Houses and Holes


One chart to rule them all (updated)

After this blog’s recent Housing Velocity post, in which a comparison was made between total housing turnover and population growth, reader Torchwood1979 made the eminently sensible suggestion that we strip dwelling commencements from the figures and see what happens. Well, here it is: Established dwelling sales from 1991 to 2009 in major Australian states. One


Links Oct 7: Bulls versus bears

Correlation bubble. FT AlphavilleMore like everything pricing for QE2. Zero HedgeADP tank signals QE2 ahead. EconompicGoldman says buy Euro. Sell it. Zero HedgeDow overbought. PragCapWanna be right or make money? Barry RitholzThat definitely looks like a cup and handle on the ore chart. BloombergMatched by another little one on the Baltic Dry.And more. BloombergSwift revaluation


Reserve Bank of Lilliput

Delusional Economics does a nice hatchet job on comments by RBA boffin Luci Ellis about the housing bubble. Sadly, however, there is more to dismember on the currency front. From Business Day: Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Head of Financial Stability Luci Ellis says the poor strength of the US dollar is no surprise, given


Links Oct 6: Rates fallout

McCrann not wrong, RBA “confused”. Terry McCrannBig banks will raise unilaterally soon. John DurieJapan prints and buys the lot. FT AlphavilleUS-China trade war will only benefit Vietnam. NBOUS double dip still on. Rosenberg at PragCapStimulate the US. George SorosUS services grow. EconompicThe BHP/Rio zombie is dead. Der. SMHIs that a cup and handle formation in


Egg all round

Yes, and some of it on this blog’s face. Though it did at least take the Joye/McCrann drivel to task. Both the RBA and the banks have suddenly backed off on rate rises (at least for mortgages). This blog can’t figure out if this is a wildly bullish or bearish signal. Probably neither. For clues,


Take it for the team (Updated)

This blog does not have a great deal of sympathy for complaints about bank gouging when it comes to interest rates. The reason is simple. If a nation wants to run a housing bubble based upon foreign borrowing then it should accept the logical consequences – that sooner or later competition will collapse around too-big-to-fail


Links Oct 5: Rates day

Damn the lifeboats. Henry ThorntonFiscal cuts too. Tim ColebatchChina serious about busting bubble. Peter HartcherAnd the real problem. John GarnautSteel demand set to rise. FTBut not prices. Metal MinerOre prices still falling. Economic Times of IndiaThe bubbles that just won’t pop. Edward ChancellorChina will do what it wants with yuan. BloombergWhat can QE2 achieve? Econbrowser


Housing velocity

Population growth is often cited as a causal factor in the overvaluation of Australian real estate. And indeed, strong population growth is a factor, particularly in recent years when housing starts have diminished, most especially in NSW. But one infrequently quoted housing statistic that calls into question the strength of population growth causation is what


Links Oct 4:

Forget a rising yuan. Baseline ScenarioEuro is toast. Joseph StiglitzWeek ahead for the Dow. Calculated Riskde Gaull’s revenge. French plot new reserve. Zero HedgeBHP a length ahead for Potash. The AusCopper breaks free. BloombergAs inventories dive in London, NY and Shanghai. Metal PricesDutch Disease or overheating. You choose. David Uren



Terry McCrann wrote of the RBA on Saturday that: The belief that it won’t lift the cash rate on Tuesday is based on a fundamental misconception of what the RBA is trying to achieve and a misunderstanding of how and what it reads in the statistical tea leaves. Simply, brutally, it is not trying to


Weekend reading: US bumps along the bottom

US double dip still looms. Calculated Risk, Zero Hedge, EconompicBut ECRI coming off the bottom. Pragmatic CapitalistGolden Cross another Hindenberg Omen. BespokeGold flattens equities. The EconomistPrint or be damned. Zero Hedge I, IICommodity inflation shock coming? BespokeMapping the US view of Europe. Are we so different? kottkeNAB’s drama queens. The AgeSlash spending and jack up



There are a couple of breathless reports today, one from Eric Johnston and another from David Uren, on yesterday’s announcement that the RBA now has financial stability as an official part of its mandate. Both are at pains to report that not only has the remit been expanded it’s been limited too. Uren quotes from


August credit = rate rise

Well, the RBA’s DO2 is out again and there are some noteworthy things happening. Seasonally adjusted owner occupier mortgages grew at 6.6% annualised and investors at 9.2%. Combined growth was 7.4% Credit cards are still on the nose, down 2.2% and despite all the nice advertisements, business lending fell 6.4%. Whilst housing credit hasn’t fallen


Links Oct 1: European loathing

Pick of the day: Why the European bailout is doomed. Satyajit DasBHP wants monthly ore contracts. BloombergWhy they will probably get them. Metal MinerTough Chinese rebalancing. Michael Pettis parotted by Karen MaleyOn US trade war rhetoric. Naked CapitalsismDow still stuck in bear market dynamics. Econompic Why the Aussie is on a moonshot. Falkenblog


