Flight Centre share price struggles amid dwindling household cashflows forecast


The Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) share price landed in the red on Tuesday. At the close of trade, it finished 2.28% lower at $17.97.

The dip extends Flight Centre’s losses to almost 12% during the past month of trade.

In broader market moves, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) finished 0.86% higher today to close at 6,763 points.

Let’s take a closer look at what might have been behind Flight Centre’s performance today.

Household cash flows to narrow

Investors sold the Flight Centre share price down today despite no news from the company. However, analysts at Swiss Investment bank UBS, led by George Tharenou, released a dire report on Australia’s economy.

It predicts household cash flows could tighten to their lowest on record in 2023 amid the plethora of cost pressures households now face, not in the least rising interest rates.

The UBS team reckons the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)’s recent decision to hike the cash rate by 50 basis points will hurt aggregate demand come 2023.

Essentially it says the decision – made in a bid to tackle inflation – will reduce the amount of disposable income households have at the end of each cycle.

From this, the report forecasts GDP will slump to less than 2% from 2022-23 while it’s expected unemployment will climb again to around 3%.

The UBS report said:

The recent rate hikes, plus more to come, will double household interest payments.

“[T]hat is the fastest rise on record, amid the highest household leverage in the world.

UBS analysts also said that the “transmission mechanism”, that is the impact, of the RBA’s hikes on borrowing rates and, hence, the economy is “the most direct in the world”.

Muted market response

Investors didn’t respond well to the news. Despite some early volatility, the Flight Centre share price traded relatively flat across the day.

Its performance was accompanied by a flood of selling in other consumer shares.

The S&P/ASX 200 Consumer Discretionary Index (ASX: XDJ) weakened and finished 1.34% in the red, reversing an uptrend since 17 June in the process.

Flight Centre’s trading volume was up around its four-week average of 1.4 million shares, with investors swapping a total of one million shares during today’s session.

Flight Centre shares slipped from a three month high of $23 a share on 2 May to now trade near three-month lows.

In the last 12 months, the Flight Centre share price has clipped a 23.5% gain. However, it’s down marginally year to date, as illustrated below.

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