Unconventional Economist


China FTA to open labour floodgates?

By Leith van Onselen Yesterday, it was revealed by The ABC that the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement, signed earlier this month, could open the flood gates to some Chinese workers, who under the deal will no longer be subject to a mandatory skills assessment. Under a letter signed between Australian Trade Minister, Andrew Robb, and


Housing credit growth stabilises in May

By Leith van Onselen The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) today released its private sector credit aggregates data for the month of May: A chart showing the long-run breakdown in the components is provided below: Personal credit growth (-0.1% MoM; 0.0% QoQ; 0.8% YoY) remains in the gutter, whereas business credit growth (0.4% MoM; 0.6%


Sugar industry urges MPs to block TPP

By Leith van Onselen Australia’s sugar industry has stepped-up its campaign against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact, lobbying MPs to block the agreement unless substantial sugar access is achieved. From last night’s ABC Lateline: EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: As the final moments tick down, Australian sugarcane growers have joined the fight, urging MPs to reconsider


Perth property already “feels like a recession”

By Leith van Onselen The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia’s (REIWA) call last week that the Perth housing market is set to soar has been given a good old fashioned reality check, with a number of property ‘experts’ claiming that it “feels just like a recession”. From The AFR: Property Council of Australia executive


Time to celebrate lower population growth

By Leith van Onselen An number of commentators expressed concern yesterday at Australia’s population growth figures for the December quarter, which came in lower than expected at only 1.42%, arguing that it will materially slow Australia’s economy. From The AFR: The unexpected slowdown in Australia’s population throws up yet another challenge for Treasurer Joe Hockey,


Parko slams both parties’ Budget ineptitude

By Leith van Onselen Former Australian Treasury Secretary, Martin Parkinson, has given both major parties a strong dose of Budget medicine, slamming them for putting populist politics ahead of the nation’s finances and economy. Appearing at a conference at the Australian National University (ANU) yesterday, Dr Parkinson warned that Australia’s economic growth is under threat,


Links 30 June 2015

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: How equity markets react to crises – Disciplined Investing The S&P 500 is working its way towards oversold – The Short Side of Long Why do so many investors persist in trying to beat the market? – A Wealth of Common Sense Gross Gets Personal: ‘I Just Wanted to


Mining sector leads wages. But not for long!

By Leith van Onselen The ABS today released its annual Australian Industry report covering the 2013-14 financial year, which includes estimates at a sub-industry level of employment, detailed income and expenses information, and profits. CommSec has taken the time to disaggregate the data, and has revealed that the resources sector contained the four highest paid


TPP a “debacle” that “strengthens protection”

By Leith van Onselen There seems to be the beginnings of a rear-guard uprising against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement – the US-led trade pact between 12 Pacific Rim nations (including Australia) – with a number of groups rallying against the deal. ABC’s business editor, Ian Verrender, has written a damning assessment of the


More forecasts for house price falls in 2017

By Leith van Onselen BIS Shrapnel and AMP chief economist, Shane Oliver, have joined the chorus of commentators (including MB) expecting house prices to fall by 2017. From The AFR: House prices will start falling in 2016-17 as the threat of rising interest rates coincides with worsening affordability, a big increase in supply and weaker


Debunking the property lobby’s negative gearing myths

By Leith van Onselen The Property Council and the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) enlisted ACIL Allen Consulting to write a report that attempts to debunk so-called myths that Australia’s negative gearing laws are having a deleterious impact on housing affordability and the Budget, and do nothing to boost housing supply nor improve rental


FHBs with no deposit now take two mortgages

From News.com.au over the weekend came a new take on the extraordinary measures young Australians are taking to secure an owner-occupied home: …aspiring entry-level buyers with little or no savings behind them are relying on their parents to stump up their deposit which they are formally agreeing to pay back — with interest — while


RP Data weekly housing market update

Click to view Core Logic-RP Data’s latest weekly housing market update, which provides a useful snapshot of the housing market as at 28 June 2015. This week’s report includes: Latest weekly dwelling value results; Auction results & clearance rates; Latest median house & unit prices; Average time on market & vendor discounts; Mortgage market activity;


Auction clearances stuck in stratosphere

The national auction clearance rate rose marginally over the weekend, continuing the record run of strong results. The preliminary national clearance rate was 78.0%, up slightly from the 77.7% recorded last weekend, according to Core Logic-RP Data: Sydney’s clearance rate fell by 0.4% to 83.5%, whereas Melbourne’s was 78.5%, down marginally from the 79.2% clearance


Links 29 June 2015

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Google’s Plan to Bring Free Superfast Wi-Fi to the World Has Begun – bgr.com A Perfect Storm Brews for Bond Funds – Bloomberg The World’s Biggest Economies Are About to Feel the Impact of China’s Slowdown – Bloomberg Paul Krugman Goes for a Knockout Against Scrappy Austerians – Bloomberg


Slowing rental market punishing landlords

By Leith van Onselen Another day, another warning about how declining rental growth and rising vacancies are punishing Australian landlords. From The AFR: Analysis of rentals and property prices shows sluggish growth – or falls – in rents because of building booms that are transforming the suburban streetscapes and skylines in many large cities… “The


Rent seekers fight back over Uber ridesharing

By Leith van Onselen The war over ride sharing is heating up across Australia. Earlier this week, The Brisbane Times reported that the state government has fined Uber-x drivers $1.7 million over the past 12 months, with 1,536 infringement notices issued against 538 drivers. The Brisbane Times also reported that in May, Uber had written to


REIWA: Perth housing to boom!

By Leith van Onselen If you want a good laugh, check-out the above video featuring the Real Estate Institute of WA chief, David Airey, explaining why Perth’s housing market is set to soar: “Given the sustained period of flat market in Perth, I’d expect the Perth market to be absolutely ramping along in the next