It’s October, a turning point in the year when the days begin to get longer and many states switch to daylight saving. Time to spring clean your home, your finances or your business ahead of the summer rush.
September was a month of continuing uncertainty on the global stage. The ongoing US-China trade dispute, political turmoil in the UK as the Brexit deadline looms and a drone strike on a Saudi Arabian oil processing plant all weighed on financial markets. Oil prices initially spiked then eased to finish the month up almost 5 per cent. As a result, Australians are paying more for fuel, with the average price of unleaded petrol rising to 149.7c a litre by the end of September, 8c above the 12-month average.
On a positive note, Australia’s budget deficit shrank to $148 million in the year to May, effectively balanced and below estimates at the time of the April Budget. Our trade surplus hit a record $52.3 billion in the year to July, underpinned by another record surplus with China.
Nevertheless, business and consumers remain subdued. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute survey of consumer sentiment fell 1.7 per cent in September. With interest rates at historic lows and set to fall further, the proportion of people saying they didn’t know where to put savings was a record high of 8.7 per cent. The NAB business conditions index also fell to near 5-year lows. Unemployment edged up to 5.3 per cent in August, the highest level in 12 months, while job vacancies fell 1.9 per cent in the year to August, the biggest decline in over 5 years. The Australian dollar rose slightly to US67.5c on US dollar weakness.
You can click on the articles below or download the entire newsletter: October 2019 Newsletter.