Confidence stabilises but trend index at 20mth lows

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Consumer sentiment The Westpac/Melbourne Institute index of consumer confidence rose modestly in February following the sharp slide in January. The index rose by 1.9 per cent to 106.6 in February. In trend terms confidence levels have been falling for the past five months and are holding at the lowest levels in 20 months. What does […]

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Business conditions near two year lows

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NAB Business Survey; Migration & Tourism The NAB business confidence index rose from -2.7 to +4.0 in January. The business conditions index slumped from +5.8 in December to -5.8 in January. Excluding Queensland the confidence reading rose by 2 points to +3.0, while conditions fell by 10 points to -1.0. Forward looking sub-indices remained decidedly […]

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Petrol prices limp, not leap, higher

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Weekly petrol prices Petrol prices are limping, not leaping higher. According to the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the national average Australian price of unleaded petrol rose by just 0.2 cents per litre to 135.2 cents a litre in the week to February 6 – a fresh 26 month high. In fact prices fell in three […]

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Frugal shoppers stay home with a good book

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Retail trade; Job advertisements; Performance of Construction Weak consumer spending. Retail spending grew by just 0.2 per cent in December, below expectations centred on a rise of 0.5 per cent. In the December quarter, inflation-adjusted retail trade fell by 0.3 per cent – the first fall in 15 months. The measure of retail prices fell […]

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Investor Signposts: Week Beginning February 6 2011

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The big picture China is now the second largest economy in the world. Australia ranks as 13th biggest. But Australia is regarded as an advanced economy whereas China is defined by the IMF as an “Emerging and Developing” economy. So what defines the level of advancement? Certainly there are many ways that can economies can […]

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Weekly market & economic update – 4 February 2010

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Headline developments Nature continued to wreak havoc in Australia, with Cyclone Yasi smashing into North Queensland as a category 5 storm (the highest they get) leaving a trail of devastation. Fortunately due to great preparation and the fact that it missed major population centres there appears to have been only one or two fatalities and […]

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Risk that La Niña could persist over 2011

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La Niña update The current La Niña weather event is responsible for the flooding across eastern and southern Australia as well as the severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi. The current La Niña event is the most significant since 1917 and is having widespread effects on the economy and the broader community. CommSec has been monitoring the […]

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Reserve Bank signals rates on hold

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RBA Statement on Monetary Policy The recent floods and softer-than-expected economic data have caused the Reserve Bank to tinker with short-term forecasts, but the longer-term forecasts are unchanged. Given the weaker near term growth forecasts, CommSec has pushed out its rate call from April to May. The December 2010 GDP forecast has been slashed from […]

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The threat of inflation in Asian & emerging markets

Key points Rising inflation is becoming a major concern in Asia and other emerging countries. So far it’s largely due to higher food prices. Non-food inflation remains reasonably benign. However, with strong growth having used up excess capacity and monetary conditions remaining easy, a flow on to higher non-food inflation is a growing risk. As […]

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House approvals remain at 18 month lows

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Building Approvals; Trade; New Vehicle Sales; PSI Approvals to build news homes rose by 8.7 per cent in December. However all the gains were centred on apartment approvals – which tend to be volatile. Apartment approvals surged by 23.4 per cent in December after sliding by 8.5 per cent in the prior month. The all-important […]

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