Quote Of The Year

Quote Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"

Thursday, December 06, 2018

The Macro View – Health, Financial And Political News Relevant To E-Health And The Health Sector In General.

December 06, 2018 Edition.
As I type Trump is meeting with President Xi. Early reports say it went pretty well. Time will tell. George HW Bush's death has quietened things down a little!
Best outcome of the G20 meeting so far has been Trump asking Morrison “What happened to Malcolm?”
In the UK Theresa May is wandering around the UK trying to sell a pretty rubbish Brexit deal. A vote in Parliament is due in the next week or two and looks certain to fail.
In Australia the Morrison Government is a  slow motion train crash with the pain just building. All sorts of Parliamentary nonsense these last few days. Queensland has just stopped being in flames despite the fact that Climate Change is a fraud.

Major Issues.

  • Nov 25 2018 at 12:11 PM

Positioning for a rate hike pause by the Federal Reserve

US equity investors have begun to position for a pause in the Federal Reserve's rate hiking cycle and that's put the bull market in peril.
Despite stellar third-quarter profits across corporate America, the lowest unemployment rate in a generation, an economy expanding faster than its potential and record Black Friday transactions, something clearly is amiss.
Investors are rattled and that's reflected no more clearly in the sudden and sharp drop in the technology stocks that propelled the market's upward momentum.
Apple, for one, fell on Friday in New York, extending losses that now have wiped out more than $US200 billion ($276 billion) of shareholder value, or more than 20 per cent of its market cap, this month alone. London Capital Group's Jasper Lawler sees "another big hit" ahead too, now that it's closed below $US175 a share.
  • Nov 25 2018 at 3:55 PM

Auction clearances stall at 40pc as house price threat to consumption emerges

Sydney and Melbourne have entered a third month of auction clearance rates stalling around the 40 per cent level, cementing a worrying trend in the residential property market that has invited parallels with the lean years following the global financial crisis.
Last week's auction clearance rates cements the falling trend in house prices with Sydney likely to post a final 45 per cent result following a preliminary 52 per cent, and Melbourne on track for a similar clearance at a preliminary rate of 44 per cent, according to Corelogic.
For the weekend alone, only 45 per cent Sydney and and 43 per cent of Melbourne's auctions sold, Domain says.
  • Updated Nov 26 2018 at 3:30 AM

How to decide whether you need an equities 'reset'

by Giselle Roux
If there is one predictable outcome from the recent equity rout, it is that the behavioural theme has played out to plan.
The doomsters say they told us so and prognosticate on how it can only get worse; the perennial bulls lean on their great selection of quality companies with strong-as-ox earnings and cash flows, therefore the buying opportunity. Each speaks to their existing position rather than clear the air on what could transpire.
"Should I stay or should I go" – if you can't remember who made the lyrics famous, a search engine will help out (it was British group The Clash). Then scroll down the page and quickly these words are used to offer advice on whether you should stay in a job or not. It applies to the uncomfortable decision on Brexit. Turn that to whether you should stick it out in the equity market or take time out – the process is largely the same.

Forget the wacky theories, the Liberal Party lost because it trashed its own brand

By Tony Wright
25 November 2018 — 7:51pm
When the prosperous residents of an electorate like Brighton suddenly vote for anyone but the Liberals in such numbers that for a long moment it appeared a 19-year-old Labor candidate who had spent $1750 on his campaign might become the local member, you can be pretty sure that something has gone seriously tits up.
Forget a lot of the agonised tripe that has been written and said about the reasons for the Liberal Party’s near-death experience at the weekend.
Premier Daniel Andrews said he's pleased Victoria rejected "the negativity, the fear, the spite and that small brand of nasty politics."

Feuding Liberals show zero interest in learning lesson of Andrews win

By Bevan Shields
25 November 2018 — 5:43pm
It was shortly after 7pm when the texts started flying and the battle for the soul of the Liberal Party reignited.
Catastrophic early results in the Victorian state election sent federal Coalition MPs scrambling for their phones. One message sent to several MPs contained just four words: "Guys, we are f----d." Hopes of a respectable showing for the Liberal Party soon gave way to reality of a crushing defeat and the blame game quickly commenced.
As Premier Daniel Andrews and the Labor faithful celebrated their landslide victory in Victoria, recriminations began after the Liberal Party's crushing defeat.

'Get real': Liberals call for new message on climate, social policy after Victorian defeat

By David Crowe
26 November 2018 — 10:44am
Senior Liberals have rung the alarm on a voter backlash that threatens to wipe out the Morrison government, warning that a hardcore message on social issues is turning away the party’s own supporters.
Victorian senator Scott Ryan said the party needed to regain its “real base” with a message about long-standing Liberal values, as he slammed media commentators and some party colleagues for setting “tests” for members around social issues and climate change.
 “I am sick of being lectured to by people who aren’t members of the party, by people who have never stood on polling booths, about what it means to be a real Liberal,” Senator Ryan said.

ATO may get direct telco metadata and bank data access

By Ry Crozier on Nov 26, 2018 12:00PM

And ‘internet scraping’ tools.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) could be allowed to directly access telecommunications metadata and other records such as those held by banks under a proposal aired by Treasury late last week.
The proposal, which is out for consultation until December 23, is the latest change flagged under a wide-ranging black economy crackdown, which will also see the government stop working with tax-dodging IT vendors and contractors.
Under existing laws, the ATO must strike up a joint investigation with the Australian Federal Police to obtain telco metadata or compel information from other third parties like banks.

The hidden super sting costing Aussies $22,000 in retirement

By Jessica Irvine
26 November 2018 — 12:09am

Talking points

  • Report finds "clear evidence" that bigger funds enjoy "economies of scale"
  • Two million accounts – 8 per cent of all member accounts – are invested in small, high-cost funds
Australians are bleeding tens of thousands of dollars in retirement savings each because regulators have failed to weed out small, high-cost funds, a Productivity Commission analysis has found.
If the 50 smallest high-cost super funds were forced to merge into the top 10 biggest low-cost funds, there would be an average boost to the retirement nest eggs of Australia's 14.8 million super account holders of $22,000 each, if cost savings from high-cost economies of scale were passed on as fee reductions.
Australians are collectively shelling out $30 billion a year in fees on their superannuation accounts, not including insurance premiums. Retirees now fork out more in super fees each year than for power bills, a recent Grattan Institute report found.

