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Saturday, 17 November

12:50

Australia: Bitcoin Trumps iTunes Vouchers as Preferred Payments for Tax Scammers "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

As the tax season approaches, Australians have more reasons to be wary of persons claiming to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). In the four months since July 1, Australians have lost nearly AU$1 million to scammers posing as the tax officials according to the ATO. During the same period where more than 28,000 Continued

The post Australia: Bitcoin Trumps iTunes Vouchers as Preferred Payments for Tax Scammers appeared first on CCN

08:28

Negative gearing loophole "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Swiss cheesed

The AFR's lead article today highlights the somewhat glaring loophole in Labor's negative gearing plans.

I highlighted the same point on this blog here a week ago.

Changes to property taxation are evidently going to be a red hot topic over the next six months.

I put together a short presentation here to explain some likely outcomes. 


Prepare accordingly! 

07:00

The Weekend Quiz November 17-18, 2018 answers and discussion "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Here are the answers with discussion for this Weekends Quiz. The information provided should help you work out why you missed a question or three! If you havent already done the Quiz from yesterday then have a go at it before you read the answers. I hope this helps you develop an understanding of modern monetary theory (MMT) and its application to macroeconomic thinking. Comments as usual welcome, especially if I have made an error.

Question 1:

Imagine that macroeconomic policy is geared towards keeping real GDP growth on trend. Assume this rate of growth is 3 per cent per annum. If labour productivity is growing at 2 per cent per annum and the labour force is growing at 1.5 per cent per annum and the average working week is constant in hours, then this policy regime will result in:

The answer is a rising unemployment rate.

The facts were:

  • Real GDP growth to be maintained at its trend growth rate of 3 per cent annum.
  • Labour productivity growth (that is, growth in real output per person employed) growing at 2 per cent per annum. So as this grows less employment in required per unit of output.
  • The labour force is growing by 1.5 per cent per annum. Growth in the labour force adds to the employment that has to be generated for unemployment to stay constant (or fall).
  • The average working week is constant in hours. So firms are not making hours adjustments up or down with their existing workforce. Hours adjustments alter the relationship between real GDP growth and persons employed.

Of-course, the trend rate of real GDP growth doesnt relate to the labour market in any direct way. The late Arthur Okun is famous (among other things) for estimating the relationship that links the percentage deviation in real GDP growth from potential to the percentage change in the unemployment rate the so-called Okuns Law.

The algebra underlying this law can be manipulated to estimate the evolution of the unemployment rate based on real output forecasts.

From Okun, we can relate the major output and labour-force aggregates to form expectations about changes in the aggregate unemployment rate based on output growth rates. A series of accounting identities underpins Okuns Law and helps us, in part, to understand why unemployment rates have risen.

Take the following output accounting statement:

(1) Y = LP*(1-UR)LH

where Y is real GDP, LP is labour productivity in persons (that is, real output per unit of labour), H is the average number of hours worked per period, UR is the aggregate unemployment...

06:00

Australian Dollar and Bitcoin "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

1.00 AUD = 0.00013 BTC
0.00010 BTC = 0.75 AUD
Converter

02:07

Sunshine after no rain "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Queensland turns the corner

To look at the latest employment and unemployment figures you might things haven't been so bright for Queensland.

But these are lagging indicators, and business investment growth is now at the highest level in years, albeit coming off a low base. 

The latest state accounts for financial year 2018 released today showed gross state product up by 3.4 per cent - behind only Victoria of all the states - for the strongest result since 2011-12, while final demand in the Sunshine State was also up by 3 per cent. 

New South Wales saw its agricultural production hit by drought, slowing the state result. 


Source: ABS

Better still, business investment in Queensland recorded double digit growth at 10.6 per cent after a lean five years. 

Provided China keeps importing Australian coal in 2019, the period ahead should be brighter for profits and wages.

Gross income per capita grew in Queensland by 2.3 per cent after an awfully sluggish few years (nothing compared to the Canberra bubble, mind you!).

01:00

The best safety net is a gilded one "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

I was once a circus performer. And instructor.

I can teach flying trapeze in English, German, French, Thai, Korean, Japanese and Chinese.

The first thing you learn in the circus world is very helpful for investing.

Always have a safety net. And learn how to fall in it properly. Before you do anything else.

The first time one of my coaches stood up on the board of a flying trapeze rig, his mentor immediately pushed him off.

The seven-metre drop to the safety net gave him enough time to make sure he landed safely on his back.

And that ability and lesson is what kept him safe from then on.

Because everyone falls.

In fact, each time you learn a new trick in flying trapeze, you first learn how to take it to the net consistently and safely.

Once youve proven youre extremely good at failing, the catcher is willing to get up in his swing and try to catch you.

But the timing is different for each and every person, so it usually takes a few more missed catches and bounces in the net before things work out.

Because of all this, flying trapeze training sessions and flying trapeze performances look very different. Flying trapeze artists spend more time in the net than in the air.

