Chris Becker


Trade deficit improves unexpectedly

by Chris Becker The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) just released November 2014s trade balance figures and its a surprise to the upside (kind of), with a sub-$1billion deficit for the first time in the calendar year: Headlines: In trend terms, the balance on goods and services was a deficit of $980m in November 2014, a decrease


Its getting hot in here!

by Chris Becker The results are in: 2014 was the 3rd hottest year on record, just below last years new record. More from the Bureau of Meteorology which released its Annual Climate Statement today: Assistant Director for Climate Information Services, Neil Plummer, said 2014 was characterised by frequent heatwaves and warm spells, and a notable


Macro Morning (stocks of blood)

by Chris Becker Not quite a bath of blood last night on northern hemisphere markets, but close enough as oil collapsed 6% dragging most US and European bourses down around 2% and USD strengthened once more as the King of Safe Havens. First, in Europe “fears” (love that word) of a contagion following a “Grexit”


Daily iron ore price update (bottom in?)

by Chris Becker The iron ore complex slipped yesterday, as the spot to rebar spread tightened, the latter showing the real trend. Here’s the price table: Dalian futures getting everyone excited, especially local junior iron ore extractors (Atlas Iron up another 10% yesterday):   But rebar is still going down:   As spot/swap temporarily build


Oil collapses below $50USD a barrel

by Chris Becker As I’ll explain in my market roundup later this morning, oil overnight collapsed as the majority of North Atlantic traders and market positioners returned from holidays and sent the commodity complex into chaos with WTI and Brent falling over 5%: West Texas Intermediate slid 5 percent in New York while Brent fell


Chart of the Day: QE equals long stocks

by Chris Becker There’s been one investment trend post-GFC that has been blindingly obvious for all (even including those who just buy and hold) its long US stocks. The broadest index, the S&P500 has tripled since March 2009 in an almost straight line, particularly in the last two years. At the same time, the US


NY brings in first bankruptcies in Chinese RE

Cross posted from Investing in Chinese Stocks: The New Year has brought in the first bankruptcy for the Chinese real estate market, with a real estate firm in Ganzhou, Jiangxi province gone bust. The company owes nearly ¥2 billion in debt and the boss has been detained. He’s suspected of illegal fundraising among other illegal


Links 6 January 2015

  MB is not yet back at full strength! Here is the timetable for the coming month: Chris Becker will maintain normal operations from Monday 5 January until Friday 16 January. David Llewellyn-Smith will take over from Monday 19 January. Leith van Onselen will resume from Monday 26 January. Global Macro / Markets / Investing: More scrutiny


Bears circle as AUD cracks five year low

by Chris Becker The Aussie battler, alongside all other USD currency pairs, gapped down on the open to 80.60 before recovering and hitting 81 cents in the Asian session. But as Asia heads to the pub and Europe wakes up and smells the roses, the Aussie has cracked to a new five year low below 80.40:


Job survival in the 21st century

Cross posted from The Conversation: by David Tuffley, Lecturer in Applied Ethics and Socio-Technical Studies at Griffith University It is a sobering thought that in ten years, around 65% of the jobs that people will be doing have not even been thought of yet, according to the US Department of Labor. In Australia, there are reports that up


Chinese go Gold Coast-Japanese on Sydney

by Chris Becker Are we seeing a repeat of the 1980’s Gold Coast real estate bubble led by Japanese investors in Sydney? Perhaps – from Mingtiandia: China’s outbound investment wave continued to flow into Sydney as buyers from the mainland and Hong Kong acquired more than $1.23 billion worth of major assets during the last


Will the Grexit happen this time?

by Chris Becker We’re seeing two stories emerge from yet another Greek crisis over the weekend, as the people head to the polls for what is likely to be a lose-lose election outcome. First, the real occupiers of power in Greece, the Germans, publicly contend that they want the beleagured nation (or is it dominion?)


Macro Morning (volatility returns!)

by Chris Becker Welcome back to 2015 for Macro Morning – so what’s been happening on the markets over the break? Just a reminder that most markets “suffer” from very thin volume, and hence higher than usual volatility during the Christmas and following NY week, but that didn’t stop a number of new trends emerging


AIG manufacturing PMI tanks in December

by Chris Becker A falling Aussie dollar still cannot arrest the slow death of Australian manufacturing – this just in from AIG: The Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI®) fell by 3.2 points to 46.9 in December, indicating another contraction in conditions across the manufacturing sector (readings below 50 indicate a


Chart of the Day: Aussie punters the worst

by Chris Becker If you’ve wanted proof that your fellow Australians like to have a flutter more than most, this chart lays your suspicions to rest – from The Economist, via Conrad Hackett on Twitter: One armed bandits (aka pokies aka gaming machines) are mostly to blame for this outstanding outperformance. If you’re a bit


Chinese home prices falls accelerate

Cross posted from Investing in Chinese Stocks: The CREIS report for December shows home prices fell again, and at a slightly faster pace. A refresher: in November, prices fell 0.38% nationally, less than the 0.40% drop in October. 76 out of 100 cities saw prices fall in November. In December, prices fell 0.44% nationally, but


Links 5 January 2015

MB is not yet back at full strength! Here is the timetable for the coming month: Chris Becker will maintain normal operations from Monday 5 January until Friday 16 January. David Llewellyn-Smith will take over from Monday 19 January. Leith van Onselen will resume from Monday 26 January. Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Do Economic Sanctions


Weekend Science, Technology and Culture Links

Science, Technology & Environment Space missions and events most looking forward to in 2015 – WIRED (starting Tuesday with SpaceX!) And then DAWN which will approach the dwarf planet Ceres next week – Next Big Future What everyone should know about statistical correlation – American Scientist (unlocked article) Online sales in Australia could be subject


Weekend Links 3-4 January 2015

  Global Macro / Markets / Investing: US puts more sanctions on North Korea due to Sony hack – Reuters Oil declines as USD surges in thin NY trading – Reuters Global factory growth tapers at end of 2014 – Reuters Brilliant yearly asset performance chart – Wealth of Common Sense (must see and great


Links 2 January 2015

  Global Macro / Markets / Investing: US interest rates to remain low throughout 2015: Deustche – Kitco Iran wants Saudi’s to pull out finger on oil price problem – Reuters Record highs in US Stocks cap a volatile 2014 – Bloomberg Economic old world order is under threat in 2015 – The Guardian Americas:


New Years Eve Links

  Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Offshore wind power generation is growing but costs are still high – The Economist Where to hide in emerging markets rout – Reuters Another list of predictions for 2015 – FT This is a better way of looking at the “unknowns” – Marginal Revolution Investors believe aged care


Links 30 December 2014

The year is almost over… Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Big questions for markets for 2015 – Reuters What’s Next for World Oil as Lower Prices Extend Into ‘15 – Bloomberg Oil rises to $60 per barrel, Libya fire supports – Reuters Russia to add wheat exports duty to other curbs from February – Reuters Israel


Links 29 December 2014

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Life may not go on as usual in the world economy in 2015 – The Guardian Bank of England to monitor social networks – Forexlive (just don’t spend too much time playing CandyCrush…) More dart throwing for 2015 from the experts – WSJ How the 1% allocate and invest


Supplemental Weekend Links

by Chris Becker Morning all, here are some additional links and reading for Sunday with some added commentary. Daily links will resume next week but will be the only regular posts until January the 5th unless there are some interesting macro developments!  (and no, I didn’t get that present, maybe next year….)   Science and