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17 Jan 2020 (AFR) – US-China trade deal: Phase one doesn’t go far. Trade deal leaves the thorniest problems unresolved

(17 January 2020, AFR, p37, Don Lee and Noah Bierman) ‘After nearly two years of a bruising trade war, US President Donald Trump signed a trade deal with China on Wednesday that provides the president with political bragging rights but allows both sides to put off the most difficult disputes until after the November election. … Continue reading

17 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Owner-occupier home loans surge in November

(17 January 2020, AFR, p31, Michael Bleby, Senior Reporter) ‘Owner-occupier home loans jumped 10 per cent in November from a year earlier as access to credit eased and rising house prices across the eastern seaboard drew buyers back into the market. The increase in new mortgage commitments to owner-occupiers lifted the monthly total to a … Continue reading

17 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Trade deal optimism drives ASX past 7000

(17 January 2020, AFR, p28, Luke Housego, Reporter) ‘Buoyed by US-China relations, Australian shares closed at another record high on Thursday, with benchmark S&P/ASX 200 passing the historically significant 7000-points level for the first time. The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 47 points, or 0.67 per cent, higher at 7041.8, taking the year-to-date gains for the … Continue reading

17 Jan 2020 (AFR) – The missing ingredient in the ASX rally, where quality doesn’t come cheap

(17 January 2020, AFR, p27, Robert Guy, Senior Writer) ‘The 1000 point rally in Australian stocks over the past 11 months testifies to the power of multiple expansion to gloss over anemic earnings growth, as low yields unite investors in the belief in TINA – There Is No Alternative.’ <snipped…> ‘But the missing ingredient in … Continue reading

17 Jan 2020 (AFR) – House leaders march Trump impeachment articles to the Senate

(17 January 2020, AFR, p13, Lisa Mascaro) ‘Washington | In a dramatic procession across the US Capitol, House Democrats carried the formal articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate late on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT), setting the stage for only the third trial to remove a president in American history. Trump complained anew it … Continue reading

17 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Trump deal spells pain for Australian exporters

(17 January 2020, AFR, p11, Jacob Greber, United States Correspondent) ‘Washington | Australian dairy, beef, energy and coal exporters could become collateral damage from Thursday’s historic phase-one US-China trade deal, hailed by Donald Trump as a “landmark” reset to global commerce. In an agreement almost immediately lambasted by critics for its emphasis on managed purchase … Continue reading

17 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Retailers suffer as consumers pocket tax cuts

(17 January 2020, AFR, p9, Michael Bleby, Senior Reporter) ‘Cautious consumers are using tax refunds and savings from lower borrowing costs to save and reduce debt, rather than putting it back into the retail economy, economists warn. Analysis by UBS economists George Tharenou and Carlos Cacho of Reserve Bank of Australia figures shows credit card … Continue reading

17 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Tourism loses $4.5b to bushfires as overseas visitors cancel

(17 January 2020, AFR, p4, Fiona Carruthers, AFR Travel Editor) ‘The number of international tourists booking holidays to Australia is down 10 to 20 per cent due to the bushfires, and will cost the country at least $4.5 billion by the end of the year. The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) said the year-on-year reduction … Continue reading

17 Jan 2020 (AFR) – ‘Dangerous path’ as low rates push ASX to 7000

(17 January 2020, AFR, p1, Sarah Turner and Vesna Poljak) ‘Leading investors warn that the sharemarket’s ascent to the 7000 points level helped by the lowest interest rates in history should be met with caution and may not be supported by earnings in an economy growing below-trend. A formalised phase one trade deal between the … Continue reading

17 Jan 2020 (TheAge) – ASX: ‘A bit of FOMO’: Local shares smash through key level to fresh record high

(17 January 2020, The Age, Business, p24, By David Scutt). ‘The Australian sharemarket surged to fresh record highs for the third consecutive session on Thursday, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 (XJO) index smashing above the 7000 level for the first time, after Wall Street shot higher on the inking of a preliminary US-China trade agreement. … Continue reading

