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HIA: Dwelling construction has peaked

By Leith van Onselen Fresh from the Housing Industry Association (HIA) comes new forecasts predicting that dwelling construction will peak this calendar year: “It is likely that new dwelling commencements peaked at a record level of 215,000 in the financial year just passed, and indeed the risk is for this apex to be even higher,”

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Australia-US in sugar fight over TPP

By Leith van Onselen As the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal reaches its final stages of negotiation in Hawaii, US sugar growers have urged the government to rule-out further opening of the US market to sugar imports: The American Sugar Alliance’s Don Phillips said sugar will be on the agenda, but the ASA will argue

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AMP slaps ban on investor mortgages

By Leith van Onselen The vice continues to tighten around property investors, this time from AMP: One of Australia’s largest second-tier lenders is suspending new property investor loan approvals until later this year to comply with the bank regulator’s limits. AMP Bank released a statement today saying it would not be accepting new, or assessing

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Interest rates drive falling cost of living

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today released its cost of living indices for the June quarter, which revealed minimal cost pressures for the typical Australian worker, with pensioners and those on welfare fairing slightly less favourably (see below table). According to the ABS, the cost of living for households headed

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China consumer confidence firms

Here’s some better news for China: The Westpac MNI China Consumer Sentiment Indicator, hereafter the Westpac MNI China CSI, increased by 2.2pts from 112.3 in June to 114.5 in July, which is 0.3% lower than a year ago and 5.9% below the long run average. The survey was conducted whilst the equity market was in

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Fed hike imminent

From Commerzbank via Forexlive: Fed will no doubt again leave interest rates unchanged at this meeting Is likely to start taking action in September … the only probable obstacle would be disappointing economic data in the interim. Or external developments – such as a renewed flaring up of the Greek crisis or a slump in China’s

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Australia Institute slams population ponzi

By Leith van Onselen Chief economist at The Australia Institute, Dr Richard Denniss, has given a masterful interview on Sydney’s 2UE Radio, explaining in no uncertain terms why the drive towards a “Big Australia” is destroying Australian living standards: “Since the Sydney Olympics, Australia’s population has grown by the population of Sydney. Australia is one

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Australia’s great bank short approaches

From CLSA: The latest quarter happened to coincide with a rare period of bank underperformance driven by rising regulatory  capital intensity which saw NAB and WBC raise capital , disappointing quarterly releases by WBC and CBA, continued worries about the loan loss cycle, the start of the unwind of the QE driven hunt for yield

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Australia must act on money laundering

By Leith van Onselen Earlier this year, the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on money laundering warned that Australian residential property is a haven for international money laundering, particularly from China. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) also warned that “laundering of illicit funds through real estate is an established money laundering

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Visa changes to hit high-rise apartments

By Leith van Onselen The AFR has posted a report today warning of a downturn in apartment construction now that the rules around significant investor visa’s (SIVs) investing in Australian real estate have been tightened: On July 1 the federal government’s new rules on significant investor visas – the ticket for which millionaire foreigners can

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Domain bullies renters to buy

From Sydney Morning Domain: Raising interest rates on home loans held by property investors could boost bank profits by up to $400 million a year, experts say. But renters, in particular first home buyers trying to get off the rental roundabout, are likely to pay for it. …Domain Group senior economist Andrew Wilson expects tenants will be slugged with the extra

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NZ confirms TPP sell-out

By Leith van Onselen Last month, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) released a “fact sheet” that promised no adverse changes to Australia’s intellectual property arrangements under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal – the US-led trade pact between 12 Pacific Rim nations: Sixth myth: the TPP will require changes to Australia’s intellectual

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SA Government blocks Lomborg…err…grant

From The Australian: In a series of statements yesterday aimed at the Flinders University Council and the Coalition, the Weatherill government warned Dr Lomborg that he was not welcome in the state as it would damage South Australia’s image among the climate change fraternity. State Labor also warned Flinders University that its academics would be

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Links 29 July 2015

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Stop Thinking About Markets as if They Were Human – Bloomberg View Emerging currencies hit 15-year lows – Financial Times One in 10 gold mines now uneconomical – Mine Web Demand Troubles Risk Cementing a Decade of Anemic Global Growth – Wall Street Journal Commodities Hit Lowest in More

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ASX at the close

Chris Weston, Chief Market Strategist at IG Markets We are supposed to be focusing on the FOMC meeting this week, given the market is only pricing a modest 10 basis points of tightening from the Fed over the coming three months. However, China is firmly front and centre and calls of ‘China’s Lehman moment’ and