Unconventional Economist


Population ponzi crush-loads V/Line trains

By Leith van Onselen Remember this chart? It shows that Victoria’s population surged by an all-time high 127,500 people in the year to September 2016: And remember how the Liberal opposition pledged to shift Melbourne’s population growth to Victoria’s regions in a bid to take pressure off both housing and infrastructure in Melbourne? Well, it


SMSFs wail over Labor’s property curbs

By Leith van Onselen The whining over Labor’s proposed ban on self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) being able to borrow money to fund property purchases hit a crescendo over the weekend. Let’s take a look at the arguments on offer. First up, The Australian editorial claimed that “Labor’s plan would cost us dearly”: Bill Shorten wants


Fake Greens try to scuttle 457 visa changes

By Leith van Onselen Unbelievably, the party that is supposed to safeguard the Australian environment – The Australian Greens – is trying to scuttle the Turnbull Government’s modest changes to so-called ‘skilled’ 457 visas. From The Canberra Times: The Turnbull government’s plan to scrap the 457 skilled migration visa faces new hurdles in the Senate with


Murdoch flunkies whine about 457 visa reforms

By Leith van Onselen The Weekend Australian had a full blown whinge over the Turnbull Government’s announced changes to Australia’s temporary ‘skilled’ visa system, claiming that it will damage the economy. First up, we have political editor, Paul Kelly: The politically driven battle cry “Aussie jobs before foreigners” is a decisive change in the zeitgeist


Sydney auction clearances weaken

CoreLogic released its auction report yesterday, which revealed another weekend of strong auction conditions, despite the national auction clearance rate falling to 72.1% from 77.6% in the weekend before Easter, and remained above the 69.7% recorded in the same weekend last year: Auction volumes nationally (1,732) were also above the same weekend last year (1,565).


NSW, VIC parasites continue to drive ponzi economy

By Leith van Onselen CommSec has released its latest State of the States report, which yet again ranks New South Wales and Victoria on top due largely to a combination of strong population growth, housing, and debt-fueled consumption: Each quarter CommSec attempts to find out by analysing eight key indicators: economic growth; retail spending; business


Links 24 April 2017

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: The operation and demise of the Bretton Woods system – VOX March for Science: Worldwide protests begin – CNN March for Science: Rallies worldwide to protest against political interference – BBC Water streaming across Antarctica surprises, worries scientists – CBS News Despite Mounting Losses, Mystery Trader “50 Cent” Doubles Down With Massive VIX


Weekend reading: 22-23 April 2017

MB Radio: Rort of the ElitesGlobal Macro / Markets / Investing: Panama Papers law firm boss sees tax shelter boom in US – Yahoo Fixing the Financial Crisis Was the Easy Part – Bloomberg The Blockchain Could Change the Backbone of the Stock Market – Visual Capitalist Digitisation shakes up corporate-bond markets – The Economist The Emerging Markets Consumer


One-eyed HIA ignores demand-side housing distortions

By Leith van Onselen The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has issued another media release cautioning against policies aimed at cooling housing demand: Australia needs supply not demand focused solutions to address our national affordability challenges, said the Housing Industry Association. “Attempts to remove demand for new housing will reduce supply, affordability and jobs,” said HIA’s


Now Highrise Harry wants to rent you a caravan

By Leith van Onselen Over the years, “Highrise” Harry Triguboff has shown himself to be one of Australia’s biggest rent-seekers, supporting policies that would line his own pockets. In addition to supporting the daft policy solution of allowing first home buyers to use their superannuation for housing, Triguboff is also an avid supporter of mass


Australia is trading away control of its borders

By Leith van Onselen Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has confirmed that the Turnbull Government’s curbs on temporary overseas labour will not apply to existing free trade agreements (FTAs). Dutton says the FTAs in question are those with China, Japan and South Korea. From The AFR: Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed on Thursday that the FTA’s,


Urban sprawl does not endanger Australia’s food bowl

By Leith van Onselen One of the common arguments against ‘urban sprawl’ is that it endangers Australia’s food bowl – the food producing farms that sit beyond the urban fringe of our major cities. In recent times we have witnessed alarmist reports from various bodies, such as the University of Technology Sydney, warning that Sydney


Immigration backlash swells in New Zealand

By Leith van Onselen The New Zealand National Government’s single-minded focus on solving the nation’s housing crisis by boosting dwelling supply continues to fail. In 2016, New Zealand added a whopping 100,000 residents, more than 70% of which came from net migration: The bubble hotspot of Auckland has been the primary recipient of the population


Tim Colebatch schools Peter Martin on immigration

By Leith van Onselen Former economics editor with The Age, Tim Colebatch, yesterday published a brilliant article supporting the federal government’s crackdown on temporary work visas, arguing that Australia’s current mass immigration program is destroying employment prospects for the incumbent population. From Inside Story: Between 2008 and 2016, in net terms, the Australian labour market


Links 21 April 2017

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Robo-Adviser Wants to Lend You Money, Not Just Manage It – Bloomberg Monument to Wall Street Glory Becomes Just Another Mortgage Loss – Bloomberg Fed’s Fischer: US monetary policy normalization likely to be gradual – CNBC Americas: Subprime Pet Rental Company Files For Bankruptcy – Zero Hedge Hillary camp scrambling to find out


Domain: Sydney’s median house price tops $1.15 million

By Leith van Onselen Domain (formerly APM) has released its house and unit price results for the March quarter of 2017, which are presented in the below tables: As shown above, house price growth nationally was driven by the two biggest cities of Sydney (+2.8%) and Melbourne (+4.0%), both of which hit record highs of


Bill Shorten recommits to Big Australia albatross

By Leith van Onselen Back in 2013, Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten argued that Australia’s immigration intake should be increased from already turbo-charged levels: Australia should increase its immigration levels, Labor leadership hopeful Bill Shorten has declared, saying the next arrival could “be the next Albert Einstein or a good taxpayer”… Speaking about immigration more


Australian politicians are pigs in the housing trough

By Leith van Onselen The ABC has produced a great report today on the high degree of investment property ownership by Australia’s federal politicians, which is likely acting as a strong disincentive to them making fundamental reform to fix Australia’s housing woes: The 226 individuals own 524 properties between them and about half of them


Tougher citizenship test won’t save Do-nothing Malcolm

By Leith van Onselen As reported in The Australian today, the Turnbull Government will impose stricter rules for foreigners seeking to become Australian citizens, as part of its package of changes to immigration and visa rules. Amongst other things, people applying for citizenship will have to demonstrate adherence with “Australian values”, while they will be