Roy Morgan unemployment unchanged

Roy Morgan unemployment for April was unchanged: Unemployment was 9.3% (unchanged since March 2012) — an estimated 1,149,000 Australians were unemployed and looking for work. A further 8.2% (up 0.3%) of the workforce* were working part-time looking for more work (underemployed) — 1,010,000 Australians. In total 17.5% (up 0.3%) of the workforce, or 2.16 million

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Bank CDS on the rise

From the AFR this afternoon: Australia New Zealand Banking Group chief executive Mike Smith has signalled that the bank is unlikely to pass on a full rate cut when it reviews its interest rates this Friday, after the price of wholesale funding jumped back up on the back of nervous European markets. “The [Reserve Bank] said


Trade balance shocker to hit Q1 GDP

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released trade data for the month of March, and it’s an absolute shocker. In seasonally adjusted terms, the balance on goods and services recorded a deficit of $1,587 million in March 2012, a rise of $833 million on the deficit recorded in February


China links

Courtesy of Sinocism: The cover story of the latest issue of Caixin Magazine is a terrifying look at the state of tap water in China–自来水真相_财新网, with a condensed English translation in The Dirty Truth about Water Quality. It was the topic of conversation at a dinner party last night, it was all over Weibo, other Chinese media are


Gas gets expensive

The news that BG Group had experienced a cost over run of 36% for its 2014 QCLNG project in Queensland has Macquarie tracking the consequences for listed Australian stocks. BG stressed that much of the cost over run was country specific influences rather than sector specific conditions. Macquarie concludes that this is likely to influence Santos and Origin


Macrobusiness morning

by Chris Becker Macro Wrap Well that was a fun short holiday. Let’s see what I missed over the long weekend and what’s going to happen today, as Budget night looms large. After the horror week of PMI data, and an election win to the Socialists in France, this week began on a very sour


China’s unbelievable banks

If you can recall, some time ago I talked about the CBRC’s annual report on the Chinese banking system. The report said that Chinese banks are very well capitalised, with non-performing loans falling every year and capital adequacy ratio rising every year. You could have guessed that I disagree.  As I have talked about previously, China simply


Yes, one bank did cut 50bps

Following a stroke of marketing genius, Unicredit WA is set to become the fifth pillar in Australian banking. From Banking Day: bankmecu yesterday cut its standard variable home loan rate by 30 basis points, to 6.64 per cent. So far the only lender to cut its standard variable mortgage rate by 50 basis points is


Shale gas hype: Subprime 2.0

The following is by Yves Smith and is cross-posted from Naked Capitalism. It has some important implications for Australia’s own gas boom, not all of them bad.  If my RSS reader is any guide, most of the press about shale gas has focused on two issues. First, shale gas is in considerable supply, cheap to produce, and


The trend is Swanny’s friend

From Wayne Swan’s op-ed in today’s AFR: Australia’s economy is the envy of the world. Right now, our unemployment rate of 5.2 per cent is below every major advanced economy in the world bar one. …The IMF has forecast Australia will outperform every major advanced economy this year and next. The budget tonight will forecast


France simmers, Greece boils

Back in early February I wrote a post about 2 key things that I was watching out for in Europe that I thought the economic world was underestimating the impact of. I called these things “black cygnets”. One was Spain, the other was elections. My concerns about Spain came to pass and now it seems elections are


Retail sales in perspective

By Leith van Onselen Yesterday’s strong retail sales figures, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), were generally greeted with enthusiasm in the media.  For instance, Bloomberg reported the result as follows: Australian retail sales rose at more than four times the pace that economists forecast, capping the best quarter since 2009 as consumers


May 8th links: The Budget dance

Stuff Reynard the Fox found interesting today. Global macro:  The wrong kind of money. Gavyn Davies United States: More calling housing bottom. Calculated risk March consumer credit spikes on student, car loans. Bloomberg Europe: Hollande does not have long. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Analyst reactions to Europe. Alphaville Local: Company tax cut to go. AFR As growth


Rate cuts don’t equal higher equities

Lower interest rates should mean higher equities, but such neat relativities apply more to a long lost era of relatively discreet national economies. In a global context, where banks heavily depend on international funding and about two fifths of the ownership of the Australian stock market is from foreign institutions, it is far too simplistic. According to Deutsche bank, it


China links

Courtesy of Sinocism: Chen Guangcheng and his family are still in hospital in Beijing. The Wall Street Journal reports that the  U.S. Discusses With China Departure of Blind Activist while the Washington Post writes that Chen says U.S. diplomats, friends still barred from visiting him and that his family and friends face tempest of retribution. Let’s hope that Chen


Retail sales bounce back in March

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this morning released the retail trade data for the month of March, which registered a solid bounce in retail sales that beat analyst’s expectations. In seasonally adjusted terms, retail sales rose by 0.9% in the month of March and by 3.7% year-on-year – more or


Apartments drive bounce in dwelling approvals

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released the Building Approvals data for the month of March. At the national level, the number of dwelling approvals rose by a seasonally adjusted 7.4% to 11,501, driven predominantly by a 15.5% increase in approvals for units and apartments, as well as large


The ANZ job ads balls up

From the ANZ job ad series today: The number of job advertisements on the internet and in newspapers fell 3.1% in April after rising 0.7% in March. Advertisements are around 1.7% below the level of April 2011. So, more confirmation of a sudden deterioration in the economy in April But that’s not what matters. Get this:


NAB Survey deteriorates in April

In the first survey to give corroboration to the startling fall in last month’s PSI, the April NAB survey has come in weak: Business confidence rose a touch but conditions fell 3 points to 0, trading tanked 8 points to 0 and profitability also tanked 7 points to -4. Forward orders and stocks were unchanged


Australian dollar breakdown

The confluence of events over the past week has taken the wind from the Australian dollar’s sails and contributed to the drop through support in a manner that suggests this move has further to run.  Indeed I have been calling it back below parity for some time now – we just needed support to break


AIG’s black hat-trick

So, here we have the three indexes produced b the Australian Industry Group for April. First the manufacturing PMI tanked: Services crashed: And construction rolled over: All three of these indexes, such as they are, are below 45 and falling. That’s indicative of strong recession. I’ve documented that I think there are problems with the


Performance of Construction Index (credibility) falls

The AIG’s Performance of Construction Index (PCI) is out today and shows more trouble: The Australian Industry Group Performance of Construction Index (Australian PCI®) in conjunction with the Housing Industry Association registered 34.9 in April. This was 1.3 points below the reading in March to indicate a steeper rate of decline. The index has now remained below the critical


Getting a share pick wrong doesn’t mean losing

In effective investment you need liquidity, risk management and diversification. What is immediately appealing (but also a trap) with shares is how you can very easily buy a dozen or even 100 companies and sell them at a stroke of a keyboard, or in any size parcel, when required (usually – there’s always caveats). There


Is Australia turning Japanese?

Last week the RBA finally lowered its growth forecasts for the year ahead but it did so largely with a grain salt, still forecasting a pretty aggressive range of between 2.5 and 3.5%. Tomorrow night, the Federal government will release its Budget for the year ahead and, as Ross Gittins suggests today, will no doubt


Victoria’s total mortgages decline in April

By Leith van Onselen With the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) scheduled to release the March Housing Finance statistics next week, I thought it would be worthwhile to update readers on recently released Victorian Department of Sustainability & Environment (DSE) transfer and mortgage data for the month of April, which shows continued weakness in the


May 7th links: Liberté, égalité, fraternité

Stuff Reynard the Fox found interesting today. Global macro:  India slowing. NYT Cullen Roche on MMT in the FT United States: Rail traffic mixed in April. Calculated Risk Coal traffic smacked… Week ahead for Dow. Calculated Risk Europe: Socialists win France. Bloomberg Greeks surge to anti-austerity parties. Bloomberg Give Europe QE. Wolfgang Munchau Asia: Chinese papers launch


I come in praise of tax

It is time to leap to the defence of effective taxation. One of the lessons of the GFC, which is becoming increasingly apparent in the European crisis, is that government debt is far more vulnerable than private debt, because government debt cannot fail without massive repercussions. This is fairly obvious looking at Greece, which has government