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Week in review: CEOs present budget Wishlist; Australians continue to buy ethically despite economic pressure

Published Oct 21, 2022 14:44 Updated Oct 21, 2022 16:00
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The ASX lost 1.05% over the last five days, falling 42.90 points to 6,687.80.

All but the FTSE100 followed suit, although only the Hang Seng lost more than the Australian index this week, shedding 1.92% even as the FTSE100 gained 1.37%.

Commodities were down except for Platinum, which gained 1.68%. The biggest losers were aluminium (-5.62%), tin (-5.22%) and West Texas Crude (-3.94%), which is now only up 1.73% for the last 52 weeks.

As for sectors, only Energy and Real Estate finished the week in the green, gaining 1.31% and 0.25% respectively.

Utilities (-2.54%), Health Care (-2.58%) and Materials (-2.87%) took a particular beating, while most of the other sectors managed to keep the damage below 1.0%.

What made the news this week?

Calls for greater investment in leadership, first-home buyers and homelessness ahead of federal budget

Australia is buzzing with suspense ahead of the new Albanese Government’s first federal budget, set to be handed down by Treasurer Jim Chalmers at 7:30 pm come next Tuesday.

Chalmers flagged cost-of-living relief, labour shortages, supply chain issues and trimming budget fat as his priorities heading into this inaugural budget.

"It won't be fancy, it won't be flashy, it will be responsible, it will be solid, it will put a premium on what's responsible and affordable and sustainable,” he said.

“And it will be targeted to the economic conditions that we confront together in the here and now and also into the future."

CEOs from financial foundations, FinTechs, not-for-profits and crypto exchanges have weighed in, offering their budget hopes and priorities ahead of next week’s reveal.

The General Sir John Monash Foundation is one of Australia’s most prestigious tertiary scholarship programs, designed to develop and inspire the future leaders of Australia

Annemarie Rolls, CEO, believes Australia has reached a “pivotal moment” that will “deeply impact our lives”.

“This is why we need further investment in education and continued support for Australia's best and brightest to tackle these existential challenges and lead Australia towards a better future,” Rolls stated.

“We would like to see a continued focus on funding the development of Australia’s Future Leaders in this Labor budget for deserving organisations that are already supporting Australians doing incredible work across academia, business, and diplomacy.

“Facilitating our emerging leaders to be as well-equipped as possible to fulfil their potential to be the leaders we need so badly, will be a worthy investment.”

Joust chief revenue officer, Anny Le Wilson, believes more support is needed for first-home buyers given the cost-of-living pressures placed on the industry.

“First-home buyers in the market are decreasing due to mortgage repayments being a high cost of living concern,” Le Wilson said.

“As a result, there needs to be more support factored into the federal budget to help first-home buyers get into the property market with the expansion of the Home Guarantee Scheme.

“We expect that the budget will look to ease the cost of living for households with tax offsets and bonus payments.”

Backpack Bed for Homeless CEO Tony Clark wants to see more efficient use of government funds when it comes to addressing homelessness.

“Since 2012, there has been a study-proven emergency relief program – funded by mums and dads – already used by 800+ homeless agencies across Australia,” Clark explained.

“This program could be expanded from the [current funding of] less than $42,250 per year to instead assist 24,6000 rough sleepers a year at a cost of $3.7 million; creating a saving to Treasury of $81.6 million in Community savings in Health and Justice.”

For reference, this would represent a 2,206% social return on investment. 180 Degrees Consulting (one of the world’s largest not-for-profit consulting groups) found that for every $150.45 spent, the Treasury could save $3,319.

“It’s unconscionable that despite this technology being readily available – today, when crisis accommodation is full – we see the horror of rough sleepers being turned away empty handed. No shelter leaves the very real possibility of hypothermia and death,” Clark said.

Australian consumers continue to spend ethically despite cost-of-living impacts

Australian consumers have been under a lot of pressure in recent months.

Inflation hit 7% in July, the highest levels our economy has seen in some 30 years, and the RBA has already confirmed more interest rate hikes will be needed to bring it under control.

Some 47% of Australians have suffered during the pandemic, now in a worse financial position than before the pandemic began according to the Global Consumer Barometer Study, a regular index from Toluna Corporation that surveyed over 1,000 Australians in August.

A further 38% are ‘concerned’ about their finances, especially given the current state of the global economy, and almost one-third (31%) believe they will be worse off over the next three months.

For almost half (46%) of respondents, concerns of financial security have evolved into significant impacts on their health and wellbeing, including higher stress levels, less exercise and more unhealthy eating habits.

Despite the pressure, Australians remain committed to voting with their dollar; 76% of respondents said it was important that a brand’s values align with their own, and 80% stated it’s important that these brands care about their role and impact on the environment and society.

“Our findings show that the rising cost-of-living and energy crisis is causing consumers to become increasingly concerned, to the point where it’s impacting their health,” Toluna Australia and New Zealand country director Sej Patel said.

“Yet, even as Aussies are preparing to forego some of their lifestyle choices in the face of price hikes – like cutting back on eating out, taking fewer holidays, and trading down for more generic supermarket brands – they are not prepared to sacrifice their values.”

These ethics-based choices appear to be having a material impact on sales – 32% of respondents said they go out of their way to purchase brands that align with their own values, with 37% avoiding brands that don’t, and a third (30%) of Australians have stopped using brands because of their negative environmental and social impact.

ESG initiatives are already becoming vital for financing in the corporate world, but many brands may need to think about improving their public perception – some 37% of respondents said they’d like to make more ethical choices about their spending habits, but they simply don’t have enough information.

“Even in the midst of an economic crisis, Australian consumers remain staunch when it comes to holding brands accountable and proactively seeking out the ones that are most socially and environmentally responsible,” Patel continued.

“This is an incredibly significant finding, and brands and businesses who are not already focused on improving their ESG efforts must do everything they can to make it a priority.

“It’s clear that consumers are unwavering when it comes to their values, and businesses would do well to ensure they’re making every effort to understand what makes their customers tick in order to remain relevant.”

Small cap wins for the week

Cooper Metals soars 22.41%

Cooper Metals Ltd (ASX:CPM) gained on adding tenement EPM19125 to the Mt Isa East Copper-Gold Project in northwest Queensland. The acquisition adds more than 1,600 square kilometres to Cooper’s already extensive land position at Mt Isa East.

Read more

Azure Minerals jumps 22.22%

Azure Minerals Ltd (ASX:AZS) climbed on news of a 3.32% lithium result from rock sampling at the Andover Project in the West Pilbara region of Western Australia, and after being awarded $220,000 in exploration funding by the WA Government.

Read more and Read more

Strickland Metals climbs 21.95%

Strickland Metals Ltd (ASX:STK) had a busy week, with shares lifting on news of high grade gold results at the Millrose project, and the spin-out of the Iroquois and Bryah Basin assets.

Read more and Read more and Read more

Theta Gold Mines up 21.87%

Theta Gold Mines Ltd (ASX:TGM) shares lifted after the company signed a $110 million term sheet with Sprott for TGME Gold Project, a major milestone in achieving first gold production at its flagship South African Project.

Read more

AuKing Mining gains 21.05%

AuKing Mining Ltd (ASX:AKN) snapped up six projects prospective for uranium and copper in Tanzania, and announced a two-stage capital raise to follow.

Read more

Read more on Proactive Investors AU


Week in review: CEOs present budget Wishlist; Australians continue to buy ethically despite economic pressure

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