Australian Gambling – top 20% ‘heavy’ gamblers make up 87% of gambling dollars

An incredible, almost unbelievable, set of results from Roy Morgan research firm has found that just 20% of gamblers make up a whopping 87% of gambling dollars, in Australia.

Australians are well known for having a punt but even so the numbers seem fairly extraordinary, especially that just one fifth of total gambling participation could make up nearly 90% of gambling dollars.

Australian gambling revenues

From RoyMorgan “There are 1.9 million heavy gamblers in Australia, which represents 20% of Australians who have gambled in the last three months, and 11% of the total adult population 18+ years of age.”

“The fact that the bulk of Australia’s gambling revenue is generated from just 20% of gamblers illustrates that although heavy and even problem gamblers certainly exist, most Australians are not big spenders when it comes to gambling. Light gamblers tend to be those who buy lottery tickets (81%) and an occasional scratch ticket (26%) in an average three-month period but rarely partake in other types of gambling. By contrast, heavy gamblers participate in many types of gambling, especially poker machines (80%), lottery tickets (69%), and betting (40%).

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Europe unemployment – Greece and Spain top the lists

Greece and Spain continue to top the list no country wants to get Gold and Silver in with both nations continuing to lead Europe’s unemployment rates. Greece’s recorded unemployment rate, according to the latest available data, narrowly pips Spain’s at about 26%, Spain rests a touch over 25%. The next closest countries are in excess of 5% lower. After the graphic below, we delve in to European Youth Unemployment figures.

The Economist, the source of the graphics below, says this about European unemployment “The euro-zone recovery will not be strong enough this year to make much of a dent on unemployment, forecast to fall from 12.0% last year to 11.8% in 2014 though it will drop more in 2015, to 11.4%. That labour-market slack will be one of several factors keeping inflation low though the euro area is expected to dodge outright deflation. Instead inflation will fall from 1.3% in 2013 to 0.8% this year, rising to 1.2% in 2015.”

European unemployment - data from March 2014 or latest by country

Greece and Spain, unsurprisingly continue to also lead in Youth Unemployment with both countries having in excess of 50% youth unemployment amongst 15 to 24 year old’s. Encouragingly for Europe Germany’s role as engine-room continues it’s march, with the second lowest unemployment and the lowest youth unemployment, as seen in the charts above and below respectively.

Europe countries with highest youth unemployment March 2014 or latest data

Slow as it may be Europe is turning around, with greenshoots expected to continue growing in every European nation except Cyprus. Finland is expected to grow the slowest, with just 0.2% growth.

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US market drowning in negative equity mortgages

Zillow Real Estate Research in the US has just released a report in to mortgages across America by country which are in negative equity, or effective negative equity which is, just like the real-estate triggered GFC creating ripple affects across the US and the world. Graphics below and further commentary follows.

From Zillow: the national negative equity rate continued to decline to 18.8 percent, down 12.6 percentage points from its 31.4 percent peak in the first quarter of 2012. Negative equity has fallen for eight consecutive quarters as home values have risen. The national negative equity rate fell from 25.4 percent in the first quarter of 2013 and 19.4 percent in the fourth quarter, while the pace of annual home value growth slowed to 5.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014, from 6.6 percent at the end of the fourth quarter of 2013. However, more than 9.7 million homeowners with a mortgage still remain underwater (Figure 1).

US Homes with mortgages with negative equity across Nation by County


More from Zillow: “Moreover, the effective negative equity rate nationally — where the loan-to-value ratio is more than 80 percent, making it difficult for a homeowner to afford the down payment on another home — is 36.9 percent of homeowners with a mortgage. While not all of these homeowners are underwater, they have relatively little equity in their homes, and therefore selling and buying a new home while covering all of the associated costs (real estate agent fees, closing costs and a new down payment) would be difficult (Figure 2). Of all homeowners – roughly one-third of homeowners do not have a mortgage and own their homes free and clear – 13.2 percent are underwater.”

US Homes with mortgages with effective negative equity across Nation by County


Mathew Murphy, writing for Business Spectator on this issue ” The negative equity issue is one that, unsurprisingly, is being played out at the lower end of the market.

Nearly a quarter of the homes in the $US86,101 to $US389,100 range are underwater compared to just 10 per cent above $US389,100, according to the Zillow report.

Given the precarious predicament you may be tempted to cut your losses, sell-up and rebuild. However, since Congress allowed the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act to expire, short sellers are liable for taxes on forgiven debt. The simple supply and demand issue is also causing sellers to have way more confidence in the market than they should.

Real estate brokerage firm Redfin said 40 per cent of sellers are planning to price their homes above market value when they list this year. That is already up from 33 per cent at the beginning of the year.

