Gotti revives super-housing fix

By Leith van Onselen Dad’s Army’s Robert Gottliebsen (“Gotti”) has once again backed former Treasurer Hockey’s proposal to allow young home buyers to raid their superannuation accounts to purchase their first home: My greatest concern, longer term, is that vast numbers in the generation aged from 25 to as high as 40… have been robbed

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Service PMI eases

The AIG services PMI is out:   The services sector expanded for a fourth consecutive month in September, achieving its longest period of continuous expansion since March 2008. While the pace of expansion slowed by 3.4 points to 52.3, the Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Services Index (Australian PSI®) remained above the 50-point level


Oil hit as Saudi cuts prices

Brent is down already this morning on news that Saudi Arabia has slashed it prices again, from Market Watch: In a list of official prices sent to customers, state-oil company Saudi Aramco cut the price of its light-crude deliveries to Asia by $1.7 a barrel. As a result, it switched to a discount of $1.6


Super industry talks its book on reform

By Leith van Onselen The self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) industry has hit back at calls to tackle generous superannuation tax breaks for the wealthy, disputing Treasury estimates that the cost to the annual budget is some $30 billion. From The Canberra Times: “Until we get a better measurement to understand the real economic costs and


Sydney property feels first tremor

By Leith van Onselen From Domain comes the first sign of a potential downturn in the Sydney housing market, with prices and auction clearances in the west of the city falling sharply: The property market in Sydney’s west has slumped dramatically, signalling looming problems for investors who were hoping to capitalise on price growth. Instead,


Andrew Robb on verge of TPP sell-out

By Leith van Onselen The last ditch attempt to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal have dragged into the weekend, with the dispute over protections for so-called “biologic” drugs continuing to prevent an agreement from being reached. Biologic drugs are an important new class of medicines produced from living organisms and are used to


RBS: Australia a “bubble about to burst”

From RBS: Australia has become a commodity focused economy, with an increasing exposure to China. For the past decades, Australia has been buoyed by the rapid Chinese expansion, which outpaced the rest of the world. Australia benefited from China’s strong demand for commodities given its investment-led growth model.China is Australia’s top export destination and 59%


Auction clearances continue to trend lower

Core Logic-RP Data released its auction market report yesterday, which posted a decline in the national auction clearance rate amid an ongoing downward trend. The preliminary national clearance rate was 69.6%, down from the 71.3% rate recorded last weekend, according to Core Logic-RP Data: Sydney’s clearance rate fell by 2.8% to 71.4%, whereas Melbourne’s was


Coalition pulls race card on CHAfta

This is really daft. From Fairfax, the Coalition is preparing an ad campaign in favour of the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (CHAfta): The couple are watching the union attack ads on TV with the man’s parents. Father: They’re at it again Son: Who? Father: A ratbag union in the building industry is running racist


Carbon pledges cut warming to 2.7 degrees

From Carbon Tracker following the October 1 Paris summit pledges deadline: The UNFCCC set a deadline of October 1, 2015 for Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to be included in its synthesis document. While more INDCs may come in over the day, as of 11am 108 INDCs representing 135 countries have been registered with the


Is a US recession imminent?

Cross-posted from Pierre Gave (of Gavekal fame) via John Mauldin: Regular readers will know that we keep a battery of indicators to gauge, among other things, economic activity, inflationary pressure, risk appetite and asset valuations. Most of the time this dashboard offers mixed messages, which is not hugely helpful to the investment process. Yet from time


Links 5 October 2015

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: A Tax to Curb Excessive Trading Could Be a Boon to Returns – NY Times Paying CEOs fat bonuses for stock performance doesn’t work – Yahoo Exxon, Chevron Outlooks Cut to Negative by S&P in Oil Slump – Bloomberg The Trans-Pacific Free-Trade Charade – Project Syndicate Half of World’s


Weekend Links, October 3-4, 2015

…more coming…  China Gaming revenue falls 33% on China slowdown, anti-corruption campaign – Nikkei Asian Review Slide in Manufacturing Continued in China Last Month – NY Times Hong Kong public expects property prices to fall in coming year – survey – SCMP Chinese property companies surge on PBOC cut to down payment requirement – SCMP


ASX at the close

Chris Weston, Chief Market Strategist at IG Markets We’ve been pushing the idea that the market wants clarity before staging a rally of some sort. However, given the extent of all the moving parts, it has become clear it’s not that simple. Having recently heard speeches from key Federal Reserve members Yellen, Lacker, Dudley and


Are Australia’s universities under-funded?

Cross-posted from The Conversation: Since the 1990s, it is said, Australian universities have become ever more under-funded and over-reliant on fee income. Internationally we seem to lag our peers, as governments short-change the sector, our students and society. Some claim that in 2011 Australia’s public spending on universities “ranked thirty-third out of the thirty-four OECD


QLD electricity demand rockets on LNG

By Leith van Onselen The Australia Institute (TAI) has released its brand new Carbon Emissions Index (CEDEX) report, which is the benchmark indicator for Australia’s carbon emissions and provides an up to date snapshot of vital data from the energy sector, along with accurate figures for total renewable energy produced in Australia, including all wind


Just how buggered is Chinese steel and co?

Very. From Macquarie Bank comes a series of charts examining the relationship between debt and cash flow in corporate China which finds: …the percentage of EBIT-uncovered debt went up from 19.9% in 2013 to 23.6% last year, and the percentage of EBITDA-uncovered debt up from 5.3% to 7%. Therefore, there has been a further deterioration