Economy, Interest Rates

Reserve Bank of Australia Balancing Act

How will the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) balance the risk of a Sydney housing “bubble” against the otherwise sluggish Australian economy?

Yesterday (Monday 1st June, 2015) Treasury Secretary, John Fraser, declared that Sydney and parts of Melbourne were “unequivocally” a residential property bubble. He not only warned of a bubble but said there was unequivocal evidence that one existed. This is one of the strongest official warnings I’ve seen of a Sydney, and potentially partial Melbourne, property price bubble, however, it must be noted that this is not representative of the rest of Australia’s property market at the time of writing.

These comments follow comments by Greg Medcraft, the usually reserved chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), a couple of weeks ago with warnings about a housing “bubble” in Sydney and to a lesser extent Melbourne.

The RBAs balancing act comes as all other economic signals indicate further rate cuts are more than just a possibility this year, however further cuts to the historic low interest rate may continue to fuel this Sydney residential housing “bubble” at a time when personal debt levels are also at very high levels again.

Interest rate changes are considered a “blunt” monetary policy instrument and therefore the RBA will have to consider the broader Australian economy, as they can’t laser target particular areas of the economy with interest rate changes.

So what will they do at today’s RBA rate meeting ??

I don’t believe the RBA will drop interest rates at todays June 2015 rates meeting however, given the following economic conditions I do believe we will see a further cut to the historic low rates before the end of 2015

  • the continuing sluggish Australian economy
  • sharp declines in resource-related capital expenditure
  • business investment in Australia contracting at its fastest rate in more than five years and no signs of improvement any time soon (The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Capital Expenditure Survey revealed total real capital expenditure fell by 4.4% and resource-related investment plunged nearly 14% compared with the same time last year. In addition, UBS chief economist Scott Haslem described the latest estimate of investment plans in Australia as “recessionary”, after being “bleak” last time)
  • continued increased unemployment levels which do not appear to have peaked as yet
  • subdued inflation figures and
  • an Australian dollar which although nowhere near prior highs (as I write this article the AUD is a little above 0.76 cents), is still likely to be higher than the RBAs preferred levels.

As always we don’t have a crystal ball however, I do strongly feel the RBA will leave rates on hold today and continue to monitor the effects of prior rate cuts and broader economic factors before the next move on the Australian interest rate.


Federal Budget 2015 Winners and Losers Ultimate Resource

Are you one of the winners or losers from this year’s budget?

This years federal budget is more subdued than last year’s budget, with small business and national security being the big winners.

Below is the complete source of Australian Federal Budget 2015 reference documents you need to understand Treasurer Joe Hockey’s second budget, and breakdown who are the winners and losers.

Australian Government Budget Official Web Site: includes Transcript of the Treasurer’s budget night speech, overviews, full budget papers, archive of past budgets and much more.

Budget 2015 Winners and Losers: Great visual representation of the 2015 budget winners and losers.

AFR Federal Budget 2015: The Australian Financial Review’s article summarising the winners and losers.

Budget 2015 Cheat Sheet – What you need to know: An excellent article which includes plenty of charts and tables to easily highlight key areas including:

  • Underlying Cash Balance
  • Government Revenue
  • Government Spending
  • Australian Economic Outlook
  • Debt Position.

SMH “Your five-minute budget summary”: Summary of the key budget elements.

AFR Budget Explorer: Take a trip down memory lane with the Australian Financial Review’s interactive Budget Explorer graphic.
Explore this interactive graphic to “see how Labor and the Coalition have managed the federal budget during the past three decades; the economic challenges they have faced; and the reforms they have put in place”. SOURCE: Australian Financial Review


INFOGRAPHIC: The budget winners and losers   SOURCE: The Conversation
Budget 2015 Winners Losers Infographic Source: The Conversation
SOURCE: The Conversation

Please let us know if you’ve found some other quality articles and links in the comments below.

Australian Federal Budget 2015 Winners and Losers


What would a Greek default look like?

While Greece continues to struggle to secure a deal on it’s debt obligations, Standard & Poors today (16th April 2015) have further downgraded Greece’s long & short-term sovereign credit ratings to ‘CCC+/C’ from ‘B-/B’, citing worsening economic conditions due to prolonged negotiations between the government and creditors.

“Without deep economic reform or further relief, we expect Greece’s debt and other financial commitments will be unsustainable,” S&P said.

While Greece denies it’s about to default on it’s debt obligations, the CNBC article below looks at what a Greek default may look like…

“I think default is inevitable,” Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets, told CNBC Tuesday.

“Whatever happens, even if they agree some tranche of aid for Greece, its economy is not going to achieve the rate of growth it needs to start paying down the debts. There is no prospect of Greece not defaulting, in my view, and if markets don’t realise this they’re living on another planet.” Source: CNBC

Image Credit: Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images