Health profits halve as private health funds turn red

Data from the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) shows that the nation’s 37 private health insurers booked a combined profit of $723 million in 2019-20. The figures also show that 11 health funds made a loss for the financial year, compared with just five in 2018-19. Medibank and Bupa retained their rankings as Australia’s leading

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CBD office occupancy rises as workers trickle back

CBD office occupancy rates are slowly rising back toward pre-COVID norms as restrictions ease and workers return: The rates are compiled by the Property Council of Australia based on responses from 102 office landlords, who collectively own or manage the majority of central business district office buildings. “The shift is on and more CBD workers


El Trumpo’s virus revenge takes shape

As if the American people have not suffered enough now they must endure El Trumpo’s virus revenge as cases, hospitalisations and deaths all skyrocket: The moving averages are not pretty: As the mortality rate bottoms out: I have every confidence that EL Trumpo will spend his last few months in office aiming to make this


Final auction clearance rate booms

CoreLogic has released its final auction clearance results for last weekend, which reveals that the final national clearance rate surged to 71.0% from 66.9% the prior week: Sydney’s auction clearance strengthened to 73.1% from 70.4% the prior week, whereas Melbourne’s rose to 70.1% from 63.52%. As noted by CoreLogic: Last week, the combined capital city


Construction activity to fall 3.2% in 2020-21

The Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) has forecast that construction activity will fall by 3.2% in 2020-21 due to the impact of COVID-19. Construction work in the accommodation sector is tipped to fall by 34%, while a 23% decline in entertainment and recreation projects is expected. However, the ACIF expects an increase in construction work


Australia’s trade surplus falls heavily in Q3

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released trade data for the month of September, which registered a rebound in Australia’s trade surplus to $5,630 million amid rising exports and falling imports: Specifically, exports rose $1,265 million (4%) to $33,737 million. non-monetary gold rose $989m (72%) non-rural goods rose $207m (1%) net exports of goods under merchanting


Australia records zero local COVID-19 infections

Australia recorded only 2 new COVID-19 infections overnight: However, both were overseas acquired in hotel quarantine: Victoria recorded zero community transmissions for the sixth consecutive day, with the 14-day average in Melbourne falling to just 1.4: NSW is now the COVID epicentre; although infection rates there are tiny as well: There are now only 120


If Beijing wants a divorce then let’s give it a doozy

Via The Australian: Uncertainty hangs over Australia’s $149bn in exports to China as a blockade of wine destined for the nation’s biggest trade show in Shanghai has heightened fears that a sweeping ban could follow within days. More than a dozen wine exhibitors at China’s premier trade fair have had their products stopped by Customs


Early super withdrawals continue to slow

APRA has published its early superannuation release data for the week ended 25 October, which revealed that only $173 million was withdrawn from Australia’s superannuation system, taking the total amount withdrawn early to $34.6 billion: According to APRA: Over the week to 25 October, superannuation funds made payments to 24,000 members, bringing the total number


Bipartisan agreement at last as developer bribes liberalised

Yes, our pollies have come together to tackle the crucial issue of our time, at The Converastion: While Australians were distracted last week by Melbourne’s lockdown ending and the final days of the Queensland and United States elections, both major parties joined forces in federal parliament to weaken political donations laws. This will make it easier for federal


UBS on NAB’s new profit hit

Via Jonathon Mott at UBS: ONE LINER Solid result. Better revenue. Credit provision build. Dividend in line. KEY NUMBERS (FY20, continuing operations) (1) FY20 Cash NPAT from continuing operations $3,710m (8% below Visible Alpha Cons; 1% below UBSe); (2) Cash Basic EPS continuing 121cps (Cons 132cps, UBSe 123cps); (3) Final dividend 30cps (Cons 28cps, UBSe


Retail sales bounce positive for Q3 GDP

Quarterly retail sales figures released yesterday by the ABS will boost September quarter GDP when the national accounts are released early next month. In quarterly real chain volume terms, retail sales surged by 6.5% in the September quarter, rebounding from the September quarter’s 3.5% decline: This rebound pushed annual sales volumes growth into positive territory,