While the Zillow report may not have attracted as many headlines this week, it is a red flag that should not be ignored.”

Read the full Zillow report here.

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Which Social Network do US teens prefer? Instagram, Twitter or Facebook?

According to PiperJaffray, a US based investment bank and asset management firm, US teens prefer Instagram over Facebook and Twitter. PiperJaffray’s report says 30% of US teens surveyed said Instagram was their number one most important social network.

25% nominated Facebook as the most important social network, while 27% said Twitter was – which some analysts and industry observers might want to pay attention to, given the recent concerns about Twitter’s growth and usage.

On the topic of growth, Statista has noted that in the same survey last year Facebook has lost popularity among younger audiences with 33 percent of teens had naming it as their favourite social network just 12 months ago.



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Australian Housing Credit growth

Australian Housing credit growth is looking…. well… well it’s been stronger let’s just say that.

Leith van Onselen over at Macrobusiness has sourced the graph below Reserve Bank of Australia, data.

Australian Housing Credit growth

From the article:

Reserve Bank of Australia data ”

Total credit provided to the private sector by financial intermediaries rose by 0.4 per cent over March 2012, after rising by 0.4 per cent over February. Over the year to March, total credit rose by 3.4 per cent.

Housing credit increased by 0.4 per cent over March, following an increase of 0.4 per cent over February. Over the year to March, housing credit rose by 5.3 per cent.

Other personal credit grew by 0.1 per cent over March, after increasing by 0.3 per cent over February. Over the year to March, other personal credit decreased by 1.5 per cent.

Business credit increased by 0.6 per cent over March, after growing by 0.4 per cent over February. Over the year to March, business credit increased by 1.3 per cent.”


TLDR Summary: Australian housing credit growth was flat in March, ’12.

Another quick, related, graph below showing Private Sector Credit Growth from March 1978 to March 2012.

Australian long-run private sector credit growth



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Forecast: Australian Energy demand 2012 – 2021

A great new chart below from Origin Energy, currently hosted here on, demonstrating increasing demand “showing forecasts for the years ahead being revised up each year until 2009, but being revised down each year since then.”

Forecast of Australian energy demand 2012 to 2021

The question, as Rob Burgess from Business Spectator discusses, is just how is Australia going to support and pay for all the energy Australian’s are projected to require?

From the article, Abbott’s cutting carbon already:

Origin Energy’s Chief Executive Grant King’s “point in the presentation is that if we’re using less energy, then the government’s renewable energy target (RET) needs to be reduced. Currently the RET target is fixed at 20 per cent of our electricity to be supplied by renewable energy sources by 2020 – but when that target was set, it was calculated on AEMO’s forecasts at the time, not the now-reduced forecasts for energy use.

Compounding the problem, as Origin sees it, is that wildly successful state and federal subsidies have seen solar panels popping up on rooftops across the country. Their contribution is not counted under the RET program, so when we hit ’20 per cent’ renewables in 2020 (which we are on-track to do), the small-scale renewables will bump that figure up to ’26 per cent by 2020′.

King yesterday called on the government to call a spade a spade – to recognise that 20 per cent of our overall power from renewables is enough at 2020, and the 26 per cent imposes unnecessary costs on power consumers who are already struggling to pay their bills. 

To get back to the political implications, King’s endorsement of the Gillard carbon pricing model was clear: “Rationalisation of carbon reduction policy in Australia would help mitigate cost pressures for households and businesses … Unaligned and multifaceted carbon reduction policy results in sub-optimal long-term investment decisions [and] increased costs for consumers … Policy consolidation is now possible with the introduction of the carbon price on 1 July, 2012.”

King called for policy makers to: “Rationalise state-based energy efficiency schemes; rationalise/abolish state-based carbon reduction policies; confirm or bring forward current planned reductions in the small-scale renewable energy scheme (SRES) multiplier.”

The SRES scheme, King pointed out, was planned to generate 8 million carbon abatement certificates a year, but is in fact generating 45 million a year – in crude terms we’ve stuck about five times as many solar panels on our roofs (give or take a small-scale wind generator or two) as was planned. 

The Clean Energy Futures package – known fondly by the national media as the ‘carbon tax’ – is a relatively simple and least-cost way to sweep aside all the itty-bitty carbon reduction schemes. One problem, one national solution that responds to market conditions – after 2015, that is, when the fixed-price ‘tax’ of $23 a tonne switches to a floating price that, as the European trading scheme has shown recently, makes permits very cheap indeed during times of economic hardship.”

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US bank mergers 1990 – 2009

US Bank Mergers

US Bank Mergers to 2009

A great infographic from the Federal Reserve showing how over thirty five banks became 4.

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