Houses and Holes


ABS fesses up on employment data

From Peter Martin (h/t edanielsen) today comes a not altogether surprising confession from the ABS about its labour market stats: The Bureau of Statistics has got the official employment figures wrong, and although it is happy to acknowledge the errors, it won’t correct them on the official record because it would cost too much money. Officially,


RBA to hold, Mckibbin advises hike

From the AFR this morning: One of Australia’s top economists, Warwick McKibbin, wants the Reserve Bank of Australia to raise interest rates today to crimp accelerating economic growth. Professor McKibbin, who was a member of the Reserve Bank board until a few months ago, made the recommendation as a member of the Australian National University’s so-called shadow


North Asian PMIs head down

As we know, yesterday’s offical  China PMI was dour, it was followed up by the final HSBC PMI today, which dropped marginally since the flash to 48.2. Now we have Korea and Taiwan signalling more of the same. Korea came in at: 49.4 in June, down from 51.0 in the previous month and pointing to


NAB’s online index slows again

NAB has released its Online Retail Index for May and it shows ongoing deceleration: For the 12 months ending May 2012, Australia’s total online spending was around $11.3 billion. This level is equivalent to 5.2% of traditional bricks & mortar retail spending (excluding cafés, restaurants and takeaway food) for the year ended April 2012. The NAB Online


TD Securities shows deflation in June

TD Securities monthly inflation for June is out and shows deflation on the month of -0.2%: That’s a big move down and goodness only knows how it will play into June quarter GDP results. Could we get another quarter of deflationary boom? Year on year inflation is now 1.6%: Obviously if the CPI follows, there’s


PMI has a decent bounce

The AIG PMI is out this morning and although still contracting shows a decent bounce: Manufacturing activity contracted for a fourth consecutive month in June, but the pace of contraction slowed significantly. The seasonally adjusted Australian Industry Group-PwC Australian PMI® rose 4.8 points to 47.2 (readings below 50 indicate a contraction in activity with the distance from 50 indicative of


Introducing “Macro Investor” (updated)

In 2011/12, the MacroBusiness blog forced a passage through the bog that is Australia’s failing business media. The success of the site was quite something. With a founding investment of $1,500, zero marketing, no employees and no supporting network, MB reached levels of traffic in May ’12 at roughly one third that of Business Spectator


China’s official PMI slows its descent

China released its official PMI yesterday and the result was not so great. The headline number showed continued expansion at 50.2, down 0.2 on the month, a decelerating decline. However the internals are not so good with real weakness in new orders, especially exports. There is some encouragement in the slowing but the trend in the


Shrinking the US housing shadow inventory

Courtesy of Sober Look. In spite of the fear mongering taking place in the media and in the blogosphere with regard to the US housing “shadow inventory”, considerable progress is being made in shrinking the oversupply of distressed properties around the country. CoreLogic: – As of April 2012, shadow inventory fell to 1.5 million units, or four-month’


Weekend links: Yeh! Nah! Yeh!

Global Macro: Oil rockets. Bloomberg US exempts China and Singapore from Iran oil sanctions. Raw Story Big banks, big deceit. FT United States: Chicago PMI, consumer confidence miss. Calculated Risk US corporate profits fall for first time since the GFC. NYT Europe: Merkel’s concessions. Der Speigel Spanish bailout saves German pain. IFRE Fade the rally


Who’s afraid of the euro?

