Leith van Onselen


CoreLogic: House price boom losing momentum

Following on from the weekend’s report covering the five major capitals, CoreLogic has released its full dwelling value results for January, which also captures the smaller markets and regional areas: As shown above, the smaller capitals and regions also had a positive month in January, with Hobart (+0.9%), Canberra (+0.3%), Darwin (+0.1%) and the combined


Travel ban bursts Chinese international student bubble

Over the weekend, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that people travelling from China would no longer be accepted into Australia, with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families. This travel ban will very likely badly impact Australia’s education industry, which has by far the highest concentration of Chinese students in the


Links 3 February 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Climate Change is Making it Much Harder to be a Young Farmer – Mother Jones Airbus to pay record £3bn in fines for ‘endemic’ corruption – The Guardian Facebook plunges, wiping out more than $50 billion in market value – CNBC Dow drops 550 points as worries grow about


Aussie property values rise another 0.9% in January

CoreLogic’s dwelling price results have been released for January, which reveals another 0.9% increase in values over the month at the 5-city level, driven by more strong rises across Sydney (1.1%) and Melbourne (1.2%): It was the seventh consecutive monthly acceleration in home values at the 5-city level: Over the January quarter, dwelling values rose


Weekend Reading: 1-2 February 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: Facebook plunges, wiping out more than $50 billion in market value – CNBC The Global System Nearing Financial and Climate Collapse – Global Research Mortgage rates plunge to second lowest level in three years amid coronavirus concerns – MarketWatch Power to the People: Winning Public Control of Electric Utilities


West Gate Tunnel bungle has taxpayers on hook for billions

The fallout from the bungled West Gate Tunnel project continues after its builders gave notice that they intend to terminate their contract with Transurban, with Victorian taxpayers likely required to bail-out the project at a cost of billions. Here’s The Age’s take: Treasurer Tim Pallas billed it as the multi-billion-dollar road deal that was too


BIS Oxford: Rents to remain weak for years

This week’s CPI data for the December quarter, released by the ABS, showed that Australian rental growth hit the lowest rate in the series’ 45-year history, growing by just 0.2% in calendar year 2019: Chief Australia economist at BIS Oxford Economics, Dr Sarah Hunter, believes that rental growth will remain weak until the end of


Lifting Newstart is a policy no-brainer

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has used its submission to the pre-Budget process to urge the federal government to increase funding for the Newstart allowance by $3.8bn. CEO Cassandra Goldie has called for Newstart to be increased by $95 a week. Welfare groups have previously sought a $75 increase, but Goldie contends that


The Kouk puts lipstick on Aussie pig economy

In the Bizarro World of Stephen Koukoulas (‘The Kouk’), the Australian economy was “verging on strong” prior to the bushfires and “when the smoke clears, the Australian economy will be looking strong”: From the second half of 2020, the net effect on GDP from the fires will be positive as the rebuilding of dwellings, commercial


Study: Mass immigration is destroying housing affordability

In October 2017, Labor’s pro-immigration extremist, Dr Andrew Leigh, penned a ridiculous article claiming that the mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy has not driven-up house prices: An OECD survey of the relevant studies concludes that migrants have a minimal impact on housing prices. Seven out of 10 new migrants to Australia either live with friends


CoreLogic weekly house price update: More rises

In the week ended 30 January 2019, the CoreLogic 5-city daily dwelling price index, which covers the five major capital city markets, rose another 0.23%: The rise in values was broad-based: So far in January, dwelling values have risen by 0.87%, driven by Melbourne and Sydney: Quarterly dwelling values continue to rise strongly, driven by


$12b Chinese international student industry faces collapse

Last year, Professor Salvators Babones warned that Australia’s universities have become overly reliant on international student fees, which accounted for around one quarter of university revenue in 2017: …between 2012 and 2017, roughly two-thirds of Australian universities’ increase in total revenue was “driven by increased international student fees,” according to the Australian Department of Higher


Links 30 January 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: $416bn is lost from the developing world every year to tax avoidance and other illicit finanfial flows. – Citizens for Financial Justice Wealth gap widening for more than 70% of global population, researchers find – The Guardian Pension fights are a fundamental frontier of class struggle – Organizing Work


West gate tunnel dispute escalates

A day after its builders gave notice that they intend to terminate their contract with Transurban, Daniel Andrews’ $6.7 billion West Gate Tunnel project is in chaos with the Premier threatening to tear-up Transurban’s lucrative 10-year toll extension if it does not find away to dispose of tonnes of toxic soil discovered at the build


Aussie consumers among least confident in the world

From Roy Morgan Research: A special Roy Morgan survey conducted in Australia in conjunction with the Gallup International Association survey in 47 countries world-wide finds that Australia is one of the least confident countries in the world about 2020. Only 12% of Australians (down 32% points on a year ago) expect 2020 will be a


NBN “Frankenstein monster” delivers “embarrasingly slow” speeds

Last month, the latest results from the Ookla fixed broadband speed rankings were released, which continued the downward trend that we have witnessed over the past decade with Australia now positioned 68th place out of 177 nations on these rankings, down three places from the prior year. This slide in broadband speed rankings comes despite


Terms-of-trade bust arrives as export prices tank

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released export and import prices for the December quarter, which portends a sharp fall in Australia’s terms-of-trade when the national accounts are released in early March. According to the ABS, export prices tanked by 5.2% over the December quarter but were up by 4.1% over the year, whereas


Retail bloodbath has only just begun

It’s fair to say that 2020 has already been a nightmare for Australian retailers. A fortnight ago it was reported that 161 ‘bricks-and-mortar’ stores had already shuttered in 2020. And since then, Jeans West has gone into administration (with 146 stores likely to close) and Kaufland has abandoned its planned Australian operations. The retrenchment follows


Let them eat people. Lucy Turnbull’s migrant NIMBYs

As we already know, Sydney is a primary entry point for migrants: And Western Sydney is the prime dumping ground for these migrants: Western Sydney is also projected to receive the lion’s share future immigration-driven population growth – i.e. an additional 1.2 million people over the next 20 years, according to the Greater Sydney Commission:


Stop the emissions cut delusion

Eighty Australian Research Council (ARC) laureates have signed an open letter demanding strong action to make deep cuts to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions: Eighty of Australia’s top academics have written an open letter declaring an “urgent need for deep cuts” to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions following the current unprecedented bushfire crisis. The letter calls on


Labor takes aim at temporary visa tsunami but with what?

Labor’s immigration spokesperson, Kristina Keneally, has taken direct aim at Australia’s ballooning temporary visa numbers, which have surpassed 2.3 million and are second only to the United States (see next chart). Kristina Keneally wants these numbers reduced, arguing that the temporary migrant tsunami is crushing wages: Australia currently hosts the second-highest number of temporary migrants


ABS: Aussie rental growth collapses to record low

The December quarter consumer price index (CPI) data, released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), revealed that Australian rental growth has collapsed to the lowest level in the series’ 45-year history. According to the ABS, rents registered zero growth in the December quarter and grew by just 0.2% over the year: At the


International students fuel tobacco black market

In 2016, Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner, Wayne Buchhorn, warned that illegal tobacco smuggling is rampant, funding organised crime and posing a potential national security risk. In 2017, the Black Economy Taskforce’s chairman, Michael Andrew, urged the federal government to clamp down on the illegal tobacco industry, with Philip Morris estimating that illegal tobacco trade


Links 30 January 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing: US stocks bounce back after virus-fuelled rout – Channel News Asia Apple holiday earnings, sales hit record highs beyond expectations – Market Watch Biggest companies in world right now – market values – Igorb News Dubai set to launch its own tax-free ‘Crypto Valley’ – Decrypt Dow Jones sinks


UNSW: Sydney’s water supply facing multiple threats

Emma Johnston, Dean of Science at UNSW Sydney, is the latest to warn that Sydney’s water supply is under threat from a combination of population growth, reduced rainfall, greater evaporation, and contamination from bushfires. Therefore, more desalination plants will need to be built: With water restrictions increasing around NSW and talk about Sydney moving to


UK mulls wave of low-paid “skilled” migrants to crush wages

With UK wage growth recently hitting an 11-year high: The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended the Johnson Government drop the salary threshold for “skilled” migrants by more than £4,000: Skilled migrants from outside the EU currently need to have a job offer with a minimum salary of £30,000. But the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)


CPI in Detail: Inflation up in smoke

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for the December quarter 0f 2019, which registered plummeting headline and underlying inflation on weakening domestic demand. According to the ABS, headline CPI rose by 0.7% in the December quarter, with annual growth rising to 1.8%: Looking at the major components,