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Oliver’s Insights

April 12th, 2018
US China trade war fears – Q & A

Key points President Trump’s actions on trade are mainly aimed at achieving better access for US exports to China and better treatment of US intellectual property by China. They are not primarily aimed at traditional US allies, reducing the risk … Continue reading

April 9th, 2018
Falling Sydney & Melbourne home prices – is this the crash? What about other cities & the impact on the economy?

Key points Property prices in Sydney and Melbourne likely have more downside, but a crash is  unlikely in the absence of much higher mortgage rates, much higher supply and a long continuation of recent high construction activity. Other cities will perform better. Property … Continue reading

March 27th, 2018
Share market volatility - Trump and trade war risks

Key points Worries about the Fed, trade wars (the risk of which has been significantly exaggerated) and President Trump generally have increased the risk around the global outlook but are unlikely to drive a major bear market. The key issue … Continue reading

March 21st, 2018
Where are we in the unlisted commercial property cycle?

Key points Australian unlisted commercial property returns have been very strong this decade thanks largely to the “search for attractive yield” by investors. This return driver is expected to start to fade but rising rents, particularly in the south-east office markets, will provide an … Continue reading

March 14th, 2018
Tariffs, Trump, North Korea and other global political risks in the Year of the Dog

Key points Geopolitical issues generate much interest as dinner party conversations but don’t necessarily have a significant impact on markets, apart from a bit of noise. But given a backlash against economic rationalist policies, the falling relative power of the US & the … Continue reading

March 8th, 2018
The Australian economy - five reasons growth will continue but unlikely to be enough to justify rate hikes until 2019

Key points The Australian economy grew 2.4% through 2017, good but well below potential  given high population growth. There is good reason to expect growth to continue and pick up a bit: the drag from falling mining investment is nearly … Continue reading

February 21st, 2018
The “gradually” maturing investment cycle – what is the risk of a US recession?

Key points With inflationary pressures starting to rise in the US the global investment cycle is starting to get more mature. This is likely to mean a further rise in bond yields and more share market volatility. However, there is still little sign … Continue reading

February 14th, 2018
Australian’s love affair with debt – how big is the risk?

Key points Household debt levels in Australia are high compared to other countries and still rising. The rise is not as bad as it looks because its been matched by rising wealth and debt servicing problems are low. However, this could change as … Continue reading

February 9th, 2018
The pullback in shares – seven reasons not to be too concerned

Key points The current pullback in shares has been triggered by worries around US inflation, the Fed and rising bond yields but made worse by an unwinding of bets that volatility would continue to fall. We may have seen the worst, but it’s … Continue reading

February 5th, 2018
Correction time for shares?

Key points The US share market is long overdue a decent correction. This now appears to be unfolding and may have further to go as higher inflation, a slightly more aggressive Fed and higher bond yields are factored in. This … Continue reading

February 1st, 2018
Higher global inflation and higher bond yields – what’s the risk and implications for other assets like shares & property?

Key points Rising global growth and rising commodity prices indicate the risks to inflation are gradually moving to the upside. This is most acute in the US with the Fed likely to raise rates more than the market expects this year. This supports … Continue reading

January 24th, 2018
2018 – a list of lists regarding the macro investment outlook

Key points 2018 is likely to remain good for diversified investors. The investment cycle still favours growth assets over cash and bonds. But expect more volatile and constrained returns as US inflation starts to turn up. Watch US inflation, bond … Continue reading

December 14th, 2017
The Fed hikes again, still gradual but likely to be a bit faster next year – implications for investors and Australia

Key Points The Fed has raised interest rates for the fifth time since first raising rates this cycle two years ago, taking the Fed Funds rate from a range of 1.0-1.25% to 1.25-1.5%. This reflects the ongoing strength of the US economy. Given … Continue reading

December 6th, 2017
Review of 2017, outlook for 2018 – still in the “sweet spot” but expect more volatility ahead

Key points Despite the usual worry list, 2017 has been pretty good for investors as global growth and profits accelerated and central banks stayed benign as inflation stayed low. The “sweet spot” combination of solid global growth and profits and yet low inflation  … Continue reading

November 29th, 2017
Why cautious optimism is better for your investment health than perma pessimism

Key points Worries about an imminent financial crisis remain high. Australians seem particularly negative about the year ahead. However, the global economy is the strongest it’s been in years. More fundamentally, cautious optimism is essential if you wish to succeed as an investor. … Continue reading

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