Eco

Surprise drop in unemployment rate eases pressure on RBA

Mark Mulligan Australia's unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped in December, surprising economists and easing pressure on the Reserve Bank of Australia to cut interest rates this year.

Economy

Australia job vacancies hit two-year high

Job vacancies rose 2.6 per cent in the November quarter, following a fall of 0.4 per cent the previous quarter.

Job vacancies in Australia rebounded in the three months to November to hit their highest in two years, pointing to improving demand for labour.

World Bank cuts global growth forecast

Mystery moneymaker: CIS has become a cult figure among Japanese day traders. But only a handful of his peers know his real name, and no one has watched him work.

Max Mason The World Bank has cut its forecast for global growth in 2015 thanks to a faltering recovery in the euro zone, tighter monetary policy in developed countries, and the prospect of a deep slowdown in...

Surging US dollar decides Australian sharemarket winners and losers

The Aussie is losing the popularity contest against the US dollar.

Max Mason The Australian sharemarket barely managed to etch out a gain last year, but thanks to the surging United States dollar, companies with exposure to foreign earnings posted strong returns and are...

Oil

Why OPEC keeps talking oil down, not up, even after prices halved

Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi before OPEC's meeting in November. He has since repeatedly shrugged off suggestions that the world's biggest crude exporter might cut production to halt the rout.

Grant Smith If there ever was doubt about the strategy of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, its wealthiest members are putting that issue to rest.

Economy

Retail sales miss expectations in November

DAVID JONES, RETAIL, SHOPPING,

Max Mason Australian retail sales have come in softer than expected, inching just 0.1 per cent higher in November, but retailers hope that Christmas and Boxing Day sales will have boosted December numbers.

Rate cut

Growing number expect Reserve Bank of Australia to cut interest rates

The investment market tips an 80 per cent chance of an interest rate cut next month.

Ruth Liew The number of investors who expect the Reserve Bank of Australia to slash rates next month has increased more than sevenfold.

Economy

Cheap oil will fuel global economy: World Bank

Oil prices have more than halved from their 2014 peak.

Max Mason The slump in oil prices is set to boost the global economy, with crude-importing countries expected to substantially benefit, says the World Bank.

Economy

Home approvals jump to record, in boost to growth

Encouraging news: The RBA has been counting on residential construction to create jobs as work on mega-mining projects winds down.

Australian approvals to build new homes surged to a record high in November as high-rise living becomes ever more fashionable and affordable, a trend that promises to underpin economic growth for...

Global economy

Falling prices are not benign for Europe

Europe's monetary union is in deep crisis.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard The eurozone has let it happen. Europe's authorities have so mismanaged monetary and fiscal strategy that the whole currency bloc has tipped into deflation - with dire consequences.

Economy

It's going to be a slow year for our economy, Morgan Stanley warns

The Aussie dollar will slide to 76 US cents, the sharemarket will trade sideways and interest rates stay flat, the broker predicts.

Stephen Cauchi Australia's economy will grow at the slowest rate since 2009 over the coming year, according to a pessimistic Morgan Stanley outlook for 2015. Interest rates are set to stay at a record low.

Trading

Currency traders on hottest winning streak in a decade

Up we go: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is preparing to raise interest rates this year.

Currency traders are starting 2015 on their hottest winning streak in a decade, thanks to the divergence of monetary policy across major economies.

Interest rates

Weak dollar, cheap petrol to keep interest rates on hold

Lower fuel prices are good news for businesses to help support their margins.

Vanessa Desloires A weak Australian dollar and low oil prices may provide the Australian economy with the boost needed to help keep the Reserve Bank’s finger off the interest rate trigger.

Economy

Weak dollar, falling petrol price could steady Reserve Bank's hand

Cheaper petrol prices may help keep the Reserve Bank of Australia's finger off the interest rate trigger.

Vanessa Desloires A weak Australian dollar and low oil prices may provide the Australian economy with the boost needed to help keep the Reserve Bank of Australia’s finger off the interest rate trigger.

Economy

Credit growth hits new five year high, boosted by housing investors

Lending to housing investors jumped 10 per cent, the strongest since March 2008.

Low interest rates have pushed annual credit growth in Australia to a new five-year high, boosted by lending to property investors.

Economy

Consumers reluctant to spend despite Christmas retail lift

Christmas shopping

Su-Lin Tan While retail sales in early December were up, consumers are anxious about spending.

Wages

As the mining boom ends wages just aren't what they used to be

Sandra Bell (right) with her daughter Amy Bell with children Donlo Williams and Megan Smith.

Lucy Cormack Sandra Bell loves her job in childcare, but at 66 years of age she could happily retire, if not for the one thing holding her back.

Jobs

Friendly fire: Is the economy a victim of the Coalition's war on wages?

Big banks will resist moves to make compulsory comprehensive credit reporting.

Peter Martin Like the punchline to a joke, Joe Hockey saved the best twist in the Coalition's war on wages until the end.

Economy

Swiss National Bank adopts negative interest rate

The Swiss National Bank said the effect on rates paid on individual savers' accounts  was beyond its responsibility. Interest rates paid to savers in Switzerland are already extremely low, so there is little room for further cuts.

David Jolly Switzerland's central bank is starting to charge banks to hold deposits, moving to push down the Swiss franc amid turmoil in global currency markets and deflation concerns.

Elizabeth Knight

Housing market coming off the boil, with growth set to slow in 2015

There are many variables when buying property, and every negotiation has subtle differences.

Elizabeth Knight After 2½ years of rising prices, the housing market appears to be running out of steam.