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14 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Black Friday boosts traffic online and in stores

(14 December 2019, AFR, p27, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘Black Friday boosted traffic online and in stores and the growth has continued into December, but may lead to soft clearance sales on Boxing Day and in January. According to analysis by Citigroup, online traffic for major Australian retailers rose about 30 per cent to 40 … Continue reading

14 Dec 2019 (AFR) – US reaches ‘deal in principle’ with China on trade

(14 December 2019, AFR, p14, Jacob Greber and Michael Smith) ‘Washington/Shanghai | Hopes are rising among investors, corporate capex managers and consumers that US and Chinese negotiators have agreed to a modest starter deal to halt a bruising trade war that has roiled the global economy and dented confidence. More than eight weeks after US … Continue reading

14 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Boris Johnson wins mandate to deliver Brexit as Labour tumbles

(14 December 2019, AFR, p12, Hans van Leeuwen, Europe correspondent) ‘London | British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has won a mandate to deliver Brexit in the next seven weeks, storming dozens of long-term Labour seats across the country’s post-industrial north as Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s radical, big-spending pitch fell flat.’ Read more at (might … Continue reading

14 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Drought: Australia to bake until March

(14 December 2019, AFR, p3, Bo Seo, Reporter) ‘There is an 80 per cent likelihood that temperatures across Australia will be higher than usual through to March, exacerbating bushfire risk and increasing the frequency of heatwaves. Temperatures in Western Australia exceeded 40 degrees on Thursday, fuelling a massive blaze in Two Rocks, 60 kilometres north of … Continue reading

14 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Brexit, Trump trade deal buoy investor hopes

(14 December 2019, AFR, p1, Sarah Turner, Hans van Leeuwen, Phillip Coorey and John Kehoe) ‘A landslide Conservative victory in Britain’s Brexit election and a potential trade deal between the US and China have delivered a double helping of good news for the global economy. UK voters handed Prime Minister Boris Johnson a handsome victory … Continue reading

14 Dec 2019 (AFR) – ASX: Trade deal, UK election boosts ASX

(14 December 2019, AFR, p33, William McInnes, Reporter) ‘The Australian sharemarket climbed higher this week, rallying on Friday following the UK election and reports a phase one US-China trade deal was close to being signed. The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 27.4 points, or 0.4 per cent, higher for the week at 6739.7. Despite a mixed … Continue reading

13 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Tariff war: Jamie Dimon warns of economic damage from China tariffs James Politi

(13 December 2019, AFR, p27, James Politi) ‘Washington | Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, has warned Donald Trump that imposing tariffs on additional Chinese goods would inflict damage to the US economy, as the US president faces a decision within days on whether to impose new levies on Beijing. Speaking at the … Continue reading

13 Dec 2019 (AFR) – China steel demand tipped to fall next year

(13 December 2019, AFR, p14, Michael Smith, China Correspondent) ‘Shanghai | China’s chief government forecaster has predicted lower steel demand in 2020, the first decline in five years and possibly bad news for Australian iron ore miners. The China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute said on Thursday that the country’s steel demand would fall by … Continue reading

13 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Hopes fade for long-term China-US deal as tariff deadline looms

(13 December 2019, AFR, p14, Michael Smith, China Correspondent) ‘Shanghai | Hopes are fading that the United States and China will agree on a “phase one” trade deal before Christmas, but US president Donald Trump is expected to hold fire on the latest wave of tariffs, which were due to be implemented on Sunday. Business … Continue reading

13 Dec 2019 (AFR) – NSW can’t continue propping up ‘lazy’ states like Queensland

(13 December 2019, AFR, p8, Steven Trask and Jodie Stephens) ‘NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet says the NSW economy can’t continue propping up “lazy states” such as Queensland. Mr Perrottet delivered the NSW  half-year budget update on Thursday, showing drought and volatility in the housing market had contributed to a  $314 million dent in the surplus.’ … Continue reading

13 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Queensland debt blows out by $1b in six months

(13 December 2019, AFR, p8, Mark Ludlow, Queensland Bureau Chief) ‘The Palaszczuk Labor government is struggling to control spiralling state debt in Queensland which has blown out $1 billion in the past six months. Despite a move by Treasurer Jackie Trad to raid the defined benefits superannuation scheme for public servants to create a new … Continue reading

13 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Victorian budget takes $430m GST hit

(13 December 2019, AFR, p8, Patrick Durkin, BOSS Deputy Editor) ‘Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas has signalled cuts to the public service and vowed to hold the line on wages with the unions, after announcing a $430 million hit to the budget caused by a half-billion-dollar write-down in GST receipts from the Commonwealth. Mr Pallas said … Continue reading

12 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Brexit: Nervous traders dig in for long British election night

(12 December 2019, AFR,  p28, Elizabeth Howcroft, Lawrence White and Saikat Chatterjee) ‘It is the time of year when London’s bankers and traders wind down and prepare for holidays. Instead, many are cancelling leave and will work all night on Thursday as Britain votes in an unpredictable election that could convulse global markets. Major banks … Continue reading

12 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Consumers remain gloomy in more bad news for retailers

(12 December 2019, AFR, p11, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘Labor voters over the age of 45 are driving the decline in consumer confidence in December, according to the latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index. The overall index declined 1.9 per cent to 95.1 points in December, from 97 in November, but there has been a sharp fall … Continue reading

11 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Property prices post biggest gains since 2016

(11 December 2019, AFR, p32, Nila Sweeney, Reporter) ‘Property prices rose 2.4 per cent in the September quarter– the biggest gain since December 2016 – led by strong growth in Sydney and Melbourne, the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show. After falling by 0.5 per cent in the June quarter, Sydney’s home … Continue reading

11 Dec 2019 (AFR) – WTO: Crisis for WTO marks return to the Wild West, begins its descent into an era of lawlessness

(11 December 2019, AFR, p14, Russell Lynch) ‘As the World Trade Organisation appeals forum closes its doors, the settling of disputes may get ugly. ‘ ‘London | Bullets have been flying in the world of international trade lately but, as of tomorrow, there’s no longer a sheriff in town. A crisis brewing for years comes … Continue reading

11 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Retail: Spending spree still likely: RBA’s Lowe

(11 December 2019, AFR, p10, Matthew Cranston and James Eyers) ‘Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe has held out hope of a bounceback in consumption, saying on Tuesday that while he was surprised at disappointing spending figures he still expected interest rate cuts will eventually boost them. Household consumption was a very weak 0.1 … Continue reading

11 Dec 2019 (TheAge) – Drought impact tipped to be worst in six decades as sheep numbers tumble

(11 December 2019, The Age, p14, By Shane Wright) ‘The national sheep flock is expected to collapse to its smallest size since 1904 amid warnings the drought’s impact on the economy and the agricultural sector will linger for up to a decade. Analysis by the rural forecaster suggests the farm sector is facing its toughest … Continue reading

10 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Defusing China’s banking time bomb

(10 December 2019, AFR, p36, Michael Smith, China Correspondent) ‘A run on small provincial Chinese lenders has rattled confidence in the world’s biggest banking system — which is wedged between a drive to reduce risky loans, and Beijing’s demands to keep lending to business. ‘ ‘Shanghai | A run by customers on two smaller banks … Continue reading

10 Dec 2019 (TheAge) – The meltdown in the global financial system’s ‘plumbing’ was more disturbing than it appeared

(10 December 2019, The Age, Business, p21, Stephen Bartholomeusz) ‘When one of the more arcane bits of the global financial system’s plumbing seized up in September the authorities were quick to dismiss it as a one-off event. It’s now clear the meltdown in the US “repo” market was due to circumstances that were more complex … Continue reading

