Unconventional Economist


Domestic uni students crowded-out by foreign students

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Population Research Institute (APRI) has released an update to its November report on overseas students, entitled Australia’s higher education overseas student industry revisited, which analyses the Commonwealth Department of Education’s newly released 2017 student enrolment data, which revealed a “striking further increase in the share of commencing overseas students”. Below


Population ponzi causes shocking decline in Melbourne affordable rentals

By Leith van Onselen The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has released alarming new data showing a massive decline in affordable rental options across Melbourne. While the annual growth in median rents across Metropolitan Melbourne moderated to 3.2% in the year to September: It remains well above inflation (2.2%) as well as


Sydney rental vacancies rocket to 3.2%

By Leith van Onselen SQM Research has released its rental vacancy series for November, which revealed a 0.3% surge in the national vacancy rate over the month and a 0.1% increase over the year: Over the year, increases in vacancies were recorded in Sydney (+1.1%), Melbourne (+0.1%), Darwin (+1.2%), and Hobart (+0.1%), whereas Adelaide (-0.2%),


Links 19 December 2018

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: The stock market is on pace for its worst December since the Great Depression – CNBC It Was Easy for New Hedge Funds to Raise Money in 2018. Making It Was Harder – WSJ US credit markets dry up as volatility rattles investors – FT Jeffrey Gundlach says the


WA mining lobby demands its coolies

By Leith van Onselen Western Australia’s mining sector continues to soften-up the government to open the floodgates for temporary foreign workers to fill invented ‘skills shortages’ because of reported rising wage costs and an imaginary lack of workers. From The West Australian: A growing skills shortage is threatening to derail billions of dollars in mining and


Bill Shorten goes all in ‘Big Australia’

By Leith van Onselen With Australia’s permanent migration program already an insane 180,000 in 2017-18 – more than double the level at the turn of the century: And net overseas migration (NOM) running at more than triple the historical average, which is projected to continue for decades to come: Labor’s national conference agreed to effectively double


NSW Budget Update hopelessly optimistic on stamp duty

By Leith van Onselen Following on from this morning’s post on the NSW Office of State Revenue’s (OSR) latest stamp duty data, which revealed a $1.2 billion (16%) decline in receipts in the year to October: The NSW Treasury has this morning released its Mid-Year Budget Update, which recorded a slight downgrade in overall stamp


WestConnex has NSW taxpayers bent over a barrel

By Leith van Onselen A NSW parliamentary review into WestConnex has slammed the project for lacking transparency and failing to meet best practice requirements: WestConnex has had a significant and pronounced impact on local communities and families. This has undoubtedly been a very challenging time for those affected… The committee has questions regarding the transparency of


Coalition’s grey bribes to lock empty nesters in family homes

By Leith van Onselen May’s Federal Budget contained various measures aimed at keeping older Australians in their homes, including: billions of dollars in funding for thousands of extra home-care packages; extending the Pensioner Work Bonus scheme, giving older Australians the ability to earn more money without affecting their benefits; and extending the Pension Loans Scheme


NSW Labor turns Big Australia defender

By Leith van Onselen With mass immigration opponent, Luke Foley, resigning from the NSW Labor Party’s leadership earlier last month, I was hoping that new leader Michael Daley would maintain the rage against the mass immigration influx that is destroying liveability in Sydney: Sadly, early indications are not good. Last month, Michael Daley appeared on


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 June quarter of 2018. As you can see, Switzerland (129%)


NSW stamp duty receipts crash 16% over past year

By Leith van Onselen Following on from yesterday’s post on the $8 billion downgrade to the NSW Government’s stamp duty receipts, the NSW Office of State Revenue has released stamp duty data to October, which reveals a $1.2 billion (16%) decline over the past year: As shown above, annual NSW residential stamp duty receipts ($6,231


CoreLogic: Unsold properties surging across Sydney/Melbourne

CoreLogic’s weekly housing indicators continue to show accelerating weakness. Dwelling values have fallen heavily again, led by Sydney and Melbourne: Auction clearances have crashed, again led by Sydney and Melbourne: Whereas mortgage credit remains stillborn: At the same time, listings have exploded upwards to 2012 highs as unsold ‘stale’ stock accumulates across Sydney and Melbourne;


