Get ASX Price
Hot Issues
State and Federal COVID-19 support
Why is Australian housing so expensive and what can be done to improve housing affordability?
COVID relief continues for retirees
Greenhouse gas emission by country since 1880
How does the First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) work?
Spouse super contributions - what are the benefits?
China’s growth slowdown and regulatory crackdown
Lockdowns and mental health
Salary sacrificing into super - how it works
Super bring-forward rules now apply to more people
The work test and work test exemption explained
Coronavirus continues to cause havoc globally and in Australia
Five ways to turn down the noise and stay focused as an investor
Considerations for different retirement living options
Videos and other resources for our clients
Keeping your super on track during a career break
Your guide to the super guarantee (SG) and rate changes
The never-ending coronavirus pandemic
Can I go back to work if I’ve already accessed my super?
2020-21 saw investment returns rebound
Tax Time Checklists - Super Funds; Individuals; and Company, Trust, Partnership
What is capital gains tax and when might I have to pay it?
6 steps to help you feel more positive about your finances
End of year (EOY) financial strategies
The 2021-22 Australian Budget - Analysis
Videos to help understand financial planning topics.
Investing on behalf of your kids
Super contribution caps are going up from 1 July 2021
Protecting your loved ones
Federal Budget 2021 - Overview
Building a more secure and resilient Australia
Federal Budget 2021 - Health
The return of geopolitical risk? - what to watch over the remainder of 2021
Relationship break-up entitlements when you're in a de facto
What do you need to think about when deciding when to retire?
6 steps to building good financial habits
RBA on hold and likely to remain easy for a long while yet as full employment gets more of a look in
More Aussies look to buy property and refinance
A new crypto world is emerging - the non-fungible token
Saving for your child's future
5 tips for creating your own good fortune this Lunar New Year
A broad range of Calculators.
Shares have had a very strong rebound since March last year so where are we in the investment cycle?
ATO Small Business Newsroom
Many in the dark about retirement
Transfer balance cap set to increase to $1.7 million
How to rebuild your super after a COVID-19 withdrawal
Financial wellness in 2020 - how did yours compare?
The global economy and investment markets this year
ASIC sounds warning around high-yield bond scams
Is $1m enough to retire?
How much super should I have at my age?
Tips for parents who became the bank of mum and dad
How to 2020-proof your finances
Vaccination rates as they happen around the world
2021 - a list of lists regarding the macro investment outlook
2020 - the year that united us
Videos and other resources for our clients
How to review your direct debits and save
Majority of working Aussies to benefit from personal income tax cuts
2020 is coming to an end. Phew!!
Review of 2020, outlook for 2021
The right times for financial advice
Is your home loan still right for you?
3 golden rules that make saving for retirement easier
How to budget for your social life in retirement
Still The Lucky Country
Comprehensive list of COVID-19 initiatives and packages.
Understanding the Age Pension income and assets test
Considerations when downsizing your home
Ways to help reduce your debts before you retire
How to identify (and beat) your spending triggers
Budget 2020 - A very comprehensive break down.
Budget 2020 - At a Glance, Overview, Outlook
Budget 2020 - Fact Sheets
JobKeeper extension – changes implemented
Australia's "eye popping" budget deficit and public debt blow out
The economics of COVID-19 lockdowns
How mindfulness can improve the way we work
Taking control of your personal finances in a COVID-19 world
September update of latest COVID-19 initiatives.
Seven reasons why the trend in shares will likely remain up, albeit with bumps along the way
Market outlook Q&A
Changes to super contribution rules for over 65s
COVID-19: How long may your super savings take to recover?
Boost your super in the lead up to retirement
4 ways to help prepare your finances for a recession
JobKeeper - Latest Update
The fiscal cliff is more likely to be a fiscal slope
Australian economic and fiscal update
Protect yourself from COVID-19 related scams
The economic hangover of COVID-19: how long will it last?
How to rebuild your super after a COVID-19 withdrawal
Market update - July 2020
Investment options and retirement
Extra Tools & Resources for our clients.
The Australian economy and recovery from COVID-19
Digital payments and online banking for older Aussies
The coming surge in Australia's budget deficit and public debt due to coronavirus
10 medium to longer-term implications from the coronavirus shock
Thinking about insurance ahead of retirement
Gifting and financial generosity during coronavirus
Diversification - why it matters now more than ever
The value of financial advice
Our Website, your resources
Light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel
Market update
Changes to pension drawdown and deeming rates
Preserving retirement saving during COVID-19
How investment market volatility could affect your super
COVID-19: Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package
The coronavirus pandemic and the economy – a Q&A from an investment perspective
Money challenges women face
Data so large it's hard to comprehend.
Is coronavirus driving a recession, depression or an economic hit like no other?
Holding your nerve – why retirees fear a market plunge
Historic $130bn wage subsidy to cover 6 million workers
Stage 2 – Covid-19 stimulus package.
Covid-19 Update - Small Business
PM launches $17.6 billion virus stimulus plan
The plunge in shares – seven things investors need to keep in mind
Three reasons why low inflation is good for shares and property
Can refinancing my home loan save me money?
Expected GDP by country 2010 to 2100
Super investment options – what’s right for you?
Life beyond work
Statistical picture of Australia - Update
A resource hub for our clients.
Market Update
Real Time World Population Growth - Wow!!
Dividends explained
Start 2020 with a best snapshot of Australia.
5 tips for green investing
Make Australians save again
Bushfires and the Australian economy
Grow your super in the new year
Australia by the Numbers
How to create realistic goals…… and stick to them.
5 days to get your finances in order
Our Advent calendar for 2019
5 reasons why I’m not so fussed about the global outlook
Superannuation changes
You'll be the life of the party when armed with this information!
7 tips to improve your financial wellness
Rebooting for retirement
5 reasons why the A$ may be close to the bottom
Resist today, relax tomorrow
Market Update 30 September 2019
How much superannuation is enough?
All Australia's vital statistics - October 2019
6 new financial videos
DGP by country since 1800
Boost savings with compound interest
High times for low interest rates
Market Update - September 2019
Will the world slip up on oil again?
Australia by the numbers - September 2019
Spending money in a cashless world
Dealing with being cash poor and asset rich
Saving for a rainy day
Market update
Access to more resources and tools than most websites.
Nine reasons why recession remains unlikely in Australia
Can I go back to work if I’ve accessed my super?
How's Australia doing statistically?
Protecting your super package.
Making the most of record-low interest rates.
Market Update 2019
How the top 10 global companies have changes since 1998
The longest US economic expansion ever
When can I access my super
Australia by numbers – Update
How to retire early
How to play catch up with your Super
Inflation undershoots in Australia
9 money mistakes to avoid in retirement
What a financial planner does to help.
Australia's vital statistics.
What kind of money parent are you?
How to save money
Federal Budget 2019 - Overview
How the 2019 Federal Budget affects you
New Global growth slowing, plunging bond yields & inverted yield curves
Women and Money
Market Update - March 2019
The problem with getting to 53 years of age.
How to avoid a travel debt hangover
Things to avoid as a newbie investor
Budget Time - How's Australia going?
Most older Aussies prefer home care over a nursing home
Why growth in China is unlikely to slow too far
10 money conversations to have when your relationship heats up
Australia slides into a 'per capita recession'
6 steps to get your money stuff together
All you need to know about how Australia is going.
Australian housing downturn Q&A
6 ways to reduce your credit card debt once and for all
5 life insurance questions you've always wanted to ask
2019 a list of lists - regarding the macro investment outlook
Part 4 - The major benefit of ‘behavioural coaching'
How to adult—a quick guide to personal finances in your 20s
How Australia is performing.
The Australian economy in 2019
Holiday budgeting tips— How to avoid a travel debt hangover
Australia - a comprehensive run-down of our vital statistics.
The Fed and market turmoil - the Fed turns a bit dovish but not enough (yet)
12 ways to avoid waste this Christmas
Rising US interest rates, trade wars, the US midterm election results, etc
Our Advent calendar for 2018
Responsible and ethical investing
What are the 3 biggest living expenses for households?
Your Adviser and Behavioural Coaching
Stop!! Don't do a paper Budget, use our online budgeting tools instead.
Information needed to be the BBQ expert.
Would you like to retire by 40?
The property cycle and the economy
How financial advice helps create wealth.
7 money personalities you may identify with or want to avoid
Are shares expensive?
How's Australia doing statistically?
Super investment options – what’s right for you?
Here's how to lead a happier life
What happened to all the worries about rising inflation and bond yields? Goldilocks, tariffs, Turkey & other things
Is it better to buy an investment property or home first?
Nine keys to successful investing
This information will turn you into a fireside expert.
How Australians will use their tax return
Lessons from the blue zones: secrets of a long life
Trumponomics and investment markets
Tools for budgeting, cash flow, Super and more ….
How tax deductible personal super contributions work
How much super should I have at my age?
The rise of the gig economy and side gigs (thanks to technology)
Statistics for all Australians
Watch out for tax scams
Now’s the time for tax planning
After the Australian household debt and east coast housing booms
Why it pays to contribute to your partner's super
Australia by numbers – Update
How to deal with financial stress – nearly 1 in 3 affected
Federal Budget 2018 – Overview
Your Budget
4 components of our 2018 Federal Budget
US China trade war fears – Q & A
Tools to help you manage your financial position are available on our site.
7 ways to boost your super
Australians reveal their priority goals
Australia by numbers – Update
Your retirement questions answered
How to make money by turning your unwanted goods into cash
Our website is really our digital office.
Bitcoin – is it really for you?
Spread your money, reduce risk
Love and money? It’s not about control
The pullback in shares - seven reasons not to be too concerned
Australia. All you need to know to be the expert.
Australian’s love affair with debt - how big is the risk?