Victorian election: Back to basics for devastated Liberals

  • By Peta Credlin
  • 11:00PM November 25, 2018
By any measure, the Victorian election result was a thumping win for Labor and, in particular, for Premier Daniel Andrews.
Not only did Labor improve its margin in the seats it held, it ­appears to have picked up seats it could only have dreamt about, and has significantly laid waste to the Greens.
For the Liberals, it was much more than a disappointing loss, it was catastrophic and likely to mean the party is out of the game for at least two terms.
So what happened?
Only those who have never campaigned would put a loss of this magnitude down to a single factor. When you’re smashed from one side of the state to the other, the factors are fundamental, whole-of-campaign, and institutional.

Victoria election: Bereft Coalition in state of panic after Labor landslide

  • November 26, 2018
Bill Shorten and his federal Labor colleagues are reacting to the Victorian Labor victory exactly as they should.
Scott Morrison and his federal Coalition colleagues are reacting exactly as they shouldn’t.
Labor’s arguments are all the stronger for their inherent truth while the Coalition’s are all the weaker for their falsity.

Newspoll: voters ready to flush Coalition down the drain

  • November 26, 2018
Today’s Newspoll, coupled with the electoral rout in Victoria on Saturday, confirms the dire position the Coalition has put itself in.
Down 45-55 per cent on the two-party vote for the second consecutive fortnight, just ahead of the final parliamentary sitting fortnight of the year, Scott Morrison has few options to lift the government’s standing before next year’s federal election.
The bottom line for Coalition troops is that this mess is entirely of their own making. Malcolm Turnbull trailed Labor 49-51 per cent for four consecutive polls before being dumped as PM. The chaos that has ensued that moment of madness has likely solidified the public’s disdain for the mob he left behind.

710,000 workers would choose to opt out of super

  • 11:00PM November 25, 2018
More than 710,000 workers would opt out of compulsory superannuation contributions if given the chance, choosing ­instead to boost their take-home pay, according to the first official modelling of the impact of making super voluntary.
An estimated 7 per cent of ­employees, including one-fifth of those under 30 on low incomes, would prefer to take their 9.5 per cent compulsory super contributions as wage and salary income, rather than lock up income in super accounts, according to the Parliamentary Budget Office in a policy costing marked “sensitive”.
“Those earning in the top 15 per cent of wages and salary ­income (above $100,000 a year) would not opt out,” it said. “Those aged over 60 would not opt out.”
  • Updated Nov 26 2018 at 11:00 PM

Lower migration will reduce house prices, NSW warned

Immigration cuts planned by the Morrison and NSW governments will weaken house prices, according to analysis by the state government and economists.
Housing Prices and Migration Flows, a NSW Treasury document obtained by The Australian Financial Review, shows Sydney and national house prices would be lower than the forecast trajectory due to fewer migrants.
Under one scenario modelled, a temporary reduction in annual net overseas migration to Australia of 64,000 over five years would cause national house prices to be 7.8 per cent lower and NSW house prices to be 6.8 per cent weaker than a business-as-usual "baseline".

Pressure builds for Liberal renewal after state defeat

By David Crowe
26 November 2018 — 7:45pm
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been warned of a brutal defeat at the next election unless he takes swift action to repair the Liberal Party in Victoria, amid warnings the horror result in the state election leaves the division unready for the federal campaign.
Liberals are intensifying pressure on the party’s state president, Michael Kroger, to leave his job early and make way for a new team to fight the federal election, with the first test of the party’s direction coming at a meeting on Wednesday night.
Mr Morrison brought federal Liberal MPs together in Parliament House on Monday morning to debate the outcome of the state election, where the powerful swing against the party puts at least five of its federal seats in danger.

Netflix and market chills: why tech giants are hurting the most

By Stephen Bartholomeusz
27 November 2018 — 12:05am
The epicentre of the sharemarket meltdown in the US is the collection of big technology stocks generally referred to as the FAANGs. The explanation for their particular implosion is an exaggerated version of the influences on the wider market.
The FAANGs – Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google – are the heavyweights of the big end of the tech sector in the US that had soared 27 per cent between the start of this year and mid-year. Since then they have fallen 24 per cent, with an 18 per cent decline since the start of October.

Perfect storm: Why the price of oil is diving

By Mohamed El-Erian
27 November 2018 — 11:02am
Demand uncertainty, high production and skepticism about the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries' resolve to curb output have come together to drive oil prices sharply lower
This perfect storm is raising questions about both short- and long-term price stability, placing even greater pressure on many of the top non-US producers that are set to meet in Vienna on December 3.
To better understand what's ahead, market participants would be well advised to draw insights from what economists call the "cobweb theorem," an economic model that helps explains price dynamics.
The broader market, as measured by the S&P 500, had risen by about 9 per cent from January through to late September but is now down 2.3 per cent for the year after a 10 per cent decline since late September.

A turning point has been reached': Cash to become niche and cheques phased out, says RBA

By Eryk Bagshaw
26 November 2018 — 12:04pm
The Reserve Bank of Australia says cash will become a "niche" payment and cheques will be phased out as consumers accelerate their take up of digital transactions.
Declaring the transition to be in the national interest, the central bank's governor Philip Lowe laid out the clearest map yet of the RBA's intentions on Monday, as contactless payments soar to up to 60 per cent of all electronic transactions.
"For some decades, people have been speculating that we might one day go cashless – that we would no longer be using banknotes for regular payments and that almost all payments would be electronic," he said.

Why wage growth is so soft, even in a strong economy

27 November 2018 — 11:00am
There are few economic trends more important today than the pace of wages growth, which has been languishing for years, both here and around the world.
On a recent trip to the United States, however, I heard from some businesses that were finally witnessing signs of a lift in pay packets.
What's that got to do with us?
Quite a bit, actually. It illustrates an economic lesson that applies in many countries, including Australia: it takes a much tighter labour market to trigger big wage rises these days.

