Lift in non-mining investment "seems some way off"


In a speech yesterday, RBA Deputy Governor Lowe said a sustained lift in non-mining investment "still seems some way off", although he said the transition is being assisted by the lower exchange rate, restraint in aggregate wage growth and monetary policy. 

When asked a question on the outlook for monetary policy, Lowe said "we still have scope to lower interest rates if we need to. 

"That doesn't mean we're going to, but we have scope to do that." Lowe spoke about how low global interest rates were impacting firms' investment decisions and hurdle rates of return that firms use for new investment. 

He also noted that the labour market in Australia was benefiting from a slowdown in wages growth.

New motor vehicle sales fell 1.5% in April, but rose 2.8% over the year. Nationally sales remain at elevated levels, although there is divergence among the States and Territories.

Share Markets:

US equity markets rose to new highs despite little news overnight. Concerns over Greece had limited impact on most share markets, while other asset markets reversed their moves from the previous session.

The Dow closed 0.1% higher, and the S&P500 rose 0.3%, both hitting record highs.

Interest Rates: 

US treasury yields lifted - the 10-year yield rose 9 basis points to 2.23% after falling sharply on Friday.

Bonds have been volatile as investors assess when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.

Greek bond yields jumped on growing concerns the government will run out of money. The government said that it would need to strike a deal with creditors by the end of the month to stay afloat.

Yields on 10-year bonds rose 57 basis points to 11.33%.  

In Australia, yields implied by bond futures similarly rose, tracking US treasuries.

Yields on 10-year bond futures rose 8 basis points to 2.95% and the 3-year bond yield rose 5 basis points to 2.12%. 

Foreign Exchange: The US dollar rose, also taking a breather from the sell-off over the past month.

The Australian dollar conversely weakened back to below 80 US cents.

The main event risk today for the Australian dollar will be the RBA minutes of the May board meeting.


Oil prices slipped on the back of concerns over strong supply as Saudi Arabia reported its highest crude exports in nearly a decade.

A stronger US dollar overnight also weighed on commodity prices, although gold prices rose to a 3-month high. Expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike later rather than sooner are providing support to the precious metal.


New property prices fell in 69 out of 70 major Chinese cities in the year to April. New property prices were unchanged in April, but fell 6.1% in the year to April.

Japan: Machine orders were stronger than expected, lifting 2.9% in March, although February's machine orders were revised down to a fall of 1.4% (previously reported as -0.4%).

For the year to March machine orders lifted 2.6%, down from growth of 5.9% in the year to February.

Industrial production fell 0.8% in March after declining 0.3% in February. For the year to March, industrial production is down 1.7%.

United Kingdom:

Rightmove house prices slipped 0.1% in May, after rising 1.6% in April. For the year to May UK Rightmove house prices are up 2.5%, down from growth of 4.7% in the year to April.

Prices declined, particularly at the higher end of the market, amid concerns about potential property-tax changes before the UK election.

United States:

US NAHB homebuilder sentiment slipped to 54 in May from 56 in April, disappointing the median expectation of 57.

The index continues to sit above 50, suggesting that sentiment remains favourable.