5 ways to keep a cool head in a falling share market
2018 – a list of lists regarding the macro investment outlook
Sports lovers enjoy better financial fitness
Where Australia is at. Our leading indicators.
The year that was and the year ahead
Add some extra cash to your New Year
New year, new financial resolutions
Our Advent calendar for 2017
Where are we in the global investment cycle?
Australia's vital statistics
12 ways to enjoy summer without spending a fortune
One in three Aussies travel without protection
Digital payment options could see you spend more this Christmas
If you’ve always thought property prices only go up…
Will Australian house prices crash?
Where are we in the global investment cycle and what's the risk of a 1987 style crash?
Money steps for women
Resources on our site to help you, your family and your friends.
Australian Dietary Guidelines and healthy eating chart (PDF)
How to retire, your way
Prepare for retirement without missing out today
Be the boss of your cash
The Australian economy bounces back again
Should you lend money to family?
Money mistakes people make in their 50s and 60s
Australian Dietary Guidelines and healthy eating chart (PDF)
Eight steps to improved cashflow... and lifestyle
Powerful Budgeting, cash flow and Super Tools available on our site.
5 ways Australians will use their tax return this year
Australia's leading causes of death - ABS
The threat of war with North Korea
Six traits of Australians living the dream
The break higher in the Australian dollar is likely to be limited
Money can buy you happiness, you’re just spending it wrong
Key Economic Indicators, 2017 – updated
Helping your kids buy a home
From Goldilocks to taper tantrum 2.0
What’s your debt age?
Doing a budget is a good idea but ....
Planning is the key to making it financially
What to do when you come into money
Managing your money when you move in together
Reduce your bills with these household items
It pays to contribute to your partner's super
How to cope with losing independence
Transition to retirement income streams
The Australian economy hits another rough patch
Watch out for tax scams
The three core pillars of this year's budget
Federal Budget - 2017-18 - Overview
Federal Budget - 2017-18 - Budget documents
Make the most of the current super caps
Five, four, three… it’s not too late to get more in super
Super changes are coming
What’s your debt age?
Australian cash rate on hold
Super changes this financial year - Dr Shane Oliver - video
The door is closing on super’s current caps
Is Donald Trump's honeymoon with investors over?
Estate planning and why you need a super plan
What does a comfortable retirement look like?
Give your career a health check
Super changes from July 2017
Changes to the Age Pension assets test
Keep your money safe over the silly season
Looking ahead at 2017
Review of 2016, outlook for 2017 - looking better despite the political noise
Merry Christmas for 2016, a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2017.
54.2 million worries
Five tips for happy healthy ageing
Thinking about managing your own super?
Sending more to the tax office than you should?
Government pulls back on proposed changes to super
Market Update - What to consider when investing in a low return world
Stop!! Don't do a paper Budget, use our online budgeting tools instead.
Oliver's Insight - Megatrends
Value of Advice
A growing family doesn't have to blow the budget
Blinded by optimism
Thinking about managing your own super?
The investment outlook - it's not all that bad!
What’s your biggest obstacle to financial success?
Ageing Parents
Should you own the roof over your head?
Be a senior entrepreneur on your own terms!
Brexit and other key developments
Brexit wins
Commentary on major issues - AMP
Five money habits for a happy financial year
Are grandparents giving too much?
Remember to factor in parental subsidies at tax time
2016-17 Federal Budget - AMP
2016 Budget in detail
How (and why) to talk to your adult children about insurance
Procrastination: Just do it. Eventually.
Why Australian property won't collapse
The Lucky Country holding up pretty well
Have we reached the bottom?
The evolution of the Chinese consumer
Retirement rolls around faster than you think
Pressed for time?
Changes to the Age Pension assets test
Women are building financial intelligence
Heirlooms no more
Initial market falls precede stronger returns - Shane Oliver
What exactly is income protection insurance and do I need it?
A rough start to the year, which could have further to go
Aged Care - Changes to Assessment of Rental Income
A bump in the road, then a new start
New year, new start – are you ready for retirement?
Review of 2015, outlook for 2016 - Dr Shane Oliver
We wish you a Merry Christmas for 2015 and a Happy New Year
Go easy on the plastic over Christmas
Resolutions for a wealthy future
The Australian dollar doing what it normally does - overshoot. Dr Shane Oliver
How to manage volatility in a low return world
The Australian economy - more help will be needed. Dr Shane Oliver
Insurance through my super
Four tactics to build an investment portfolio
The demand for global infrastructure
Help achieve your investment goals with dynamic asset allocation
The Power of Budgeting
Jump retirement hurdles with a coach
Preparing for the time of your life
A Super Loan for all reasons
Making a smooth transition
Australian Government - Budget 2015
Budget 2015 - some professional opinions
Achieving a comfortable retirement
Is off-the-plan on the money?
Should I take my super as a lump sum or not?
Do you have a key person in your business?
Tips for success in a competitive job market
All you need to know about buying at auction
To sell or not to sell?
Saving in a material world
Trumponomics and investment markets

