November is here and it’s shaping up as a big month at home and abroad. As the Melbourne Cup field burst out of the gates on Tuesday, the Reserve Bank announced a cut of 0.15% in the cash rate which now stands at a record low of 0.1%. Queensland came from behind to win the first State of Origin, and the results of the US election may take a little while to be finalised (particularly if Trump’s legal challenge proceeds).

The Federal Budget on October 6 was the start of a pivotal month on the economic scene. Budget estimates released later in the month revealed a deficit of $132.5 billion in the year to September. While the deficit is expected to peak next year, there are also some positive signs emerging.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the main measure of inflation in Australia, rose 1.6% in the September quarter and 0.7% on an annual basis. This is a sign that the economy is beginning to move again after price falls in the June quarter. The biggest increases were childcare (as temporarily free childcare came to an end) and petrol. Consumer confidence also improved, with the weekly ANZ/Roy Morgan index hitting an 8-month high of 99.7 points in late October. Unemployment rose slightly from 6.8% to 6.9% in September, a little less than anticipated.

In another sign of confidence, the value of new loans for housing rose 12.6% in August. The value of owner-occupier loans was up a record 13.6%, with first time buyers accounting for almost a third. The value of investor loans was up 9.3%. Used car prices rose almost 30% in the year to September, a sign that when we do decide to spend, we’re bargain-hunting.

Probably the best news in the past month is the reduction in new Covid-19 cases in Victoria allowing the reduction of lockdown restrictions in Melbourne and the reopening of State borders – great news for everyone in the lead-up to Christmas.

Stuart Fitzpatrick and Excel Financial Advisors Pty Ltd are authorised representatives of Interprac Financial Planning Pty Ltd AFSL 246638 registered office at Level 8, 525 Finders Street, Melbourne VIC 3000. This advice may not be suitable to you because it contains general advice that has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal financial advice prior to acting on this information. Investment Performance: Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns as future returns may differ from and be more or less volatile than past returns.