Leith van Onselen


Private schools brace for mass exodus

An expected casualty of the COVID-19 economic meltdown are Australia’s private schools, which are bracing for an exodus as financially strapped households tighten their purse strings: State school principals are expecting an increase in student numbers as financially stretched families turn away from private schools… Some private schools have already offered fee cuts and deferrals,


Foxtel’s fake subscriptions rebound

Data released earlier this week by from Roy Morgan shows that pay-TV group Foxtel gained more than 650,000 subscribers during the three months to May. This 13.6% growth in Foxtel’s subscriber base coincided with Australia’s first COVID-19 lockdown, and followed the loss of 98,000 subscribers in the three months to February: Earlier this week, I


What drives Australian mortgage defaults?

Michelle Bergmann from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has released research on the drivers of Australian mortgage defaults. The paper contends that two pre-requisites need to be met before a mortgage holder defaults: a reduction in earnings, resulting in homeowners unable to meet monthly repayments; and negative equity. Below is the summary: What causes


HomeBuilder triggers land sales frenzy

The Morrison Government’s HomeBuilder subsidy, which gives up to $25,000 to eligible households to build or substantially renovate their homes, has ignited a massive surge of enquiries from first home buyers for house and land packages, according new data from property analyst Cameron Kusher: Email enquiries to residential agents on realestate.com.au hit a record high


More than 100 Sydney suburbs now banned from QLD

As COVID-19 slowly spreads throughout Sydney, more than 100 Sydney suburbs are now on Queensland’s list of hotspots and banned from entry into the state. The city of Fairfield was overnight declared a third location, joining Campbelltown and Liverpool in the city’s south-west. Queensland will turn around anyone attempting to enter the State from 106


Victoria records 300 new COVID-19 infections, six deaths

As flagged earlier, Victoria has officially recorded another 300 COVID-19 infections, down from 403 yesterday: 206 Victorians are now in hospital with a record six deaths also registered overnight. NSW recorded only seven new cases overnight. Victoria now has 3,904 active COVID-19 cases, 96% of the nation’s total: Since the pandemic began, Victoria has recorded


Funds bawl as Coalition extends early superannuation release

The Morrison Government yesterday announced that it would extend the deadline for financially stressed households to withdraw $10,000 from their superannuation savings by three months to 31 December 2020: Eligible citizens will now have until December 31, 2020, to make an application to withdraw up to $10,000 from their superannuation balance. The announcement was part


Melbourne’s property market decimated

According to Eliza Owen, Head of Research Australia at CoreLogic, the economic lockdown across Melbourne has decimated the city’s auction market: The final clearance rate for Melbourne over the week ending 19th of July was 43.8%. This has fallen from 51.2% in the previous week and the low 60% range over the prior three weeks.


Links 24 July 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: The ‘cobra effect’ will have a ‘disastrous and unimaginable’ impact on the market, Wall Street vet warns – Market Watch Could a Global Recession Fuel Bitcoin Adoption? – Tech Times US stock markets no longer need the economy – Market Watch Six tech stocks now make up half the


Final auction clearance rates bomb

CoreLogic has released its final auction results for the past week, with the final clearance rate nationally falling to 53.1% from 56.2% last week: The fall was driven by Melbourne where the final clearance rate fell to 43.8% from 51.2% last week. According to CoreLogic: Last week saw the final weighted clearance rate drop to


CBA: CPI to turn negative in Q2

From Gareth Aird, Head of Australian economics at CBA: Key Points: We expect the headline CPI to fall by 1.9% in Q2(-0.4%/yr). The Trimmed Mean CPI on our forecasts will print at 0.2% (1.5%/yr). We expect disinflationary forces to persist over the next year given the huge negative shock to the economy. On Wednesday 29