So what are investors supposed to learn from all this?

It means learning to fail and learning to manage that failure before you succeed.

Deliberately.

Things like using stop losses, defensive asset allocation, proper diversification, risk management, being able to profit from falling stocks, dummy trading, and having some of your wealth outside the financial system.

These are crucial tools to protect yourself. You need to know how to use them.

Theres one asset which covers a whole bunch of those safety net features. Gold.

Buying gold is so unpopular with the mainstream investment industry because its an admission that things can go badly wrong.

They prefer to pretend nothing can go wrong.

You only need to look at 2008 to see the weakness of this argument.

A flying trapeze performance would be much more exciting without a net.

But anyone who has tried flying trapeze without a net will tell you its not much fun and looks terrible.

Itd feel like youre naked at work. Your job performance would suffer immensely.

Which is why the trapeze artists who have flown without a net tend to do so under the influence of alcohol after a hard day setting up most of the rig, but not yet the net.

As in the circus world, in...

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Friday, 16 November

05:59

WWI and its centenary highlight leadership weakness "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

When US President Woodrow Wilson tried to belittle Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes at the 1919 Versailles peace conference by asking who he represented, Hughes replied: I speak for 60,000 Australian war dead.

Hughes may have been bellicose, belligerent and vengeful, but at least he was there, unlike the present Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.

After four years of having to put up with the jingoism, glorification of war and exaggerated nationalism of the Anzac legend during the centenary of World War I, the one time the real horror and futility of war is marked with quiet dignity, our Prime Minister is missing in inaction. He is on a bus eating pies and drinking beer in Queensland.

Shameful. It was almost as shameful as US President Donald Trumps absence at the first ceremony near Paris because of rain.

It was not enough that the representative in Australia of the British monarchy (which got us into the World War I mess in the first place) attended.

Enough has been written about the centenary. This is about leadership and international co-operation the absence of which led to World War I and allowed it to continue for so long.

The leadership of Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel contrasts with that of Trump and Morrison.

Perhaps the three issues that highlight leadership or lack of it most are: foreign aid, climate change and people movement.

They share the trait of being easy to use to stir up xenophobic and nationalistic attitudes: foreign aid is a waste of money when we have so many problems at home; climate change is an international conspiracy to destroy our economy; movement of people presents a threat to our way of life.

Precisely because it is so easy to kindle those fears that it requires good leadership to make sure they are not kindled, and that the issues are dealt with sensibly.

It used to be that other nation states could be the source of easily whipped up xenophobia, which is what happened in 1914. These days, however, it is more fashionable to direct xenophobia at international forces, mainly because foreign invasions are too costly and unworkable, as Afghanistan and Iraq have proved.

So lets start with foreign aid. Generous well-targeted foreign aid would do much to alleviate the poverty and lack of education in developing countries that does so much to fuel hatred and violent attitudes towards developed countries.

But while France and Germany lead...

03:35

The Weekend Quiz November 17-18, 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Welcome to The Weekend Quiz. The quiz tests whether you have been paying attention or not to the blog posts that I post. See how you go with the following questions. Your results are only known to you and no records are retained.

1. Imagine that macroeconomic policy is geared towards keeping real GDP growth on trend. Assume this rate of growth is 3 per cent per annum. If labour productivity is growing at 2 per cent per annum and the labour force is growing at 1.5 per cent per annum and the average working week is constant in hours, then this policy regime will result in:




2. Students are taught that the macroeconomic income determination system can be thought of as a bath tub with the current GDP being the water level. The drain plug can be thought of as saving, imports and taxation payments (the so-called leakages from the expenditure system) while the taps can be thought of as investment, government spending and exports (the so-called exogenous injections into the spending system). This analogy is valid because GDP will be unchanged as long as the flows into the bath are equal to the flows out of it which is tantamount to saying the the spending gap left by the leakages is always filled by the injections.


...

03:30

How Two Financial Giants Set the Gold Price "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

There are a few under-the-radar moves happening in the physical gold market.

Gold is in high demand right now.

All this buying yet once again, the physical gold market moves dont reflect whats happening with the gold price.

Given the tetchy geopolitical backdrop, the physical gold price should be rallying.

But it isnt.

Its still shuffling along the US$1,210 mark.

What gives?

Got gold yet?

Never has there been a more important time to become an owner of physical gold. Not the paper stuff. Not the ETFs.

A small part of your money, stored as a hunk of shiny yellow metal.

Why?

That is, the price of physical gold doesnt reflect the demand for the yellow metal.

As of June this year, central banks held a collective total of US$1.36 trillion worth of gold accounting for 10% of the world foreign exchange reserves.

Then, in the September quarter, bar and coin demand for individual investors people like you and me rose 28% compared to the same period the year before.

And Wall Street is coming back into gold by the looks of it.

Exchange traded funds in North America and Europe upped the tonnes under management in October, growing by 3.4%.

All these bumps in physical gold stores, yet the price isnt going anywhere.

Well, I know why.

