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Real test for Aussie markets still to come

Aussie market, Australian market, economy, prediction,  political volatility

Australia’s business sector is so accustomed to political volatility that last week’s drama will likely leave no scars, economists are predicting, but challenges still wait.

According to ANZ analyst Felicity Emmett, the fact Australia has lived through a decade of shifting prime ministers means businesses are growing “inured” to leadership changes.

“Uncertainty around government policy is high at present. The government has postponed indefinitely its flagship National Energy Guarantee policy and is now proposing a number of interventionist policies aimed solely at keeping prices low,” she said.

“While the link between political uncertainty and business conditions is inconsistent, we are alert to the possibility that the current mess in Canberra may delay investment decisions.

ANZ said the upcoming Roy Morgan consumer confidence poll will be the “most timely indicator” of how Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s ascension will affect consumer sentiment.

“We don’t think it inevitable that this week’s events will have a measurable impact on the economy, but we will certainly be watching for evidence to contrary,” ANZ said.

Asset manager Insight Investment also noted the political turmoil, arguing that the gains in the Australian dollar were “driven by political turmoil more than economic data”, ultimately returning its initial gains.

Investors’ best bet is to ignore the political noise and return to fundamentals, Morningstar Investment Management Australia’s Brad Bugg said.

“Given that political circumstances are so difficult to predict, we’d recommend putting them to one side and focusing on valuation instead,” he said.

“There’s no causal link between politics and what happens in investment markets. The two are very separate. Although we are very tempted to draw a line from one to the other, that can be a real mistake.”

JP Morgan Asset Management global market strategist Kerry Craig said that while political changes affect sentiment, they don’t shift the fundamentals.

“Unless there is assumed to be a large change in monetary or fiscal policy or the regulatory backdrop in the near term, investors will go back to focusing on what is important — the health of the economy and corporate fundamentals,” Mr Craig said.

Real test for Aussie markets still to come
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