Foreign student arrivals hit record high in October

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday released its overseas short-term arrivals and departures figures for October, which continued to show a trend rise in the number of inbound visitors, with both Chinese arrivals and student arrivals hitting an all-time high. The number of short-term visitor arrivals fell a seasonal 9.2% in


Links 18 December 2018

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: US credit markets dry up as volatility rattles investors – FT Amazon Targets Unprofitable Items, With a Sharper Focus on the Bottom Line – WSJ Tough fourth quarter casts shadow over Wall St bonuses – FT Global debt reaches record high of $184 trillion, IMF says – Market Place


Asset deflation likely to delay retirement plans

By Leith van Onselen New research from Roy Morgan shows that the number of Australians who intend to retire in the next 12 months is estimated at 426,000, a 30% increase on the level seen in 2008 when it was 328,000. Meanwhile, the average gross wealth (total assets excluding owner-occupied homes) of intending retirees is $331,000,


Coalition’s youth slave labour scheme fails

By Leith van Onselen Last year, several labour market experts raised concerns about the proliferation of unpaid internships, which risked becoming a black market for slave labour. Despite these warnings, the former Turnbull Government controversially announced that it would expand its $750 million Youth-Jobs PaTH program – to prepare, trial and ultimately hire young Australians


Long-term migrant arrivals surge to another all-time high

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released visitor arrivals and departures data for the month of October, which again posted turbo-charged net annual permanent and long-term arrivals. In the year to October 2018, there were 825,480 permanent and long-term arrivals into Australia – up 6% from October 2017 and an


Labor unveils excellent FTA reforms

By Leith van Onselen Labor’s national conference has supported proposed changes to the party’s policy platform with regard to free-trade agreements. Amongst other things, Labor will require a preliminary national interest assessment to be undertaken when negotiations for a free-trade deal commence, while unions, industry and community groups will be given greater input into trade


Labor goes back to the future on improved NRAS

By Leith van Onselen History doesn’t repeat but it sure does rhyme. At Labor’s weekend conference, leader Bill Shorten announced a $6.6 billion package to facilitate 250,000 ‘affordable’ rental dwellings over the next decade. From The ABC: Under the 10-year, $6.6-billion scheme, investors who build new properties would get a subsidy of $8,500 a year,


Auctions crash deepens

CoreLogic released its auction report yesterday, which reported another pathetically weak round of auctions, with auction clearances remaining near 2011 lows. The preliminary national auction clearance rate was just 43.8% versus 45.3% last weekend (later revised down to 41.0%). The preliminary clearance rate was also way below the 60.7% recorded in the same weekend of


Links 17 December 2018

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: How McKinsey Has Helped Raise the Stature of Authoritarian Governments – NY Times Bitcoin is pretty much dead, says teenage crypto phenom – Market Watch At least 15 central banks are serious about getting into digital currency – Tech Review Economics: The Discipline That Refuses to Change – The


Weekend Reading: 15-16 December 2018

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Dr. Elon & Mr. Musk: Life Inside Tesla’s Production Hell – Wired Economists See U.S.-China Trade War as Biggest Threat in 2019 – WSJ Major German Stock Exchange to Launch Crypto Trading Platform – Coin Desk Another Hedge Fund Veteran Is Quitting a Brutal Market – Bloomberg Steep Decline


Sydney suburbs dominate nation’s house price falls

By Leith van Onselen With Sydney dwelling losses crashing through 10% this week: And losing a nation-leading 8.3% over the past year: It’s not surprising to read CoreLogic’s analysis that “the list of top 50 regions for value declines over the past year is overwhelmingly dominated by New South Wales with each of the 28


Carrington Clarke: Mass immigration undercutting wages

By Leith van Onselen After last year demolishing Scott Morrison over Australia’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy (video above), the ABC’s Carrington Clarke has today penned an article explaining how flooding the labour market through mass immigration is eroding workers’ wages: Although the direct relationship between wages and immigration is not clear, all other things


Dumb unions lobby to lower workers’ wages

By Leith van Onselen You can’t make this stuff up. Unions are reportedly seeking to change Labor’s platform on superannuation at its upcoming national conference, demanding an increase in the superannuation guarantee to 15% by 2030. From The AFR: The Transport Workers Union and the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union are driving the push as