Unconventional Economist


Is litigation Australia’s future under the TPP?

Cross-posted from The Conversation: Australia and Canada have a great deal in common – a British colonial past; large and sparsely populated territories; and resource-intensive economies. Two other similarities also bear mentioning: the economies of both countries are dominated by US investors (27% of foreign investment in Australia and nearly half in Canada); and both


Still think foreigners aren’t juicing house prices?

By Leith van Onselen Earlier this week, the ANZ-Property Council December quarter survey was released, which confirmed what many of us already know: that demand from foreign nationals is forcing-up prices, thereby helping to price-out young Australians from home ownership. The money chart is the one below, which shows a very strong correlation between the


NZ begins to question the population ponzi

By Leith van Onselen When the Intergenerational Report was released earlier this year, it included the next table showing that Australia’s population growth growth was the highest in the developed world between 2005 and 2010, running at an annual average pace of 1.8%: Back in August, it was revealed that New Zealand had taken the


Is the TPP already “dead on arrival”?

By Leith van Onselen With negotiations done and dusted on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, attention has quickly turned to whether member countries will ratify the agreement, thus bringing it into force. Already in the US, opposition is mounting, suggesting that the TPP faces a difficult time getting through Congress. Yesterday, US Democratic front-runner,


Will Shorten act on Australia’s foreign labour scam?

By Leith van Onselen Amid deep concerns that the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) would allow a flood of Chinese workers into Australia, effectively surrender Australia’s autonomy over its migration laws and drive down local wages and conditions, The Australian has reported today that opposition leader, Bill Shorten, has developed a compromise that will be


The NBN could boost Australia’s GDP by 2%

Cross-posted from The Conversation: The National Broadband Network (NBN) can boost Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by about 2% in the long term and, more importantly, add to our national welfare by improving real household consumption by 1.4%. These results, based on our recent research on the NBN’s economic benefit, mean the NBN will produce


Data retention laws introduced Tuesday

By Leith van Onselen From News.com.au comes confirmation that Australia’s controversial data retention (‘metadata’) laws will come into effect on Tuesday, despite nobody knowing the full costs involved in the scheme: The October 13 start of the Mandatory Data Retention Regime will involve details of our telephone and internet messages being stored by service providers


TPP prevents NZ from regulating foreign buyers

By Leith van Onselen Thanks goodness Australia has already ‘banned’ foreign investment in established dwellings, because under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), introduction of such laws would be disallowed. New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) explains: TPP protects investors from foreign governments acting in a grossly unfair or unjust way towards them, discriminating


Inside China’s property bust

By Leith van Onselen Find above an interesting video report aired on ABC’s The Business yesterday, taking a look inside China’s real estate bust, whereby years of over-building have left a huge glut of homes and commercial properties across many of China’s smaller cities. Key points from the report include: Land sales are down 32%


ANZ: “dire outlook for economy in 2016 and 2017”

By Leith van Onselen ANZ has given support to MB’s view that the Australian economy will face a significant downturn over the next two years, warning that the outlook for the economy is “dire” in 2016 and 2017. From The AFR: The ANZ expects housing starts to peak at 215,000 in the year to December


Shorten’s plan to be the “infrastructure PM”

By Leith van Onselen As reported today in Fairfax and The Australian, Opposition leader Bill Shorten will release a new plan today to turn Infrastructure Australia into a $10 billion ‘infrastructure bank’ that would finance new public works and get stalled major projects moving, such as the Melbourne Metro urban rail project and Sydney’s Airport


Foreign buyers forcing up Melbourne home prices

By Leith van Onselen With Melbourne house prices on a tear, up by over 13% year-on-year, according to RP Data: Buyer’s advocate, Mal James, has issued a stern warning that Chinese buyers are pushing-up home prices, particularly in the eastern suburbs. From New Daily: “The ‘Chinese Phenomenon’ dominates our inner east market and is starting


Links 8 October 2015

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Did The Fed Save The World? Or was it deficits? – NY Times Banks’ Glencore Exposure Is a $100 Billion `Gorilla,’ BofA Says – Bloomberg Martin Wolf: Beware of the liquidity delusion – Financial Times Inside the Market of Stocks – theirrelevantinvestor.wordpress.com Venezuela Worst in World as IMF Forecasts


Xenophon labels TPP a “dud”

By Leith van Onselen Independent senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, has attempted to throw a wet blanket over the fanfare surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, labeling the agreement a “dud” and calling on its text to be made public: Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, said serious concerns remained over medicine


Pascoe: Super reform long-overdue

By Leith van Onselen Fairfax’s Michael Pascoe has written a good article today ripping into Australia’s superannuation system, which he argues is long overdue for reform: You might have missed it if you blinked last week, but we suddenly seem to have something like consensus that the over-generous nature of our superannuation system for the


Netflix launch causes internet download spike

By Leith van Onselen The entry of online streaming services like Netflix, Presto and Stan in March this year has been hugely successful, with recent research by Roy Morgan suggesting that by August, market leader Netflix alone occupied over 850,000 Australian households, and reached some 2.2 million viewers (see next chart). Unsurprisingly, the huge growth


Lower dollar continues to juice tourism

By Leith van Onselen The rebound in Australian tourism has been one major bright spot for the Australian economy, helped along in no small part by the depreciation of the Australian dollar. As noted earlier this morning, the ABS’ overseas short-term arrivals and departures figures for August, released yesterday, revealed an ongoing improvement in Australia’s


First TPP gremlin accidentally divulged

By Leith van Onselen History never repeats but it sure does rhyme. Just over a decade ago, the Howard Government signed the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) amid much fanfare. The AUSFTA was marketed as a  transformational agreement that would deliver massive benefits to Australia over the longer term. However, when the dust settled, we


QLD taxi rentiers turn violent

By Leith van Onselen The fight between the Queensland taxi industry and ridesharing service Uber-X has gotten ugly, with two Uber drivers reportedly bashed in Fortitude Valley and Kangaroo Point early on Monday morning. Greg Collins, the owner of the Virginia-based cab company Complete Taxi Management, gloated about the incidents on the Brisbane Taxi Driver