Tapas Strickland

Tapas Strickland

“Tapas is an Economist within Global Markets Research at the National Australia Bank (NAB). ”

Tapas joined NAB after having spent 6 years at the Reserve Bank of Australia. He writes for the Bank on the economy and on financial markets. At the Reserve Bank of Australia he held positions in domestic analysis and in international financial markets. He also worked as an economic adviser to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, advising the Gillard, Rudd and Abbott governments


Strong European data failed to excite markets – the exception being equities – as the upcoming French Presidential elections take centre stage. Betting markets now ascribe Eurosceptic Le Pen a 34.2% chance of winning, while a poll by Elable for L’Express magazine overnight puts her within striking distance in a run-off with Fillion with 44% of the vote – inspiration for today’s title “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi.

My colleague Rodrigo Catril warned yesterday of the possibility of a US Fed March rate hike – what he termed the Ides of March. That argument gained further currency overnight with the US CPI and core‑Retail Sales printing double the market consensus.

The Trump-trade was reignited overnight on the back of the President flagging an impending “phenomenal” tax announcement.

The major event overnight was the US FOMC meeting where rates were left on hold as expected. There were very few changes to the post meeting statement with the Fed playing a straight bat. Markets were somewhat disappointed with Treasury yields and the US dollar reversing earlier gains that had occurred following stronger than expected US economic data.

Today’s 1994 classic Hot Potato by The Wiggles is likely to be seared into the memory banks of parents and children alike – likewise for your scribe. A staple the humble spud may be, but possibly an expensive one in the 4th quarter according to our economists.

Apartment construction which has risen strongly over the past few years was reported by the Statistician to have declined in the September quarter.

Markets continue to digest Yellen’s speech yesterday which was seen as mildly more hawkish and positive US economic data overnight played into that view. The ECB also met last night with Draghi coming off as slightly dovish, playing down the recent uptick in inflation and remaining committed to the asset purchase program.

Against flatter job advertisements of late, job vacancies have been trending higher. Higher job vacancies are usually associated with a lower unemployment rate and greater employment growth

Walking on a Dream was the inaugural 2008 hit song by Aussie electropop outfit Empire of the Sun. That seems an apt description of how markets have been since the election of Trump with a dream run for equities and the US dollar all premised on the idea of a Trump fiscal stimulus boosting growth and inflation. Now with inauguration just a week away (20 Jan), markets are asking “is it real”?

Global equities were mostly lower overnight, dragged lower by the oil price. That added to an already uncertain tone following indications that the UK may be hurtling towards a harder Brexit than first thought.

Tapas Strickland shows his knowledge of the Classics, describing yesterday’s RBA minutes as Delphic, in places.

Australia’s population growth remains strong by historical and international standards at around 1.4% y/y. That is 338,000 persons in the past year – nearly equivalent to the population of Canberra being added to Australia each year.

The US dollar continued to rise after the FOMC rate decision yesterday and Janet Yellen’s more Hawkish tone.

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