Seek salaries soar, airfares ease, energy stocks up

By Maria Irene

As the US grapples with surging inflation, Australia is witnessing a contrasting economic landscape. Salaries advertised on Seek are on the rise, offering a promising outlook for job seekers. However, travellers have a reason to rejoice as airfare costs show signs of a downward trend. Additionally, those looking to rent might find some relief as the housing sector indicates slowing rental growth.

The US headline consumer price index (CPI) recently revealed figures that exceeded market expectations, registering a rise of 0.4% in September. A significant portion of this increase can be attributed to a 0.6% leap in shelter costs. Gasoline prices, adding to the inflationary pressures, experienced a 2.1% hike. Consequently, the annual growth rate of the CPI remains unchanged at 3.7%, slightly overshooting the forecasted 3.6%.

In Australia, the economic signals are mixed. While the Aust Pipeline Inflation Indicator suggests a downturn, it isn’t all bleak. Wholesale electricity and gas prices are predicted to fall for retail consumers, though the effects might be delayed due to market dynamics. Conversely, petrol prices appear to be heading north, posing challenges for daily commuters.

Shane Oliver, leading the Investment Strategy and serving as the Chief Economist at AMP, shed light on the situation. He pointed out the subdued activity in the Economic Activity Trackers. A notable observation is the declining trend in job postings, hinting at cooler job markets in the near future. The US September CPI data, especially with its pronounced fuel prices, took many by surprise. The core inflation data also surpassed projections, primarily driven by elevated fuel and shelter costs. Delving deeper reveals a drop in goods prices, but this is counterbalanced by a spike in service inflation.

The Australian energy sector is abuzz with activity. Stocks in this domain have seen impressive growth, with some recording an uptick of as much as 3.8%. This could potentially be their most fruitful week since mid-July. Woodside Energy, a major player in the sector, witnessed its stock price rise by a commendable 4.7% this week. Yet, it’s not all rosy. Australian bonds are trailing US Treasuries, especially post the revelation of the US’s robust inflation figures. The broader Aussie market took a hit on Friday, with the ASX200 index plunging by 0.84% to 7032. The real estate and healthcare sectors were the hardest hit.

Globally, all eyes are set on China’s impending monthly economic data release. Additionally, a discourse by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is highly anticipated.

Meanwhile, in the US, alarm bells are ringing with the national debt expected to touch a whopping $35 trillion soon. With governmental expenditure on the rise and tax receipts dwindling by 8% over the past year, a course correction is imperative to ensure a stable financial future.

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