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Inflation, Rising Rates Curb Global Economic Growth

Slower reported growth due to rising prices and concerns over interest rates, survey finds.

By Paul Hannon
Thu, May 26, 2022Grey Clock 3 min

Growth in the U.S. and global economies slowed in May as high inflation and rising interest rates dented demand, business surveys said Tuesday.

Business activity at services businesses in the U.S., eurozone, U.K. and Australia all grew more slowly in May amid rising prices, according to S&P Global surveys. The firm’s purchasing managers index surveys also reported Tuesday that factories in major global economies face supply-chain disruptions related to Covid-19 surges and the Ukraine war, as well as higher fuel costs and rising wages.

Separate U.S. figures on Monday pointed to slower growth in a segment of the housing market. The Commerce Department said purchases of newly built single-family homes declined in April for the fourth straight month, dropping 16.6% in April from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 591,000. That marked the slowest pace of sales since April 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

New-home sales are a relatively narrow slice of all U.S. home sales, and sales figures can be volatile and subject to revisions. Still, the drop adds to signs the housing market is slowing amid record home prices and rising mortgage rates.

The global economy faces a series of obstacles this year, ranging from Covid-19 lockdowns in China, soaring energy and food prices, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a broadening drive by central banks to combat high inflation by increasing borrowing costs.

Some businesses are planning for a significant slowdown in growth or economic contraction.

Electronics retailer Best Buy Co. reported falling sales and profits for the latest quarter and said its results for the current fiscal year will be worse than it had previously predicted amid increased sales promotions and higher supply-chain expenses. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. swung to a quarterly loss, hurt by higher freight and product costs.

Retailers have posted mixed results for the first quarter. Last week, Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. posted weaker-than-expected earnings.

The surveys of purchasing managers at businesses in some of the world’s largest and richest economies indicate that activity continues to be supported by the easing of restrictions on the services sector as Western societies learn to live with Covid-19, with sectors such as tourism experiencing a strong recovery. Still, high inflation, geopolitical tensions and rising interest rates are clouding the outlook.

In the U.S., S&P Global said its composite purchasing managers index—which measures activity in both the manufacturing and services sectors—was 53.8 in May, down from 56.0 in April and the weakest rate of growth in four months. Separately, S&P Global said its index for the eurozone’s services and manufacturing sectors fell to 54.9 in May from 55.8 in April. A reading above 50.0 points to an expansion in activity, while a figure below that threshold points to a contraction.

While the surveys point to continued growth in the second quarter, they appear to have exaggerated the strength of the global economy during the first three months of the year.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, economic output in its 38 members was just 0.1% higher in the three months through March than it was in the final quarter of 2021, a sharp slowdown from the 1.2% growth recorded in the three months through December.

Economists at Capital Economics say that, based on their history, the PMIs pointed to growth in rich countries of around 0.5%.

“This partly reflected volatility in imports and inventories and the effects of Covid restrictions, all of which should fade from now on allowing the PMIs to give a more accurate steer,” wrote Ariane Curtis in a note to clients.

Facing the full brunt of the jump in energy prices triggered by Russia’s attack on Ukraine, European policy makers are preparing for tough economic times ahead.

“It’s now very clear that the economic toll of this war is world-wide,” said Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe after heading a meeting of eurozone treasury chiefs Monday. “High prices and disruption to food supplies are rippling across the world with very serious consequences for the most vulnerable in our societies.”

According to the surveys of purchasing managers, the U.K. has suffered the sharpest blow to activity in the wake of the invasion. S&P Global said its PMI for the country slumped to 51.8 in May from 58.2 in April to hit its lowest level in 15 months. Inflation hit a four-decade high in April as home energy prices surged.

“In the U.K., we are facing a very big negative impact on real incomes caused by the rise in prices of things we import, notably energy,” said Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England, in a speech Monday. “We expect that to weigh heavily on demand.”

Citing the impact of the conflict on energy and food prices, the United Nations last week lowered its forecast for global economic growth in 2022 to 3.1% from 4%, and its forecast for U.S. economic growth to 2.6% from 3.5%.

Business leaders share those worries. A survey conducted by the Conference Board and released Tuesday found chief executive officers at 56 of Europe’s leading companies had become much more gloomy about their prospects in the six months since the last poll. The measure of confidence fell to 37 from 63, with a reading below 50.0 indicating that more CEOs are pessimistic than optimistic about the outlook.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: May 24, 2022.

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In the year to May, an additional 497 markets joined the million-dollar club.

By Kanebridge News
Tue, Jun 28, 2022 2 min

A record number of Australians spent $1 million or more to purchase a home in the past 12 months according to CoreLogic’s annual Million Dollar Markets report.