Links Sep 30: yuan pressure

China currency legislation passes US House. BloombergBeggar-thy-neighbour. Martin Wolf, Gavyn DaviesFalling $US can save US economy and Obama. Simon JohnsonTrouble for the US ISM? Truck tonnage collapses. Calculated RiskIMF beat-ups. David Uren, Tim ColebatchActual IMF reports. Australia and Liquidity risk.China will boom on. Michael StutchburySingapore clears 90% of iron ore swaps. BloombergCopper rips again. ReutersSlow


Fitch prepares the rubber stamp (Updated)

The market is apparently abuzz with heavens knows what pertaining to the banks and the Fitch Ratings announcement that they are …probing the potential impact of a spike in mortgage defaults or drop in house prices on the portfolio of Australian residential mortgage-backed securities and banks it rates. Over the last few months, Fitch has


Links Sep 29: you versus the corporation

Pick of the day. Forget left versus right. It’s you versus corporations. Barry Ritholz Whilst this is undoubtedly worse in America, before you guffaw, think big bank bailout, ETS, RSPT, policy convergence and oligopolies in every sector…Markets won’t like a smaller QE2. CalculatedRisk and Karen MaleyThough perhaps it’ll be BIGQE2 if this rank US data


Goldman warns of an Australian recession

This blog has been meaning to post on the relatively recent Goldman Sachs report on Australian housing by economists Tim Toohey, David Colosimo and Andrew Boak. It is a very long report and there is little point in going through it blow-by-blow. But, contrary to the way it has been reported, the research is frighteningly


Foreign bond deluge

This blogger tracks Australian bank’s foreign liabilities using the ABS’s National Accounts: Financial Accounts. It aggregates the bonds our banks sell to oversees investors. June quarter figures were just released and show that our banks now owe $323.9 billion on bonds with maturities above one year. And another $83.3 billion in bonds with maturities under


Links Sep 28: Pascoe smackdown

Must read: Pettis does Pascoe. China Financial MarketsWhy the Plaza Accord was not responsible for Japan’s bubble. Models and AgentsWhen will the USS QE2 sail? Calculated RiskIreland and Portugal spreads won’t stop. FTAlphaville Greece looking a bit better. BloombergHope springs eternal. The Dow is going to 38,820 (LOL). BloombergChina trade war. Real Clear MarketsUS dollar


Is Aussie Mac real?

Robert Gottliebsen today takes on government guarantees of Australian banks. It is more than welcome that this topic gets greater public scrutiny. It is nothing short of bizarre that the very foundation upon which Australian banks operate has shifted and yet we carry on as if nothing has changed. Nonetheless, there are a series of


Currency meltdown

David Uren has a useful piece this morning suggesting the bull market in gold is presaging a global currency crisis. If money is a store of value, printing more of it represents a devaluation. These concerns were further fanned last week by the central banks of England and Japan. Minutes of the Bank of England’s


Deciphering Treasury’s Red Book

Delusional Economics highlights an important Business Day scoop in which they have gotten their hands on parts of Treasury’s Red Book for the incoming government. It includes the following passages: “A key risk for the Australian economy is our reliance on short-term external debt, largely intermediated through the banking system … Among Australian financial institutions


A plea for a G2

As China and the US shunt their way towards a trade war, I offer this excerpt from The Great Crash of 2008 as a roadmap for economic co-operation between the powers. I co-authored the book with Ross Garnaut but this section was written by the good professor. Sadly, I see little chance of this happening…


Links Sep 24: Wen flips the bird

Wen: No way, Jose to 20% yuan lift. BloombergWhy the US should have gone Swedish (with the bailout). Barry RitholzUS leading indicators: all about cheap dough. EconompicMr copper still ripping. BloombergIs the US in 1931 or 1921? Baseline Scenario


Bubbles Macfarlane

This post began as a critique of yesterday’s RBA release of its discussion paper: Asset Prices, Credit Growth, Monetary and Other Policies: An Australian Case Study. The study is in large part an examination of the Macfarlane RBA’s attempts to “lean against the wind” in 2002 and 2003 as an Australian asset bubble emerged. The


Links Sep 23: Bernanke’s fires up the whirlybird

Gavin Davies notes that the US FED has overturned decades of hard yakka and has now committed itself to making inflation rise. He concludes “…it is not difficult to see why the dollar has been falling, and gold rising”. But Chris Whalen goes bananas on declining profitability in the US banking system and declares ahead


Determined denial

Everyone has seen the ads. A sturdy and commonsense banker confronts a troupe of American advertising hot shots. The banker responds with steady incredulity to their fast and loose attempts to modernise his brand. He is the model of prudence, juxtaposed against faddish spin doctors. In the real world, Commonwealth Bank executives are travelling internationally


Cliff or plateau?

This week saw the release of the RBA’s June credit aggregates, as well as the first concrete evidence that house prices are rolling over from RPData. Neither was terrifying but neither also was reassuring. As usual, the mainstream media offered up a plate of bullish slop, preferring to quote quarterly growth figures over the much