Posted by: jkirkby8712 | November 2, 2011

Wednesday, 2nd November 2011 – interest rates, and boats, down!

This morning was the 3rd in the last four mornings that I have  up to the radio station before 7am – this morning, just for my weekly Wednesday 10 minute local sporting results segment, on Ron’s program.  After a very poor night’s constantly broken sleep, it was the last thing I felt like doing, and before I actually got out onto the road, was thinking seriously of making this a phone ring-in segment rather than actually going up to the studio. It made sense in many ways, and in fact, after this morning’s visit, Ron asked me if I’d prefer to do the report by phone. We decided to play it by ear – take each week as it comes, and he was happy with that arrangement. Certainly, it was another commitment that I didn’t like to break, and while Ron continued to be on air, and wanted the segment to continue, I’d stick with it. In the end, I was usually happy to be up early, a quiet time of day when certain jobs could be attended to with still the whole day ahead.

A couple of ‘distant’ relatives that I have met over the past year or so, both have birthdays today, and I remembered to send both Alma and Leslie, living in different parts of the UK, an appropriate greeting this morning.  Interesting response from the latter  –  “Thank you cuz. Will be spending it at work ! ♥ ♥” .  In the past twelve months or so, I have through my family history research come across a number of ‘new cousins’ of various degrees of connection, etc. Has been an interesting time.

I made reference at the conclusion of yesterday’s entry to the Reserve Bank decision to cut interest rates.]  Australia’s biggest home lenders cut mortgage rates soon after the central bank reduced the cash rate for the first time since April 2009. Westpac took just 15 minutes to pass on the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) 0.25 percentage point rate cut in full on Tuesday. It will lower its standard variable home loan rate (SVR) to 7.61 per cent from November 14. Westpac is the nation’s second biggest mortgage lender by market share, Bank of Queensland (BOQ), and Commonwealth Bank (CBA), Australia’s biggest home lender, followed suit, cutting their SVR to 7.61 per cent and 7.56 per cent respectively. BOQ’s rate cut will take effect on November 11, and CBA’s on November 4. ANZ Banking Group and National Australia Bank (NAB) said their interest rates were under review. This followed on from  the decision yesterday by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to cut interest rates for the first time since April 2009, and handing borrowers ‘a win’ on Melbourne Cup Day.  The central bank eased the official cash rate by 25 basis points, down to 4.5 per cent.  Prime Minister Julia Gillard had earlier declared that all banks should match the RBA’s reduction. “Australian banks should pass on this interest rate cut in full,” Ms Gillard said.\ “I said this morning on the media that if the RBA cut interest rates today Australian banking customers would be looking to their banks to cut interest rates in full.  “I believe that’s what the Australian people want to see.”   In a report on AAP by economist Garry Shilson-Josling, he writes that 

‘The interest rate cut announced by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) on Tuesday was well anticipated in financial markets. There was some doubt among economists as to its timing, though almost all expected the move in the cash rate to 4.5 per cent from 4.75 per cent to come either this month or in December. The cut was the sixth consecutive move in rates on the first Tuesday in November, the day the Melbourne Cup is run.  But this timing is not due to any attempt by the RBA to make up for the losses most punters rack up on the notoriously hard-to-pick horse race. In fact it’s because the quarterly consumer price index (CPI) figures are released at the end of October, and inflation figures often confirm a course of action the RBA has been considering. That was also the case this time around. In its announcement, the RBA said the economy was facing “moderate growth overall”, with strong mining-related investment being offset by caution among households and the high exchange rate. “Accordingly, the Bank’s current judgement is that inflation is likely to be consistent with the two to three per cent target in 2012 and 2013, abstracting from the impact of the carbon pricing scheme,” the RBA said. The RBA said the 4.75 per cent cash rate had been “mildly restrictive”, in response to its earlier concerns that inflation was tending towards the top of the target range, or even higher. “With overall growth moderate, inflation now likely to be close to target and confidence subdued outside the resources sector, the Board concluded that a more neutral stance of monetary policy would now be consistent with achieving sustainable growth and two to three per cent inflation over time,” the RBA said.