17 Jan 2020 (TheAge) – US-China trade deal threatens Australian exporters

(17 January 2020, The Age, p5, By Eryk Bagshaw and Matthew Knott) ‘Australian markets smashed through record highs after the United States and China signed the first phase of a trade deal that could put an end to more than two years of tension and hit local exporters.’ <snipped…> ‘The agreement could see the US … Continue reading

16 Jan 2020 (AFR) – The one capital city where apartment rents are falling

(16 January 2020, AFR, p30, Ingrid Fuary-Wagner, Reporter) ‘Sydney’s new apartment boom pushed unit rents down to 2015 levels in the December quarter as slower population growth in the country’s largest city failed to absorb stock created in a cycle that peaked in 2018. Sydney was the only capital city where the median asking unit … Continue reading

16 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Home building, Housing construction expectations surge

(16 January 2020, AFR, p29, Michael Bleby, Senior Reporter) ‘Housing construction is set to pick up in the second half of this year, after sentiment around residential construction posted its biggest lift in six years on the back of an improving property market and access to credit. The ANZ/Property Council of Australia March 2020 survey … Continue reading

16 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Coal miners optimistic despite BlackRock exit

(16 January 2020, AFR, p12, Peter Ker, Resources reporter) ‘Australian coal miners say there are plenty of investors willing to replace those blacklisting the sector, as the world’s biggest fund manager announced a new policy that will reverse its aggressive buying of Australian coal stocks over the past year. BlackRock joined the long list of … Continue reading

16 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Bushfires hit fruit, vegetable supply lines; price pressures

(16 January 2020, AFR, p5, Liam Walsh, Reporter) ‘The impact of bushfires on transport networks and power supplies is among factors pressuring fruit and vegetable prices, according to industry figures. The problems delaying the delivery of fresh food to markets or keeping produce in cold storage come on top of farmers having to deal with … Continue reading

16 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Property buyers to avoid bushfire hot spots

(16 January 2020, AFR, p5, Ingrid Fuary-Wagner and Larry Schlesinger) ‘Tourists have already deserted bushfire-hit regions of NSW including the Southern Highlands, Batemans Bay and the Blue Mountains and homebuyers are likely to do the same over the next 6 to 12 months as the fallout from the unprecedented fire season plays out in country … Continue reading

16 Jan 2020 (TheAge) – Tourism industry takes $1b hit as Australians cancel their holidays

[COMMENTS: The flow-on affects from the recent bushfire crises in both New South Wales and Victoria are likely to be serious and last for a long time. And we have probably not heard the last of it.] (16 January 2020, The Age, page 1, By Anthony Galloway) ‘Tourists are abandoning regional Victoria and NSW in … Continue reading

16 Jan 2020 (TheAge) – Fashion chain Jeanswest collapses as retail sector continues to struggle

(16 January 2020, The Age, Business, p24, By Dominic Powell) ‘National fashion chain Jeanswest has been placed into voluntary administration, blaming high rents as it becomes the fourth victim of Australia’s languishing retail market since the start of the year. KPMG’s Peter Gothard and James Stewart were appointed administrators of the chain on Wednesday afternoon, … Continue reading

15 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Mosaic shares tumble on bushfire update

[COMMENT: A sign of the times – poor retail environment plus bushfire flow-on effects.] (15 January 2020, AFR, p15, Lucas Baird, Reporter) ‘Investors have sent Mosaic Brands’ market value tumbling in reaction to a dire sales update over the business impacts of bushfires. The fashion retailer – formerly known as Noni B – saw its … Continue reading

15 Jan 2020 (AFR) – China’s economy to slow as trade, property risks linger

(15 January 2020, AFR, p11, Michael Smith, China Correspondent) ‘Shanghai | China’s slowing economy has been given a temporary reprieve from Donald Trump’s tariff ceasefire, but is not out of the woods yet, economist have warned. Leading economists said on Tuesday that the risk of further confrontation with the US on trade, along with geopolitical … Continue reading

