Spring is here and not a moment too soon! As the weather warms up it’s the signal to pack away your winter woollies, get back into the garden or start a new fitness program and start planning your summer holidays.

Things are heating up on the global economic front too. In the United States, second quarter growth has been revised up to an annual rate of 3.7 per cent, well ahead of the initial estimate of 2.3 per cent. Corporate investment, consumer spending and the US housing market have also strengthened. Whether this is enough to allow the US Federal Reserve to begin lifting interest rates remains to be seen, particularly since China has been aggressively lowering its rates, but in the short-term it has helped stem the selling on Wall Street.

Australian shares also rallied towards the end of August after a month of volatility that began in Shanghai and reverberated around the globe. The Aussie dollar also breathed a sigh of relief and finished the month above its August lows at around US72c.

The big surprise was the strong rebound in oil prices, prompted by recovering share prices and reduced supply. After falling 30 per cent since July, Brent crude surged more than 10 per cent on August 28 – the biggest one-day gain since March 2009.

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