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12 Feb 2020 (TheAge) – Second wave of the coronavirus crisis hits corporate Australia

(12 February 2020, The Age, Business. p23, Elizabeth Knight) ‘Tuesday’s profit downgrade by Cochlear represents the second-wave impact for Australian companies in response to the coronavirus crisis. There will doubtless be more before this episode turns the corner. The first wave, which became evident in January, hit Australian companies directly exposed to China in the … Continue reading

7 Feb 2020 (AFR) – Economy had more momentum – Economists see end of RBA’s rate cut cycle

(7 February 2020, AFR, p1, Matthew Cranston, Sarah Turner and Sue Mitchell) ‘Surprising strong consumer spending in the final three months of 2019 has triggered investors to upgrade retail stocks and abandon calls for another interest rate cut this year. The stronger than expected growth in retail trade in the December quarter supports Reserve Bank … Continue reading

7 Feb 2020 (TheAge) – Government prepares for virus economic downturn as fires hit retailers

(7 February 2020, The Age, p8, By Shane Wright) ‘The Morrison government is preparing Australians for a large hit to the economy and the budget bottom line from the coronavirus outbreak and the summer’s bushfires amid growing concern the financial hit from both will be larger than first thought. As December retail figures showed the … Continue reading

6 Feb 2020 (AFR) – New vehicle sales drop 12.5pc in January

(6 February 2020, AFR, p8, Simon Evans, Senior Reporter) ‘Australia’s new vehicle sales plunged 12.5 per cent in January as already-low levels of confidence among potential car buyers were buffeted by the fallout from bushfires, drought and the early stages of international concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. Victoria suffered one of the biggest drops as … Continue reading

5 Feb 2020 (TheAge) – Rinse, repeat: The RBA must ditch its permanently Panglossian view

(5 February 2020, The Age, p31, David Scutt) ‘The RBA has put its rose-tinted glasses back on, having temporarily removed them late last year, predicting a Goldilocks outcome of stronger economic growth, lower unemployment and a continuation of low inflation in the period ahead. The bank said in its policy announcement today it expects economic … Continue reading

5 Feb 2020 (TheAge) – Retail: Temple and Webster shows signs of retail recovery with bumper first half

(5 February 2020, The Age, Business, p24, By Dominic Powell) ‘Major online homewares and furniture retailer Temple and Webster has beaten the retail blues to report a strong result for the first half of the financial year, with potential green shoots emerging in Australia’s struggling retail landscape.’ Read more at

4 Feb 2020 (AFR) – ASX: Coronavirus fears spark ASX shock wave

(4 February 2020, AFR, p26, William McInnes, Reporter) ‘The Australian sharemarket on Monday suffered its second worst session so far this year, as concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus rippled through global markets. The S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 93.9 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 6923.3, falling to its lowest level in three … Continue reading

3 Feb 2020 (TheAge) – Tourism industry braces for billion-dollar hit from China travel ban

(3 February 2020, The Age, p8, By Chip Le Grand) ‘Australia’s hotels, restaurants, tourism operators and some of our most popular attractions face a combined $1 billion loss in revenue for every month the Chinese travel ban remains in force, with industry chiefs calling for a government rescue package to save jobs and businesses. The … Continue reading

29 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Nervous consumers behind three-year motorcycle slide

(29 January 2020, AFR, p15, Simon Evans, Senior Reporter) ‘The chief executive of ASX-listed MotorCycle Holdings says a three-year slide in new motorcycle sales across the industry is close to hitting a bottom.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access)

25 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Coronavirus ‘may yet become’ a global emergency, WHO says

(25 January 2020, AFR, p3, Bo Seo, Reporter) ‘Nervous markets and citizens – from Sydney to Belfast – are awaiting to see if the fatal outbreak of a new coronavirus strain rises to a global health emergency, as the number of suspected cases in Australia grows.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access)

24 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Coronavirus poses risk for Australian airports: Moody’s

(24 January 2020, AFR, p19, Elouise Fowler, Reporter) ‘Ratings agency Moody’s says the outbreak of deadly SARS-like coronavirus in China poses a short-term risk for Australian airports as Chinese passengers now account for over 15 per cent of total short-stay tourism. Chinese authorities have shut down airport and transport networks in Wuhan, the city at … Continue reading

20 Jan 2020 (AFR) – ASX’s record run raises the stakes

(20 January 2020, AFR, p24, Vesna Poljak, Markets Editor) ‘The sharemarket’s record-breaking rally will continue enthusiastically without regard for the bushfire-worsened confession season underway, setting up a difficult test for valuations with the interim company profit season around the corner. <snipped…> ‘Wall Street sealed its best week since August as upbeat housing data sweetened the … Continue reading

18 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Drought and competition shrivel Nufarm earnings

(18 January 2020, AFR, p21, Liam Walsh, Reporter) ‘Shares in Nufarm have tumbled after the agricultural supplies outfit unveiled a massive dent in earnings from extreme weather pitching its Australian arm into the red, and fierce competition in Europe.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access)

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) – 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

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) – 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

8 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Australian economy – From banana republic to Pacific Switzerland?

