With Westpac bank announcing another massive profit result on Monday, Australia's big four banks have now achieved a combined record net profit of over 25 billion U.S. dollars, in the face of volatile global money markets and domestic inflationary pressure.
While the Aussie banks continue to defy the global weaknesses undermining the world's traditional financial centers, experts told Xinhua that the record profits are threatened by an unpredictable Australian economy and trickling inflation.
According to Annette Beacher, head of Asia-Pacific Research at TD Securities, "After a very sticky official September quarter inflation report, this first peek at the December quarter shows relatively benign inflation pressure, where the trimmed mean and headline inflation remain within the bottom half of the 2-3 percent RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) target range."
"However, we are of the view that the unexpected pop in underlying inflation to 2.5 percent takes the urgency out of a near-term interest rate cut. Combined with stability in global markets, a bounce in iron ore prices and better activity and survey data from number one trading partner China in recent weeks, adds to the case for 'wait and see' for the RBA Board meeting tomorrow," added Beacher.
A skip in the drum-beat of bad debts has seen the "Big Four", ANZ (Australia New Zealand Banking Corp), Westpac, NAB (National Australia Bank) and Commonwealth Bank, enjoy widening profits, to the often heated ire of Australian borrowers.
Westpac has been the latest to nail its third consecutive record cash profit - up 5 percent to 6.598 billion Australian dollars - but full-year net profits also fell 15 percent to 5.97 billion Australian dollars thanks in large to its takeover of rival St George.
The result for the year to September 30 was down from 6.99 billion Australian dollars in 2010/11, when Westpac received 1.1 billion Australian dollars in tax benefits.
In a statement, Westpac CEO Gail Kelly said the bank had made the right decision to snatch Westpac while simultaneously " delivering attractive returns to shareholders and investing for future growth."
"Our performance, particularly in the second half, demonstrates that we have increasing momentum across our businesses," Kelly said.
Australian consumers have sought a safe haven in term-deposits, delivering a massive 36.7 billion Australian dollars into the system over the last ten months alone.
The popular Westpac chief executive said volatility was paramount even while savings are expected to continue strong growth and weak consumer sentiment pumps savings into deposit accounts.
"Volatility in global markets is likely to continue and as a result of the structural changes that are now occurring, both overseas and domestically, the operating environment will remain challenging," she said.
Wespac's figures are still lagging the Commonwealth Bank's eye- watering 7.11 billion Australian dollars harvest and the China- bound ANZ's extraordinary 6.01 billion Australian dollars.
The NAB saw earnings down 0.5 percent to 5.43 billion Australian dollars and was the only Australian bank to watch profit's slide south, after its UK investments suffered under global constrictions.
The combined profit of the big four is up 3.2 percent on last year, the slowest pace since the global financial crisis.
Remarkably Australia's rate of deposit growth kept of 8 percent, compared with 5 percent for overall credit growth.
Independent analyst Clayton Davis, a principal at Stacks Law firm outside Sydney, said that the clear upshot of the deposit credit disparity alludes to the true strength of Australia's big four lenders.
"Australian banks are now shielded from venturing on the stagnating, and volatile, international cash markets. In short, they are now funding at home, that is, they are able to source all their new lending from their own deposits," Davis told Xinhua.