Unconventional Economist


COVID cases fall as Melburnians rejoice

Victoria has recorded another 1750 locally acquired COVID cases over the past 24 hours alongside nine deaths, after Melbourne reopened yesterday: By comparison, NSW has recorded 332 locally acquired cases and two deaths: The next chart plots the daily cases across the two states: Next are active cases: Enjoy your weekend of freedom, Melburnians.


Weekend Reading: 23-24 October 2021

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: The Hidden Costs of Living Alone – The Atlantic How Corporations Keep Their Own Workers in Debt – Politico Amazon is now a bigger shipper in the U.S. than FedEx – Axios A new report shows how climate change is hurting your health – NPR How economists helped Big


NAB lifts property price forecasts

Property professionals are losing confidence in Australia’s housing market, according to the latest NAB Residential Property Survey. The NAB Residential Property Index fell to +60 in the September quarter from the survey high +71 points in the June quarter: The fall in NAB’s index is universal: However, NAB has ramped-up its dwelling growth forecasts for


Another hot weekend of auctions on the cards

Australia’s auction market boomed again last weekend, recording a final auction clearance rate of 78.3% (down from 80.2% the prior weekend) on higher volumes (2,940 versus 2708): As shown above, clearance rates were strong coast-to-coast: Australia’s final clearance rate is tracking close to its highest level since CoreLogic began tracking auctions in 2008: According to


Sly ScoMo hides car park rorts

The Morrison Government has been accused of ‘hiding’ information over the $660 million commuter car park fund, which Labor argues was “wholesale rorting”. Set up in 2018 as part of the Urban Congestion Fund, the project was intended to construct car parks near urban railway stations. However, the Auditor-General found that none of the 47


Retailers tip strong pre-Christmas sales

From Roy Morgan Research: Australia’s largest peak body for retail, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), and strategic partner Roy Morgan are predicting this year’s pre-Christmas spending will broadly match last year’s high and be significantly above 2019 pre-pandemic spending. The ARA-Roy Morgan 2021 pre-Christmas Retail Sales predictions forecast that overall spending will come in at


Foreign buyers lift demand for Aussie property

The latest NAB Residential Property Survey of industry professionals shows that foreign demand for new Australian homes jumped in the September quarter of 2021, however demand for existing homes remained near record lows: Specifically, property professionals estimate that that the share of total sales to foreign buyers lifted to 4.4% for new properties (their highest


Labor, unions: Temporary migration surge will crush wages

Labor and the unions have tentatively pushed back against plans to quickly reboot Australia’s immigration program, arguing that flooding the nation with temporary migrants will crush wage growth: Opposition immigration spokeswoman Kristina Keneally, citing Dr Lowe, said high levels of temporary migration had contributed to Australia’s sluggish wage growth. “We need a migration system that


Links 22 October 2021

Global macro / Markets /Investing: More Bad Policies Contributing to the “Supply Chain Crisis” – Cato Of Shots and Supply-Chain Snarls – NY Times Fed’s Waller says high inflation through year end may need ‘aggressive’ response – Reuters The wealthiest 10% of Americans own a record 89% of all U.S. stocks – CNBC WTO director-general


Fair Work Ombudsman overrun by migrant wage thieves

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s (FWO) annual report shows that it launched 76 wage underpayment cases in 2020-21, compared with 54 in the previous financial year. The FWO also recovered more than $148m on behalf of victims of wage theft during the financial year, compared with just $30m three years earlier. The annual report notes that


Vaccination dramatically lowers COVID cases, hospitalisations and deaths

Fairfax has compiled interesting data from NSW illustrating how COVID vaccines have dramatically helped to lower COVID cases, hospitalisations and deaths: According to the most recent data from NSW Health’s COVID-19 surveillance report, more than 10 per cent of new cases in the week ending October 2 were fully vaccinated. Despite rising vaccination coverage among


Properties for sale surge in spring

CoreLogic’s latest chart pack showed that total for sale listings at the end of September were tracking 27.4% below the five year average: This came as national sales volumes were tracking 25.5% above the five year average: New listings data from PropTrack suggests that listings volumes are experiencing a spring bounce, which should ease some


Sly ScoMo blocks debate on anti-corruption bill

In the lead up to the last federal election Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised a national anti-corruption commission. Instead, the Morrison Government has put forward a farcical model that experts believe will actually “hide corruption, not expose it”. Now Scott Morrison has blocked Independent MP Helen Haines’ attempt to debate the “fundamental flaws” in the


Fairfield mayor rejects Ponzi Perrottet’s immigration push

The Mayor of Western Sydney LGA, Frank Carbone, has categorically rejected Dominic “Ponzi” Perrottet’s call to double the nation’s immigration intake to 400,000. Carbone appeared on the Today Show yesterday (video below) where he stated categorically that Fairfield and Western Sydney cannot cope with such extreme growth, which would destroy housing affordability, put undue strain


Australian economy gets dumber and dumberer

Deloitte Access Economics has released a report entitled Australia remade: a country fit for the age of disruption, which claims that Australia is “not as successful an economy as we think we are” and lacks sophistication: [The] Deloitte Economic Sophistication Index ranks countries and their economies based on two measures: the value added to the goods


Stop blaming a ‘lack of supply’ for Australia’s housing woes

Ex-RBA head of research turned chief economist at the Centre for Independent Studies, Peter Tulip, has penned an article in Fairfax blaming a lack of supply for Australia’s housing affordability woes: Many submissions to the federal housing inquiry now underway argue for removal of tax concessions like negative gearing and the capital gains discount. This


Victorian COVID cases soar before reopening

As Melbourne prepares to exit lockdown tonight, Victoria recorded a whopping 2232 new locally acquired COVID cases and 12 deaths: Reported yesterday: 2,232 new local cases and 3 cases acquired overseas (currently in HQ). – 37,824 vaccines administered – 79,544 test results received – Sadly, 12 people with COVID-19 have died More later: https://t.co/OCCFTAchah#COVID19Vic #COVID19VicData


Australia’s broken visa system keeps delivering wrong skills

Late last week, The AFR ran an article bemoaning so-called skills shortage among accountants, which therefore necessitates a big lift in the nation’s ‘skilled’ migration program: “It’s the tightest job market I’ve ever seen,” said associate partner Priscila Crawford, who specialises in high-level roles at recruitment firm Kona & Co. She agreed that Australian firms


HomeBuilder drives structural housing oversupply

Last week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released dwelling construction data for the June quarter, which showed that dwelling commencements hit the highest level on record over the quarter: The below charts plot annual dwelling approvals, commencements and completions against population growth nationally and across the five major states. National: Nationally, population growth collapsed


Links 21 October 2021

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Supply chain chaos is hitting global growth and could get worse – CNBC Amazon’s Jeff Bezos ‘may have lied to Congress’ – BBC The World’s Biggest Real Estate Bubbles in 2021 – Visual Capitalist Pandemic Profit Pfizer’s Power – Public Citizen Americas: ‘People are fed up’: Dollar General workers