Leith van Onselen


Consumer confidence sunk near GFC low

ANZ has released its weekly consumer confidence index, which recorded a 1.4% rise, but remains stuck near GFC lows: According to ANZ via Twitter, confidence was weaker in Melbourne (down 5%+) and Sydney down (3%+), suggesting Victoria’s lockdown extension depressed sentiment. However, confidence was higher across regional Victoria and is back above neutral in Perth.


University censors courses to appease Chinese international students

From The ABC comes more proof that Australian universities are dumbing down courses, and selling their souls, for Chinese international students: A Sydney university has recommended staff self-censor teaching material to keep students in China enrolled during the pandemic. The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) conducted a working group in February to discuss how to


The mortgage repayment cliff “will be devastating”

Economist Jason Murphy believes that the mortgage repayment cliff will hurt the housing market and economy in one of two ways: It will drain the economy of household disposable income; and It could lead to a significant number of forced sales, driving property prices lower. From News.com.au: In the next few weeks 450,000 Aussies will


Labor: HomeBuilder not big enough

Labor’s shadow housing minister, Jason Clare, believes the Morrison Government’s HomeBuilder policy is not big enough and wants the government to fund social housing to “save tradies jobs”: For months Michael Sukkar has been peddling the line that the HomeBuilder Scheme would “keep hundreds of thousands of people in jobs”. He has said it in interviews. He


It’s time to bring stranded Aussies home

About 25,000 Australian citizens overseas have registered with the Federal Government that they wish to return home. However, most are unable to do so due to the 4,000-person cap on arrivals into the country each week as well as the high cost of airfares and hotel quarantine. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Home Affairs


Links 15 September 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Introducing the ‘Great Reset,’ world leaders’ radical plan to transform the economy – MSN USA and China: Comparing Fiscal Deficits, Debt/GDP Ratios and the Trade Deficit – Medium MacKenzie Scott, Jeff Bezos ex-wife, becomes the world’s richest woman – Mazech Walmart begins testing drone deliveries for household goods and


Victorian Government expands business stimulus payments

Yesterday, the Victorian Government announced a $3 billion stimulus package for Victorian businesses. This was targeted primarily at the hospitality, retail, accommodation and tourism operators: Over $1.1 billion in cash grants will support small and medium sized businesses that are most affected by coronavirus restrictions including… Around 75,000 eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10


REIV’s war on tenants may be illegal

On Friday I reported that the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) had effectively declared war on tenants, advising landlords to “refuse to negotiate rent reductions, forcing every request into the dispute system” in a bid to guarantee no resolution for months or even years. This action has been deemed potentially illegal by legal experts,


Next steps for the RBA

From Westpac chief economist, Bill Evans: I was surprised to note in the RBA Governor’s Statement following the September Board Meeting that “The Board will maintain highly accommodative settings as long as is required and continues to consider how further monetary measures could support recovery”. This is the first time since the major policy changes


DFAT head calls out Chinese ‘bullying’

One of the biggest positives to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is that its has forced the federal government to grow some cajones and stand up to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) bullying. The latest salvo comes from Australia’s top diplomat, DFAT Secretary Frances Adamson, who in a detailed interview in the Weekend Australian vowed


It’s not all ‘doom and gloom’ for tourism industry

Last week, the federal government released modelling showing the Australian tourism industry will lose $55 billion this year, thanks to COVID-19 and its associated restrictions and closures. That is, if states keep their borders closed and other restrictions continue. However, it’s not all bad news, with new data from Tourism Research Australia showing domestic spending


Thousands rorting JobKeeper ignored by ATO

Thousands of businesses accused of rorting JobKeeper have reportedly been ignored by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), which has yet to issue even one penalty: The $70 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy program has potentially been rorted by thousands of businesses but not one has been penalised despite more than 8000 tip-offs to the tax office


Overseas arrivals near zero in August

The ABS has released provisional short-term arrivals and departures data for August, which has plunged to near zero: All overseas arrivals to Australia in August 2020 (provisional estimates): 15,400 estimated trips, 8,800 of these are Australian citizens 15.5% decrease compared to the previous month and a 99.1% decrease compared to the corresponding month of the


Calls grow for Royal Commission into VIC’s bungled COVID response

Earlier this month, the Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) Victorian president, Julian Rait, provided a submission to the state parliamentary inquiry into the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic whereby he called for a Royal Commission into Victoria’s bungled COVID-19 response, which he says resembles a “slow car crash“, “in order to learn and apply lessons


CEDA demands $10b welfare payments to temporary migrants

Business lobby, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), has long been a shill for the ‘Big Australia’ mass immigration policy, frequently releasing illogical and contradictory ‘research’ supporting the cause. Today, CEDA has released a paper demanding that Australian taxpayers provide JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments to temporary visa holders in order to make Australian


