Economic Snapshot for March – April 2016

Economic Snapshot for March – April 2016

Portfolios in March saw further improvement in global investor sentiment as fears of a recession faded due to better news on key economic data and some stability returning to the oil market. Equities recorded a positive return for the month, with emerging equity markets outperforming particularly well after their recent difficult months. The normal monthly graph looks significantly different to the 3 month equivalent for the first quarter of the year and as such we have included the latter for a better perspective. US equities for example have now achieved a moderate return of 1.18% for the quarter but this is due to a strong rebound of over 6% in March. This is a poignant reminder that when we take into account a minimum 5 year time horizon the graphs are merely snapshots of a point in time.
In the US, there were further signs of labour market strength and some welcome improvement in the pace of manufacturing activity. Core inflation also continued to edge higher. However, the Federal Reserve again reiterated its preference to move cautiously with further interest rate increases. This inevitably undermined the US$ and resulted in speculative trading and volatility.

There were also encouraging signs of improving economic conditions in China, with the manufacturing index rising to its best level since June 2014. This reflects the impact of further monetary and fiscal stimulus from the Chinese authorities in recent months.

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PrimeAdvisory 2016 Federal Budget Review

PrimeAdvisory 2016 Federal Budget Review

The Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has handed down the Budget for the 2016/17 year.

This budget includes many initiatives to stimulate the economy and establish a 10 year economic plan that will transition Australia from a mining led economy to a stronger, more diversified economy encouraging innovation and job growth. Read More

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Why Budget Night might be a MayDay call for transition to retirement pensions

Why Budget Night might be a MayDay call for transition to retirement pensions

55 and over – Act NOW to protect your Super

Everyone loves a good rumour and with budget night less than a month away – due to be delivered on 3rd May – there are many going around. With Australia’s population aging and the baby boomers now at retirement age, it is suspected that the government may look to superannuation, contributions tax, and transition- to-retirement schemes (TTRs). Moreover, it is rumoured that TTRs may be attacked in the May budget. This means if you were 55 or over on 1 July 2015 you may need to act now.

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Economic Snapshot – Jan-Feb 2016

Economic Snapshot – Jan-Feb 2016

January was an extremely difficult month for the world’s financial markets with very sharp falls in the price of equities and commodities. Price volatility both within and between days was exceptionally high. These conditions were attributed to the surprisingly large fall in the price of oil, economic data
from China, the US Federal Reserve [Fed] lifting interest rates and concerns about the state of emerging economies. All this led to speculation about an imminent recession and even “the next leg of the GFC” with some extraordinary statements issued from a Bank Of Scotland analyst saying it is “time to sell
everything”.

In reality these comments appear more colourful than constructive, with the economic data revealing nothing to support that much pessimism. The markets continued to selectively misinterpret the data from China, and although the US manufacturing sector showed further signs of slowing, the household
sector remains robust. In Australia, the latest data confirmed recent improvements in the labour market, while inflation remained at the lower end of the Reserve Bank’s target range.

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Economic Snapshot – 2015 in Review

Economic Snapshot – 2015 in Review

What happened, Why & the Outlook for 2016

The start of share markets in 2015 replicated the start of 2014 with strong gains in the first quarter which drifted away through volatile movements over the remaining 8 months. Media focussed on a bad year for markets and investors but despite this returns in many diversified portfolios still managed to outperform cash and term deposits illustrating the benefits of long term investing and diversification.

Historically January tends to be a good month as we start a new year with investments, but 2016 has started differently with losses allegedly linked to the Chinese market and the incessant media commentary on China’s economic slowdown however the discipline of looking at economic fundamentals is the only long term way to invest with confidence and as at January 2016 the fundamentals are pretty good.
Although economic reports often focussed on the USA increasing rates and exiting the Quantitive Easing [QE] programme, the things that really changed 2015’s outlook turned out to be developments in the emerging markets, [notably OPEC and China] coupled with the fall in the price of oil which was a major shock to the global economy. This spearheaded the collapse of the Chinese equity market [from record highs] and then the depreciation of the Yuan provoked fears of spreading recession. These events introduced significant volatility.

Interestingly, the Australian economy actually had a better year than envisaged at the end of 2014. Business conditions improved, as did the labour market and arguably the change in Prime Minister helped improve the national mood. The expected depreciation of the A$ also contributed to stronger business conditions and noticeably helped international investments in portfolios. Nevertheless, the transition of growth outside and away from the resources sector remained slow and prospects of a budget surplus have been pushed out even further. From the perspective of overall wealth creation, the housing market performed very strongly in 2015, leading to the introduction of macro-prudential measures to cool speculative activity.

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