Browsing articles in "retail"
Tuesday 1st December 2015 - 4:30 pm
Comments Off on Consumer confidence falls again

Consumer confidence falls again

by Alan Thornhill

Australians are worrying about the future – and this is affecting their confidence.

 

The Roy Morgan organisation reports that consumer confidence fell again this week, its third consecutive fall.

 

The latest fall – of 1.5 per cent – took consumer confidence to just 112.8.

 

The ANZ’s Chief Economist, Warren Hogan, said this:“may be an early sign that the honeymoon period for the Turnbull government is over.

 

“This turnaround in confidence has been mainly driven by a deterioration in consumers’ views towards the economic outlook.”

 

Pollster Roy Morgan said the biggest falls in this time had been in relation to the Australian economy .
“The best defence Australia can have against unrest overseas is for a strong economy in Australia .

“And this is why new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must be prepared to make the tough decisions now to give Australia the best chance of strong economic growth, and continuing jobs growth, over the years ahead,” Mr Morgan said.

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Tuesday 1st December 2015 - 3:28 pm
Comments Off on Rates:Glenn Stevens explains

Rates:Glenn Stevens explains

by Alan Thornhill

At its meeting today, the Reserve bank. Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 2.0 per cent.

In a statement afterwards the bank’s Governor, Glenn Stevens, said the global economy is expanding at a moderate pace.
He noted that there had been some softening in conditions in the Asian region,.

But Mr Stevens also said there had been “continuing US growth and a recovery in Europe.”

He said:” Key commodity prices are much lower than a year ago.”

Mr Stevens said, this reflected “increased supply, including from Australia, as well as weaker demand.”
He warned:“Australia’s terms of trade are falling.”
Mr Stevens said:“ (the)Federal Reserve is expected to start increasing its policy rate over the period ahead, but some other major central banks are continuing to ease monetary policy.”

Hoowever, her added:“Volatility in financial markets has abated somewhat for the moment.
“ While credit costs for some emerging market countries remain higher than a year ago, global financial conditions overall remain very accommodative,” Mr Stevens said.

“In Australia, the available information suggests that moderate expansion in the economy continues in the face of a large decline in capital spending in the mining sector.”

“ While GDP growth has been somewhat below longer-term averages for some time, business surveys suggest a gradual improvement in conditions in non-mining sectors over the past year.”

“This has been accompanied by stronger growth in employment and a steady rate of unemployment.”

“Inflation is low and should remain so, with the economy likely to have a degree of spare capacity for some time yet.”

“Inflation is forecast to be consistent with the target over the next one to two years.”

“n such circumstances, monetary policy needs to be accommodative.”
“ Low interest rates are acting to support borrowing and spending. While the recent changes to some lending rates for housing will reduce this support slightly, overall conditions are still quite accommodative.”
“ Credit growth has increased a little over recent months, with credit provided by intermediaries to businesses picking up.”

“Growth in lending to investors in the housing market has eased.”
“Supervisory measures are helping to contain risks that may arise from the housing market. “
Mr Stevens said:“The pace of growth in dwelling prices has moderated in Melbourne and Sydney over recent months and has remained mostly subdued in other cities.”
“ In other asset markets, prices for commercial property have been supported by lower long-term interest rates, while equity prices have moved in parallel with developments in global markets.”

“The Australian dollar is adjusting to the significant declines in key commodity prices.”
“At today’s meeting the Board again judged that the prospects for an improvement in economic conditions had firmed a little over recent months and that leaving the cash rate unchanged was appropriate.”
“Members also observed that the outlook for inflation may afford scope for further easing of policy, should that be appropriate to lend support to demand.”
“The Board will continue to assess the outlook, and hence whether the current stance of policy will most effectively foster sustainable growth and inflation consistent with the target,” Mr Stevens said.
For Immediate Release
Statement by Glenn Stevens, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision
At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 2.0 per cent.
The global economy is expanding at a moderate pace, with some softening in conditions in the Asian region, continuing US growth and a recovery in Europe. Key commodity prices are much lower than a year ago, reflecting increased supply, including from Australia, as well as weaker demand. Australia’s terms of trade are falling.
The Federal Reserve is expected to start increasing its policy rate over the period ahead, but some other major central banks are continuing to ease monetary policy. Volatility in financial markets has abated somewhat for the moment. While credit costs for some emerging market countries remain higher than a year ago, global financial conditions overall remain very accommodative.
In Australia, the available information suggests that moderate expansion in the economy continues in the face of a large decline in capital spending in the mining sector. While GDP growth has been somewhat below longer-term averages for some time, business surveys suggest a gradual improvement in conditions in non-mining sectors over the past year. This has been accompanied by stronger growth in employment and a steady rate of unemployment.
Inflation is low and should remain so, with the economy likely to have a degree of spare capacity for some time yet. Inflation is forecast to be consistent with the target over the next one to two years.
In such circumstances, monetary policy needs to be accommodative. Low interest rates are acting to support borrowing and spending. While the recent changes to some lending rates for housing will reduce this support slightly, overall conditions are still quite accommodative. Credit growth has increased a little over recent months, with credit provided by intermediaries to businesses picking up. Growth in lending to investors in the housing market has eased. Supervisory measures are helping to contain risks that may arise from the housing market.
The pace of growth in dwelling prices has moderated in Melbourne and Sydney over recent months and has remained mostly subdued in other cities. In other asset markets, prices for commercial property have been supported by lower long-term interest rates, while equity prices have moved in parallel with developments in global markets. The Australian dollar is adjusting to the significant declines in key commodity prices.
At today’s meeting the Board again judged that the prospects for an improvement in economic conditions had firmed a little over recent months and that leaving the cash rate unchanged was appropriate. Members also observed that the outlook for inflation may afford scope for further easing of policy, should that be appropriate to lend support to demand. The Board will continue to assess the outlook, and hence whether the current stance of policy will most effectively foster sustainable growth and inflation consistent with the target.

Monday 23rd November 2015 - 11:51 am
Comments Off on Chef cooks the books

Chef cooks the books

by Alan Thornhill

A Sydney chef bas been caught cooking the books.

 

Her crime was exposed by the corporate watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

 

In a statement today ASIC said:“Sydney-based chef Nicole Annette McIlwaine has been convicted of dishonestly using her position as director with the intention of causing detriment to a company.”

 
It added:”An ASIC investigation found that Ms McIlwaine dishonestly obtained $62,151.68 from the sale of a leasehold held by her company Stockmarket Cafe Pty Limited, at a time when she had stated she was aware that the company would be liquidated and that the money should be used to pay company creditors.

 

 

“ As a result no funds were recovered by the liquidator and no funds were returned to the principal creditor, the Australian Tax Office.

 
“Ms McIlwaine was convicted ex-parte of the offence and on 17 November 2015 the conviction was confirmed and she was sentenced to a $500 two year good behaviour bond.

 
“As a result of the conviction Ms McIlwaine is automatically disqualified from managing corporations until 16 November 2020.
‘The Court found that Ms McIlwaine had quite clearly dishonestly obtained and spent company money,” ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said.

 
‘The action against her shows how serious ASIC is about cracking down on this type of behaviour from company directors.”
he matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Tuesday 17th November 2015 - 3:04 pm
Comments Off on The economy:how the RBA sees it

The economy:how the RBA sees it

by Alan Thornhill

The Reserve Bank expects Australia’s economic growth will remain below its target range, even tbough we will keep spending.

 

It made this clear today, when it published the minutes of its the board meeting it held earlier this month.

 

The bank said it expects Australia’s economic growth to be be between 2 and 3 per cent, in the period until June next year, before rising to 2.75 per cent.

 

The bank aims to keep growth between 3 and 4 per cent, over the course of a business cycle.

 

However the shortfall now in sight is probably not big enough to cause the bank to cut its marker interest rate – which now stands at 2 per cent – in an attempt to boost growth.

 

The bank said its board members had noted that recent data on economic activity in Australia suggested that the moderate economic expansion had continued.

 

The very low level of interest rates was supporting growth in household consumption and dwelling investment.

 

In addition, the Australian dollar was adjusting to significant declines in key commodity prices and boosting demand for domestic production.

 

This had been most evident in the services sector, which had experienced strong employment growth over the past year.

 

And while measures of non-mining investment intentions had remained subdued, surveys of business conditions had strengthened to above-average levels.

Monday 16th November 2015 - 12:55 pm
Comments Off on A drive on the wild side

A drive on the wild side

by Alan Thornhill

Australians are still showing a clear preference for sports utiility vehicles, at their local car dealers.

The Bureau of Statistics reports that sales of these vehicles rose 1.5 per cent nationally in October.

However new vehicle sales, overall, fell 3.6 per cent last month, on seasonally adjusted figures, though they rose by 0.4 per cent on trend figures.

Sales in October this year, though, were well above those seen in the same month last year, on both measures.

On seasonally adjusted figures, the rise was 4.2 per cent.

On trend estimates, it was 5.5 per cent.

