Inflation to rise ahead of plunge

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 28-Apr-20

The travel and accommodation sector is likely to be among the hardest hit when inflation data for the March quarter is released on 29 April. The inflation figures will reflect the impact of the bushfires and the early stages of the coronavirus crisis. The market consensus is for a headline inflation rate of 1.9 per cent for the year to March, while the Commonwealth Bank has forecast that inflation will reach two per cent for the first time since mid-2018. However, economists generally expect a negative inflation rate in the June quarter, a view shared by Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Virus, fires: 1.5 million visitors lost

Original article by Richard Ferguson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 8 : 27-Feb-20

A draft report from Deloitte Access Economics has highlighted the impact of the summer bushfires and the coronavirus outbreak on the Australian economy. The tourism industry is expected to be particularly hard hit, with the number of international visitors forecast to decline by 10-15 per cent in 2020. Adele Labine-Romain of Deloitte Access Economics warns that the coronavirus will have an impact across the economy unless it is contained quickly. Meanwhile, the federal government will shortly decide whether to extend its travel ban on visitors from mainland China; the ban could potentially be extended to countries such as Japan and South Korea.

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DELOITTE ACCESS ECONOMICS PTY LTD

‘Incredibly traumatised’: Small businesses facing bushfire insurance maze

Original article by Emma Koehn
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 23-Jan-20

David Keane of Solve My Claim says some small businesses are likely to find that their insurance policy has limited coverage for some bushfire-related losses. He notes that many business owners do not know exactly what adverse events their policy covers, noting that many policies only cover profits rather than loss of revenue. Meanwhile, Australian Small Business & Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says insurers should be "reasonable" when assessing claims from customers who were not directly affected by the fires.

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SOLVE MY CLAIM, AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL COMPLAINTS AUTHORITY

Tourism’s $6.5bn pain: our worst summer ever

Original article by Emily Ritchie, Lisa Allen
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 23-Jan-20

Tourism Australia will launch a new domestic marketing campaign to bolster the local tourism industry in the wake of the bushfires crisis. Industry executives have estimated that the bushfires have cost the sector about $2bn to date; this takes into account factors such as lost revenue, cancelled bookings, and facilities that have been damaged or destroyed. It is also forecast that the impact of cancelled bookings by international tourists could potentially cost the economy an additional $4.5bn over the next 12 months.

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TOURISM AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN TOURISM INDUSTRY COUNCIL

Big business, blazes put heat on surplus

Original article by Geoff Chambers
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 21-Jan-20

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has stressed that it is too soon to estimate the likely impact of the bushfires crisis on the economy and the federal government’s projected Budget surplus for 2019-20. He is believed to be considering whether to include new tax incentives for the business sector in the May Budget. However, Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox says the government should introduce an investment allowance immediately in order to stimulate the economy. The Business Council of Australia also recently called for a new investment allowance.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA

Health funds fear surge in fire claims

Original article by Jared Lynch
The Australian – Page: 15 & 16 : 15-Jan-20

Private health insurers expect the bushfire crisis to result in a sharp increase in insurance claims, particularly from customers who have been affected by the smoke haze. However, they say it is too soon to determine the exact impact of the fires. Latrobe Health Services CEO Ian Whitehead anticipates a big increase in claims related to mental health issues arising from the bushfires, as well as physical health problems. Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone says the longer-term effects of inhaling hazardous smoke will not be known for some time.

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LATROBE HEALTH SERVICES, AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION LIMITED, BUPA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, MEDIBANK PRIVATE LIMITED – ASX MPL, AUSTRALIAN UNITY LIMITED

Banks to bear cost of blazes: Morgan Stanley

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 14-Jan-20

Morgan Stanley has warned that the bushfires crisis will have a direct financial cost on Australian banks, including an increase in insurance claims and loan losses. S&P expects loan arrears to increase in the wake of the bushfires, although rival ratings agency Moody’s says the proportion of loans that are affected by the bushfires is likely to be relatively small. Morgan Stanley adds that factors such as the impact of the bushfires on retail spending will have the biggest impact on bank earnings.

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MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED

Climate threatens ratings: Moody’s

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 14-Jan-20

A report from Moody’s Investors Service has concluded that the bushfire crisis will reduce GDP growth by less than 0.1 per cent. The ratings agency adds that the federal and state governments have sufficient fiscal buffers to cope with the current crisis, but it warns that an increase in climate change-related natural disasters in the future could negatively affect their credit ratings. Meanwhile, Anthony Walker of S&P says the federal government’s return to a Budget surplus may be delayed by the bushfire emergency, although he adds that this would be unlikely to have any effect on Australia’s credit rating.

CORPORATES
MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS

ASIC puts insurers on notice over bushfires

Original article by Max Maddison, Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 13 & 14 : 10-Jan-20

Suncorp has estimated that its bushfire claims for the current financial year have cost between $315 million and $345 million to date. Around 9,000 bushfire insurance claims have been made across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia since September, while the Australian Securities & Investments Commission has urged insurers to deal with bushfire claims fairly and efficiently. ASIC has warned consumers to be on the lookout for fraudulent tradespeople and repairers offering to help them with insurance claims.

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SUNCORP GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUN, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Bushfires stoke recession fears as World Bank sounds alarm over debt

Original article by Euan Black
The New Daily – Page: Online : 10-Jan-20

Shane Oliver of AMP Capital warns that the bushfires could reduce GDP growth by 0.4 per cent in the March quarter. He says this will be primarily due to the impact of the fires on agriculture, tourism, consumer confidence and consumer spending. Martin North of Digital Finance Analytics adds that the bushfires could reduce national economic output by up to $36bn over coming years. He has also warned of the potential for a macroeconomic recession in the near-term. The bushfires have already had an impact on consumer sentiment, with the ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence Index falling by 1.7 per cent.

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AMP CAPITAL INVESTORS LIMITED, DIGITAL FINANCE ANALYTICS, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, ROY MORGAN LIMITED, WORLD BANK