Slide in wages could risk tax cuts, surplus

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 9 : 10-Dec-19

The Wage Price Index growth rate for 2019-20 is forecast to be 2.75 per cent, but wages increased by just 2.2 per cent in the September quarter. Westpac economist Bill Evans expects the federal government to downgrade its wage growth forecast in the mid-year budget update; he warns that this in turn may affect the size of the surplus and the Coalition’s ability to bring forward the second stage of its income tax cuts package. Evans notes that the price of iron ore is trading well above the government’s forecasts, which will help offset any revenue shortfall from slowing wages growth.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, DELOITTE ACCESS ECONOMICS PTY LTD, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FINANCE

PM wins an AAA-rating for his responsible approach to stimulus

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 6 : 28-Nov-19

S&P Global Ratings has praised the federal government’s commitment to a balanced Budget rather than pursuing stimulus measures. The ratings agency has warned that any fiscal stimulus that led to a change in the trajectory of the Budget could jeopardise Australia’s coveted triple-A credit rating. Anthony Walker, S&P’s director of sovereign ratings, has also warned that fiscal stimulus is likely to affect the nation’s ability to respond to future unforeseen economic shocks.

CORPORATES
S&P GLOBAL RATINGS, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Tax breaks to fast-track big projects

Original article by Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 14-Nov-19

The federal government will provide a concessional tax rate of 15 per cent for foreign investments in qualifying infrastructure projects that are worth more than $500m. This will include ­energy, transport, water and communications projects. Meanwhile, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will use the Sir John Downer Oration in Adelaide on 14 November to urge greater co-operation between the federal and state governments to address inefficiencies in the economy. He will also stress the need for responsible fiscal management.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Fast-track personal tax cuts: banks

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 7-Nov-19

The second stage of the federal government’s income tax package is slated to take effect in mid-2022. However, Westpac’s chief economist Bill Evans has urged the government to begin phasing in the tax cuts from July 2020 to boost consumer spending and stimulate the economy. Commonwealth Bank economist Gareth Aird also argues that the government should bring forward some of the legislated tax cuts. Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers says Labor has been advocating this for months.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Monetary policy beats fiscal stimulus

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 24-Oct-19

Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy is upbeat about the outlook for the Australian economy. He has told the Senate estimates committee that the economy is growing ‘modestly’ and it should continue to strengthen. Kennedy also contended that monetary policy is still a better option for boosting economic growth than fiscal stimulus. He also stressed the need for structural reform and an increase in labour productivity.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON ECONOMICS, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Global risks high, but Fed will avert recession

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 25 : 23-Oct-19

Northern Trust’s chief economist Carl Tannenbaum expects the US Federal Reserve to reduce official interest rates in late October. Financial markets anticipate more monetary policy easing, but Tannenbaum says the Federal Reserve will put further rate cuts on hold. He is also confident that interest rate cuts will enable the US economy from going into recession. Tannenbaum has also questioned whether the Australian government should still be focusing on returning the Budget to surplus in an environment of low interest rates and a slowing Chinese economy.

CORPORATES
NORTHERN TRUST CORPORATION, UNITED STATES. FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD, UNITED STATES. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

Treasurer in bid to allay surplus fears

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 8-Aug-19

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has downplayed concerns about the US-China trade war, stressing that it will not affect the federal government’s timetable for returning the Budget to surplus. Frydenberg has acknowledged that financial market volatility following China’s move to devalue the yuan was a concern, but he has cautioned against an overreaction. Labor has urged the government to bring forward income tax cuts and infrastructure spending in order to stimulate the economy.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Fiscal policy needs to play bigger role

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 27 : 12-Jul-19

HSBC Australia’s chief economist Paul Bloxham says the federal government’s tax cuts are likely to have a similar short-term economic impact as an 0.5 per cent reduction in the cash rate. Bloxham adds that there is plenty of scope for the government to stimulate the economy via fiscal policy, particularly given that there is limited capacity for monetary policy to provide further stimulus. He has also flagged the possibility of establishing an independent fiscal authority to co-ordinate fiscal and monetary policy.

CORPORATES
HSBC AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS PTY LTD, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Target surplus, but keep on spending

Original article by Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 6 : 10-Jul-19

Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox says there is scope for the federal government to pursue stimulus measures in addition to its income tax cuts package. He says that although returning the Budget to surplus should remain a priority, there should also be increased government spending in areas that will generate economic growth. Treasury Josh Frydenberg is confident that the economy will be boosted by factors such as the tax cuts, monetary policy easing and the Coalition’s infrastructure spending program.

CORPORATES
THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIAN RESOURCES AND ENERGY GROUP, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Stick to surplus to keep AAA

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 9-Jul-19

S&P Global Ratings upgraded Australia’s credit rating outlook to ‘stable’ in September 2018. S&P’s Anthony Walker says the federal government must retain its target of returning the Budget to surplus in 2019-20 in order to retain its triple-A credit rating. He has stressed the need for the government to have a strong public balance sheet so it can respond with fiscal stimulus if there is an external shock to the economy in the future. Martin Petch of Moody’s Investors Service in turn says the Australian economy will be boosted by factors such as the government’s income tax cuts, official interest rate cuts and spending on infrastructure.

CORPORATES
S&P GLOBAL RATINGS, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, HSBC AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS PTY LTD