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Edition: 358

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Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 358

  • 20 May 2020

One of the many victims of COVID-19 is Australia as a private sector, market-based economy. It's become a public-subsidised economy. Most workers are on some type of government support, and the downturn is disguised in the official numbers. Last week's unemployment rate of 6.2% is fiction, as most workers are either unemployed, paid by the government or they have given up looking for work. How do we climb out of the valley?

Baseline outlook for economic recovery is too optimistic

We cannot throw our hands up in the air and say 'this time around, it's simply too hard'. Having no macro view is unhelpful, but many of the baseline scenarios are overly optimistic, says the former CEO of Westpac and now Chairman of Chi-X Australia.

Will our government embrace these three reforms?

COVID-19 is an opportunity for a crucial policy reset, but what does that really mean? Business is hoping for three big reforms, but there are massive barriers to be overcome.

8 reasons business has little to learn from 'The Last Dance'

Everyone seems to be watching The Last Dance, a fascinating sports documentary about the pursuit of excellence by one of the greatest athletes of all time. Let's not stretch the business analogy too far.

Do long-term investors need to care about the ‘next big thing’?

When we look back five years from now, which companies will we regret not having bought at today’s prices? The next opportunities come from focusing on the long term, not the next few months.

Not all non-residential real estate performs the same

Retail assets, particularly those focused on discretionary shopping, will continue to underperform and industrial and logistics assets will be the winners for the foreseeable future.

The uncertainties of using debt in a time of crisis

The ability of countries to support their economies today turns on fiscal practices set well before this crisis. Increasing levels of debt escalate overall risk, and tie our hands in the future.

Do you qualify for this help in the crisis?

It will surprise many that benefits worth over $8,700 could be available for a couple with a super balance over $4 million. Check if you are eligible for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

What SMSF trustees need to know about benefit payments now

The government has announced initiatives to help people use their superannuation in response to the crisis, but for early access and drawdown changes, there are important rules to follow.

On the pandemic front line: Fisher & Paykel Healthcare

Unlike the share prices of some companies which have held up due to their defensive characteristics, Fisher & Paykel is playing an active role in mitigating the worst effects of the crisis.

Four huge categories of change after the pandemic

The deteriorating mood will bring changes that will have profound economic, financial, social and political changes that can be grouped into new, accelerated, busted and possible trends.

Which market comes out first in a recovery?

Downside risks remain and we expect another leg down, but active managers should take advantage of market dislocations. In the current context, humility and risk management are key.

Most viewed in recent weeks

House prices surge but falls are common and coming

We tend to forget that house prices often fall. Direct lending controls are more effective than rate rises because macroprudential limits affect the volume of money for housing leaving business rates untouched.

Survey responses on pension eligibility for wealthy homeowners

The survey drew a fantastic 2,000 responses with over 1,000 comments and polar opposite views on what is good policy. Do most people believe the home should be in the age pension asset test, and what do they say?

100 Aussies: five charts on who earns, pays and owns

Any policy decision needs to recognise who is affected by a change. It pays to check the data on who pays taxes, who owns assets and who earns the income to ensure an equitable and efficient outcome.

Three good comments from the pension asset test article

With articles on the pensions assets test read about 40,000 times, 3,500 survey responses and thousands of comments, there was a lot of great reader participation. A few comments added extra insights.

The sorry saga of housing affordability and ownership

It is hard to think of any area of widespread public concern where the same policies have been pursued for so long, in the face of such incontrovertible evidence that they have failed to achieve their objectives.

Two strong themes and companies that will benefit

There are reasons to believe inflation will stay under control, and although we may see a slowing in the global economy, two companies should benefit from the themes of 'Stable Compounders' and 'Structural Winners'.

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