ABS puts Australia's population at 23 million as of March


AUSTRALIA'S population has been estimated by the ABS at more than 23 million as at March 2015. The population grew 1.4% on a year earlier. 

Since 1982 the fastest pace of population growth was 2.2% in the year to December 2008 while the slowest growth rate was 1.1% most recently seen in the year to December 2004. Since 1982, the average annual pace of population growth has been 1.4%.

Share Markets:

Risk appetite sank again overnight.

European and US share markets all posted declines amid disconcerting corporate news including negative guidance from bellwether industrial name Caterpillar and signs that the scandal enveloping Volkswagen may spread to other German automakers.

In the US, the Dow fell 0.5%, the S&P was down 0.4% as was the Nasdaq index. In Europe, the FTSE100 fell 1.2%, the Dax was down 1.9% and the Euro Stoxx was down 2.0%.

Interest Rates:

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said earlier this morning that she expects the Fed to begin raising interest rates later this year as long as inflation remains stable and the US economy is strong enough to boost employment.

She also reiterated the notion of a gradual pace of tightening following the initial increase.

Prior to the Fed Chair's speech US long bond yields had fallen 2 basis points to 2.13% while 2 year bonds were also down 2 basis points to 0.68%. German long bonds were little changed at 0.60% and UK 10 year government bond yields currently stand at 1.76%.

Australian 10 year government bond yields were little changed at 2.66%. The central banks of Norway and Taiwan cut their official interest rates overnight.

Foreign Exchange:

The US dollar index lifted on Janet Yellen's speech, pushing the euro lower. During the night, the AUD had strengthened on the back of firmer commodity prices but this was reversed when the Fed Chair spoke, yet again, of lifting US interest rates.


Gold was firmer on the basis that the intention to lift US interest rates is indicative of a potential  lift in inflation next year. Oil was up almost 1.0% while copper was steady as was the price of iron ore.


No major data released. The President of China is currently visiting the United States.


German IFO business sentiment surprisingly rose to 108.5 from 108.4, beating expectations for a small fall to 107.4. The survey was taken before the pollution cheating scandal that has engulfed Volkswagen.

New Zealand:

New Zealand's trade deficit widened from NZ$726m (revised) in July to NZ$1035m in August.

For the year to August, the deficit widened to NZ$3.3bn, the largest deficit since April 2009.

Dairy exports fell 25% over the year while total exports fell 4.2%. Imports were up 6.0% over the year.

United States:

The US delivered a mixed batch of data last night. On the plus side jobless claims held at multi year lows of 264k week, better than consensus expectations at +272k.

New home sales were very strong, rising 5.7% in the month to a new seven-year high. The prior month's sales pace was revised to show a 12% increase vs an initial estimate of +5.4%, however, the month before that was revised down.

Against the good news, US durable goods orders, a key gauge of US business investment plans, slipped 2% in August while core capital goods shipments slipped 0.2%.