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30 Nov 2019 (AFR) – ASX ends ‘wild’ month with solid gain

(30 November 2019, AFR, p33, Sarah Turner, Reporter) ‘Australian shares ended a turbulent November with a solid gain, as turmoil in the banking sector offset strong performances from blue chip supermarkets, Telstra and CSL. The S&P/ASX 200 index declined 18 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 6846.00 on Friday, failing to extend this week’s record-breaking … Continue reading

30 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Brexit: Tied up in a big tartan knot – ‘I might have to break the habit of a lifetime and vote Tory’

[COMMENT: Here is a Scottish view about England and the pending Brexit issue.] (30 November 2019, AFR, p19, Hans van Leeuwen, Europe correspondent) ‘Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling | “The best thing about England is the road to f—ing Scotland,” my Edinburgh taxi driver shouted at me, in a brogue so thick I was longing for subtitles. … Continue reading

30 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Brexit: Corbyn pledges to plant 2b trees. Can it be done?

(30 November 2019, AFR, p12, Hans van Leeuwen, Europe correspondent) ‘Wrexham, Wales | Election campaigns are funny things. Sometimes a burning issue can be left to smoulder in the corner. And sometimes a seemingly trivial moment can unexpectedly, powerfully flare up. So it proved on Thursday (Friday AEDT) in Britain’s election campaign, now just a … Continue reading

30 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Credit growth in the doldrums despite property rebound

(30 November 2019, AFR, p6, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘Credit growth for investor housing has set another record low, while owner-occupier credit has barely turned up despite the strong rebound in property prices. Annual investor credit growth is the lowest since records were first kept in 1977, which may indicate that three interest rate cuts … Continue reading

29 Nov 2019 (AFR) – ASX notches up another record as Telstra shines

(29 November 2019, AFR, p30, Sarah Turner, Reporter) ‘Investors piled into the telcom after a broker upgrade, while other household names helped the advance. Australian shares hit another record high on Thursday as investors piled into telecom Telstra and some of the market’s other best-known companies. The S&P/ASX 200 index advanced 13 points, or 0.2 … Continue reading

29 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Fletcher Building tips 35pc jump in housing approvals

(29 November 2019, AFR, p20, Simon Evans, Senior Reporter) ‘Fletcher Building expects residential housing approvals to climb about 35 per cent in Australia by 2022 from a market bottom this year. Fletcher operates a $3 billion-plus building products business in Australia under brands including Laminex, Tradelink plumbing and bathroom supplies and Stramit roofing and structural steel.’ … Continue reading

29 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Retail bricks and mortar: Womenswear retailer Bardot joins fashion victims

(29 November 2019, AFR, p19, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘Fast fashion retailer Bardot has become the latest victim of weak retail spending and increasing competition from global and online retailers, falling into administration on Thursday. Brendan Richards and Ryan Eagle of KPMG were appointed voluntary administrators and have appointed Deloitte Corporate Finance to look for … Continue reading

29 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Japan’s retail sales slump the most since 2015 as tax hike bites

(29 November 2019, AFR, p16, Daniel Leussink) ‘Tokyo | Japan’s retail sales tumbled at their fastest pace in more than four and a half years in October as a sales tax hike prompted consumers to cut spending, raising a red flag over the strength of domestic demand. The Japanese government increased the nationwide sales tax … Continue reading

29 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Business capital expenditure disappoints; Spending forecasts raise GDP fears

(29 November 2019, AFR, p7, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘The lower expenditure number “poses material downside risks to the forecasts of the RBA and the Federal Budget”. Business expectations for investment spending this financial year have come in well below forecast following a worse than expected September quarter for capital expenditure, suggesting that GDP figures … Continue reading

28 Nov 2019 (AFR) – ASX hits record close on promise of a trade deal

(28 November 2019, AFR, p26, Luke Housego, Reporter) ‘Australian shares ended the day at a record close on Wednesday as confidence that an interim trade deal between the US and China was imminent lifted investor confidence. The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed the session 63.1 points, or 0.93 per cent, higher at 6850.6, with the five-day, … Continue reading

