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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

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

1 Feb 2020 (AFR) – US economy misses Trump’s growth target in 2019

(1 February 2020, AFR, p14, Lucia Mutikani) ‘Washington | The US economy missed the Trump administration’s 3 per cent growth target for a second straight year, posting its slowest annual growth in three years in 2019 as the slump in business investment deepened amid damaging trade tensions.’ Read more at (might need AFR login … 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)

23 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Trump boasts of ‘spectacular’ US economy

[COMMENT – Donald Trump – talking up the US economy again. Is this actually true? } (23 January 2020, AFR, p10, Hans van Leeuwen, Europe correspondent) ‘Davos, Switzerland | US President Donald Trump turned a much-anticipated appearance at the elite Davos forum into a rally for his November re-election bid, lauding his country’s economic revival … 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

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

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

6 Jan 2020 (TheAge) – China’s economy tipped to get worse before it gets better

(6 January 2020, The Age, Business, p30, By David Scutt) ‘Despite reduced trade tensions with the United States, an improvement in its vast manufacturing sector and additional stimulus measures, economists believe China’s economy is likely to get worse before it gets better in early 2020. “We see limited room for policy easing given Beijing’s target … 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

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

5 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Sluggish economy needs a kickstart – crying out for stimulus

(5 December 2019, AFR, p7, John Kehoe, Senior Writer) ‘Consumption is persistently weak, as cautious consumers elect to save – not spend – their recent income tax cuts and interest rate reductions. The sluggish Australian economy needs a kick start. Subdued economic growth of 0.4 per cent in the September quarter and 1.7 per cent … Continue reading

5 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Business urges action on productivity as economy crawls

(5 December 2019, AFR, p1, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘Business is pushing the Morrison government to reverse Australia’s productivity slump, despite a slight rise in economic growth that has eased pressure for further fiscal stimulus in this month’s mid-year budget update. A relieved Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said a soft 0.4 per cent rise in GDP, … Continue reading

4 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Construction the drag on productivity

(4 December 2019, AFR, p6, David Marin-Guzman and Matthew Cranston) ‘A serious downturn in productivity in the construction sector may make it harder for one of the country’s biggest unions to sustain claims for 5 per cent annual wage increases. Labour productivity has turned negative for the first time in 25 years and an analysis … Continue reading

22 Nov 2019 (TheAge) – ‘Weak’ Australian economy needs government spending, OECD says

(22 November 2019, The Age, p5, By Shane Wright) ‘The Australian economy is “weak”, with households weighed down by slow wages growth and higher taxes, the OECD has declared in a report that backs lower interest rates, calls for more government spending and paves the way for unconventional monetary policies. In its six-monthly review of … Continue reading

5 Nov 2019 (TheAge) – ‘Worrying sign’: Retail slumps to worst performance since last recession as jobs weaken

(5 November 2019, The Age, p1, By Shane Wright) ‘Australians are buying everyday goods at the slowest rate since the 1990-91 recession as signs grow that interest rate reductions and the Morrison government’s tax cuts have failed to encourage shoppers to open their wallets. As a key measure of the employment market pointed to a … Continue reading

4 Nov 2019 (AFR) – The European Union is in crisis mode

(4 November 2019, AFR, p13, Hans van Leeuwen, Europe correspondent) ‘London | The European Union is mired in an almost unprecedented cluster of crises, including a paralysed bureaucracy, a deadlock over its future budget, and a meltdown in relations with its eastern members and would-be members. With the geopolitical spotlight fixed on the Brexit crisis, … Continue reading

25 Oct 2019 (AFR) – 60pc of directors expect the economy to get worse

(25 October 2019, AFR, p6, John Kehoe, Senior Writer) ‘More than half of company directors expect the economy to deteriorate next year, prompting board members to call for the Morrison government to bring forward tax cuts and infrastructure spending to boost economic activity. Directors said global economic uncertainty, China’s uncertain economic outlook and low productivity … Continue reading

