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Printed: 29 February 2024 2:13 AM


29 Apr 2022 - Hedge Clippings |29 April 2022



Hedge Clippings | Friday, 29 April 2022


Half way there - only three weeks to go...

Only Anthony Albanese's staunchest supporters would describe him as an exciting, inspiring or charismatic politician. So whilst he's been locked away with COVID how come this election campaign has seemed even more boring than usual?

To be fair, the requirements of, or for, a good PM don't have to include charisma, or to be inspirational, but even a touch of either would liven things up a bit. Given (according to the polls) it looks a better than even chance he'll be running the country in a few weeks' time one can only hope that whilst in isolation he has at least been able to brush up on his long forgotten, but recently recalled, economics degree. Hedge Clippings doesn't want to put any of our hard earned on the outcome, but our current call is for a minority government, with a group of independents (hopefully excluding Clive and his UAP) calling the shots.

If that outcome comes to pass, that's democracy in action, but who knows where it will lead over the following three years?

In the meantime there were two major confirmations over the past week: Firstly, that China is much smarter strategically and politically than Australia, the USA and New Zealand put together. Any thoughts that China WON'T militarise the Solomon Islands seem implausible, otherwise why would they have bothered in the first place, and why won't they release the terms of the deal?  One can assume that no amount of pressure or persuasion will result in them retreating back to the Chinese mainland, the Spratly Islands - or even in due course, to Taiwan.

Secondly, confirmation this week that inflation, and therefore interest rates, will soon be rising. A couple of months ago we thought this would not occur before June to avoid the impending election, but the RBA now has to justify why NOT to move in May at next Tuesday's board meeting.  Whilst it will make all the headlines, the questions that really need to be asked are how many more, and how much higher will they go? Much of the latest annual 5.1% increase in inflation was sourced externally (oil, energy, COVID, supply chain, etc) or seasonal food prices, leaving the increase in the "trimmed rate" a slightly less alarming 3.7%. However, given inflation has averaged around 2.5% for the last 30 odd years, that's enough to worry the RBA, and the property market.

Rates will certainly rise, but from such a low level that the effect on the economy, and the negative effects on consumer spending, will be magnified. How the government - whichever party or parties prevail - manages and the wage claims that follow will be critical. Given the uncertainty currenlty prevailing - both locally, and globally - the outcome of the election is going to be crucial, and we suspect the following three years will be painful.  

Much like the past two years, albeit for different reasons!

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