Stephen Koukoulas

Stephen Koukoulas

Friday, 28 February 2014 15:15

Weekly government debt watch

With today's $800 million borrowing from the Federal government, the total amount of gross borrowing has topped $50 billion - $50.65 billion to be precise - since the election in September last year.

The government has had to borrow to cover the existing deficit as well as to cover some of its decisions on 'border protection' and the $8.8 billion is spent on the reserves of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

The total amount of gross debt on issue stands at $300.6 billion, a record high and up some $27.4 billion since the election.

Adam Smith, the father of economics, noted:

• "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from regard to their own interest".

So too Australian farmers.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014 10:59

AUD - Parity beckons

It seems most of the market has missed it, but the Australian dollar has already had its sell-off, dropping from 110 US cents in July 2011 to 86.60 cents just last month. The peak to trough fall is over 20%.

Down at around 87 or 88 cents was the time to get in because the pick up, back to around 90 cents at the moment, is just the start of trend that should see the AUD move back to 95 cents and then above parity.

UPDATE 1.20pm, Canberra time:

Aussie dollar now 0.8945; US stock futures down 0.2 per cent, Chinese stocks down 2 per cent, European stock futures down 0.5 to 1 per cent. Market assessing the G20 growth objective as useless, meaningly and unreachable. Hot air swallowed by an easily plied few, but not the markets.   SK

----------------------------------------------------------------

It's Monday morning and financial markets are passing their judgment on the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governor's meeting in Sydney over the weekend.

The headline grabbing quest for an additional 2 per cent economic growth over 5 years for the world economy has been met with nonchalant indifference. US stocks futures are a piddling 0.1 per cent higher, recouping a fraction of the 0.3 per cent fall that was registered on Friday; commodity prices are flat; and in what should be a super-charging development for the Australian dollar – stronger global economic activity – the Aussie is less than 0.1 per cent higher at 0.8980.

Friday, 21 February 2014 12:37

Government debt watch

The Abbott government just borrowed a further $800 million, which brings the cumulative total of gross borrowings since 9 September 2013 to $48.85 billion.

The Australian Office of Financial Management has indicated it will borrow a further $1.8 billion next week which will bring the amount of gross debt issued since the election to over $50 billion in just over five months.

Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:00

Joe Hockey: Treasury or Trickery

This article was first published in The Melbourne Review https://www.melbournereview.com.au/commentary/article/joe-hockey-treasury-or-trickery 

 

In the move to a budget surplus, how much is Joe Hockey's prowess as Treasurer and how much is trickery?

The Abbott government's chances of re-election in 2016 will be driven by the budget next year.

On 12 May 2015, Treasurer Joe Hockey will deliver his second budget and in doing so, he will announce that the budget is back on track, the Labor mess has been cleaned up and that for 2016-17 and beyond, there will be budget surpluses.

Friday, 21 February 2014 00:00

Australia's flexible labour market

Treasurer Joe Hockey and Employment Minister Eric Abetz must be delighted with the current structure of the industrial relations system and the degree of flexibility in the labour market.

Recent labour force data have confirmed a near text book degree of flexibility in wages. At a time when employment growth is softening and the unemployment rate has been edging up, there has been a slowing in the pace of wages growth.

Here are the facts.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 09:11

What $882 million of tax payers money can buy

The $882 million tax 'refund' to News Corporation is a lot on money.

Browsing through the budget papers puts some context on what $882 million can buy.

In 2012-13, average earnings for a worker in paid employment in Australia were approximately $57,000 for the year.

On those earnings, the income tax plus the Medicare levy was approximately $10,925.

The tax refund to News Corporation reported in today's AFR, as it won a legal battle "from a series of paper shuffles between subsidiaries", as the AFR's Neil Chenoweth put it, was $882 million.

This $882 million from "paper shuffles" is equal to the income tax paid, including the Medicare levy, for around 80,700 workers on average incomes.

Just sayin'.

There are lots of people who spend $2,000 each year and more going to concerts, plays, movies and the opera. But is the cost of these tickets dead money or money well spent?

That few thousand dollars no doubt provides a good dose of inspiration and entertainment in the delights of Carmen, One Direction, Mary Poppins, The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, Hamlet and a mix of the Hollywood blockbusters and fringe movies that are always a bit quirky.

Most who spend a chunk of their hard earned cash on any such array of cultural fulfillment will no doubt think it money well spent.

But is it?

THE LATEST FROM THE KOUK

2019-20 budget will be 'problematic': here's why

Wed, 20 Feb 2019

This article first appeared on the Yahoo Finance website at this link: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/2019-20-budget-will-problematic-heres-194957605.html 

------------------------------------------------------------

2019-20 budget will be 'problematic': here's why

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.

This is the main driver for a cash rate CUT, and it'll happen soon

Wed, 13 Feb 2019

This article first appeared on the Yahoo Finance website at this link: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/main-driver-cash-rate-cut-itll-happen-soon-200635247.html 

------------------------------------------------

This is the main driver for a cash rate CUT, and it'll happen soon

The prospect that interest rates will be lowered within the next few months is already starting to impact on the economy.

Here’s how.

Around the middle of 2018, financial markets were expecting the RBA to hike official interest rates to 1.75 or 2 per cent over the course of the next 18 months or so. If proof was needed that investors and economists can get it wrong, markets are now pricing in official interest rates to be cut towards 1 per cent over the next 18 months.

The about face has been driven by a raft of disappointing news on the economy, most notably the fall in house prices, the free-fall in new dwelling building approvals and a slump in retail spending growth.

Business confidence has also taken a hit and job advertisements have been falling for eight straight months. Ongoing low inflation and increasing signs of a slowdown in the global economy have simply added to the case for this dramatic change in market pricing.