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  1. TUESDAY'S BUDGET OVERSHADOWS STERLING Last week's UK data were uninspiring but did no great damage. News that the Chinese yuan could strengthen helped SE Asian currencies and the Australian dollar. It was not quite five-a-day for sterling but the British economy managed to put together the best part of a handful of statistics every day. Monday's economic growth and deficit estimates marked the first outing of the shiny new Office for Budget Responsibility, a triumvirate of economists whose task is not to lie about the country's fiscal position in a way that politicians might be tempted to do. The figures were heartening. Growth projections for the economy in the next couple of years, although lower than those of the Labour government, were credible. It also transpired that Britain's borrowing needs could be smaller than Alistair Darling had feared. Tuesday's inflation figures came in on the low side of expectations. The consumer price index went up by +3.4% in the year to May, less than the +3.5% analysts had predicted and less still than the previous month's +3.7%. Wednesday's employment data looked good on the surface, with the rate of unemployment ticking down to 7.9% and a 31k reduction in the number of dole claimants. There was also modest excitement at news of 5k more people with a job. However, those 5,000 jobs were among 61k part-time appointments; the number of full-time jobs fell by 56k. More than a million people are in part-time positions because they cannot find full-time work. Thursday's retail sales data provided another interesting social comment. Sales were +0.6% higher in May but the Office for National Statistics drew attention to the uplift cause by the football world cup. There was concern that the footy-related sales (shirts, St George's flags with 'ENGLAND' across the middle of them, television sets) would mean an upturn in British imports and further deterioration of the trade balance. Friday's money supply and public sector borrowing figures showed the number of mortgage approvals still stalled at a low level and another £16 billion of government borrowings in May. A four-day week in Australia made no appreciable difference to the AUD, in that the week began with the Reserve Bank of Australia's meeting minutes instead of investors spending Monday looking forward to them. The minutes contained no bombshell; rather, the RBA's message was that there would be no change to interest rates until at least August. Whilst conscious of the dangers of a Euroland-inspired austerity slowdown the RBA is more concerned with domestic inflation. A high number in July could yet provoke an August rate increase. Dwelling commencements (housing starts) and Residex's house price index both slowed the pace of their previous increases but maintained what analysts described as 'solid' growth. At the weekend, news that the People's Bank of China (PBOC) would loosen its hold on the Chinese yuan was positive for the currencies of regional suppliers and trading partners, including the Australian and NZ dollars. The renmimbi has been held at 6.83 yuan to US$1 for nearly two years. Prior to the financial crisis the Chinese authorities had supervised a progressive revaluation that allowed it to strengthen from 8.25 to 6.83 over a period of three years. This latest announcement, that the PBOC will 'strengthen the flexibility' of the exchange rate suggests a resumption of that earlier strategy. By far the most important event for sterling this week will be Tuesday's budget (or 'emergency' budget as the chancellor chooses to describe it). George Osborne and his colleagues have gone out of the way to manage expectations downwards for this fiscal responsibility fest. Their aim is to make us grateful if we come out of the exercise still able to put food on the table. No doubt it will be a tougher budget than Britons have seen for many a long year. Nor can there be much doubt that a robust show of prudence will help to preserve the country's triple-A credit rating. The worry, however, is that the budget might be so harsh as to undermine investors' confidence in the economic recovery. We should know by the middle of the week what the market thinks of it all. Until then, there is little point in speculating about Mr Osborne's plans. Buyers of the Australian dollar should go into Tuesday with a 50% hedge of their total requirement and should consider on Wednesday what to do about the balance.
  2. Teams to tackle migrant debate. THREE teams of experts with strongly opposing views on a Big Australia have been called in to help map out the issues around population growth. Former NSW premier Bob Carr will head a panel which will say the population is heading towards unsustainable levels. A business team chaired by Heather Ridout, of the Australia Industry Group, sees high growth as the key to prosperity. The third panel, to be headed by demographer Graeme Hugo, has no strong opinion on numbers but wants better planning. Population Minister Tony Burke yesterday said the three would draft an issues paper on population growth. The government has been trying to ease the concerns of Australians opposed to rapid population growth and immigration as they see resources stretched, and those who want more immigration to fill skills shortages. And I bet Bob Carr will be drawing upon the “research” of anti immigration group Centre for Population & Urban Research, informed by demographer Dr. Bob Birrell..... who had been advising DIAC.......
  3. loulou1205

    Australian Phone Scam - Beware!!

    Everyone beware of this: PHONE CON: No, that is not "Microsoft" calling We had a phonecall this evening from a woman claiming to be from Microsoft. She said that there was a virus on our computer and that they were calling to repair it. This rang alarm bells because how did she get our number (via our wireless router she told me!!!!!!) and why would Microsoft call us?!!!!! I questioned her on this and she hung up. Luckily I didn't do what she was asking me to (go to run and run a program she was giving us the name for). I did a search on google and found this news item (link above) and hundreds of forums of other people experiencing this and falling for it, having bank accounts emptied and paying $250 for the privilidge!!! I expect this has been posted before but thought, as this just happened today, might be worth telling everyone!! Seem to be targeting Aussies. Made me very angry because mother in law was just about falling for it. Hoping they will call back so I can tell them what I think of them!!
  4. Guest

    Australian Citizen by birth

    HI, I have a question for the PR's here. If I am permanent resident and have a baby in Australia, by son will be citizen by birth, would I able to request my own citizenship before the 4 years residence due so ? (I am a father of a australian citizen)
  5. The sterling Australian dollar rate of exchange mirrored the previous week’s trading range. The Australian dollar, like most commodity currencies, continues to trade in line with market sentiment towards investors’ appetite to buy and hold ‘riskier’ assets. Ongoing concerns surrounding the eurozone debt crisis are not going away, with fears emerging that certain eastern European nations are now affected. Last week saw Hungary’s new Prime Minister, Viktor Orban reveal that his nation’s finances were in a “very grave situation” and that his predecessor had falsified the true state of his country’s finances. Whilst Hungary is not the biggest economic power in the world, this news will further undermine confidence in the eurozone due to the lengthening list of nations that may need to seek emergency funding from the European Central Bank (ECB) in the future. The sterling Australian dollar range covered a low of AUS$1.7130 and saw a high of AUS$1.7757. The main releases from the UK saw the publication of the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) figures, which are leading indicators of economic health and seen as a good barometer of the sustainability of the current recovery in markets around the world. The UK’s Manufacturing PMI maintained a 15-year high reading of 58 (above 50 is expansionary, below is a sign of contraction in activity) despite a small fall being forecast. The construction sector also continued its recent resurgence with a reading of 58.5 (which was marginally above expectations), while the services number – the most important of the three – was slightly down on expectations, but still strong at 55.4. All of this lends further credibility to the UK recovery gathering pace. Elsewhere, the pound also gained on news that UK house prices rose to the highest levels in more than two years. The Nationwide Building Society said the average cost of a home increased 0.5% in May to the highest level since July 2008. They maintain their view that the current supply and demand balance in the market is still consistent, with relatively stable to modestly increasing prices. The other main news of the week was the collapse of the ambitious attempt by Prudential to buy AIG's Asian arm. This prompted the unwinding of currency hedges put in place in anticipation of a deal, when the initial bid was announced back in March. AIG’s outright rejection of a reduced offer from The Pru’ put an end to the deal once and for all, with the UK insurer confirming that the deal was off on Wednesday. Sterling rose broadly on Tuesday as anticipation grew that the deal was close to collapse. The currency was still benefitting when the deal was finally taken off the table. The economic conditions in Australia are now harder to read following last week’s mixed messages. Although Australia’s retail sales rose by 0.6% during the month of April (against expectations of a 0.5% rise), this positive number was offset by news that Australian building approvals had slumped by a dramatic 14.8% during the same period. The following day the Reserve Bank of Australia left its cash rate unchanged at 4.5% as expected. The accompanying statement from Bank Governor Glenn Stevens highlighted the fact that interest rates are now close to average levels of the past decade and are appropriate for the near term. With so many concerns surrounding the creditworthiness of several eurozone nations and how this may impact the global trade environment, the Reserve bank is now refraining from any further interest rate hikes – for the moment at least. The Australian economy continued to grow for a fifth straight quarter, with confirmation that their gross domestic product rose by 0.5% in the three months to the end of March. With so many factors driving the sterling Australian dollar rate, buyers of dollars should consider hedging their exposure. Whether for a one-off real estate purchase or ongoing living costs, they would be wise to fix a price for half the amount of currency they are going to need.
  6. New Australian immigration rules hit economy Student drop hits economy. TOUGH new immigration rules for foreign students are hitting Australia's economy, with more than 125,000 fewer international students expected to come in the next 12 months, costing more than 31,000 jobs nationwide. Confidential Immigration Department figures showing new visa applications suggest that Victoria, the state that is most reliant on foreign students, will be hardest hit, with 40,250 fewer students in the next year. Modelling by Access Economics suggests this will cost 10,100 jobs in Victoria and punch a $1.17 billion hole in the state's export income, more than a quarter of the total value of the state's biggest export industry. Many Australians would think that this is a succesful outcome as it means less Asians and Moslems coming to Australia i.e. those pining for a "neo white Australia" playing the race card, politicians of both sides, demographers such as CPUR, media who have been running scare campaigns claiming backdoor immigration and automatic study to permanent residency PR (both false) and meanwhile those actually responisble for integrity of the system i.e. DEEWR, DIAC and state regulators have avoided scrutiny? At best good old short term Australia not thinking of consequences.....
  7. Hello everybody, In this topic we will try to discuss everything about Australian migration visa subclass 175 from A: Z. Requirements, threshold point. Pre-lodgment step, and preparing the required documents. Assessment step. (Qualification Assessment.) IELTS test MODL list CSL list Timeline Inviting the members who get the visa to tell us about their timeline and preparing for the new life in Australia. And I invite Melanie to this topic because she is very helpful and knowledgeable about this issue.
  8. Wild swings seen in the sterling Australian dollar currency pair This currency pair was driven higher in the early part of the week, as global concerns surrounding the Greek sovereign debt crisis persisted and had now, in fact, spread to other southern Mediterranean nations. The euro was sent markedly lower when news broke that the Spanish Central Bank had had to rescue one of the nation’s savings banks, CajaSur, prompting fears that many more Spanish savings institutions would suffer a similar fate. This led to investors dumping Australian dollars for the safety of the US dollar, while sterling managed to hit a high of just above A$1.77, before falling back down to A$1.70 as relative calm was restored to the markets by Thursday. The pound benefitted from economic data which continues to support the view that the UK recovery is gaining traction and that it is being led by manufacturing and industry, rather than consumer debt – meaning it should prove resilient and sustainable. Focus at the beginning of the week was on the details of the new Chancellor’s plans for £6.2bn of immediate spending cuts, in advance of the budget next month. The plan not only needed to be credible, it also could not overly hinder economic growth. In the event, the axe fell on quangos and wasteful areas of government, focussing on efficiencies rather than outright cuts (for now) to the general approval of the market. The main data of the week showed that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose 0.3% in Q1, compared to the initial measurement of 0.2%. This was the expected result; however, manufacturing unexpectedly surged 1.2% – the largest gain in activity recorded since the first quarter of 2006. As a result, some analysts have suggested that there may be a further upward revision when the final reading is announced, with another strong figure expected for Q2. However, fiscal tightening is likely to mean the second half of the year will not be as good. Not all data was positive, as retail sales suffered an unexpected hit in May after shoppers were turned off by poor weather and the biggest price rises in two years. The reading was the largest one-month drop in the index since January 2005. The Confederation of British Industry's quarterly survey, released at the same time, showed the greatest balance of firms reporting planned and actual price rises for two years. This added to inflation fears. Consumer confidence, perhaps unsurprisingly, also dipped as concerns over spending cuts and tax rises caused shoppers to tighten their purse strings. Elsewhere, mortgage approvals were slightly down on expectations, but not enough to hinder the pound. Global risk appetite did however get a boost when news that China’s foreign exchange regulator affirmed its commitment to investing in Europe, damping concern large investors may flee the eurozone’s common currency. China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, which manages China’s $2.4 trillion of foreign exchange reserves (the world’s largest), said in its statement that “the media report that SAFE is reviewing its euro holdings was groundless,” without specifying the media to which it was referring. Later in the day, the Kuwait Investment Authority made a similar statement further boosting the euro. This vote of confidence saw investors flood back to the high yielding Australian dollar, although their appetite was nowhere near as strong as it had been previously only a couple of months ago. Further signs that the Reserve Bank of Australia’s determined efforts to ensure inflationary pressures are contained – following their sequence of rate hikes since October 2009 – are now feeding through to the real economy. Although construction work did rise by 1.9% during the month of March, this was lower than market expectations. Many economists are now suggesting a more modest growth rate for the first quarter of 2010. Australian business investment reported an unexpected drop of 0.2% for the first three month of this year. Concerns remain that company spending may continue to slide in the months ahead, following the government’s proposal to impose a 40% tax on mining profits. This ‘super tax’ may see inward investment decline and job creation hindered. With so many differing factors driving the sterling Australian dollar rate, buyers of dollars should consider hedging their exposure. Whether for a one-off real estate purchase or ongoing living costs, they would be wise to fix a price for half the amount of currency they are going to need. Hedging does not guarantee buying Australian dollars at the best possible price; it guarantees not buying them at the worst.
  9. Does any body know how I can find out what my qualifications are equivalent to?
  10. Hi can anyone tell me how long does it take aus federal police verification i did it 2 weeks ago and sent forms to canberra and havent recieved yet,,, applying for 885 visa on 14th june just before implementation of new sol..can i apply without afp verification replies will be appreciated k.sandhu
  11. SO FAR SO GOOD Sterling survives another week under the coalition. Yen and dollar leach cash from commodity currencies. Last Monday's $1.64 starting point was the low of the week. It accelerated upwards to touch a high of $1.7750 on Thursday night before consolidating between $1.7550 and $1.7250. It opened in London this morning at $1.74, an impressive 6% higher on the week. Britain's new chancellor opened the batting last Monday by revealing a note left on his desk by outgoing Chief Treasury Secretary for his successor David Laws; 'Dear Chief Secretary, I'm afraid there is no money. Kind regards - and good luck! Liam.' Although it was clearly a tongue-in-cheek message Mr Osborne used it to illustrate the parlous state of Britain's finances and it set the tone for a nervous week. Scheduled economic events came and went without really having much of an impact on sterling. Inflation jumped from 3.4% to 3.7% in April, necessitating the first open letter from the governor of the Bank of England to his new boss. A letter goes to the chancellor if inflation moves below 1% or above 3% and it must be refreshed every three months if inflation is still out of line. As he has said before, the governor believes 'the temporary effects of [oil prices, the rise in VAT and the weak pound] are masking the downward pressure on inflation.' In other words, investors should not hold their breath for a rise in interest rates, a message borne out by the relaxed tone of the minutes of the May Monetary Policy Committee meeting. Money supply figures on Friday were mildly positive for sterling, with April's public sector borrowing coming in at £10 billion instead of the forecast £11 billion and a downward revision for the March number. But these numbers are not critical for sterling. What the market really wants to see is the chancellor's plan for a wholesale reduction in the size of the country's deficit. Around £6 billion 'savings' are due to be announced on Monday and Tuesday's Queen's Speech will be the death knell for dozens of expensively-staffed qangos. In a month's time the budget will spell out the longer-term strategy for cutting costs and raising taxes. That is when the real fun will start. For the Australian dollar it started last week. As has become the norm, the direction and velocity of the NZ and Australian dollars owed more to broad risk-appetite among investors than it did to the strengths or weaknesses of those individual currencies. It was the euro zone once again that kicked things off, with Portugal and Spain joining Greece to impose austerity budgets aimed at balancing the books. Together, they increased the risk that southern Europe could slip back into recession as a result of lost jobs and shattered consumer confidence. The killer blow was German Chancellor Merkel's unilateral decision to ban 'short selling' (selling something you don't possess)of European government bonds and shares in the top ten German banks. If Frau Merkel's aim was to reduce volatility in financial markets her move backfired spectacularly. Investors dumped equities and sold emerging market and commodity-related currencies as they headed for the relative safety of the yen and the US dollar. As for the Australia-specific influences, the minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia's latest monetary policy meeting confirmed what many had already suspected. The RBA is no longer in a rush to take interest rates higher. After six increases, rates are now 'well placed'. They are looking even more well-placed in the light of the problems of southern Europe. Another negative factor for the Australian dollar was the proposal to tax the profits of mining companies. Rio Tinto, the country's biggest exporter of iron ore, was never going to be the greatest advocate of the idea but its corporate comment that the tax would be 'a wet blanket' on its investment plans in Australia did the AUD no favours. Regular readers will know what is coming next, and they had better get used to the idea of living with it for another month unless some new and dramatic development suddenly clarifies the hazy outlook for exchange rates: Buyers of the Australian dollar should hedge their exposure. Whether for a one-off real estate purchase or ongoing living costs they should fix a price for half the amount of currency they are going to need. Hedging does not guarantee buying Australian dollars at the best possible price; it guarantees not buying them at the worst.
  12. I have a pregnant fiancee in Vietnam who is due to give end of this month. My migration agent has finished and sent off the application for the Prospective marriage visa last Friday, and i plan to travel to Vietnam next week and stay there for close to 3months. As the baby is not born yet we cannot put baby down on application as dependent, and was told to write a letter to Embassy after baby is born to have baby included in application. I would like to know if i should be using the 118 citizenship by descent form then applying for Australian passport for baby. I would like to take this path as i heard from a friend that the Vietnamese government will not allow a child to leave the country until it is 2years old. Is this true? What are the chances of immigration giving her the fiancee visa within 3months so she and our baby can fly together to Australia. How difficult and fast would this process be as i am only staying about 3months in Vietnam. (Also when i applied for paternity leave of up to 14 weeks and stating i will return to work early if my immigration matter is handled quickly and telling my employer of my situation, they told me it was awfully long and when i come back i might not have a job. I went straight to my union delegate and told them what happened and my union delegate confronted this employer after i finished work and denied saying what he said to me and called me a liar. After this argument, the next day they approved my leave)
  13. Hi, can anyone give me an idea of what we can expect to pay in tax when we get to Oz? Obviously over here we pay income tax, NI, VAT and a million other taxes, but I'm just thinking about tax that is deducted from salary really. And the compulsory pension %. Is healthcare deducted at source too? For the sake of easy maths, can anyone tell me what % I'd take home on AUS$ 100k ? Cheers, Nicky
  14. NEW GOVERNMENT BUT WHAT NEXT? Investors wait to see how the Lib-Con coalition will tackle the debt. US dollar and yen prosper as nervous investors shun the euro and 'risky' currencies. Sterling opened on Monday morning almost unchanged on the week, close to $1.64. On the way it had peaked at $1.68 and troughed below $1.6250, in that order. It is close to record lows. Following the previous week's general election political worries about sterling were replaced by... political worries. There was nervousness when it took five days to form a government and uncertainty afterwards. From financial markets' point of view the Liberal-Conservative coalition is probably the least worst alternative under the circumstances, given that a single-party government is out of the question. Dave and Nick are giving every impression that they are dedicated to the job of reducing the country's debt to something more akin to 'normal' levels. They have mentioned spending cuts - including ministerial salaries - and efficiency savings amounting to £6 billion this year. There is reason to be optimistic that the first coalition for 65 years will stick to its mission and do the job the nation needs. But investors need more than vague promises before they will be able fully to renew their faith in sterling, as will the credit ratings agencies. A quick-fix spending review and the Queen's Speech next week will give an outline as to how the Camelegg government intends to prioritise its tasks; it will be the best part of a month beyond that before the really serious stuff comes out in the Proper budget (as opposed to the flimsy pre-election one that nobody really believed). Investors and ratings agencies will not be satisfied unless George Osborne's budget speech is dripping with the blood of quangos and diversity outreach counsellors. They are prepared to be patient: after all, it would be silly to bounce a new government into precipitate decisions before it has searched the cupboards of Downing Street and Whitehall for financial skeletons. But patience and enthusiasm are not quite the same thing. Sterling will have to wait for its renaissance. In the meantime, the economy is bumping slowly up the same hill it had been tackling before the election. House prices, according to the RICS, the DCLG and Rightmove, are rising at a sustainable pace. Industrial and manufacturing production in the UK grew by 2.0% and 3.3% in the year to March. NIESR (The National Institute for Economic and Social Research, an apolitical body) estimates that the economy grew by +0.5% in the year to April. Dole claims went down by another 27k in April. The bad news is still there as well. Britain's trade deficit went up by a fifth in March as a result of increased imports. The weak currency is not doing its job of balancing trade. Financial markets initially had faith in the European Union's €750 billion financial stability fund but it did not take long for that support to evaporate. A classic case of 'too much, too late' saw Germany step up to the plate with a real offer of genuine money but the damage to confidence had already been done. It is no longer just Greece that investors worry about. The concern now is that we could be facing another global financial crisis. With that in mind, investors favoured the US dollar and the Yen as the safest places to park their money until the problem blows over. The Australian dollar suffered the same fate as other 'risky' currencies, including the pound. The Australian economic news was not compelling enough to distract investors from their simplistic risk/safety agenda. NAB's business confidence and conditions surveys both fell; the first by three points to 13 and the second by five to 8. Home loans and investment lending cancelled each other out. Mortgages were down by -3.4%; investment lending rose by +3.0%. Thursday's employment figures were solid once again. Another 33.7k people found jobs while unemployment was steady at 5.4% and the participation remained unchanged at 65.2%. Sterling is in limbo until the new prime minister unveils his plans to sort out the debt. It is being dragged down by the ailing euro (as is the Swiss franc, for slightly different reasons) against the US dollar and the Japanese yen unless and until investors rethink their doomsday scenario for southern Europe. With the pound close to record lows it is difficult to be optimistic in the near term. Buyers of the Australian dollar should hedge at least half of their currency needs.
  15. Just a bit of food for thought for those of you worried about property prices ,values etc. These are a few of the predictions I made some time ago and now being spoke about by some of the leading economists across the country. According to The Economist, Australian housing is now 56.1% overvalued based on the long run average of price to rent ratios. The price to rent ratio is seen as similar to that of the PE (price/earnings) ratio used to value shares. Australia is in 1st position on the leader board of overpriced property. In close 2nd is Spain at 53.4%, Hong Kong at 49.1%, France 39.7%, and Sweden 37%. According to Edward Chancellor, author of the book titled Crunch Time for Credit (2005) and a member of US Investment Firm GMO’s asset allocation team, Australia is in the midst of an unsustainable housing bubble that could burst at any time. It’s hard to argue with these claims when reports out today show Australian house prices have surged 20 percent this year, the most since the ABS started the house price series in 2002. Melbourne recorded an unsustainable gain of 27.7 percent followed by Sydney at 21.0 percent. This comes after reports in February that wage growth fell to it’s slowest pace in a decade last year. M Chancellor told The Australian, he estimates Australian house prices are more than 50 percent above their fair value, something he cites as a once in a 40 year event. “If house prices were to revert to their historic long-term average (ratio of average price to average income) they would fall quite considerably.” for more detailed info and graphs go to www.whocrashedtheeconomy.com
  16. Hi, this is a bit of a dilemma. I'm getting hitched in Sydney later this year to my Australian GF - the wedding plans are well under way. I've since discovered that an ETA / Evisa can't be applied for if you have any criminal convictions. The issue is my father spent 18months in about 25 years ago (fraud - nothing violent). He's now 70 and I'm really worried about what will happen regarding the visa. He's hasn't been in trouble since. I've read that a 676 needs to be applied for but is it likely to be granted? You would think on the face of it the answer would be yes, but is there much of a chance that it could be refused? My question (regardless of the moral questions about false visa declarations) do Australian immigration know if a UK national has criminal convictions when they arrive at the border if they don't declare it on the landing card? They do I believe with NZ and American nationals. Any advise would be much appreciated. DJ I'm sure this v
  17. AN EXCEEDINGLY WELL HUNG GOVERNMENT Sterling still in limbo after indecisive election. US stock market volatility spreads to currencies. RBA hints that future interest rate increases will come more slowly. It was a rather more exciting week for sterling than investors might have wished. $1.65 to $1.69 to $1.63 to $1.67 to $1.64 made for a thrilling ride. Investors did not pay the slightest attention to last week's UK economic data. Improvements or increases in mortgage approvals, purchasing managers' indices, house prices and factory gate prices passed by unremarked and almost unnoticed. The market was far less concerned about what Britain's economy had done in the past than it was about who would be in charge of it in the future. On the face of it, investors ought to have been prepared for none of the parties to achieve an overall majority. After all, the opinion polls had been pointing to a hung parliament since the beginning of the year. But they were not geared up for one quite so spectacularly well hung. The Liberal Democrats' Vince Cable described the result as 'a perfect snooker' and the outgoing prime minister decided to stay on at Number Ten for a few days; after all, nobody else was knocking to demand admittance. Not surprisingly the outcome - or the lack of one - made life uncomfortable for sterling. The market had been hoping for an incoming government ready to buckle down to the task of sorting out Britain's debt: what it got instead was the prospect of a coalition arguing about how to go about the job. But it was not the election that led to the massive volatility on Thursday and Friday, it was Wall Street. In less than an hour on Thursday New York share prices collapsed by almost ten per cent. In terms of points it was the biggest ever one-day move and the subsequent rebound was almost as scary. The fall rubbed off on equity markets around the world and investors abandoned 'risky' currencies, flocking to the safety of the US dollar and the Japanese yen. The US authorities are still investigating the cause of the furore but the word on the street is that computer-driven trading models were to blame. As the market fell they became ever more frenzied in their efforts to sell, even pushing the price of some shares temporarily to zero. After the Reserve Bank of Australia's decision to raise interest rates from 4.25% to 4.5% the rest of the week was rather an anticlimax, especially as the RBA gave every impression that future tightening moves would come more slowly. The figure for building approvals in March was fierce enough, with a +15.3% monthly and a +51.6% annual increase. However, retail sales rose by just +0.3% in March; not exactly measly but less than half the +0.7% that analysts had forecast. The $2,082 million trade deficit was a little better than expected but was still appreciably worse than February's -$1.7 billion shortfall. As for sterling itself, investors are hardly any wiser this morning than they were a week ago. It seems likely that Mr Cameron will end up as prime minister but nobody can be sure. If he does, and if a Lib/Con coalition can announce plausible measures to sort out the deficit, sterling could start to fight back. If Mr Brown tries to soldier on without any prospect of a majority (for he has none) the pound will come under renewed pressure. That uncertainly leaves little alternative other than to stick with a boring but prudent hedge: Buyers of the Australian dollar should cover 50% of their requirement and review the situation once the shape of the new government becomes clear.
  18. We're still in the UK :sad: but flights are booked for 23rd August to move to Melbourne:smile:...as you all probably know there's all manner of chaos over here about the general election results and ongoing (still!!) discussions about how to form a workable government since the hung parliament result. Anyway, now that I'm getting completely obsessed by the shinanigans of the UK parliamentary system it's dawned on me that I haven't a clue about how it all works in Australia... A few questions to start with - though any information would be gratefully received!!! 1) how does the whole national/state system fit together? 2) when's the next general election? 3) what's a fair summary of the state of play over there at the moment? 4) are there any similarities to the UK system or is it more like the US model? Sorry, I know its a bit of a dry subject but I figure I should at least make an effort!!! Thanks...
  19. Tax breaks to blame for rising house prices. The government has ignored Ken Henry’s prescription for more affordable housing. EVERY time the Reserve Bank of Australia raises interest rates, Wayne Swan expresses his deepest sympathy for hard-pressed Australians with mortgages… …. Of course, you’ll never catch politicians criticising rising house prices…… ….addressing the bias in investment housing towards negatively geared investment, which it describes as “a major distortion in the rental property market”….. The Australian Taxation Office says losses declared from negatively geared property grew by 35 per cent in 2007-08 to $8.6 billion… …While house prices in Australia have tripled since 1996, in the US they increased by 70 per cent….. But with the International Monetary Fund warning of the risk of a housing bubble and Australia a world leader in household debt and unaffordable housing, perhaps rising interest rates or other economic stresses will find their own drastic solution to the problem sooner or later…..
  20. THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT ON FRIDAY UK general election looms over sterling. AUD rates up again, to 4.5%; analysts expect a pause next month. Sterling made a half-hearted effort to push above $1.67 on Tuesday morning. It quickly went into reverse and its next stop was at $1.6350. Early on Monday morning it returned to last week's starting point at $1.6650 but it was only a brief visit and the pound was a cent lower when London opened this morning. UK economic data played only the most minor role in sterling's fortunes. Of just a handful of figures only two did not relate to the residential property market. They were not very helpful. The CBI's distributive trades survey, a measure of retail sales, was steady at 13 and Gfk's consumer confidence index declined from -15 to -16. Mortgage approvals (the British Bankers' Association version) went up very slightly to 35k in March but fell well short of the 43k that analysts had predicted. The most positive result came with Nationwide's house price index. A +1.0% increase in April left prices 10.5% higher than a year ago. Although the UK general election loomed ever larger over the currency, the prospect of a hung parliament did no particular damage. The most recent opinion polls put the Conservative party in the lead with the Liberal Democrats and Labour fighting for third place. If that were to be how the voting went and if it were to translate directly into parliamentary seats (neither can be assumed) a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition would be the most likely outcome. Investors fancy that between them Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg would be able to come up with a suitable plan to reduce the deficit. (The market's main problem is the three parties' steadfast refusal to explain which taxes will go up, where the spending cuts will come and how deep they will be.) Business confidence in Australia was a tick higher in the first quarter of the year, rising to 17 from 16, and new home sales were up by +0.9% in March after falling by -5.2% in February. Lending to businesses and individuals continued to grow, with a +0.5% increase that accelerated year-on-year expansion to +2.1%. The two strongest figures were those for inflation and house prices. House prices rose by 4.8% in the first three months of the year and are a fifth higher than a year ago. Inflation jumped from 2.1% to 2.9%. It was those last two that probably made up the mind of the Reserve Bank of Australia Board when it decided on Tuesday to raise the cash rate from 4.25% to 4.5%. The RBA said in its statement that the Australian economy is recovering more quickly than expected and that the terms of trade (export prices relative to import prices) could well return this year to the highs of 2008. The RBA 'expects that, as a result of today’s decision, rates for most borrowers will be around average levels [which] represents a significant adjustment from the very expansionary settings reached a year ago' when the cash rate was 3.0%. It looks as though the RBA is sending