25 November 2020
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Ding dong the recession is dead

Peter Switzer
12 November 2020

Believe it or not, we are killing off the Coronavirus recession and it’s time we all started to accept that! And it might be time for the doomsday merchants to accept that they’ve got it wrong. And the lesson is one that comes out of the USA, which advises financial market players not to fight the Fed.

The Federal Reserve is the equivalent of our Reserve Bank and when central banks like these two big banks start aggressively cutting interest rates (as they have), it works to stimulate an economy.

But wait, there was more. This 2020 Coronavirus-created recession’s apparent disappearance has been helped by a Budget Deficit of $213.7 billion, which is the biggest as a percentage of GDP since World War II.

In all my economics and business commentary in the media, I’ve never seen a Federal Government and central bank respond so quickly to repair an economy plummeting into recession. And when you throw in the world’s best practices when it comes to fighting the virus (Victoria until recently aside), you can see why our economy is rebounding.

Of course, this public recognition of how well our economy is beating the recession is no surprise to me as I’ve been predicting this for months, with indicators, such as the ANZ Roy Morgan weekly consumer confidence numbers, telling us that we were buying stuff like never before. However, it’s great to see other supportive indicators tell us that positivity on our economy is totally rational.

Let me put all the great economic stuff in one long list (and I suggest you download it on to your mental hard disk and throw off any negativity that might be holding you back from having a go).

Here’s what’s happening out there in your economy:

  • The monthly Westpac consumer confidence reading rose by 2.6% in November, lifting from 105 in September to a 7-year high of 107.7 points. 
  • The weekly ANZ consumer confidence rating rose by 3.2% (the most in 11 weeks) to a fresh 8-month high of 103.1.
  • The NAB business confidence index rose from -3.8 points to a 17-month high of 4.7 points in October.
  • The business conditions index lifted from -0.2 points to 10-month highs of 1.5 points.
  • Loan deferrals at CBA have fallen to just 2.9% of the bank’s total book as of October 31. These were 10.8% when the virus was at its worst.
  • Home loan deferrals fell to 46,000 with a value of $19 billion, down from the June peak of 125,000, with a value of $49 billion.
  • The CBA says card spending in the week to November 6 lifted by 13.2% on a year ago, compared to a 5.7% lift for the previous week.
  • The AIGroup PSI, which monitors the growth of the services sector, rose by 15.2 points to an 11-month high of 51.4 in October. (A reading above 50 signifies expanding activity.)
  • The AiGroup Performance of Manufacturing Index rose from 46.7 in September to a 2-year high of 56.3 in October.
  • Council approvals to build new homes rose by 15.4% – the biggest rise in seven months (consensus: 1.5%).
  • The value of new loan commitments for housing rose by 5.9% in September, after lifting by a record 12.6% in August. Loans are up almost 34% in four months.
  • CoreLogic says home prices rose 0.4% in October – the first monthly increase since April. Prices were up 3.9% over the year.

This long list of economic positives is actually showing itself to contain the best readings since the Coronavirus came to town. But some are the best readings we’ve seen even before the virus and the best in years!

The AFR reported that “Westpac's ‘time to buy a major item’ sub-index rose 6.7 per cent to record its highest level since August last year.” And the bank’s chief economist, Bill Evans said: “This will be a particularly welcome sign for Australia’s retailers heading into the critical Christmas high season.”

Those pedalling the story about a scary fiscal cliff that the economy will fall over and a bah humbug bad Christmas are in for an economic surprise!

All we need is for our Premiers to open up the borders and a vaccine to be made available for lots of us early in 2021, and next year will be a very good year for optimists and bulls who love investing in shares.

It will be unbearable for bears! Go the Aussie economy.

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