Stephen Letts,

Stephen Letts

Melbourne, FL, United States

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Past articles by Stephen:

Household power bills won't see much change from collapsing energy prices

The price power generators are receiving for their electricity has fallen by about a third in three months, but consumers are unlikely to see much of a benefit, writes Stephen Letts. → Read More

Petrol and fresh food prices spike, but inflation remains low

A spike in petrol prices and the increasing impact of the drought push consumer prices up, but core inflation remains below the RBA's preferred level. → Read More

Solar generation is being buffeted by financial headwinds that are killing investment

A detailed study of power generators has found solar farms are having their profits crushed by falling prices and unforeseen cost hikes in the wake of an investment boom in the sector. → Read More

Bushfires are the latest worry for retailers as consumer confidence wilts

Given the devastation caused by months of fire, it is hardly surprising consumer confidence has wilted again, and that means there is likely to be little respite for struggling retailers. → Read More

Could the RBA become Australia's biggest fossil fuel owner? The global central bank thinks so

The central banks' central banker says institutions like the Reserve Bank of Australia are likely to become climate rescuers of last resort and that may mean bailing out the fossil fuel industry to head off another global financial crisis. → Read More

Concentrated cider market leaves ACCC with a headache as it mulls $16b CUB takeover

ACCC finds Asahi's takeover of CUB hard to stomach as it would lead to an even more concentrated beer and cider market which could take the lid off prices. → Read More

Harris Scarfe collapses into receivership as retail casualties mount

The 170-year-old retail business with more than 1,800 staff goes into receivership just a month after being sold to a private equity firm. → Read More

Households are increasingly pessimistic leading into Christmas and rate cuts aren't helping

Since June, at the start of the RBA's rate cutting cycle, households have been increasingly pessimistic about the economy, a sentiment that is likely to crush retail spending into the New Year. → Read More

Consumers and businesses are on strike and that's dragging the economy down

Industrial action may be at decade lows, but it's a strike by consumers and businesses, prompted by low wage growth, that's slowing the economy to a crawl, writes Stephen Letts. → Read More

Economy still stuck in the slow lane growing at 1.7pc

The much anticipated turning point in Australia's economic fortunes still seems some way down the road, with GDP growing at a well below average pace of 1.7 per cent. → Read More

RBA keeps interest rates on hold, stuck between a slowing economy and surging house prices

The RBA had hopes its three rapid rate cuts might boost a cooling economy, but so far only the property market appears to have responded — again raising concerns about unsustainable household debt. → Read More

ASX soars to fresh highs as the economy remains rooted in mediocrity, what gives?

This week's GDP numbers are likely to show a flat-lining economy once the effect of population growth is removed, yet investors keep piling in to the stock market as the risks rise. → Read More

Little Christmas cheer for school leavers looking for holiday work, with fewer positions and more competition

With retail experiencing the toughest conditions since the recession in the 1990s, opportunities for many school leavers looking for work over summer are looking bleak. → Read More

Business investment falls again despite tumbling borrowing costs

RBA governor Philip Lowe's suggestion to business to take advantage of record-low interest rates appears to have been ignored, with only the miners showing enough confidence to significantly boost investing in their operations. → Read More

Australia's biggest fuel supplier Caltex surges on $8.6b foreign takeover bid

A giant Canadian retailer has lobbed an $8.6-billion takeover bid at Caltex, but it may struggle to win government approval given the irreplaceable network of strategically important assets in play. → Read More

'Deja vu all over again' as markets buy positive trade spin

As soothing words from presidents Trump and Xi buoy markets, closer to home subdued construction and investment data are likely to point to on-going weakness, writes Stephen Letts. → Read More

CBA pleads guilty to criminal breaches over hawking life insurance policies

Australia's largest bank has the dubious distinction of being the first major financial institution to be guilty of criminal charges arising from the banking royal commission. → Read More

Gentle turning point or a turn for the worse? RBA mulls over jobs disappointment

Another batch of poor jobs and wages data has put the Reserve Bank under pressure to act and while it is considering dipping its toe in the quantitative easing pool, it is nothing compared to what other central banks are planning, writes Stephen Letts. → Read More

Wage growth slips again to 2.2 per cent

Wage growth remains elusive for Australian workers, with the latest data showing it is getting weaker, rather than stronger. → Read More

Exports balloon to record high as trade surplus bounces back

September's trade data was a ray of sunshine for the economy: record exports, a rise in imports pointing to stronger business investment and even the drought's impact didn't show up. → Read More