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Commodity prices fall on Chinese growth concerns

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

Local and global equity markets were flat to weaker this week on concerns regarding rising global recession risks, with Chinese economic growth fears hitting commodity prices.  

In local stock news, Macquarie Group has reported a net profit after tax of $4.7 billion for the year to end of March, an increase of 56% on the previous year. The firm’s assets under management reached $775 billion during the period, up 37% on a year earlier. The big boost came from the commodities and global markets businesses.  

REA Group shares fell after the realestate.com.au operator predicted national listings would be down in the 4th quarter on the same time last year. But the company maintained that the Australian property market is very healthy with solid fundamentals.  

Westpac reported cash earnings of $3.1 billion in their half-year result, a 71% increase on the same time last year. However, cash earnings declined over the year which the company attributed to competitive pressures on net interest margins.  

CBA announced a $2.3 billion in net profit after tax, with income down 1% on continued margin pressure. The bank also reported a steady operating performance and volume growth compared to the previous corresponding period, with household and business deposits up $8.5 and $2.2 billion respectively. Home lending was up $6.9 billion with business lending up $3 billion.  

Magellan Financial Group shares fell after announcing it had sold its 11.6% stake in Mexican fast food restaurant chain Guzman y Gomez to Barrenjoey Capital for $140 million, a 36% premium to its entry price 16 months ago. Magellan expects to book a pre-tax profit on the sale of $34 million.

Magellan also announced a new CEO, hiring David George from the Future Fund. He will start in August.  

Pendal Group shares were up after the investment manager hiked its interim dividend by 24% as last year’s acquisition of a US-based investment manager has proved successful.  

The oil price fell sharply early in the week on recession fears before rising on supply concerns to finish the week flat.  

The Australian dollar fell this week as commodity prices took a breather whilst the US dollar rallied again.
Economic
The RBA has materially upgraded their forecast for underlying inflation putting the core figure at 4.6% at end of 2022, with underlying inflation then moderating over 2023 but remaining above the RBA’s 2-3% target band. The RBA also expects wages growth to continue increasing and reach 3.7% by mid-2024.  

The Australian trade surplus rose to $9.3 billion in March, above market estimates. Exports were flat due to a 21% fall in non-monetary gold. Other export data showed rural goods fell, meat rose, and non-rural rose. Imports fell by 4.6% after a 13.4% lift in February, with falls in consumption, capital, and intermediate goods. Net exports will likely detract from economic growth.  

Building approvals decreased by 18.5% in March, following a large bounce in February. Approvals are now down by 35.6% over the year. The drop in monthly approvals was driven by a drop in multi-unit dwellings with private houses also falling but to a lesser extent. QLD and WA were the only states to record increases.  

Australian retail trade volumes increased by 1.2% in the quarter and are now 10.7% above pre-covid levels. Increased prices are contributing to the strong growth, which is also being buffeted by strength in the household sector.  

Australian consumer sentiment fell sharply, down by 5.6% in May. In contrast, business conditions improved in April, but confidence did ease, with both remaining above their long-term averages. The divergence between consumer sentiment and business confidence is very wide.  

The US annual inflation rate slowed to 8.3% in April, but still came in above market expectations of 8.1%. Energy prices continued to rise, but came in below March’s increase, whilst food prices jumped the most since April 1981. Prices for shelter and new vehicles also rose slightly. Interestingly, consumer prices rose, coming in slightly above expectations, but well below March’s 16-year high.  

The latest US jobs report showed that the US economy added 428,000 jobs in April and that the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6%. New jobs came in above expectations whilst the unemployment rate came in slightly above expectations.  

In contrast, private US businesses hired 247,000 workers in April, the least since April 2020, and well below forecasts of 395,000.  

China’s export growth slowed to the weakest levels in almost 2 years whilst imports barely changed in April, as tighter and wider virus curbs halted factory production and crimped domestic demand. The weak figures show China’s trade sector, which accounts for more than 30% of economic growth, is losing momentum as Covid-zero policies hit home.  

Chinese inflationary pressures eased last month pointing to a moderation in core inflation.
Politics
Leaders of the Group of Seven most industrialised countries pledged to ban the import of Russian oil in response to President Putin’s war in Ukraine. The US and UK have already announced bans on Russian oil imports and Germany has backed a proposal for the EU to get rid of it by January.

However, the Italian PM said European companies will be able to pay for Russian gas in Rubles without breaching sanctions, dismissing EU guidance to the contrary.  

The US House approved a more than US$40 billion emergency Ukraine spending bill with broad bipartisan support. The legislation is significantly larger than the package sought by President Biden and includes funding for weapons, economic, and humanitarian aid. 

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

General Advice Warning

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making any decision, it is important for you to consider these matters and to seek appropriate legal, tax, and other professional advice.

Disclaimer

All statements made on this website are made in good faith and we believe they are accurate and reliable. Macarthur Wealth Management does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information that is contained in this website, except in so far as any liability under statute cannot be excluded. Macarthur Wealth Management, its directors, employees and their representatives do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person. Unless otherwise specified, copyright of information provided on this website is owned by Macarthur Wealth Management. You may not alter or modify this information in any way, including the removal of this copyright notice.

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Aussie dollar falls on surging USD

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

Local and global stocks largely finished flat for the week as markets recovered from falls earlier in the week.  

In local stock news, Coles Group announced March quarter sales up 3.9% to $9.3 billion, even as flooding in NSW and QLD forced the temporary closure of 130 stores.  

Mirvac shares rose after the builder said it had navigated challenges from Covid and wet weather to sell 2,332 residential lots during the March quarter, up from 2,282 in the same period a year ago.  

The oil price surged again this week as Russian supply concerns rose, particularly for Europe, whilst Chinese announcements of further stimulus also provided support.  

