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Published on: Wednesday, July 05, 2017

By James Dunn

  • Alarm bells are ringing in Europe as Greece looks increasingly likely to default on debt repayments beginning to come due on July 17. Greece was supposed to receive €7.7 billion ($11.5 billion) in funding this month from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to help it reach more than €7 billion ($10.4 billion) debt, owed mostly to the European Central Bank (ECB), with an initial €2 billion ($3 billion) due to be repaid to private bondholders on July 17. But Athens’ failure to implement four specific reforms – one as minor as failing to name the streets where stores can remain open for Sunday trade – now means that the ESM will put off its decision to disburse further loans to the cash-strapped country until next week.
  • Residential listings bounced back in June, over the month of June, although not enough to offset an overall decline in numbers over the course of the whole year. The national tally rose by 3% to 333,805 by the end of June as significantly more stock hit the Melbourne and Sydney markets over the month, according to SQM Research. That rise helps explain the downward trend in auction clearance rates over the month, says SQM Research. The firm says more homes were listed for sale in June, while at the same time, investors are retreating in the face of higher mortgage rates, which is helping to take some pressure off property prices in Sydney, with asking prices for houses and units down over the month. But in Melbourne there was continued strong growth in asking prices for units and especially for houses, which are up a staggering 22.1% over the year to June 27, with stock still in short supply. The June rebound in listings was not been enough to reverse a year-on-year fall in national residential property listings of 3.3% – listings rose in most capitals but a big decline in Melbourne (down 12.7%) pushed down the average across the nation. 
  • Australian discretionary retail is running at its strongest pace in two-and-a-half years, with non-food retail trade rising by 1% in May after a 0.8% lift in April. Overall retail trade rose by 0.6% in May to be up 3.8% over the year. Spending rose the most in the “footwear and other personal accessory retailing” category (up 4.2%), followed by “electrical and electronic goods retailing” (up 2.8%) and “household good retailing” (up 2.2%). A further promising sign is that consumer confidence is at a three-month high: the weekly ANZ/Roy Morgan consumer confidence rating rose by 2.7 points (2.4%) to a 12-week high of 114.5 in the week to July 2.
  • Australian job ads lifted again in June, ending the financial year strongly. Seasonally-adjusted job ads rose 2.7% in June from May, while in trend terms they were up 1.0%. The ANZ said the trend growth rate over the six months to June was 0.6% a month, double the 0.3% rate for the first six months of 2016. Seasonally adjusted, job ads have risen 4.9% since the start of 2017, with annual growth jumping from 7.4% in May to 10.5% in June.

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