Australian Economy


Profiling Australia’s hedge funds

Cross-posted from Martin North: ASIC today published their report into the Australian Hedge Funds Industry. It draws from aggregated industry data and a survey to September 2014. Hedge funds comprise about 4% of managed funds in Australia, $95bn compared with $2,407bn. Superannuation funds accounted for approximately three-quarters of this total with nearly $1,789 billion in


Why DFAT’s TPP consultations were a sham

By Leith van Onselen Last week, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) released a “fact sheet” attempting to dispel “common misconceptions” around the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – the US-led trade deal being negotiated between 12 Pacific Rim nations, including Australia. Amongst the topics covered was the notion that the TPP negotiations have been


Manufacturing PMI crashes back into recession

From the AIG, the one month manufacturing expansion is over: Activity across the manufacturing industry fell sharply in June, following a brief expansion in May. The Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI® ) dropped by 8.1 points to 44.2 points this month (readings above 50 points indicate expansion), the lowest reading


Aussie household debt ratios hit record high

By Leith van Onselen The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) yesterday updated its quarterly financial statistics, which revealed that Australian household debt rose to an all-time high in the March quarter of 2015. The ratio of mortgage debt-to-disposable income hit a record 142.1% in March, up from the June 2010 peak of 134.7% (see next


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


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,


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


Tony’s tradies cop an ATO reaming

From Fairfax: Hundreds of thousands of building industry contractors who may have dodged their GST or income-tax obligations have been hit with $2.3 billion in tax bills. But there could be billions more outstanding, as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) continues data matching information reported to it to identify operators in the cash economy. A reporting


How long will the jobs market hold up?

From Capital Economics: The Australian labour market appears to be coping surprisingly well with the end of the mining boom. However, we suspect that the recent data overstate the strength of the labour market. Moreover, if the economy slows sharply this year, as we expect, then jobs growth will follow suit. By the end of


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


Australia Post slashes and burns jobs

From the SMH this won’t improve the mood any: Australia Post will slash almost 2000 jobs over the next three years as it wrestles with diving volumes of letters. The ABC reports that Australia Post has confirmed losses in its mail delivery business are approaching $500 million this financial year. “We have reached the tipping point that


RET peace fires investment

From the ABC: The Ararat wind farm has secured finance to build 75 turbines in south-west Victoria, helping the Australian Capital Territory to meet its renewable energy target (RET). The project was one of three winners of the ACT Government’s 200 megawatt wind auction held earlier this year. It is also the first major contract


How much stimulus firepower does Australia have left?

A nice piece at Dad’s Army today from Dr Patrick Carvalho of the Centre for Independent Studies: To determine how much wriggle room Australia might have when the next crisis strikes, we can use a tool recently devised by The Economist, a tripartite indicator, to gauge the ability to fight recession. …A history of consistent and accelerating surges


DFAT lathers lipstick on TPP pig

By Leith van Onselen With the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) entering the final stages of negotiation, the Australian Senate has released a report slamming the Government’s approach to trade agreements, claiming that it is unnecessarily secretive, ignores the public, and has a poor level of independent analysis before treaties are signed. From The Canberra Times: All