The Aussie dollar fell to a low of US70c during the week as the US dollar surged and concerns regarding Chinese economic growth put downward pressure on spot commodity prices.
Economic
Australian headline inflation rose by a huge 2.1% in the March quarter taking the annual rate to 5.1% according to data from the ABS. Significant contributors to the quarterly print included new dwellings, fuel, and tertiary education. The RBA’s preferred core or underlying measure rose 1.4% in the quarter with the annual rate rising to 3.7%, above the RBA’s target 2-3% band.  

The US economy contracted at an annualised pace of 1.4% in the March quarter, well below forecasts for a 1.1% expansion, and following 6.9% growth in the December quarter of 2021. Exports dropped 5.9% while imports surged 17.7%. Private domestic investment slowed sharply whilst government spending continued to decline. On the positive side, consumer spending increased as did fixed investment (particularly non-residential).  

The US central bank chair reiterated a bias for aggressive rate hikes with markets now betting on 0.5% increases in May, June, and possibly July.  

The US is building more homes than it has in 16 years as supply tries to keep pace with very strong demand. Housing starts rose to an annual rate of 1.79 million in March.
Politics
French President Macron won a 2nd term in the weekend’s election over rival Marine Le Pen with 57% of the vote. The win was by a smaller margin than the 2017 elections with Le Pen gaining ground and breaking through the 40% threshold which is rather unprecedented for French nationalist parties.  

The Russian foreign minister has warned that there’s serious danger of nuclear conflict just one week after he said Moscow was committed to avoiding the use of nuclear weapons. It’s either a threat to bring about an end to the current conflict swiftly or it’s a threat to ensure no other external involvement from other countries.  

Russia has cut off gas to Poland and Bulgaria after both countries refused to meet Russia’s request to pay for their supplies in Rubles. European gas prices surged by as much as 20%. Not good for broader Europe, and especially for Poland and Bulgaria given their significant reliance on Russian gas. Both countries stuck in a hard place as Western sanctions won’t let them pay for the gas in Rubles.  

Chinese President Xi continues to come under pressure to relax his Covid-zero policies which are bringing the economy to its knees. Xi said China would step up infrastructure construction in their latest pledge to bolster the economy. 

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

General Advice Warning

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making any decision, it is important for you to consider these matters and to seek appropriate legal, tax, and other professional advice.

Disclaimer

All statements made on this website are made in good faith and we believe they are accurate and reliable. Macarthur Wealth Management does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information that is contained in this website, except in so far as any liability under statute cannot be excluded. Macarthur Wealth Management, its directors, employees and their representatives do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person. Unless otherwise specified, copyright of information provided on this website is owned by Macarthur Wealth Management. You may not alter or modify this information in any way, including the removal of this copyright notice.

Macarthur Wealth Management Links

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Mixed signals for equity investors

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

Equity markets were mixed this week with US companies reporting strong results whilst the US central bank readied the market for a large rate rise next month.  

So far, about 80% of the largest 500 US companies that have posted earnings results for the March quarter have beaten analyst expectations.  

In local stock news, Bank of Queensland’s share price fell as the company reported a decrease in its net interest margin amid ongoing competitive pressures and higher fixed rate lending volumes.  

Telecoms firm Uniti Group has agreed to a $3.62 billion takeover offer from a consortium of Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management and fund manager Morrison & Co.  

Shares in Ramsay Health Care rose more than 20% after it revealed a $20 billion, $88 per share, bid by a consortium led by private equity giant KKR. The offer represents a premium of more than 36% from Ramsay’s close the day before the announcement. Super fund Hesta are part of the consortium.  

Rio Tinto’s quarterly iron ore exports dropped 8% compared with the same period last year.   BHP shares fell after the miner said its operations were hampered by labour shortages (covid policy related) along with bouts of bad weather. Production at its flagship Pilbara ore operations slipped in the March quarter.  

AGL Energy revealed its Loy Yang coal-fired power station had suffered an electrical fault, wiping 25% of its generation capacity potentially until August.
Economic
Australia’s unemployment rate remained at 4% but contrasting surveys/data paint a slightly different picture. Roy Morgan findings show that 2.3 million Australians (16.2% of the workforce) remain either unemployed or under-employed. However, ABS estimates show that number is closer 1.5 million people.  

Annual growth in new Australian housing lending continued to slow in March. Renovation activity remained very strong, with lending at record high levels. There was a solid lift in consumer lending due to holiday financing.  

The US central bank chairman signalled that they were likely to raise interest rates by 0.50% at its meeting next month.  

The World Bank hasn’t ruled out further downgrades to their global economic growth outlook. The institution previously lowered its estimate for global growth in 2022 to 3.2% from 4.1% in January.

The IMF has also slashed its global growth forecast to 3.6% in 2022, down from a forecast of 4.4% in January.  

The European central bank retained their interest rate at emergency settings but judged that incoming data since its last meeting has reinforced the expectation that money printing under its asset purchase program should be concluded in the 3rd quarter.  

China announced that authorities would cut banks’ reserve requirements soon to support the lockdown battered economy. This would allow (or encourage) the banks to lend more freely. 
Politics
A snap poll showed Australian opposition leader Anthony Albanese had the edge in the first debate of a tightly fought election campaign against PM Scott Morrison. This pushed betting odds, historical a pretty good indicator, back in favour of the Labor leader following a period of odds significantly shortening for the current PM.  

Some of Germany’s industrial giants have warned that imposing an embargo on Russian gas to punish Moscow would cause the national economy irreversible damage. The EU has warned member states that meeting Russia’s demand to pay for Russian gas in Rubles would violate sanctions. In contrast, India is becoming a large buyer of oil from Russia and in some cases selling refined fuel on to Europe. When there’s a will there’s a way.  

Chinese President Xi sees no alternative to a Covid-zero approach despite simmering anger in the locked-down financial hub of Shanghai and mounting costs. Xi is seeking a third 5-year term during a congress later this year. 

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

General Advice Warning

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making any decision, it is important for you to consider these matters and to seek appropriate legal, tax, and other professional advice.

