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  1. Hi, We're not ready to get out any time soon but want to form a company over there to secure our name and get hold of website addresses, etc. The rules say we need to provide a director who is resident in Australia and have a registered office there. Does anyone know if there are ways around this in the interim? For example, in the UK we can use any address (eg accountants/solicitors) as a registered address. Thanks Simon
  2. Clarius Skills Index. Australia’s move towards yet another national skills shortage has been confirmed in the latest Clarius Skills Index, with demand for skilled labour reporting a significant upswing. In the March quarter, 15 of the 20 skilled occupations measured in the Index reported an increase in demand with eight of those skilled categories showing demand exceeding the available labour. The eight categories are Building and Engineering and Computer Professionals, Building and Engineering and Chefs in the Associate Professionals category and Metal, Automotive, Wood and Hairdressers in the Tradespersons categories, which all scored above 100 in the Index. Interesting that the draft or proposed SOL Skilled occupation List for 457 temporary workers and skilled immigrants is apparently not going to include chefs and hairdressers? Much to do with perceptions that only "Indian students" at "dodgy colleges" study these migration or PR pathways?
  3. Guest

    Australian Police Checks

    I'm in the UK awaiting my Australian police checks, from when I lived there for 4 years. Does anyone know how long these usually take?:policeman:
  4. ANOTHER USEFUL WEEK FOR STERLING No surprises from the Bank of England. Good Australian employment figures disappoint over-ambitious investors. The $1.63 - $1.67 range held sterling steady for a fifth week. The pound did not quite touch either side of its horizontal channel but it came close to both. It opened in London this morning at $1.66, a cent higher on the week.Against the majority of currencies it was another useful week for sterling, despite conflicting economic data and opinion polls that continued to point to a hung parliament. There was even disagreement among supranational agencies as to how Britain should address her budget deficit. The Bank for International Settlements sided with (what investors assume to be) the Tory strategy of wielding the axe on public spending as soon as possible after 6 May. If the UK is to avoid spending a quarter of its gross domestic product on interest payments in 30 years' time the BIS said there would have to be 'drastic' austerity measures. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, on the other hand, supported the Labour view that to slash spending now would be to choke off recovery before it has properly begun.The UK services sector purchasing managers index was at the same time good news and bad news. The good news was that, at 56.5, it was a point clear of its nearest competitor. The bad news was that it was two points down while the opposition was at least two points higher on the month. Industrial (+1.0%) and manufacturing (+1.3%) production data were better than expected and a vast improvement on the previous month's negative figures. The same was true of the Halifax house price index, which was 5.2% higher on the year. With the election campaign under way there was no chance of any surprises from the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, which issued a no-change statement almost identical to the one it put out in March. Indeed, the May meeting has been postponed to the 10th in order to avoid any possibility of interference with polling day.With the Reserve Bank of Australia's interest rate increase out of the way on Tuesday there was not much to keep the Australian dollar entertained during the remainder of the week. The AIG performance of services index was fractionally higher in March, 48.4 as opposed to 48.3 the previous month. Unfortunately it looked a bit sad in comparison with similar (but not identical) measures elsewhere, all of which were in the expansion zone above 50.On the face of it there was nothing sad about Thursday's Australian employment data. New job creation in March amounted to 19,600; within a thousand of analysts' predictions. It was a decent enough number but clearly not decent enough for the investors who had been spoiled by better-than-expected figures in previous months. The disappointment lingered on Friday and over the weekend, partly as a result of the Canadian dollar encountering an identical setback. The UK general election means risks for the pound in the next month. Even so, the pound's six-week range shows no sign of breaking in either direction. 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.
  5. Hi, I have been looking into the Australian equivalent, of the qualifications i have from the UK. It would appear that i have the equivalent of a 'Diploma' and a 'Certificate III'. Do Employers understand the equivalency system? Or will they look at my CV and think that i dont have the qualifications they are looking for? My CV has my UK qualifications on it, should i put the Equivalent on there in brackets or something? Thanks:notworthy:
  6. CLEAN SHEET FOR STERLING UK budget leaves sterling unmoved. Australian rate hikes forecast for April and May. A three-cent range kept the pound between $1.6250 and $1.6550. It spent most of its time between $1.63 and $1.64 and opened in London this morning unchanged on the week at $1.64. After their experience the previous week when members of the Monetary Policy Committee twice spooked the market by mentioning 'double-dip' recession, investors were nervous when the governor of the Bank of England gave a speech to the Royal Society. They need not have worried. Dr King did include a caution that 'the level of activity is still very likely to remain weak for a considerable period' but that was all. It was nothing the market couldn't live with and sterling lived to fight another day. Tuesday's consumer price index data were no help to it though. Having spiked to 3.5% in January inflation fell back to 3.0% in February, just on the edge of its target range. The feeling was that the Bank might have been correct in its prediction that inflation would come back into line. As it does so it removes any need for higher interest rates, instead reawakening the prospect (dim though it is) of further quantitative easing. Thursday's UK retail sales figures were almost good. Rather than the +0.6% monthly improvement that analysts had predicted, sales rose by +2.1% in February. Unfortunately, a significant chunk of that improvement was wiped out by a downward revision to the January number. Compensating for the relative shortage of UK economic data during the week was the chancellor of the exchequer's election announcement on Wednesday. Of course he did not set a date for the vote but some of the policies he announced were so theatrical that they could be nothing other than a campaign gambit. The bilateral taxation agreement with Lord Ashcroft's Belize raised a laugh. The imposition of a 5% stamp duty on Conservative voters' palaces got a nod from the Morning Star and the stamp duty holiday on socialists' quarter-million pound hovels brought a shrug from economists, who foresaw another distortion of the residential property market. The chancellor's words had no effect on sterling; at the end of the speech it was exactly where it had been at the start. Investors are much more interested to see what the post-election spending review will bring. The Australian economy maintained an almost subterranean profile. Motor vehicle sales were down by -1.9 % in February, having fallen by -3.5% the previous month. The only other event was the publication of the Reserve Bank of Australia's six-monthly Financial Stability Review. There was nothing in it to set the Australian dollar on fire but the tone was positive. Economists reckon that Australian interest rates could rise by another two percentage points between now and the end of next year as the economy gets back to normal. Increases of 25 basis points are forecast for April and May, with another 75 basis points between then and December. Since the beginning of the month GBP/AUD has changed direction six times and has gone almost nowhere. Buyers of the Australian dollar should hedge 50% of what they will need. If the money is required in the near future they should consider covering the whole amount.
  7. I know there are a lot of variables, but can anyone give me an idea of how much annual pension income could be expected per 10,000 AUD invested in an Australian QROPS qualifying pension fund? Is it like the UK where you use your pension pot to buy an annuity? I have a modest Final Salary UK pension, but the uncertainty caused by the £/AUD, and tax advantages, could make this more attractive. I will take professional advice before committing, but could use some idea before then. Also, is it easy enough to transfer the amount from a UK pension fund to a QROPS fund without involving an agent who would charge a percentage of the pension pot?
  8. Moneycorp's weekly review of the British Pound and Australian Dollar. [YOUTUBE]Q_4PYDyr8NI[/YOUTUBE]
  9. BANK OF ENGLAND 2 - STERLING 0 MPC members raise spectre of double-dip recession. RBA minutes make no promises. The week cost sterling two cents in a range that took it between $1.6650 and $1.6350. Having touched that low early this morning it opened in London at $1.64. Monetary Policy Committee member Kate Barker was talking to her local paper last weekend. She told the Western Morning News that 'it's possible we will have a quarter when GDP falls but I don't think it will be a double-dip [recession]'. Investors read about it on Monday's newswires. They looked again at the possibility of an indecisive general election. They put two and two together and sold sterling. By the end of the week investors had been treated to a spooky déjà-vu when Ms Barker's fellow MPC member, Andrew Sentance, went down the same track. On Thursday he had said in a speech that said 'we should expect to see some variability in growth rates, both at home and abroad.' Had he left it at that, all would have been well but he went on to tell CNBC that 'you have to recognise there is some risk of a double dip but that's not the central forecast.' Investors couldn't care less about the Bank's central forecast; they had heard two MPC members talking about double-dip recession in the space of five days and it made them nervous about the UK economy. They were marginally less nervous about the medium term outlook for Britain's indebtedness after government spokespeople queued round the block to backtrack on the Treasury Secretary's promise that taxes would not go up after the election. They will be going up after all, it transpires, and they will be going up even before that in the chancellor's budget this week. In the run-up to his speech the chancellor got a couple of lucky hits from the economic data last week (or at least sterling came in for some good fortune). Investors opted not to punish sterling for the loss of 54,000 British jobs in three months. Instead they praised it for the 32,300 fewer new jobless claims in January than in the same month last year. By the same token they looked upon February's £12.4 billion public sector net borrowing figure not as a heck-of-a-lot of money but as an improvement on the £14.4 billion they has been expecting. A genuine bonus among the data was the £4 billion downward revision of January's borrowing. A +15.1% increase in Australian housing starts in the fourth quarter of last year was good enough but hardly germane to what is going on now, more than three months later. The +0.2% improvement in Westpac's leading index for January could almost also be dismissed as water under the bridge. More immediate was the Reserve Bank of Australia's minutes from its latest monetary policy meeting. After the March interest rate increase, and the RBA's warning that tighter policy does not inevitably mean one rate hike per meeting, the jury is out on what might happen in April. AUD rates are going higher, but how far and how soon is the subject of spirited debate. Since the beginning of the month sterling/AUD has changed direction four times and has gone almost nowhere. Buyers of the Australian dollar should hedge 50% of what they will need. If the money is required in the near future they should consider covering the whole amount. Please contact me if you have any questions or queries, or need to transfer money to Australia.
  10. The world's two biggest wine producers are scaling back their investment in the UK following punitive tax increases by the Government. 55pc of the price of a £4.32 bottle of wine – the UK average price – goes on taxes. Around £1.60 goes on excise duty, 65p on VAT and 11p on the Common Customs Tariff. A bottle of wine has increased by 25pc since Labour came to power in 1997, the duty on it has increased by 53.3pc What with pubs disappearing daily, what future is there for the drinking man? Tax rises drive wine makers out of UK - Telegraph The Government's share of what we earn has nearly doubled in value since Labour came to power. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/how-budget-affect-me/7485899/Budget-2010-Tax-has-doubled-under-Labour.html The same will happen here in Australia if we don't get rid of these incompetent Labor party. Especially NSW & Queensland
  11. mrsindecision

    Australian weather

    OK just have to get this off my chest - we all talk about the ozzie weather as a key reason for coming here - beautiful sunshine - predictable weather not like UK. Well quite honestly I have had a gut full of it. I have never seen so much rain in all my life - when we first came here it rained solidly like a monsoon for 6 months. This summer has been dry dry dry for months garden parched all plants dying grass brown, extreme heat and sitting inside with AC on ( nowhere near as cosy as sitting inside next to a warm fire I can tell you). Then the humidity came - sweating all day - getting out of the shower sweating - 2 showers a day and constantly curly hair and sweaty bras! Now the rain has come again - this has been days and days of relentless heavy soaked through if you're out in it for 30 seconds - cant get anything dry - whole house is damp rain. I am sorry I know UK can be grey but the weather is overall much more moderate than here - I can go out in the rain - drive in the rain. And when it is overcast and dull I can still sit outside in a fleece with a hot cup of tea and read the paper and weed the garden. Without having to worry about being sun burned, soaked, bitten or drenched in unattractive sweat! OK rant over if anyone is coming to the sunshine coast expecting sunshine in the next week - then dont! :arghh: no need to send me any serious replies about how great weather is here - I do get it and obviously there are days when its great but I just think its seriously seriously over rated.
