Treasury secretary Ken Henry has warned decision makers to “think carefully” before raising rates or tightening the budget on the basis of capacity concerns, predicting production bottlenecks and skills shortages won’t slow the economy sharply or dangerously fuel inflation, reports the Fin Review. Henry didn’t mention the Reserve Bank in his punchy breakfast speech to the Australian Business Economists yesterday, says Tim Colebatch in The Age, but it was clear that his target was the Reserve’s view of the world.
Over the past 12 years, Macquarie Bank chief Alan Moss has helped establish one of the great Australian corporate success stories, says the Fin’s Chanticleer column. But expectations, both internal and external, have to be managed with extreme care at a time when the bank’s combined equity market value of $41.3 billion makes it the fourth-biggest company on the ASX.
Speculative money, often administered by hedge funds, is playing a big role in the latest fall in the Australian dollar and share market, says Robert Gottliebsen in The Australian. What we are looking at is the realisation by both the Chinese and Americans that there is a need for a slowdown and the debate is about who takes the brunt of any reverse. But either way Australian commodities will be affected.
Abolition of the super surcharge is a beautiful thing all right, but not all taxes are bad and not all should necessarily be abolished, says Alan Kohler in The Smage. Australia still has one of the worst, most complicated and least effective retirement savings systems in the world. Last week’s removal of the surcharge just made it slightly less bad in one way (a bit less tax, therefore more compound interest) and slightly worse in another (less progressive).
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Listed property trusts have beaten a strong run from equities to take the crown as the best investment sector over the last decade, according to figures from the ASX, reports The Australian. After-tax returns on the trusts averaged 12.3% a year in the decade to 2004, clearly ahead of Australian shares (11.6%) and residential investment property (10.6%).
The AFR reports that the federal government has been accused of extortion, after revealing its $2 billion water fund would only be paid to states that signed its industrial relations construction code and complied with other federal funding agreements.
On Wall Street, US stocks rallied in late-day trading overnight as fears of a trade war eased after a government report raised the pressure on China to revalue the yuan, but fell short of accusing it of manipulating its currency. The Dow Jones rose 79.59 points to finish at 10,331.88. MarketWatch has a full report here.