In this issue:

August is here and the wattle is beginning to bloom, a sure sign that spring is just around the corner. The Australian economy has been a bit slower to spring to life, but there are some green shoots.

Australian consumers had a new spring in their step as July progressed thanks to a rising Aussie dollar, lower petrol prices and a jump in full-time employment. The ANZ/Roy Morgan consumer sentiment rating rose 2.3 per cent in the final week of July to its highest level in five months. While the unemployment rate held steady at 5.6 per cent in June, the growth in part-time jobs stalled as full-time jobs posted the biggest back-to-back monthly gains in 29 years. Inflation is also under control, with the June quarter CPI easing from 2.1 per cent to 1.9 per cent. This is below the Reserve Bank’s target band of 2-3 per cent, reducing the chance of a rise in official interest rates in the short-term. Petrol prices fell close to the $1 mark in many capital cities.

The Aussie dollar ended the month at a two-year high after pushing above the US80c level, which will please travellers but not our exporters. The rise reflects a weaker US dollar rather than any local economic issues. Earlier in the month, Aussie businesses were brimming with confidence. The NAB business confidence index was up from +7.5 points to +9.3 points after the business conditions index reached a 9-year high.

Home ownership in the spotlight

Housing affordability continues to be a major concern in Australia and not just for would-be first home buyers. It also affects pre-retirees forced to work longer to repay bigger mortgages and older Australians unable to downsize from large family homes due to a lack of affordable optionsRead more

The risky business of cryptocurrency investment

You’ve probably heard by now of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In the space of eight years, they’ve gone from a geeky novelty to big business and investors are beginning to take note. There’s an estimated US$US100 billion worth of cryptocurrency floating around in cyberspaceRead more

Living better, living longer

There’s nothing quite like a tabloid story about a centenarian partying hard for their birthday to make you feel the creaks in every joint. It doesn’t matter whether they’re on a golf course in the Kangaroo Valley, carving up the slopes in the Rockies or hitting the gym for regular yoga and PilatesRead more

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