Unconventional Economist


China shares Japan’s ageing population risks

By Leith van Onselen A couple of weeks ago I published an article, China will grow old before it gets rich, which questioned whether China’s rapid economic development could continue in the face of a rapidly ageing population as the “One Child Policy” comes back to bite. This article contained numerous comparisons with Japan’s economy,


RP Data: Housing recovery “precariously balanced”

By Leith van Onselen Following July’s increase in the RP Data-Rismark home values index, RP Data’s Cameron Kusher has provided sensible commentary arguing that the housing market is “precariously balanced” and that it is probably too early to call a bottom: The results for June and July 2012 have been quite strong with capital city


Large retailers still feeling the pinch

By Leith van Onselen The contradictory signs coming out of the retail sector have continued, with last week’s release of strong retail trade data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) contradicted by reports of falling profitability and sales amongst Australia’s large retailers. Last week’s ABS figures revealed that retail sales grew by 1.0% over


Auction clearance rates: NSW up; VIC down

By Leith van Onselen Auction clearance rates in Australia’s two major markets were mixed over the weekend, with New South Wales’ clearance rate  improving and Victoria’s retracing somewhat on relatively low volumes. In New South Wales, a provisional auction clearance rate of 65% was recorded over the weekend by the REINSW, which is an improvement


Bogan exodus booms

By Leith van Onselen News got worse for Australia’s tourism industry on Friday, with the release of the overseas short-term arrivals and departures figures for June showing a record number of departures over the year, led by the bogan hot spots of Bali and Thailand. Although short-term visitor arrivals increased by 3.3% in June, outweighing


Behind the numbers: July AFG mortgage sales rolling over

Please find below a guest post from Nathan Webb on the latest AFG mortgage finance figures, released earlier this week. AFG have released their July Mortgage sales report, and they are highlighting the positive – “Strongest July in 5 years”.  Yes, but that’s not saying much.  More importantly, after adjusting for the number of weekdays


Rising on empty

Who said stimulus doesn’t work? Well…most of the Western world for a start. John Maynard Keynes described the ailment weighing them down. He called it a liquidity trap; when interest rate cuts cease to promote borrowing because a population is busy hoarding resources for what is widely seen as an adverse event to come.But not


ABS: House prices bounce

  By Leith van Onselen 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 June quarter of 2012, which reported a 0.5% increase in capital city house prices over the quarter. The result was strengthened by the fact that


The forgotten boom

By Leith van Onselen This blog has written a lot about the housing construction boom that has gripped Melbourne over the past few years. Few would realise that there’s another “mini-me” boom going on in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which has experienced a similar surge in construction. The ACT’s construction boom is illustrated by


Housing credit plumbs record lows

By Leith van Onselen The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has just released the private sector credit aggregates, which registered a small increase in total credit in the month of June, but the second lowest monthly housing credit growth in the series’ 35-year history and the lowest annual mortgage growth ever recorded: Total credit provided


Dwelling approvals fall in June

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released the Building Approvals data for the month of June. At the national level, the number of dwelling approvals fell by a seasonally adjusted -2.5%% to 13,336, driven predominantly by a -4.9% decrease in approvals for private sector units and apartments. In the


Auction clearance rates improve

By Leith van Onselen Auction clearance rates in Australia’s two major markets improved over the weekend, although volumes remained down on average levels. In New South Wales, a provisional auction clearance rate of 64% was recorded over the weekend by the REINSW, which is an improvement on the 62% clearance rate recorded last week, and


Veda: Credit demand stabilises

By Leith van Onselen Find below the Veda’s Consumer Credit Demand Index results for the June quarter of 2012, which shows a stabilisation in credit demand. 25 July 2012 Sydney, Australia, July, 2012: The results of  Veda’s Consumer Credit Demand Index for the second quarter of 2012 show that overall consumer credit demand has flattened


Construction sector job losses mount

By Leith van Onselen Fairfax’s Adele Ferguson today published an important article on the growing number of collapses in the building industry, where at least two companies a day are going under, mostly in New South Wales and Victoria: The latest statistics on liquidations and voluntary administrations show that since January 1 more than 363


Auction clearances hold firm

By Leith van Onselen Auction clearances held firm over the weekend in Australia’s two largest markets, with both New South Wales and Victoria recording clearance rates in line with their year-to-date averages, but auction volumes remaining relatively subdued. In New South Wales, a provisional clearance rate of 62% was recorded by the REINSW, just below


Free money is just not working

Please find below former Reserve Bank of New Zealand advisor and multiple CEO, Terry “Macca” McFadgen’s, latest ‘Maccanomics’ article, which tackles the current malaise affecting the global economy and examines why the large-scale ‘money printing’ by the world’s central banks isn’t working.  Enjoy! I can handle the despair…it’s the hope that I can’t deal with!”


Mad Melbourne

By Leith van Onselen What’s wrong with the below story? 1. Melbourne home sales have tanked, tracking -42% below the five-year average and -36% lower than last year’s sales activity: 2. Mortgage demand in Victoria has collapsed, with the number of mortgage discharges (mortgages repaid in-full) actually exceeding the number of mortgage lodgements (new mortgages)