  12. STERLING RIDES MOST OF THE BLOWS Poor economic statistics and unhelpful comments rain down on sterling. RBA attention is now firmly fixed on the upturn. It was almost another losing week for sterling but in the end it just about managed to open in London unchanged at $1.66, close to its highs. The low came in mid-week at $1.6250. In a dull week for hard data the British economy did not have a whole lot to say for itself and what it did manage to scrabble together was not particularly edifying. Two house price indices, one from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the other from estate agents' website Rightmove, damned the property market with faint praise. The RCIS house price balance, which compares the number of members reporting higher prices with those reporting lower ones, fell from 32% to 17%; still positive but more reservedly so. Rightmove's index of asking prices went up by 0.1%; positive buy only by a technicality. UK industrial production figures were a bigger disappointment and took sterling to the lows of the week. Production (manufacturing, mining and energy lumped together) fell by -0.4% in January. Manufacturing alone was down by -0.9%. January's trade deficit was £8 billion, the biggest since August 2008. Between August '08 and January '10 Sterling's trade-weighted value became 23% weaker yet imports were up and exports were down. The significantly more competitive currency is still not having any positive effect on the balance of trade. Sterling also had to contend with unhelpful comments from several quarters. Credit ratings agency Fitch was 'uncomfortable with the fiscal adjustment path set out by UK authorities' and looked for 'more credible and stronger fiscal consolidation plans during 2010. Credit Suisse anticipated that UK banks, collectively, would have to reduce their balance sheets by more than £500 billion over the next three or four years in order to meet new regulations. The prime minister reassured investors that Britain's AAA credit rating was solid but not all of them were convinced, especially the researchers at UniCredit Bank who predicted that the government would have problems selling all the bonds they need to shift to finance the budget deficit. The Australian economic data were less of a disappointment than those from the UK but they were not exactly inspiring. NAB's business conditions index improved from 3 to 8 and consumer confidence crept into positive territory, rising from -2.6% to +0.2%. Investment lending edged +0.9% higher in January but home loans were down by a -7.9% after falling by -5.1% the previous month. A +2.0% increase had been predicted. Consumer inflation expectation were steady at 3.2% but there was not such good news on the employment front. Unemployment edged up from 5.2% to 5.3% in February with the number in employment rising by 400, just a fraction of the 15,000-odd jobs analysts had been expecting. Rob Lowe, the assistant governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, dismissed any gloom with an upbeat speech. He said 'the central scenario for the Australian economy is a positive one with growth over the next couple of years at, or above, average, a relatively strong labour market, and inflation consistent with the medium-term target.' The operative phrase there was 'at, or above, average'. The RBA has put behind it any concern about and economic slowdown and is now focused firmly on the upturn. Sterling surprised many with another refusal to lie down last week despite a string of potentially damaging developments and data. However, as long as the opinion polls continue to indicate a hung parliament investors will continue to fear that even after a general election Britain's government will be unable or unwilling to tackle the budget gap. Buyers of the Australian dollar should hedge at least 50% of what they will need. If the money is required in the near future they should consider covering the whole amount.
  13. mcauleycm

    Australian embassy

    Hi all, We are very lucky and have had our Visas granted :biggrin: but unfortunately have been waiting to sell our house before we go. Thankfully it is sale agreed at the minute. Anyway we have to activate our Visa by the first of June and have just realised that we need a visa label put in our passport!! Does anyone know how we find out where and how we do this? We live in northern Ireland Thanks
  14. LUCKY ESCAPE FOR STERLING Positive economic signs from the UK economy allow a near-miraculous recovery for sterling after a sharp fall. Australian interest rates go higher and there is more to come. Sterling fell sharply last Monday, losing nearly three cents before lunch. It bottomed out at $1.65 and spent the rest of the week consolidating between there and $1.6750. It opened in London this morning at $1.66. At the beginning of the week the non-domiciled tax status of Baron Ashcroft dominated the media. Allegedly, the noble lord had bought his way into a peerage by making large donations to the Conservative party. For some reason this old tradition had become suddenly improper. It would be an exaggeration to blame sterling's sharp fall on Lord Ashcroft alone but the story will certainly have unnerved investors who were already nervous about the Tories failing to win a majority at the forthcoming general election. From there it was uphill all the way but at least sterling managed to make it up the hill with the assistance of some positive news. On Tuesday the government held a successful auction of 30-year gilts which attracted bids for nearly twice that much. The last five auctions of 30-year stock have achieved an average of 1.63 times cover so, whatever misgivings they may have about sterling's short-term future, there is a degree of confidence among investors the current problems will be short-lived. Having ignored Monday's manufacturing purchasing managers' index (their minds were on other things) investors took a great deal of interest in Wednesday's services sector PMI. At 58.4 the services PMI was more than three points better than predicted, scoring a three-year high. It blew America's 53.0 and Euroland's 51.8 into the weeds. Coming hard on the heels of a ten-point jump in consumer confidence it was another reminder to the market that not everything to do with Britain's economy is in a state of collapse. There was more reassurance from the Bank of England when the Monetary Policy Committee voted to keep interest rates unchanged for a 13th month and to leave quantitative easing on hold. The handful of data that appeared last week did little to spoil the image of a thriving, recession-proof, Australian economy. AiG's (that's the Australian Industry Group not the egregious American derivatives punter) performance of manufacturing index went up from 51.0 to 53.8 in February while the services equivalent rose by a point to 48.3. They are not exactly purchasing managers' indices but they work in the way; the further above 50.0 the index goes, the more positive the outlook. Retail sales were up by +1.2% in January while building permits were -7.0% fewer on the month. Updated figures confirmed growth of +0.9% for the economy in the fourth quarter of 2009. Having disappointed the market a month ago by not raising interest rates when everyone thought it would, the Reserve Bank of Australia eventually got round to it on Tuesday. The cash rate went up from 3.75% to 4.0%. In his statement Glenn Stevens, the RBA governor, said 'interest rates... remain lower than average' and that 'it is appropriate for interest rates to be closer to average.' That does not mean a rate increase at every meeting but it does mean there is more tightening to come. Whilst sterling's recovery last week might be seen as a sign that there is life in the old dog yet, it is still hard to see the British currency as anything other than a dog. Opinion polls continue to indicate a hung parliament and investors fear that even after the general election Britain's government will be paralysed by indecision, unable or unwilling to tackle the budget gap. Buyers of the Australian dollar should hedge at least 50% of what they will need. If the money is required in the near future they should consider covering the whole amount.
  15. Are they confident and outgoing and also encouraged to be like this? I am having a problem with my (nearly) 7 year old at school. She is confident, outgoing, speaks up for herself, bright, clever etc which we encourage. But in her class (small village 90 pupils in whole school) all the girls lack confidence and have parents who pander to their princesses every whim. In the last wee while I get "shes done this" or "shes done that" or "she shouted at me" from these kids at home time. Yes my daughter is loud and a leader but at school she is always blamed as the quiet ones "couldn't possibly have done that". And I have seen and heard these "princesses" being nasty and devious. You know the saying "its the quiet ones you have to watch" I dont want her to lose her confidence but it seems that schools cant deal with kids like this and parents seem to let kids rule them and wrap them in cotton wool instead of letting them grow and gain confidence. Thanks for the rant as this is really getting to me. Mandy
  16. hello there,im new to this site i am hoping for some advice if any of you can help..Me and my husband have been thinking of moving to oz and as he is in the navy now thinking of putting in for a transfer but we both have no clue where to start!!?? Has anyone on here dont just that or have any info on it! Would be much appreciated! ellie x
  17. Hi there, When using stat declarations for a de-facto visa application it states that they must be from Australian citizens. We have been travelling the world for 2 years and have lived and been close to some Australians but would like to include statements from UK passport holders. My question is this: Can a foreign citizen witness the stat dec if it was made by an Australian citizen and also if it was written by a close friend who is not Australian? If you have had experience with this your views and thoughts would be appreciated.
  18. Is it possible for an Australian citizen to sponsor more than one person for immigration purposes???
  19. Metoo

    Australian Mortgages

    To all the people who have gone to Australia, those who have got a mortgage, what sort of deal did you get?
  20. ANOTHER WEEK OF PUNISHMENT FOR STERLING Upward revision to fourth quarter economic data does sterling no favours. RBA interest rate increase expected on Tuesday. The pound showed early promise on Monday and Tuesday, rising from Monday's $1.7150 to reach $1.74 at midweek. It spent the second half of the week heading south, opening in London this morning at $1.68. Robert Stheeman, the chap responsible for issuing UK government bonds, managed an upbeat tome when he addressed a conference in London. He said that 'politicians of all colours are taking the [public sector debt] situation very seriously indeed. Investors derive a lot of comfort that there is agreement across the spectrum that the deficit needs to be brought under control.' Mr Stheeman also suggested that a hung parliament might be 'less disruptive' than assumed. Unfortunately the market did not share his optimism and sterling spend most of the week on the slide. The rot started, as it so often does these days, with cautious words from Bank of England Governor Mervyn King to parliament's Treasury Committee. He did not go out of his way to talk sterling lower but, by refusing to rule out the possibility of further quantitative easing, made it sound as though the Bank's printing press is ticking over and ready for more action. The governor's comments coincided with news that mortgage approvals had dropped sharply in January with the end of the stamp duty holiday. Sterling spent the rest of the week rolling from one punch after another as investors lightened their holdings. A sharp fall in business investment at the end of last year saw investment down by 24.1% for the full year. Consumer confidence improved by three points but at -14 it still had a minus sign in front of it. Nationwide reported a -1.0% monthly fall in house prices after nine months of improvement. Britain's overall economic performance in the fourth quarter of 2009 was revised to show growth of +0.3% instead of the +0.1% previously reported but third quarter shrinkage was also revised, from -0.2% to -0.3%. Government spending in the fourth quarter was much higher than expected. Among the week's handful of Australian economic statistics none was interesting enough to do anything to the AUD. Motor vehicle sales fell by -3.4% in January. The wage price index went up by +0.6% in the fourth quarter but the annual rate of increase fell back from +3.4% to +2.9%. Australia's leading index improved from -0.3% to +0.6%. Private capital expenditure was strong in the fourth quarter of last year, rising by +5.5% to offset the -5.2% decline between June and September. All these numbers will help to inform the Reserve Bank of Australia's monetary policy decision on Tuesday but nobody is in much doubt about the outcome. After a pause in its tightening process the RBA is confidently expected to raise its cash rate from 3.75% to 4%. Never mind that equally confident expectations a month ago came to nought; a no-move decision tomorrow would be a big surprise. The pound has fallen to new lows. It has taken what looks, on the face of it, like an unfair beating. A bounce is not out of the question but it is not easy to see how that will happen. With opinion polls closing the gap between Labour and Conservative to almost nothing investors fear that even after the general election Britain's government will be paralysed by indecision, unable or unwilling to tackle the budget gap. Buyers of the Australian dollar should hedge at least 50% of what they will need and increase that proportion if the pound makes new lows. If the money will be required in the near future they should consider covering the whole amount.