Watch out for the X factor in 2018

  • 11:00PM November 26, 2018
As each year draws to its close, I like to identify the main X-factors that have affected investment markets in those 12 months — and to select the X-factor for that year. I’ve been doing it since 1982 and, if you’d like a full record of the X-factors over those 37 years, email me.
X-factors are the largely unexpected influences that come from left field — we used to say out of the woodwork — to have a serious effect on investment returns. Their key characteristic is the element of surprise. If the influence was widely predicted or anticipated, or already built into market pricing, it’s not an X-factor.
The X-factor in investment markets can be negative for investors (recall the near meltdown in global banking in 2008, the terrorist attacks in the US in 2001 and the sharp rise in bond yields in the fake crisis of 1994). Or it can be positive (think back to 1991, when our trend rate of inflation fell markedly, or to 1998 and 2008 when the Australian economy coped so well with, respectively, the Asian crises and the global financial crisis). Or it can be both positive and negative for investors (for example, the election of Donald Trump as US president in 2016).
  • Updated Nov 27 2018 at 1:17 PM

Julia Banks quits Liberal Party to become independent

'The Liberal party has changed': Banks quits party
Prime Minister Scott Morrison's minority government faces new peril after Victorian MP Julia Banks announced she would quit and move to the crossbench.
The shock announcement on Tuesday cuts the Coalition's numbers to 73 out of 149 on the floor of the House of Representatives, excluding Speaker Tony Smith and following the loss of Malcolm Turnbull's former seat of Wentworth to independent Kerryn Phelps.
Ms Banks shocked Parliament in a speech while Mr Morrison was announcing an early April 2 date for the federal budget, ahead of a May election.

Lion Air black box reveals fatal man-machine tug-of-war to save plane

By James Glanz
28 November 2018 — 9:32am
New York:  Data from the jetliner that crashed into the Java Sea last month shows the pilots fought to save the plane almost from the moment it took off, as the Boeing 737's nose was repeatedly forced down, apparently by an automatic system receiving incorrect sensor readings.
The information from the flight data recorder, contained in a preliminary report prepared by Indonesian crash investigators and scheduled to be released on Wednesday, documents a fatal tug-of-war between man and machine, with the plane's nose forced dangerously downward more than two dozen times during the 11-minute flight.
The pilots managed to pull the nose back up over and over until finally losing control, leaving the plane, Lion Air Flight 610, to plummet into the ocean at 450 mph (724 km/h), killing all 189 people on board.

The one great drawback from 27 years of economic sunshine

27 November 2018 — 12:32pm
Talk about ingratitude. It’s enough to make a grown economist cry. The nation’s dismal scientists labour mightily to produce almost three decades of continuous economic growth, and few people care.
In April this year a venerable crowd called CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, the gentlepersonly end of big business – conducted an online survey of almost 3000 people from all states, asking for their thoughts on the economy.
Asked whether they’d gained from 26 years of uninterrupted economic growth – actually, it’s now ticked up to 27 years – only 5 per cent said they’d gained a lot, with 40 per cent admitting they’d gained “a little”.

Apocalypse now: stench of panic grips Liberals

  • 11:00PM November 27, 2018
The time has come to concede the reality of an apocalyptic vision for the future of the Liberal Party and the Coalition government.
Until now, it has been possible for Liberals to grasp at straws, like Bill Shorten’s unpopularity, and point to undeniable positives, the strength of the economy, as Scott Morrison battles almost impossible odds to win the next election.
But after the Victorian Liberal rout, there is a stench of panic among federal MPs. The “departure lounge” is filling with those planning careers after politics; some ministers are so shell-shocked by the leadership fights they have been rendered useless.

May’s Brexit capitulation bad for UK, and Australia too

  • 11:00PM November 27, 2018
If Theresa May’s capitulation to the EU — her Brexit deal — is passed by the House of Commons it will be a disastrous day for Britain, a very bad day for Australia.
We will lose the prospect of a free-trade agreement with Britain, the world’s fifth-largest economy, which Brexit had promised.
Instead, we will be left negotiating an FTA with the EU, which is likely to take 15 years, not yield much in benefits and come at the expense of satisfying all the ­excessive and costly regulation the EU always wants.

Australia not on track to meet Paris climate aims, United Nations says

  • AAP
  • November 28, 2018
Australia is not on track to meet its Paris climate commitments, according to the United Nations.
The UN Emissions Gap Report for 2018 says Australia’s emissions are projected to be “well above” its target of a 26-28 per cent reduction on 2005 carbon emissions levels by 2030.
“The latest projection published by the (Australian) government shows that emissions would remain at high levels rather than reducing in line with the 2030 target,” the report, released on Wednesday Australian time, says. The forecast puts Australia among about half of G20 countries falling short of their Paris commitments, including Canada, the United States and South Africa. As a result, the G20 group is collectively not on track to hit its targets, with the report suggesting members needing to improve emissions-reduction policies. Even higher targets would be needed for the world to avoid global temperatures from rising more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Wilson group LICs to convert to trusts to avoid ALP franking hit

  • 11:00PM November 27, 2018
The $40 billion listed investment company sector — a favourite of conservative investors — is going to have to undertake a massive legal restructure to save itself should the ALP win power.
Geoff Wilson, one of the most powerful players in the LIC market, said yesterday he would be forced to convert the status of all the Wilson group LICs to trusts — a move that would protect both the future of the products and the returns of investors — if the ALP goes ahead with a proposal to scrap cash rebates on franking credits to retirees
With LICs facing a serious disadvantage if the franking credit changes are made, Wilson says the costs of converting each LIC to a trust would be borne by the manager.
  • Nov 29 2018 at 5:20 AM

Fed chairman Jerome Powell triggers market rally, says rates 'just below' neutral

Washington | Donald Trump's constant browbeating of Jerome Powell may just be working, with the Fed chairman conceding for the first time that US interest rates are now near their so-called neutral level, suggesting he may slow the pace of normalisation in 2019.
Stocks leapt the most in eight months as growth stocks surged, and the US dollar fell after Mr Powell said the Fed's benchmark rate is "just below" estimates of where it neither adds to nor detracts from growth. The Dow closed 618 points higher, paced by Caterpillar and Boeing. Amazon was 6.1 per cent higher, Netflix rose 6 per cent; Apple added 3.9 per cent.
In a speech that focussed on financial stability risks, Mr Powell started by saying there was a "great deal" to like about the economic outlook, but warned that "we know that things often turn out to be quite different from even the most careful forecasts".

The Liberal Party, riven by its wreckers, faces wholesale collapse

By James Walter
29 November 2018 — 12:05am
Much has been made of Julia Banks’ decision to quit the Liberal Party for the crossbench. It is amplified by its juxtaposition with Labor’s thumping win in the Victorian state election. These events are already interpreted as yet further evidence of the fragmentation and decay of a once great party. But they are no more than the latest turn in a rolling panorama of chaos that stretches back to the demise of the Howard government.
The novel turn after 2007 was not only the intensification of inter-party partisanship (reaching its apogee in Tony Abbott’s talent for destructive hyperbole rather than policy) but also the emergence of hyper-partisan insurrection within the party. Incrementally, the ferocity with which leaders were challenged and then dispatched increased. And all, it was said, in the interests of “the base”.
The base to which some appealed was confined to the tiny proportion of the population who are paid-up party members — some of whom, surveys suggest, indeed have views on issues such as crime, same-sex marriage and climate change that are at odds with majority opinion.

The generational divide that will shape this federal election

By Jessica Irvine
28 November 2018 — 11:26pm
There is a hidden generational fault line dividing Australians that is set to heavily influence the upcoming federal election.
To find out which side you’re on, answer this one simple question: why do you think you pay tax?
If the words “I’ve paid taxes all my life” have ever slipped from your lips, you’re on one side.
Chances are you’re also enjoying $2 all-day bus and tram rides and chowing down on heavily subsidised pharmaceuticals – and not the fun kind.

Energy chief calls for 'first world country thinking' on power transition

By Cole Latimer
28 November 2018 — 5:50pm
Australia needs more sophisticated thinking to solve its energy issues, the chief of Australia’s energy market operator has warned pointing to a mismatch between new generation assets and grid infrastructure.
Australian Energy Market Operator's chief executive Audrey Zibelman said Australia was seeing massive growth in renewables but this needed to be managed.
Business has bemoaned disruption to energy policy following the collapse of the National Energy Guarantee, although Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has proposed its revival. At the state level, most governments are seeking to implement renewable energy generation targets backed by new wind and solar farms.

'Journalism needs champions': Philanthropist donates $100 million for new institute

By Josh Dye
28 November 2018 — 3:15pm
Australian billionaire and philanthropist Judith Neilson has committed $100 million for a new journalism institute to be based in Sydney.
The Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism & Ideas, which promises to be independent and non-partisan, will seek to encourage quality journalism through education and grants, and by hosting events on topical issues.
 “As an avid consumer of news, I recognise the need to support evidence-based journalism and the pursuit of truth in an increasingly complicated and confusing world,” Ms Neilson said.

The rising cost of pet ownership

By Nina Hendy
28 November 2018 — 12:00am
Grungle is a popular commuter on the Melbourne tram network as he heads into the office with his owner, Freddy Grant.
But a leg injury has made the 40-minute walk from the tram station into the Collingwood office and home again too painful for the nine-year-old long-haired Jack Russell.
 “It’s been an expensive few months,” Grant, who works in PR for online art store Bluethumb, says.
  • Updated Nov 29 2018 at 9:42 PM

Liberal Party turmoil: It's every man for himself on the ship of the damned

When governments reach a stage of "every man for himself", there's usually no turning back.
MPs, driven by the need to save their seats, safeguard their legacy, position themselves for the aftermath, or just make mischief because they are angry, throw discipline to the wind and start freelancing.
This week, on the back of the Victorian election and a dreadful Newspoll, the Coalition, if not already at the point of no return, sailed perilously close.
Julia Banks jumped ship to join a growing group of independent centre-right women holding what used to be Liberal seats of Wentworth, Mayo and Indi.

Fall in home values on track to be the worst since records began

  • 11:00PM November 29, 2018
Sydney has recorded its biggest monthly fall in housing prices in 14 years and is on track to post the sharpest and longest housing price slide since 1980, when research­er CoreLogic began collecti­ng housing figures.
Sydney’s housing values have fallen 1.3 per cent so far this month and are down 9 per cent since the peak in July last year.
The researcher now expects Sydney prices to drop a total of 15 per cent before the downturn is done.
 “If you look back, the biggest fall was 9.6 per cent in the last recessio­n, 1989-91,” CoreLogic’s head of research, Tim Lawless, told The Australian.

Disability support pensions wrongfully reviewed

  • 4:45PM November 29, 2018
A bungled budget measure to medically review 90,000 people on the disability support pension captured more than 4200 people who should never have been reviewed and whose payments were reinstated by the department, an audit report has found.
The Australian National Audit Office report into the $16 billion payment found the Department of Social Services missed its forecast by more than 8 percentage points when the budget measure resulted in an almost total majority of medical reviews recommending no change to DSP eligibility.
The department had estimated 10 per cent of reviewed recipients would have their payment cancelled. Instead, fewer than 2 per cent were moved off the pension.
  • Nov 30 2018 at 4:07 PM

A Liberal government lost, with no co-ordinates back to the centre

It's a question that has come up repeatedly in the past few days: have you ever seen politics quite so dysfunctional?
It is hardly the first time the question has come up, of course.
There have been plenty of periods of chaos and weirdness in Canberra, particularly in the last 10 years.
But the past week really has entrenched the sense of a new low being reached.
  • Updated Nov 30 2018 at 11:00 PM

Liberal Party torn apart by climate change: 'Not even Menzies could fix it'

by Andrew Clark
Robert Menzies' Liberal Party is splintering.
The pragmatic Party of Government designed by Menzies has been in power in Canberra for almost two-thirds of its 74-year history, but it's now in a "mess", as one senior minister put it.
A rapid turnover of leaders, climate change, energy policy, refugees on Nauru and an equal role for women in Parliament, are among the issues roiling the Liberals, contributing to their spectacular fall from electoral grace.
  • Updated Nov 30 2018 at 2:13 PM

Residential mortgage risks rise

One of our best "short" (as opposed to "long") ideas this year has been to bet that the credit spreads on residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) would widen – reducing their price – as a function of the toxic combination of falling house prices, rising defaults, surging supply and plummeting home loan prepayment rates. (We largely exited our RMBS holdings in February 2018.)
We have particularly warned that the subordinated, or junior-ranking, tranches of recent RMBS issues with little-to-no loan "seasoning" (ie, loans recently originated), which have been popular with unsophisticated investors, were at risk of credit rating downgrades as house price declines tracked to our early 2017 forecast of a national peak-to-trough fall of about 10 per cent.
In the last week both the Reserve Bank of Australia and, belatedly, Standard & Poor's have rung similar alarm bells.

Off the rails: A week from hell with grave consequences for the Liberal Party

Two big blows in just a few short days sent shockwaves through the government, with MPs now bracing for a wipeout.
By Bevan Shields
30 November 2018
Scott Morrison left The Lodge on Tuesday morning with a spring in his step and a trick up his sleeve.
The Prime Minister and the senior leadership team had been working for weeks on a secret plan to reset his government's flagging position by flicking the switch to the Coalition's traditional strength: the economy.
Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg fronted the media just before midday to reveal what should have been a big news - the nation's finances will return to surplus for the first time in a decade, and next year's budget would be brought forward to early April, all but guaranteeing a federal election in May.