There was no direct pointer to the likely path of rates from here. The weakness in the non-resources sector could prompt further rate cuts. Some evidence to support that possibility emerged even as the RBA’s board met on Tuesday morning. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released data showing the price of established homes had fallen 1.2 per cent in the September quarter to be 3.3 per cent down from their peak last year Those figures confirmed monthly figures from RP Data on Monday, showing a fall of 0.2 per cent in prices of all dwellings between August and September, to a level 3.6 per cent below last year’s high. Earlier on Tuesday, the Housing Industry Association (HIA) said the number of new homes sold by large building firms fell in September to the lowest level in over a decade. At the same time, though, the mining boom is not going away. Before the next RBA board meeting, the ABS will release its survey of business capital spending, which should confirm the once-in-a-century, economy-stretching splurge on fixed capital is still under way. Most likely, the RBA has not decided what it will do next and, like everyone else, will now focus on the flow of economic data before it comes to a firm view.’

Meantime, here in Victoria, and in the Melbourne area over the past few days, we have seen a number of tragic car accidents involves young people and families, most of which it seems could have been avoided. Sadly, while these are generally referred to as accidents, in many cases, they occur as a result of one party breaking the traffic laws in some manner, either through carelessness or inattention, or outright criminal disregard for the relevant road rules. There is a huge outpouring of grief and comment whenever one of our soldiers is killed in Afghanistan, and yet there are regular much larger and tragic statistics arising from our ‘peaceful’ roads every week, and in most cases, those ‘accidents’ receive a paragraph if they are ‘lucky’ in the daily media!  This situation never ceases to disturb this writer, something I’ve commented upon numerous times in the past.  While on another sad aspect of current news, we have been hearing overnight and reading this morning of  the sinking of another boatload of asylum seekers.  The boat, which left from Cilacap in Central Java with a crew of three, was carrying about 70 asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Iran. It capsized near Nusakambangan Island between West Java and Central Java about 5am local time (0900 AEDT) on Tuesday after taking on water for about two hours.  It is reported to have left Cilacap at 2am and around 3am their ship leaked. At 5am, their ship already sank and was found by local fishermen.  The refugees were believed to have mostly come from Iran and Afghanistan and were heading to Kupang initially, and then to Australia

On December 15 last year, up to 50 people died when their wooden boat was smashed into pieces on Christmas Island’s rocky shoreline. Another boat, carrying 92 asylum seekers and two crew, was intercepted off the Australian coast last Tuesday and that was the sixth boat to arrive since the federal government was forced to abandon its Malaysian people swap deal because of a parliamentary impasse last month.  Surely, better efforts must be undertaken to create safer pathways for these people, to avoid the necessity of getting onto leaky boats and/or paying exorbitant amounts to people smugglers in the hope of getting to Australia. It is simply not good enough for the immediate Opposition response to the latest tragedy to emphasise the blame on the people smugglers –  instead of constantly calling for the turning of asylum seekers away, we need a more humane approach to the processing of their claims and even finding a means of getting them here to Australia from places like Indonesia and Malaysia ‘before’ they get on those boats. That is at least an attempt to help these people. Merely creating policies to ‘stop the boats’ does nothing to help desperate people in need of assistance and a safe place to live. Sadly, many Australians will disagree with any suggestion of bringing refugees into this country, but be that on their own conscience [if they have one], we must do things better here in Australia!

Now the day after the Melbourne Cup, the little rural town north of here holds their annual Cup –  the ‘Kyneton Cup’  –  I would in fact have gone up to Kyneton today, for an afternoon at some country races [though the Cup has a city standard field], but with a concert ticket in hand for a 6pm start in the city, can’t do both!!  Kyneton will have to be another day – in fact, Ron at the radio expressed an interest in going to a future meeting up there, when I saw him this morning!   Actually, it would not have been a very warm day up at the windy Kyneton Racecourse – we seem to be heading back towards a much cooler kind of Spring weather, not exactly wintry, but I must admit that the heater has been off and on over the past few days!!  And while there didn’t appear to have been any rain in the city this evening, when I got back to Sunbury at around 9pm, on the train, it had obviously been raining quite a bit in the town.  As for the concert, we’ll summarise that tomorrow – the musicians were the ‘Firebird Trio’!!



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