Buffett rule a proxy for real tax reform

Cross-posted from The Conversation: In 2011 investment guru and billionaire Warren Buffett wrote an opinion piece revealing he pays a lower rate of federal tax than most of the employees in his office. Although other commentators disputed this as a point of fact, the moral principle was set out clearly: tax breaks are available for

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Airport staff in mass strike

From The Australian and planned for this Monday: Workers from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and Department of Agriculture will walk off the job during multiple shifts for four hour at a time “to protest the Abbott Government’s attack on their rights, conditions and take home pay,” the community and public sector union said


Import, export prices signal another terms-of-trade hit

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released export and import prices for the June quarter, which portends another fall in Australia’s terms-of-trade when the national accounts are released in early October. According to the ABS, export prices fell 4.4% in the June quarter and were down by 8.9% over the year.


Dwelling approvals signal end to construction boom

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released dwelling approvals data for the month of June. At the national level, the number of dwelling approvals fell by a seasonally adjusted 8.2% to 17,868. The overall fall was driven by the volatile unit and apartment segment, which slumped by 20.4% in June.


Chinese “frustrated” at foreign owners debate

By Leith van Onselen Wayne Tseng, founder of the Chinese Chamber of Property Investors, which represents Chinese property investors – both local and foreign – has raised concern at the blame being heaped upon Chinese investors for inflating property values and pricing-out locals. From The Herald-Sun: Mr Tseng said members of the community felt “frustrated”


More services exports hopium

From Citi: The transition in the economy from mining and energy led growth to nonmining growth drivers is proving more protracted than expected. In our report last year Rebalancing 101: What Might The Economy Look Like we argued that rebalancing was achievable but would require further depreciation of the AUD. Consistent with this, the AUD


Yes, Bronwyn, you should resign

From The Australian, Bronwyn Bishop has apologised for “choppergate”: Mrs Bishop, interviewed by 2GB’s Alan Jones today, insisted she was technically “right” to claim the benefits although she was sorry they did “not look right”. “I want to apologise to the Australian people for my error of judgment and to say sorry,” the Speaker said.


Is iron ore in a “bull market”

Some days financial media is maddeningly daft, at the AFR: Call it the world’s most unlikely bull market. Iron ore advanced for a third day, taking gains to 25 per cent from a six-year low even as the world’s top shipbroker predicted renewed losses. Ore with 62 per cent content delivered to Qingdao climbed 4.6 per cent


Nationals plan revolt over TPP

By Leith van Onselen The National Party has stepped up its threats over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, claiming that five of its members will cross the floor and vote against the deal if substantial sugar access is not granted to Australian sugar can growers. From The Australian: Queensland “sugar-belt” MPs George Christensen, Matthew


Coalition mulls limits to SMSF property leverage

By Leith van Onselen Earlier this month, The AFR  reported that Australian self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) are piling into Australian property, with investment up by 11% in the past year and by nearly 60% since 2011: The big increase in property investment by SMSFs is highlighted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in its


Moody’s praises bank tightening

From Moody’s: Over the past week, three major Australian banks increased their lending rates for residential property investment loans and interest-only (IO) loans. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited and Commonwealth Bank of Australia each lifted the standard variable investor rate by 0.27%. National Australia Bank Limited increased the rate it charges for IO


RBA bribery gag order lifted

Perhaps there’s some hope for RBA accountability after all, from Banking Day: Some perspective and planning is possible following an under-reported ruling of Justice Jane Hollingworth in the Supreme Court of Victoria last month that surveyed the trials and tribulations of the Securency and Note Printing Australia affair. Fourteen people await trial on matters relating


Shanghai crash arrives in Australian property

From the AFR which clearly didn’t get the memo from Domain: Andrew Fawell​, director of the Beller Group, a diversified property group with offices in Shanghai selling Australian property to Chinese investors, said there is anecdotal evidence some investments could be axed because buyers have suffered heavy losses on China’s bourses. …Westpac, the largest lender


Fed hikes slip on oil

Here is the Fed statement: Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June indicates that economic activity has been expanding moderately in recent months. Growth in household spending has been moderate and the housing sector has shown additional improvement; however, business fixed investment and net exports stayed soft. The labor market continued


Links 30 July 2015

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Nobody Knows How Much Bonds Cost – Bloomberg View What No One Ever Says About Corporate Bond Market Liquidity – Bloomberg Gold Is Only Going to Get Worse – Bloomberg Investors need to consider that gold may fall to $350 an ounce – MarketWatch Pick a Valid Strategy, Stick


ASX at the close

It was the night before the FOMC and most of Asian markets stood still. Australian equities have been the regional outperformer for most of the day, however, with all sub-sectors of the market in the black. The key from here will be whether the ASX 200 can convincingly move above the 5700 level and as