There’s still a lot wrong with TPP 2.0

Cross-posted from The Conversation: The latest incarnation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is said to have “fewer bad bits”. But as our experts point out below, there’s still a great deal wrong with, or missing from, the regional free trade agreement. The new TPP is informally known as the TPP11, after the United States pulled


ACCC too late the hero on NBN

Cross-posted from The Conversation: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched a public inquiry into the National Broadband Network (NBN). Already, Telstra and Optus have come forward, offering to compensate customers whose expectations of internet speed delivery were not met. But it’s four years too late. The ACCC dropped the ball when it


Costly medicine monopolies must be purged from TPP trade talks

Cross-posted from The Conversation: Negotiators from 11 countries have been racing to resurrect the near-dead Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit this weekend. The latest plan to get the controversial trade deal up and running again after the withdrawal of the United States involves freezing some of its controversial rules. These


Sydney mortgage holders are leveraged to the hilt

By Martin North, cross-posted from the Digital Finance Analytics Blog: One of the most powerful tools to assess risk in a mortgage portfolio is dynamic loan to income ratios (LTI). Whilst Loan to Value (LVR) has traditionally been seen as a simple lead indicator of risk, in a rising priced market, risks are hidden, while


Property investors drive fall in household financial confidence

By Martin North, cross-posted from the Digital Finance Analytics Blog: The latest edition of the Digital Finance Analytics Household Financial Security Confidence Index to end October shows households are feeling less secure about their finances than in September. The overall index fell from 97.5 to 96.9, and remains below the 100 neutral setting. We use


What the Paradise Papers tell us about global business and political elites

Cross-posted from The Conversation: The so-called Paradise Papers may sound familiar – leaked documents from a law firm that specialises in offshore services reveal how the global elite avoids paying taxes. Even the name has the same ring to it as last year’s Panama Papers expose. But the Paradise Papers are different, reflecting the complexity


How will the RBA’s inflation and growth forecasts change?

From Bill Evans, Chief Economist at Westpac: The Reserve Bank will release its revised forecasts for growth; inflation; and unemployment on November 10 in its Statement on Monetary Policy. Forecast ranges will be replaced with point estimates. Interpreting the mid points of the ranges as the implied point estimates from previous Statements we do not


How important are tourism and education exports?

By Gareth Aird, senior economist at CBA Key points: Australia’s education and tourism exports have continued to rise substantially over the past year. The monthly travel services trade surplus (which comprises business, education-related and other personal travel) pushed through $1 billion for the first time in September 2017. We expect education and tourism exports to


With a new futures market, Bitcoin is going mainstream

Cross-posted from The Conversation: The Chicago Mercantile Exchange will soon begin trading Bitcoin derivatives (futures contracts), signalling the cryptocurrency is now a mainstream asset class. Bitcoin has had limited use in the mainstream economy in part because the volatility of its price. The value of the currency might go up or down significantly between the


World greenhouse gas emissions leapt in 2016

Cross-posted from The Conversation: Global average carbon dioxide concentrations rose by 0.8% during 2016, the largest annual increase ever observed. According to figures released overnight by the World Meteorological Organisation, atmospheric CO₂ concentrations reached 403.3 parts per million. This is the highest level for at least 3 million years, having climbed by 3.3 ppm relative


Mortgage stress continues to rise

By Martin North, cross-posted from the Digital Finance Analytics Blog: Digital Finance Analytics has released the October 2017 Mortgage Stress and Default Analysis update. Across Australia, more than 910,000 households are estimated to be now in mortgage stress (last month 905,000) and more than 21,000 of these in severe stress, up by 3,000 from last


Lower-income Aussie households leverage up

By Martin North, cross-posted from the Digital Finance Analytics Blog: The ABS published some revisions to their Household Income and Wealth statistics. Two data series stood out for me. First, more households are in debt today, compared with 2005-6, and second more households have debts at more than three times their income. Here is the


The young and the poor left behind by ‘booming’ jobs market

Cross-posted from The Conversation: The unemployment rate is as low as it has been in the past four years, yet low-skilled workers are still doing it tough. Training can help unlock job opportunities for many, especially in the expanding health and social assistance sector. A report from Anglicare paints an alarming picture for low-skilled, entry-level


Investor loan risk is accelerating

By Martin North, cross-posted from the Digital Finance Analytics Blog: Traditionally in the Australian context loans to property investors have tended to perform better than loans to owner occupiers. This is because investors receive rental income streams to help pay for the mortgage costs, they are willing to carry the costs of the property against


5G: an expensive alternative to the NBN

Cross-posted from The Conversation: Will Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) face damaging competition from the upcoming 5G network? NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow thinks so. This week, he even floated the idea of a levy on mobile broadband services, although Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull quickly rejected the idea. NBN Co is clearly going to have


Australian energy costs are far higher than the ACCC claims

Cross-posted from The Conversation: The preliminary report on energy prices released last week by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) suggests that the consumer watchdog is concerned about almost every aspect of Australia’s electricity industry. It quotes customer groups who say electricity is the biggest issue in their surveys, and cites several case studies


Increasing female participation has driven jobs growth

From Roy Morgan Research: Analysis of long-running trends in the Australian labour market by Gender shows that strong increases in Australian employment this century have been driven by large increases in both full-time and part-time employment for both women and men. However, although these increases have been shared between both genders, the increasing number of


Higher income professionals haven’t yet abandoned suburbia

By Ross Elliott, cross-posted from The Pulse US based urbanist Richard Florida – once described as an “intellectual Rockstar” – shot to fame with his 2002 book The Creative Class. He was on a global speaking tour that took in many Australian cities, arguing that the secrets to economic development lay in attracting legions of


The spooky mortgage risk signs our bankers are ignoring

Cross-posted from The Conversation: I’m not normally a fan of parliament hauling private sector executives before them and asking thorny questions. But when the Australian House of Representatives did so this week with the big banks it was both useful and instructive. And, to be perfectly frank, terrifying. Let’s start with Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer.