2023 Year in Review

Australia’s economy stubbornly defied predictions during 2023, dashing any hopes that we might begin to return to some kind of normal.

2023 Year in Review 1

Some had expected an end to the Reserve Bank’s continued cash rate rises during the year. Instead, inflation has been a stubborn foe and we saw five rate rises, adding another 1.25%. But there was good news for property investors with an increase in prices in some cities.

On another positive note, superannuation funds bounced back after losses in 2022.i SuperRatings reported that the median balanced option is expected to return 9.6% in 2023, after most funds produced negative returns the previous year.

Australia key indices December      

Share markets (% change) Year to December

 

2022 

2023

 

2022

2023

Economic growth

5.8%

*2.1%

Australia All Ordinaries

-7.2%

  8.4%

RBA cash rate

3.1%

 4.35%

US S&P 500

-19.3%

24.2%

Inflation (annual rate)

7.8%

^5.4%

Euro Stoxx 50

-11.7%

19.2%

Unemployment

3.5%

#3.9%

Shanghai Composite

  -15.1%

-3.7%

Consumer confidence

82.5

  82.1

Japan Nikkei 225

  -9.3%

28.2%

*Year to September, ^September quarter # November
Sources: RBA, ABS, Westpac Melbourne Institute, Trading Economics

The big picture

Global economic forecasts for 2023 were also beset by a number of wild cards during the year. While many economists were predicting recession in the United States and Europe and a rebound in China, the year ended differently with no recession in the US, Europe struggling but doing better than expected and China still battling some headwinds.

October brought concerns of a wider Middle East conflict, the International Monetary Fund revising its outlooks for the region, saying that an escalation of the conflict could be far-reaching, affecting tourism, trade, and investment.ii

Inflation and interest rates

In Australia, economic growth slowed a little on 2022’s result but still delivered a better return than forecast. The economy grew by 2.1% although a larger-than-expected increase in the population is putting extra pressure on housing and prices, keeping inflation higher.iii It was the eighth quarter in a row of economic growth.  

Inflation remains high but many believe we have seen the end of interest rate rises for 2024. The latest figures show the rate of inflation dropped from 4.9% in October to 4.3% in November. 

New dwelling prices rose 5.5% in the 12 months to November while rents rose 7.1%. Electricity prices were up by 10.7% for the year and food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 4.6%. 

The Reserve Bank raised the cash rate five times to finish the year at 4.35%.

Sharemarkets

Global sharemarkets ended 2023 on a more positive note. In the US, welcome news from the Federal Reserve of an end to rate hikes saw stocks and bonds soar in the final weeks of the year. During the year, the Dow Jones index increased by 13.7% and the Nasdaq by 43.4%. There was mixed news in Asian markets with a jump of 28.2% on the Nikkei 225 and 18.7% on India’s BSE Sensex but China’s Shanghai Compositive fell 3.7% and the Straits Times index of Singapore was down 0.3%.iv

Australia’s sharemarket may not have experienced the heady double-digit returns of some global markets but it ended the year with a gain of almost 8%, marking its best performance since 2021.v

Commodities

Despite big falls from the peaks of 2022, commodity prices remain high across the board.

Iron ore, Australia’s biggest export, rose more than 21% as the Chinese government continues to create strong demand by stimulating property and infrastructure development.

Oil prices saw some spikes during the year but steadied by December. However, the World Bank notes that conflict in the Middle East, on top of the disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine, could cause a major oil price shock, pushing global commodity markets into uncharted waters.vi

As the US dollar gathers strength and Australia’s high inflation figures persist, the Australian dollar is under pressure. It ended the year where it began after recovering from a slide in the second half of the year.

Property market

While rising interest rates usually dampen property prices, by year’s end we saw a remarkable turnaround for some cities in another result that upended forecasts.

CoreLogic’s national Home Value Index rose 8.1% in 2023, up from the 4.9% drop in 2022 but not quite at the stellar 24.5% increase recorded in 2021.vii

It was a patchy performance across the country. House prices rose at more than 1% every month on average in Perth, Adelaide, and Brisbane in the second half of the year. While Melbourne values dropped in November and December, Sydney and Canberra prices barely moved, and Hobart and Darwin prices fell slightly.