Dr Shane Oliver
Head of Investment Strategy and Chief Economist 
​AMP Capital 


Key points

- So far President Trump has been positive for share markets but this year the focus is increasingly shifting to populist policies with greater risk for investors. 

- The key risks to keep an eye on in this regard relate to trade conflict and the expanding US budget deficit, although the latter is more a risk for when the US economy next turns down. 

- However, the best approach for investors in relation to Trump is to turn down the noise given the often contradictory and confusing news flow he generates 


Since Donald Trump was elected President back on November 8, 2016 we have focussed on whether we will see Trump the rabble-rousing populist or Trump the business-friendly pragmatist. Despite lots of noise – particularly via Trump’s frequent tweets – for the most part Trump the pragmatist has dominated so far. But we have clearly seen a swing to Trump the populist this year – raising risks for investors. 

So far Trump has been good for markets

In the period since his election US shares are up 34%, global shares are up 28% and Australian shares are up 21%. While the strength in share markets would have occurred anyway given stronger global growth, US tax reform, fiscal stimulus and deregulation have clearly helped and contributed to the US share market’s outperformance. While US tax reform and tax cuts have received much focus, the Trump administration’s focus on deregulation is equally as significant with the US under Trump seeing the least amount of new economically significant regulation since the Reagan Administration in the early 1980s. 

Economically significant regulations by US administration

Source: George Washington University, WSJ, AMP Capital

In terms of tax reform and deregulation the Trump Administration has much in common with Reaganomics. 

