RPData on regions

Earlier in the week I posted on RPData’s press release and queried why the data representation had changed from the previous media releases. You will note that the second chart is suddenly absent in the May press release even though it has appeared in every other release this year. Now I am aware that I could

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Australian dollar weakness

I haven’t posted on the AUD this week largely because nothing is happening as it trades within the recent range. Certainly the downside looks more protected than its did for the past few weeks but I’ve been watching it all week wondering why it is so weak? You’re probably wondering how I can say that as


Trading Day: slippery slope

The S&P/ASX 200 continues to slip, down 12 points or 0.25% to 4585 points, after following Wall Street again overnight. Asian markets continue to sell off, with the Nikkei down 0.32%, the Hang Seng down 0.5% and Singapore down 0.3%. Other risk assets are mixed, with the AUD down but steady at 1.0672 against the


Councils flee the carcass

Yesterday Deep T wrote a thought provoking piece about the responsibility of governments at all levels and their part in the ever increasing prices of houses in Australia.  As part of that post he said. It should come as no surprise that the main instigator in this part of the equation is state and local


Flood-pumped retail

Yesterday’s retail sales were unequivocally strong with a print of 1.1%. This flies in the face of what we are hearing regarding arrears levels from the big banks, from retailers themselves, and the rise to an 11.5% savings rate in the national accounts.  Hence, there was a lively discussion yesterday at MB about whether there could have been a


Services activity insipid

The AIG PSI (which tracks services economy activity) for May is out and shows a struggle on Main St: KEY FINDINGS ■ Activity levels in the services sector eased slightly in May, following a solid increase in April.The latest seasonally adjusted Australian Industry Group/Commonwealth Bank Australian Performance of Services Index (Australian PSI®) fell by 1.6 points



The question of climate change has long been a vexed one for the bogan. During the mid-00s, when the weight of public opinion began swinging behind the scientific consensus, and the need to take action about it, the polling suggested that the bogan jumped on board. Far be it for the bogan to stand out


Commodities crash brewing

So, the game of QE3 is afoot. Let’s begin with an excerpt from John Hilsenrath of the WSJ: Federal Reserve officials are in no hurry to respond to recent indications U.S. economic growth has hit another soft patch, despite chatter in financial markets that the Fed might start a new program of U.S. Treasury-bond purchases


Banker makes housing sense!

Today, the ANZ Bank’s CEO of Australian operations, Phil Chronican, gave a superb speech on the state of the Australian housing market to the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia (AmCham). In his speech, Mr Chronican touched on a number of important issues, including: inadequate housing supply; negative gearing; housing’s poor investment fundamentals; and the


June 3 links: Will they or won’t they?

Up: euro, Aussie, grains, energy Down: gold, $US, metals, CRB Sovereign tension: Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Greece Trichet calls for fiscal integration. Bloomberg EU shifts a millimeter that way. Reuters Debt ceiling fallout. Paul Krugman (h/t NakedCap) Moody’s mulls US downgrade. Alphaville BLS preview. Calculated Risk Commodity financialisers make hay. WSJ China downturn would cut 60% from commodities: S&P. Reuters No shit… Fed rebuffs market. WSJ


ANZ on arrears

This morning I posted about what I consider to be somewhat perverse logic used by the RBA in their attempt to talk down the systemic banking risk presented by the 2009 first home buyer cohort and what seemed to be a very different view of that risk presented by a recent UBS report. This afternoon


Trading Day: falls across the board

The S&P/ASX 200 suffered one of its worst days dropping over 105 points or nearly 2.5% to close just under 4600 points, after taking strong leads from the falls on Wall Street overnight. Asian markets were also heavily sold off, with the Nikkei down 1.6%, the Hang Seng down 1.7% and Singapore down 0.52%. Other


Retail rips

The ABS just released retail sales data for April and the outcome of +1.1% was way beyond market expectations of a rise of 0.4% with last month’s fall of 0.5% being revised to only -0.3%. These are unequivocally strong and unexpected numbers and will complicate the outlook for the market, which doesn’t think the RBA is


Trade surplus steady

ABS International Trade for April is out. Not much of a surprise with an ongoing strong surplus: APRIL KEY POINTS BALANCE ON GOODS AND SERVICES The trend estimate of the balance on goods and services was a surplus of $1,557m in April 2011, a fall of $47m on the surplus in March 2011. In seasonally adjusted


