Unconventional Economist


Comparing GDP recoveries

By Leith van Onselen Following on from yesterday’s national accounts release by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), I thought it would be interesting to benchmark Australia’s economic recovery since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) against the recessions of the 1970s, 1980s and the 1990s. For the purpose of the analysis, I have chosen to


Mining industry job losses mount

By Leith van Onselen Back in September, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its quarterly employment report, which provided quarterly time-series data on the number of jobs by industry up to the August quarter of 2012. This report showed that the mining sector had lost -4,600 jobs in the three months to August, which


Links for 6 December 2012

Global Macro: Goldman cuts gold forecast on expectation of higher rates and growth – financialpost.com Global Banking Under Siege as Nations Tighten Local Rules – Bloomberg Innovation Crisis or Financial Crisis? by Kenneth Rogoff – Project Syndicate Shadow Banking: Economics and Policy – imf.org North America: Taking the Threat of Default Out of the Debt


WBC cuts mortgage rates by 0.20%

By Leith van Onselen Westpac has just matched NAB’s and CBA’s decisions earlier today to cut mortgage rates by 0.20%, taking Westpac’s standard variable mortgage rate to 6.51%, well above the 6.38%/6.40% offered by NAB and CBA. From Property Observer: Westpac  will pass on 20 basis points of the RBA’s 25 basis point cash rate


CBA cuts mortgage rates by 0.2%

By Leith van Onselen The CBA has just matched NAB’s decision earlier today to cut mortgage rates by 0.20%, taking CBA’s standard variable mortgage rate to 6.40%, just above the 6.38% rate offered by NAB. From Property Observer: The Commonwealth Bank has become the second of the big four banks to announce its interest rate


Services sector contracts at a slower rate

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Industry Group (AIG) today released the Performance of Services Index (PSI) for November, which registered the 10th consecutive month of contraction (whereby the index is below the 50-point level separating contraction from expansion), although a slowing in the rate of contraction: According to AIG: The lift in the level


NAB cuts mortgage rates by 0.20%

By Leith van Onselen The National Australia Bank (NAB) are the first major to cut mortgage rates in response to yesterday’s 0.25% cut to official interest rates by the RBA, lowering their standard variable mortgage rate by 0.20% to 6.38%. From Property Observer: NAB has announced that it will pass on 20 basis points out


Bank offshore borrowings fell in September

By Leith van Onselen One positive side effect from near record low levels of private credit growth is that it has reduced the banks’ need to seek funding from offshore credit markets. The release yesterday of the quarterly balance of payments data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed that gross external liabilities held


Victorian transfers & mortgages decelerate

By Leith van Onselen The Victorian Department of Sustainability & Environment (DSE) released transfer and mortgage data for the month of November, which shows continued weakness in the number of housing transfers and finance commitments. First, below is a chart showing the rolling annual number of housing transfers from November 2002 to November 2012: According


Dwelling approvals fall sharply in October

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released the Building Approvals data for the month of October. At the national level, the number of dwelling approvals fell by a seasonally adjusted -7.6% to 12,540, driven predominantly by a -18.0% decrease in approvals for private sector units and apartments. Consensus was


Retail sales fail to launch after interest rate cuts

By Leith van Onselen Yesterday’s disappointing retail sales data, which registered no growth in retail sales in October, undershooting the market’s expectations of 0.4% growth over the month, is further confirmation that the -1.50% cuts to official interest rates since November 2011 is failing to gain traction. After bottoming through 2010 to 2011, retail sales


Petroleum exploration rises, mineral exploration falls

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released Mineral & Petroleum Exploration data, which revealed a continued easing in mineral exploration expenditure following the peak levels recorded in the March quarter of 2012. By contrast, petroleum exploration expenditure rose to an all-time high over the quarter. Nationally, expenditure on minerals exploration fell


Retail sales disappoint

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this morning released the retail trade data for the month of October. In seasonally adjusted terms, retail sales were flat over the month and rose by 3.1% year-on-year. Analysts had predicted a rise of 0.4% for the month of October. Below is a chart summarising


Auction clearance rates dip again

By Leith van Onselen The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) reported a provisional auction clearance rate of 6o% on 853 results reported to the REIV. This compares to a provisional clearance rate of 61% recorded last weekend on 886 auctions, which remained steady once late results were chased-up. With 950 auctions initially planned over


RP Data: Melbourne pushes house prices lower in November

By Leith van Onselen The RP Data-Rismark daily home values indices for 30 November has just been released, which has allowed me to calculate the change in dwelling values across the five major capital city markets over the month of November. At the national capital city level, dwelling values declined marginally, falling by -0.05% over


Sales crash in Melbourne housing estates

By Leith van Onselen The Age’s Chris Vedelego continued his fine form in a report yesterday on the looming disaster facing new housing estates on Melbourne’s fringe. Below are the main extracts, although I highly recommend that you read the full article for yourself: Melbourne’s outer-suburban property market is facing a serious slump as distressed


Banks call the housing construction bottom

By Leith van Onselen The release yesterday of quarterly construction data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) seems to have piqued the interest of Australia’s banks, who were quick to call the bottom of Australia’s housing construction downturn and proclaim the beginning of an upswing. From Property Observer: Westpac says the September quarter figures


Links for 29 November 2012

Global Macro: SocGen’s 2013 Global Investment Outlook – Business Insider Safe or junk, bonds in bubble trouble – Reuters The Americas: California Shows Signs of Resurgence – New York Times Federal Lending Push Swells Student Debt – Wall Street Journal Fed’s Evans wants more easing, Fisher wants limits – Reuters Fed: Consumer Deleveraging Continued in


Finally some much needed auction reform

By Leith van Onselen This week’s SQM Research Newsletter contained some welcome news for those that believe Australia’s property auction system is rigged and in dire need of reform. Here’s SQM’s managing director, Louis Christopher, explaining the changes taking place: “There have been some big developments in recent days over auctions, which I think is


NZ’s economic omen for Oz

By Leith van Onselen Please find below an interesting economics research note from the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) on the growing economic imbalances developing in the New Zealand economy, which is encapsulated by the -11% fall in exports over the past year and the 33% increase in home sales. The note provides a stark


Abbott promises low jobs growth

By Leith van Onselen Coalition leader, Tony Abbott, today made the ‘ambitious’ pledge that a Coalition government would deliver 1 million new jobs in its first five years in office and 2 million jobs should it remain in power for ten years. From the Australian: TONY Abbott has sought to counter claims he has no


Trade deficit more than doubles in the September Quarter

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released a brand new data series entitled Balance of Payments – Goods and Services, which: Provides preliminary quarterly estimates of goods and services data including preliminary quarterly estimates of Chain Volume Measures for goods debits. Preliminary seasonally adjusted quarterly balance on goods and


Foreign buyers add to Auckland housing squeeze

By Leith van Onselen Auckland is by far New Zealand’s biggest city. It’s metropolitan area is home to around 1.5 million residents, or  roughly one-third of New Zealand’s population. It also has by far the most expensive housing in the country, with its stratified median house price hitting an all-time high of $572,825 in October