Houses and Holes


Jaded Gittins pleads for budget honesty

Via a demoralised Ross Gittins: The mid-year budget update we’ll see next Monday presents the government and its econocrats with a threshold question: can their battered credibility withstand one more set of economic forecasts based on little more than naive optimism? Or won’t it matter if first the industry experts, and then the Quiet Australians in voterland,


Albo heads to QLD with wrong message

Via Domain: Millions of Australians are struggling to work more hours and lift their earnings in a “gig economy” that suppresses wage growth, according to new research that reveals key pressure points across the country. …Labor frontbencher Clare O’Neil will liken the trend to a “drought” for workers who need more work, saying the two


Deloitte: Retail to boom in 2020

Via Deloitte today: Retail Forecasts: little Christmas cheer but some promise in 2020 9 December 2019:  It has been a tough year for the retail sector so far in 2019, and the upcoming festive spending will likely do little to change that underwhelming result. Weak wage growth, high debt levels and increasing price pressures are


Where is all the iron ore going?

Vai Platts: China Macro & Metals: Steel output falls, but property creates bright spots Chinese steel production posted a rare drop in October, while domestic steel prices have been buoyed by the property sector. Paul Bartholomew and Sebastian Lewis analyze China’s key economic indicators, and what they mean for the metals sector. Crude steel production


Cold War 2.0 accelerates as “silicon curtain” drops

Via the FT: Beijing has ordered all government offices and public institutions to remove foreign computer equipment and software within three years, in a potential blow to the likes of HP, Dell and Microsoft. The directive is the first publicly known instruction with specific targets given to Chinese buyers to switch to domestic technology vendors,


Bill Evans: Weak growth trashes RBA and Budget outlook

Via Bill Evans of Westpac: The Australian economy grew by a disappointing 0.4% in the September quarter for annual growth of 1.7%. Of most concern is that this represents the fifth consecutive quarter where private final demand, which declined by 0.3% in September, either contracted or was flat. Within private final demand the most surprising


ScoMo surges ahead in Newspoll

For what it is worth, via The Australian comes two primary voting: And two party preferred: I find it hard to believe goiven the burning and stalled economy but there you have it. If you believe it, the polls have diverged since Newspoll shifted methodology two months ago, and with all other polling houses bunkered


US jobs preview

Via Calculated Risk: Special Notes on GM Strike and the Decennial Census: The GM strike ended in October, and 46,000 workers were on strike during the BLS reference week in October. These workers returned to their jobs in November, and this should boost employment gains for November. Decennial Census: In August and September, the Census Bureau increased


Great Firewall of China arrives Downunder

A new probe, via Reuters: Australia on Thursday established an investigation into potential foreign political interference through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WeChat. The review comes amid heightened Australian concerns that China is seeking to interfere in Canberra’s affairs, and after U.S. intelligence analysts found Russia had used social media to try


Stocks climb to highest valuation since Dot Bomb

Via Saxo: Summary: Equities continue to rally although the first week of December has been more choppy due to mixed trade headlines from the US and China. Overall, US equity valuations have hit dangerous levels for long-term investors and the recent Swedish Services PMI figures are highlighting emerging spillover effects from manufacturing into the services sector


Propaganda push seeks gas reservation stall

Via the AFR: Gas supply on the east coast gas market has dramatically loosened up thanks to record production, bringing down domestic prices and weakening the case for federal government intervention, according to a leading research consultancy. …Despite only a modest rise in LNG exports from Gladstone, the market saw a surplus of 17 petajoules


Australian credit impulse fades away

Via the excellent Damien Boey at Credit Suisse: Trade data came in below expectations. The surplus declined to $4.5 billion in October from a downwardly-revised $6.8 billion. Interestingly, the decline in the trade balance, and downward revisions to prior months’ data, have brought the official data back to be much more in line with unofficial


Europe debates designating LNG climate hostile

Welcome to the new frontier of LNG doom. Via FTAlphaville: This is a guest post by Rauli Partanen, an author, analyst and communicator on climate change, environment and energy systems. Partanen co-founded and leads Think Atom, a non-profit think tank advocating nuclear energy alternatives. In this post he argues Germany’s interests in natural gas are jeopardising the European Taxonomy for


RBNZ drops $20bn capital requirement on Aussie banks

Bravo RBNZ again: The Reserve Bank of New Zealand today released its final decisions following its comprehensive review of its capital framework for banks, known as the Capital Review. Governor Adrian Orr said the decisions to increase capital requirements are about making the banking system safer for all New Zealanders, and will ensure bank owners have


A parade of bad suggestions to lift growth

Let’s start the parade of bad ideas with Gottiboff: Our largest state, NSW is the country’s engine room, but it has a crazy property development approval system designed to create uncertainty and boost costs. Victoria has a deep energy crisis that makes both consumers and business nervous. Victoria creates an artificial gas shortage by banning


Lunatic RBA botches start to unconventional policy

In his recent speech describing unconventional policy options, Governor Phil Lowe noted that: The fourth policy response was forward guidance. This took two forms: calendar based and state based. Under calendar-based guidance, the central bank makes an explicit commitment not to increase interest rates until a certain point in time. Under state-based guidance, the central