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The economic storm is penetrating every corner. The Bank of England’s Monetary-Policy Committee (MPC) has pulled of shock when most thought there are almost no surprises left: it has cut UK interest rates by 1.5% leaving them now at 3% – the lowest level since 1955.
The boldness should be commended, although it clearly demonstrates that they were shocked themselves by the rapidity of the UK’s contraction, as well as the global downturn. Though consumer-price inflation, at 5.2%, is high, the bank reckons that the collapse in commodity prices and the prospect of weaker growth means there is now a “substantial risk” that inflation will fall below its 2% target.
Furthermore, British GDP fell at an annualised rate of 2% in the third quarter, factory output fell for a seventh successive month in September, new-car registrations fell by 23% in the year to October, and house prices fell by 2.2% in October leaving them 15% lower than a year earlier. Things are indeed looking grim.
Also this last week the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised its economic outlook stating that it envisages Britain’s economy shrinking by 1.3% in 2009, and that of the euro area by 0.5% – the European Central Bank has also just cut rates by 0.5% perhaps indicating that the ECB is not recognizing the global tsunami soon enough. Simon Turner
Continued: Part 2 of a 2 Part Report
The massive decrease in housing sales volumes has decimated State Government budgets as they lose hundreds of millions of dollars in would be stamp duty revenue. The flow on effect through to builders, other trades people, real estate agents and so many others throughout the economy is in the billions of dollars – so why the inflation obsession and the foresight of a child?.
For the last 5 years monetary policy and fiscal policy in Australia have been in conflict The RBA had been trying unsuccessfully to slow the economy by increasing interest rates to breaking point while the government led by Prime Minister John Howard was happily cutting taxes and increasing spending. This is a blatant example of the many problems of an independent central bank – I am not a huge fan of either model as both have major drawbacks – the topic is worth discussion.
The interest rate increases in February and March, which were undertaken in response to what looked like irresponsible election promises by Labor Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd were really the last straw as the Reserve Bank Directors continued to increase rates to fight their own war against the ever spending politicians, instead of looking ahead to the coming war against recession. In other words the Australian public was forgotten about – totally unacceptable and completely destructive. Should we still have an independent Central Bank? Certainly worth debating!
As this week unfolded – The Melbourne Cup which stopped the nation, the US Elections which stopped the world and bad economic news all round, no more thought was given as people escaped their problems, dressed up and went to the races in an attempt to forget the economic mess that is unfolding. Our Banks seem to be ok – but the RBA and its obsession with inflation over economic growth have made the situation difficult when it need not have been.
Yesterday (Tuesday) the daily barrage of doom and gloom outdid itself, with the actual release of statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) – retail sales, performance of manufacturing index, job advertisements, house prices, inflation gauge – all down – A LOT!
We at Marquette Turner Luxury Homes see that our role is to lobby hard for change and to keep all of our clients, family and friends informed of every issue that may affect them. It just isn’t good enough to sit on the fence and play it safe.
A dear friend once said “to have no opinion is similar to having a lobotomy”.
FYI: read Part 2
Part 1 of a 2 Part Report (read Part 1)
Yesterday’s rate cut of 75 basis points 0.75%) was the right decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). Fifty points (0.5%) definitely would not have been enough after the release of some of the worst economic data in many years. I had predicted in an earlier E Magazine that the cut would be approximately 100 basis points (1%) but the Reserve Bank chose the 75 point cut – maybe concerned that two consecutive monthly cuts of 100 basis points (1%) would look like panic.
After the October rate cut of 100 basis points (1%) the markets enjoyed a short lived spike but since then shares have fallen 11%, the dollar 8.2% – in fact since July the Aussie Dollar has been in freefall from around US98 cents to around US66 cents and every piece of economic data since has shocked on the downside.
So, the October interest rate cut was a huge success – just no Australian seems to have benefited. The new conversation points from the Reserve Bank Governor are China’s economic slowdown, significant weakness in industrialized countries and weaker domestic spending than expected. “.
The Reserve Bank has blood on its hands – they have run monetary policy with a single inflationary vision. Australia has been exceptionally fortunate to benefit from the age old reliance on digging up the country – the resources boom.
The problem is that metal prices are down about 35% this year and coal is down around 50%. Given that entrepreneurship is barely encouraged in Australia and schools teach children to get a job and become employees, what is next for the country?
Last night a US central banker used the word “deflation” and told Bloomberg that there would be no growth in the US next year and that inflation had been “vaporized” – meaning that prices are likely to fall for a period of time. Our Reserve Bank couldn’t see this coming and see that this might affect us?
The fact is that the RBA has been caught with rates way too high and their obsession with controlling inflation is now backfiring as Australia “suddenly” heads toward a recession. The foresight of these people are in line with the “fat cat executives” who suddenly work out that their companies have no money – with all of the models and supposed analytical data at their disposal they seem to find it difficult to look out the window let alone ahead several months..
The official cash rate should be another 1.5-2% lower (at least) than it is now. NSW is a basket case of a State and is in recession – the only Australian State that is – but who will be next to follow? New Zealand is in recession, so is Japan – but the RBA was caught off guard. How?
Finally the pressures upon Australians will be eased and we have a reason to look positively at the property market in 2008.
As commented yesterday by Simon Turner in his Word on the Street article, The Reserve Bank of Australia at 2.30pm today announced that they would cut interest rates by 0.25% (25 basis points). Their long term view is that inflation will be under control and within its target area by 2010, meaning that the likelihood of a further 0.25% cut next month is good.
The Governor of the Reserve Bank believes that the previous tightening of monetary policy has exerted appropriate pressure on demand and the bank believes that inflation will drop below 3 % by 2010. This bodes very well for those looking to buy and sell property and is the start of what I believe to be a series of interest rates cuts over the next 2 years.
If the banks pass on the interest rate cuts there will be an enormous increase in consumer confidence. Given that long term rates have already been cut by many lenders the news for property is all good.