Unconventional Economist


Commodity prices fall in January

Yesterday afternoon, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) released their preliminary index of commodity prices for the month of January. According to the release: Preliminary estimates for January indicate that the index rose by 0.2 per cent (on a monthly average basis) in SDR terms, after falling by 1.3 per cent in December [revised down


ABS: House prices continue to fall

The last of the major house price data providers, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), today released their capital city house price indices for the December quarter 2011. The price index for established houses for the weighted average of the eight capital cities decreased -1.0% in the December quarter, with  Melbourne (-1.6%), Adelaide (-1.6%), Darwin (-1.4%),


Full RP Data house price analysis

Please find below the full RP Data-Rismark December Home Value Index media release. Here are the key figures taken from the release. First, the change in dwelling values: Note that the -0.2% fall in December seasonally adjusted capital city dwelling values was offset by a +0.3% upwards revision in the November seasonally adjusted figures, from +0.1%


Housing credit growth slows some more

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has just released the private sector credit aggregates data for the month of December: Total credit provided to the private sector by financial intermediaries rose by 0.3 per cent over December 2011, after rising by 0.3 per cent over November. Over the year to December, total credit rose by 3.5 per cent. Housing credit increased


RP Data: QLD leads unsold homes

Today, reader AxeIF posted a comment linking to the latest RPData Industry Market Wrap, which provides the following tables showing the Advertised Stock on Market and the Number of Properties Advertised for Rent. Turning to the Stock on Market first, you can see that the number of homes for sale nationally is up by 35%


Melbourne’s apartment glut builds

A few weeks back I reported how Melbourne rental vacancy rates, as recorded by SQM Research, have ballooned to 4.4% – a six year high: Yesterday, the Sunday Age published an interesting article, Rental squeeze begins to ease, which adds some colour on the rental apartment glut that is developing in Melbourne. MELBOURNE’S rental market


APM misreports own house price data

On Wednesday, the mainstream media reported on the December 2011 house price data released by Australian Property Monitors. These reports noted that national house prices rose marginally in the December quarter, breaking a year long run of negative growth. The below extract from Fairfax is indicative of mainstream media’s reporting of the APM release: HOUSE


The eagle stirs

Please find below former Reserve Bank of New Zealand advisor and multiple CEO, Terry “Macca” McFadgen’s, latest ‘Maccanomics’ article, which tackles the reviving United States economy. Enjoy! On June 20, 1782, the bald eagle was chosen as the emblem of the United States of America. Six years earlier at the Second Continental Congress thirteen colonies


Leading index points to slowing economy

The Westpac – Melbourne Institute leading index of economic growth, which gives an indication of economic activity three to nine months’ time, was released this morning, and had fallen to 1.6% in November, from 2.3 per cent in October. This is the slowest rate of growth in over two years – well below the index’s


Unpaid bills spike

Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) have just released their quarterly Trade Payments Analysis, which examines the ability of firms to pay their bills, and pay them on time: …during the December quarter last year, the number of bills left unpaid for 90 days or more grew 20 per cent compared with 12 months ago. While overall


Defending the bubble

In March 2011, HSBC’s chief economist, Paul Bloxham, made the following claims in relation to Australia’s housing bubble: Without some reversal of these structural changes [lower interest rates, better-anchored inflation expectations, and increased availability of housing credit] – which is a virtual impossibility – we do not expect Australian housing prices to fall. Indeed, we


January 24 Links

  Global:  Complacency risks rising – Markets are ignoring the warning signs (Zero Hedge) IMF’s Lagarde sounds alarm over Europe – Wall Street Journal Text of Lagarde’s Speech – IMF IMF chief unveils Euro plan and warns of 1930s moment – The Telegraph Global markets edge higher on hopes for Greek deal – The Telegraph


PPI pushes case for rate cut

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released Producer Price Index (PPI) data for the December quarter, which has registered only a 0.3% quarterly increase in final (stage 3) prices – below consensus forecasts of a 0.4% rise – and an increase of 2.9% over the year: The 0.3% in final (stage 3) prices


2012 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey

The 8th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey has just been released and, once again, it ranks Australia as having one of the most expensive housing markets out of the countries surveyed. This year’s report assesses 325 markets in seven countries: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


Crunching RPData’s revisions

Following is a guest post from regular commenter Nathan Webb: You could be easily forgiven for not noticing that RPData’s house price series is subject to revision. The revisions are usually difficult to find and seldom referred to in R.P.Data commentary. Nonetheless, they are there and run the numbers to see what they can tell us


Melbourne rental vacancies skyrocket

It seems that Melbourne’s booming dwelling construction is having the desired effect, with the state’s rental vacancy rate hitting a seven year high of 4.4% according to SQM research: This compares to the national rental vacancy rate of 2.4%: In both charts, there is an unmistakable seasonal element to a December spike but, equally, there’s


Examining average hours worked

Yesterday’s analysis of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) December labour force data threw up the below chart showing how aggregate hours worked across the Australian economy rose in the month of December, but remains relatively flat compared with 12 months prior: Reader, Avid Chartist, requested that I provide a chart showing aggregate hours worked


Employment hangs on

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released the December labour force statistics and, like all of the releases this week, the data is mixed: On the positive side of the ledger, full time employment rose by 24,500 persons to 8,051,000, partly offsetting the heavy losses (-39,400) of the prior month. However, this increase


New car sales run out of road

Just released, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has reported that sales of new motor vehicles fell in December: Seasonally Adjusted – The December 2011 seasonally adjusted estimate for new motor vehicle sales (84 403) decreased by -2.9% when compared with November 2011. When comparing seasonally adjusted estimates for December 2011 with November 2011, sales


Victoria builds, builds and builds

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released building activity data for the September, which presents yet another mixed bag: The overall value of bulding work done was essentially flat over the quarter (up 0.1%), but with some major variances across sectors: The seasonally adjusted estimate of the value of new residential building work


Australia lucky but not immune

HSBC’s Chief Economist, Paul Bloxham, continued his recent solid work with an interesting Research Note on the resilience of the Australian economy, echoed today by Jessica Irvine. In the note, Bloxham argues that Australia’s economy is structurally sound, with the massive pipeline of mining investment likely to augment growth over 2012. He also argues that


Lending finance mixed

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released the November Lending Finance data, which has delivered a mixed result: The total value of owner occupied housing commitments excluding alterations and additions (but including refinancings) rose 2.2% in seasonally adjusted terms [see yesterday’s housing finance data release for further information]: The seasonally adjusted series for


NSW FHB’s drive housing finance

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released the November Housing Finance data. The overall value of dwelling commitments rose 2.1% seasonally adjusted in November, with owner-occupied commitments rising 2.2% and investor housing increasing 1.8%. In number terms, owner-occupied finance commitments rose 1.4%, led by the purchase of new dwellings


Global Risks in 2012

Please find below the full World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2012 Global Risks Report along with the summary discussion video. The WEF Global Risks Report is based on a survey of 469 experts from industry, government, academia and civil society that examines 50 global risks across five categories. This year’s Report contains discussion on a wide


Tourists continue to lie low

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released overseas short-term arrivals and departures figures for November, which are largely uneventful. In seasonally adjusted terms, short-term visitor arrivals declined by -0.6%, offset by a corresponding -0.6% fall short-term resident departures. Taking a longer-term view, however, the ratio of tourism arrivals to departures remains at a 25-year low,


Job vacancies resume downward trend

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released job vacancies data for the November quarter, which fully reversed the increase of the previous quarter:   Total job vacancies in November 2011 were 182,200, a decrease of 0.8% from August 2011. The number of job vacancies in the private sector was 164,900 in November 2011, a


The luckiest of countries

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) on Friday released a fascinating Research Discussion Paper entitled: Australia’s Prosperous 2000s: Housing and the Mining Boom, which formed part of The Australian Economy in the 2000s conference series. According to the RBA, the paper: …provides an overview of the Australian economy’s performance in the decade. Several key topics