Adani coal mine hinges on a rail line in doubt

By Cole Latimer
1 December 2018 — 12:05am
Adani may have to spend more than half of the $2 billion slated for its Queensland mega-coal mine on rail lines alone if it is to get its shipments to ports.
On Thursday, Adani announced it would self-finance a $2 billion scaled down Carmichael mine in after it failed to receive funding from Australian banks or government sources.
It had originally priced the project at $US16 billion, with funding into a rail line connecting it to the Abbot Point Coal Terminal, to ensure the project did not remain stranded in Queensland’s underdeveloped Surat Basin.

A look at the top five issues at the G20 summit in Argentina

30 November 2018 — 7:33pm
The two-day G20 meeting is officially focused on development, infrastructure and food security. But there are other global issues that overshadow these issues, and are the subject of crucial sideline meetings in Buenes Aires .
US President Donald Trump abruptly cancelled a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the upcoming G20 in Argentina, registering his disapproval of Russia's actions in Ukraine.
Here are the top five issues:
The future of the global economy is at stake when Donald Trump and Xi Jingping meet at a high-stakes dinner on Saturday. Can they reach a truce on a dispute that has rattled international markets? Trump promises to impose new tariffs on imports from China if they don't. Most analysts doubt they will reach any overarching deal. But if the two sides agree to a ceasefire, it could buy time for more substantive talks.

'How about he rings?': PM's woman problem hits peak farce

By Peter Hartcher
1 December 2018 — 12:05am
After hearing her public complaints of being bullied and intimidated, Scott Morrison invited the Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi to his office in Parliament House. The newly installed Prime Minister asked her to recount her story.
"I told him everything," Gichuhi recalls. "After the leadership spill, I was ready to say everything that had happened. I saw adult women crying, even ministers. It was very, very tense. Scott said, 'Leave it with me'. They were the last words as I left him."
That was three months ago. What has she heard back? "Nothing," she tells me. "I haven't heard anything back."

Broad church teeters on a narrow reactionary base

  • 11:00PM November 30, 2018
You know the Liberal Party is in a battle for its soul when Senate president Scott Ryan laments the way the party is being perceived.
The target of his criticisms, in a pointed interview with Radio ­National’s Fran Kelly, was reactionary forces within the parliamentary party and among the commentariat. Ryan chose not to name names but his criticisms were ­directed at commentators who offered free advice to the Liberals without ever having been involved in the party, and colleagues who perhaps hadn’t thought very deeply about what made someone a Liberal.
The contradiction in this ­debate is the John Howard notion that the Liberal Party is a “broad church” — yet, according to warriors such as Tony Abbott, apparently “the base” represents a narrow brand of conservatism that is increasingly out of touch with mainstream thinking.

Morrison’s push to lower power prices fails

11:00PM November 30, 2018
A Morrison government campaign to lower household electricity prices is failing to deliver widespread cuts, with electricity retailers holding or increasing ­prices as they battle rising costs.
Only AGL Energy — targeted earlier by the government with demands to sell its Liddell coal generator rather than close it in 2022 — offered a cut yesterday on its 2019 pricing in Victoria. Its standard price will fall 1.6 per cent, saving an average household $23 a year and a small business $60.
Eastern states newcomer Alinta Energy, one of the smallest companies in the market, led the way with a 1.9 per cent increase for electricity and 7.1 per cent for gas.
But Origin Energy and Energy­Australia held standard retail tariffs flat, saying they would absorb millions of dollars in costs they did not control.

Ways to sidestep Labor’s ‘unfair and illogical’ tax grab on super

  • By James Gerrard
  • 11:00PM November 30, 2018
Earlier this week, the man who may be our next treasurer, Chris Bowen, reiterated the ALP was not interested in amending its plans to scrap cash rebates for franking credits — a key element of income for many retirees.
The crux of the issue is that retirees, who in good conscience saved money in super, are having the rug pulled from under them. They are being treated as companies, effectively being taxed at 30 per cent on part of their ­income, with their tax-exempt super status being ignored.
I am going to run through several scenarios that would allow an investor to sidestep the franking credit plan, but first it does need to be put in perspective. The Labor Party’s plans to make a retrospective change to super not only ­adversely affects about one million retirees who are not eligible for a part or full age pension, but also undermines the confidence in the system.
  • Dec 2 2018 at 7:36 AM

G20 agrees to reform WTO, US holds out on climate

The G20 nations have sent mixed messages on trade by agreeing to reform the World Trade Organisation while dropping any reference to the need to fight protectionism in order to appease the United States.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended this omission, saying everyone accepted protectionism was wrong and "this is the post-ideological position on trade".
"I don't think anybody's about protectionism."
It is understood the reference to fighting protectionism, which was a key element of the G20 meeting in 2017, was left out at the insistence of the US which is using tariffs as a weapon to force China into adopting fairer trade practices,.
  • Dec 1 2018 at 5:52 AM

US, Canada, Mexico sign trade deal, Trump shrugs off Congress hurdle

by Roberta Rampton
Buenos Aires | The United States, Canada and Mexico signed a North American trade pact, and President Donald Trump brushed aside difficulties he may have in getting the deal through US Congress, where opposition Democrats will control one of its two chambers.
The leaders of the three countries agreed on a deal in principle to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement that governs more than a trillion dollars of mutual trade after a year and a half of acrimonious negotiations concluded with a late-night bargain just an hour before a deadline on September 30.
Friday's signing potentially ends a big source of irritation for the US administration as it pivots to a much bigger trade fight with China that threatens the global economy. All eyes are on a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday after a G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

World leaders push back against Putin and Saudi prince after 'secret murderers’ handshake

By David Crowe
2 December 2018 — 8:16am
Buenos Aires: World leaders have pushed back against Russian president Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman at a global summit where the two men greeted each other with a cheerful high-five that has been dubbed a “secret murderers’ handshake” because of their links to mysterious deaths.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison restated Australia’s condemnation of the killing of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi amid new allegations the crown prince texted those who committed the crime.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are seen laughing and heartily embracing at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

Investors will have to adjust to tightened credit controls

By Daryl Dixon
2 December 2018 — 12:00am
Judging by the recent volatility in both share and property markets, the coming year could be difficult for investors who’ve been lulled into complacency by the healthy returns generated by the recovery from the global financial crisis. Whilst not as severe as the 1987 share market collapse, the GFC triggered sharp losses for investors in higher risk property and share assets.
Government bailouts, steep reductions in official interest rates and quantitative easing cushioned the blow for investors by assisting the recovery of share and property markets around the world. The problem now is that with interest rates still near historical low levels and budgets still in deficit, governments and central banks are less able to minimise the impact on investors of the next downturn.
Even if world economic growth continues at current sound levels, Australian investors will have to adjust to tighter credit controls as well as proposed changes to negative gearing, capital gains and imputation credit tax arrangements. Higher capital gains tax bills and increased difficulty to obtain loans will reduce the attractiveness of new investments.