  21. hi im attending the expo thats taking place in manchester on march 20th -21st. im just wondering if anyone has ever been to one of these if so are they any good, what should i expect. im a 25 year old bricklayer with 9 years trade expieriance. will anyone make a job offer or sponsor? cheers guys
  22. I know this is really cheeky but does any one have a PDF copy of the AS/NZ3000 2007 Australian wiring regulations they could email me please. I would be very greatful. stewartbeades@hotmail.com Thanks Stewart
  23. JANUARY SPENDING GAP HURTS STERLING Jump in UK inflation is a 'temporary deviation'. AUD interest rates are on an upward trend but will not be rising every month. In an expensive week for sterling the currency lost four and a half cents, falling from $1.7650 to $1.72. Never did the pound manage to poke its ahead above last Monday's opening price and the low came early this morning at $1.7150. The week got off to a slow start with bank holidays in Switzerland, Canada and the United States. The lunar new year put China and much of the Far East on a go-slow for several days. Things started to become interesting for sterling on Tuesday with January's consumer price index data. As most analysts had predicted - and the Bank of England had warned - CPI inflation jumped from 2.9% to 3.5%, appreciably above the Bank's 1%-3% target range. In the Governor's compulsory open letter to the chancellor he called it a 'temporary deviation' and repeated his belief that 'weakness in spending... will bear down on inflationary pressures over time.' If that was the good news, the bad news on Thursday was that the Treasury had had to borrow £4.2 billion in January. The Treasury never has to borrow money in January; that's when a big chunk of the annual tax revenue comes in. The Times summed up the situation as 'On borrowed time: shock deficit threatens UK recovery.' January's retail sales figures, released on Friday morning, were no help to sterling either. The -1.8% monthly decline was a surprise to forecasters, as was the downward revision which showed sales falling in December as well. An interesting debate in the press showed how opinion is divided about what course of action the government should take to bring its budget deficit back into line. The Sunday Times printed a letter from 20 respected economists highlighting the dangers of Downing Street doing nothing. Friday's Financial Times carried a response from 60 other, equally well-respected, economists saying that nothing is a very good thing to do until the economy gets back on its feet. Although disagreement among economists is nothing new, the exchange of views highlighted Downing Street's dilemma. The only useful statistics to emerge in Australia last week were of the private-sector variety. NAB's survey of business conditions delivered a surprising seven-point drop from +10 to +3 in January. Westpac's Leading index, which aims to show how the economy will be doing in three to nine months' time, registered 6.2% in December. It was more than twice as high as its 2.7% long term trend and a whole lot better than May's -6.9% low. The Reserve Bank of Australia was the main driver for its currency. The minutes of its February policy meeting reassured investors that the decision to leave interest rates steady did not mean an end to the tightening process. In so many words the RBA stated that 'further increases in the cash rate were likely to be necessary' whilst noting that policy makers 'did not regard that outlook as requiring an increase at every meeting.' Governor Glenn Stevens told much the same story later in the week to a House or Representatives committee when he said; ' further adjustments to monetary policy will probably be needed over time to ensure that inflation remains consistent with the target over the medium term.' Sterling is exploring new long-term lows but remains within a downward-sloping trend. Buyers of the Australian dollar should continue to hedge 50% of their requirement, using a stop order to protect the downside in case of disaster.
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