Houses and Holes


Online trade hints at soft Xmas for retail

NAB’s monthly retail index for December is out and the bank is suggesting that seasonal monthly may not account entirely for falls. In 2012, Australia’s online retail spending was $12.8 billion. This level is around 5.8% of the size of Australia’s traditional bricks & mortar retail sector (excluding cafés, restaurants and takeaway food for a


ANZ job ad losses slow

ANZ job ads for January are out and show an encouraging shift in the second derivative with losses slowing considerably in January, down 0.9% versus down 2.8% in December: Full report below: ANZ Job Ads Jan-13.pdf by Belinda Winkelman


Equities in blowoff

Cross-posted from the Short Side of Long. It has come to my attention that some of the sentiment surveys and various other contrarian indicators I follow have moved from high bullish levels, usually found at intermediate tops, towards euphoric levels, which are usually found near the end of bull markets. In my opinion, the current


The top ten ASX stocks for 2013

Find below the last of the articles published at Macro Investor mid-December 2012. It is the top ten stock picks for 2013 from the Macro Associates’ team, balanced as always against fundamentals, allocations, risk and macro factors.  With strong fundamentals and offshore exposure, all should do well in a post mining boom economy. Thus the portfolio


RBA Commodity Price Index rises

From late Friday: Preliminary estimates for January indicate that the index rose by 2.6 per cent (on a monthly average basis) in SDR terms, after rising by 3.4 per cent in December (revised). The largest contributor to the rise in January was the increase in the price of iron ore, while the prices of base metals and rural commodities


Newspoll: Gillard slumps

From The Australian: The latest Newspoll survey, which was slightly affected by the number of voters in flood and bushfire-affected areas, is a complete reversal of fortune for the ALP from the summer-holiday affected January poll, and a much-needed personal boost for the Opposition Leader. The poll puts Labor’s primary support at 32 per cent


Shell shafts Browse and Arrow

From the AFR and Shell comes the news I’ve been expecting on the last two big LNG projects awaiting approval: Chief executive Peter Voser told investors last night in London that Shell had “slowed the pace on new FIDs [final investment decisions] for LNG in Australia, where there’s cost inflation pressures.” Mr Voser said Shell would


Can anything stop the ASX?

The rally underway in the ASX is reaching pretty epic proportions. Most of the world is down today but not us, no! Here it is over one year: And five years which shows the bourse rapidly closing in on its post-GFC high: But the financial sub-index hasn’t waited to break out, it’s gone parabolic: Industrials


More on coming rate hikes

CBA has some interesting research out today using the Mankiw Rule (a version of the Talyor Rule) to judge whether rates have bottomed and any upward forward curve: Our analysis shows that based on our unemployment and CPI forecasts, the cash rate rising to around 4% over the next 18 months is consistent with the observed relationship


Australia has no manufacturing sector!

At least, that’s the judgement of the national business paper, which failed to headline this morning’s awful PMI and eventually listed it somewhere below Kevin Rudd’s return to breakfast TV: Meanwhile, China manufacturing, which is still growing, enjoys top spot: I’m not sure that that is an editorial straight bat.


They’re back

The three early movers in Australia’s economic debate, Paul Bloxham, Stephen Koukoulas and Chris Joye are back in the saddle. Bloxo is out again today reiterating his call that the bottom of the interest rate cycle is in: We remain optimistic that Australia will see a smooth rebalancing of growth, from being led by the mining


China’s manufacturing PMI growth slows

China official PMI just just printed 50.4 for January, below consensus at 51. The chart shows you how slow and to date muted this rebound is. The internals were not great either. Local new orders accelerated slightly but exports shrank. Inventories of raw materials climbed but finished goods fell as did employment. No tearaway rebound


Producer prices subdued

There’s not much inflationary pressure in the Australian industrial pipe. December quarter Producer Prices from the ABS rose just 0.2% in the quarter and 1% year-on-year: And the weakness is across the spectrum: Nothing to worry about vis inflation. Carbon tax, schmarbon tax.


Basel blames APRA

I’ve noted several times in recent months that the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision is slowing turning its weighty turret towards the key secret in Australian banking: its use of internal risk weightings to allocate capital to mortgages. To cut a long story short, the opaque internal risk models of the banks enable them to


Will good times end the bank deposit surge?

Cross-posted from the MARQAnalytics blog. Retail deposits are seen as the corner stone of financial institutions stability. The more retail deposits the more comfort bank managers and bank boards are with the stability of their institutions liquidity. Whilst the optimal level of deposits for any institution is really a matter of  their customer base and the type of business


Tony Abbott promises a lamington for all

Tony Abbott this afternoon delivered the first of his major campaign speeches at the National Press Club (which is now available thankfully). The speech is a stark contrast to that of Gillard yesterday. It underlines why Tony Abbott is at once a powerful and limited politician. The style of the speech is far less polished


NAB property insider survey eases up

Adding to today’s property melange, NAB’s quarterly property professionals survey is out today and shows a small rise in expectations for price growth: NAB’s Residential Property Index rose to +8 in Q4’12 (+4 in Q3’12). WA (+41) the stand-out state, with Victoria (-15) and SA/NT (-20) negative. National index to climb to +49 points by Q4’13


Australia dollar flattens import/export prices

If you want to know what the muscular dollar is doing to the economy then it’s plan as day in today’s fourth quarter import/export prices from the ABS. Export prices were down 2.4% quarter on quarter despite the iron recovery: the internals show the widespread damage in crude materials: On the import side, prices rose


HIA December New Home Sales bounce

At last we are seeing some effect from the considerable stimulus thrown at housing in the past year. New home sales had a strong bounce in December from suppressed levels, up 6.2%: Moreover, the internals are good for employment and growth, with detached houses participating for the first time: In the month of December 2012


Volunteering to be Europe

Stephen Bartholomeusz of BS wrote late yesterday that: While it will be overshadowed by Julia Gillard’s nomination of the date for the next federal election, her comments on the Australian dollar occupied a meaningful slab of her address to the National Press Club today, indicating that the continuing strength of the currency is a front-of-mind


Deloitte: Mining boom peak in sight

From AAP: Deloitte Access Economics expects the mega-resources investment projects that have been a major driver of economic growth in recent years will likely peak in late 2013. In its latest Investment Monitor released on Thursday, partner David Rumbens says the top 10 planned projects worth $126 billion are due to get the final nod


Gillard is betting on economic weakness

The AFR’s Andrew Clarke today argues that Gillard is betting the next election on an economic rebound: Drawing inspiration from these electoral boilovers, the Gillard inner circle of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan, and political strategist John McTernan, formulated Labor’s election strategy over the Christmas break. To summarise, the ALP’s