Populism starting to dominate pragmatism

This year though the balance has shifted towards a greater emphasis on populist policies – notably protectionism and criticism of China, the return to sanctions on Iran and arguably recent criticism of the Fed for raising interest rates and pushing up the US dollar. There are several reasons for this shift in emphasis: the pro-business element of Trump’s policies were mainly completed last year; it’s a mid-term election year so Trump is back in campaign mode; Trump’s approval rating has improved despite this year’s controversial policies suggesting firm support for them from his Republican party base; and the strength of the US economy has also emboldened him. In fact, it could be argued that last year was all about bolstering the US economy ahead of this year’s more controversial policies. 

The main risks around President Trump centre around five key issues: the rising risk of a full-blown trade war; the expanding budget deficit; the risk of interference in the Fed; the return of sanctions on Iranian oil exports threatening wider Middle East conflict; and the risk Trump ultimately comes into trouble with the Mueller inquiry. We will now look at each of these in turn. 

Rising trade war risks

This issue has been done to death but won’t go away. So far the tariff increases actually implemented amount to just 3% of total US imports. While this has been met with proportional retaliation by other countries it’s a long way from a full-blown global trade war. However, the issue is what happens next. Another $US16bn of Chinese imports will likely be hit with a 25% tariff soon and the US is readying a 10% tariff on another $US200bn. Trump is also threatening to raise tariffs on all $US550bn of Chinese imports. China is threatening to retaliate proportionally although it will have to be with other means as it only imports $US130bn from the US. Trump is also threatening to put tariffs on auto imports and looking at Uranium. 

News of a deal between the US and the EU to work towards zero tariffs on industrial goods is good news in terms of heading off a full-blown trade war between the two, but negotiations have a long way to go. There was hope of a deal with China in May – with Trump initially crowing about a May 20 trade deal, but since then both China and the US have dug in with Trump tapping popular support for protectionism and anti-Chinese sentiment. So, the trade threat could get still worse before it gets better which means it risks taking the edge off economic growth. Modelling by Citigroup of a 10% tariff hike by the US, China and Europe showed a 2% hit to global GDP after a year. Of course, we are not seeing a tariff hike on all goods but the impact could still be significant if negotiations with the EU and China fail and all the tariffs being talked about are implemented. 

There are a few offsetting factors. First, China is moving to provide stimulus to support growth. Second, much of Trump’s approach still looks designed to apply “maximum pressure” to reach a negotiated outcome – and so far so good in relation to Europe. And Trump knows that the costs to US workers (from soybean farmers to Harley Davidson workers) and consumers will escalate as more tariffs are imposed. So, our base case remains that some form of negotiated solution will be reached, but in relation to China this may not occur until next year. 

Interference in the Fed and US dollar

Trump’s recent comments criticising Europe, China and others for helping drive the US dollar up and the Fed for raising interest rates naturally raises concerns that he will intervene in foreign exchange markets and interfere with the Fed. The comments lack economic logic – if “making America great again” means stronger US economic growth then it also means higher US interest rates and a higher US dollar – and maybe the Fed came in for a serve after Fed Chair Powell observed that “countries that have gone in a more protectionist direction have done worse”! Trump’s annoyance may have been triggered by the slide in the value of the Chinese Renminbi. While this looks to be mainly a strong $US story (as the $US is up around 7% against its low earlier this year against a range of currencies compared to an 8% gain against the Renminbi) the Chinese authorities seem quite content to let it fall for now and this will obviously offset Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods. 

China's Renminbi and the $US

Source: Bloomberg, AMP Capital

Despite all this it’s unlikely in the short term that Trump will act on his opinions on rates and the $US. US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the administration would “not interfere with the decisions of the Fed or move to manipulate the value of the dollar.” Trump is well known to be a high debt/low interest rate guy so it’s no surprise he is not happy with rising rates. But the Fed answers to Congress, has a mandate to keep inflation down and will do what it sees best – which with strong growth and at target inflation means returning interest rates to more normal levels. However, longer term there is a risk that Trump will weaken the institution of an independent central bank targeting low inflation and may also seek to return to a more interventionist approach regarding the US dollar, particularly if America’s trade deficit refuses to fall. Based on past experience such political intervention would risk much higher inflation which would be a big negative for investment assets as the revaluation that occurred as we moved from high inflation to low inflation would reverse. Fortunately, we are not there yet. 