Over the year to March 2022, CoreLogic collected 596,733 sales nationally up 19.8% from the 497,923 recorded over the previous year. Of those sold this year, 23.8% sold for $1 million or more.

In the year to May, an additional 497 markets 450 houses and 37 unit markets) joined the million-dollar club bringing the total markets to 1367 or 30.4% of house and unit markets analysed in May to a median value of $1 million or more.

“High consumer sentiment, tight advertised supply, and low-interest rates fuelled strong home value growth throughout 2021, resulting in a new record high annual growth rate of 22.4% over the 12 months to January,” said CoreLogic Research Analyst Kaytlin Ezzy.

“Despite values having risen across all capital cities and rest of state areas annually, we have seen a divergence in growth conditions across markets over the year to date.

“Since January, dwelling values across Sydney and Melbourne have started to decline, while values have continued to rise across South Australia and Queensland. More recently, Canberra, which had previously recorded many months of consecutive growth, recorded its first falls in dwelling values in some years in May.”

Sydney suburbs made up 26.3% of the new million-dollar markets with more than half of all Sydney sales over the 123 months to May transacting at or above $1 million.

In Sydney, 448 house and 104 unit markets have a current median value of $1 million dollars or higher, an increase of 26.6% from the previous year.  The new million-dollar markets are largely concentrated in the city’s South West (30) and Outer South West (15) as well as the Central Coast region (20).

In the year to May, 51.9% of transactions in Sydney sold for $1 million or more. Bellevue Hill in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs is the most expensive house market, both across Sydney and nationally, with a current median value of $8,024,682.

Elsewhere, in Melbourne 212 house and 11 unit markets had a median value at or above $1 million in May majority of which are located in Melbourne’s Inner (39), Inner South (42), Inner East (30) and Outer East (30).

30 metres of water frontage across a 1733sqm block.

By Kanebridge News
Fri, Jun 24, 2022 < 1 min

With views up the coastline to the NSW central coast comes this magnificent double oceanfront block — a rare setting for the ultimate family holiday retreat.

Boasting level lawns that spill down to 30-metre of ocean frontage, the 1733sqm plot plays host to a three-level 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom, 2-car garage home in one of Whale Beach’s most tightly held cul-de-sacs.

A contemporary masterclass in style, the home showcases free-flowing spaces with glass-wrapped interiors in a layout that accommodates family and friends.

Within the main living spaces comes a state-of-the-art kitchen with Calacatta marble and stainless-steel benchtops accompanied by a full suite of Gaggenau appliances and a separate walk-in cool room.

Other living zones found on the ground level include a games room and sun-drenched terrace with its own Miele appointed kitchen.

Outside sees a 15-metre resort style pool to soak up the sun and watery views, while the poolside studio is fully self-contained and perfect for extra weekend guests.

Accommodation is comprised of three luxurious ensuite bedrooms — of which several open directly to the terraces. The master bedroom has access to the home office, large walk-in-robe and cellar or store room.

Further luxurious additions to the home include a gym, jacuzzi, pizza oven, BBQ and Ecosmart fireplace.

The listing is with LJ Hooker Palm Beach’s David Edwards 0415 440 044 with the POA. palmbeach.ljhooker.com.au

It comes as falling volumes and declining prices reflected a weakness likely to continue in the established homes market.

By Kanebridge News
Wed, Jun 22, 2022 < 1 min

The nation’s housing sales fell by $8 billion in the three months to March when compared to the previous quarter according to data provider CoreLogic’s quarterly Pain & Gain report.

It comes as falling volumes and declining prices reflected a weakness likely to continue in the established homes market.

The fall in nominal profits from $38 billion in December echoed the decline in loss-making sales to $261 million from $355 million. Declines in housing values only kicked in after the March quarter, with the extent of loss-making sales predicted to increase.

CoreLogic’s analysis of 106,000 establish home sales in the March quarter showed the proportion of profit-making sales fell to 92.7% from the December quarter’s 94% peak figure.

The March quarter saw the first time profitable housing sales fell in a year and a half — unit profitability declining faster than houses.

The pandemic was the last cause of such a decline, in the three months to August 2020.

The major markets of Sydney and Melbourne are the cities most at risk due to higher interest rates, and therefore made the biggest contribution to loss-making sales over the quarter — the rate of unprofitable sales in both cities rising to 4.8%.

 Hobart was the city with the highest proportion of profit-making sales for the 15th straight quarter. Just 1 per cent of the Tasmanian capital’s sales made a loss in the March quarter, down from 1.6 per cent in December. 

Further the report fleshes out the different pace of growth between houses and apartments that has made units more affordable into the March quarter. Between the onset of Covid-19 in March 20202 and this year’s March quarter, combined capital city house values rose 25.8% compared to units at 10.6%.