Macro Afternoon

See the latest Australian dollar analysis here:

Macro Afternoon

A mixed start to the trading week here in Asia with only the ASX200 pulling back in response to the small selloff on Wall Street on Friday night, as the rest of the region continued higher. The PBOC fix of the Yuan saw it strengthen a lot in offshore trading, down to 6.90, reaching a six month low while the Australian dollar continued to lift in response to the poor US jobs report on Friday night.

The Shanghai Composite advanced slightly, currently up nearly 0.3% to 3100 points and taking back its Friday losses, while the Hang Seng Index has made a new daily and weekly high, up nearly 0.9% to 28889 points, still very well supported:

Japanese share markets are closed again for a long weekend while trading in Yen has obviously been less volatile than usual with the USDJPY pair almost recovering its mild losses from Friday night, almost back to the 2019 highs:

The ASX200 was the worst in the region, pulling back after recently making a new record high by closing 0.4% lower to 6903 points. The Australian dollar is mainly to blame, having advanced on Friday and then some more over the weekend to gap high and stick right above the 69 handle in what looks like a classic long swing trade:

Both S&P and Eurostoxx futures are suggesting a small recovery tonight, keeping prices near the previous record highs but not yet overbought enough to embiggen a new rally:

The economic calendar is always quiet following the US jobs report so its mainly tertiary level releases tonight.

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  1. GunnamattaMEMBER

    Rant upon our national malaise stemming from 5+ hours of driving yesterday…….

    When it comes to pessimism about the world they see around them Australians have a deeper malaise. It isn’t just ScoMo – though Scotty from Marketing’ is definitive of the issue in many ways – or the political and media circus.

    It is the vast bulk of company executives and corporate leaders, the vast bulk of Commonwealth public servants above executive levels, their state counterparts, the ‘management’ roles in any given tertiary education institution, and the executive and ‘management’ positions of local councils and quasi public sector organisations – teachers, emergency services, the police, the ambulance – the banks (of course), the insurance companies, the energy retailers, and the editors of our news, and vast array of ‘professional’ types (from accountants to mortgage brokers to medical types).

    –They are nearly all there through a process which rewards psychopaths – who wants to be an overly remunerated powerful individual in an organisation? How many of them have told porkies (of one type or another) in their CVs, how many have had inappropriate relationships with subordinate staff, how many of these assume that if things turn to shinola then they take the payout they have ensured in their contract?
    – They are nearly all in positions which enable psychopaths to flourish – their ‘power’ is information and that power is allocated through non transparent processes which reward those who the psychopath wants to reward and punishes/withholds reward/demotivates any which may pose some form of threat to the psychopath.
    – They will nearly all, in the first instance of criticism or comment which is less than totally supportive, seek to apportion blame or excuse, and seek to apportion that in a manner which rewards those who support them and punishes/withholds reward/demotivates those who don’t
    – They nearly all exist in an environment which reflects the ‘cult of personality’ insofar as senior subordinates are focused first and foremost on the ‘leader’ or associate it with the ‘organisation’ (no matter what organisation it is) and assume that the good of the organisation is the whim of the leader.
    – almost all will assume that burying inconvenient truths or data is superior to acknowledging and addressing facts, data, first hand experiences which imply criticism or shortcoming of the policy position of the organization, which reflects the whim of the leader
    – almost all will exist in a management clique which accords a much higher focus on ensuring a collegiate and harmonious ethos among ‘managers’ and ‘executives’ than any other relationships.
    – almost all seek to protect those relationships first in any circumstance where they see the interests of their clique as being under threat from ‘clients’, ‘customers’, or their own subordinate employees?
    – almost all will seek to ensure their own risk minimisation first and accord higher levels of risk to clients customers or subordinate employees – particularly in regard to using temporary or casual subordinate employees
    – almost all will seek to ensure their subordinate employees are managed within a ‘performance management’ regime which is meaningless in terms of outcomes of day to day jobs but is heavy on ‘behaviours’ ‘compliance’ and ‘punishment’ for (a range of) ‘non compliant’ behaviours

    Australia’s problem in this day and age – one it shares with much of the rest of the world – is not so much a problem with an individual who doesn’t listen to or respect a nation, it is not even a problem with a political process and political parties which appear not to listen to or respect a nation will…..(though these are all manifestations of the problem we do have)

    It is a problem with a type of person (and they are mainly [but not exclusively] older, though they exist in both male and female form) who assumes that
    1. theirs is the truth to bend,
    2. which rewards and withholds rewards according to their interpretation of any given truth,
    3. has an interpretation of ‘truth’ which revolves around their personal interests,
    4. who assumes that their interests are the same as organisational and national interests, and
    5. who tends to see all relationships with that organisation (and hence with themselves) as either ‘clients’ or ‘customers’ (who are preferably bound by contractual exigency and can be silenced with processing arrangements which will weed them out – ‘your calls will be recorded for coaching purposes’ being the standard of the age) or contractors or employees (who can be made more insecure though casualization or temporary employment, or even bored into resignation
    6. who has a profound sense of entitlement, which ranks far higher than any competing priorities of the organisation
    Australia shouldn’t think of SmoCo as ScoMo (a name he invented for himself, as the marketing man he is) but as ‘Mr Pathologically Neo-Liberal’ and it should recognise that there is an entire layer of people who tend to think and act in the same way as ScoMo and they are almost certainly somewhere just above them (if they work in any organisation of more than maybe 20 or 30 people) or somewhere just above those whom they interact with in almost every organisation.

