Ever heard of the Forex Factory? How about World Leaders News? Or Tweet Meme? Philippine Times? Quedit? The News List? Odd Bird Collective?
These are just a few of the media outlets that considered it worthwhile reporting on comments from Julia Gillard that she was concerned that Australia has a dose of the economic clap (or Dutch Disease in the common parlance). Not one major Australian news site carried the story (at the time of writing).
A few other outlets that you may have of heard of also ran strong headlines. BusinessWeek, Forbes and Bloomberg:
Prime Minister Julia Gillard highlighted risks posed by the nation’s ties to a global commodity boom, with a patchwork economy emerging from export gains accompanied by subdued domestic spending.
“I’m very conscious that a strong Australian dollar has benefits and it has burdens,” Gillard said in an interview yesterday in Canberra, citing stresses posed by currency gains for the manufacturing and tourism industries.
Gillard’s comments reflect a challenge faced by policy makers from Brazil to China, where strengthening exchange rates risk undermining exports unconnected to the climb in global commodity prices. While emerging markets have taken steps to stem currency gains, such as through limits on capital inflows, Australia has refrained from such measures and Gillard said she favors letting the market set the so-called Aussie.
“The domestic economy is probably weaker than expected and that reflects the fine balancing act for policy makers,” said Tom Vosa, director of economic research at National Australia Bank Ltd. in London. “There is a risk of a Dutch disease effect,” he added, referring to the Netherlands’s experience of a surge in growth in its energy industries that drove up the currency and hurt manufacturing.
… Australia’s economic growth accelerated to a quarterly pace of 0.7 percent in the final three months of last year, a government report showed two days ago. The nation is benefitting from its strongest terms of trade, a measure of income from exports, since the early 1950s, according to the central bank.
Outside of mining, the economy is doing less well. Australia’s services industry contracted in February, a survey showed yesterday. The performance of services index was 48.7 from 45.5 in January, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the Australian Industry Group said in Sydney. A figure below 50 indicates contraction.
Yes indeedy, as reported here yesterday.
This blogger doubts that the PM raised this important issue voluntarily. I can’t find the original interview so can’t confirm it. But she has no incentive to do so, given it was Gillard herself that signed away $100 billion on the RSPT compromise that severly set back any hope of addressing Dutch Disease effectively.
But at least the PM has an excuse. Given this opportunity to debate the issue, why is the entire Australian media is ignoring it?