In this issue:
It’s hard to believe it’s February already, with the nation back at work and kids back at school after the summer holidays. While Australians flocked to the beach, it was business as usual on the global economic front.
All eyes were on the US in January, where newly installed President Trump hit the ground running. Markets took this as an encouraging sign that he would follow through on promised tax cuts and infrastructure spending, pushing the S&P 500 share index to record highs. An encouraging start to the US company reporting season and higher oil prices also boosted confidence, until confusion surrounding immigration policy prompted a late sell off.
In Australia, local shares lost ground over the month despite continued strength in iron ore prices and tame inflation. The consumer price index (CPI) rose by a lower than expected 0.5 per cent in the December quarter, taking the annual rate of inflation to 1.5 per cent from 1.3 per cent previously. This leaves the door open for a further rate cut by the Reserve Bank if inflation remains in check. The only fly in the ointment is continued strength in the local housing market. The Australian dollar finished the month above 75 US cents, well up on its low of 71.7c in December. Longer term, observers expect the US dollar to firm if the US Federal Reserve lifts interest rates and President Trump rolls out his pro-growth agenda as expected.
Changes to the pension assets test that came into force on January 1 have resulted in some retirees losing some, or all, of their pension entitlements. The big question now is whether the tighter assets test will encourage people to change the way they plan and behave in the years lea… Read more
With interest rates on the rise, now is the time to look at ways to fast track your mortgage. After all, the sooner you pay off your mortgage, the less you will pay in interest. That’s probably why nine out of ten Australian mortgage holders told a recent finder.com.au survey that t… Read more
Spending more time with your family. Picking up a brand new hobby. Exploring exotic destinations for longer than your scant weeks of annual leave would allow. However you paint it, retirement is a beautiful goal to work towards. And starting early means you’ve got more time and energy to enjoy it… Read more