Unconventional Economist


Easter Long Weekend Links: 19-22 April 2019

  Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Mapping the Global Migration of Millionaires – Visual Capitalist China and Russia Buy Gold as US Keeps Gold Prices Artificially Low – Bunker Basics The Bank of England gives a masterclass on the “very real” risks of climate change – Qz Will we survive the next financial crisis? – Politico Belarus President


CoreLogic: High-rise apartment risks building

CoreLogic’s Cameron Kusher has released a research note looking at dwelling commencement trends across Australia’s various sub-components, which shows that risks are skewed towards high-rise construction: The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released the quarterly Building Activity data for December 2018. The release is a treasure-trove of data and includes information on dwelling commencements,


ABS employment in detail: defying gravity

By Leith van Onselen As summarised earlier, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today released its labour force report for March, which registered a solid 25,700 increase in total employment but a 0.1% increase in the headline unemployment rate (to 5.0%) because of a 0.1% rise in labour force participation. In trend terms, the unemployment


Final auction clearances remain stillborn

By Leith van Onselen Last weekend, CoreLogic released its preliminary auction clearance rates, which revealed the following results: Today, CoreLogic has released its final auction results, which reported a 5.0% decline in the final national auction clearance rate to 52.2% – slightly below last week’s final clearance rate of 52.6%: As you can see, Sydney’s final


Australia faces increasing competition for international students

By Leith van Onselen While Australia may currently be a preferred destination for international students, as evidenced by nearly half a million student visas on issue at the end of 2018: Competition for international students is heating-up, both from competitor countries and the source nations. For example, the Canadian Government is planning to expand its


Links 18 April 2019

  Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Plummeting battery prices to make electric cars cheaper than gas cars in 3 years – Think Progress Price of Gold Fundamental Daily Forecast – Lower for the Year, Vulnerable to Steep $15 – $20 Break – FX Empire Middle class struggles are now threatening the global economy –


Labor proposes quotas to stop cheap import dumping

By Leith van Onselen Shadow industry minister Kim Carr has flagged the possibility of imposing temporary import quotas on certain products if it wins the federal election, in order to prevent low-cost imports from flooding the domestic market. Carr has also expressed concern that the Trump administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminium imports could eventually


Coalition, accountants wage war against Labor’s $3,000 tax advice cap

By Leith van Onselen In his Budget reply speech last year, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced plans to impose a cap on the amount that can be claimed for getting tax returns done by a tax agent. Shorten said Labor would apply a cap of $3,000, claiming that 48 wealthy individuals had paid an average


Roy Morgan unemployment jumps to 10.9%

By Leith van Onselen The latest Roy Morgan Research (RMR) unemployment estimate for March jumped 1.3% to 10.6%, and surged 2.0% over the year: Labour underutilisation also surged to 20.6%. Below are the key points from the release: Australian unemployment increased to 1.49 million in March (10.9% of the workforce) with an additional 1.32 million


Grattan: Labor’s compulsory super increase will lower wages

By Leith van Onselen After Labor last month doubled down on lifting Australia’s superannuation guarantee (compulsory superannuation) to 12%, the Grattan Institute has issued a firm rebuke in its pre-election Orange Book: [Grattan] urges the next government to abandon the current plan to increase compulsory superannuation payments from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent,


Migrants sharpen attack against “unfair” elderly parent visas

By Leith van Onselen Migrant communities have stepped up their campaign to loosen Australia’s newly established ‘temporary’ elderly parental visas, which from this month will allow up to 15,000 elderly parents of migrants to live in Australia for a continuous period of three, five or 10 years. Several migrant communities have labelled these “absolutely unfair” because


Infrastructure Victoria spins population propaganda

By Leith van Onselen Infrastructure Victoria has released a incredibly superficial propaganda report, entitled Growing Victoria’s Potential, spruiking the benefits that could arise from the state’s manic population growth, which is expected to see Melbourne’s population balloon to 8 million people by 2051. Below are key extracts from the Executive Summary along with some key charts:


The epic crash of Aussie property sales

By Leith van Onselen CoreLogic’s latest dwelling sales data reveals more bad news for those groups heavily reliant on property transactions, including real estate agents and state governments (via stamp duty). It also points straight down for house prices. The next chart plots annual sales volumes across Australia’s capital cities to December 2018, which are


SQM: Rental vacancies to rise over 2019

By Leith van Onselen SQM Research has released its rental vacancy series for February, which revealed no change in the national vacancy rate over the month or year: Over the year, increases in vacancies were recorded in Sydney (+0.8%), Melbourne (+0.2%), Canberra (+0.3%) and Darwin (+0.1%), whereas Brisbane (-0.7%), Perth (-1.2%), Adelaide (-0.3%) and Hobart


Links 17 April 2019

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon slashes pay for his employees as revenue drops – CNBC Plug-in electric car ownership up 76% in 2018 – Fleet News Goldman Sachs Quarterly Profit Falls 20 percent – Reuters Huawei is ‘open’ to selling 5G chips to Apple for iPhones, marking a big


Scummo pretends to care about traffic congestion

By Leith van Onselen With the election campaign in full swing, Prime Minister Scott Morrison suddenly cares about traffic congestion across Melbourne: More than $150 million of ‘congestion busting’ road projects in Melbourne will be announced by the Coalition on Monday. The Morrison government says the $154 million investment will help ease gridlock across the


EY: Sydney property a dud investment

By Leith van Onselen EY has released analysis claiming that the majority of Sydneysiders would be better-off renting and investing in shares than purchasing an owner-occupied dwelling. From Domain: “It’s time to give up on the mindset that renting is dead money,” said EY chief economist Jo Masters. “There’s this idea that the only way


Auction clearances stuck below 50% in March quarter

CoreLogic has released its quarterly auction market report, which has reported a combined capital city clearance rate of only 49.9% over the March quarter, alongside tanking volumes: Around half of all homes up for auction across Australia’s capital cities sold during the first quarter of 2019, with the latest CoreLogic Quarterly Auction Market Review showing


AFG: Home loan activity crashes to five year low

By Leith van Onselen Australian Finance Group (AFG) has released its housing finance data for the March quarter, which registered a heavy quarterly decline in the number and value of mortgage applications, with applications also crashing over the year. The number of mortgage applications fell by 9.7% over the March quarter and was down by


Business rents seekers bawl at Labor’s trust reforms

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ACCI) and the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBA) has urged Labor to reconsider its proposed $17 billion reforms to the taxation of discretionary trusts, arguing that many small and family-owned businesses could be adversely affected by the policy. From The Australian: “Our


Farmers prefer migrant workers because they’re easier to exploit

By Leith van Onselen Australia’s migrant slave economy continues to be exposed. After last week labelling “outrageous” a Fair Work Commission ruling that fruit pickers should be entitled to overtime if they work excessive hours, it has now been revealed that farmers are choosing to employ migrant workers because they are easier to exploit. From 7News: