lowest in years. A key annual survey of more … Continue reading

12 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Tax cuts not firing consumer sentiment, Westpac warns

(12 September 2019, AFR, p10, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘Economists are growing anxious that tax cuts are not showing enough of a stimulatory effect and that consumers will save more and spend less than first thought. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index fell 1.7 per cent in September and revealed that half of tax cut … Continue reading

11 Sept 2019 (AFR) – ‘Golden age of short selling’ awaits Australian hedge funds

(11 September 2019, AFR, p29, Jonathan Shapiro, Senior Reporter) ‘High valuations, low economic growth and a tide of money flowing into passive investments means we are on the cusp of “a golden age for short selling”. That’s the view of Australia’s top equity hedge fund managers that say the opportunity to profit from betting against … Continue reading

11 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Why we’re set for global rally, not recession

(11 September 2019, AFR, p25,  Stirling Larkin, Columnist) ‘Recessions hit when people aren’t talking about them, they’ve never struck when pundits call them ahead of time. While wisdom can be found in crowds, the consensus is not always correct. That’s certainly the case with the current consensus that the global economy, led by the US, is … Continue reading

11 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Investors doubt consumers have got their mojo back

(11 September 2019, AFR, p17, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘The ink is barely dry on retailers’ full year accounts but investors are anxiously awaiting first quarter and annual meeting sales updates to see if an encouraging uptick in consumer spending in the first few weeks of 2020 is sustained. Retailers such as Woolworths, Wesfarmers, JB … Continue reading

11 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Defiant Boris Johnson threatens to break parliament’s Brexit law

(11 September 2019, AFR, p11, Hans van Leeuwen, Europe correspondent) ‘London | British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is defiantly clinging to his “do or die” promise to deliver Brexit on Halloween, despite the Queen on Monday (Tuesday AEST) signing a law that forces him to ask the European Union for a three-month delay if there’s … Continue reading

11 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Queensland goes ‘backwards’ on infrastructure

(11 September 2019, AFR, p5, Jenny Wiggins, Infrastructure Reporter) ‘Queensland is in an “infrastructure recession” because the state government won’t sell assets or raise more debt to push ahead with new projects such as the $10 billion Inland Rail line, hurting the state’s economy, contractors say. Construction work in Queensland has now fallen for five … Continue reading

11 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Low rates, tax cuts not working yet: NAB, Westpac

(11 September 2019, AFR, p5, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘Tax cuts and interest rate cuts are not having the intended effect on consumption, according to two of the most reliable business surveys, which both point to a further deterioration in the economy. The NAB Business Survey showed confidence and conditions declined in August, with a … Continue reading

11 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Millennial mindset exacerbates car sales slide

(11 September 2019, AFR, p1, Simon Evans and John Kehoe) ‘A greater reluctance by young people to become car owners is worsening the slide in new vehicle sales that has now lasted for longer than the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. A 10.1 per cent plunge in the number of new vehicles sold … Continue reading

11 Sept 2019 (AFR) – ‘Catastrophic’ conflict from US debt blowout – US on brink of budget, social crises

(11 September 2019, AFR, p1, Jacob Greber, United States Correspondent) ‘Washington | The fast-deteriorating record of debt, deficits and inequality in Donald Trump’s United States is creating an unprecedented policy challenge that left unattended will “profoundly shake” the very core of the country’s  financial, political and social fabric, says Australia’s diplomatic envoy to New York. … Continue reading

11 Sept 2019 (TheAge) – Trump’s market-moving tweets have created a new field of financial analysis

(11 September 2019, The Age, Business, p30, By David Scutt) ‘US President Donald Trump’s prolific use of Twitter is leading to wild swings in the prices of stocks, bonds and currencies and has spawned an entirely new field of financial market research.’ <snipped…> ‘According to the North American fixed-income strategy team at JPMorgan, Trump’s tweeting … Continue reading

11 Sept 2019 (TheAge) – China’s already in pain, and that’s before the latest Trump tariffs

(11 September 2019, The Age, Business, p23, Stephen Bartholomeusz) ‘The impact of the trade war with the US is now being reflected in a steady deterioration of China’s economic data even before the most recent tariff imposts have had a chance to bite. This week’s trade data shows that both its exports and imports are … Continue reading

10 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Reporting season: Fortunes diverge for property stocks – Fund managers have surprised on the upside

(10 September 2019, AFR., p37, Nick Lenaghan, Property Editor) ‘The latest reporting season has revealed sharp differences across the listed property sector with fund managers enjoying strong conditions even as the outlook deteriorates for retail landlords, according to Citi. The property stocks with funds management businesses surprised on the upside – Charter Hall, Goodman, Lendlease … Continue reading

10 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Japan downgrades GDP as trade war hits investment

(10 September 2019, AFR, p20, Daniel Leussink) ‘Tokyo | Japan’s economy grew at a slower pace than initially estimated in the second quarter as the US-China trade war prompted a downward revision of business spending, intensifying calls for the central bank to deepen stimulus this month. Weakness in the global economy and worsening trade protectionism … Continue reading

10 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Non-food sales fall amid weak spending, rivalry – Coles, Woolies strike out on beauty boom

(10 September 2019, AFR, p15, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘Sales of groceries such as toilet paper and nappies are falling in supermarkets as shoppers seek better value elsewhere or cut back consumption. According to research by IRI, sales of non-food groceries fell 0.7 per cent to $15.1 billion in the 12 months ended May while … Continue reading

10 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Price slump threatens viability of coal projects

(10 September 2019, AFR, p13, Peter Ker, Resources reporter) ‘Billions of dollars worth of Australian coal projects are under threat as slumping prices render about 19 per cent of the world’s existing seaborne thermal coal supply loss-making. Adani’s Carmichael and Whitehaven’s Vickery mine projects were lucrative proposals in mid-2018 when thermal coal prices soared to … Continue reading

10 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Drought darkens the outlook for farms

(10 September 2019, AFR, p5, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘Confidence in the rural sector has turned down in key states, despite strong commodity prices, and the outlook is only set to get worse as the drought continues to drag on growth. NAB’s latest agribusiness banker survey showed neither interest rate cuts nor tax cuts were … Continue reading

10 Sept 2019 (TheAge) – Fitch cuts Hong Kong credit rating

(10 September 2019, The age, Business, p27, David Scott, Lucy Battersby) ‘Following months of civil unrest that has rattled financial markets, ratings agency Fitch has decided to downgrade Hong Kong’s long-term foreign-currency credit rating by one notch from AA+ to AA on Monday.’ <snipped…> ‘“The latest PMI data reveal a Hong Kong SAR economy flirting … Continue reading

9 Sept 2019 (TheAge) – ‘On a good wicket’: Online sales a bright spot for dejected retailers

(9 September 2019, The Age, p12, By Dominic Powell) ‘Australia’s biggest retailers, such as Coles, Woolworths and JB Hi-Fi, have grown their online sales by more than 20 per cent in the past financial year, creating a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy trading environment. Online sales at electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi jumped 23 per … Continue reading

9 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Endangered Bay Area species: the new home

(9 September 2019, AFR, p34, Louis Hansen) ‘… The couple is part of an endangered species – owners of a new Bay Area home. In a region of more than 7 million people, just 266 new homes, townhomes and condos were sold in January. It was the lowest number of monthly new home sales in … Continue reading