Latest posts


Rental vacancies tighten

By Leith van Onselen SQM Research has just released rental vacancy rates for January, which registered a sharp fall from December as the traditional Christmas seasonal uplift disipated (see next table). At the national level, residential vacancies declined by 0.4%, coming to a total of 54,156 homes. However, the vacancy rate was 0.1% higher than


Sweden shows Australia the way out

By Leith van Onselen Sweden’s housing market shares a lot of simularities with Australia. As was the case in Australia, Sweden’s financial system was deregulated in the mid-1980s, which led to a house price boom and then corrrection as the Swedish economy entered recession in the early-1990s. However, whereas Australia’s banking system was almost brought


Weekly poll aggregation

Cross-posted from Mark the Ballot. One of these pollsters is not like the others. Once again I am left pondering Essential’s steadfastness; when the other houses have moved away from Labor by a comparable 4 or 5 percentage points. It will be interesting to see if this divergence is just a point in time thing


Macro Morning: Silent night

A boring a night for stock investors with the US out and Europe a bit mixed. The FTSE fell 0.16%, the DAX was up 0.47%, the CAC rose 0.18% while Milan and Madrid both slid 0.51%. The Italian elections are coming up fast so that might be a cause of market angst again soon depending


Links 19 February 2013

Here’s a list of things Reynard read over night. Global Macro/Markets: Japanese investors, the AUD and everyone else – FT Alphaville Why central banks should take charge of their digital currencies – FT Alphaville Why aren’t more countries run by economists? – Washington Post North America: In America, bigger is better, especially when you’re a


ASX at the close

Courtesy of Chris Weston at IG Markets: There has been a gentleman-style agreement in place for some time that central banks should not specifically use monetary policy to directly invoke a weaker currency, and despite the bout of aggressive rhetoric it seems that Japan has been given the green light to continue its inadvertent depreciation.


Coking coal price firms

Newcastle thermal coal prices fell slightly. The strike at Colombia’s Cerrejon mine continued into its second week with a resolution between Cerrejon, the Government and miners yet to be reached. Uncertainty over the strike, impacting about 30 million tonnes of thermal coal exports into the seaborne market, may have contributed to choppy trading over the past week. Meanwhile, coking coal spot


Howes’ hypocrisy

Well, commentary isn’t much fun today with Australia’s interest groups tearing off the filter. Now it’s Paul Howes who reckons: “…I’m proud to be a supporter of Julia Gillard,” he said. “Someone who is prepared to stand up to the shock jocks and the millionaires and the media barons.” “It’s these people who have the gall


New car sales retrace

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released new motor vehicle sales for the month of January, which registered a seasonally-adjusted -2.4% fall in sales over the month but a 10.8% increase over the year: In seasonally adjusted terms, six of the eight states and territories posted a decrease in sales.


Industry policy cannot offset the Australian dollar

The Gillard government has released its new industry policy blueprint and it looks reasonable enough. Although Business Spectator gives it a caning, more even-handed analysis is available from Peter Roberts at the AFR: The extra $350 million to support innovation investment funds (IIFs) is a bold recognition that there remain market failures in our venture


Macro Morning: Walmart crash

Friday night was mixed with UK retail sales tanking 0.6% versus an expectation of a rise of 0.4% in January. US industrial production was also weaker than expected falling 0.1% in January against an expectation of a rise of 0.2% but the New York State Empire manufacturing survey was up sharply  to 10 from -7.78 last


The mining tax that kills Prime Ministers

From the AFR: Since the last poll before ­Christmas, Labor’s primary vote has fallen 5 percentage points to 30 per cent and the Coalition’s has risen 4 points to 47 per cent, giving it a two-party preferred lead over Labor of 56 per cent to 44 per cent. …The poll shows Ms Gillard’s preferred prime minister rating has


MB presentation: housing supply & price volatility

By Leith van Onselen Please find below a PowerPoint presentation entitled Housing Supply & Price Volatility that I presented last Thursday to a mortgage risk roundtable in Melbourne. The presentation discusses how markets with unresponsive (inelastic) land/housing supply tend to suffer from higher house price volatility and bigger boom and bust cycles than markets where land/housing


Auction clearance rate solid

By Leith van Onselen The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) yesterday released its preliminary auction results for the weekend just gone, which registered another solid result, with a preliminary clearance rate of 70% recorded on 437 auctions reported to the REIV. This compares to last week’s preliminary clearance rate of 69% from 204 auctions,


February Red Book

Find below Westpac’s bible of consumer attitudes, the Red Book, for February, 2013. The key points are: The Westpac–Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment posted a strong 7.7% rise in Feb, moving from ‘neutral’ to ‘optimistic’ territory. The Feb gain came despite a mixed range of influences in the month: the RBA leaving rates on hold; economic data releases ranging from surprisingly


The mismanaged boom

By Leith van Onselen Yesterday, ABC Radio National broadcast an interesting show entitled Policy Focus: The Mining Boom Economy, which featured George Megalogenis (author, political commentator and columnist at The Australian),  Nicholas Gruen (CEO, Lateral Economics), and Paul Bloxham (Chief economist for HSBC in Australia and New Zealand) questioning the underlying strength of the Australian


Links 18 February 2013

Here’s a list of things Reynard read over night. Global Macro/Markets: Austerity doesn’t work when everyone does it at the same time – Paul Krugman Swan calls for debt-led recovery at G-20 – The Australian Pursuing growth: Enough on its own? – With the world watching, Bernanke gives a go-ahead to the currency war


Trading Week: Gold breaks

By Chris Becker Here’s my roundup of what happened this week in major macro markets. Remember, the following views are my own, do not constitute advice and are for information purposes only. I may have positions in any or all of the below and their associated markets both long and short, on an intra-day, daily and


Weekend Links 16 to 17 February 2013

Here’s a list of things Reynard read over night. Global Macro/Markets: The New PE Ratio: Price to Ego – The Reformed Broker Currency War Confusions – New York Times What if the Stock Market Were a Bond? – Crossing Wall Street Do Record Equity Inflows Mean Anything? – The Big Picture What QE means for


A commodity shock for incomes

By Leith van Onselen Last year, the Australian Treasury released research showing that around half of the growth of average incomes experienced over the 2000s was caused by the one-off rise in the terms-of-trade (commodity prices), and that income growth and the economy would face stiff headwinds in the future as the terms-of-trade unwinds (subtracting


APRA gets it right on RMBS liquidity

From the AFR, APRA head John Laker last night snuffed out hopes that RMBS may be included in an expanded basket of qualifying assets for Basel III liquidity requirements for banks: “The discretion to add additional assets is qualified by the fact that these assets … must have a proven record of a reliable source