Rating agencies warn on public sector pay rises

Earlier this week, Victoria’s public sector union reached agreement with the Andrews State Government regarding a pay rise for public servants. A 2% pay rise was awarded, along with a mobility clause and 16 weeks’ parental leave for primary and secondary carers, which effectively increased the pay rise to more than 3%: Treasurer Tim Pallas


Victoria’s economy slaughtered by COVID-19

The Victorian Government has released its mid-year economic update, which projects that the state’s unemployment rate will rise to 9% by the end of September. This compares with 7.5% in June and 5.3% in January. The modelling also shows that gross state product could fall by $21 billion in 2020: Overview The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic


Victoria records another 403 COVID-19 infections

The nightmare continues with Victoria recording another 403 COVID-19 infections: NSW has yet to report today’s infection numbers. There are now 3,793 active COVID-19 cases in Victoria, 97% of the nation’s total: 7,125 Victorians have now been infected by the virus since the beginning of the outbreak, with the curve as frightening as ever:


Australia must fix hotel quarantine

Being an island nation, having a robust quarantine system for returning Australian citizens and permanent residents is the nation’s number one defence against COVID-19. Without an effective quarantine system, Australia will continually import the virus into the community, resulting in ongoing outbreaks, an overloaded health system, and costly economic shutdowns. Victoria is indicative of what


Coalition throws migration carrot at international students

History doesn’t repeat but it sure does rhyme. Following a strategic review of the student visa program in 2011 (‘the Knight review’), the Gillard Government liberalised graduate (485) visas in 2013. Specifically, 485 visa holders were excluded from needing to meet the Australian standard for an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List. They were also


Mass mortgage defaults loom as income support cut

Mozo research believes that Australia is staring down the barrel of mass mortgage defaults once income support measures like JobKeeper and JobSeeker are cut: Around 3.5 million workers are receiving JobKeeker payments and 1.6 million are relying on JobSeeker. This means approximately 42% of Australia’s 12.1 million-person workforce is being supported via these government schemes.


Links 23 July 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Could a Global Recession Fuel Bitcoin Adoption? – Tech Times A second Great Depression? Unemployment crisis hits big cities hard – CNBC This billionaire says the US stock market is overlooking the rapidly growing national debt – CNN Jeff Bezos Adds Record $13 Billion in Single Day to His


COVID-19 drives up Australia’s mortality rate

The ABS has released provisional mortality data, which suggests that COVID-19 has indirectly increased Australia’s mortality rate, primarily by diverting health resources and effort away from other areas: In the second provisional monthly mortality report released today, the ABS found that between January and April this year there were around 44,000 doctor certified deaths. This


Foxtel recovers from near death experience

Three months ago, the prognosis facing Foxtel was dire. The company had lost almost 600,000 subscribers in the two years to February (see next chart), COVID-19 had cancelled sporting events across the globe hitting Foxtel’s sports-centric offering, subscribers were reportedly cancelling en masse, and 270 employees were made redundant. Fast forward to today and Foxtel’s


AMA calls for nation-wide mask policy

Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Tony Bartone is calling for a nationwide mask policy, arguing Australia would not be in the position it was now if masks were more prevalent earlier in the pandemic: “We’re recommending that it should be extremely, ubiquitously recommended everyone wear a mask to reduce the spread,” he told Sky News.


60 Minutes destroys UQ’s reputation

In case you missed it, make sure that you watch 60 Minutes’ explosive report on Chinese corruption at the University of Queensland (UQ) and its persecution of 21 year-old pro-Hong Kong student, Drew Pavlou. Below is the blurb on the report: When 21-year-old student Drew Pavlou organised his first-ever protest at his university campus in


Stage 4 lockdown imminent as Victoria records 484 new COVID-19 infections

The situation has turned dire in Victoria, with 484 new COVID-19 infections recorded: New South Wales recorded 16 new COVID-19 infections. There are now active cases in Victoria, 96% of the nation’s total: Victoria has now recorded a whopping 6,773 COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began, with the curve as frightening as ever: According to