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TIP: economists call for surplus sacrifice, retail stumbles at the turn, job ads evaporate

Maybe the RBA should just put a punt on at Flemington today?

SQM Research reckons at this rate of price growth, the housing market should return to its 2017 peak by mid-2020. Another strong auction performance over the weekend added gusto to the bulls; according to SQM's Louis Christopher, auction clearance rates at this time of year are typically as much as 20 points below last weekend's results.

That's about as far as the good news goes right now.

The Reserve Bank will meet this afternoon, around the time the Melbourne Cup is kicking off, to decide on whether to keep or cut the official cash rate. The general consensus is for the former, although there are one or two outliers knocking around in punditry land who say otherwise.

Either way, monetary policy is under the microscope today, after an agreement between the RBA and treasurer Josh Frydenberg over Australia's inflation target. It seems the status quo is to remain in-place, which means the RBA will continue to carry the burden of resurrecting our ailing economy.

A panel of economists convened by the ABC unanimously agree this is a bad move, and that the government should scratch its commitment to surplus in favour of stimulus. There is also yet to be any word on the deployment of other tools in the RBA chest, such as quantitative easing.

...which means that for now, the RBA is going to keep aiming its rate cut popgun at the mastodon of recession. Not that the business community or markets are impressed with this approach; if the comments of this guy are anything to go by, they agree with the ABC's tame economists.

Yesterday's retail sales results will put the cat among the pigeons in Martin Place today. Everyday good sales hit 1990-91 recession levels in the September quarter and overall retail sales flatlined. Whatever extra hit our hip pockets courtesy of the government's tax cuts certainly didn't make its way to the tills.

The reluctance to spend is also evident in the business sector. New newspaper and internet job ads dropped 1 per cent in October according to ANZ's monthly survey.

Consumer spending and employment growth are two key factors in RBA decisions on interest rate movements. We saw last week that inflation for 2019 is pretty much where the central bank expected it to be - but job ad and retail sales numbers aren't doing what they're told.

...and a cheeky non sequitur to finish: NSW has decided to redact a list of 444 buildings with flammable cladding issues across the state, citing it as a security risk. The Department of Customer Service said the list, which was handed to the NSW lower house on Halloween (which seems appropriate), could increase the risk of arson and terrorism.

For those of you keen on the nags, happy cup day. If you see Dr Lowe hanging around the entrance of your local TAB with an anxious look on his face, head him off at the pass.

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