Disclaimer

All statements made on this website are made in good faith and we believe they are accurate and reliable. Macarthur Wealth Management does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information that is contained in this website, except in so far as any liability under statute cannot be excluded. Macarthur Wealth Management, its directors, employees and their representatives do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person. Unless otherwise specified, copyright of information provided on this website is owned by Macarthur Wealth Management. You may not alter or modify this information in any way, including the removal of this copyright notice.

Macarthur Wealth Management Links

Blog  https://www.macarthurwealth.com.au/insights/

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Retirement: https://www.macarthurwealth.com.au/account-based-pension/

US releases more oil

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

MARKETS
The local equity market finished higher for the week whilst global markets were mixed
with emerging market equities receiving a boost.


Parts of the US government bond yield curve are inverting, ie. where short term bond
yields are higher than long term bond yields, usually a key indicator of an economic
downturn or recession. Shorter term bond yields are trying to reflect inflationary concerns
whilst longer term bond yields are reflecting that the economy isn’t robust enough for the
central bank to fight inflation with significant rate rises.


In local stock news, the Star Entertainment CEO has resigned following revelations of
failings to prevent criminals exploiting its casinos.


CIMIC has recommended shareholders accept a takeover offer as its largest shareholder
Hochtief has gained 85% of the company through an off-market bid for $22 per share.
Private equity group Blackstone received approval from the Foreign Investment Review
Board to buy casino operator Crown. Blackstone still needs to clear other hurdles in order
to complete their $8.9 billion offer.


Telstra’s current CFO Vicki Brady was named the incoming CEO after current CEO Andy
Penn said he will be retiring in September. Brady says the carrier can be a growth company
again.


Air New Zealand shares resumed trading after revealing a more than $2 billion
recapitalisation plan to save the company. The package includes selling a large amount of
new shares to investors and the government and a loan from the government.


US crude oil supplies dropped again last week putting additional upward pressure on the
oil price thus forcing the US President Biden to release more oil from their strategic
reserves, whilst the OPEC+ oil producing nations stuck to its existing deal raising the
production target by 432,000 barrels per day. The oil price finished the week lower.

ECONOMICS
The Federal Government handed down their budget with little surprises with measures
unlikely to significantly alter the economic trajectory or have any significant investment
market impacts. The key initiative announced was a “cost of living” support package to help
offset the costs of rising fuel prices and broader inflationary pressures.


The Government expects 3.5% economic growth this year before settling back to 2.5%
next year. They expect headline inflation of 4.25% this year before settling back down at 3%
and 2.75% in the years to follow. Unemployment is forecast at 3.75% and is expected to
remain low.


Australian retail trade rose by 1.8% in February and is now 9.1% stronger over the year.
Strong spending on cafes, restaurants & takeaway, clothing & footwear, as well as
department stores drove the result. NSW and SA saw the strongest growth in the month.
Australian job vacancies rose by 6.9% over the 3 months to February to be 200,000 higher
than pre-pandemic levels. Job vacancies now total 423,500, a record high, in contrast to the
563,300 people unemployed.


Building approvals rebounded by a strong 43.5% in February after a virus wave impacted
the January figure. The rebound was broad across both houses and apartments with gains
made across most of the country.


Total private sector credit rose by 0.6% in February, the same pace as January but lower
than the gains in November and December. Housing credit growth slowed, whilst personal
and business credit growth jumped compared to January.


US consumer confidence for March was below economist expectations according to a key
survey. The reading has been slipping in recent months as consumers have become more
pessimistic on the economic outlook.


The US Labor Department reported 11.3 million job openings in February, down slightly
from January and December’s record. Other data showed that the private sector added
450,000 jobs in March, slightly ahead of economist forecasts.


The Japanese central bank is conducting additional government bond buying to put
downward pressure on yields as 10-year bond yields rose to their highest level since
January 2016.


POLITICS
Shanghai has locked down half of the city in turns in order to prevent their most recent
virus outbreak from getting out of control. Residents barred from leaving their homes,
public transport suspended, and private cars will not be allowed on roads unless necessary.
This will have a large impact on already weak economic growth.


China’s regulatory crackdowns last year reduce the private sector’s share of the country’s
big businesses for the first time in 7 years. The government’s tough regulations fuelled a
market selloff that erased some US$1.5 trillion from Chinese stocks at the peak.


The Biden administration has commenced their plan to release roughly 1 million barrels of
oil a day from US strategic reserves for up to 6 months to combat rising petrol prices and
supply shortages. The plan will assist but releasing strategic reserves should always be
considered a very last resort. The plan will see almost one-third of their reserves drawn
down.


Germany, which relies on Russia for more than 50% of its natural gas, has triggered the
first stage of an emergency plan to brace for a potential cut-off. The third stage would
mean gas rationing.

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

General Advice Warning

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making any decision, it is important for you to consider these matters and to seek appropriate legal, tax, and other professional advice.

Disclaimer

All statements made on this website are made in good faith and we believe they are accurate and reliable. Macarthur Wealth Management does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information that is contained in this website, except in so far as any liability under statute cannot be excluded. Macarthur Wealth Management, its directors, employees and their representatives do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person. Unless otherwise specified, copyright of information provided on this website is owned by Macarthur Wealth Management. You may not alter or modify this information in any way, including the removal of this copyright notice.

Macarthur Wealth Management Links

Blog  https://www.macarthurwealth.com.au/insights/

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Retirement: https://www.macarthurwealth.com.au/account-based-pension/

Investor confusion reigns

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

MARKETS

Local and global equity markets were mixed this week with investors pummelled by an influx of extremely fluid news flow including conflict, inflation, central banks and rates, and floods.

In local stock news, CSL announced it would waive its original 80% acceptance rate condition and declare its $16 billion takeover of Vifor Pharma a success, after gaining more than 74% in the takeover target. Swiss government approval is still required.

Insurers have been informing the market of their claims from the floods and storms that battered parts of the NSW and Queensland since late February. IAG has revised its total claims expense estimate for the event to $74 million, down from $95 million, due to work on earlier claims.

Oil prices had an extremely volatile week, soaring to $130 a barrel amid supply shortage fears as the US and allies looked to cut off Russian oil and gas. The oil price then fell sharply on peace hopes, before rising again with the UAE stating it will call on its fellow OPEC+ members to boost oil output faster. But the oil price finished the week lower as the UAE call was tempered hours later by their energy minister and high US inflation data set off fears of economic contraction.

ECONOMIC

New Australian labour market data showed demand for workers spiked after the most recent virus wave receded, with the ANZ job advertisement series jumping 8.4% in February to be 31.5% higher than a year earlier.

Australian consumer sentiment fell again in March, with the reading below 100, indicating that pessimists outweigh optimists. Rising inflationary pressures are weighing on sentiment, along with recent floods, Russia/Ukraine conflict, and the prospect of higher mortgage rates.

The February NAB business survey showed a strengthening in business conditions and confidence as new virus cases declined from their early January peaks.

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe said surging oil prices would produce annual inflation of 4% in Australia this year, above the Bank’s 2-3% target.

The US central bank chairman has confirmed plans to back a 0.25% rate increase at the March meeting, with the Russia/Ukraine conflict impacting how hard they can go on rate rises in contrast to unrelenting inflationary pressures. The chairman did indicate that he was prepared to raise rates by more than 0.25% in a meeting or meetings if inflation doesn’t subside later this year as expected.

US jobs rose by 678,000 in February, coming in well above expectations. The unemployment rate fell from 4% to 3.8%, the lowest in 2 years. Average hourly earnings were flat in the month with the annual rate falling from 5.5% to 5.1%.

US inflation reached a new 4-decade high in February, with the consumer price index up 7.9% from a year earlier. Markets concerned that sustained inflation and lower economic growth could see a period of stagflation.

The European central bank kept their interest rates unchanged but surprisingly sped up their reduced asset purchasing schedule for the coming months, stating that the program could end in the 3rd quarter if the medium-term inflation outlook will not weaken.

China announced an economic growth goal of about 5.5% for 2022, it’s lowest target since 1990, but still at the higher end of many economists’ estimates. The higher than expected number, if achieved, could provide a boost to the global economy.

POLITICS

Sanctions and corporate boycotts on Russia have continued this week as part of a broader retreat by global corporate giants. In response, Russia has threatened to cut natural gas supplies to Europe. The US secretary of state said the US and its allies were looking at a coordinated embargo on Russian oil and gas, whilst ensuring appropriate global supply. Problem is where to get the additional supply from…. Venezuela or Iran….

China will continue its crackdown on monopolies to ensure fair competition according to their Premier. He also singled out integrated circuits and A.I. industries as priority areas for the government to build up domestic capabilities. President Xi said China could not rely on international markets for food security and should focus on domestic production and farmland protection.

The US House passed a long-delayed US $1.5 trillion spending bill that would fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year, with emergency coronavirus funding stricken from the bill. The bill also approved US$13.6 billion in emergency spending for the US response to the war in Ukraine.

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

General Advice Warning

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making any decision, it is important for you to consider these matters and to seek appropriate legal, tax, and other professional advice.

Disclaimer

All statements made on this website are made in good faith and we believe they are accurate and reliable. Macarthur Wealth Management does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information that is contained in this website, except in so far as any liability under statute cannot be excluded. Macarthur Wealth Management, its directors, employees and their representatives do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person. Unless otherwise specified, copyright of information provided on this website is owned by Macarthur Wealth Management. You may not alter or modify this information in any way, including the removal of this copyright notice.

Macarthur Wealth Management Links

Blog  https://www.macarthurwealth.com.au/insights/

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/macarthurwealthmanagement

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Retirement: https://www.macarthurwealth.com.au/account-based-pension/

Oil price surges as Ukraine conflict continues

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

MARKETS

Local and global equity markets were mixed this week with investor sentiment stuck between valuation support (positive), inflation (negative), and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine (negative).

In local stock news, Australian insurers declared an insurance catastrophe as the number of claims for flood assistance on the east coast soared, with Suncorp already flagging $75 million of additional costs.

Oil prices surged due to the ongoing Russia/Ukraine conflict whilst reports US crude stockpiles fell more than expected didn’t help, putting more pressure on countries to release oil from their emergency stockpiles.

Both the Aussie dollar and the US dollar rose this week as currency investors sought out safety away from Europe whilst the US central bank chair also suggested a first rate hike was imminent.

ECONOMIC

The Reserve Bank of Australia left the cash rate unchanged as expected at their March meeting with their statement emphasising patience before their first rate hike and a focus on prevailing inflation data over the next two quarters along with labour market conditions, particularly wages.   Australian economic growth bounced by 3.4% in the 4th quarter to be up by 4.2% on a year ago levels, with household consumption surging and inventories adding to growth. Dwelling investment, business investment, public demand, and net exports were all modest drags on growth. The household savings rate fell, but the level of savings remains significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels.   A range of business indicators showed support for Australia’s economic growth outlook with inventories up in Q4, company profits rose 2.7% after adjusting for inventories, wages and salaries up 1.9%, retail trade up 1.8% in January, and private sector credit growth up 0.6% in January.   Australian dwelling prices rose by 0.3% across the 8 capital cities in February with annual growth now sitting at 19.2%. Prices were mixed across the country, with Sydney and Melbourne flat whilst gains were recorded in Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth.   New lending for Australian housing rose by 2.6% in January, driven by a strong increase in lending to investors which was up a very strong 6.1%. Lending to first home buyers continued to fall. Personal lending also rose by a small 0.2% after falling by 3.6% in December.    The Australian trade surplus widened in January driven by a sharp lift in exports, which rose 7.6%. Iron ore and coal exports provided the boost up by 15% and 16.7% respectively. Rural goods exports also remained strong. Goods imports fell by 2.5%, but still sit materially higher over the year.   Australian building approvals fell sharply in January with a 27.9% record drop, coming in well below the modest fall expected by the market. It was a weak set of numbers across the board.   US central bank officials appear to be sticking to their resolve to raise interest rates at this month’s meeting despite the uncertainty posed by the Russia/Ukraine conflict. Tough situation as speculation has continued to increase regarding a delay to their first rate rise. Fed chairman Powell, appearing before a government committee, said he would propose a 0.25% increase at their next meeting.   French inflation accelerated more than expected, whilst the prices of basic goods in the UK are rising at the fastest pace in more than a decade, adding further pressure on the European central bank who would prefer to withdraw stimulus at a very slow and measured pace.   The Chinese central bank moved to further support liquidity by injecting US$45.8 million into the financial system, the most since September 2020. China’s Politburo, of less relevance post Xi’s ascension to almost dictatorship, has vowed to strengthen macroeconomic policies to stabilise the economy this year, suggesting more support could be offered.   China’s official manufacturing and non-manufacturing data for February outperformed expectations, alleviating fears of a China slowdown.