28 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Home building and infrastructure work contract in September quarter

(28 November 2019, AFR, p31, Michael Bleby, Senior Reporter) ‘Non-residential construction remains the bright spot, limiting the total fall in output for the industry. Home building and engineering construction declined in the three months to September, extending the contraction in both sectors for a fifth straight quarter and strengthening the focus on non-residential work as … Continue reading

28 Nov 2019 (AFR) – PBoC warns as China’s household debt hits record

(28 November 2019, AFR, p10, Guo Yingzhe and Peng Qinqin) ‘Beijing | China’s consumers continued their borrowing binge last year, even as growth in incomes lagged, driving the country’s household debt-to-disposable income ratio to a record and prompting a warning from the central bank about the need for tougher action to ward off risks. Outstanding … Continue reading

28 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Low rates, deal ‘mojo’ push ASX to record high

(28 November 2019, AFR, p1,13, Sarah Turner, Reporter) ‘Australian shares roared to a record high as a wave of dealmaking and recalibrated expectations for even lower interest rates spurred investors into equities and pushed shares of blue chips CSL and Woolworths to all-time highs. The S&P/ASX 200 Index finished the session 63.1 points, or 0.93 … Continue reading

28 Nov 2019 (TheAge) – The bar for RBA QE appears pretty low given its forecasting record

(28 November 2019, The Age, Business, p27) ‘RBA governor Philip Lowe believes a pickup in Australian economic growth is just around the corner, forecasting GDP will increase by 3 per cent next year. “This pick-up in growth should see a reduction in the unemployment rate and a lift in inflation,” Dr Lowe said during a … Continue reading

27 Nov 2019 (AFR,WashPost) – Malls are dying. The thriving ones are spending millions to reinvent themselves.

(27 November 2019, AFR, p34, By Abha Bhattarai) ‘Abdul Mannan was perched on a stool, scrolling through his phone, on a recent afternoon at Lakeforest Mall in suburban Washington. He was two hours into his shift at a jewelry kiosk and had yet to exchange words with a single customer.’ <snipped…> ‘… But in the … Continue reading

27 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Hobart faces rental crisis as average households struggle to pay

(27 November 2019, AFR, p33, Nila Sweeney, Reporter) ‘Rental affordability has nosedived in Hobart over the past year, falling by 7.4 per cent and bucking the improvement seen in other capital cities, the latest Rental Affordability Index shows.’ Read more at AFR.com (might need AFR login access, or try: AFR.com/trial)

27 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Construction boom gets an extra year’s boost from non-residential work

(27 November 2019, AFR, p32, Michael Bleby, Senior Reporter) ‘Australia’s commercial construction boom will go for another year, with recent new project approval numbers pointing to continued growth that will keep construction ticking over even as residential and infrastructure work declines, a new report from consultancy Macromonitor shows. The non-residential boom that started in 2016 … Continue reading

27 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Housing cycle has turned, and it’s up: Brickworks

(27 November 2019, AFR, p19, Simon Evans, Senior Reporter) ‘The brief downturn in Australian housing markets has now passed and will be viewed as just an ”interruption” in a long upwards cycle, says the boss of Australia’s biggest brick-making company. Brickworks managing director Lindsay Partridge said on Tuesday that orders had risen for each of … Continue reading

27 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Mengniu’s Lion Dairy & Drinks deal splits farmers, politicians

(27 November 2019, AFR, p16, Sue Mitchell and John Kehoe) ‘China Mengniu Dairy Co’s proposed $600 million acquisition of Lion Dairy & Drinks has opened up divisions between politicians and farmers over the future of the $13 billion dairy industry, which is facing its lowest annual production since 1995.’ Read more at AFR.com (might need … Continue reading

27 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Wage growth expectations lowest in 20 years

