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Anna Hong: Waiting for a central bank pivot? Start spending less

FOR a while now our attention has been focused on the timing of a central bank pivot.

That’s the much-anticipated moment when central banks change course and stop hiking rates.

But perhaps the more important pivot is in the hands of consumers — reining in our spending.

Our pivot needs to occur before central banks’ pivot.

The RBA is hiking rates to fight inflation which is driven by our desire to keep spending in an economy doesn’t have capacity to absorb that spending.

Most observers are surprised at how well retail sales are holding up even though consumer confidence is at recession levels.

This demonstrates the power of fiscal policy when stimulus is delivered to consumers versus the trickle-down impact of government spending through infrastructure projects.

The JobKeeper and JobSeeker schemes preserved (and in many cases improved) Australian household balance sheets and cash flows.

Once the lockdowns ended, pent-up consumption allowed a business boom that fed into record low unemployment.

That’s the main driver of a divergence in consumer confidence and retail spending.

We all have jobs — and though our purchasing power has diminished, having a pay cheque goes a long way.

The SEEK.com table below demonstrates the incredible growth in demand for labour in industries catering to consumer spending. It also highlights the difficulty those industries have had in filling vacancies without the international students and work holiday visa flow.

It’s unlikely that consumers will stop now, with the first fully open Christmas in three years just around the corner.

With Sydney-Melbourne return flights costing more than $1000 maybe bus transport will experience a revival. Time to put up those prices.

This may well be peak exuberance and it will come through in the January CPI numbers. It could be a very different story in 2023, with consumers staring at empty wallets.

Find out about

Pendal’s Income and Fixed Interest funds

About Anna Hong and Pendal’s Income and Fixed Interest team

Anna Hong is an assistant portfolio manager with Pendal’s Income and Fixed Interest team.

Pendal’s Income and Fixed Interest boutique is one of the most experienced and well-regarded fixed income teams in Australia. In 2020 the team won the Australian Fixed Interest category in the Zenith awards.

With the goal of building the most defensive line of funds in Australia, the team oversees A$22 billion invested across income, composite, pure alpha, global and Australian government strategies.

Find out more about Pendal’s fixed interest strategies here

About Pendal Group

Pendal is an independent, global investment management business focused on delivering superior investment returns for our clients through active management.

Contact a Pendal key account manager

This information has been prepared by Pendal Fund Services Limited (PFSL) ABN 13 161 249 332, AFSL No 431426 and is current at November 9, 2022. PFSL is the responsible entity and issuer of units in the Pendal Monthly Income Plus Fund (ARSN: 137 707 996) and Pendal Dynamic Income Fund (ARSN: 622 750 734) (Funds). A product disclosure statement (PDS) is available for the Fund and can be obtained by calling 1300 346 821 or visiting www.pendalgroup.com. The Target Market Determination (TMD) for the Fund is available at www.pendalgroup.com/ddo. You should obtain and consider the PDS and the TMD before deciding whether to acquire, continue to hold or dispose of units in the Fund. An investment in the Fund or any of the funds referred to in this web page is subject to investment risk, including possible delays in repayment of withdrawal proceeds and loss of income and principal invested. This information is for general purposes only, should not be considered as a comprehensive statement on any matter and should not be relied upon as such. It has been prepared without taking into account any recipient’s personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, recipients should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness having regard to their individual objectives, financial situation and needs. This information is not to be regarded as a securities recommendation. The information may contain material provided by third parties, is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be accurate as at its issue date. While such material is published with necessary permission, and while all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information is complete and correct, to the maximum extent permitted by law neither PFSL nor any company in the Pendal group accepts any responsibility or liability for the accuracy or completeness of this information. Performance figures are calculated in accordance with the Financial Services Council (FSC) standards. Performance data (post-fee) assumes reinvestment of distributions and is calculated using exit prices, net of management costs. Performance data (pre-fee) is calculated by adding back management costs to the post-fee performance. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Any projections are predictive only and should not be relied upon when making an investment decision or recommendation. Whilst we have used every effort to ensure that the assumptions on which the projections are based are reasonable, the projections may be based on incorrect assumptions or may not take into account known or unknown risks and uncertainties. The actual results may differ materially from these projections. For more information, please call Customer Relations on 1300 346 821 8am to 6pm (Sydney time) or visit our website www.pendalgroup.com

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