Courtesy of Sober Look. The latest Pew surveys that focused on the benefits of the euro and the ongoing wish to maintain the common currency have revealed some surprising results. The Brits think the euro was a great idea. Maybe they are just happy the UK is not part of it. The Greeks want to


Australia’s China ignorance

Find below the Lowy Institute’s new paper on Australia’s China ignorance. Regular readers will know that this is one of my hobby horses. Bravo to the Lowy Institute for bringing attention to this issue. Australia’s political relationship with China is far less developed than its economic relationship. In Australia-China ties: in search of political trust,


Never ask a successful society for help

I won’t bore you with any more indignant coverage of the refugee debate. But I do want to point one parallel between Australia and Germany right now: asking a successful society for help is a fool’s errand. In Australia, the convergence of the need for labour in particular parts of the economy and the refusal


June 29 links: Keep calm and carry on

Global Macro: Fewer safe assets. Alphaville United States: A QE timeline. Calculated Risk Fed officials differ on QE. Reuters Kansas City Fed slows. Calculated Risk How much more for JPM? Zero Hedge Obama wins High Court on health care. FT Europe: Deposit inflows for Greek banks. Alphaville Asia Chinese local government finances unsustainable. Bloomberg China to


Australian dollar resilience

Find below a fascinating new note from Westpac’s Huw Mackay (Phat Dragon), who has a brain the size of a planet, on why the Australian dollar has  shown continued resilience, even though, thankfully, he does not buy into the “safe haven” tripe: We principally highlight the economy’s improved external financing position (both in terms of scale


The Pascometer burns red on Fairfax

The venerable liberal publishing house of the Australian media is doomed it seems. The Pascometer has endorsed its restructuring: There’s a sidebar lesson here about the difference between invention and innovation that we’ll let pass to concentrate on the silos, because it’s the silos that Fairfax has (belatedly) moved to break down. The Melbourne vs


ABS job vacancies fall

The ABS released its quarterly job vacancies report and for the three months to May and the results are below: MAY KEY FIGURES May 2012 Feb 2012 to May 2012 May 2011 to May 2012 ‘000 % change % change Trend Estimates Private sector 158.6 -2.6 -5.8 Public sector 16.1 -3.1 -9.2 Private and public


New home sales twitch

From the HIA: New home sales crept up by 0.7 per cent in May 2012, suggesting interest rate cuts are yet to have a widespread impact, said the Housing Industry Association, the voice of Australia’s residential building industry. …In May 2012 the number of seasonally adjusted new detached house sales increased by 3.9 per cent in Victoria. Detached


Rate cut probabilities

So, the market is daily repricing the probability of the July rate out of existence: We’re down to a one in four shot. This will be old news to regular readers. More interesting are the probabilities attached to future RBA meets: That’s a 94% chance of 25bps in August and again in September and high


Low doc pain

From Banking Day: Borrowers with low-doc loans, who tend to be self-employed, may be experiencing a greater than the usual level of difficulty paying their loans. Fitch Ratings said that delinquencies in the low-doc segment tend to be between two times and two and a half times those of full-doc loans. In the year to


Australia’s commodity volume bonanza

The Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics (BREE) is out with its latest quarterly assessment of commodity markets. I like BREE. They tend to forecast more conservatively than one might expect. The major story emanating from the latest update is the fruits of the long predicted surge in volumes in Australia’s major commodity exports, which


June 28 links: Media schmozzle

Global Macro: Glenstrata the tombstone. Alphaville United States: US LNG exports up for grabs. Reuters Pending home sales beat. Calculated Risk Durable goods too. Zero Hedge Europe: France to lift minimum wage to  boost consumption. WSJ Italy embraces easier layoffs. WSJ Merkel update. FT Asia Migrant workers and locals clash in China town BBC Romney


Mission accomplished for ANZ

A couple of weeks ago ANZ claimed victory in its quest to find independence from the RBA in its intereat rate settings: ANZ wanted to stop the ‘dog and pony show’ that occurs after the Reserve Bank changes rates and we’ve done that by setting a particular date on which we will inform our customers


Perpetual no longer

The era of the financialisation of Western economies has come to a grinding halt, replaced by an era of de-leveraging, dis-leveraging or whatever term one wants to coin. The shrinking of the finance sector is partly ameliorated in Australia because of the $1.3 trillion super pool and inflow of funds from the levy, but there is nevertheless a new era