Australia’s inflation rate has edged up in the first three months this year, driven by higher costs of both fuel and healthcare. Headline inflation in the March quarter was 0.5% and yearly inflation was 2.1%. Underlying inflation which strips out volatile factors is the measure most keenly observed by the Reserve Bank. It remained below the RBA’s target edging up by 1.8% over the year and this is consistent with the RBA’s forecasts.
Across the Tasman New Zealand’s CPI inflation was the strongest in over five years, with the March quarter reported to be 1%, which is a surprise to the upside.
In Europe the European Central Bank left its interest rates unchanged, commenting that ”underlying inflation pressures continue to remain subdued and have yet to show a convincing upward trend”. Also in Europe the first round of the 2017 French presidential election was held on Sunday. As no candidate won a majority, a run-off election between the top two candidates, the centrist independent Emmanuel Macron and nationalist rightwing Marine Le Pen, will be held on 7 May 2017.
The flow of news surrounding President Trump has continued. US Republicans voiced relief that he appears to be retreating from a confrontation on the potential US government shutdown by relenting on his demand that Congress immediately start funding a border wall. At the same time, details of the spending bill that would avert this shutdown were scant, complicating passage ahead of Friday’s deadline. President Trump also announced a 24% percent tariff on imported Canadian softwood lumber, reigniting concerns about protectionist policies.
The White House has unveiled the opening bid for tax reform. What was meant to be the ‘Biggest Tax Cut’ in history was actually small surprises in the form of a slightly higher tax bracket for high income earners at 35% (+2%), and the standard deduction has been doubled so that no married couple pays tax on their first $24k earned.
Also worthy of mention is that diplomatic talks have been stepped up to try and defuse a brewing crisis over Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program.
INDIVIDUALLY MANAGED ACCOUNTS
We use a managed account structure to manage your portfolio, specifically an Individually Managed Account (IMA) which provides; control, flexibility and transparency. By doing so it allows personalisation of your account based on guidance from you and your Adviser. Whilst we make decisions across all of the portfolios that we manage, we do so taking account these individual preferences. Most often this is in the form of non-model holdings that can be accommodated within our overall asset allocation, but also means that we can reserve investments that you don’t wish to sell or exclude model investments that you don’t wish us to buy on your behalf. It also allows instructions in relation to the timing and speed of execution of investments and moving at an appropriate pace towards agreed implementation timeframes. We can consider your specific cost base when seeking to optimise after tax outcomes and on an ongoing basis we can also cater for your income requirements with regular distributions.
- We completed the last stage in selling of the trimmed Australian Equities exposure this week where we sold the ASX200 Financials (excl. Property) ETF (OZF) and related non model investments where appropriate. It is nice to report that we did this at close to the two year high.
- Activity outside that mentioned above was targeted at individual portfolios and was largely to ensure initial implementation is in line with specific instructions.