Looking ahead

As floods and storms ravage the eastern states and bushfires break out in the west, another tumultuous Australian summer might be mirrored by a chaotic year for the economy both in Australia and overseas.

The RBA expects economic growth to remain subdued but resilient in 2024, largely supported by construction and infrastructure work. Meanwhile the rebound in international students and tourism is expected to contribute to robust growth in consumer spending.viii The RBA is also confident that inflation will continue to fall slightly throughout the year, but many predict at least one more cash rate increase during the year.

Worldwide, China’s spluttering economy and the outcome of the US presidential election may cause ripple effects across the globe, meanwhile markets will be nervously watching the conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine as well as China’s threat to blockade Taiwan, for the potential to create broader economic challenges. 

Whatever the year ahead brings, we are here for you. If you would like to discuss your financial goals and circumstances in light of prevailing economic conditions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

Note: all share market figures are live prices as at 31 December 2023 sourced from: https://tradingeconomics.com/stocks

i https://www.afr.com/policy/tax-and-super/super-balances-grow-almost-10pc-thanks-to-tech-rally-20240103-p5euwb
ii https://www.imf.org/en/Blogs/Articles/2023/12/01/middle-east-conflict-risks-reshaping-the-regions-economies
iii https://www.abs.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/australian-economy-grew-02-cent-september-quarter
iv https://www.businesstoday.in/markets/story/global-market-performance-heres-how-global-equity-markets-major-currencies-performed-in-2023-411391-2023-12-31
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-12-29/asx-markets-business-live-news-dec29-2023/103271578
vi October 2023 Commodity Markets Outlook: Under the Shadow of Geopolitical Risks [EN/AR/RU/ZH] – World | ReliefWeb
vii https://www.corelogic.com.au/news-research/news/2023/australian-home-values-surge-in-2023
viii https://www.rba.gov.au/speeches/2023/sp-ag-2023-11-13.html

Important: This provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, we do not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.

Any information provided by the author detailed above is separate and external to our business and our Licensee. Neither our business nor our Licensee takes any responsibility for any action or any service provided by the author. Any links have been provided with permission for information purposes only and will take you to external websites, which are not connected to our company in any way. Note: Our company does not endorse and is not responsible for the accuracy of the contents/information contained within the linked site(s) accessible from this page.

Share this post

team

CFP® Dip FP
Authorised Representative 298494
Interprac Financial Planning Pty Ltd 

Darryl Jopling

Senior Adviser

I have worked in the financial services industry since 1982 and as a Financial Adviser since 1999.

I have worked for large Financial Planning businesses, Membership based organisations and looked after the financial planning needs of clients within an Accounting Practice before starting my own business.

I am married, have 4 older children and a grandson and I am keen golfer with mixed results like many .

I have been through many of the strategies I talk with clients about myself and with my family.

I have been through the journey of seeing my parents move into Aged care and negotiated the difficulties and pitfalls of understanding the system for them and this gives me an excellent insight into what is required to assist families at this difficult time.

In a previous roll I used to run retirement seminars looking at Centrelink and Retirement Incomes and how to make these work for you. I have helped many of my clients with Aged Care advice when their parents needed to move into Nursing Homes. For many clients I assist them with superannuation, building wealth and protecting their loved ones with insurance.

I am supported by his, Licensee, Interprac Financial Planning’s in-house resources and ongoing technical, systems and training.

I am committed to understanding your needs and identifying strategies and products to help you achieve your goals.

My guiding principle as an Adviser is to design plans which help to provide my clients with clarity of purpose and the opportunity to build a solid financial foundation.
I will take the time to listen, explain things clearly and keep you informed throughout the advice process.

My experience is complemented by professional qualifications including:

  • Certified Financial PlannerTM Professional
  • Diploma of Financial Planning

At Choice Financial Advice we work with you along the way on life’s journey.

Whether you are getting married, starting a family, embarking on the trip of a lifetime, planning to enjoy your years after work or assisting elderly parents with Aged Care and Nursing Home placements, we can help.