Aussie economy does zombie shuffle

AMP chief economist, Shane Oliver, has released some interesting charts on the post-COVID recoveries taking place in the US and Australia. According to Oliver, “our US Economic Activity Tracker continued to recover over the last week helped by gains in restaurant bookings, mobility and consumer confidence”: By contrast, Oliver notes that “our Australian Economic Activity


Productivity Commission: Superannuation increase will stifle recovery

Last month, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe told a parliamentary committee that increasing the superannuation guarantee (SG) to 12% could reduce wages, curtail consumption, and drive up unemployment: ‘‘The evidence is that increases of this form do get offset by lower wage growth over time… ‘‘If this increase goes ahead, I would expect wage growth


Unwind of emergency income support will expose recession crisis

Economist Jason Murphy believes the unwinding of emergency income support from the end of this month will expose the fragility of Australia’s recession economy: In just 14 days time, hundreds of thousands of Australians will have their weekly earnings slashed – and then the real financial pain will begin. The most important graph in Australia


“More downslides to come” for Aussie property

AMP chief economist, Shane Oliver, continues to hold a bearish view on Australian property prices, where last month he forecast “average capital city prices falling 10-15% from their April high out to mid-next year with Melbourne most at risk and likely to see a 15-20% decline”. Talking to Domain’s Property Unpacked podcast, Shane Oliver warned


400,000 households peer off mortgage cliff

The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) has updated its loan deferral data, which reveals that repayments on $240 billion worth of loans were deferred in July, including $167 billion of mortgages: In numbers terms, repayments on 414,430 mortgages (7% of housing facilities) were deferred in July, representing 9% Australia’s outstanding mortgage stock. This is a


Sydney auctions lift, Melbourne’s dead

CoreLogic’s preliminary auction clearance rate retraced slightly, with 67.3% of reported auctions cleared versus 67.5% last weekend: Sydney’s preliminary clearance rate firmed with 70.4% of reported auctions sold, up from 69.5% last weekend. However, Melbourne’s preliminary clearance rate bombed to just 27.3% from 33.3% last weekend from only 14 auctions. According to CoreLogic: This week,


Links 14 September 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Druckenmiller says stock market is in ‘an absolute raging mania’ and fears Fed raised risk of inflation and deflation – MSN How Liberals Opened the Door to Libertarian Economics – NY Times The world economy is recovering but growth is slowing – Economo The stock market is detached from


Weekend Reading 11-12 September 2020

Global Macro / Markets / investing: The stock market is detached from economic reality. A reckoning is coming. – Washington Post Oil prices add to losses as supplies swell amid weak demand – Edge Markets Insurance market Lloyd’s of London swings to loss after $3 billion in coronavirus claims – CNBC A Record Number of


15% of SME jobs slaughtered by COVID-19

Around 15% of jobs have been lost in small and medium enterprises (SME) since mid-March because of COVID-19, with Victoria hardest hit, according to consulting firm Taylor Fry. In contrast, only 0.8% of jobs have been lost in large businesses, defined as those with at least 200 employees: The analysis conducted by consulting firm Taylor Fry


Will Aussie property plunge off mortgage cliff?

CoreLogic’s head of research, Eliza Owen, believes concerns surrounding the ‘mortgage cliff’ are exaggerated: COVID-19 exacerbates the risk that high housing debt has to the Australian economy. In the March quarter, the ratio of household debt to annualised household disposable income sat at near-record highs of 142.0%. With widespread unemployment, there is increased likelihood borrowers


Auction market fails to launch

CoreLogic has released its final auction clearance results for last weekend, which reported a final auction clearance rate of 60.5%, up slightly on last week’s 59.8%: Sydney’s final clearance rate softened to 62.3% (from 64.2% last week), whereas Melbourne’s bombed to 32.1% (down from 40.6% last week). As noted by CoreLogic: There were 866 capital


Why is Industry Super burning members’ money on The New Daily?

Australia’s compulsory superannuation system is incredible for fund managers. Whether you are are a financial wizard at managing other people’s money or terrible, it doesn’t matter. Because nearly 10% of every dollar earned by Australian workers is funneled into a super account each and every year, thus ensuring an ever-growing pool of funds under management


WA Government backs tenants over landlords

It’s been an appalling six years for Perth landlords. Dwelling prices in Perth have collapsed by around 22%: And rents have collapsed by 23% over a similar period: Thus, Perth landlords have been hit by a double whammy of falling wealth and income. In a move that is certain to infuriate Perth landlords, the Western