Monthly Archives: December 2018

Almost out of ammo, central bankers urged to go back in

Just weeks after Janet Yellen’s Fed raised its benchmark rate for the first time in nine years, the notion that marked the end of the easy-money era is now being tested. Photo: Andrew HarrerJust when central bankers thought they were headed out, they’re getting dragged back in. Even with their toolkits depleted, monetary policy makers are being pushed to gear up yet again to counter the disinflationary fallout from slumping commodities and China’s slowdown. That leaves investors increasingly predicting the Federal Reserve will slow its campaign to raise interest rates and that the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan will soon deploy more stimulus measures. “Markets are sitting there hoping central banks will solve all,” says Nikhil Srinivasan, chief investment officer at Italian insurer Generali, whose assets total €480 billion ($743 billion). Calls for action are sounding at this week’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where central bankers including Mario Draghi, Haruhiko Kuroda and Raghuram Rajan will mingle with the global elite on Friday. Just weeks since Janet Yellen’s Fed raised its benchmark rate for the first time in nine years, the notion that marked the end of the easy-money era is now being tested. “There’s not a country in the world that should not ease its monetary policies,” Ray Dalio, founder of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, said in Davos on Thursday. Obstacles to sustained global growth are everywhere. China recorded its slowest annual expansion since 1990 and is letting the yuan fall, while stocks suffered their worst-ever start to a year and oil is the cheapest in more than a decade. The stronger dollar is pinching US exports, along with emerging markets which borrowed in the currency. Markets misbehave
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All those forces will challenge the ability of central banks to meet the inflation targets they are already undershooting. Oxford Economics calculates a sustained slide in equities could alone cut as much as 0.9 per cent from global gross domestic product after two years. While Dalio is an outlier in reckoning the Fed’s next move will be toward a resumption of quantitative easing, fellow Davos delegates echoed his call for Yellen to be wary of raising rates despite the Fed’s projection of four more quarter-point increases this year. “Until you see the reality of this inflation in the system, I’m not sure assuming it’s coming is a good assumption,” said Gary Cohn, president of Goldman Sachs. Meantime, ECB president Draghi said Thursday that “downside risks have increased again” and readied the euro area for even more support from the central bank. Just last month, he disappointed some investors by not easing as much as anticipated. The price of free moneySome say investors are paying the price for too many years of free money. “Markets have been distorted by QE,” said Paul Singer, the billionaire founder of $US27 billion hedge-fund firm Elliott Management. “So there’s a possibility of a kind of tectonic shift if bond and stock market investors lose confidence.” That reflects an analysis that central banks can achieve little more and governments must step up. The International Monetary Fund this week predicted inflation of just 1.1 per cent this year in advanced economies, around half the rate most policy makers target. “Certainly monetary stimulus has run its course,” said Rajan, the governor of the Reserve Bank of India. “Which doesn’t mean its practitioners won’t keep trying. As Draghi said Thursday, there are “no limits” on what he’ll do to meet his mandate.

Bloomberg

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All country roads lead to Tamworth

Off the beaten track: James Cummins and son Jonah, 8, from the Central Coast have been a hit on the streets of Tamworth at this year’s country music festival.
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​If there’s more fans and musicians from the Hunter Valley and the Central Coast at this week’s huge Tamworth Country Music Festival, then it’s a sweet result that has given organisers a big hearted boost.

As the long running festival kicks into its last big three days – and the pinnacle events like the Golden Guitar awards on Saturday night – organisers are upbeat about this year’s crowds and the overall program.

The 44th festival has seen one of the bigger early invasion of campers and visitors for years and venues have reported boom bookings and ticket sales across the landscape of the city.

While the festival has always attracted a demographic overload of grey nomads and traditional music fans who love bush poetry, ballads and have always seen Slim Dusty as the legendary leader of the music industry, there’s also been a big dose of younger talent this year.

Industry watchers reckon there’s been a fair few more younger people in the crowds – and on stages – for the 2016 show which traditionally doesn’t see the under 30s out partying until the business end of the festival.

They’re the ones who just come for the weekend – many of them from regional areas like the Hunter – in big utes, with tent in tow.

But according to festival organiser Barry Harley, a targeted advertising campaign just weeks out from the January event pushed the attraction of the festival to social media audiences in the Hunter and Central Coast areas.

