Even though economists are positive on the outlook of the Australian share market for the remainder of 2011, there are still some concerning factors which have kept average returns in the red over the past 11 months. The European debt crisis, which began as concerns around Greece and its debt servicing ability seem to have spread further in the European Union, with Ireland and Portugal looking increasingly unstable. Further market instability has been seen with increasing oil prices a result of political instability in the Middle East and North Africa. These factors have kept the Australian market quiet on trade and discouraged investment over the past year. Looking forward we should see some of these issues regarding EU debt ease, although not quickly, as the global economy continues to recover post GFC. China’s economic growth has continued and this has benefitted Australia’s large resource companies as strong demand for its products continues. There may be a slight dampening of such demand as the Chinese government attempts to curb inflation on the back of fast economic growth.
The first six months of 2011 has seen the share market fall short of expectations due to events and concerns beyond our shores. Even so, our economy and the businesses that operate within it continue to grow and rebuild, albeit slowly, from the repercussions of the GFC. The forecast for the Australian economy is very strong for the next couple of years. This view is underpinned by the expectation that unemployment will continue to decline and stabilise around 4-5% as more labour resources are required. This is particularly true for the mining and resource service sectors.
Australia’s terms of trade have recently been upgraded creating an income surge which will quickly flow throughout the entire economy with workers, corporations and the government all benefiting.  Recent concerns regarding US debt have also had a negative effect on the All Ordinaries. However, recent developments suggest this too is improving with retail sales and production figures up and a trillion dollars’ worth of government spending cuts agreed upon in principle by the US government.
The mood across global markets appears to be decidedly downbeat and the reality is that 2011 was always going to be a tough year. In the short term at least it appears the australian market will continue to respond to poor global conditions and fears of another GFC.  However the outlook for the Australian economy is improving and we would expect this economic strength to be reflected in the market movements hopefully toward the end of this year and into 2012.
*The advice provided is of a general nature only. Everyone’s financial situation varies so please contact a financial planner at EFS on (02) 9868 3900 for a financial plan that meets your needs.

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AUSTRALIAN SHARE MARKET OUTLOOK