Stephen Roberts

Stephen is the Chief Economist and a member of Altair’s Investment Committee. He provides a comprehensive review and outlook of macro-economic factors likely to influence financial markets. Stephen is an economist/strategist who has worked for...

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US Presidential Election on Tuesday 8th, which is worryingly too close to call

Stephen Roberts

Beyond today’s CPI and the RBA policy meeting next Tuesday another big event is now looming, the US Presidential Election on Tuesday 8th, which is worryingly too close to call. Show More

Longform

In the balance

Stephen Roberts

The Australian economy is showing signs of growing at an acceptably firm pace over the medium term and with inflation starting to lift towards the RBA’s 2-3% target according to recent commentaries by the RBA including the speech given by Governor Philip Lowe yesterday. There are several key assessments and... Show More

markets Longform Macroeconomic

Housing coming off the boil now

Stephen Roberts

The first hard evidence that the housing boom is running out of fuel is starting to show in monthly housing finance data. The number of owner-occupier housing finance commitments fell by 3.0% m-o-m in August after falling by 4.5% in July. Compared with August 2015, the number of housing finance... Show More

Longform

Why China will determine Australian House Prices

Stephen Roberts

Persistently strong growth in house prices in Melbourne and Sydney continue to drive up approvals to build new homes, especially approvals to build multi-occupancy home units. The latest August home building approvals numbers released yesterday were again surprisingly strong showing seasonally adjusted approvals at 20,788, only slightly down on the... Show More

housing Macroeconomic

Busy doing nothing

Stephen Roberts

On the face of it Australia’s economic report card looks good. Real GDP growth was running a touch above potential growth at 3.3% y-o-y in Q2 with an unemployment rate at a three-year low 5.6% in August. National income helped by a brief burst of higher commodity prices took a... Show More

Longform

Wishing aloud

Stephen Roberts

Recent ructions in financial markets have been attributed in part to an end of the long phase of falling interest rates around the world. In this scenario, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) raises its funds rate at its policy meeting next week and other central banks, including the RBA, that... Show More

Longform

Join the conversation

Stepping in to the breach

Stephen Roberts

Timely increases in key spending components of Australia’s economy have kept growth surprisingly strong, but the juggling act looks set to become precarious. Show More

gdp macroeconomics Longform

Housing conundrum

Stephen Roberts

The boom in construction of high density housing in the south-eastern states of Australia is refusing to die for the time being even amid a growing list of factors that should be bringing the market to its knees. Extension of the home unit building boom implies that home building activity... Show More

housing macroeconomics Longform

Slower growth ahead, but not just yet

Stephen Roberts

We see spending on housing and household consumption spending as the key elements determining near-term strength in GDP growth, but also longer-term weakness. Reasons abound why Australia’s annual GDP growth rate is likely to moderate over the next year or two. The list includes 1) Moderating growth in Australia’s major... Show More

macroeconomics Longform

The Great Fade

Stephen Roberts

The RBA made virtually no changes to its growth and inflation forecasts in its quarterly Monetary Policy Statement released last week. Real GDP growth is forecast in 2.5% to 3.5% y-o-y range through to the end of 2017 before lifting slightly to 3.0% to 4.0% range in 2018 while headline... Show More

A somber rate cut

Stephen Roberts

The immediate reaction in financial markets to the RBA’s decision to cut its cash rate 25bps to a record low 1.50% was far from a warm welcome. The share market fell, medium-to-longer term bond yields rose and the Australian dollar after briefly falling has risen against the US dollar overnight.... Show More

rba macro Longform

Tempting Fate

Stephen Roberts

Financial markets and we are assuming that the Q2 CPI and underlying inflation readings due later this morning will be low again. By low we mean around 0.4% q-o-q which would reduce annual headline inflation to around 1.1% y-o-y and average underlying inflation (based on the trimmed mean and weighted... Show More

Longform rba' cpi data

The 97% / 3% economy

Stephen Roberts

In the period of the start to end of Australia’s China-fuelled resource investment spending boom the two (make that multi) speed growth nature of the economy has been a popular theme. When mining resource investment spending was growing at its strongest pace early in the decade Western Australia, Queensland and... Show More

Longform Economic

Economic Insights - The swing factor in the outlook for spending – and Australia’s economic growth prospects in the near term - rests with the household sector

Stephen Roberts

Ability and willingness to spend: How well or poorly the Australian economy grows over the next year will depend upon the relative strength of household spending. Of course there are other contributions to growth in expenditure-based GDP – government consumption and capital spending, business capital spending and exports – but... Show More

Longform

Big macro themes for second half of 2016

Stephen Roberts

In this article I look at some of the big macro themes to watch this year and next. These include: 1) Slow global economic growth threatening to slow further; 2) Strong disinflationary pressure; 3) Angry voters turning towards protectionism and denying the benefits of globalization; 4) Weak government policy responses... Show More

macroeconomics Longform

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