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.

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

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.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Cost of beating virus: recession

Original article by Patrick Commins,Geoff Chambers
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 4-Jun-20

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has confirmed that the Australian economy is in recession for the first time in 29 years. GDP data shows that the economy contracted by 0.3 per cent in the March quarter, while economic growth slowed from 2.2 per cent to 1.4 per cent in the year to March. Frydenberg has also warned that the economic contraction in the June quarter will be much worse; economists expect GDP growth to fall by 6-9 per cent as the full impact of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions took effect. Meanwhile, the federal government has delayed its mini-budget until 23 July, which will allow it to assess how the economy fares after lockdown restrictions are fully lifted.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Australia recession: Graph that rings economists’ alarm bells

Original article by Samantha Maiden
News.com.au – Page: Online : 4-Jun-20

The national accounts data shows that Australia’s household saving rate rose slightly to 5.5 per cent in the March quarter, its highest level since the September 2016 quarter. Callam Pickering, the chief economist at Indeed, says data indicating that people are earning less and saving more is often the cause of a recession. He adds that encouraging households and businesses to return to pre-coronavirus spending levels will be a major challenge as lockdown restrictions are lifted. The official data also show that total consumption fell by 1.1 per cent in the three months to March, which is the biggest quarterly decline in more than three decades.

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INDEED INCORPORATED,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.

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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.

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Treasurer concedes coronavirus economic figures sobering as Australia faces largest deficit in history

Original article by Brett Worthington
abc.net.au – Page: Online : 13-May-20

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg used an economic update on 12 May to advise of a blowout in the budget deficit. He revealed that the underlying cash deficit was $22.4bn at the end of March; this is nearly $10bn higher than the federal government had forecast in its mid-year Budget update in December. Frydenberg has not revealed the likely size of the deficit for 2019-20, but Chris Richardson of Deloitte Access Economics expects the next two budgets to feature the biggest deficits on record. Treasury expects GDP to fall by at least 10 per cent in the June quarter due the coronavirus pandemic, while household consumption is forecast to fall by about 16 per cent.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Panic buying could put GDP in positive territory for March

Original article by Matthew Cranston, Simon Evans
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 23-Apr-20

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that retail turnover increased by 8.2 per cent in March, driven by panic buying in response to the coronavirus. Sales of canned food, medicinal products and cleaning goods were particularly strong in March, with turnover rising by 50 per cent month-on-month. Josh Williamson of Citigroup warns that retail turnover is likely to fall sharply in April, due to the impact of lockdowns and social distancing rules. David Plank of the ANZ Bank says the sales boost in March could potentially result positive GDP growth for the first quarter of 2020.

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Australia set to emerge with V-shaped recovery

Original article by Luke Housego
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 30 : 15-Apr-20

Tim Toohey of Yarra Capital forecasts that the majority of developed economies will record a 3-5 per cent decline in GDP growth for 2020. A recent quarterly survey of economists found that the median forecast is for a 3.9 per cent decline in Australia’s GDP growth for the year. Toohey says the domestic economy is likely to experience a V-shaped recovery when it eventually comes. He adds that the "biggest unknown" is just how long the coronavirus lockdown restrictions will remain in place.

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YARRA CAPITAL PARTNERS PTY LTD

Brace for a record fall in GDP

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 4 : 25-Mar-20

JPMorgan economist Ben Jarman expects GDP to fall by 10 per cent in the June quarter due to the coronavirus lockdown measures. The previous largest quarterly decline in GDP was just two per cent in 1974. Jarman also forecasts that the unemployment rate will rise to 11 per cent during the quarter, a view shared by Bill Evans of Westpac. However, Evans expects GDP to fall by just 3.5 per cent in the quarter. Westpac economists have also forecast a Budget deficit of $90bn in 2019-20 due to the federal government’s stimulus measures, and a deficit of $160bn in 2020-21.

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JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC