Then came January

Cairns Aero rainfall for January has demolished the monthly average:

Rain Jan 1

In a way this feels a bit strange as it doesn’t really feel like a severe wet season with hesitant monsoonal systems in the Coral Sea. This has also returned the moving annual rainfall back to average for Cairns Aero which has been rare in recent years:

Rain Jan 2

Not sure how widely reflective this is though. The BOM changed their Water Storage info presentation on the website last year and aspects of this still annoy me. The most recently posted data up the hill for Tinaroo is only to January 20 at just 35.9% of capacity.

Update: Tinaroo has now been updated to 30 January at 37.9%

Tinaroo Water Information; Weekly Tropical Climate Note


Airport December: down down staying down?

Cairns Airport Domestic:

Airport December 3

Still trying to get my head around the latest seat capacity forecasts from Cairns Airport posted previously. Expect slower growth? With the Chinese New Year moving back a few weeks into February a negative month in January wouldn’t surprise.

Will come back to this and the aftermath of the airline capacity war : Qantas v Virgin: The war that cost $8.75m a day


Queensland’s flaccid regions

Conus: Regional Building Approvals data shows the regions trailing off

Conus Trend approvals in Greater Brisbane for Nov stood at 2,008 (unchanged from Oct) and up 17.7% from the same time a year ago. In the Rest of Queensland the story was very different with Trend approvals at 1,334 (down from 1,376 in Oct), down 18.8% year on year and the lowest since March 2015.

The aggregated regional data for Rest of Queensland ex Brisbane from the ABS is also heavily influenced by Gold Coast as the largest region (with about a third of approvals currently) and Sunshine Coast as next largest.  A comparison over the series between Cairns and Gold Coast:


I always like to aggregate Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast into SEQ for comparison with the remaining ‘Bush’ regions. The Bush here is now at an all time low for the series since 2001:


A closer look over time at those flaccid regions:


Source data is Conus Trend from ABS SA4.

Over & out Auckland

AFR: Auckland International Airport finds buyer for Cairns Airport stake

The deal values Cairns Airport’s equity at $NZ1.51 billion ($1.38 billion), which is about 20-times forecast profit based on earnings forecast estimates by Kiwi stockbroker Forsyth Barr.
As Street Talk reported last week, Auckland International Airport has had First NZ/Credit Suisse marketing its stake recently, as part of a strategic review. The company told shareholders earlier this month that it had seen “strong buyer interest” in the non-core asset, and it was progressing plans to sell its holding.
North Queensland Airports owns Cairns Airport – Australia’s seventh largest airport by annual passenger numbers – and Mackay Airport.
North Queensland Airports reported $142.7 million revenue and a $46.8 million net profit after tax in the year to June 30, according to AIA’s annual report.


Will have to check back through AIA disclosures to verify but not a bad return over seven years since January 2010 if these media reports are accurate: Auckland Airport buys stake in North Queensland Airports

AUCKLAND International Airport said today it has agreed to purchase a 24.6 per cent stake in North Queensland Airports from Westpac Bank.
The Auckland-based company said the stake in North Queensland Airports, which operates the Cairns and Mackay airports in Queensland, will cost approximately NZ$166 million (A$132m).

This sale transaction is valued at A$370 million for the 24.6% AIA stake. Well at least we funded a hospital expansion from the privatisation proceeds of A$530 million in December 2008.


Entertainment in the City

Bates wants Courthouse Hotel reopened as a pub

Cairns Regional Council bought the heritage-listed former law court and pub for $5.75 million in late-2016 with plans to transform it into the centrepiece of a world-class arts precinct.
Those moves are still underway, and it took about six months for the sale to be finalised, but the venue has sat dormant for more than a year.

Meanwhile, Pokie revenue in Cairns CBD has been growing strongly in recent months despite removal of the 35 Courthouse Hotel machines from trade. The Barrier Reef also continues to trade restricted hours I believe.

Mug Punters

Note: Win here is a win for the pokie not the punter! Numbers are ex Casino for Cairns City SA2.


Quarterly rental data: nascent transition?

December quarter rental bond data from the RTA was pretty quiet in NQ but underlying trend changes continue to consolidate.

Rental December1

The largest overlap between tropical regional capitals with quite different housing stocks is three bedroom houses. Nothing went anywhere much. Cairns couldn’t push higher despite the continual media spin on tight vacancy rates as a goog thing. Townsville and Mackay continue to show evidence of a base and potential recovery.

Rental December2

Too early to call a trend change but difficult to see how this can continue to expand.

Lots of good stuff to explore in the RTA bond data which I really need to get around to. Particularly the number of outstanding bonds and new bonds for the quarter. However it’s a little known fact* that before employment all public servants are required to complete a course in how to make excel spreadsheets less useful so this could take some time.

*May be an alternative fact.