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Why you should fear COVID-19

Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, an epidemiologist working in chronic disease in Sydney’s west, has penned an article warning against complacency surrounding COVID-19. Meyerowitz-Katz claims there is a widely-held misconception that since only about 1% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 will die, the other 99% of the world’s population does not have to worry too much about the


CBA: Travel restrictions no disaster for Aussie economy

Gareth Aird, head of Australian economics at CBA, has released research showing that the impact of international travel restrictions on the Australian economy are not as bad as commonly feared: Key Points: Both tourism exports and imports have collapsed due to international border closures, but education exports remain buoyant. The overall impact of border closures


Panic engulfs leaders as vacant offices hulk across Melbourne

Melbourne’s CBD is in crisis as COVID-19 and the shift to working from home (WFH) has collapsed visitor numbers by an estimated 95%. This has left office buildings empty and gutted surrounding businesses reliant on the people flow. With business leaders and the Melbourne City Council concerned that WFH could become permanent, they have devised


One-third of property investor mortgages in danger of default

The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) released some alarming data late last week on mortgage deferrals. According to APRA, $192 billion of mortgages have been deferred by authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs), comprising 11% of all housing loans: Worse, more than one-third of investor mortgages have been deferred, a large proportion of which are interest-only: As


Labor’s China apologists just dont get it

I was once a great fan of Gareth Evans but not anymore: This would be sensible if it didn’t so comprehensively misrepresent recent history. Australian rhetoric around China has not been hysterical. When Malcolm Turnbull declared Australia would “stand up” against CCP violations of sovereignty he did so because it was necessary. China was busy


Eastern Australia pays the highest gas price in the galaxy

Last week the International Gas Union issued its annual report on global gas prices. This is the industry benchmark report that the Australian gas cartel uses to argue in the Australian parliament that Aussie gas prices are reasonable. Here’s the 2019 results: Australia comes in at 18th around $8Gj. This makes domestic Aussie gas the


MB Fund Podcast: Coronavirus to kill Australian property (updated with podcast version)

The strong rebound in Australian property values has come to a shuddering halt with the Coronavirus lockdown. Auction clearance rates and buyer sentiment have collapsed, unemployment is surging, and mortgage availability is tightening. All of which points to declines in Australian dwelling values. Yet these headwinds pale next to the looming headwind of heavy falls


Coalition pledges never-ending first home subsidies

Housing Minister Michael Sukkar was interviewed by Sky News yesterday where he signaled that the Morrison Government would indefinitely subsidise first home buyers’ property purchases: “10,000 places [in the FHB deposit subsidy scheme] have been released today. This scheme allows people to purchase their first home with a deposit of as little as 5%. One


Senate inquiry to consider extending JobKeeper

As reported on Sky News, a Senate inquiry will today consider extending government support schemes such as JobKeeper beyond its late-September expiry. Business groups will make a case for an extension at the inquiry, with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Industry Group, Business Council and small business representatives all expected to appear. The


Melbourne virus spike shows why international students must be kept out

Last week we reported that international students would begin to be flown into Australia from July with Canberra and Adelaide to take the first plane loads. Other jurisdictions are expected to follow course over coming months with international students to be quarantined for two weeks, paid for in part by taxpayers. MB has vigorously opposed


Will someone think of the poor landlords?

“Average hardworking landlords” in Melbourne are apparently being slaughtered by falling rents and rising rental vacancies: Melbourne landlords are struggling under the burden of reduced rent payments and finding tenants during the coronavirus pandemic. Self-funded retirees without access to the pension are notably slipping through the cracks, with many of them reliant on rental income


Australian dollar gaps lower as US/China trade deal “over”

Has Peter Navarro went off-reservation? At Reuters: White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on Monday the trade deal with China is “over,” and he linked the breakdown in part to Washington’s anger over Beijing’s not sounding the alarm earlier about the coronavirus outbreak. “It’s over,” Navarro told Fox News in an interview when asked


Mirabile dictu: Chinese relationship stuffed for good

This is an important piece not because it says anything we don’t already know but because it is by FMG and Chinese junket queen, Jennifer Hewitt. On last week’s cyber attacks: The decision for the Prime Minister to call this out – even without naming the Chinese government – will be politically self re-enforcing. Canberra


MB Fund Podcast: Markets disconnect from reality: what comes next? (Updated with podcast version)

Stock markets have dislocated from fundamentals. The economic fundamentals are almost as bad as they have ever been. Stock market valuations are as expensive as they have ever been. But that hasn’t concerned markets for the past six weeks and, to be frank, it doesn’t look like concerning markets any time soon. We discuss pertinent


What will kill off USD dominance? Nothing

Via Scope: Global currencies are widely used in cross-border monetary operations, finance and trade. For the issuing sovereigns, these currencies come with both benefits and costs and can therefore have significant implications for creditworthiness. In this report, we explore the drivers of global currency status and the prospects for change in the international monetary system,


Stupid ScoMo to slash JobSeeker

I thought he was supposed to be walking a middle path these days, via the AFR: With Parliament back and the two major parties now sparring openly over the coronavirus crisis and the response measures, Labor demanded the JobKeeper wage subsidy of $1500 per fortnight be extended to workers who had “missed out” – including