More proof superannuation isn’t a genuine retirement pillar

In his explosive expose’ on Australia’s compulsory superannuation system (here and here), Dr Cameron Murray argued that superannuation is not a genuine retirement policy because, among other things, it can be with withdrawn well before the official retirement age of 66 (rising to 67): Among other things, super can be spent many years before retirement,

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Japanese cruise ship overrun with coronavirus

Yeh, it’s contagious: Another 41 people quarantined aboard a cruise liner off the coast of Japan have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected passengers to 61. The dramatic jump in fresh cases follows 10 positive diagnoses among Diamond Princess passengers on Wednesday, and a further 10 on Thursday. The new


Business defaults boom, personal insolvencies bust

More contradictory indicators of the Australian economy have been released, with business payment defaults surging in 2019: The number of businesses defaulting on payments jumped 29 per cent in 2019, pointing to an increase in insolvencies in the year ahead… “Payment defaults are one of the leading indicators and these figures show many small and


Australia’s retirement system needs radical reform

From The Conversation: The government’s retirement income review is being told our current tax and benefit treatment of retirement incomes is a mess. Much of financial planning industry is devoted to structuring affairs to maximise access to the age pension. The means test and other requirements that control access to it are a bureaucratic nightmare


Shell adds renewables to vertical energy gouge

One might ordinarily cheer this: Energy giant Shell has approved a 120MW solar plant in Queensland’s Western Downs region, two months after buying a stake in Australian renewable power developer Esco Pacific. Shell will buy supplies from the Gangarri project near Wandoan, due early 2021, with the same amount of electricity bought from the national


UBS downgrades Aussie GDP

Via the excellent George Tharenou at UBS: Q4 retail volumes bounce 0.5% (0.4% y/y), but reflects weak price pressure Retail volumes in Q4-19 bounced 0.5% q/q (UBS 0.2%, mkt: 0.3%, pre: -0.1%). But, this reflects slower than expected prices (0.4%), indicating weaker inflation pressure than CPI. Indeed, retail volumes remain poor at 0.4% y/y (after


As China heads back to work, coronavirus is out of control

The latest update and charts: At 04:00 on February 6th, 31 provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities) and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps reported 3,143 newly confirmed cases (2,447 in Hubei), and 387 newly cured cases (184 in Hubei), which were cancelled on the same day. There were 26,762 close contacts of medical observations. 962 new cases


Wrongfully wrong economists call end to RBA easing

Via the AFR: “For now better momentum has at least been demonstrated,” JP Morgan’s Ben Jarman said, “and this is sympathetic to the RBA’s characterisation of a gentle turning point, even if a new risk has arisen that could buffet the data significantly.” Goldman Sachs chief economist Andrew Boak went further, suggesting the RBA would


Migration agents attack Labor’s temporary visa crackdown

Last week, Labor’s immigration spokesperson, Kristina Keneally, rightfully attacked the explosion in temporary visas (see next chart) across the Australian economy, claiming migrant workers were undercutting locals and contributing to Australia’s chronically low wage growth. According to Keneally: Australia currently hosts the second-highest number of temporary migrants in the world, second only to the United


CCP keeps dead coronavirus doctor alive

Via Sinocism today comes a Weekend at Bernie’s: Reuters reports that the leadership is now considering delaying the upcoming “Two Meetings” scheduled for early March and quotes an official saying the outbreak may still not be contained in a month – China may delay annual meeting of parliament due to virus outbreak: “The focus remains on


Labor moves to plug LIT loophole

While Recessionberg fiddles. From Chirs Joye: Wow! Labor will push a legislative amendment in Parliament to shut down a loophole that allows fund managers to pay commissions to stockbrokers and financial advisers for selling newly-floated listed investment funds. Shadow cabinet has agreed to the plan by Labor’s financial services spokesman Stephen Jones, who is ramping


Macro Morning

By Chris Becker  Risk sentiment is now back to its pre-coronavirus levels, with Wall Street putting in new record highs and USD strengthening against almost everything, paving the way for further optimism. Notably, gold and Bitcoin are coming back too with the latter almost breaching the $10,000 level. Treasury yields remain slightly elevated as the


Retail recession ends but consumer recession endures

Retail sales figures released by the ABS will boost December quarter GDP when the national accounts are released early next month. In quarterly real chain volume terms, retail sales rose by 0.5% in the December quarter, rebounding from the September quarter’s 0.1% decline: This rebound pushed annual sales volumes growth into positive territory, rising to


CoreLogic weekly house price update: still rising

In the week ended 6 February 2020, the CoreLogic 5-city daily dwelling price index, which covers the five major capital city markets, rose another 0.27%: The rise in values was broad-based: Quarterly dwelling values continue to rise strongly, driven by Sydney and Melbourne, where prices are still rocketing: The strong rebound across Sydney and Melbourne


Links 7 February 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Global car sales hit the brakes, mass layoffs by Nissan and Ford – Wheelsjoint Ford posts $1.7 billion quarterly loss, offers weak 2020 forecast – Reuters Oil prices are falling again – kuhinjskecarolije.com Koch Industries acquires Infor in deal pegged at nearly $13B – Tech Crunch ‘I’m not a


Macro Afternoon

Its risk on across Asia as stock markets gather pace with big moves higher across the board, as undollar assets and safe havens are sold off. The bounce in oil prices is seeing commodity currencies like the Aussie dollar lift slightly, while gold is just holding to daily support as all risk goes into stocks


Final auction clearance rate slides into the low-60s

Earlier this week, CoreLogic released its preliminary auction clearance rates, which revealed the following results: Today, CoreLogic has released its final auction results, which reported a 4.4% decline in the final national auction clearance rate to 71.0% – still well above the same weekend last year (42.8%): As you can see, Sydney’s final auction clearance


Westpac: Australian economy stalling

Via Westpac just now: A viral epidemic centred in China’s Hubei Province has escalated materially in recent weeks, resulting in the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring a public health emergency of international concern in late January. As at February 5, the WHO has reported around 25k confirmed cases across 25 countries with 492 deaths. Evidence


Senate inquiry to investigate sports rorts scandal

.The Senate has passed Labor’s motion to hold an inquiry into the sports rorts scandal. Amongst other things, the probe will seek the release of a report into the saga by chief bureaucrat Phil Gaetjens. Gaetjens’ report controversially cleared former cabinet minister Bridget McKenzie of any wrongdoing over the allocation of sports grants, but found


Lifting Newstart the best cure for inequality

A new paper from Melbourne University researchers has found that changes to Australia’s tax-transfer system significantly worsened income inequality between 1994-95 and 2015-16: Research indicates that income inequality has increased since the mid-1990s and no substantial reduction in poverty has been achieved… During this period substantial fiscal reforms were implemented… Tax-transfer reforms in Australia between


Trade surplus falls in December

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today released trade data for the month of December, with Australia’s trade surplus falling by around $300 million to $5.2 billion: The next chart shows that Australia’s trade surplus is still running at strong levels: In December, both exports (credits) and imports (debits) rose: In seasonally adjusted terms, goods