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Latest posts


The great super fee gouge rolls on

By Leith van Onselen Last year, the Murray Financial System Inquiry showed that the operating costs of Australia’s superannuation funds are among the highest in the world: And that fees had not fallen in line with what could have been expected given the substantial increase in scale, which will dramatically reduce consumer’s retirement nest eggs:


Upgrades rain upon Fortescue

They never learn. On Friday it was COMMSEC: This was another strong quarter from FMG and the company continues to positively surprise on its ability to execute. Cash costs are falling faster and further than we expected. The main question is how sustainable are the lower costs. Is FMG deferring costs that will need expensed in later periods?


Abbott to block your VPN for Rupert

By Leith van Onselen From The Guardian comes news that virtual private networks (VPNs) could be blocked under new copyright legislation introduced by the Abbott Government and being considered by the Senate: VPNs are used by hundreds of thousands of Australians to access overseas content online. But they could be blocked by the Copyright Amendment


Barnett gets $600 million bailout

From Sky: West Australian Treasurer Mike Nahan claims his state will pocket a $600 million payment from the federal government to make up for a shortfall in GST revenue. There are conflicting messages around this but I’d guess it’s right. A pretty lousy amount, really, but still $600 million more than it should get and


Macro Morning (nerves build)

By Chris Becker Friday night saw the confidence fairy vanish into thin air as CPI prints in Europe and the US pointed to more disinflation and the Hydra like Greek crisis arose once more. This followed some more poor earnings results on Wall Street although this news may be tempered locally by the Chinese authorities


Barnett bailout the new model for economic reform

It appears Colin Barnett’s ineptitude is to be rewarded, from the ABC: Treasurer Joe Hockey has given a strong indication that the formula for dividing GST revenue amongst the states will be changed. …”Clearly it is unfair to have one state receiving less than one-third of the GST paid by its citizens,” he said. “Its


Auction clearances remain fully mental

The national auction clearance rate remains stuck in the stratosphere, driven again by super strong demand in Sydney and Melbourne. The preliminary national clearance rate was 79.2%, up marginally from the weekend before Easter (79.0%), with clearance rates still running at their strongest level in six years in trend terms, from RP Data: Sydney’s clearance


RP Data weekly housing market update

Click to view Core Logic-RP Data’s latest weekly housing market update, which provides a useful snapshot of the housing market as at 19 April 2015. This week’s report includes: Latest weekly dwelling value results; Auction results & clearance rates; Latest median house & unit prices; Average time on market & vendor discounts; Mortgage market activity;


Australian bonds are cheap

After several weeks of curve steepening, the Australian bond curve is once again flattening, broadly thought to be indicative of weakening growth. Short and long yields have been rising but the short end more so as doubts grow around a May rate cut: The to 2/5 year slope is now just 11bps, only 2 points from


Fortescue versus the Banana Republic

From Barry Fitzgerald over the weekend: [Andrew] Forrest has drafted in veteran communications specialist John Hurst in the Sydney office of Cannings Corporate Communications to help “shine some light on the debate in the eastern states’’. But the drafting of Hurst does point to Forrest’s intent to make sure his complaints against the Rio and


Daily iron ore price update

Here are the iron ore charts for April 17, 2015:    Spot was firm, following paper with Tianjin benchmark up 70 cents to $50.70. Dalian closed up 1 point but fell 3 points to 392 overnight. Rebar has loosened again and port stocks fell a lousy 200k on the week. Texture from Reuters: “Those mills


Daily LNG price update (US arb)

The Brent oil price rose marginally Friday night to $63.89. The main support to prices was another decent fall in the US rig count, down 34 to 954: The indicative LNG contract price rose to $9.33mmBtu: In news, GLNG is on track to add to the glut in Q3: Santos of Australia said that its


China BTFD

Cross-posted from Investing in Chinese Stocks. Another article, this time from China Finance Online (CNFOL), argues that property price increases will fade in the coming weeks. Developers remain skeptical of a major rebound, with many seeing govt intervention as helpful, but unable to reverse a market that has, in their view, permanently shifted, iFeng: 楼市一大信号证明房价不会大涨


China house price falls slow, slashes RRR

China’s March new home price data for March is out and is still falling at a good clip but the second derivative has improved. The annual fall is now down to 6.1%: But the pace of monthly falls has slowed a lot: We are at least now back into a rate of decline similar to past


US inflation remains soft

Markets appeared to take fright at US inflation Friday night but for no obvious reason. Headline CPI is above the Fed’s target but has been for months. More significant are the analytical measures, from the Cleveland Fed (chart from Calculated Risk): According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the median Consumer Price Index rose 0.2%


Links 20 April 2015

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: World Bank Projects Leave Trail of Misery Around Globe – Huffington Post How To Think Like A Trader – Kirk Report Explaining the dearth of private investment – VOX Not All Macro Models Failed to Predict the Crisis – multiplier-effect.org North America: Declining Desire to Work and Downward Trends


Weekend Links 18-19 April 2015

Now with added Gunnamatta … Global Macro / Markets / Investing: How The World Bank Broke Its Promise To Protect The Poor  – Huffington Post Oil slips below $64 as ample supplies weigh – Reuters Big-Bank Profit Engines Accelerate  – WSJ Why we need to rethink capitalism – TED Bonds beware as money catches fire


ASX at the close

Chris Weston, Chief Market Strategist at IG Markets Markets in Asia have closed the week on a mixed note, with China continuing to march on and Australia and Japan under pressure amid. Behind the scenes the VIX (or volatility index) index is trading at 12.6% and testing low levels thematic of complacency, so it’s worth


Mike Smith keeps services hopium alive

By Leith van Onselen ANZ chief, Mike Smith, has delivered more hopium on why services exports could save Australia from the commodities bust. From The AFR: Services exports from Australia have already overtaken the minerals trade and have greater potential for long-term growth, a new study shows, providing an optimistic outlook for the economy despite