Joe Hildebrand: How Scott Morrison is ‘The Pelican Brief’ Prime Minister

The Liberal Party is divided and Bill Shorten is set to become our PM despite his unpopularity. Our problem goes back to one theory.
news.com.au December 2, 20188:44am
Back before most Millennials were born there was a strange and mystical place to which people congregated at certain hallowed times, most of these being religious holidays or two-for-one Tuesday.
I refer, of course, to the local video library: A now bygone relic of an era in which there was no reward without effort and real world actions had real world consequences — especially if you forgot to rewind the tape.
These days of course everyone carries a video player in their pocket but back then everyone had to agree on what to watch.

Financial Services Royal Commission Issues.

  • Updated Nov 26 2018 at 12:15 AM

PC report adds to pressure on APRA over superannuation mergers

Wayne Byres' sense of dread about his appearance at the royal commission this week will only grow once he sees the latest work from the Productivity Commission on Australia's super sector.
The chairman of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority would have watched the evisceration of Australian Securities and Investment Commission chairman James Shipton with a mix of horror and foreboding.
Shipton was slammed for ASIC's approach to enforcement and Byres can expect at least some of the same treatment. After all, Commissioner Ken Hayne made a point of writing in his annual report that APRA, which is the key regulator in the super sector, "never went to court".

Boards and managers responsible for reducing banks' franchise value

By Ross Gittins
26 November 2018 — 12:05am
Too few of us realise it, but we should thank God (and my new best friend, Peter Costello) for our independent central bank. Prime ministers and treasurers seem to say little that’s not point scoring, and Treasury is now highly politicised, but we can always rely on Reserve Bank governors to be frank about what’s happening in the economy and what should be happening.
Last week the latest of our straight-shooting governors, Dr Philip Lowe, offered his conclusions on the shocking revelations of the banking royal commission. His wise words are worth recounting at length, to be sure you don’t miss them.
Senior Counsel Rowena Orr QC opens the cross examination of CBA CEO Matt Comyn with an outline of problems and root causes of misconduct that have become part of the bank's culture.

Ken Henry ponders the state of capitalism - and agrees it's not pretty

28 November 2018 — 12:05am
Ken Henry’s soliloquy on the state of capitalism provided one of the more philosophical moments in an at times testy appearance before the banking royal commission.
The counsel assisting, Rowena Orr, perhaps erred when she asked the National Australia Bank chairman a rather open-ended question as to whether the bank was too focused on shareholders at the expense of its customers.
Henry said the question went to the behaviour of businesses and what motivated them; the things that boards held themselves accountable for the conduct of their businesses.
"It goes to the state of capitalism,’’ he pronounced.

Australian banks at start of long journey: Group of 30

  • By Megan Neil
  • AAP
  • November 30, 2018
The Australian banking industry is only beginning a long journey to repair its conduct and culture after shocking misconduct scandals, the world’s top financial figures have warned.
The Group of 30’s views on the Australian “crisis” were released on Friday, the final day of the banking royal commission’s public hearings. “With the ongoing royal commission investigation and pending recommendations, as well as continued revelations of retrospective misconduct among Australia’s financial institutions, we anticipate that the Australian banking industry is only beginning its long journey to repair its conduct and culture,” the G30 said.
The views were contained in a global report on banking culture and conduct by the G30, a private international body of leading financiers and academics. A key conclusion was that bank conduct and culture were at the centre of a “slow, uphill battle for trust”.
The G30 said the situation unfolding in Australia demonstrated the banking industry remained subject to further serious scandals and fallouts. It pointed to egregious examples of misconduct that surfaced in recent years including weak controls to prevent thousands of breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws, unsuitable financial advice and fees-for-no-service issues such as charging the accounts of dead clients. Former Westpac CEO Gail Kelly, the G30 steering committee vice-chair, said for permanent and ongoing change to occur, banks needed to focus on leadership at every level of the organisation.

Curtain has come down far too soon on banking inquiry

By Adele Ferguson
1 December 2018 — 12:00am
 “We will adjourn.” With those three words, Kenneth Hayne bowed and drew the final curtain down on the royal commission into misconduct in the banking superannuation and financial services industry.
If there was a sense of disquiet it was due to the topics and institutions that had been missed from this short yet headline-grabbing event.
In the 68 hearing days, covering 134 witnesses and thousands of exhibits we have seen dishonesty and entrenched conflicts of interest. We have watched the flawed, arrogant – and sometimes contemptuous - leaders that run the nation's biggest financial institutions.

National Budget Issues.

  • Updated Nov 27 2018 at 1:51 PM

Scott Morrison announces federal budget on April 2, election in May

The next federal election has been confirmed for May after Prime Minster Scott Morrison announced he would hand down an early budget in April 2 and then go to the polls.
In an bid to steer the debate back towards the economy, Mr Morrison promised it would be a surplus budget but would not say which year would be in surplus.
This financial year, 2018-19, is currently forecast to be in deficit, next year is forecast to deliver a balance of $2.2 billion, and a surplus is forecast for the year after, in 2020-21.
  • Updated Nov 28 2018 at 9:59 AM

Scott Morrison surrenders element of surprise in locking down election

Not since a desperate Julia Gillard announced the date of the 2013 election eight months in advance, has a government so brazenly telegraphed its strategy.
Scott Morrison's announcement of an early budget on April 2 next year, followed by a rush to the polls means the federal election will be held on either May 11 or May 18.
That the government chose to surrender what element of surprise it had left by locking in the timetable, underscores the desperation of its plight.
It could have left everyone guessing for a few months longer by eschewing a budget, normally held in May, and instead releasing an economic statement at a time of its choosing and then calling the election, as Labor did in 2013. This would leave it with an option of going earlier, in March.

Health Issues.