It went hand-in-hand with a digital marketing strategy to entice the weekend tourist to town – and take advantage of a new Wake Up and Walk campsite with tiny tents for about $25 a night.

“The Hunter and Central Coast areas are country music heartlands for the Tamworth festival and this year we decided we would build on the traditional advertising there backed with some digital marketing to try to inspire some overnight trippers too,” Mr Harley said.

Organisers have reported few issues and while the locals argue each year about the trends, the traffic snarls, the sea of tents and campervans across green spaces point to another good year.

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Big buzz for musical

THE audience members are very much part of musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, with some taking part on stage in the spelling competition.
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While a spelling bee might seem an unusual subject for a musical, the show has been a hit with watchers and performers since it premiered on Broadway in 2005 and ran for almost three years.

That popularity was evident when Newcastle Young People’s Theatre held auditions for a production of the musical that opens on February 5.The quality of those seeking roles led to YPT and the show’s director, Aaron Taylor, selecting two casts who will share the four-weekend season.

While the six spelling bee finalists are 12 and 13 years old, the actors playing them are invariably in their early 20s and they have often had the same experiences when going through puberty that the characters reveal in offstage moments and flashbacks, with those experiences often impacting on the way they handle the words they are asked to spell.

Some actors play multiple roles. Hannah Buck and Phoebe Clark, for example, are Rona, an astute realtor and former spelling bee winner who is now the bee’s moderator, and also appear in a song as the mother of one of the contestants who is overseas on a spiritual quest but comes into the girl’s mind while she is waiting to go on stage.

That troubled girl, Olive, who feels neglected byher parents, is played by Taylor Reece and Maddie Watts. Taylornotes that Olive sees the spelling bee as her chance to show the parents that she is more capable than they see her as being.

The other contestants are: astute and athletic Chip (Hamish Pickering; Nicholas Hamilton), the defending spelling bee champion; Barfee (Tom Rodgers; Harold Phipps), who develops a crush on Olive; hippy family member Coneybear (Anna Lambert; Nicholas Thoroughgood); Schwartzy, who has a pair of gay fathers (Amy McDonald; Nicola Eenink); and championship girl rugby player, Marcy (Lucy Scott; Maddie Richards).

The spelling bee management team includes a high school vice-principal, Douglas Panch (Theo Rule; Jackson Vaughan), the competition judge, and Mitch Mahoney (Sam De Lyall; Kirralee McAlpine), the comfort counsellor who is a convict doing the job as community service.

Audience members interested in being spelling bee competitors can contact YPT ([email protected]论坛) or talk to staff on the night.

The showplays at 7.30pm on February 5, 6, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27,and 2pm shows onFebruary 13, 20 and 27. Tickets: $18 (opening night $22). Bookings: ypt.org419论坛; 4961 4895. SPELLBOUND: Phoebe Clark is one of the performers in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee production at YPT.

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Ex-King’s student David Anderson stabbed parents while on ice: police

Former private school student David Anderson who allegedly stabbed parents for drug money is arrested, Photo: Channel Nine The Oatlands home where the stabbing occurred. Photo: Rachel Olding
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A former private school student, believed to have taken ice, allegedly stabbed his parents in a terrifying early morning attack in Sydney’s west.

Neighbours in the quiet, wealthy cul-de-sac in Oatlands woke at 4am on Friday to the blood-curdling screams of a woman fearing for her life.

“She was screaming so hard, saying, ‘Somebody help! David, stop! Somebody help us, he’s trying to kill us!’ ” said a neighbour, who asked not to be identified.

Police will allege the couple’s son, David Anderson, 21, stabbed his father, Andrew, 55, and mother, Patricia, 53, during a rampage while on ice.

Both victims were taken to Westmead Hospital. Mr Anderson’s father is in a serious but stable condition, while his mother is in a stable condition.

Neighbours said they heard screaming, bizarre “animal” noises and glass smashing inside and outside the house.

Blood remains smeared on the front door of the family’s two-storey brick mansion in Blairgowrie Place.

Mr Anderson is being interviewed at Parramatta police station where he is expected to be charged on Friday afternoon.

It’s believed Mr Anderson, who attended the prestigious The King’s School about 500 metres away, moved out of the family home about 18 months ago, yet would return occasionally to visit.

His red Hyundai sedan, with green P-plates, remained parked outside the home on Friday afternoon.

His father’s silver ute was still in the driveway.

“I heard something like animal noises, it was very weird,” said one neighbour, who ran out onto his balcony and called the police, who arrived about 11 minutes later.

“It was the longest 11 minutes of my life,” he said. “It made any horror movie I’ve watched seem G-rated.”

He heard the sound of the attack and glass smashing as people ran in and out of the house. He said the mother’s screams were terrifying.

Another neighbour, who lives about 50 metres from the home, said she woke to Mrs Anderson on her front lawn, screaming and covered in blood.

The parents had managed to run up the street to the neighbours’ lawn.

When police arrived, Mrs Anderson was telling them that David was in the house with his shirt off, the neighbour said.

Mr Anderson’s Facebook profile indicates he graduated from The King’s School in 2013.

He lists his job as “backroom team member at KFC”.

The parents have two older daughters who have moved out.

One is a member of the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation and has previously listed the family’s Oatlands address when authorising the party’s advertising and web material.

A neighbour originally said she heard Mr Anderson demand money from his parents, although doubt has emerged as to whether this is correct.

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Trainer expects more from Newcastle pair

LOOKING FORWARD: James Cummings says Cisco Kid and Alfred the Great will be better than their recent form suggests. Picture: Getty ImagesRANDWICK trainer James Cummings has warned punters to expect a sharp improvement from two ofhis three gallopers racing on Newcastle’s Beaumont track on Saturday.
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Cummings, who is in New Zealand inspecting yearlings for the Karaka Sale, spoke to theHerald on Friday about the prospects of his three runners,Cisco Kid, Alfred The Great andWho’s Gorgeous.

The well bred Cisco Kid runs in the opening event, a 2200-metre class 1 and maiden plate.

“He has run last in his two runs this preparation after being very slow to leave the barriers,” Cummings said.

“We have worked on Cisco Kid’s barrier manners and he is now the fittest he has been thispreparation.

“His only win was at Canterbury, and he has the ability to win a race like this.

“Cisco Kid will appreciate the jump from 1600 to 2200.

“His gallop on Tuesday morning was his best this time in.”

The second of the talented young trainer’s runners on Saturday is four-year-old Alfred the Great in a1350mmaiden plate.

The gelding has been beaten about five lengths in his only two starts, atWarwick Farm and Scone, and hehas not raced since May.

“Alfred the Great has been impressive in two recent Randwick trials.He is coming back from aninjury, and I haven’t done a lot with him at home.

“I have elected to start him in a 1350-metre race first up as he will be comfortable over that trip.He has a bad barrier, but he will go forward to offset that.Alfred the Great has never felt better.”

Who’s Gorgeousis the early favourite in the 1300mclass 1.The filly won her only start atCanterbury in May.

“A well bred filly with a metropolitan win in her only start in May,” Cummings said.“I didn’t race Who’s Gorgeous in her second preparation as her trials were not good enough.

“The filly is much better this time, but she may get back as she doesn’t have a lot of early speed.”

Cisco Kid and Alfred the Great are part-owned by Malaysian businessman Dato Tan Chin Nam, theman who raced four Melbourne Cup winners,Think Big twice, Saintly and Viewed, and all four weretrained by James Cummings’ grandfather, the legendary Bar Cummings.

The powerful Godolphin stable,a great supporter of the Newcastle Jockey Club’smeetings, has only one starteron Saturday, and he has the credentials to win.

Macavity steps out in the 1350mmaiden plate with Grant Buckley aboard.

The three-year-oldhas been placed in two of his three starts at Hawkesbury and Wyong.

Macavity has not raced sinceSeptember, but his recent trials suggest that he is ready to win first up.

On a day in which most Broadmeadow-trained horses will struggle, the Paul Perry-trained PrinceManitou appears to have the best chance of the locals in the final event, a 1350m benchmark 70 handicap.

The four-year-old has proved difficult to ride on occasions with his habit of hanging, butif he races truly, he could beat these.

In his only start on the Beaumont track on November 21 henever got clear in the straight and was three lengths from the winner on the post.

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