Weekend Musings: Language and $2 million

Since most of the MacroBusiness crew are under the weather, I thought I’d stick my oar in this weekend with some quiet musings. Two things to consider in this post: the notion of sound economic language, and how would you allocate $2 million for your retirement? Language is for the Birds Houses and Holes recently

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June 25: Weekend links

We are running a bit behind this weekend. Illness is still attacking the team so this will be a shorter than usual. Hopefully we will all be back to full strength next week. Down:  ore, CRB ,metals , euro, Aussie, gold, grains Mixed: energy Up: $US Sovereign contagion: Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Greece Market Analysis Bloomberg European liquidity issues hit Italy Bloomberg What’s really driving Canadian


Australian Dollar Weekly Wrap

I’ve been out of the office for the back end of the week so my observations are more ex-poste than normal. Sometimes that’s a good thing because we can always write history perfectly but at other times you miss the nuances that you gain when you are sitting in the midst of what’s going on. But I


RPData reports no change

RPData has put out their latest newsletter today and once again it isn’t great news for the housing market. The RP Data-Rismark Home Value Index results for May 2011 will be released next week and there is little evidence to suggest that there will be any significant change to market conditions with values likely to


SocGen on China’s construction bubble

Societe Generale (SocGen) has released a fascinating 50-page research report entitled Chinese construction bubble – Preparing for a potential burst. The report argues that the exponential growth of real estate and infrastructure spending in China is unsustainable and a painful adjustment will occur sooner or later, although SocGen acknowledges that it is impossible to predict when the slowdown or correction


Trading Day: 24th June

The S&P/ASX 200 has steadied after midday, now at 4498 points, down 0.04%, after opening slightly higher. Asian markets are mainly up, with the Nikkei up 0.28 percent to 9624 points, and the Hang Seng up strongly, 1.22% to 22,025 points. Other risk assets are mixed, although the AUD is just below 1.055 against the


The battle rages on

The battle for the hearts and mind of who’s telling the truth about housing prices in Australia rages on. In the latest installment SQM research’s Louis Christopher has returned serve to Michael Matusik via SQM’s newsletter. I have talked Mr Matusik previously, he is a housing bull , turned bear, who now seems to flip-flop between


Saul Eslake on commodity prices

Saul Eslake, Director of Productivity Growth Program at the Grattan Institute, yesterday presented a paper at the International Conference of Commercial Bank Economists in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on some of the longer term demand and supply factors shaping the behaviour of commodity prices, over the past decade and over the next 5-15 years. The full paper is below and


The Sensational Foster’s Buyout!

In an odd juxtaposition, the bogan, while poorly informed on almost all matters, will still have an opinion on most things, and is actually a relatively voracious consumer of media. The media have long known the enticing power of the bogan buck, and once their websites gave them the power to monetise bogan clicks, and


Charting Commodities

On news of the 4.6 percent decline in crude oil yesterday, in response to the International Energy Agency’s announcing a release of supplies from strategic reserves, and after my look at gold yesterday (which also fell last night) I thought I’d have a closer look at where we stand with commodities. First, the two major


Merry-go-round confusion

Judging by comments on the net and the press and in general public discourse, it appears that there’s still confusion between the role of the carbon price signal and the role of the distribution of proceeds from revenue raised. The latter has derisorily been referred to as a great big merry-go-round. Here’s an example of


June 24 links : Oil spill

Down:  ore, energy ,CRB ,metals , euro, Aussie, gold Mixed: grains Up: $US  Sovereign easing: Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Greece Market Analysis Bloomberg , Telegraph UK Greece has a new deal? Reuters  Greece’s pledges to IMF Reuters , while Greek PM doubts parliament will accept deal and let’s not forget the people WSJ More Argetina talk Krugman European liquidity isn’t improving ZeroHedge Oils big falls on reserve release


Sweden’s bubblicious housing

In conducting research for last night’s post on the German housing market, I came across some interesting information on the housing bubble developing in Sweden. It’s a story worth sharing since it offers important insights and parallels for Australia. Before I kick-off, first consider the below chart of real house prices since the mid-1980s: As


Would you Twizy ?

A little off topic tonight, but hopefully not too far. One of the things I used to talk about on my old blog was a concept I called GPEC. I am not going to discuss it again here, but basically it is a measure that I suggest government economic policy should be judged by. GPEC


China’s property bubble spreading

China Daily has published an interesting article, Record realty prices head to lower-tier cities, explaining how tightening measures undertaken by the Chinese Government to curb soaring property values in China’s major cities is causing bubble-like conditions to spread to second and third tier cities [hat tip World Housing Bubble]. Below are some of the key


Has Greece asked Argentina?