    Australia’s main problem is that most people exhibit a quality which psychologists refer to as ‘agreeableness’ – they generally want to help people, they generally want to do so without reference to power relationships or improving their own sense of ‘power’ and they will generally try and make do with what they have in addressing the circumstances before them.

    The psychopaths above us see this dynamic and push the envelope in terms of what we will tolerate, and prioritise the enablement of their power in the management of all organisations party to ordinary Australians dealing with their own exigencies in their own lives, as well as ensure the homage by ordinary Australians to the power dynamic with them at the head, of all Australians seeking to better their lives or the lives of their families.

    The image of ScoMo forcing a handshake on unfortunate bushfire victims was definitive – not just of him as Prime Minister, but of the class, of the type of person who we place at the top. They are nervous and defensive around people who they suspect of not being directly beholden to them in their roles.

    The image of a PM forcing handshakes or walking away from complaints, or patting the back of those who had had the decency to expressly state they didn’t want to shake his hand, accompanied by a goon to shoulder brace and shoosh those who did voice ‘off message’ sentiments wasn’t just another political leader with a ‘tin ear’ it was a moments encapsulation of the lack of ability to empathise our leaders (all of them no matter what their field) by and large exhibit.

    Was there anything radically different in ScoMo (and his minders) behaving the way they did and the countless executives and leaders who visit sites away from HQ pretty much every day? The weeding out of negative sentiment, and toning down of malcontents, the bemused silence of people as the executive passes through? The hollow exhortations and glib references to ‘achievement’, and maybe, if people are lucky, the quick rattling off of some names to engender some sort of localised texture, but which everyone knows will be quickly forgotten when the caravan moves on?

    This is why pessimism pervades – these people, in countless ways and organisations and contexts, just want to keep the pressure on, so their little patch of ‘OKness’ continues unabated. It stems from the thought that the Prime Minister on TV, incapable of accepting that someone may not want to shake his hand after they have been fighting fires, lacks interpersonal skills that would ordinarily be expected of any other person on the street, and the real depression starts to take hold with the thought that lots of people who have just about the same level of interpersonal skills are their bosses or their bosses bosses, or are the people behind the organisations they need to interact with any given day telling them their calls will be recorded for coaching purposes when they dial up with a query.

    • The far right moron luvvy hijack club

      Gunna I love your work let me start by saying.

      But as someone who manages about 40 staff I have to ask. Arent you being just a little bit harsh there?

      I do think most/many of my fellow executive types are a pack of self serving pricks. But if I think we ‘all’ are then how do I look myself and my kids in the mirror tomorrow?

    • What you are describing is a combination of things;
      1. Neoliberalism
      2. Public choice theory replacing the “common good” – infecting the public service and leading to the revolving door of professional executives
      and 3. The failure of corporate governance to hold boards responsible for their executives behaviour given they have only been temporarily delegated operational powers.

      They are all linked. eg. Given the distance between management and shareholders (or controlling shareholders). Corporate governance becomes much more important. But neoliberalism says the state shouldn’t interfere in private enterprise (even when management are raiding shareholders money).
      This is the absurdity of neoliberalism. It couldn’t have come at a worse time. Which is why I repeat my dislike of Keating.
      Late stage monopoly capitalism, with more non-rivalrous, non-excludable goods and more un priced externalities, weak growth and no controlling shareholders. The absolute worst response to that is a smaller state. Yet that’s exactly what the clown show has done.

      • Very nice top 3.

        I would include Marginalism as viewed through Friedmanite freedom units … snicker …

        Lmmao … at sitting on 5 boards at a time, stocked ponds by CEOs, about as ethical as a rubber stamp. FFS some were talking about board rooms needing sorting 20 years ago.

        • I can’t see why anyone with a management background should sit on a board. It should just be people with industry experience familiar with the product and a couple of finance types for financing, audit, solvency etc.
          plus professional board members wth executive backgrounds are always going to see eye to eye with them. Which is what you don’t want. No lawyers either. I can’t see why a lawyer should be responsible for a business.

    • This place where we are right now sucks – the long now. F the long now.

      In several religious texts, those born during times such as these are lucky. The idea is that only those who had the strength to endure, they choose to be born during these times. This is lucky because in taking on these burdens we move closer to the divine in the great wheel.

      I hope it is true. I also ask the divine to give me the strength to endure what I must. Maybe I’m a crazy person, but its always darkest before dawn. Its pretty dark right now, but as far as I can tell, we are through the darkest period. Or pretty close to through. Hopefully.

