European troubles point to interest rate fall. The sentiment of the punters is pointing to another reduction by the Reserve Bank in official interest rates. A fortnight ago the probability of a 0.25 percentage point fall was put at 39% by the Crikey Interest Rate Indicator. This morning the probability is just over 51%.

The silly season arrives early. My goodness, it’s still November and the nonsense has started already! This morning’s Australian puts in an early claim for the title of the summer’s most outrageous political beat-up.

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Exclusive nonsense! Why does a serious paper that has access to reports by a serious pollster fall for spin doctors peddling so-called internal party polling?

And where would we be at any time of the year without a leadership challenge story in the Sydney Daily Telegraph?

Predictions please on how many more Rudd for leader stories before parliament returns next year.

The shape of the Australian wine market — what the figures tell. Imported white wines are rapidly approaching a third of total bottle white wine sales in Australia with New Zealand almost totally responsible for the dramatic increase in the imported share over the last decade. Figures out from the Australian Bureau of Statistics last week show that in the 12 months ended September sales of Australian bottled whites totalled 110.3 million litres and imports 51.5 million.

The ABS figures do not split imports into reds, whites and sparklings but our knowledge of the trade suggests that well over 90% of NZ imports are of whites with the overwhelming majority of those being sauvignon blanc. The dramatic growth in imports from NZ is shown in this graph of total imports (reds and whites):
The Australian industry certainly did miss the boat with this sauvignon blanc popularity with consumers with sales now reaching right down the price scale as the average price per litre falls.
Overall, white wine sales are increasing at a modest rate.
The most significant change over recent years is the decline in soft pack sales — not only as a proportion of the total but in the actual number of litres.
For a while early this century it looked like Australian wine drinkers were turning back to reds but the latest ABS figures suggest that’s not so. In the year ended September this year the ratio of red sales to white sales is back close to where it was in 2001 — 36% reds to 64% whites.
And the growth in total red wine sales also seems to have come to an end if the latest annual figures are anything to go by.
The big drop in consumption has been from red wine in soft packs.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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