Houses and Holes


Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence off the mat

I haven’t bothered with the Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence measure for a few weeks because the moves have been quite small. However, there’s a little rebound developing with three up weeks in  a row: Consumer Confidence is at 112.4pts (up 0.7pts in a week) and up for the third straight week, according to the Roy


NAB Commercial Property Index falls

For those who don’t know, NAB releases a quarterly index tracking commercial property. The two outstanding points this quarter are the ongoing retail carnage, hitting new lows in the quarter, and the optimistic projections that seem to characterise this industry relentlessly. NAB Commercial Property Survey _March-2012 \


DEEWR job vacancies rise

The weirdness of Australian employment data continues today with skilled job vacancies rising again. Despite the general feeling of gloom, both the seasonlly adjusted and trend series are now rising: Monthly Change Increased by 2.6% to 88.5 (Jan 2006 = 100) Increased in six of eight occupational groups Strongest rises recorded for Machinery Operators and


Kohler revises history

If there is one thing that gets the old MB goat, it’s a bit of historical revisionism. Alan Kohler gives us an epic dose today in his Double the egg on the RBA’s face: The Reserve Bank’s economics department had a bad year in 2011, and as a result the board is now high and dry


Soc Gen tells Aussies to buy gold

Courtesy of FT Alphaville, comes the following hatchet job on Australia from Society General analyst, Dylan Grice: When you scratch the surface of the Australian ‘miracle’ you don’’t just find an unmiraculous commodity super-cycle: you also find an equally unmiraculous credit super-cycle as well. A credit bubble built on a commodity market built on an


FOMC statement

Here is last night’s FOMC statement: Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in March suggests that the economy has been expanding moderately. Labor market conditions have improved in recent months; the unemployment rate has declined but remains elevated. Household spending and business fixed investment have continued to advance. Despite some signs of


Fairfax to merge titles with Business Spectator?

From Ad News: Fairfax Media and Alan Kohler’s media independent, which houses Business Spectator and the Eureka Report, are in advanced discussions about forming a new unit which would include BRW and Smart Investor under Kohler’s chairmanship. A deal is yet to be inked but AdNews understands both sides are enthusiastic about the prospects, which


What inflation?

And as expected, risks were on down side. 0.1% on the quarter. What inflation? MARCH KEY FIGURES Dec Qtr 2011 to Mar Qtr 2012 Mar Qtr 2011 to Mar Qtr 2012 Weighted average of eight capital cities % change % change All groups CPI 0.1 1.6 Food and non-alcoholic beverages -2.1 -2.5 Alcohol and tobacco


China links

Courtesy of Sinocism: 专访央行行长周小川:利率汇率改革再推进-《财经网》 Key players in Bo scandal may learn fate soon | Princeling’s ex-henchman may escape execution for trying to defect, top officials in HK allegedly told, with wife Gu Kailai likely to be the main culprit.. According to sources who attended the latest briefing in Shenzhen, central government leaders concluded that


Coface puts Australia on downgrade watch

For those that don’t know, Coface is a leading provider of global trade credit insurance. As a part of the this business function it offers sovereign ratings. Today it has put Australia on downgrade watch owing to weakness in the manufacturing sector (among a swath of other actions): Warning : Coface country risk assessment measures the


The politico-housing complex comes!

You can hear the gunning of an engine in the distance. And it’s rapidly turning from an approaching whine to an extant roar. It’s the politco-housing complex and, like some blood thirsty Chevy from a Stephen King novel – panels beaten, paint fading, upholstery thread bare, demonic grin forged in its grill – it’s coming for


The impact of foreign purchases on property

I’m not going to pretend that the following is forensic but with the release late last week of the Foreign Investment Review Board’s (FIRB) annual report, we can now estimate the degree of involvement of foreign purchases in the Australian property market. According to FIRB, residential property recorded 20.92 billion from 9556 approvals: That’s an


China Flash PMI improves a bit

The China Flash PMI is out and shows a small improvement from 48.3 in March to 49.1 in April. Ouput, new orders and exports all contracted at a slower rate: This is welcome. However, a quick look at the charts shows that the trends are all solidly sideways: The global zombie plods on! China Flash


An African iron ore deluge

PhD candidate Luke Hurst of the ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy has produced new research on the potential impacts of African iron ore on the sea-born iron ore price. I recommend everyone read this paper (find it at the end). It’s solidly argued and a very readable summary of the various arguments put forward


Fearful Symmetry sees India hurt by hawks

A month ago this chronicle was devoted always exclusively to the Union Budget. There was just enough room for fearful symmetry to indicate that it “will be difficult for the RBI to protest about inflation any longer, allowing for a reversal of the excessive late cycle hikes that got fearful symmetry’s dander up last year.” The appropriate positioning of monetary


CPI previews: weak

Find below a couple of CPI previews from Westpac and CBA. Both predict a headline result of 0.5% for the quarter and an annual rate of 2% with an underlying rate in the mid 2%s. I see no reason to gainsay these calculations. Yesterday’s quarterly NAB Survey showed clear disinflationary pressures in the quarter both


Turnbull on Dutch disease

Yesterday Malcolm Turnbull delivered a fascinating speech on the exchange rate and Dutch disease. It’s worth a read on a couple of fronts. First, he uses Max Corden’s recent treatise on the subject to argue the need for an SWF. Just to remind you, the Corden line was to run very large Budget surpluses to


Bugs (updated)

Apologies readers for this morning’s late start. We’ve had some bugs overnight and are working on fixing some small problems now. Update We’ve got a server issue which has hit a number of sites. It’s being fixed one bit at a time. The site is obviously up and now running at a decent clip, however,


NAB Survey paints an ugly picture

I don’t usually bother with the quarterly NAB Business Survey, not because there is anything wrong with it, there isn’t, but the monthly versions are usually enough. But on a slow afternoon I thought I’d take a look and what I found was not pleasant. In fact, the survey is a complete dog. Despite a


The end of the Age of Entitlement

Find below Joe Hockey’s recent speech on “the End of the Age of Entitlement”. It’s a good speech with which I agree in principle. It is the first time I’ve seen an Australian political leader acknowledge that the world has changed after the GFC and that henceforth nations will be judged upon the relative performance


Infrastructure bonanza

Westpac has released an interesting note this morning on the progress of Australia’s infrastructure boom, which continues to set new records in QLD and WA. As in the case of other areas of the economy, it seems Victoria is slighted to carry the brunt of the “adjustment”. Still, this is the stuff of which economic


Smashing disleveraging

From the AFR today comes details of a forthcoming speech by Prime Minister Gillard on why we need Budget cuts and lots of ’em: Prime Minister Julia Gillard will today aggressively link her budget ­surplus goal directly to lower interest rates, saying that the Reserve Bank of Australia has “plenty of room” to cut its


It’s the process, stupid

At the AFR this morning, Jennifer Hewitt has a scoop around details of a “secret” deal between Kevin Rudd and Andrew Forest in the dying days of the RSPT: The night before Kevin Rudd was rolled as prime minister, he and miner Andrew Forrest had just agreed to transform the resource super profits tax into a