(27 November 2019, AFR, p10, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘Never before have there been so few firms expecting to give pay rises to workers, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia, making it more difficult for the central bank to get inflation back into its target range.  Low wage growth has “become the new norm” … Continue reading

27 Nov 2019 (TheAge) – Confidence crumbles to four-year low: ANZ

(27 November 2019, The Age, Business, p29) ‘Consumer confidence slumped to a four-year low on the weekend, according to a survey that suggests people are bracing for more grim economic times. The ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence index fell 2.8 per cent from the previous week, with respondents’ positive views of the economy over the … Continue reading

27 Nov 2019 (TheAge) – Land sales pick up in Melbourne’s outer suburbs

(27 November 2019, The Age, Business, p26, By Simon Johanson) ‘Land sales in Melbourne’s fringe housing estates are playing catch up to the city’s middle-ring and inner-city suburbs, recovering from a three-year slump, new figures show. The number of land lots sold across Melbourne and Geelong’s new home estates in the September quarter rose 48 … Continue reading

27 Nov 2019 (TheAge) – ASX: So let our ‘Santa Rally’ begin

(27 November 2019, The Age, Money supplement, p3, Michael Gable) ‘… For the US market, all appears to be going to plan. The S&P 500 index broke out to new highs at the end of October, and the rally looks to have further to run. Statistically, if we look at the returns of the S&P … Continue reading

25 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Don’t bet on markets rising as risks to growth escalate

(25 November 2019, AFR, p39,  Nouriel Roubini, Contributor) ‘There is a disconnect between rising equity values and the fundamental threats to the global economy. This past May and August, escalations in the trade and technology conflict between the United States and China rattled stockmarkets and pushed bond yields to historic lows. Since then, financial markets … Continue reading

25 Nov 2019 (AFR) – China breeding sow stock rises for first time since fever outbreak

(25 November 2019, AFR, p11, Du Caicai and Tang Ziyi) ‘Beijing | China’s pork production is showing signs of recovery as the inventory of breeding sows registered the first month-on-month increase in October since the outbreak of deadly African swine fever last year, official data showed. The country’s stock of breeding sows rose 0.6 per … Continue reading

25 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Sydney auctions run hot as FOMO fuels the market

(25 November 2019, AFR, p6, Nila Sweeney, Reporter) ‘Sydney’s booming auction market is on track to stage its strongest November performance since 2016, as the fear of missing out drove buyers to snap up the scarce offering and push clearance rates to un-seasonally high levels. CoreLogic figures show preliminary auction clearance rates surged to 82.3 … Continue reading

23 Nov 2109 (AFR) – Life insurers hit hard by Hayne fallout, mental health claims

(23 November 2019, AFR, p25, James Fernyhough, Reporter) ‘Rising mental health claims and the fallout from the Hayne royal commission have contributed to a net loss of $86 million across all Australian life insurers in the first six months of 2019, a new report by KPMG has found. That continued a stark downward trajectory from … Continue reading

23 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Fires linger as damage exceeds $165m

(23 November 2019, AFR, p6, Bo Seo, Reporter) ‘The total damage from the devastating bushfires has exceeded $165 million as almost 150 fires continue to burn across the country. The Insurance Council of Australia confirmed on Friday that 1525 bushfire-related claims had been lodged in November alone, an increase of almost 200 claims in a … Continue reading

23 Nov 2019 (AFR) – ASX ends the week lower on banks sell-off

(23 November 2019, AFR, p33, Luke Housego, Reporter) ‘A rout in the banks and trade-deal uncertainty dragged the Australian share market to its worst weekly performance in seven weeks, despite a moderate recovery on the last day of trade. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.23 per cent to 6709.8 during the week, with the pull-back … Continue reading

16 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Climate rises as the No. 1 voter concern

(16 November 2019, AFR, p4, Phillip Coorey, Political Editor) ‘Climate change and the environment have become key issues of concern among voters, rivalling health and the economy and sounding an early warning to the Morrison government ahead of the next federal election should the current crisis not abate. The latest True Issues survey by JWS … Continue reading