15 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Victoria cloaked in smoke as fire threat eases

(15 January 2020, AFR, p5, Hannah Wootton, Reporter) ‘Melburnians woke on Tuesday to a thick layer of smoke covering the city, forcing Australian Open tennis organisers to delay the start of the qualifying tournament after the city recorded the worst air quality in the world overnight. The smoke stretched from east from Geelong to fire-ravaged … Continue reading

15 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Costello warns of boom in risky assets

(15 January 2020, AFR, p1, John Kehoe, Senior Writer) ‘The chairman of the $166 billion sovereign wealth fund, Peter Costello, has warned that record low interest rates are pushing investors into risky financial products akin to “collateralised debt obligations”, which blew up during the 2008 global financial crisis. ‘ Read more at (might need … Continue reading

15 Jan 2020 (TheAge) – Higher prices for food, but supermarkets warned to help farmers

(15 January 2020, The Age, p8, By David Crowe and Angus Livingston) ‘Australians can expect higher prices for fresh food and meat as a result of the bushfire crisis, but supermarkets have been warned to not put more pressure on devastated farmers. Bushfire-affected farmers will also be given up to $75,000 to immediately repair their … Continue reading

15 Jan 2020 (TheAge) – Fires deal devastating blow to businesses in Victoria’s north-east

(15 January 2020, The Age, By Benjamin Preiss) ‘Businesses in Victoria’s north-east are bracing for shocking losses from this summer’s bushfires that could exceed an estimated $200 million for the region’s economy over three months. A survey of 200 tourism-dependent businesses in the north-east found that half of them experienced 100 per cent losses between … Continue reading

14 Jan 2020 (TheAge) – Bonanza on the Gold Coast as Magic Millions horse sales hit record $180m

[COMMENT: Is this a window into the health of the underlying Australian economy?] (14 January 2020, The Age, p3, By Samantha Hutchinson) ‘Racehorse owners spending up big at the Gold Coast Magic Millions carnival have set a record, splashing out almost $180 million in the first major horse sale of the year.’ Read more at … Continue reading

14 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Central bank easing triggers record corporate bond issuance

(14 January 2020, AFR, p24, Joe Rennison) ‘New York | Companies across the globe took advantage of lower borrowing costs to sell a record amount of bonds in 2019, prompting renewed concerns among policymakers about soaring levels of debt. Just over $US2.5 trillion ($3.6 trillion) of corporate bonds were sold over the year, inching past … Continue reading

14 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Walmart cuts a third of India executives, plans more

(14 January 2020, AFR, p16, Rachel Chang) ‘Walmart Inc is preparing to wind up its physical presence in India and has fired a third of its top executives there, said a local media report. The world’s largest retailer plans to halt new-store expansion in India and will continue to cut staff, said The Economic Times, … Continue reading

14 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Ford’s vehicle sales in China tumble for third consecutive year

(14 January 2020, AFR, p16, Brenda Goh and Yilei Sun) ‘Ford Motor Co’s China vehicle sales fell for a third consecutive year, by 26.1 per cent as it battles a prolonged overall sales decline in its second-biggest market that has hit demand for its mass-market Ford brand and sports utility vehicles. The US automaker delivered … Continue reading

14 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Fires to ‘send property prices down, mortgage defaults up’

(14 January 2020, AFR, p15, James Eyers, Senior Reporter) ‘The bushfire calamity could lift mortgage bad debts in the major banks, as lenders face a spike in claims for financial hardship from customers reliant on income from tourism and agriculture in areas decimated by the fires. Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said on Monday it … Continue reading

13 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Drought, then bushfires take a lick from national milk pool

(13 January 2020, AFR, p29, Nick Lenaghan, Property Editor) ‘Extensive bushfires through NSW and Victoria – with the season far from over – are expected to exact a further toll on national milk production, which has already dwindled under drought conditions. Rabobank has forecast decline in milk production of 5.8 per cent to 8.3 billion … Continue reading