Manufacturing contraction… again

From

Performance of Manufacturing The Performance of Manufacturing index fell from 51.1 to 47.9 in March – marking the sixth contraction in the sector in the space of seven months Key sub-indexes were mostly weak with new orders, exports and employment still contracting. The employment sub index was at its lowest level in 21 months. What

continue reading

House approvals slump to near 2-year lows

From

Building Approvals; Trade; New Vehicle Sales The outlook for home builders is gloomy. Council approvals to build news homes slumped by 15.9 per cent in January. In annual terms approvals are down 24.8 per cent on a year ago. The floods certainly played a part in the weak result but excluding Queensland new dwelling approvals

continue reading

Economic expansion still stuck in second gear

From

National accounts Australia’s record economic expansion is now well into the 20th year. The Australian economy grew by 0.7 per cent in the December quarter, after lifting by a downwardly revised 0.1 per cent in the September quarer (originally reported as growth of 0.2 per cent). Annual economic growth held steady at 2.7 per cent.

continue reading

Smaller retailers hit by consumer strike

From

Retail trade; Performance of Manufacturing; BOP Retail spending grew by 0.4 per cent in January – in line with the Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator which was released two weeks ago. Over the past year retail trade lifted by just 1.8 per cent. Non-food retailing fell by 1.0 per cent in the month with annualised

continue reading

Investor Signposts: Week Beginning February 27 2011

From

The big picture The role of a business economist is to educate, inform and occasionally entertain. But most people merely want business economists to explain what key issues mean in practical terms. And the one concept that most people want to understand is the terms of trade. Simply, the terms of trade relates the prices

continue reading

Consumer bonanza as import prices fall

From

Import & export prices Prices of imported goods slumped by 3.8 per cent in the December quarter, driven largely by the appreciation of the Australian dollar. Import prices are 1.0 per cent lower than a year ago. Import prices were at record lows across a whole host of products including computers, mobile phones, leather &

continue reading

Floods: Weighing up the costs

From

Economic impact of floods The east coast floods were caused by the La Niña weather event. La Niña will continue until at least March. El Niño and La Niña are regular climactic events and there has been no discernible change in their severity or regularity in recent years. The forerunner of today’s Bureau of Infrastructure,

continue reading

State of the States

From

State & territory economic performance report How are Australia’s states and territories performing? CommSec has attempted to find out by analysing eight key indicators: economic growth; retail spending; equipment investment; unemployment, construction work done; population growth; housing finance and dwelling commencements. Just as the Reserve Bank uses decade averages to determine the level of “normal”

continue reading

Trade surplus to moderate as coal volumes fall

From

International trade Australia’s trade surplus narrowed by $636 million to $1,925 million in November. Economists had tipped a surplus near $2 billion. Exports were flat over the month while imports rose by 2.9 per cent.  Australia has chalked up trade surpluses of $17.1 billion over just the past eight months. Australia’s trade surpluses with both

continue reading

Record slowdown in spending as job ads slump

From

Retail trade; Job Advertisements; Weekly Petrol Price Retail spending rose by just 0.3 per cent in November after the 0.8 per cent slide in October. However Nonfood retailing rose by 0.5 per cent. Over the past year retail spending has risen by just 1.3 per cent – marking the second weakest reading in five years

continue reading