Unconventional Economist


International students face tougher English language requirements

At the beginning of the year, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews wrote a letter to the National Tertiary Education Union promising to demand a federal government review of university English-language requirements amid concerns that many international students were struggling to participate in class and complete assignments, as well as placing undue strain on teaching staff: “International


Links 21 June 2019

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Deutsche Bank Under Investigation for ‘Potential Money-Laundering Lapses’ – Daily Beast More spent on S&P 500 buybacks than all 2018 R&D – Axios Trump Moves From Trade War Toward Currency War – Bloomberg The World Now Has Three People Worth More Than $100 Billion Each – Bloomberg Asia stocks


Final auction clearance rate highest in 13 months

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 4.6% decline in the final national auction clearance rate to 61.8% – well above the same weekend last year (52.4%) and way above last week’s 48.3%:


How the Pharmacy Guild gouges Australians

By Leith van Onselen You would be hard pressed to find a bigger racket than Australian pharmacies. How many any other industries in Australia have had laws implemented that ban new entrants from opening within 1.5 kilometers of an existing business? How many other industries allow only registered professionals in the field to own and


Population growth surges past 400,000 on rising immigration

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released its Australian Demographic Statistics for the December quarter of 2018, which revealed that Australia’s population continues to grow manically led by surging net overseas migration (NOM), mostly into Sydney and Melbourne. According to the ABS, Australia’s population rose by 1.6% in the 2018


We’re all slaves now, as gig economy booms

By Leith van Onselen Robert Gottliebsen has hailed the gig economy as enabling many Australians from coping with the rising cost of living and avoiding going into mortgage arrears. Gotti has also cautioned against greater regulation of the gig economy: Australians have embraced the so-called gig economy with great enthusiasm and an incredible survey commissioned


Industry parasites demand more privatisations

With the net debt of Australia’s state governments set to rise sharply in coming years to finance infrastructure projects for Australia’s population ponzi, analysis shows they have almost $220 billion worth of assets that could be privatised. Accordingly, IFM Investors CEO, Brett Himbury, is calling for further asset sales to the nation’s superannuation funds. From


Is an NBN writedown imminent?

By Leith van Onselen Last month, the NBN reported that it “continues to bleed” cash as revenue targets remain elusive: In its third-quarter results, released on Monday, NBN Co announced revenues of $2 billion but a net loss of $3.4 billion for the nine months to March 31, bringing accumulated losses to $20.7 billion over


Faulty apartments create generation of “mortgage prisoners”

By Leith van Onselen Australia’s apartment market is in crisis. On Christmas Eve, all residents at the 392-apartment Opal Tower high-rise were evacuated after serious cracking sent soundwaves across the complex. And then over the weekend, residents of a 12 year-old, 10-storey high-rise apartment complex in Mascot were evacuated after cracks were discovered in the foundation


Real rankings of Australian universities for international students

Yesterday, Australia’s mainstream media was buzzing with the news that seven of Australia’s universities are ranked in the top 100 universities globally. The below graphic, courtesy of The Australian, shows which universities made the cut: These rankings are important to universities because they are used to market themselves overseas. A higher ranking equates to more


Links 20 June 2019

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Goldman Sachs is sounding the alarm: Technology stocks are overvalued – CNBC U.S. lawmaker calls for Facebook to pause cryptocurrency project – Reuters Global Economic Growth Is Already Slowing. The U.S. Trade Wars Are Making It Worse. – NY Times Airbus is ready for pilotless jets – are you?


NSW Treasurer demands federal reform

NSW’s Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, has labelled federal-state financial relations “a mess” and demanded fundamental reform. From The SMH: The NSW government has appointed an expert panel to review federal financial relations from a state perspective. It will identify ways to improve the current system and make it more reliable. Mr Perrottet said the aim was


Canada launches another daft first home buyer subsidy

While the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has advised the Canadian Government to maintain strong macroprudential controls to prevent irresponsible lending, the Government is doing the opposite, summoning the first home buyer (FHB) patsies in a scheme that will launch on 2 September. From Global News Canada [my emphasis]: Under the plan, the government would


Is Melbourne’s McMansion meltdown easing?

By Leith van Onselen Last month, 7 News profiled land speculators facing financial ruin as Melbourne’s outer-suburban house & land market implodes: Hundreds of Melbourne families are panic selling housing blocks as they face financial ruin. @NickMcCallum7 #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/9ofC4RWWLx — 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) May 20, 2019 Then The AFR reported that more than a third


Former APRA/ASIC executive slams the “farce of fake regulation”

Dr Wilson N. Sy, – the former head of research for APRA, and executive at ASIC and the Australian Treasury – has published a paper attacking the “farce of fake regulation” after it was exposed by the banking royal commission. Below is the extract: The revelations from the Hayne Royal Commission (HRC, 2019), limited though


Rental vacancies declined in May

By Leith van Onselen SQM Research has released its rental vacancy series for May, which revealed a small fall in the national vacancy rate to 2.2% from 2.3% last month; although it was up 0.1% over the year: Over the year, increases in vacancies were recorded in Sydney (+0.8%), Melbourne (+0.4%) and Canberra (+0.4%), whereas


Universities waste international student billions on administration

Earlier this month, Auditor-Generals from Australia’s three largest states warned that Australia’s universities have become dangerously reliant on fees from international students, which have ballooned on the back of the massive rise in international student numbers, as shown below: As you can see, the number of international students studying in Australia has nearly doubled to


Links 19 June 2019

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: U.S. shale oil output to rise to record 8.52 million barrels per day in July: EIA – Reuters Why bitcoin hasn’t gone to zero and is now knocking on the door of $10,000 – MarketWatch Asian markets mostly gain ahead of central bank meetings – MarketWatch Americas: Bosses pocket


London drives UK house price rebound

By Leith van Onselen Acadata has released its latest house price results for the UK, which shows that annual price growth climbed back into the black driven by a rebound in London: In the year to May, UK house prices climbed by 0.3% (up from -0.1% in April), driven by Greater London where value losses


ABS: Property prices fall from coast-to-coast

By Leith van Onselen The ABS has released its property price index – incorporating both detached houses and units – which registered another 3.0% decline in home values nationally over the March quarter and a 7.4% decline over the year: Sydney (-3.9%), Melbourne (-3.8%), Brisbane (-1.5%), Perth (-1.8%), Darwin (-0.6%), Adelaide (-0.2%), Canberra (-0.9%), Hobart