a signal that it will wait to see the effect of its last six rate increases before it makes a further move. Its next decision comes on 1 June and the feeling at the moment is that there will be no advance from 4.5% at that point. The early part of the week could well be a period of relative calm for sterling. Investors have made their best guess about the outcome of the election and what it will mean and must now sit on their hands to see what transpires. That enforced relaxation could well come to an end when the polls close and the results of the first exit polls hit the newswires on Thursday night. If ever there was a time for FX market users to join the ranks of the 'don't knows' this is it. If a weaker pound would totally scupper your investment plans the only safe course of action now is to cover the exposure completely. Otherwise, buyers of the Australian dollar should hedge 50% of their requirement and review the situation on Friday morning. Consider leaving an order on Thursday to provide protection in case there is a violent move as the results come out.
  21. Hi just wondering if anyone has used their no claims bonus from Australia for car insurance in the UK? Also any recommended Insurers would be much appreciated. Many Thanks Jason:biggrin:
  22. Guest

    Australian phone sockets

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  23. catinahat1975

    australian skill assessments ?

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  24. Guest

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  25. STERLING IGNORES PROSPECT OF HUNG PARLIAMENT Mostly positive UK data but GDP disappoints. Good-news-bad-news treatment from the RBA. There was movement in the GBP/AUD exchange rate last week but in the end it did not take it far. The pound added a net half cent to open in London this morning at $1.6650. The extremes of its range were Wednesday's $1.6450 low and a high above $1.67 on Friday. With the opinion polls pointing ever more precisely to a hung parliament after next week's general election the FX market gave every impression that it had come to terms with such an outcome. Sterling was a winner on most fronts and its trade-weighted index ended the week just short of 80, almost exactly the same level at which it began the year. It received considerable help from most of the week's economic data. Tuesday's consumer price index figures showed inflation accelerating again to 3.4%, a level that investors thought might be high enough to influence the Monetary Policy Committee. Yes, the Bank did warn that inflation would speed up before it fell back to its target zone, but what if it does not fall back? The question itself was enough to raise the spectre of higher UK interest rates and, with it, the pound. Wednesday's employment figures were less compelling but a 33k shortening of the dole queue was positive enough. Thursday's money supply figures revealed total government borrowings of £163.4 in the financial year just ended, slightly less than last month's budget forecast and 8% below the chancellor's original estimate. Friday's first estimate of overall economic performance in the first three months of the year was far from helpful though. For the third time on the trot, economists and investors overestimated quarterly expansion of gross domestic product. Instead of the expected +0.4% they had to cope with +0.2%. Sterling reacted just as it had done to identical situations in October and January. It went down. But not for long. In a week with very few hard economic data investors had to pick the bones out of a Westpac leading index that went up from +0.2% to +0.5%, a -2.7% monthly fall in new vehicle sales and a +0.3% rise in import prices. None of the figures set pulses racing. Fortunately, the Reserve Bank of Australia was ready to step in and get things going. On Tuesday the minutes of the RBA's last policy meeting made investors more confident that the cash rate would see a sixth increase next month. The AUD jumped a cent higher on the news. Having wound the market up on Tuesday RBA governor Glenn Stevens did the opposite on Friday. He said in a speech that Australian interest rates are 'pretty close' to the 10-12 year average and that their future course is an 'open question'. Whether deliberately or not, he poured cold water on investors' expectation that Aussie rates are heading for the sky. Whether or not the RBA decides to increase rates next month could all depend on 1thursday's inflation figures. Sterling's ability to shrug off the opinion polls and the disappointing GDP figure gives room for guarded optimism but, with the election only ten days away and higher AUD interest rates in the wind, there is little prospect of any substantial rally. Buyers of the Australian dollar should hedge 50% of what they will need - maybe more if they want to take advantage of the trend high near current levels. If the money is required in the near future they should consider covering the whole amount.
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