In this issue:
It’s April already and as we head back to work after Easter we hope you enjoyed a peaceful and relaxing holiday weekend. April is generally a quiet month on the national stage as the Government prepares for the May Budget.
It’s been a turbulent few months for global markets however, due to worries about rising US interest rates and more recently, the threat of a President Trump inspired global trade war. In early March, the US Fed lifted its federal funds rate by 0.5 per cent to a target range of 1.5-1.75 per cent, the sixth increase in the current cycle with two more expected this year. US rates are now above Australia’s cash rate of 1.5 per cent for the first time in 17 years, sending the Australian dollar to a three-month low of 76.6c from its January high of US81c. The Fed’s rate hike was expected, but the threat of a trade war was not. Global shares fell sharply in March before a late month pause as hopes were raised that the threat of a global trade war would be averted by negotiation between the US and China. Australia’s trade deficit with the US is already the second largest on record, with the rolling annual deficit hitting $18.5 billion in January from $18.2 billion in December. Our overall trade surplus fell to $11.4 billion in the year to January from $11.9 billion in December.
On a more positive note, Australia’s budget deficit shrank to $18.6 billion in the year to February, the lowest in 9 years, on the back of rising employment and company profits.
Australia’s household debt is among the highest in the world and rising, thanks largely to worsening housing affordability and plentiful consumer credit. So how do we measure up and should we be worried? Sounds like it is time for some good financial planning.
Most global comparisons measure total household debt as a percentage of net income. At last count, Australia’s household debt to income was 213 per cent, the fifth highest in the developed world according to the OECD…Read more
Here we go again. Superannuation could be about to undergo more change with the federal opposition announcing it will end cash refunds of franking credits on share dividends if it wins the next election. The change would have a significant impact on people paying little or no tax, especially self-funded retirees in pension phase. Seniors groups are up in arms, but many Australians have been left wondering ‘franking what?’…Read more
Ever had a plant die on you, and wonder where you went wrong? “But I watered it every day!” “There’s plenty of sun in that bit of the yard!” The simple truth is that there are lots of different elements that need to come together for plants to thrive. Even the hardiest species will struggle if something’s missing. You can apply the same thinking to your personal growth…Read more