Will 2017 be a year of financial boom or bust. And more importantly, what can you do to prepare yourself, regardless of which way it falls?
Despite a surge in the Australian Sharemarket in the first days of the year – which is being wound back this week as investors take profits – economists and commentators are having a difficult time forecasting the financial year ahead.
The words in most common usage to describe the outlook are “uncertain” and “ambivalent.” And the name behind it all is TRUMP.
Here are some of the likely economic trends for this year:
• While there will be downward pressure on interest rates from the domestic economy, the Trump presidency is likely to signal an end to lower rates globally. What does this mean for local rates? NAB chief economist Alan Oster has the RBA cutting official rates from the current record low 1.5 percent at least once and probably twice in 2017. Australian banks get around one third of their funding from offshore, so prepare for higher mortgage rates, but don’t expect deposit rates to follow.
• The Australian dollar is likely to fall against the $US. AMP chief economist Shane Oliver has forecast a fall to US68 cents – from US74 cents today. This will be good for exporters, and the tourist industry.
• Australian economic growth will be positive, but not spectacular. Shane Oliver sees Australian growth at 2.5 percent for 2017, lower than the 3 percent he is forecasting globally. We should be happy we are growing and predictions of disaster and recession have been averted, but its not boomtime by any means.
• House prices will run out of steam, but it will be a market of several speeds. Prices for established homes will likely hold up and increase in key markets – such as Melbourne and Sydney – while apartment prices are likely to fall across the nation as supply outpaces demand. Will we hear the sound of a bubble bursting as Chinese investors default on their purchases en masse? Alan Oster does not think so: “For that to happen they would all have to default at once, and I can’t see that happening.”
So while the Australian economy is likely to slow, there will be pockets of growth.
To survive and even thrive, get yourself on the right side of a likely trend and think about:
• fixing mortgage rates or at least part of your mortgage if you haven’t done so already.
•Look outside of bank deposits for investment returns. With the global economy and the USD likely to be growth stories in 2017, investigate offshore investment options.
•If you aren’t already in the housing market, there might be some cheap apartments on the market in 2017.