It’s November and, as always, the month gets underway with the race that stops the nation. The Melbourne Cup is also the signal that summer, Christmas and the holiday season are just down the track.
October was an anxious month for investors as global share markets followed Wall Street’s wobble before steadying in the final days. The S&P 500 Index fell 7 percent in October while the ASX 200 fell more than 5 percent. There was no major reason for the falls. The US economy grew at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter and corporate earnings are strong. But there are ongoing concerns about the US-China trade war and rising US interest rates.
The Australian dollar finished the month 1.6 percent lower at around US71c. This is good for trade, as is the 10 percent rise in the iron ore price in October to US$76.50 a tonne. Local unemployment fell to a six-year low of 5 percent in September, while inflation fell below 2 percent. The September quarter Consumer Price Index rose just 0.4 percent for an annual rate of 1.9 cents, down from 2.1 percent in June. Prices of accommodation, tobacco, property rates, and petrol bucked the downward trend. The national average price of unleaded fuel recently hit 160.6c a litre, the highest in a decade. But relief for motorists could be in sight as the price of Brent Crude oil fell 11 percent in October to US$75.57 a barrel. Consumer sentiment fluctuated, with the ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence rating dipping 6 percent mid-month before rebounding to 114.6, above the long-term average.