Macro Afternoon

It’s been a steady start to the week for equity markets here in Asia following the minor slump on Friday night in the US. Chinese stocks lead the way while Japanese bourses paused again despite a much lower Yen. The USD remains on a high against the major currency pairs while OPEC and other oil

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Life insurance parasite demands its super subsidy

By Leith van Onselen The Productivity Commission’s (PC) landmark 500-plus page draft report on Australia’s $2.6 trillion superannuation industry explicitly recommended abolishing compulsory life insurance for people aged under-25: Current settings are more a function of history than considered policy design. …many entrenched problems remain (and insurance accounts for over a third of member complaints


Cruel Coalition halves funding for charity feeding 710,000 people

By Leith van Onselen It’s become clear that the Morrison Government’s moral compass has broken with its decision to halve funding to charity Foodbank, which provides meals to 710,000 needy Australians: Foodbank says funding for its Key Staples program, which makes sure essential supplies like rice, bread and vegetables get to hungry people, will drop


CoreLogic: Dwelling values to keep falling

By Leith van Onselen A few weeks back, CoreLogic’s Cameron Kusher predicted a 15% peak-to-trough decline for Sydney and Melbourne dwelling values. However, after Friday’s disastrous housing finance figures, which showed both owner-occupied finance crashing: And investor finance crashing: Cameron Kusher predicted both housing growth and sales will take another leg down: While the decline


Liar Ardern’s Kiwibuild turns ‘Kiwibust’

By Leith van Onselen I’ve noted previously how the New Zealand Labour Party’s promise to “build 100,000 affordable homes across the country” is shaping up as an epic failure due to: the government changing the program from “building” to “facilitating” the delivery of 100,000 affordable dwellings, meaning that NZ taxpayers would merely ‘underwrite’ many dwellings that would have been


Private health insurance industry seeks Labor love

By Leith van Onselen Back in January, Labor leader Bill Shorten gave a speech to the Press Club claiming Australia’s private health insurance industry is “treating Australians like mugs” and “gouging people on the basis of a con”. Labor also flagged that it would cap health insurance premium increases at 2% per annum. Now, with Labor


Homelessness will rise with or without NRAS

By Leith van Onselen Domain published a hand wringing article claiming that thousands of Australians face homelessness as the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) winds down over coming years: Owner incentives on more than 36,000 properties that offer discounted rent are drying up as they hit their 10-year limit, with the first subsidies expiring this


Why cars will always dominate urban transit

By Ross Elliott, cross-posted from The Pulse: Schlomo ‘Solly’ Angel is a world renowned urbanist and author of countless books including “Atlas of Urban Expansion”, “Planet of Cities” and “Tale of Scale.” He is adjunct professor at New York University (NYU) and senior research scholar at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project, where he leads the


Roy Morgan unemployment 9.4% in October

By Leith van Onselen The latest Roy Morgan Research (RMR) unemployment estimate for October remained unchanged at 9.4% but fell 0.1% over the year: Below are the key points from the release: The workforce which comprises employed and unemployed Australians is now 13,459,000, up 466,000 on a year ago; 12,194,000 Australians were employed in October,


As Melbourne auctions collapse, for sale listings explode

By Leith van Onselen Melbourne’s housing market looks to be in deep trouble. At the same time as the city’s auction clearance rate has crashed deep into the 40s – plunging more than 20% over the past year: For sale listings are surging – up 22% year-on-year, according to Domain: Melbourne’s dwelling values are already


Headless chook Australian China policy runs on

The headless chook of Australian China policy runs on today. First, some sensible news on Japan, via the AFR: Australia and Japan are expected to reach agreement on a deal to facilitate larger and more regular joint military exercises, when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Darwin later this week, as China increases its influence


Is the Coalition readying to cut immigration?

By Leith van Onselen The Australian reports that the Morrison Government is considering letting the states determine Australia’s migrant intake by submitting to the federal government their annual migration needs: The new framework being proposed would shift the onus for determining the permanent ­migration intake from the commonwealth government to the states and territories, with


Judge: Westpac BBSW penalty “clearly inadequate”

Via Banking Day: Westpac will pay the maximum penalty – A$3 million – for its unconscionable conduct and breaches of its financial services licensee obligations for its trading in the bank bill swap market on five occasions in 2010. Justice Jonathan Beach on Friday noted that was “the maximum penalty that can be … Clearly


I guess Peter Hartcher doesn’t read MB

Holding ever tighter to his Canberra bubble, Peter Hartcher again misled over the demise of Malcolm Turnbull on the weekend: The former prime minister set out the basics during his appearance on the ABC’s Q&A show on Thursday: “The economy was strong. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of. When I became prime minister, I


Daily iron ore price update (not obvious)

Iron ore price charts for November 9, 2018: Spot jumped. Paper fell. Steel firmed. BHP is back: “Rail operations recommenced last night with additional controls in place to ensure safe operations.”  A regulatory investigation is ongoing, and controls on board the trains have been risk assessed. The investigation will attempt to understand what happened after


Newspoll: ScoMo collapses

Shockingly, it appears ScoMo’s disastrous Newspolls were actually a honeymoon: Scott Morrison has failed to arrest the slide in support for the government, with his own approval rating taking another hit in the wake of Malcolm Turnbull’s tirade against those who plotted his downfall. An exclusive Newspoll conducted for The Australian shows the Coalition falling


Frydenberg panics, demands return of criminal mortgages

It would be amusing if it were not so horribly corrupt, via the AFR comes Amateur Treasurer Josh Frydenberg mainlining panic straight into bank executive veins: “I would encourage the banks when it comes to lending, in particular for small business, make sure you get the balance right, keep the books open and don’t lose


Louis Christopher: Auctions crash points to house price crash

CoreLogic released its auction report yesterday, which reported another pathetically weak round of auctions. The preliminary national auction clearance rate was just 46.8% versus 47.2% last weekend (later revised down to 42.7%). The preliminary clearance rate was also way below the 62.8% recorded in the same weekend of last year: Auction volumes nationally were 2,384


Goooong!!! ANZ tolls bell on great Australian property crash

Oh boy. ANZ is preparing for tough times, via the AFR: …From November 25 the bank will be using new “comprehensive credit reporting” checks by having third-party agencies check on applicants’ credit card, home, personal, or car loan debt. In addition, mortgage brokers will be required to provide “enhanced verification” about applicants’ income and rental


Will NSW Labor maintain the rage against mass immigration?

By Leith van Onselen With mass immigration opponent, Luke Foley, resigning from the NSW Labor Party’s leadership last week, I was nervous that Labor would change track and elect a ‘Big Australia’ puppet as leader. Initially, things were looking promising as Kogarah MP, Chris Minns, moved into leadership contention. Minns promised to campaign against the federal


50 million apartments sit empty in China

It’s the model of efficiency! Via Bloomie: Chinese President Xi Jinping’s mantra that homes should be for living in is falling on deaf ears, with tens of millions of apartments and houses standing empty across the country. Soon-to-be-published research will show roughly 22 percent of China’s urban housing stock is unoccupied, according to Professor Gan