Commodities hit new record

Missed this one yesterday. From the RBA’s Index of Commodity Prices: Preliminary estimates for May indicate that the index rose by 2.3 per cent (on a monthly average basis) in SDR terms, after rising by 7.3 per cent in April (revised). The largest contributors to the rise in May were increases in the estimated export prices of


Some QEasy charts

With the ructions in overnight markets given the poor state of data coming out of the US and continued sovereign debt issues in Europe, l thought I’d show how this is playing out visually in the important markets. There are a couple of “standout” charts that underline what is really going on: US 10 year


QE3 chicken

Breaking news! Last night, Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, announced he is pregnant.  A glowing Bernanke told a packed press conference that the child was neither a girl nor a boy. It was, in fact, a third round of quantitative easing. The child is expected to be born before the year is out. Don’t say


Blame your leaders

How about we become solution focused? Maybe even think a little outside the paradigm. MacroBusiness has been full of very well researched articles over the last month with data to burn. Accompanied by more often than not, very well thought through commentary and interpretations. It’s been hard to keep on top of the many topics


Getting so much poorer all the time…

From yesterday’s National Accounts, here’s a stab at explaining why, despite the ongoing growth in the economy (ignoring the March quarter hiccup), there are so many folk that are clearly feeling the pinch. First, a graph of real gross national income: A few observations here. First, that extraordinary dip in 2008 looks like the way


Chinese shadow banking

Exclusively from Michael Pettis newsletter: My SWS associate Chen Long tells me that last week’s markets indicate that monetary conditions in China are still pretty tight, as measured by the cost of short-term liquidity in the interbank market. As I have argued before, I think this says a lot more about the extent of domestic


June 2 links: QE3 dawn

Up: gold, $US Down: euro, Aussie Smashed: CRB, energy, metals, ore, grains Sovereign tension: Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Greece US ISM smashed in May. Calculated Risk ADP employment report crunched in May. Calculated Risk US rising rents. Tim Duy Now Ireland goes for haircuts. FT Eurozone endgame. Martin Wolf China may assume local debts. Businessweek Four banks control 85% of OTC derivatives. London Banker


UK moves to prevent bubbles

In 1998, following the release of the Financial System (‘Wallis’) Inquiry’s final recommendations on financial system regulation, the Australian Government implemented a new organisational framework for the regulation of the financial system. Prior to the Wallis Inquiry, regulation was either governed by the states for some products or based on a sectoral approach with industry


Trading Day: GDP jitters

The S&P/ASX 200 is down 2 points or 0.04% to 4707 just after midday, after rallying strongly in overnight trade, but pulling back at the open this morning amongst the jitters around the negative GDP figures. Asian markets are also mixed, with the Nikkei down 0.2%, the Hang Seng down 0.2% and Singapore up 0.33%.


GDP as expected

The AUD rallied straight after the GDP result this morning and now sits at 1.0729, equally 3 year swap rates have risen 5 bps post number also  suggesting that for currency and interest rate traders at least the GDP was not as weak as they had feared even if market economists got pretty close: Indeed


$30 billion fantasy

In response to the Garnaut Report, Terry McCrann today claims that the government will collect “$30billion” from the carbon tax if the price reaches $70. This is a scare campaign being run by much of the Murdoch press. McCrann’s reasons that: In theory, the price is then set by the market. But if we are to


Manufacturing slides away

Last month the AIG PMI  showed a hint of improvement suggested light at the end of the tunnel for manufacturing. Sadly, this month, it’s ugly. The RBA has its adjustment going just fine already. Manufacturing activity remained in negative territory in May with the seasonally adjusted Australian Industry Group-PwC Australian PMI® down slightly by 0.7 points to 47.7


Profiting from debt: FSA

Following on from The Prince’s article on Australian debt, this week’s equities spotlight focuses on FSA Group Ltd – one of Empire’s favourite debt companies and a current constituent of our portfolio. The Business FSA Group Ltd (FSA) is the largest provider of debt solutions to individuals and businesses in Australia.  The operations of FSA can be split


Of RBA and men

It is going to be so hard for the RBA to hike rates next week given the nature and structure of economic growth that is being revealed by the economic data over the past month, since the SoMP was released. It will be interesting to see how they handle this because we are not seeing


Relative optimism

Today I’m going to take issue with a couple of my fellow bloggers. I’m going to be optimistic, in a real sort of way. I write often on Dutch Disease, which is a very real problem and, in my view, poses a serious threat to our prosperity in the long term. This, however, can sometimes