Super takes another hit: Economy roundup

Volatile market conditions are continuing to bite into Australians’ retirement savings, with the median return on balanced superannuation funds dropping 1.1% in July.

Volatile market conditions are continuing to bite into Australians’ retirement savings, with the median return on balanced superannuation funds dropping 1.1% in July.

The poor result takes the median loss suffered by balanced super funds, a good rule of thumb for the broader sector, to 6.7% for the year to 31 July 2008.

Other common super portfolios directed at higher growth or Australian or international shares have generally fared even worse, however, with the median loss for those funds all above 10% for the year to 31 July.

The only super options to come out positive on average are diversified fixed interest and cash option funds.

Better news came to light this morning in the form of economic modelling by Access Economics on the fiscal benefits of Australia’s rapidly growing immigration program.

According to the modelling, a combination of increased tax payments and visa charges paid by migrants who came to Australia in the 2006-07 migration program helped deliver a net benefit to the Federal Government bottom line of $536 million in the first year and $856 million this year, with greater benefits to come.

More mixed results for listed retailers have emerged over the last 24 hours as the reporting season rolls on. Poor consumer sentiment led to a big 42.5% fall in net profit for 2007-08 to $9.8 million for fashion business Country Road, but surfwear label Billabong has managed to ride out the choppy conditions to bring in a 5.5% lift in 2007-08 net profit to $176.4 million.

On the markets today, at midday the S&P/ASX200 is up 0.9% on yesterday’s close to 4917.5 as resources stocks made further gains, while the Australian dollar has lifted on recent days to US87.82c.

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