9 Dec 2019 (AFR) – 266,000 reasons Donald Trump’s impeachment will be futile

(9 December 2019, AFR, p12, Jacob Greber, United States Correspondent) ‘America’s roaring labour market is on fire. Driven by a vast demographic bulge of Millennials as they enter their prime earning years, employment continues at a blistering pace across the world’s biggest economy. Friday’s official payrolls data showed unemployment is back down to its lowest … Continue reading

9 Dec 2019 (TheAge) – No Christmas retail cheer but hopes for the new year

(9 December 2019, The Age, p12, By Shane Wright) ‘Australian retailers are preparing for a bleak Christmas with many tipping early sales to get customers through the door after one of the worst years on record. Deloitte Access Economics, in its pre-Christmas look at the retail sector, said a combination of weak wage growth, high … Continue reading

7 Dec 2019 (AFR) – The missing ingredient in the market’s bull run

(7 December 2019, AFR, p28, Sarah Turner, Reporter) ‘Investors are fixated on low interest rates but some fund managers are worried that weak profits could turn out to be the market’s Achilles heel – earnings have been missing in action as the benchmark hovers near record highs. Blue chips such as Woolworths, Wesfarmers and Commonwealth … Continue reading

7 Dec 2019 (AFR) – ‘I’m no Skase’: Inside Mayfair’s investment pitch

[COMMENT: Caveat emptor. Readers should read the entire article in full before passing judgement.] (7 December 2019, AFR, p23, Jonathan Shapiro and Liam Walsh) ‘Interest rates are at rock bottom. Investment risks are sky high. Trust in our banks and our financial advisers is broken. Across the country, retirees don’t know what to do with … Continue reading

7 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Subprime loans lure yield-hungry investors

(7 December 2019, AFR, p1, John Kehoe and Matthew Cranston) ‘Subprime mortgage funds are luring tens of thousands of yield-starved retail investors and advertising their “term accounts” like safe bank deposits. Ultra-low interest rates are driving mum and dad investors into subprime mortgage trusts operated by non-bank lender XXXXXXXXX and other fund managers. ‘ <snipped…> … Continue reading

7 Dec 2019 (AFR) – ASX ends week lower as volatile days lie ahead

(7 December 2019, AFR, p33, Luke Housego, Reporter) ‘Australian shares ended the week lower as the local market was weighed down by concerns about a weak domestic economy and escalating trade tensions. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 2 per cent to 6707 during the week. It rose 0.36 per cent, or 24 points, on Friday. … Continue reading

6 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Bull run in stocks can go on a ‘bit longer’

(6 December 2019, AFR, p29, Robert GuySenior Writer) ‘Aberdeen Standard Investments chief executive Keith Skeoch says the bull run in global stocks can continue for “a bit longer” as growth is bolstered by central bank stimulus and prolonged low interest rates. From his perch atop a fund manager with $953 billion of assets under management, … Continue reading

6 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Car makers shed 80,000 jobs as electric, sharing era upends industry

(6 December 2019, AFR, p14, Christoph Rauwald, David Welch and Anurag Kotoky) ‘The industry is sputtering as trade tensions and tariffs raise costs and stifle investment, and as manufacturers reassess their workforce in an era of electrification, autonomous driving and ride-on-demand services. ‘ ‘New York/London/Frankfurt | It’s turning out to be one of the worst … Continue reading

5 Dec 2019 (TheAge) – ASX in brutal selloff as trade fears ignite again

(5 December 2019, The Age, p29, By David Scutt) ‘Concerns that a trade deal between the United States and China may not be reached until after next year’s US election rattled Australian shares on Wednesday, seeing the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index post its largest two-day percentage slide since early August.’ Read more at

5 Dec 2019 (TheAge) – Bemused and disturbed: Confusion reigns as Trump’s love affair with tariffs deepens

(5 December 2019, The Age, Business, p23, Stephen Bartholomeusz) ‘Events of the past few days have demonstrated, again, how sensitive financial markets are to Donald Trump’s tweets and comments on tariffs. Those markets have been unsettled by the prospect Trump raised on Tuesday of a deferral of any deal with China until after next year’s … Continue reading