Australian Economy


HIA: Land prices rocket as sales evaporate

By Leith van Onselen The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has released its land sales report for the December quarter of 2014, which revealed a widening divergence between vacant land prices, which continue to climb to record highs, and the number of land sales, which slumped again in the latest quarter and have fallen sharply over


Q&A’s TPP fail

By Leith van Onselen Last night’s Q&A program aired on The ABC was pathetic. Despite having Trade Minister, Andrew Robb, on the panel, and negotiations for the highly contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal drawing to a close, chair Tony Jones failed to allow one question on the issue, despite assurances that there would be


Gotti births Triguboffonomics

By Leith van Onselen Business Spectator’s Robert Gottliebsen (“Gotti”) has penned another piece of Triguboffonomics, arguing that Chinese property investment (immigration) is the key to the Melbourne economy’s future success: Melbourne has approved the construction of over 20,000 apartments in the central business district over the next four years, five times the ‘normal’ level of


Consumer confidence at 8-month low

By Leith van Onselen The ANZ-Roy Morgan Research (RMR) consumer confidence index has slumped to an 8-month low, falling by 1.0 points to 108.8 in the week ended 19 April to be tracking well below the long-run average of 113 (see next chart). The overall slump was driven by a deterioration in perceptions about the


Capt’ Glenn too late the hero

By Leith van Onselen In his speech last night to the American Australian Association luncheon, RBA Governor, Glenn Stevens, called for help from policy makers in managing the macro-economy, noting the clear short-comings of monetary policy [my emphasis]: To this point, the balance that the Reserve Bank Board has struck has seen the policy rate


Holden chops jobs

From News: So far this year sales of the Holden Commodore are down by 17 per cent and deliveries of the Cruze small car are down by 5 per cent in a market that has just posted the strongest first three months on record. Staff numbers will fall from 1530 production line workers to 1260


Housing/population ponzi elevates NSW to the top

By Leith van Onselen CommSec released its State of the States report overnight, which has elevated New South Wales to the top of the rankings: Each quarter CommSec attempts to find out by analysing eight key indicators: economic growth; retail spending; equipment investment;  unemployment; construction work done; population growth; housing finance and dwelling commencements. Just


Barnett gets $600 million bailout

From Sky: West Australian Treasurer Mike Nahan claims his state will pocket a $600 million payment from the federal government to make up for a shortfall in GST revenue. There are conflicting messages around this but I’d guess it’s right. A pretty lousy amount, really, but still $600 million more than it should get and


Mike Smith keeps services hopium alive

By Leith van Onselen ANZ chief, Mike Smith, has delivered more hopium on why services exports could save Australia from the commodities bust. From The AFR: Services exports from Australia have already overtaken the minerals trade and have greater potential for long-term growth, a new study shows, providing an optimistic outlook for the economy despite


If only Bill English was in charge of Australia

By Leith van Onselen New Zealand Finance Minister, Bill English, gave an interesting interview to ABC’s The Business last night, which provided a welcome contrast to the political imbeciles running Australia. Some key points from the interview include: The New Zealand Dollar is too high, particularly relative to Australia. The RBNZ’s macro-prudential controls on high


How FTAs are ripping-off content users

By Leith van Onselen Peter Drahos, professor in law at the Australian National University’s Regulatory Institutions Network and Professor of Intellectual Property at Queen Mary, London University, has written a well reasoned post about the hidden costs of including intellectual property clauses in so-called free trade agreements (FTAs). From The Canberra Times: Today, multinational companies


Youth employment climbs off the canvas

By Leith van Onselen Yesterday’s improved labour force data for March revealed slightly better news for Australia’s youth, with unemployment for those aged 15 to 24 years old falling to 13.7% – down 0.2% from the 17-year high of 13.9% recorded in October 2014. Unemployment for the rest of the labour market also declined to


Coalition’s car reforms don’t go far enough

By Leith van Onselen As reported in The Australian, the Abbott Government is considering allowing personal imports of overseas vehicles, provided they are less than a year old and have travelled under 4,000 kilometres: Assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs, who has been consulting on changes to the Motor Vehicle Standards Act, said the government also


Near record new car sales

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today released new motor vehicle sales for the month of March, which registered a 0.5% seasonally adjusted lift in the number of sales, and a 4.4% increase over the year (see next table). Sales in March rose in four jurisdictions and fell in four. As


Household finance confidence falling

By Martin North, cross-posted from the Digital Finance Analytics Blog: We have released the latest edition of the DFA Household Finance Confidence Index, the results of are derived from our household surveys, averaged across Australia. We have 26,000 households in our sample at any one time. We include detailed questions covering various aspects of a


Unemployment falls to 6.1%

By Leith van Onselen The ABS has released the labour force survey for March, which revealed a 0.1% seasonally adjusted fall in the unemployment rate to 6.1%, with the trend rate remaining steady at 6.2% (see below table). However, last month’s result (previously reported as 6.3% seasonally adjusted and trend) was revised down by 0.1%,


The TPP trade deal needs transparency

By Leith van Onselen The AFR’s Greg Earl has called for greater transparency in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement – the US-led trade pact between 12 Pacific Rim nations, including Australia – following concerns raised by the Productivity Commission (PC), the ACCC, and the Harper Competition review: …the Productivity Commission, the Australian


Salt of the ponzi

By Leith van Onselen I appear to have provoked a little backlash from Bernard Salt after my recent article congratulating him on recognising the downsides of rampant population growth. “Unabashed supporter of a bigger Australia”, Salt reckons he has a solution to Australia’s deteriorating economy: ramp-up the population ponzi. From The Australian: With population growth coming