POLITICAL

Western nations proceeded with sanctions against Russia to limit their ability to do business by freezing bank assets and cutting off state owned enterprises, whilst also agreeing to disconnect some Russian banks from the SWIFT international banking system and limiting the ability of Russia’s central bank to support their currency. Putin responded by ordering Russia’s nuclear-deterrence forces to be put on alert. Interestingly, Russia’s oil and gas reserves have yet to be targeted and there’s still significant exemptions to many of the sanction lists. Also interesting has been Russia’s invasion/occupation strategy.   Russia has barred airlines from 36 countries from its airspace and banned its residents from transferring currency abroad, whilst Turkey has closed the Dardanelles and Bosphorus to warships, only allowing ships to return to their bases.   US President Biden has approved the release of an additional US$350 million worth of weapons from US stocks to Ukraine, which is their 3rd release in 6 months, amounting to more than US$1 billion in security assistance. Other nations have followed suit.   US President Biden pledged action on inflation in his State of the Union speech but didn’t offer any realistic ways of reducing inflation which recently hit a 40-year high. He told businesses not to cut wages but to cut other costs…. 

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

General Advice Warning

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making any decision, it is important for you to consider these matters and to seek appropriate legal, tax, and other professional advice.

Disclaimer

All statements made on this website are made in good faith and we believe they are accurate and reliable. Macarthur Wealth Management does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information that is contained in this website, except in so far as any liability under statute cannot be excluded. Macarthur Wealth Management, its directors, employees and their representatives do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person. Unless otherwise specified, copyright of information provided on this website is owned by Macarthur Wealth Management. You may not alter or modify this information in any way, including the removal of this copyright notice.

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US inflation highest in 40 years

MARKETS

Equity investors outside of the US seemed to take the highest US inflation in 40 years in their stride, helped by strong returns earlier in the week.

A generally positive US earnings season has helped support stocks. With results in from about 60% of the largest 500 companies, analysts expect profits rose 30% in the 4th quarter from a year earlier. This is up from estimates for 21% growth at the end of September.

In local stock news, Magellan Financial Group shares fell again as Hamish Douglass announced he would step down as chairman and take a medical leave of absence. He will be replaced by REA Group chairman Hamish McLennan whilst investment management duties will fall to Chris Mackay and Nikki Thomas, who have re-joined, and other senior portfolio managers within the business.

Macquarie reported a record 3rd quarter, helped by its markets-facing businesses, with Macquarie Capital earnings helping offset a decline in the annuities divisions such as banking and financial services.

Suncorp posted a near 21% fall in 1st half net profit after more insurance claims from natural disasters. But the company said its underlying business is strong, putting it in a good position in the 2nd half of this financial year.

Commonwealth Bank has reported a 30% growth in cash profits for the 1st half of the financial year increasing their interim dividend by 17%. The bank reported a 12.2% increase in household deposits and an 8.5% jump in home lending. Capital position remained strong. The company plans to buy-back up to $2 billion of its shares on-market, following the $6 billion off-market buy-back in the 1st half.

Computershare upgraded its full-year earnings forecast after 1st half figures beat expectations, with higher sales and profits from its register maintenance business.

As the oil price remains high, the number of US oil rigs rose very modestly to 497, its highest since April 2020. Even though the rig count has climbed for a record 17 months in a row, the weekly increases have been very modest, and production remains far from pre-pandemic highs.

ECONOMIC

Australian consumer sentiment fell again in February, only just remaining in positive territory. Rising inflationary pressures and increasing expectations of higher mortgage rates are negatively impacting sentiment. Changes in business conditions and confidence were mixed in January.

The annual inflation rate in the US accelerated to 7.5% in January, the highest since February 1982, and above market forecasts of 7.3%, as soring emerging costs, labour shortages, and supply disruptions couple with strong demand weighed. Excluding volatile energy and food categories, inflation rose 6%, the most since August 1982.

Private businesses in the US unexpectedly cut 301,000 workers in January, the first job loss since December of 2020 and the biggest since April 2020. Investors were expecting a job gain of 207,000.

The US economy unexpectedly added 476,000 payrolls in January, much better than market forecasts of 150,000, and in stark contrast to the job losses reported in the private sector ADP.

Two key US labour market metrics may take multiple years to recover to their pre-pandemic growth trend, with the labour-force participation rate and the employment-to-population ratio languishing due to high level of retirements and others leaving the workforce altogether.

A noted European central bank hawk said he expects an interest rate increase as early as in the 4th quarter of this year, as he expects Euro-area inflation to stay above 4% for much of 2022. A noted US central bank hawk tried to one-up his Euro-counterpart, suggesting a US cash rate of 1% by July.

POLITICAL

The Australian federal government announced a relaxing of border rules which will see us welcome visa holders into the country from February 21. Tourism operators are still haemorrhaging some $4 billion a month compared to pre-pandemic levels. The federal government has maintained they will not seek to boost immigration rates to “make up” for the last 2 years. Smart move leading into an election, but a poor move from an economic perspective.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has indicated that its time to close the federal money tap and hand responsibility for the economy back to industry.

Russia reached new long-term supply deals with China as the Kremlin aims to strengthen ties with the Asian nation at a time of souring relations with the West.

US president Biden said the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany would be stopped if President Putin orders an invasion of Ukraine. An invasion is highly unlikely.

Europe and the US are accelerating steps to roll back virus restrictions as politicians across both regions are deeming many public-health measures increasingly unnecessary as they come under pressure from a pandemic-weary public.

The US is apparently losing patience with China after the nation failed to meet its purchase commitments under the trade agreement reached during the Trump administration. China had pledged to buy an extra US$200 billion in US agriculture, energy, and manufactured products in the 2 years through the end of 2021. The Biden administration is under increasing pressure to show it’s willing to punish China for not holding up its end of the deal.

33 Chinese entities including electronics, optics, and healthcare/biotech companies, were added to a US “unverified list” that subjects them to tighter export controls.

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

General Advice Warning

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making any decision, it is important for you to consider these matters and to seek appropriate legal, tax, and other professional advice.

Disclaimer

All statements made on this website are made in good faith and we believe they are accurate and reliable. Macarthur Wealth Management does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information that is contained in this website, except in so far as any liability under statute cannot be excluded. Macarthur Wealth Management, its directors, employees and their representatives do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person. Unless otherwise specified, copyright of information provided on this website is owned by Macarthur Wealth Management. You may not alter or modify this information in any way, including the removal of this copyright notice.

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Equity markets mixed as relief rally soured by US tech sell-off

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

MARKETS

Equity markets were mixed this week as a strong rally earlier in the week was soured by US tech sell-off and more hawkish comments and action from both the European central bank and the Bank of England.

Reported 4th quarter US corporate earnings have continued to come through stronger than expected, with 78% of companies beating analyst estimates and more than 80% having met or beat expectations. Analysts are expecting that profits from companies in the S&P 500 rose 24% in the quarter from a year earlier.

Money markets are now expecting almost 5 interest rate increases from US Fed this year and 4 from the Bank of England. There’s also speculation that the US Fed might front-load hikes by increasing rates in larger increments, which Fed officials have poured cold water on. All will largely depend on inflation dynamics from here but will also be a function of what interest rate level the economy and markets can absorb and withstand.

In local stock news, Telstra has announced it will spend up to $1.6 billion on two projects over the next 5 years. The spending is projected to provide a $200 million earnings contribution by 2026.

Westpac has reported a net profit of $1.82 billion in the December quarter, up 80% on the quarterly average for the 2nd half of 2021. Cash earnings were up 1%, but the net interest margin declined 8 basis points to 1.91%. Total loans increased 0.7%.

Sydney Airport shareholders have voted for a $23.6 billion takeover bid from a consortium of investors, with shareholders to receive $8.75 per share.

Oil prices moved higher this week after OPEC+ stuck to planned moderate output increases (400,000 barrels per day) despite pressure from customers and consumers to raise output more quickly. The group has blamed rising prices on the failure of consuming nations to ensure adequate investment in fossil fuels, whilst Russia/US tensions also haven’t helped.

The Aussie dollar rose as the US dollar took a tumble after both the European and England central banks turned more hawkish in their rhetoric and actions.

ECONOMIC

The Reserve Bank of Australia left rates unchanged at 0.10% but announced an early finish to their quantitative easing (money printing) program, giving the bank the green light to begin raising rates. The bank made it abundantly clear in their statement that they’re in no rush to raise rates, but markets are currently predicting a rate lift-off in either June or August. Inflation, particularly wage growth, will be key.

Australian private sector credit rose by 0.8% in December to take the annual rate to 7.2%, the strongest rate since November 2008. Both housing and business credit were strong, whilst personal credit fell in December and remains well below levels a year ago.

Australian retail trade fell by 4.4% in December affected by virus issues, falling more than consensus estimates, but remains at near record levels. Food retailing was the only positive, with large falls coming from department stores, clothing & footwear, and household goods.

Australia’s trade surplus narrowed in December as imports rose strongly in the month relative to exports. Exports were mixed, with iron ore rising strongly and reasonable growth from wool and meat, whilst coal fell sharply as did other rural exports. Imports were boosted by strong gains across all the goods categories.

Australian building approvals rose strongly in December, boosted by a surprising lift in multi-unit approvals. In contrast, private detached house approvals fell as momentum continues to slow. Over the past year, the number of approvals is lower by 7.5%, however, alterations & additions approvals remain elevated.

US data showed that the central bank’s preferred measure of inflation rose at 4.9% in December over the prior year, pushing well above the bank’s target.

A separate measure showed US employers spent 4% more on wages and benefits over the past year, an increase not seen since 2001, as a tight labour market encouraged workers to demand higher pay. However, employment costs didn’t rise as much as expected in the 4th quarter easing concerns that wages are advancing too quickly.

US consumer spending fell in December as rising prices and virus fears took their toll.

US manufacturing activity slowed in January, from December, but remained in expansionary territory. Supply chain impediments caused by virus health policies were among the issues that weighed on activity.

The Bank of England voted by a majority 5-4 to increase the cash rate by 0.25% to 0.50%. Members also voted unanimously for the bank to begin to reduce the stock of UK government bond purchases by ceasing to reinvest maturing assets – i.e., reduce the size of their balance sheet by taking the liquidity away they previously provided via money printing. They will also begin to unwind the stock of corporate bond purchases.

The European central bank maintained key interest rates at record low levels in February and pledged to steadily reduce its bond purchases (money printing) this year. Rate rises are unlikely in 2022.

China’s economy continued to slow at the start of the year with manufacturing output slipping and Covid-zero policies curbing consumer spending.

POLICTICS

Russia/US tensions continued to rise this week with Russia maintaining they have no plans to invade and Ukraine trying to calm tensions on all sides. US lawmakers are apparently close to finalising the language for a sanctions bill that could include some penalties even if Putin doesn’t invade. The US has also given the green light to move troops from the US to Europe and to move troops within Europe closer to the Russia/Ukraine border.

Some 300,000 Australian fossil fuel jobs could be wiped out through declining international demand for fossil fuels, new modelling predicts. There’s a widely held belief that those job losses will be easily absorbed, but that doesn’t appear to be apparent with renewable sources of energy largely developed using automation. The job losses will disproportionately impact regional centres. Job transitions and retraining are never easy. 

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

General Advice Warning

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making any decision, it is important for you to consider these matters and to seek appropriate legal, tax, and other professional advice.

Disclaimer

All statements made on this website are made in good faith and we believe they are accurate and reliable. Macarthur Wealth Management does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information that is contained in this website, except in so far as any liability under statute cannot be excluded. Macarthur Wealth Management, its directors, employees and their representatives do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person. Unless otherwise specified, copyright of information provided on this website is owned by Macarthur Wealth Management. You may not alter or modify this information in any way, including the removal of this copyright notice.

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Markets buoyed by US stimulus bills

Need help? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide. (02) 9683 2869. https://www.macarthurwealth.com.au

Local and global equity markets rose strongly this week buoyed by strong company earnings results, the passage of the US infrastructure bill, and progress on the bigger budgetary bill. 

Analysts now expect 2nd quarter profit growth of 93% for the 500 largest US companies. With their quarterly reporting season almost complete, 87% of companies have beat analyst expectations, which is the highest beat on record. 

In local stock news, general insurer Suncorp improved full-year cash earnings by 42% with shareholders to receive a special dividend, whilst the company will also undertake an on-market stock buyback. 

Toll road operator Transurban revealed that the costs of the West Gate tunnel project in Melbourne have blown out by about $3.3 billion. The company reported statutory profit of $3.27 billion. Lockdowns in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne have reduced the number of cars on the road and have weighed on revenue. 

Commonwealth Bank of Australia released its 2021 financial year results reporting a $1.4 billion increase in cash profit to $8.7 billion over the last 12 months, an almost 20% increase. The bank also announced a $6 billion off-market stock buy-back. 

The gold price had fallen sharply over the last week and half before mounting somewhat of a recovery in the last few days. A stronger US dollar along with the continuing economic recovery and expectations of the US central bank paring back its stimulus program have all put downward pressure on the gold price of late. 

The iron price has continued to fall from its lofty heights following a report which said that China wants to limit steel makers’ impact on its environment, which made investors reassess their expectations for iron ore demand. 
The Reserve Bank of Australia has revised its economic growth forecast down to 4% for 2021 but has kept their forecast for unemployment at 5% for the same period. They did revise their unemployment forecast for 2022 down to 4.25% and left their inflation forecasts unchanged at 1.75% for 2022 and 2.25% for 2023. 

The negative impact of lockdowns have begun to rear their ugly head, putting aside the societal issues, as more than 15,000 home and business owners were unable to repay their loans in July. In addition, an additional 150,000 Australians became unemployed last month according to Roy Morgan. Their latest data showed the bulk of the job losses came from part-time work whilst 61,000 full-time workers also became unemployed. 619,000 workers are now looking for full-time work whilst 803,000 are looking for part-time work. 

July saw the National Australia Bank business confidence index and business conditions fall sharply, which isn’t surprising given the size and extent of lockdowns in a number of states. Australian consumer sentiment fell by more than 4% in August as consumers’ fears of unemployment rose sharply. 

US consumer prices for July rose at its slowest pace in the past 5 months as some price increases have subsided on the back of softening demand and increased supply. Even so, the July inflation number of 0.5% is still quite high, with the annual rate at 5.4%, as demand pressures and supply issues remain. 

US nonfarm payrolls increased by 943,000 jobs last month a Labor Department report showed. Economists had forecast payrolls would increase by 870,000. The report also showed strong wage gains as employers competed for scarce workers as many workers remain at home collecting overly generous unemployment benefits. The unemployment rate also dropped to a 16 month low. 

The US central bank had contrasting rhetoric from a couple of members this week with one suggesting that the US should be well past the pandemic crisis before the central bank raises rates. Another member said high inflation this year may have already met one of the bank’s benchmarks for raising rates. 

The Germans have again warned that inflation in the Euro area could pick up faster than expected and urged the European central bank not to drag out their emergency bond-buying program.   

A gauge of investor expectations for the German economy plunged to 40 from 63 points in July as fears about the impact of the delta variant gather pace. 

Chinese economic data showed exports rising by 19% in July on the same time last year, coming in just under expectations, whilst imports were up 28% on the same time last year, also coming in below expectations. 

China’s central bank has fanned expectations of further monetary policy easing, saying in its latest quarterly report that inflation pressures are controllable whilst highlighting risks to the economic growth outlook. 
The US Senate voted to progress the US$1 trillion infrastructure bill with 19 Republicans voting with Democrats to support the push. However, the Democrat leader of the House has said she will only bring the bill to a vote after the Senate passes a separate US$3.5 trillion bill which has all kinds of things in it, most of it Democrat election promises, which the Democrats will likely look to push through via a process called reconciliation (ie. without Republican support). The debt ceiling (currently at US$28.5 trillion….) with partisanship likely to make it a tough task. 

The Biden administration faced some hard truths this week as it pertains to foreign policy. A return to the Iran nuclear deal looks to be dead in the water as Iran races towards the capacity to build a nuclear bomb in light of perceived US weakness. The US will now be sending troops back into Afghanistan following an ill-advised move earlier in the year to remove US troops from the country. The country has again become a hotbed for terrorism with the Taliban carry out deadly attacks against US allies left behind. Lastly, US energy self-sufficiency is very much a thing of the past after US oil inventories got so low that President Biden had to ask OPEC+ to increase supply. US inventories are low due to increase in demand, but mainly due to government policy banning new investment in oil & gas and pipelines.  

