CPI inflation is the most important local indicator in the “torrent of data” due for release this week which will create plenty of potential for more market volatility. Henry Thornton’s commodity guru Nick Raffan says it’s a confusing time for investors: “The revolving door is nearly off its hinges with mobs of hedge funds charging first one way and then another. Traders stuck in the door need take a deep breath and consider fundamentals, remember those, like the US is slowing but very strong, China is still booming and global trade evidenced by Baltic Freight Indexes is also strong. Fear not, the force is still with raw materials. Recent carnage in the equity market is an opportunity – remember that for every seller there is a buyer.”

The Economist reports that global house prices are looking wobbly, and this is likely to affect economic growth reports. In the local press, Age columnist Malcolm Maiden reports an economic storm warning while Alan Kohler has a more reassuring view: “So far in both America and Australia, the cycle looks mildly normal. Inflation is rising, interest rates are increasing, and growth is slowing, but there is no sign that anything out of the ordinary is happening.”

At this time we are with Kohler. But there’s a potentially messy adjustment to come in both the US and Australia, and this will cause a substantial (further) market correction. That correction is inevitable but policy action – tightening budgetary policy in the US (to help fix the world economy) and here (to fix us) – can limit its size. If the US fails to fix its budget and in addition goes protectionist, a substantial correction could become a rout.

Read more here .

Peter Fray

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