MB Fund May 2021 Performance

The market is oscillating between value and growth months. In May it was the turn of value portfolios (including ours) to outperform. Our direct equity portfolios beat benchmarks by over 1% on the month and our tactical asset portfolios finished up between 1% and 2.7%. We have, however, called time on the value trade. The

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Contradictory employers cry foul at 2.5% minimum wage increase

For months we have witnessed Australia’s employer groups lobby the federal government for easier access to foreign workers due to purported crippling labour shortages. However, when it comes to actually paying more to attract Australian workers into their respective industries, they are firmly opposed. In the lead-up to yesterday afternoon’s minimum wage decision by the


Links 17 June 2021

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: The Fed Cannot Control Its Easy-Money Monster – NY Times World’s Bubbliest Housing Markets Flash 2008 Style Warnings – Bloomberg Stability of collusion and quality differentiation: a Nash bargaining approach – Bruegel Nobel Prize winning economist Muhammad Yunus says 2050 may be too late to save planet. – Yahoo


Macro Afternoon

Asian share markets are mixed again with Chinese bourses continuing to fall, with Japanese stocks joining in while local issues are unchanged. The USD continues to strengthen against the major currencies as volatility drops going into tonight’s Federal Reserve meeting. Gold is trying to lift off the floor after selling off overnight and is slowly


NZ property market powers past Ardern’s investor tax reforms

In March two key reforms came into effect designed to take the steam out of New Zealand’s fast inflating property market. First, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) reintroduced loan-to-value ratio (LVR) mortgage restrictions, which from 1 March 2021 required both investors and owner-occupiers to hold bigger deposits: Second, and more importantly, the New Zealand


Net overseas migration stuck in negative

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released Overseas Arrivals and Departures data for April 2021, which confirmed that net migration into Australia remains negative. There were 23,290 net permanent & long-term departures in the 13 months since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, representing the first time that net arrivals have been


Trans-Tasman bubble boosts international travel

The introduction of the trans-Tasman travel bubble on 18 April 2021 has boosted international travel, according to new provisional travel statistics from the ABS. Arrivals of non-Australian citizens doubled in May to 71,060 from 35,210 in April: This was driven by a 32,000 increase in arrivals from New Zealand: In a similar vein, departures of


Another sell commodities signal

The Bear Traps report goes full inflation. The few missing facts include that it was Republicans that ravaged the US budget, no mention of China, no reference to vast deflationary forces. This is Australian extremism not analysis. Ironically, this contrarian is a great contrarian signal. Sell metals! In 1787, with remarkable foresight, Scottish historian Alexander


CBA: “Labour market tightening…wage growth forthcoming”

By Gareth Aird, head of Australian economics at CBA Key Points The ABS monthly labour force survey excludes overseas residents in Australia and therefore the survey has not accurately captured the impact of the international border closure on the labour market. The ABS quarterly labour account includes all people who contribute to Australian economic activity


Consumer economic confidence ebbing away

ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence increased 0.3% last week as Melbourne’s 2-week lockdown came to an end, although restrictions such as masks in public places and on travel and gatherings remain. #ausecon #ausretail @arindam_chky @DavidPlank12 @roymorganonline pic.twitter.com/BgIde4If0X — ANZ_Research (@ANZ_Research) June 15, 2021


OECD blames restrictive planning and zoning for expensive housing

The OECD has blamed Australia’s restrictive planning and zoning for driving the fourth sharpest property price increase in the developed world over the past 20 years: Paris-based OECD director of policy studies in the economics department, Luiz de Mello, said low interest rates had contributed to rising house prices. But restrictive regulations were also a


Chinese construction sector crashes

As expected, China continues its systemic push towards tighter credit and economic restructuring away from construction. This time it’s wealth management products, an old favourite for developers to raise cash: Highly rated WMP will be prevented from buying junk debt from developers. This addresses the underlying duration mismatch. $400bn in junk debt will need to


Morrison to green-light dedicated farm slavery visa

In March the federal government released a 327-page report from the National Agricultural Labour Advisory Committee, which explicitly admitted that the agricultural industry’s overreliance on cheap migrant labour is bad for productivity and unsustainable: Australia’s main competitors in agriculture are either ahead or running very close. In many ways, Australia is at a crossroads. Either its


Macro Morning

Mixed economic news overnight from the US saw Wall Street wobble and turn away from yet another record session high with the latest retail sales much weaker than expected. Currency markets were mixed although Pound Sterling and Aussie dollar fell back against USD while Euro was contained yet again. Bond markets saw a slight increase


Aussie housing values now four-times larger than economy

The ABS yesterday released its property price data for the March quarter, which valued Australia’s dwelling stock owned by households at $7.9 trillion, whereas the total housing stock was valued at $8.3 trillion. As shown below, the ratio of the dwelling stock owned by households against Australian GDP hit a record 4.0 times as at


Links 16 June 2021

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Uneven vaccination rates are creating a new economic divide – The Economist The socio-economic consequences of COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa – Bruegel Walton Family, World’s Richest, Raises $2.1 Billion From Walmart Holdings – Yahoo Winners and Losers of the Work-From-Home Revolution – The Atlantic Wall


Macro Afternoon

Asian share markets have diverged with Chinese bourses (except the satellite ASX200) dropping while Japanese stocks are helped along by a much lower Yen as USD continues to strengthen against the major currencies. Gold is struggling after selling off overnight and is barely moving at the $1866USD per ounce level with traders of all sorts


Business Confidence hits 7-year high

Roy Morgan’s business confidence survey hit a seven year high in May, increasing 4pts (+3.2%) to 129.3 – the highest reading since January 2014 (131.5). This follows a whopping 39.4pts (+43.8%) increase on May 2020 when Australia was gripped by the coronavirus pandemic: Business Confidence in May 2021 was 15.5pts above the long-term average of


Deloitte: Retail to ride wave of spending

Deloitte Access Economics is upbeat about the outlook for Australian retailers, forecasting that consumer spending will remain strong as the domestic economy continues to rebound and COVID-19 restrictions ease. The firm’s quarterly Retail Forecast report notes that lockdowns and travel restrictions have boosted retailers’ sales, which should result in a “bumper year” for the sector


Aussie farm visa slaves paid just ‘$9 a day’

Earlier this year, the National Farmers Federation (NFF) called for a Dedicated Agriculture Visa program ease purported chronic labour shortages across the sector: To provide a stable and sustainable workforce for agriculture that is fair and equitable for both workers and employers, the NFF supports the introduction of a Dedicated Agriculture Visa program… providing a