JobKeeper too costly to keep

Original article by Sarah Turner
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 24 : 29-Jun-20

A quarterly survey of economists shows that there is general consensus that while the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme has been effective, it needs to have an end date. JobKeeper is slated to end in late September, and Warren Hogan from the University of Technology, Sydney says the increase in the JobSeeker payment could be extended by six months to accommodate JobKeeper recipients who have not returned to work when the scheme ends. The survey has also found that economists expect the Australian economy to contract by four per cent in 2020, while the unemployment rate will peak at eight per cent by the end of the year.

CORPORATES
UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, SYDNEY

Resources exports to turn south

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 13 & 16 : 29-Jun-20

The federal government expects Australia’s mining and energy export earnings to fall 10 per cent to $263bn in 2020-21, after rising to a record $293bn in the 2019-20 financial year. The Department of Industry, Science, Energy & Resources has advised that iron ore export earnings are likely to have met its forecast of $100bn in 2019-20, given the resilience of the steel input’s price during the coronavirus pandemic. The department expects gold export earnings to reach a record $32bn in 2020-21, although revenue from LNG and coal exports is forecast to fall.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INDUSTRY, SCIENCE, ENERGY AND RESOURCES

Moody’s sticks to AAA rating

Original article by John Kehoe, Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 24-Jun-20

Moody’s Investors Service expects the Australian economy to contract by five per cent in 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Moody’s notes that the fall in GDP growth will be lower than many other developed nations, and it expects Australia to return to positive growth in 2021. Moody’s has also affirmed Australia’s AAA credit rating; rivals S&P Global Ratings and Fitch have previously placed the nation’s credit rating on negative outlook, but Australia is only one of 10 nations that have an AAA rating from all three agencies. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has described this as an "expression of confidence" in the federal government’s handling of the health crisis.

CORPORATES
MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS, FITCH RATINGS LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Wage growth tipped to crash as job market struggles

Original article by Shane Wright
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 24-Jun-20

ANZ Bank economists Catherine Birch and Bansi Madhavani forecast that Australia’s nominal wage growth will slow to a record low of just 0.7 per cent in the first half of 2021. They warn that wages growth could fall to around zero during some quarters, and note that Australia had lower growth in wages than the US and New Zealand prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Birch and Madhavani add that the unemployment rate is artificially low due to the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.

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AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Iron ore exporters flag $21b tax boost from port

Original article by Brad Thompson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 10-Jun-20

A report produced by ACIL Allen Consulting has assessed the economic contribution of the Port Hedland export hub. It estimates that the port and its supply chain injected some $54bn into the Western Australian economy in 2019 and supported one in every 12 jobs in the state. The report forecasts that iron ore production linked to Port Hedland will top 547.5 million tonnes in 2022-23, compared with 524.9 million tonnes in 2019-20. It also estimates that increasing shipments via Port Hedland would boost government revenue from taxes and royalties by $21bn over the next decade.

CORPORATES
ACIL ALLEN CONSULTING PTY LTD, PORT HEDLAND INDUSTRY COUNCIL, PILBARA PORTS AUTHORITY, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, ROY HILL HOLDINGS PTY LTD

Less gloomy Treasury flags faster recovery

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 10-Jun-20

Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy has told a Senate inquiry that Australia’s unemployment rate is now likely to peak at around eight per cent as the economy begins to re-open and coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased. The Treasury had previously forecast that the impact of the pandemic would cause the jobless rate to reach 10 per cent by June. Australia’s official unemployment rate is currently 6.2 per cent. Kennedy also said the impact of the pandemic on GDP growth will also not be as severe as initially forecast.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Depth of downturn less than expected

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 2 : 3-Jun-20

Australia has recorded a trade surplus of $19.2bn for the March quarter, and a current account surplus of $8.4bn. The result was driven by strong growth in export volumes and a fall in imports due to the impact of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the median forecast of economists is for GDP growth to have contracted by 0.4 per cent in the quarter, with official data to be released on 3 June. Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe has suggested that the coronavirus-induced economic downturn may prove be less severe than initially expected.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Australia could avoid technical recession fate

Original article by William McInnes
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 21 : 1-Jun-20

Most economists expect GDP data to be released on 3 June will show that the Australian economy contracted in the March quarter. However, five of the 24 economists polled by Bloomberg believe that Australia recorded positive GDP growth for the period, despite the impact of summer bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic. Phil Odonaghoe of Deutsche Bank expects the economy to avoid a technical recession, although David Plank of the ANZ Bank contends that this is moot given that nearly 20 per cent of Australians are unemployed or underemployed.

CORPORATES
BLOOMBERG LP, DEUTSCHE BANK AG, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Lowe urges paying subsidies for longer

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 29-May-20

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has reiterated that the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme and the doubling of the JobSeeker allowance are temporary and targeted measures. However, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe has told a Senate committee hearing that there may be a case for extending some of the coronavirus stimulus measures; he has warned that withdrawing the fiscal stimulus too soon could hinder the economy’s recovery from the pandemic. Lowe also said that recent economic data suggests that the downturn may not be as severe as had been forecast.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

House prices crash 30pc in doomsday scenario

Original article by James Kirby
The Australian – Page: 20 : 14-May-20

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has warned that house prices could fall by 32 per cent over the next three years if there is a prolonged economic downturn. This worst-case scenario is based on the unemployment rate exceeding nine per cent. CBA’s base case downturn scenario is for house prices to fall by 11 per cent. The bank has identified unemployment, underemployment, changes to income and house prices as the key drivers for the housing market.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA