Small tax cuts and more relief over the next seven years are at the heart of the 2018 federal budget, with a dramatic shake-up of the tax system beginning in July. Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison announced there will be up to $200 a year for low-income earners and up to $530 extra a year for people on middle incomes.
In this month’s edition of Prepare for Life, as we get closer to Christmas our thoughts turn to shopping for the holidays and how to stay protected online. If we start early and allow enough time for our purchases to be delivered, a large percentage of our Christmas shopping will be done online. ACCC have issued guidelines to protect your rights and hard earned savings.
Do you know who gets your super following your passing? Despite misconceptions to the contrary, money held in superannuation may not automatically pass to your estate on death to be dealt with under your Will.
One of the attractions of superannuation is the fact that super funds are very favourably taxed.
We consider a few simple examples of where different advantages may come in to action.
In this month’s issue of Prepare for Life, we look at whether Australians are having a personal debt crisis. Australians have amongst the highest personal debt in the world. We look at the ways to get out of debt and live a debt-free life.
Have you read the news today? It’s one thing to follow the news but another to act on it in a way that could backfire on you as an investor. If you are a long-term investor, how do you differentiate between signal and noise? We look at putting world events in a wider context to make sure you make the right decisions.
There are a variety of cards and concessions on offer to people over the age of 60 or 65. The different types available can cause a degree of confusion. Do you know which card is right for you?
The S&P/ASX 200 Index returned -0.1% through December, rebounding in the first week of January 2019 as Wall Street recovered slightly from a horror end to 2018. The ASX outperformed global shares, holding up well compared to other major markets.
Global bonds measured by the Barclays Global Aggregate Index returned 5.8% in December in Australian dollar unhedged terms and 1.4% in hedged terms as yields in major developed markets fell through December and early January.
The RBA’s December minutes revealed that members were wrongfooted by the September quarter GDP release, which came in lower than expected at 2.8% year-on-year compared to an expected figure of over 3.0%.
Australian house prices fell 4.8% in 2018 according to CoreLogic, driven by sharp falls in the Sydney (-8.9%) and Melbourne (-7.0%) markets. Sydney house prices fell 1.8% in December and 3.9% during the quarter, while the fall across all capital cities was 1.3% and 2.8% respectively. According to the ABS, price falls are now also evident in the middle and lower segments of the market, while auction clearance rates and volumes are trending lower.
The S&P/ASX 200 Index returned -2.2% through November as Australian shares appeared to miss out on the market bounce experienced in the US and Asia. Following October’s volatility and market drawdown, losses were stemmed in the Information Technology sector (+1.0%), with Wisetech Global (+16.5%) and Afterpay Touch (+15.5%) partially recovering, while employee share plan provider Computershare (-8.2%) was down following the completion of its acquisition of Swiss-based Equatex Group.
Global bonds, measured by the Barclays Global Aggregate Index, returned -2.6% in November in AUD terms and 0.5% in AUD hedged terms. The US 10-year Treasury yield finished November at just under 3.0%, following a high of 3.26% earlier in the month.
The housing market continues to dominate the headlines in Australia. House prices are down 7.8% in Sydney and 5.2% in Melbourne over the past year, and lending to investors and ‘upgraders’ has slumped as banks tighten lending criteria. The RBA sees the correction in house prices and the tightening of lending conditions as a healthy development, reducing financial stability risks and potentially prolonging the cycle.
The S&P/ASX 200 Index returned -6.1% through October as local markets reacted to selling on Wall Street and growth shares came under pressure. Sectors that have enjoyed a relatively robust earnings trajectory in recent months, such as Health Care (-7.0%) and Information Technology (-11.2%), were hit hard as investors backed away from elevated valuations.
Global bonds, measured by the Barclays Global Aggregate Index, returned 1.0% in October in AUD terms and -0.2% in AUD hedged terms. October was dominated by the sharp rise in US bond yields and the accompanying downturn in global equity markets, with the US 10-year yield pushing to a high of 3.26%, while the S&P 500 suffered a 9.9% drop from its record high in September to its October low.
Despite the risk of a material slowdown in the Chinese economy, evidence of a decline in house prices, and global trade concerns, business conditions remain relatively robust while labour market conditions continue to show signs of underlying strength. The RBA lifted its forecast for economic growth in 2018 and 2019 slightly to 3.5%, with growth then set to slow in 2020 due to reduced exports of raw materials.
The S&P/ASX 200 Index returned -1.3% in September as the benchmark was dragged down by Financials (-2.2%) and the Health Care sector (-7.7%), including a major dip in pharmaceuticals giant CSL (-11.5%) which is coming off record highs following August’s earnings season.
Global bonds, measured by the Barclays Global Aggregate Index, returned -0.4% in September in AUD hedged terms as yields in both developed and emerging markets pushed higher. The US 10-year Treasury yield rose to a seven-year high in early October, pushing above 3.20% on the back of positive employment data, while markets focused on the potential for higher inflation and the impact of rising interest rates on equity markets.
The Australian economy continues to outpace expectations. For the first half of 2018, Australia’s GDP expanded at an annualised pace of 4.0%, challenging the US economy for the strongest rate of growth in the developed world. Recent growth outcomes are broadly in line with the RBA’s and Treasury’s optimistic projections, while the household sector has maintained solid consumer spending in the face of very subdued wage growth.
The S&P/ASX 200 Index returned 1.4% in August, with the Telecommunications (+13.1%), Information Technology (+12.9%) and Health Care (+10.7%) sectors among the top gainers. TPG (+50.0%) and Vodafone announced a merger that will provide a major third challenger to Telstra (+9.2%) and Optus, with a combined enterprise value of $15 billion.
The Barclays Global Aggregate Index returned 0.3% in AUD hedged terms, with developed market yields largely holding firm on the back of positive economic data, while yields in some emerging markets fell sharply. The US 10-year Treasury yield held below 3.00% throughout August, falling as low as 2.82% before rising above 2.90% in early September following strong jobs numbers.
Australia’s GDP growth was a stronger-than-expected 0.9% for the June quarter and 3.4% year-on-year—the fastest growth since 2012 during the height of the mining boom. Growth was boosted by a 0.7% rise in consumer spending, despite households struggling with low wage growth and falling house prices.
The S&P/ASX 200 Index returned 1.4% in July, with gains from the Industrials (+3.5%), Health Care (+2.1%) and Financials (+2.1%) sectors. The Telecommunications sector (+7.9%), which is dominated by Telstra (+8.4%), appeared to recover as attention turned to the much-anticipated 5G spectrum auction, putting a halt to a seven-month slide.
Bond markets were relatively muted through July as central banks left rates on hold and trade-related fears were put to one side as investors focused on earnings and positive economic data.
The RBA is happy to sit on the bench, holding rates at 1.50% at its August meeting. While household debt and sluggish wage growth remain a concern, the business sector is enjoying favourable conditions, especially in the manufacturing, construction and business services industries.
The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index rose 3.3% in June, led by the Energy (+7.8%) and IT (+6.3%) sectors. A late rally in oil prices saw oil refiner Caltex (+10.6%) gain, solidified by the announcement of a long-term wholesale food supply agreement with Woolworths (+7.2%).
Australian bonds returned just under 0.5% in June, with Australian corporate debt returning 0.3% and government debt returning just over 0.5%. Long-term government bonds (with a maturity of ten years or more) returned 1.1%.
Australian economic growth is on a firm footing, supported by a bounce in global growth, a rallying commodities sector, and improved business and public sector investment. However, while there has been a surge in employment and hours worked over the past year, momentum has slowed from 2017’s pace, and wages growth remains subdued at around 2.0%.
This business is a Practice Member of the AIOFP, an Association that represents practices that are not owned or affiliated with Financial Institutions. The business does accept commissions from Risk and past Financial products.