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Is the Aussie economy slowdown good or bad news for you?
Your economic well-being is undergoing some significant changes at the moment. Whether that is good or bad news depends on your home ownership status and intentions to buy, and the amount of money you have in invested in shares either directly or indirectly in your superannuation fund.
To the stock market first
Having been beaten down late last year, the Australian stock market has staged a powerful pick up. Compared with the low point in December, the ASX200 has risen over 12 per cent in two months. This is, quite clearly, great news for your superannuation balance and for your wealth if you own any shares directly.
The change in sentiment about interest rates and a solid profit reporting season has underpinned this jump in share prices and with US and local interest rates set to remain low or be lowered in the months ahead, share prices should continue to do well.
Falling house prices met with dismay and joy
From the perspective of personal finances, the news on falling house prices has been greeted with both dismay and joy. Home owners in Sydney Melbourne, Perth and Darwin and reeling under the weight of wealth destruction with prices down by between 10 and 25 per cent.
In Sydney, for example, that house that was valued at $1 million back in the middle of 2017 is now worth around $870,000, a drop of $130,000 in less than two years.
Word has it that the framing of the budget, due to be handed down by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg the day after April fools day (and around 6 weeks before the election), is more problematic than usual.
Problematic because there is some mixed news on the economy that will threaten the current forecast of a return to budget surplus in 2019-20.
Housing has gone into near free-fall, both in terms of prices and new dwelling approvals. This is bad news for GDP growth. The unexpected severity of the housing slump is the key point that will see Treasury revise its forecasts for GDP growth, inflation and wages lower when the budget is handed down.
It will be impossible for Treasury to ignore the recent run of hard data, including the weakness in consumer spending and a generally downbeat tone in the recent economic news when it sets the economic parameters that will underpin its estimates of tax revenue and government spending and therefore whether the budget is in surplus or deficit.