Wading through technical muck

One of my pet peeves when explaining the gold price action is to blame it on whats happening in COMEX.

While not wrong, COMEX trading does tend to set the gold price in the short-term, it dawned on me that many people dont understand how the COMEX trades affect the gold price.

Its a gripe of mine because some analysts get stuck on using jargon-y terms they barely understand themselves.

COMEX exchange is one of the worlds biggest derivatives exchanges for metals. COMEX is the financial meeting point for speculators and professional traders alike.

This where the BIG money trades. The multi-million dollar gold trades moving in and out.

Here, you can bet on the direction of gold by either going long or short without actually owning the physical metal.

In other words, people can buy or sell a gold contract depending on whether they think the price will rise or fall.

The idea is that if you analyse the COMEX gold trades, outsiders feel like they get a glimpse of how the big mon...

02:48

Local environment provides the face of 2018 Black Gully Festival "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

A stylised lizard is the face of this years Black Gully Festival an annual celebration that brings people together to enjoy music, art, the environment and our community. Designed by local artist Simon Mellor, this years logo makes a creative mark while representing many elements of what the Black Gully Festival is all about. Black [...] full article 

02:46

UNE Tamworth Practical Solutions for Reversing Climate Change "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

[ Tuesday, 20 Nov; 5:30 pm; ] Based on the book "Drawdown The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming" This event aims to educate and inspire individuals and businesses in practical ways we can reverse climate change locally. The night will consist of guest speakers and a Q & A section + light refreshments On Tuesday 20 November 2018 at [...] full article 

02:30

Book Launch: Locked On! "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

[ Friday, 7 Dec; 5:30 pm; ] Friday 7th December, 5.30 pm Readers Companion, 149 Beardy St Mall This event launches Marty Branagans illustrated novel Locked On! The Seventh and Most Illegal in the Hitchhikers Guide Trilogy. Its a fictionalised account of the Leard Forest blockade against coal mining on the Liverpool Plains, and the blockade against coal seam gas on farmland at Bentley, [...] full article 

02:30

Now is your last chance to go solar before RECs reduce again on 1 January 2019 "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

The uptake of solar power across Australia continues to be one of the shining lights for sustainability, particularly against the backdrop of drought, deepening climate change and losses to biodiversity. The financial benefits of going solar are as significant for most people as these environmental reasons. St Vincent de Pauls recent annual electricity report (see Sydney Morning [...] full article 

02:20

350.org crowdfunding film: Accelerate "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

This is what it would take to fund the transition to a new world. All of Australia could be converted to renewable energy for 7.7% of the money in the super funds in this country which is how we know 100% renewable energy is 100% doable. Thats one of the messages in the Accelerate film, the [...] full article 

02:11

Nature Conservation Council Top 20 NSW deforestation hotspots exposed "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

A few hours ago, I was in NSW Parliament to launch a new report on deforestation in NSW. Weve exposed the top 20 deforestation hotspots in NSW. Shockingly, 17 of the 20 hotspots are home to koala habitat that is now at risk of land clearing under NSWs new deforestation laws. With fewer than 21,000 koalas [...] full article 

Thursday, 15 November

22:47

Brexit: this is it? "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Since the Brexit referendum was hailed by many as representative of a new force in global politics, its of interest even on the far side of the planet, and Ive watched the slow-motion train wreck with appalled fascination.

So, as far as I can tell, the Brexit deal Theresa May has come up with is pretty much the super-soft version. About the only immediate change it will produce is a return to blue passports in place of the EU burgundy, which, it appears, were always optional. And, it appears, the new passports will be printed in France.

All that assumes that the deal will go through. In this context, Ive been struck by a lot of commentary supporting the deal on the basis that a second referendum isnt feasible due to the timing requirements of the Referendums Act. Am I missing something here? Isnt Parliament supreme? And given that this issue has consumed British politics for the last two years or more, can there really be any significant ambiguity about the possible choices articulated by May today: her deal, no deal or no Brexit?

Feel free to comment on these or any other aspects of the issue.

19:05

Canaans Hong Kong Listing Plans in Limbo "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Canaan's Hong Kong Listing Plans in Limbo

Plans by bitcoin mining equipment manufacturer Canaan to list shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange are now uncertain, as the Chinese companys application for an initial public offering (IPO) expired on Nov. 14 exactly six months after it submitted the documents to the Asian bourse.

Also Read: Bitcoin ATMs Most Common Scam Payment Method in Australia

IPO Will Not Happen in 2018

Canaans $400 million IPO may not happen this year as there was no update from the stock exchange for a listing hearing, according to a report by Reuters, quoting sources familiar with the matter.Canaan's Hong Kong Listing Plans in Limbo The Hong Kong exchange has released a report on IPO applications, delistings and suspensions that shows that more than 200 applications have lapsed before they were finalized. The report does not identify any of the applicants by name.

Regulators in Hong Kong, including the stock exchange itself, have reportedly raised concerns about Cana...

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