We're paying $834 million more for health insurance but getting less

26 November 2018 — 4:23pm
Australians paid $834 million more for health insurance in 2017-18 compared to the year before, despite hundreds of thousands either dropping their cover or shifting to cheaper policies, a new report shows.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's annual report on the private health insurance industry found policyholders paid $23.9 billion in premiums in the past financial year – an increase of 3.6 per cent – on the previous year's figure.
But in that time, tens of thousands dropped their hospital or combined cover and hundreds of thousands switched to policies with exclusions, or excess and co-payments.

Aged care services to get new oversight

A bill to establish a commission that would regulate aged care has passed the Senate with a handful of changes.
Matt Coughlan
Australian Associated Press November 26, 20184:22pm
Aged care will be policed by a tough new cop from 2020 as the federal government moves to crack down on shocking cases of neglect and abuse in the sector.
Legislation cleared the Senate on Monday to establish the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, which will regulate residential aged care services, home care services, flexible care services and publicly funded aged care services.
The bill will now return to the lower house to tick off amendments such as giving the commissioner powers to make information public about aged care services.

Customers ditch, downgrade private health insurance as premium increases bite: ACCC

November 26, 2018
The proportion of Australians with private health insurance fell last financial year, as premium increases continued to outpace inflation and wage growth.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, customers paid about $23.9 billion in private health insurance premiums last financial year, up nearly 3.6 per cent on the prior year.
“The costs of private health insurance continue to be of concern to consumers,” the ACCC said in its annual report into the private health insurance industry.
Consumers are switching to more affordable policies with greater exclusions or higher excess payments in response to the higher prices, while others are exiting the private health insurance market altogether, the ACCC said.

Sick Royal Adelaide Hospital, sick system

11:00PM November 26, 2018
Problems at the $2.4 billion Royal Adelaide Hospital — once the world’s third most expensive building — continue to plague ­patients, health practitioners and politicians almost 15 months after its delayed opening.
Despite ongoing efforts alongside frontline health workers, South Australian Premier Steven Marshall and Health Minister ­Stephen Wade know there is no quick fix.
Attempts to ease chronic overcrowding are likely to continue for several months, if not years.
Capital works could be announced early next year, with smaller-than-required resuscitation rooms and a chaotic emergency department the likely first targets of any redesign.

Labor attacks South Australian health budget repair plan

  • 11:00PM November 27, 2018
KordaMentha plans to cut at least 178 beds and at least 4500 operations as part of $460 million worth of cuts to South Australia’s public hospital system, the opposition says.
Labor, which oversaw massive budget blowouts in health spending during its 16 years in government in South Australia, yesterday ramped up its attack on the eight-month-old Liberal government over a radical plan to save money.
A damning report by corporate advisory and restructuring group KordaMentha, released by the Marshall government on Monday, identified a likely budget blowout in 2018-19 of more than $300m in the Central Adelaide Local Health Network.

Shifting Gears — Consumers Transforming Health

A White Paper

26 Nov 2018
For several decades there has been recognition of the need for a more active role for consumers in health care, what is often referred to as consumer ‘choices’ and consumer ‘voices’ aiming to improve service delivery, consumer experience and health outcomes.
The impetus for consumer involvement in health care has continued to grow and change over the decades. Although several consumer organisations have been active since the 1950s, momentum built in the 1960s and 1970s with the emergence of the patient’s rights movement as part of a larger scale citizens’ and human rights movement. In more recent years, three additional factors have led to more active engagement of consumers.

Health insurance reforms help industry more than consumers: Choice

By Esther Han
29 November 2018 — 12:00am
A dozen health and consumer organisations are urging the federal government to launch a Productivity Commission inquiry into private health insurance, saying Australians are facing high costs, poor value and increasing complexity.
The call comes amid new research that shows 69 per cent of health fund members believe they are getting "average" or "poor" value for money, especially as annual premium increases outstrip inflation and wage growth.
Choice, Consumer Health Forum and the Australian Dental Association, as well as individual doctors and academics, are among 16 signatories of a strongly worded letter calling for an inquiry that will be sent to all federal MPs on Thursday.

Women baulk at natural births, opting for caesareans, inducement

  • 11:00PM November 28, 2018
More births are being induced, and Australia’s already high rate of caesareans continues to rise, as expectant mothers worry about the risk of something going wrong.
While pregnant women are now more likely to be older or obese — factors that can increase the risk of complications — the trend towards medical intervention has drawn the attention of authorities.
According to the latest ­Australasian Clinical Indicator Report, which examines uncomplicated pregnancies, labour was induced in 41.8 per cent of first-time births last year. That rate is up 8 per cent in three years, and is more pronounced in the private sector.

Aged care companies should be held to a higher standard, senate committee finds

  • 3:31PM November 28, 2018
Aged care companies that receive almost three-quarters of their revenue from taxpayers should be “held to a high standard of transparency and accountability” with regard to their tax affairs and there is merit to concerns about avoidance, a senate committee has found.
The Labor-dominated Senate economics reference committee released its report into the tax practices of for-profit aged care providers today which finds “greater investigation of the tax and financial structures of aged care providers is warranted.”
This is despite much of the research relied upon in the committee, from the Tax Justice Network report commissioned by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, being flatly refuted by providers and industry experts. No direct findings of illegal behaviour or even excessive tax avoidance practices were found throughout the inquiry.

Heart disease not the killer it was

11:00PM November 30, 2018
The heart disease epidemic peaked in 1968, when it caused 30.5 per cent of all deaths.
In the 50 years since, ­advances in health understanding and available medical interventions have brought its share of the death toll down to 11.6 per cent. What’s more, people are living so much longer that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have become the second-leading cause of death — up from 40th place.
The dominant causes of death almost two generations ago were ischaemic heart diseases (commonly heart attacks) and cerebrovascular diseases (commonly strokes), which accounted for 44.5 per cent of the toll. Now they are to blame for 17.9 per cent of cases combined.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has charted the heart disease turnaround, noting that without the changes that have taken place since 1968, an extra 207,200 ­people would have died from cardio­vascular diseases in 2017. “The mortality rate for acute heart diseases, mostly heart ­attacks, has decreased by 91.5 per cent over the last 50 years,” said ABS health and vital statistics director James Eynstone-Hinkins.

