Unconventional Economist


Australia limps towards fake “growth record”

By Leith van Onselen From Peter Martin, comes the following about Australia’s march towards the GDP growth record: The March quarter national accounts due for release on June 7 were expected to show Australia had caught up to Holland, which holds the record for the longest period of near-continuous economic growth, clocking up 103 quarters


Panic hits consumer discretionary sector

By Leith van Onselen The AFR has delivered another gloomy assessment of the consumer discretionary sector: Worried Australian consumers are increasingly cutting back spending on discretionary items as they grapple with big home loans and uncertainty about holding onto their jobs, and the consequences are hitting a range of listed companies in the retail, automotive


Infrastructure Australia: Privatise public transport

By Leith van Onselen Infrastructure Australia (IA) has called on state governments to privatise their public transport networks, which IA claims could save taxpayers $15.5 billion by 2040. From The AFR: Handing operation of all of Australia’s public bus and rail systems over to the private sector could save state governments as much as $15.5


Another future fundie warns on Aussie housing bubble

By Leith van Onselen Following JCP Investment Partners’ – one of three equity managers that invests for the Future Fund – warning this week that Australia’s housing bubble is as disastrous as Ireland’s and the US’, former Future Fund managing director, Mark Burgess, has issued a similar warning about Australia’s unparalleled appetite for investment property.


Labor’s bank levy pedantry drags into fourth day

By Leith van Onselen Labor’s pedantry over the Coalition’s 0.06% levy on the big banks’ liabilities rolled on for a fourth day yesterday when it once again used Question Time to discredit the Budget’s forecasts that the bank levy would raise $6.2 billion over the forward estimates. Once again, The Guardian’s politics blog summarised Labor’s


Links 26 May 2017

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Household Debt, Macroprudential Rules, and Monetary Policy – Repec The next financial crisis could be in forex – Reuters Your Data Is Way More Exposed Than You Realize – WSJ The Saudi Oil Blunder That Will Keep Costing – Bloomberg This Old School Hedge Fund Is Going Quant – WSJ Robo-Advisers Battle Wall


John Fraser: Chinese buyers deserting housing market

By Leith van Onselen After the latest FIRB Annual Report for 2015-16 showed exploding investment in Australian residential property by China, Treasury Secretary John Fraser has stated that Chinese investment has plunged so far in 2016-17, due to credit curbs implemented in China. From the Herald-Sun: Treasury secretary and ­Reserve Bank board member John Fraser


Melbourne to become biggest parasite by 2030s

By Leith van Onselen Over many years, Melbourne has lead the nation’s population growth, adding a ridiculous one million people (a 27% increase) in the 12 years to June 2016: Today, Bernard Salt – the self-proclaimed “unabashed supporter of a Bigger Australia” – has penned an article in The Australian arguing that Melbourne will overtake


Morrison defends Budget’s wages growth unicorn

By Leith van Onselen Behold, once again, Scott Morrison’s Budget fantasy that Australian wages growth will miraculously boom over the next four years to levels not seen since the once-in-a-century mining investment and commodity price boom (forecast in green): Last night, Scott Morrison defended the Budget’s wages unicorn in a speech given to the Australian


Another dumb privatisation screws the public

By Leith van Onselen NSW electricity distribution businesses have won an important court case against the Australian Energy Regulator, which threatens to send NSW power bills skywards and has set a potential precedent for power bills to rise across the nation. From The Canberra Times: In the ruling, the Australian Energy Regulator lost on most counts when


The US Health system is busted

By Leith van Onselen VOX has produced an interesting study on the US health system where, despite spending by far the most in the world, health outcomes are poor by developed world standards, partly due to the overuse of expensive low-quality drugs: Abstract: Despite higher per capita healthcare spending, US health outcomes compare poorly with


Links 25 May 2017

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Why predicting the future is more than just horseplay – CS Monitor The Worry About Indexing is Overblown – The Fat Pitch Technically Speaking: Bulls Struggle With Bearish Internals – Real Investment Advice Religious ETFs Are About to Hit the Bond Market – Bloomberg Understanding Today’s Stagnation – Project Syndicate Americas: The Return to


Macromonitor forecasts housing construction slump

By Leith van Onselen In the wake of today’s disappointing Construction Work Done results from the ABS, which registered a large fall in residential building construction: Macromonitor has released its latest Australian Construction Outlook, which forecasts a major slump in dwelling construction over the next two years, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne. From The AFR:


ACCI demands real cut to minimum wage

By Leith van Onselen James Pearson, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), has penned an article demanding the Fair Work Commission (FWC) reject the ACTU’s push for the minimum wage to be increased by $45 a week, claiming that Australia already boasts one of the highest minimum wage rates in