New Zealand Deleverages (Continued)

Following Wednesday’s post, New Zealand Deleverages: Taste of Things to Come, two important pieces of information have been released supporting my contention that the New Zealand economy is facing a prolonged period of anaemic growth as household’s deleverage following their borrowing binge in the 2000s.  First, data was released on Thursday showing a ‘shock’ rise in unemployment to 6.8% from

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Weekend Reading: QEIII

US unemployment report solid. Calculated Risk Long Treasuries screaming. Zero Hedge Bernanke denies role in food spike. FT Reluctant to move. Gavyn Davies Merkel’s mission. Bloomberg Clawbacks are coming. FT Big banks and fiscal ruin. Baseline Scenario Game on for Portugal. Bloomberg SWF now. Michael West TBTF. Malcolm Maiden Fairfax addresses it’s rising shareholder. Adele Ferguson Expanding


The price of prudent banking

Systemic risk caused by non-prudent lending is obviously a danger to the economy. It is therefore important that the financial system has a level of legislation and regulation that ensures that risk is correctly measured and worn by those who seek to profit from it. The world’s financial regulators are slowly adopting Basel standards for financial regulation in hope that it will remove the


Dutch Disease hits profit season

Analysts’ forecasts for the reporting season are showing just how biased the Australian economy is becoming towards the mining sector. UBS is estimating earnings per share growth for this financial year to be 14.4 per cent. Resources are predicted to be up 43 per cent, the rest of the market up only 4.5 per cent.


Hawkish blather

There’s quite a lot of blather in the media about the RBA’s outlook on interest rates following the quarterly statement on monetary policy. Most of it predicting more rate rises sooner rather than later – here, here and here – and everyone interpreting the RBA’s statement that it will “look through” the flood effects as proof that it’s


Paul Krugman is wrong (updated)

A few days ago, Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman declared again that there is no ‘financialisation’ element to the current commodity price surge. He began: I’ve been getting a fair bit of correspondence insisting that political unrest, in the Arab world and elsewhere, is being caused by … Ben Bernanke. You see, quantitative easing is responsible for


Links February 4: Inflate/deflate

US ISM strongish. Bloomberg Versus US employers still unsure of recovery. FT Rice now flying. Zero Hedge Liberalise food. Javier Blas UN indicators have food prices at record. Zero Hedge IMF warns Asia overheating. WSJ European consumers close wallets. Econompic Irish bank run. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Ireland by Michael Lewis. Vanity Fair Contagion returns. Portugal China anomalies. Zero


Australia doesn’t need more securitisation

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am highly sceptical of measures aimed at increasing competition within the mortgage market. Back in December, I argued that Australia’s housing bubble had been caused by a combination of easy credit and unresponsive housing supply. In the early-1990s, these non-bank lenders entered the Australian mortgage market and began raising funds via securitisation


Has the debt tide turned ?

I have followed the AFG mortgage reports for some time. AFG claims to be the largest brokerage service in the country with about 20% of the market.  The figures they produce are only a guide to the overall mortgage market, but previously their reports have matched very closely with the more comprehensive figure from the ABS that have come later. The


Digging for dividends

Here’s the latest idea in the market. Dividend payments from mining companies (yes, some mining companies pay dividends). The long term commodity boom, which is dominated by a global oligopoly, may be triggering a change in the way mining companies are evaluated, away from capital gains and towards dividend. Analysts are trying to ride the sentiment; probably as a


Links February 3: Inflation rages

Egypt riots. BBC Yemen President offers resignation. Hindustan Times Pakistan next? Marc Faber Worse to come for food. FT Wen commits to tackling inflation. Reuters Iceland’s successful bankruptcy. Bloomberg Neoclassical to behavioural economics. Credit Writedowns (h/t Naked Cap) US refinance now reverse ATM. Calculated Risk Australia more risky (and expensive). The Age Yasi to boost commodity


NZ Deleverages: Taste of Things to Come

Readers that have followed this blog for a while will know that I follow events in New Zealand closely, as I believe that events there can provide important insights and lessons for Australia. In many ways, New Zealand is a microcosm of Australia (minus the resources). We share essentially the same banking system (New Zealand’s largest banks are owned by Australia’s Big


Buying the dips

Today’s report by UBS on global equity market performance in last December highlights the value of buying after bad news. The best performing market was … Greece. Presumably after the announcements that Japan and China would pitch into help the Eurozone debt auctions. Those who bought during the Greece crisis will have done well. Of course China will help the Euro; it is positioning to take


Queensland’s cyclone

Cyclone Yasi has been upgraded to a Category 5 storm ( the highest level ) and on current estimates is expected to hit between Cairns and Innisfail at around 10pm tonight. The size of this storm is overwhelming, and the bureau of meteorology has announced that this is largest recorded storm ever to hit Queensland. Weatherzone


Yuan gush

From Michael Pettis’s exclusive newsletter comes this update on Chinese lending and interest rates: It seems that already bankers might be anticipating the relaxation of lending targets.  Rumors on the ground suggest that new lending in January may come in as high as RMB 1.2 trillion.  This might seem pretty strong evidence that the PBoC


Links February 2: Eye of the storm

Egypt’s million man march. FT, Bloomberg Jordan sacks government. FT Will unrest spread to Saudi Arabia? Ambrose Evans-Pritchard What does revolution cost in Oz? $22m. The Age ISM power. Calculated Risk Commodity laggards breaking out. Barron’s Stock picking is dead. Zero Hedge China housing bubble hits terminal velocity. Bloomberg Chanos on short China. FT Higher rates coming in


The Australian banks’ $135 billion funding chase

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) today published an article entitled Banks in $135bn funds chase, which highlighted the significant offshore funding challenges facing Australia’s banks. Here’s an extract of what the AFR had to say: The heavy reliance of Australian banks on international financing will force the big four banks to seek about $135 billion in wholesale funding


Holy cash cow, Batman!

Oh yes, ladies and gentleman, fresh from the RBA, that’s another monthly moonshot in Australia’s terms of trade for January. That means: Over the past year, the index has risen by 49 per cent in SDR terms. Much of this rise has been due to increases in iron ore, coking coal and thermal coal export


Queensland’s water bill

A cyclone the size of the Northern Territory is currently bearing down on North Queensland. The emergency broadcast system sent an SMS to every Queenslander last night and according to the Queensland Premier Cyclone Yasi will hit the north Queensland coast with greater ferocity than devastating Cyclone Larry. Thousands of residents, as well as patients at Cairns hospital, face


Get yourself a hard hat

Some boom. According to Bloomberg: Australian manufacturing contracted in January for a fifth straight month as measures of inventories, wages and supplier deliveries declined, a private survey showed. The manufacturing index was 46.7, compared with 46.3 in December, the Australian Industry Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a survey released in Canberra today. A number below 50


Go Wes young man

Will the uprising in Egypt be an influence on the Woolworths share price? The interconnection of the global economy can be exaggerated, of course. The news that Coles is rapidly catching up will be exciting more investment attention in the short term. Coles’ food and liquor sales grew by 6.3%in the latest half compared with 3.5%


The great disleveraging

The RBA’s credit aggregates for December were out yesterday and as always make interesting reading. Owner-occupier mortgage debt expanded at an annualised rate  of 7.3% seasonally adjusted. Investor mortgages grew at 4.8%. Personal debt shrank at 4.2% annualised and business at 4.1%. All four of these figures are showing slow declines or low growth plateaus.


Links February 1: Risk awwwwwn

Egypt rebels rally to El Baradei. WSJ, NYT Brent hits $100. Barchart US PMI details. Zero Hedge Loneliest man at Davos. Bloomberg China’s housing poor. Telegraph US dependent upon global rebalancing. Tim Duy Reform monetary policy. Henry Thornton Coking coal moonshot continues. Coal Portal Maybe this is why. BOM No financialisation of commodities. Krugman (is he nuts?)


Don’t give me credit

I have mentioned Veda Advantage previously. They produce a nice report on Australian credit demand on a quarterly basis. Today they released their latest report. For those who understand credit dynamics and its economic effects this report is very concerning. Personal loan enquiries rose 2% year-on-year during the December quarter, the first sign of growth after 11 consecutive


Up or Downer

OK, the stock’s a dog. But might it be a counter cyclical punt? The announcement by Downer EDI that it would make a further $250 million provision for its Waratah project saw the shares fall by about a fifth. “Problems are compounding with no end in sight” Morningstar warns. “Here we go again” Macquarie Equities


The China domino

The stated goal of the Hu Jintao-led Chinese government is a “harmonious society”. Perhaps that is why the word “Egypt” was blocked on certain search engines over the weekend. Multiple factors are in play in Egypt, but there is one vital similarity with China: Food inflation of a breadth and severity that few in the


Links January 31: Fog of war

Egypt approaches endgame. FT Army withdrawing to create chaos? The Arabist Suez not the problem. Contagion is. James Hamilton All things oil – up. Barchart Harmony. China blocks “Egypt”. Reuters China bubble risk. Telegraph Happy Davos. Simon Johnson No commodity speculation. (Nah, none at all) Greed, green and grains Cyclones in Qld. SMH Qld dogs should marry.


The Gold Coast’s other casino

As I have mentioned previously, the Gold Coast is the frontline of the credit driven correction occurring in Australia. I have previously expressed my concern about the flow-on effects to Queensland’s banks.  Today I note that the local spruikers are back trying to talk up the market. FOUR of 11 prestige properties were sold in an exclusive auction held by Ray White Surfers


Mother Nature is not finished

As Julia Gillard attempts to convince everyone that the flood levy is the “best thing for the country” I have to reprint the following lines. “It is not true to say to Australians that there is a big pile of money there that somehow I could just go and use,” Ms Gillard told the Seven Network today.


Neocon’s revenge II

History, it seems, is not without a sense of irony. You may recall that September 11, 2001 marked the rise in the US of a new breed of foreign policy hawk: The Neoconservatives. The stated goal of the ‘Neocons’ was a “Project for a New American Century”. Their principles were laid out in 1997 in