As my readers would know I have been discussing Europe’s financial issues for quite some time. I have stated many times that Greece’s issues are far bigger than just internal fiscal policy, and that I consider Greece’s default an inevitability due to its macro-economic position within the European marketplace. Overnight PIMCO added their voice to



The bid by SAB Miller for Foster’s almost certainly won’t go anywhere in its current form. But it is another blow to the non-resources industry base of Australia. What will Australians have to invest in on the ASX when large chunks of our industry base have become the part of someone else’s global food chain?


Trading Day: 23rd June

The S&P/ASX 200 has fallen over 20 points today, but has steadied after midday, now at 4512 points, down 0.44%, on the back of reduced GDP growth from the US. Asian markets are all down on the news, with the Nikkei down 0.37 percent to 9594 points, the Hang Seng also down 0.7% and Singapore


Australia’s population growth slowing

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released its latest population figures, and it shows Australia’s population growth rate for the 2010 calender year slowing to only 1.5%, 0.7% below the peak growth rate of 2.2% reached in the 2008 calender year. Here’s the ABS media release  and summary data relating to the release: MEDIA


Where now for Gold?

Spot gold in USD broke a recent high last night, after comments by the Fed chief Ben Bernanke, that milky-wilkies (QE3) are off the table, but will continue its zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) due to the slowing US economy. Gold jumped to $1559.50, before being sold off (which has regularly occurred whenever an intraday


Relying on stock market averages

In my research putting together my articles on Asset Allocation in Super, I’ve collated the data that supports the thesis that investing in Australian shares is not as lucrative as the financial industry would have you believe. The standard industry myth is that the stock market provides 9% returns on average. I’ll quote broker Marcus


Equity Spotlight: Cochlear

This week’s Spotlight will be on a company I believe is probably the best listed stock on the ASX – Cochlear Ltd (COH). Not only is it a great performer, with sound management and excellent returns for shareholders, it is an innovative company that should be a template for how our economy should present itself


Thanks Gov’

The Urban Development Institute Australia – Queensland division has released its report (available at the bottom of the post ) on its expectations for the building industry in Queensland over the coming year. Their press release summarises the report. While the June report is still dominated by bleak fundamental building activity figures, the Institute has


June 23 Links: Trending down

Sorry we are late this morning, the MacroBusiness team is suffering from winter ills. This will be a bit shorter than usual. Feel free to add some more links via comments if you find something worth sharing. Up: $US, gold , energy , metals Flat: ore Down: CRB,, grains, euro, Aussie Sovereign contagion: Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Greece Bernanke downgrades US GDP Reuters but no talk


How Germany achieved stable & affordable housing

A few months ago, after posting numerous articles advocating the Texan approach to land-use planning,  I promised fellow MacroBusiness blogger, The Prince, that I would undertake an analysis of the German housing system, which is regarded as amongst the most affordable and liberal in Europe. In my findings presented below, I have compared and contrasted the German housing system


Household pain higher than GFC

The venerable economists of the Melbourne Institute released their quarterly Household Financial Conditions survey yesterday and jeez we are unhappy. In fact, we were happier about our state of financial health in the midst of the greatest global economic crisis since the Great Depression: The press release added that: According to Dr. Edda Claus “the


Stat battles

The battle for the hearts and minds by the housing data providers has died down a bit since the 3-way skirmish in late May. Since then we have seen the birth of the a new venture that has seen 2 sides of that battle (SQM research and RPData-Rismark) publishing information through the same mouth-piece. It


Gail Kelly on loan arrears

Earlier today, Delusional Economics published a ripping post, Bad bank provisioning, analysing Westpac Chief Executive, Gail Kelly’s, public reassurances that the Australian housing market is robust and that the recent rise in mortgage delinquencies is not a major concern for the economy or the banks’ profits. Delusional concluded with the following insight into the motivations behind Ms Kelly’s public assurances


Trading Day: 22nd June

The S&P/ASX 200 jumped over 1% on the open again from positive leads from Greece, but has steadied after midday, now at 4540 points, up 32 points or 0.71% Asian markets have also responded in kind, with the Nikkei up over 1.3 percent to 9582 points, the Hang Seng also up 0.7% and Singapore lagging


Leading indicators point backwards

The Melbourne Institute/Westpac Leading Indicators Index is out today and shows that growth momentum in the economy has slowed. From the release (full report below): The annualised growth rate of the Westpac–Melbourne Institute Leading Index, which indicates the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months into the future, was 2.7% in April 2011 below its long term