(8 January 2020, AFR, p13, Jonathan Shapiro, Senior Reporter) ‘There is no more defining moment in Australia’s economic history than in May 1986, when then federal treasurer Paul Keating told radio host John Laws the nation was in danger of becoming a “banana republic”. For the three decades that followed those two words resonated among … Continue reading

10 Jan 2020 (TheAge) – ASX: Healthcare, tech push ASX to record closing high

(10 January 2020, The Age, Business, p24, By David Scutt) ‘Australian shares rose strongly on Thursday, ending the session at a record closing high after coming within a whisker of tapping new intraday highs, as investors welcomed a de-escalation in tensions between the United States and Iran. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 56.6 points, or … Continue reading

10 Jan 2020 (TheAge) – ASX IPO: Tech firms to try their luck on ASX despite rocky IPO run last year

(10 January 2020, The Age, Business, p22, By Emma Koehn) ‘Big valuations and a new ASX technology index are expected to fuel plans of early-stage tech businesses to try their luck on the local stock market in 2020 despite mixed success for IPOs last year. While the country’s technology darling ‘WAAAX’ – Wisetech, Afterpay, Altium, … Continue reading

10 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Trade surplus jumps but imports cause a stir

(10 January 2020, AFR, p2, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘Australia has recorded its 23rd consecutive monthly trade surplus after stronger coal, iron ore and gas exports saw a $1.7 billion jump to a better than expected $5.8 billion in November, but imports have slowed – sparking concerns about consumption. The November surplus brought export records … Continue reading

9 Jan 2020 (TheAge) – Bushfires: ‘Tens of millions’: Telstra, Optus start counting bushfire cost

(9 January 2020, The Abe, Business, p23, By Zoe Samios) ‘Telstra is facing millions of dollars in damage to its infrastructure as the national bushfire crisis continues to cause havoc, burning towers and causing widespread outages. As of Wednesday afternoon 27 mobile towers have been impacted across NSW, including four towers that had been burnt, … Continue reading

8 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Job ads plummet as fires torch confidence, cast shadow over economy

(8 January 2020, AFR, p1, Vesna Poljak and Hannah Wootton) ‘The bushfire emergency has hit the outlook for the jobs market and caused consumer confidence to slump to its lowest level in four years in the first indication of the toll the deadly crisis is taking on economic activity, amid fears of worsening conditions later … Continue reading

4 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Unprecedented evacuation underway as Australia burns

[COMMENTS: The extent and impact of  bush fires around the nation since about New Years Eve have been extensive. It’s not over just yet. And the impacts to many businesses might be felt for a long time.] (4 January 2020, AFR, p1, Hannah Wootton, Liz Main, Angela Macdonald-Smith and Tom McIlroy) ‘Tens of thousands of … Continue reading

20 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Jobs surge slashes RBA rate cut bets

(20 December 2019, AFR, p2, Sarah Turner, Reporter) ‘A sharp surge in jobs in November has triggered a plunge in expectations for a rate cut in February. The job figures supported the Reserve Bank of Australia’s view of a “gentle turning point” in the economy and eased pressure on the government to do more fiscal … Continue reading

18 Dec 2019 (AFR) – National building supplier SWC collapses

(18 December 2019, AFR, p33, Nila Sweeney, Reporter) ‘Melbourne-based residential and commercial supplier SWC Management Group has collapsed after it ran out of money to meet $69 million in obligations, including unpaid wages, putting around 400 staff out of work.’ <snipped…> ‘SWC blamed the downturn in building construction, slumping sales and tight competition for its … Continue reading

18 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Retailers: Festive spirit missing in action as Australia burns

(18 December 2019, AFR, p19, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘Retailers are counting on a surge in spending over the next week after enduring “standard” sales volumes in December to date. The week before Christmas is usually the busiest of the year for bricks and mortar retailers as consumers stock up on food and drinks and … Continue reading

17 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Interest rates: Rate cut chance surges on wages downgrade

(17 December 2019, AFR, p4, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘Forecasts for economic growth, inflation, unemployment and wages have all taken a hit in the latest budget update, placing pressure on the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates in February. Before the budget update, financial markets were pricing in a 39 per cent chance of a … 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