COAG under fire on medicos’ mandatory reporting bill

12:00AM December 1, 2018
A parliamentary inquiry will deter­mine the fate of the medical profession’s mandatory reporting laws, which some blame for deterring doctors from seeking treatment themselves.
After 18 months of debate in the sector, and deliberations by official­s, the Council of Australian Governments Health Council approve­d a reform bill introduced into the Queensland parliament in October.
As Queensland is the host jurisdicti­on for the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, any reforms must start there, althoug­h Western Australia is sticking with its alternative model of mandatory reporting.

International Issues.

Taiwan president Tsai resigns as party chair after election losses

By Kirsty Needham
Updated25 November 2018 — 3:53pmfirst published at 9:34am
Beijing: Taiwan's president Tsai Ing-wen has resigned as the chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party after the party's disastrous results in local elections on Saturday.
A wave of conservatism swept the island as voters rejected Tsai's independence-leaning party in the nationwide polls, as well as marriage equality in a referendum held at the same time.
A wave of conservatism swept the island as voters rejected Tsai's independence-leaning party in the nationwide polls, as well as marriage equality in a referendum held at the same time.
  • Nov 26 2018 at 10:27 AM

Russia fires on Ukrainian vessels in Black Sea

by Matthew Bodner
Moscow |Russia's coast guard opened fire on and seized three of Ukraine's vessels, wounding two crew members, after a tense standoff in the Black Sea near the Crimean Peninsula, the Ukrainian navy said.
Russia blamed Ukraine for provoking the incident, which sharply escalated tensions that have been growing between the two countries since Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and it has worked steadily to bolster its zone of control around the peninsula.
Earlier in the day, Russia and Ukraine traded accusations over a separate incident involving the same vessels, prompting Moscow to block passage through the narrow Kerch Strait, which separates the peninsula from the Russian mainland.
  • Updated Nov 26 2018 at 7:11 AM

Theresa May gets EU accord, but now faces hard sell to Conservative party

by Stephen Castle and Steven Erlanger
London | More than four decades after Britain tied itself to its Continental neighbours, Prime Minister Theresa May has obtained the approval of the other 27 European Union members on a formal divorce pact from the bloc, a consequential step intended to take the country on a new, if unclear,...
The journey has been long and tortuous for both sides, and the drama is hardly over. May must still get approval for the deal   a dense, legally binding divorce settlement and a set of political promises for Britain's future relationship with the bloc   from an outspokenly unhappy British Parliament.
Since Britons voted in 2016 to leave the European Union, May has struggled to define how closely they should remain tied to Continental Europe, ultimately choosing a kind of middle way that has left many dissatisfied.

Russia fires on Ukrainian ships in Black Sea, seizes vessels

By Andrew Osborn and Pavel Polityuk
Updated 26 November 2018 — 8:47am first published at 7:36am
Moscow: Ukraine has accused Russia of illegally seizing three of its ships in the Black Sea after opening fire on them, a charge that if confirmed could ignite a dangerous new crisis between the two countries.
At first Russian news agencies cited the FSB security service as saying it had incontrovertible proof that Ukraine had orchestrated what it called "a provocation" and would publicise its evidence soon.
Later the FSB conceded it acted against the Ukrainian ships "after they ignored legitimate demands to stop and manouevred dangerously".  It said it "used weapons" to force them to stop, the Russian RIA news agency reported.

It's too late to catch the China wave, but another big opportunity is showing promise

By Peter Hartcher
26 November 2018 — 5:02pm
To see the transformation of modern India, you should start with a look at an unconventional place - a slum. "If you go to a slum in Brazil you will feel endangered," says Ketan Patel. "If you go to a slum in India, you won't feel threatened because everyone is working. It may only be sorting garbage - it's a horrible job but you are so hungry for work you will take the opportunity, or if it's the next step up you are sewing bags together."
A slum may be a pit of poverty and disadvantage, but an Indian one isn't a life sentence; it's a way station, "a parking lot for human beings", as Patel puts it. And the movement of traffic through the parking lot is speeding up as India starts to deliver on its potential and opportunity widens.
Patel invites us to take a closer look beneath the bits of corrugated iron that maybe five or eight people call home: "The most educated person in the family is probably your 12-year-old daughter. Your boys are also going to school [thanks to a national drive to improve school access] but the girls are probably picking it up faster", a syndrome not unknown in Australia, either. "When you get just enough money to get a tiny abode on the edge of the city, you buy it. Now you are transformed from rural peasantry and you have a small abode in the city."

'My gut tells me more than anybody else's brain can': Trump has regrets about his choice of Fed chief

By Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey
28 November 2018 — 10:41am
President Donald Trump placed responsibility for recent stock market declines and this week's General Motors plant closures and layoffs on the Federal Reserve during an interview Tuesday, shirking any personal responsibility for cracks in the economy and declaring that he is "not even a little bit happy" with his hand-selected central bank chairman.
In a wide-ranging and sometimes discordant 20-minute interview with The Washington Post, Trump complained at length about Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome "Jay" Powell, whom he nominated earlier this year. He argued that rising interest rates and other Fed policies were damaging the economy - as evidenced by GM's announcement this week that it was laying off 15 per cent of its workforce - though he insisted that he is not worried about a recession.
"I'm doing deals, and I'm not being accommodated by the Fed," Trump said. "They're making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else's brain can ever tell me."

For Trump, Michael Cohen has moved from problem-solver to big problem

By Matthew Knott
30 November 2018 — 9:41am
New York: Of all the people likely to cause Donald Trump political pain, Michael Cohen would until recently have been at the very bottom of the list.
The lawyer from Long Island joined the Trump Organisation in 2006 and quickly became known as Trump's "pit bull" because of his total devotion to his boss.
He even once wrote a letter to the publishers of the satirical website The Onion demanding they remove an article poking fun at Trump.

Trump in charge during a global financial crisis? That’s a scary mix

By Ferdinando Giugliano
30 November 2018 — 11:11am
There's a cloud hovering over the G20 meeting of global leaders, which starts in Buenos Aires on Friday. The world economy is slowing, threatening an end to the long recovery from the financial crisis. The markets share some of these fears. Global equities suffered a heavy selloff this fall as investors started to weigh the risk of recession in the next year or two.
These concerns raise an important question among aficionados of a multilateral world: If the economy entered a new downturn, would national leaders – in the age of US President Donald Trump – be able to orchestrate a global response? The obvious precedent is the G20 summit in London in 2009, when participants put together a $US1 trillion ($1.4 trillion) package of fiscal stimulus that helped avoid a more cataclysmic downturn.
Such global teamwork would be invaluable for a "mere" recession too, as well as any full-blown crisis.
I look forward to comments on all this!

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