12 Oct 2019 (AFR) – US recession risks ease, global risk intensifies

(12 October 2019, AFR, p32,  William McInnes) ‘Market-based measures of the risk of a US recession faded this week, but global indicators are painting a bleaker picture of the rest of the world, supporting the inference that the Germany economy is already in recession. Morgan Stanley’s recession indicator, which calculates the probability the US economy … Continue reading

5 Oct 2019 (AFR) – Improving cashflow, capital growth won’t trigger investor housing boom

(5 October 2019, AFR, p10, Nila Sweeney, Reporter) ‘Improving cashflow and even the prospect of stronger capital growth brought by lower interest rates are unlikely to entice hordes of property investors back into the market and trigger another investment boom, experts say. While investor activity had picked up since the federal election and after APRA … Continue reading

17 Sept 2019 (AFR) – China’s slowdown deepens in August

(17 September 2019, AFR, p13, Kevin Yao and Stella Qiu) ‘Beijing | The slowdown in China’s economy deepened in August, with industrial production growing at its weakest pace in more than 17 years amid rising US trade pressure and softening domestic demand. Retail sales and investment gauges also worsened, data on Monday showed, reinforcing views … 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

6 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Record standard of living as our income recession ends

(6 September 2019, AFR, p7, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘A mix of high resource prices and rising wages have helped Australia dig itself out of an income recession and reach a record standard of living as measured by disposable income per person. Real disposable income per capita rose 1 per cent in the June quarter … Continue reading

1 Aug 2019 (AFR) – Credit growth shrinks for first time in two years

(1 August 2019, AFR, p9, Lucas Baird, Reporter) ‘Lending to business contracted for the first time in more than two years in June, Reserve Bank data shows, capping off a period of stalled growth. But economists remained optimistic the figure would turn around and blamed the 0.1 per cent decline on the fallout from the … Continue reading

16 July 2019 (AFR) – China’s economy slows to 27-year low as Trump’s tariffs bite

(16 July 2019, AFR, p10, Michael Smith, China Correspondent) ‘Shanghai | China’s economy grew at its slowest pace in almost three decades in the second quarter as US President Donald Trump’s trade tariffs weighed on exports and weaker property investment offset Beijing’s stimulus efforts. Traders also warned that restrictions on Australian coal imports would remain … Continue reading

16 July 2019 (AFR) – Confidence surges on tax cuts, property prices

(16 July 2019, AFR, p4, Vesna Poljak) ‘Business conditions have recovered strongly in response to the Morrison government’s $158 billion tax cut package and stability in the housing market, a poll of 251 chief executives finds. The Executive Connection’s quarterly confidence index rallied 16 points to 113 points, signifying a return to positive territory and … Continue reading

16 July 2019 (TheAge) – Trump’s trade war is biting and leaving a nasty scar on China’s growth

(16 July 2019, The Age, Business, p23, By Stephen Bartholomeusz) ‘China’s economy is slowing markedly as the impact of the Trump administration’s trade war on its economy continues to bite. Its June quarter numbers show China is on track to produce its weakest growth in nearly 30 years. The economy grew at “only’’ 6.2 per … Continue reading

13 July 2019 (AFR) – Singapore economy’s surprise contraction a warning for global trade

(13 July 2019, AFR, p14, Enda Curran) ‘An unexpected contraction in Singapore’s economy in the second quarter sent a warning shot to the world economy as simmering trade tensions wilt business confidence and activity. Gross domestic product in the export-reliant city state shrank an annualised 3.4 per cent in the quarter from the first three … Continue reading

12 July 2019 (AFR) – Pressure on Xi as China’s economy continues to slow

(12 July 2019, AFR, p13, Michael Smith, China Correspondent) ‘Shanghai | China’s economic growth is expected to fall to a near 30-year low in the second quarter, as the full impact of Donald Trump’s trade tariffs kick in. This will add to pressure on president Xi Jinping to keep the world’s second-largest economy stable as … Continue reading