Need advice? Contact Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide on (02) 9683 2869. www.macarthurwealth.com.au

General Advice Warning

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making any decision, it is important for you to consider these matters and to seek appropriate legal, tax, and other professional advice.

Disclaimer

All statements made on this website are made in good faith and we believe they are accurate and reliable. Macarthur Wealth Management does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information that is contained in this website, except in so far as any liability under statute cannot be excluded. Macarthur Wealth Management, its directors, employees and their representatives do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person. Unless otherwise specified, copyright of information provided on this website is owned by Macarthur Wealth Management. You may not alter or modify this information in any way, including the removal of this copyright notice.

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Equity markets fall on virus variant concerns

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Equity markets locally and globally fell this week on concerns regarding rising virus cases

In local stock news, Sydney Airport’s shares rose strongly after they received a $22.3 billion takeover offer equating to $8.25 per share from a consortium of infrastructure investors mostly made up of Australian industry super funds. The offer will be hard for the company’s board to rebuff, but markets aren’t so sure given the stock price remains well south of the offer price. 

Tabcorp will spin-off its lotteries and Keno arm as a separate ASX listed business but has chosen not to sell its wagering and media arm despite several suitors offering to pay about $3.5 billion. 

Seven Group has continued to lift their stake in Boral buying 60 million shares at $7.40 each with the company now owning almost 41% of Boral. 

The upward trend in oil prices reversed course this week on expectations that some countries may break ranks from OPEC+ production targets. The moves come after the United Arab Emirates blocked an OPEC+ deal that cartel leaders Russia and Saudi Arabia had hashed out to increase output. The Saudis and Emiratis have historically had each other’s backs. Demand is likely to remain high as the global recovery continues, whilst US supply runs low due to President Biden’s green policy. 

The Aussie dollar fell into the 74c range against the US dollar as investors sought out safe-haven currencies in light of rising Covid cases and weaker Chinese inflation data. 
The Reserve Bank of Australia held the cash rate at the record low of 0.1% as expected at their July meeting. The board also made 2 other policy announcements relating to their bond yield targeting program (ie. keeping government bond yields very low) and their bond buying program (ie. money printing) which will see them taper bond purchases from $5 to $4 billion per week until at least mid-November. They also changed their language slightly to indicate they don’t expect to lift rates until 2024 (previously “2024 at the earliest”). 

New lending for Australian housing rose by 4.9% in May with a particularly large lift in investor lending in the month which was up 13%. Owner-occupier lending rose by 1.9% whilst lending to first home buyers continues to flatten out. New lending was strongest in NSW and VIC. 

New personal lending rose by a very strong 11% in May, which continues the recent trend higher. Commonwealth Bank’s internal data shows lending for cars and household goods are trending higher whilst lending for holidays remains very soft.
 
The number of Australian residential building approvals posted a large 7.1% fall in May, likely impacted by the ending of the government’s Homebuilder grant scheme. VIC and TAS actually posted increases. Approvals for renovations remain elevated, whilst non-residential building approvals have lifted in recent months.

Australian retail trade rose by 0.4% in May, which was an upgrade on the preliminary estimate. Retail trade continues to run at an elevated level with all major categories running above pre-Covid levels. Spending on food and eating out drove the increase in May. 
 
The US Labor Department’s employment report showed non-farm payrolls increased by 850,000 jobs last month, but the total remains 6.8 million below its peak in February 2020, as the federal government’s over-generous and over-extended Covid unemployment program pays people to stay home until September causing massive labour shortages. The better than expected monthly number comes as some Republican states have started to remove/decline the federal unemployment programs ahead of time thus forcing people back to work. 

European central bank policy makers have revamped their inflation target for the 1st time in almost 2 decades giving itself more room to keep monetary policy loose. The move gives the bank room to overshoot the target if needed, which means they can ply even more stimulus for much longer. 
A deal on an international corporate tax system of sorts came a step closer as 130 countries and jurisdictions backed a plan that includes a minimum corporate rate and tax-sharing on multinational firms’ profits. However, 3 European Union countries have resisted the plan given they currently have corporate tax rates less than the minimum being proposed. 

On the virus and vaccine front, the NSW lockdown was extended by a week impacting children’s first week back at school. The low percentage of people vaccinated seems to be the main focus of those in charge given their ill-guided elimination strategy, in contrast to the more critical areas of ICU bed availability (plenty) and deaths (very low relative to a normal winter flu season). In other parts of the world, concerns continued regarding the Delta variant, which data shows is more contagious, is significantly less deadly than the original strain, and vaccines are more than effective. The US continues to reopen, the UK is nearing the date when all restrictions will be removed, whilst Japan declared another state of emergency as it tries to ready itself for the Olympics. 

Chinese authorities are planning rules changes which would allow them to block companies from listing overseas, closing a two decade loophole which has allowed Chinese tech giants to attract foreign capital. The move continues Beijing’s tightening of controls over the country’s largest tech companies. 

Former US President Trump announced that he will sue Twitter, Facebook, and Alphabet as well as their CEOs in a class action lawsuit for blocking him out of their social media platforms. Trump is banned from Twitter for life and Facebook for at least 2 years, pending another review. The case will likely be decided by the US Supreme Court with both sides effectively using the same argument that it’s their 1st amendment right to not be censored (in Trump’s case) and to censor (in the social media company’s case given they’re private companies).  

Need help? Contact us Macarthur Wealth Management for expert financial advice in Parramatta and Sydney wide. (02) 9683 2869. https://www.macarthurwealth.com.au

General Advice Warning

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making any decision, it is important for you to consider these matters and to seek appropriate legal, tax, and other professional advice.

Disclaimer

All statements made on this website are made in good faith and we believe they are accurate and reliable. Macarthur Wealth Management does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information that is contained in this website, except in so far as any liability under statute cannot be excluded. Macarthur Wealth Management, its directors, employees and their representatives do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person. Unless otherwise specified, copyright of information provided on this website is owned by Macarthur Wealth Management. You may not alter or modify this information in any way, including the removal of this copyright notice.

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