      In the Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman, Dream of the Endless must play the Oldest Game with a demon Archduke of Hell to recover some items that were stolen from him.

      In the comic, Dream and the demon Choronzon go through an escalating series of metaphors for physically powerful entities, culminating with Choronzon’s verbal imagery of all-encompassing entropy and Anti-life.

      Dream counters by imagining a totally different dimension to the contest thus far, by making the identity statement, “I am hope.” Choronzon lacks the imagination to shift over to this new dimension and loses the game, at which point he’s wrapped up in barbed wire for an eternity of torment.

      There is always hope.

  2. Any recommendations or things to look out for when switching energy providers? In NSW and looking at options.

    • Someone who works for one in Victoria told me March is the best time to do it.
      He explained why but it was in a pub and the details haven’t stuck.

    • If you are rigorously scrupulous go for the cheapest. If not look at reviews and read past the serial complainers; some of the companies have a perception of a reputation to maintain, some don’t.

      • Australia will probably become similar to Libya or Algeria as climate change takes its course. Sad for those living inland, which is many of us.

        • See how the voting goes when everyone in the house has to share the same few centimeters of bath water like in the good old days … ahah

      • From the Guardian link below:

        The former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce also issued a thinly veiled warning that the government risked a backlash in the bush if it moved to ramp up emission reduction targets.

        “To the person in the weatherboard and iron, the solution is not: you’ll lose your job and we’ll put up your power prices, because that is not a solution, that is another problem,” Joyce told Guardian Australia.

        In the mushed up world of Joyce, not having water is less than ideal but addressing climate change is a dead set set fvcken disaster?

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Even Coastal towns are hurting and absolutely in recession.
      Every where I go people tell me the same, they are going slower than ever.

      I’ve taken the kids to Sanctuary point near Huskisson on Jervis bay to a friends holiday house and the place is dead.
      Admittedly the bushfires have closed the National park untill later this week (so no surfing at Caves beach!) but the owner of one shop I was talking to says there has been a retail recession in this area going on for years.
      Recons he’s only turned over 40% of what he traded the same time last year.
      Says there will be many bankruptcies happening this year.

      Even the fun park at Husky is pretty dead after having dinner at a half capacity Pub.

      Still I’m going to be stuck here for hours while the kids get value for money from their unlimited rides arm bands.


      I might get another coffee

      • Not to worry EP …. these property’s can be bought for penny’s on the dollar and recycled for a higher sale price or asset valuation on the books.

    • happy valleyMEMBER

      Just more smoke (no pun intended) and mirrors from Scotty from Marketing – let the hunger games begin.

    • You underestimate them. Think about the policies they didn’t want to implement, but got to implement on their terms. They now have their excuse to abandon the surplus and stimulate the economy.

      • On their terms or blatant bribery hidden behind confidentiality clauses? I totally agree Morrison will defer the deficit, it’s publicly palatable and doubt most rational people will agree with it. If their efforts from late last year are anything to go by, I don’t have a lot of confidence they’ll be capable of a considered response.

        The climate debate however is an issue that’s dogged the LNP for over 20 years. This time around it’s unprecedented, requiring strong leadership that’s non-existent. This is going to get real interesting.

    • Westpac figures it is better to pay the mortgages than see their arrears rate tick up scaring international funding markets.

    • I’ll laugh at almost anything. Almost. Not a young bloke killing himself because he did something the SJW mob didn’t like.

    • If that Young Lib hadn’t been notorious for being an absolute a** then his death would just be another statistic without any of media fanfare. I suspect Morrison and his religious cronies believe he would be going to hell based on him being gay, but I doubt anyone in the media would be game to ask.

      Westpac’s decision is a curious one – agree with Gramus about trying them to pre-empt any arrears rate issues. Will be interesting to see if other banks follow suit.

    • If that Young Lib hadn’t been notorious for being an absolute ass then his death would just be another statistic without any of media fanfare. I suspect Morrison and his religious cronies believe he would be going to hell based on him being homosexual, but I doubt anyone in the media would be game to ask.

      Westpac’s decision is a curious one – agree with Gramus about trying them to pre-empt any arrears rate issues. Will be interesting to see if other banks follow suit.

    • The station is right outside our house. I didn’t see it but the sirens woke us all up.

      Didn’t realise what had happened until I saw the tarp pinned up against the side of the train halfway along.

      Mixed feelings. On the one hand, he clearly had a lot of internalised issues that probably led to his suicide (and I’d be willing to bet his parents were the kind who weren’t particularly happy with a gay son). On the other, he was a complete cvnt who spent a lot of time and effort making the lives of other people worse.

      The individuals he was harassing only the day before reacted admirably (and with more charity than I think I could muster).

      Lib politicians were shamelessly politicising the event within hours. Their faux concern and outrage would be just a teensy bit more credible if they weren’t so committed to preventing any help coming to kids like this before events like this occur.