Thursday 12th November 2015 - 1:01 pm
Comments Off on Australian shoppers get a seven year itch

Australian shoppers get a seven year itch

by Alan Thornhill

There has been a sharp increase in consumer confidence – and Australia’ shopkeepers could be approaching their best Christmas in seven years.
A statement published today showed that the Westpac Melbourne Institute index of Consumer Sentiment rose by 3.9 per cent in November to 101.7.
The bank said:”This is a cracking result.”

“Apart from the brief surge we saw following last May’s Budget this is the highest print for the Index since January 2014.”

“The Index is now 8.3 per cent higher than in September, immediately preceding the change of leadership in
the government.”
“It marks only the third month out of the last twenty one that optimists have outnumbered pessimists.”
The increase will surprise many as it followed decisions by Australia’s four big banks to raise their home loan interest rates.
But even that was not enough to turn aside the surge in consumer confidence which occurred after Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as Prime Minister.
Westpac admitted that it was surprised that the home loan rate rises had not hit consumer confidence harder than it did.
“Most remarkably, the confidence of respondents who hold a mortgage increased by 4.1 per cent – a slightly larger increase than the rise in the overall Index,” it said.


The bank’s Chief Economist, Bill Evans, said:”In an encouraging sign for retailers, the sub-index tracking views on ‘time to buy a major household item’ lifted 4.8 per cent, although it is still 2.2 per cent below its level this time last year.”

“Another encouraging sign for the Christmas spending outlook comes with our special question: “Do you expect to spend
more; less; or about the same on Christmas gifts compared to last year?” he added.
 “Since we started this question, seven years ago, the average proportion proclaiming ‘more’ has been 12.5 per cent.”
” Today’s survey scored 16.9 per cent.”

Mr Evans said expectations for the economy over the next  five years’  had soared 24.2 per cent, the highest level since September 2013.
“It is likely that a boost in confidence towards the economic credentials of the new leadership team played an important
hand here,” he said.
Monday 2nd November 2015 - 3:45 pm
Comments Off on Wage subsidies getting older employees back to work

Wage subsidies getting older employees back to work

by Alan Thornhill

Colin Johns, of Transformer Services, hired a mature age worker last year, under the Federal government’s Restart Program, which now offers wage subsidies of up to $10,000.

 

Senator Michaelia Cash, who launched improvements to that program, at the Canning Vale markets near Perth today, said it is yielding great benefits for both job seekers and employers.

 

Mr Johns agrees with the Federal Employment Minister.

 

“It’s been great for our business,” he said today.

 

The gentleman we hired really hit the ground running.

 
“He knows how to solve problems, coach other employees and look after our customers,” Mr Johns said.

 
“And I am personally very pleased to have been able to give a mature aged worker a chance to stay in the workforce and earn an income.”

 

Senator Cash said employers will now be able to get the$10,000 subsidy, available to those who take on a mature age worker, as Mr Johns did, over 12 months, instead of the 24 month period that previously applied.

 

She said too that:“The Government understands that there are mature-aged Australians with an enormous amount of knowledge and experience to offer employers.

 
“The reforms that came into force yesterday will incentivise businesses to employ this very experienced, yet often overlooked workforce,”Senator Cash said.

 
Restart offers employers up to $10,000 in wage subsidies to help with recruitment and related costs when they hire an eligible job seeker aged 50 or over.”

Wednesday 28th October 2015 - 12:52 pm
Comments Off on Inflation still low

Inflation still low

by Alan Thornhill

Australia’s inflation remained moderate in the September quarter, with prices rising by just 0.5 per cent in that time and 1.5 per cent over the year.

 

These broad consumer price index figures, which the Bureau of Statistics published today, leave inflation below the Reserve Bank’s target rate of 2-3 per cent, over the course of a business cycle.

 
This means the bank is not likely to cut its 2 per cent marker interest rate, when its board meets next Tuesday to review that rate.

 
Even though the bureau also reported that its annual trimmed mean inflation rate – at 2.1 per cent – and its weighted median rate 2.2 per cent – were closer to the figure the Reserve Bank actually uses, when assessing its marker rate.

 

 

The bureau said the most significant price rises this quarter were for international holiday travel and accommodation which went up 4.6 per cent and fruit, with an 8.2 per cent rise.

 

Property rates and charges also rose, by 4.6 per cent.

 

However these rises were partially offset by falls in vegetable prices , which went down 5.9 per cent and telecommunication equipment and services, which eased by 2.0 per cent.

 

 

The price of automotive fuel also fell by 1.7 per cent.

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Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
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