6

Nev confronts the deluge

I’m really enjoying the effort of FMG’s Nev Power at the moment. The guy is the kind of square-jawed straight-shooter that you would very much like to have in your corner in a scrap. But he also reminds me a little of Russell Crowe’s Noah, confronting the great deluge, and pushing back at forces far larger

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34

Lord Newman takes his entitlement

There’s nothing wrong with a good public sector clean out from time to time to clean up the budget. But paying yourself a huge bonus for doing it is a bit rich. From The Australian: The Queensland Independent Remuneration Tribunal decided the base salary of Queensland MPs last October, and on Thursday made a ruling

5

HIA bogus housing affordability worsens

By Leith van Onselen The Housing Industry Association (HIA) today released its quarterly housing affordability index for the December quarter of 2013, which registered a slight fall. From the Media Release: Housing affordability declined slightly in the December 2013 quarter as the positive impact from previous interest rate cuts tapered off.. “Those in the housing

9

Chinese steel mills face ruin

Mac Bank has its proprietorial China steel mill survey out and the news is poor. Steel profitability has literally collapsed: New orders have also collapsed: But at least construction has showed some seasonal life: The FT’s Beyond BRICS has more: “Looking at profitability, it is clear why the smaller mills are making the largest cuts (in

31

NSW puts the clamp on coal seam gas

By Leith van Onselen In a move that is certain to infuriate the oil and gas lobby, the New South Wales Government has announced that it will freeze coal seam gas (CGS) exploration applications for six months, review existing licences, and significantly increase licencing fees. From The Guardian: The Premier, Barry O’Farrell, accused the former

22

Is big data an edge?

Cross-posted from The Conversation. Much of big data comes from people. Web logs, mobile phone usage, financial transactions, insurance claims, you name it: it’s being recorded for potential further analysis to generate business value and improved customer experience. It goes by the name of customer analytics, and large retailers and service providers, at least in

34

Barclays: House prices to trigger early rate hike

The AFR has some Kouky reading from Kieran Davies, chief economist at Barclays Bank Australia: “The RBA now seems less comfortable. That said, the governor still seems sceptical of macro-prudential policy, suggesting that ‘prolonged use’ of prudential tools indicates that interest rates are too low…The Sydney housing market is the canary in the coalmine for

50

5 doomed jobs

From the Herald Sun comes an interesting little tale about soon to be obsolescent jobs: TAXIS The emergence of car sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are quickly putting an end to the taxi industry’s cartel-like control over personal transportation. PARKING INSPECTORS …self-driving cars don’t need anywhere to park. While they have been rumoured for

14

Privatising Medibank makes sense

By Leith van Onselen The Abbott government yesterday confirmed that it will push ahead with plans to sell Medibank Private through an initial public offering (IPO) next financial year, in a move which industry analysts expect will raise around $4 billion for the government. In October last year, the Government launched a scoping study into

2

Hedgies pull down Australian dollar shorts

From the SMH blog: Investors are scampering to unwind wagers on a decline in Australia’s dollar as a pickup in the economy stokes speculation that the central bank will start to raise interest rates next year. Hedge funds and other large speculators cut so-called net shorts by 25,643 contracts to 15,370 contracts in the week ended March 18, the second biggest reduction

3

US debates total LNG export freedom

From LNGWorldNews: U.S. Subcommittee on Energy and Power examined H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act. The bill will accelerate approvals of U.S. LNG exports to American allies. The legislation facilitates automatic approvals of all export applications that have been noticed in the Federal Register and modifies the process moving forward so that

74

Housing affordability round table barfs on nation

By Leith van Onselen The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) hosted a housing affordability roundtable yesterday, which included a number of speakers from industry and the government, including: Kevin Andrews MP, Minister for Social Services; Peter Bushby, President, REIA; Brent Davis, Industry Policy, Master Builders Australia; Hannah Gissane, Project Co-ordinator, Equal Rights Alliance; Adrian

5

Goldman and JPM reiterate rate cut call

From Tim Toohey at Goldman Sachs: Today’s speech reinforced that the RBA has set quite a high hurdle for further policy easing, suggesting that the RBA cannot be expected to “fine tune” the recovery, particularly in regard to non-mining investment. Governor Stevens’ effort to downplay the stronger 4Q2013 CPI, inflation pressures more broadly and the

48

Q: How conservative is this man?

A: Absurdly so. From the AFR: Former Liberal prime minister John Howard does not agree with Tony Abbott’s decision to reinstitute knights and dames into the Australian honours system, saying he stands by his long-held view that such a move would be considered “somewhat anachronistic”, even by conservatives. Mr Howard indicated that because of his

1

US long bond yields approach breakdown

The last two days have seen a string of mediocre US housing reports, which may have helped along the bid at the long end of the bond curve. Yesterday we had new home sales which met lowered expectations (all charts from Calculated Risk): Sales of new single-family houses in February 2014 were at a seasonally

12

China has a little bank run

From the FT: Hundreds of depositors have raced to pull their cash from a small rural bank in eastern China, forcing local officials to take emergency measures to calm the panic after the bank run began to spread. …But it has also been a localised event, contained to one farming county where lightly regulated credit co-operatives

2

More China stimulus talk

This time it’s from Nomura via the AFR: Analysts at Japanese broker Nomura said in a note: “Can growth stabilise without a major change of policy stance? We believe it cannot, as tight labour market conditions suggest that potential growth has already dropped to around 7 per cent or below. “From a cyclical perspective, the cumulative policy

10

Links 27 March 2014

Global Macro / Markets: Are we on the verge of another tech bubble? – Yahoo North America: Banks pay out $100bn in US fines – Financial Times Do Big Banks Have Lower Operating Costs? – New York Fed Do “Too-Big-to-Fail” Banks Take On More Risk? – New York Fed US loses edge as employment powerhouse

28

ASX at the close

By Evan Lucas for Chris Weston, Chief Market Strategist at IG Markets The three C’s continue to abate Concerns around the three C’s (cold, Crimea, China) are dropping off as the effect of the US winter subsides, the Crimean conflict is no longer affecting markets and China has seen stimulation bets ramping up. The three C’s

18

What happens when investor demand stalls?

By Leith van Onselen Business Spectator’s Callum Pickering has posted a good write-up of the RBA Financial Stability Review’s discussion on Australian property. Included is the below warning by Callum about the strong build-up in investor demand, which has raised the risk of a significant fall in values at some point in the near future: