How exposed is Melbourne to the next drought?

By Leith van Onselen A decade ago, Melbourne was gripped in drought. Water storages had fallen to below 30% and widespread water restrictions were in place across the city: Several years of strong rainfall followed and today Melbourne’s dam storages sit at a healthier 69%. However, today The ABC reports that Southern Australia is getting

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Tiny homes are no genuine affordability cure

By Leith van Onselen Heather Shearer, a research fellow at Griffith University’s Cities Research Centre, is the latest to jump on the Tiny Houses fad, claiming they represent a solution to Australia’s housing affordability crisis. From The Conversation: Tiny houses are now so popular that someone was charged with stealing one last week… My research


Freelancer CEO destroys “delusional, stuffed, basket case, bubble, Third World economy like no other”

From yesterday’s AFR Innovation Summit comes Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com: Australia is doomed to become a third-world country unless its government starts “something like the Apollo program” to inspire its citizens into becoming a technology economy, Freelancer.com chief executive Matt Barrie told the AFR Innovation Summit 2017. “Australia is basically a property bubble floating


Australia retains silver medal in global household debt

By Leith van Onselen Australia has again taken the silver medal for having the world’s second most indebted households according to the latest data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). The next table shows the ratios of household debt to GDP as at the March quarter of 2017. As you can see, Switzerland (129%)


Xenoponzi aims to gut macroprudential

He may not know how to fill in his parliamentary application form but he sure knows why it’s there. If there was ever any doubt about what this guy stands for then put it aside: Nick Xenophon will introduce legislation next year to require the prudential regulator to closely consider the impact of its actions


More evidence record dwelling construction hasn’t outrun population ponzi

By Leith van Onselen In this week’s SQM Research rental vacancies report, managing director Louis Christopher noted how rental supply would remain under pressure despite the recent record high dwelling construction levels: “Overall the current rental market is a moderate landlord’s market. There is nothing in our numbers to suggest the market is about to


Richard Denniss: Immigration policy must reflect per capita impacts

By Leith van Onselen The Australia Institute’s chief economist, Richard Denniss, has posted his second The Lucky Country podcast, which contained an interesting discussion on mass immigration and its impact on living standards: Listener question: “I’ve heard arguments that letting refugees into Australia will actually help our economy as more people would mean there’s more


Links 20 September 2017

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: What The World Thinks Of Trump – Five Thirty Eight An empirical analysis of peer-to-peer lending – VOX Fed’s balance-sheet unwind will be moment of truth for financial markets – MarketWatch BIS Hunts for ‘Missing’ Global Debt, Inflation – WSJ What Jamie Dimon Got Wrong About Bitcoin and Tulips


Wage suppression a time bomb for superannuation system

By Leith van Onselen The Australia Institute (TAI) has produced an interesting report warning that record low wages growth could significantly curtail Australian’s superannuation retirement savings, placing immense pressure on the Federal Budget. Below is the summary of the report along with some key charts: The record-slow pace of wage growth in Australia’s economy is


RBA minutes hit Goldilocks tone

RBA minutes: Domestic Economic Conditions Members commenced their discussion of the domestic economy by noting that labour market conditions had continued to improve, although spare capacity remains. Employment had risen further in July, the participation rate had edged higher and the unemployment rate had remained steady at 5.6 per cent. Full-time employment had risen strongly


ABS: Sydney, Melbourne drove property prices up 1.9% in Q2

By Leith van Onselen The ABS has today released its property price index – incorporating both detached houses and units – which registered a 1.9% rise in home values nationally over the June quarter and a 10.2% gain over the year, exactly the same as the 10.2% annual growth initially reported in the year to


How’s Donald Trump 2.0 treatin’ ya?

Via the FT today: Donald Trump’s debut address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday morning is expected to set out a nationalistic foreign policy based on “sovereignty” and which pulls back from any vision of America as an overseas nation-builder and singles out North Korea and Iran as “rogue regimes”. A senior White House


Health experts’ flawed call for mandatory health-star ratings

By Leith van Onselen Thirty-five health organisations have united to put an eight-pronged action plan to the Federal Government, which includes a 20% tax on sugary beverages. From The ABC: Obesity Policy Coalition [OPC] executive manager Jane Martin said obesity was having a dire effect on the nation’s physical and economic wellbeing. “We have a


What will cutting immigration do to the NZ economy?

Via UBS today: Our economic forecasts (see NZEP 8 September) reflect our base-case scenario election outcome i.e. that the National Party will form a government with the support of NZ First (see NZEP 1 September). While there could also be potential ramifications for the economic outlook from such a coalition arrangement, the implications of a


Get set for slowing houses and holes…

As some brave folks prepare for rate rises in Australia, the leading indicators are going entirely in the opposite direction. If one subscribes to the basic premise that Australia is a houses and holes economy, that derives income by selling dirt to China and leverages that in offshore markets for mortgages at home, then the