December is upon us and summer has arrived with bushfires in Queensland and flooding rains in NSW. Our best wishes go out to all those affected as well as our brave emergency services workers. And to all our clients, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season.
November was a month of surprises. Oil prices plunged 22 per cent to US$58.73 a barrel after US President Donald Trump’s decision not to sanction Saudi Arabia over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. British Prime Minister Theresa May reached agreement with the European Union on a plan for Brexit but getting the deal through the UK parliament will be difficult.
In Australia, the Victorian Labor Party won a landslide victory and Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced an early April 2 Federal Budget before a May election. The result of all this uncertainty was ongoing market volatility. Wall Street fell with oil prices but finished on a positive note after US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell seemingly indicated that US interest rates may not rise much further. The S&P500 finished the month 2 per cent higher.
Locally, the economic news was positive. The Reserve Bank lifted its growth forecast for 2018 to 3.5 per cent from 3.25 per cent. The Federal Budget edges closer to surplus, with a lower-than-expected budget deficit of $2.35 billion in the year to October, the best in a decade. Unemployment held steady at 5 per cent in October, while petrol prices dropped 22 per cent in November to a national average of $1.37 a litre, the biggest fall in a decade. The Australian dollar is trading around US73c, up from US70- 71c at the start of November. Australian consumers responded positively, with the ANZ/Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence rating firming slightly to 118.6 points.
Read more from our December 2018 update here:
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