Macro Morning

Stocks continue to love the US election non-outcome as both Europe and Wall Street surged overnight while Treasury yields retraced sharply lower as the hope of any stimulus faded with a locked or GOP senate (same thing really). Currency markets calmed down slightly with USD still in defensive mode, as oil prices continued their rebound


Australian dollar to the moon with Biden win

DXY sank last night: The Australian dollar had one wild day: Gold was subdued: Commodities bounced: Miners fell: EM stocks went nuts: As junk jumped: While Treasuries crashed: And stocks soared: Westpac has the wrap: Event Wrap US service sector ISM fell to 56.6 (est. 57.4, prior 57.8), reflecting the potential of a slowdown in growth


NSW opens to Victoria, but Dan wants you to stay home

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday announced that the state would open its border to Victoria on 23 November: Ms Berejiklian said Victoria’s “severe” and “prolonged” lockdown may have eliminated COVID-19 in the state, which has gone five days without recording a new infection. She said that assessment was based on NSW Health advice. “They may


Charting Australia’s housing construction glut

With last week’s release of population growth data for the September quarter, it is once again time to examine how Australia’s dwelling supply is tracking against population growth, as projected in the 2020 federal budget. The below charts track the above population projections against the latest available quarterly dwelling construction data, specifically: Dwelling approvals to


Links 5 November 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Why Big Tech doesn’t much care who wins the election – Axios Dalio Says Yuan Will Be a Reserve Currency Faster Than Expected – Bloomberg Financial Markets Show Signs of Worries About High-Yield Bonds. But Bond Prices Aren’t Reflecting Them. – Barrons Americas: Biggest U.S. Banks Aren’t as Strong


Macro Afternoon

What a day! Stocks, commodities, currencies and futures are going ga-ga over the US “election” as volatility rears its beautiful, shiny head across traders screens today. In a nutshell, USD has been moving alongside the up and down probability of a Trump enema or a Biden bye-bye, leaving a wake of volatility in all dollar


Retail sales fall 1.1% in September

The ABS released final retail sales data for the month of September, which fell 1.1% versus the fall of 1.5% published in the Preliminary release: Below is the breakdown by industry: And here’s the breakdown by state: This data was already flagged in the preliminary release, thus there is nothing new here.


Childcare drives lift in cost of living

The ABS today released its cost of living indices for the September quarter, which rebounded after the December quarter’s decline: According to the ABS: Child care was the main contributor for three of the five population sub-groups following the end of free child care on 13 July. This was followed by automotive fuel increasing across


Victorians to remain locked-out of South Australia

Despite Victoria recording zero new COVID-19 infections for five consecutive days, Melbourne’s 14-day average plummeting to just 1.4 cases (see next chart), and total active infections across Victoria falling to only 30. South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has denied free entry by Victorians to South Australia, instead requiring Victorians to self-quarantine for 14 days after


Investors blame first home buyers for housing crisis

It’s become increasingly apparent that New Zealand is facing another housing bubble. New Zealand’s housing market has brushed off the COVID-19 pandemic, recording 2.1% value growth in the two months to October to be up 8.0% year-on-year – reaching another record high: According to CoreLogic: The support mechanisms put in place by the Government (wage


Deloitte: Major projects to boom (we hope)

Via Deloitte: Deloitte Access Economics’ Investment Monitor is primarily a source of information for businesses and others about major engineering and commercial construction projects and their promoters. It is also a barometer of structural change in the Australian economy, and of the investment climate – now and in the future. The database for this edition


Pathetic McGowan crawls to China

WA should discover a bit of self-respect: Mark McGowan has lashed out about Australia’s deteriorating relationship with China after $2million worth of lobster was left stranded in Shanghai. …’We don’t share the same political system, we don’t share many of the same attributes as countries,’ he said. ‘But that doesn’t mean we can’t get on, that doesn’t