If you were confused about whether or not a Reserve Bank rate cut next week would be a good thing, this isn't going to help. After the week began with a chorus of advice to cut official interest rates, it's ending with another day of opposing views.
It's all a matter of perspective. NAB chief exec Philip Chronican reckons it would hurt more than it helps, by - as the AFR's James Frost puts it - squeezing bank margins, profits and lending capacity without doing much to boost the economy. He's contradicting his ANZ counterpart, Shayne Elliott who earlier this week said a cut will put some "juice in the economy".
The difference of opinion between the two bank bosses, it could be argued, can potentially be defined by their respective positions. As we heard earlier this week, ANZ is cashed up and ready to lend, provided it can pull the weed-whacker out on some of the internal bureaucracy standing between it and its customers. NAB's results tell a different story; it has cut its interim dividends to try and build up its cash reserves in the face of a slowing economy - and clearly doesn't want the situation to get any worse.
Which brings me to wages, and the latest offering from the Grattan Institute showing that once the scheduled rise in compulsory superannuation rates from 9.5 to 12 per cent is completed in 2025-26, it'll essentially equate to a $50 billion wage cut over the next six years. By the time it's fully in effect, $20 billion a year will be taken from hip pockets. Why are we talking about this now? Both sides of the political divide are coming into the election with intention to allow the schedule to roll forward, with the first 0.5 per cent increase scheduled for 2021. With stagnant wages being such a big election issue, the timing of this report isn't a coincidence.
UBS and Morgan Stanley are tag-teaming today to put some pessimism back into your porridge, contradicting yesterday's suggestions that things are about to start getting better for property prices. They are warning that the downturn's economic impact on jobs and consumer sentiment are a cause for concern, and suggest things are still heading south. They did say however, that an incoming Labor government will likely herald an increase in property investor activity as buyers rush to get in ahead of the January 1, 2020 deadline for NGT and CGT changes.
Domain has also come out today with figures showing rental vacancies are up across Australia, which it says shows more first home buyers are taking advantage of declining prices. In Sydney especially, CoreLogic has called first home buyers the "bright spark that could be driving the market place going forward."
If you don't see me Monday morning, it'll be because I've come a cropper running the Spartan Beast in Picton tomorrow. It's going to be all sorts of crazy, made all the more so given I'm doing this by choice. Feel free to join...