As we stand on the threshold of a New Year we may be tempted to think about what the year ahead has in store.
Somehow, I think that 2019 will be a big year but whether this is good or bad will depend on your outlook.
Here are six things that may dictate our changing fortunes as the year unfolds:
We have already seen a cooling of housing prices in Sydney and Melbourne over recent months. Apparently, first home buyers are returning to the market after a couple of years of being thwarted in their attempts to purchase their first home. Aside from Sydney and Melbourne, the other Australian capital cities can expect to see modest growth during 2019.
At this stage, it looks like 2019 will be another volatile year for Australian shares. However, the volatility may be influenced by international factors (see No 2).
After a record run of low-interest rates, the next move is expected to see an increase. But, when will this occur? There are a number of economic factors the Reserve Bank will be considering at its monthly meetings. From a consumerâ€™s perspective, low-interest rates are not going to be around forever and we need to ensure we have the ability to endure an increase in interest rates when it comes.
With the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit, the continuing China/US trade war, the status of the US/Mexico wall, and a general worldwide economic slowdown, there are plenty of external factors to keep our eyes on during 2019.
Banking Royal Commission
The final report is expected to be released in early February 2019. And this has the potential to be a game-changer for the banking, superannuation and financial services sector. Some of the practices exposed during the hearings have been extremely concerning. Expect to see a concerted effort from the key participants in the banking, superannuation and financial services sector as they move to rebuild public trust.
2019 Federal Budget
This yearâ€™s Budget has been brought forward by a month and will be delivered on 2 April 2019. Expect to see some modest sweeteners as the Government prepares to go to the polls.
We expect the next Federal Election to be held on either 11 or 18 May 2019. With the Government still in some disarray following the replacement of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister, expect to see a very active campaign run by the current Opposition.
With the current polls showing us that it is increasingly unlikely the present Government will be returned, in spite of some unpalatable policies already being announced by the Opposition, a change of Government should not be underestimated.
The Government still has a significant amount of legislation waiting to be passed. A number of superannuation initiatives announced in past Budgets remain in limbo. If not passed before the election is called, the legislation will lapse, perhaps never to see the light of day again at least in its present form.
2019 certainly holds to promise of being an eventful year on so many faces. We need to remain positive and vigilant and out of any gloom, opportunities will emerge.