The expanding US budget deficit

It’s been the norm for the US budget deficit to blow out when unemployment rises (as tax revenue falls and jobless claims go up) and decline when unemployment falls. Thanks to Trump’s fiscal stimulus it’s now blowing out when unemployment is collapsing and looks to be on its way to 5% of GDP. This raises three risks. First, it may mean higher than otherwise interest rates and bond yields as the Fed may have to raise rates more than would otherwise be the case to stop the economy overheating and the Government’s competition for funds results in higher bond yields. So far there is not a lot of evidence of this with US bond yields remaining relatively low – presumably held down by low global bond yields and trade war fears – but it’s still a risk as US inflationary pressures rise. 

US Budget deficit versus unemployment

Source: Bloomberg, AMP Capital

Second and more fundamentally it begs the question of debt sustainability when the next recession arrives given US public debt is already around 100% of US GDP. Finally, US fiscal stimulus by adding to the US savings-investment imbalance is adding to the US trade deficit and so is completely inconsistent with his trade policies. Even if there was a completely level playing field on world trade America will still have a trade deficit! 

The return to sanctions on, and tensions with, Iran

Perhaps a big surprise this year for some has been that President Trump looks to have swapped a half decent deal with Iran for a dodgy one with North Korea. While the latter holds out the hope of (maybe) reducing the threat of a nuclear attack on the US, the return to sanctions and tensions with Iran risks higher oil prices. Since the lows of 2015 oil prices have increased by 70% reflecting increased demand and OPEC’s 2016 cutback. Global stockpiles and spare capacity have been rundown and supply from Libya and Venezuela is uncertain. Our base case is that demand growth will be more constrained from here and that a ramp up in US shale oil production will help contain oil prices around $US70-75 a barrel. The risk though is that the loss of around 800,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil exports and the renewed risk of wider conflict in the Middle East associated with Iran (eg, if Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz through which 20% of global oil supply moves in retaliation against US sanctions) results in higher prices. 

The Mueller inquiry into Russian links

Our view in relation to the Mueller inquiry remains that unless Trump has done something very wrong the Republican controlled House will not move to impeach him and even if a Democrat controlled House post the mid-terms did, the Senate will not have the necessary two thirds of votes to remove him from office. However, his sensitivity over the issue, along with his comments seemingly favouring Russian President Putin’s word over US security agencies does remind a bit of Nixon in relation to Watergate. So his removal cannot be ruled out. But this would just mean VP Mike Pence would take over with basically the same economic policies (but with less tweet noise) and economic conditions are stronger than in 1974. 

Trump tweet noise

The risks around Trump are real and need to be watched carefully. But Trump generates a lot of noise and much of it is contradictory and confusing – in the last week Trump tweeted “Tariffs are the greatest” only to tweet 12 hours later that “I have an idea for them. Both the US and EU drop all tariffs” – and often reflects bluster ahead of negotiations – recall his “fire, fury and frankly power” threat to North Korea. So the best approach for investors in relation to Trump is to turn down the noise. 

Dr Shane Oliver
Head of Investment Strategy and Chief Economist 
AMP Capital 



Important note: While every care has been taken in the preparation of this document, AMP Capital Investors Limited (ABN 59 001 777 591, AFSL 232497) and AMP Capital Funds Management Limited (ABN 15 159 557 721, AFSL 426455) make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of any statement in it including, without limitation, any forecasts. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. This document has been prepared for the purpose of providing general information, without taking account of any particular investor’s objectives, financial situation or needs. An investor should, before making any investment decisions, consider the appropriateness of the information in this document, and seek professional advice, having regard to the investor’s objectives, financial situation and needs. This document is solely for the use of the party to whom it is provide.

Hawthorn Financial Planning Pty Ltd ABN 47 011 910 918
Corporate Authorised Representative
Charter Financial Planning Limited ABN 35 002 976 294
Australian Financial Services Licensee Licence number 234665
Registered address Level 24, 33 Alfred Street Sydney NSW 2000
Legal Disclaimer | Privacy Policy

Hawthorn Financial Planning 67 King William Road UNLEY SA 5061 Ph: (08) 8339 7973