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Thursday, 24 August

23:54

Winning strategies for 2018 & beyond "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Money for Life

Come and see me speak live in Sydney, where I'll be discussing:

-how to start saving and investing

-the magic of compound interest

-how best to tackle the Sydney housing affordability conundrum: to buy or to rent?

-the outlook for the economy and housing markets

-the latest demographic trends

-construction hotspots: the property markets and dwelling types set to become oversupplied, and undersupplied

-infrastructure boom - where will the next major projects be found?

- a peek into the future - what will Australia be like 20 years from now?

-the Australian regions poised to flourish and flounder

-how to reset your financial thermostat...permanently

And a whole lot more besides.

If words aren't your thing, here's a short video, in which I get harassed by magpies. 


To book your tickets, visit the Quadrant 2 web page.

23:31

Sydney economy back into pole position "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Sydney jobs surge

Employment growth picked up to an even stronger +242,600 or about +2 per cent in July 2017.

Quite good numbers!

Employment has now increased by a somewhat impressive +671,000 in three years, or +5.8 per cent.

That's well ahead of the rate of population growth, and also enough to push the unemployment rate into a downtrend.


Sydney has displaced Melbourne as the economy creating the most jobs over the year to July 2017, at more than +71,000. 

Melbourne created +58,200 new jobs on a net basis, with Brisbane tracking at a much more moderate +19,000.

Sydney's annual average unemployment rate continues to trend down, with the monthly unemployment rate in the harbour city well below 4.5 per cent in July. 


It now takes just 12 weeks to find a job in Sydney on average - well down from 17 weeks two years ago - which compares very favourably to a turgid 23 weeks in Brisbane, and a morose 25 in Perth.


Despite Sydney's low unemployment rate, there have been relatively few signs of stronger wages growth in New Sout...

19:28

Central Bank of Papua New Guinea Adopts Blockchain Technology "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Central Bank of Papua New Guinea Adopts Blockchain Technology

The number of countries with banks experimenting with blockchain technology is growing rapidly. The Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG), north of Australia, has joined the movement with its own central Bank of Papua New Guinea running blockchain trials.

Central Bank Governor Loi Bakani, known as a champion of new technologies as a way to enable financial inclusion, recently hosted a conference to showcase his countrys commitment to blockchain technology, with participants from at home and around the world, including Abt Associates, Paycase, Othera, IDbox, Pacific Markets, UCash, Seso and ADCCA.

At the conference, Bakani described the blockchain trials underway at the Bank of PNG and introduced the PNG Digital Commerce and Cryptocurrency Association for the growing number of Papua New Guinea tech entrepreneurs and businesses interested in blockchain technology.

Bakani said, This will allow PNG to join the Global Blockchain Forum, which gets PNG a cutting edge in discussions about Blockchain at a global level, along with Australia, Canada, U.S.A., Dubai, UK and Japan. There is no reason why PNG cant be a leader for emerging markets.

There are already central banks experimenting with blockchain technology around the world, including Bank of America, HSBC, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Bank of England, People's Bank of China, Bank of Canada, the National Bank of Cambodia, and the Central Bank of India.

Elizabeth Genia, Assistant Governor of the central Bank of PNG said, It is the new innovations that can change peoples lives almost 85 percent of our people live outside the banking system.

According to Abt Associates Jane Thomason, who helped manage the conference, 85 percent of PNG has little or no access to banking services and accounts, and the island is among the most expensive remittance corridors in the world, with nearly 10 percent of all funds transferred going to fees alone.

Thomason told the conference that blockchain-based technologi...

02:12

Real Estate Talk "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Catch me on the Real Estate Talk show here (or click the image below).


If you're in Brisbane you can also catch me on 4BC Radio live this weekend from 8am to 9am on the Real Estate Talk show. 

02:00

War in Korea is Coming "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

The potential for war over the Korean Peninsula is as great as ever.

The news cycle we live in is a world of 24-hour updates. With what seems more like 24-minute intervals between when stories come and go, it is easy to lose focus on the major stories.

The situation in North Korea is absolutely not going away. Thats really important for investors to recognise because this is going to come back again and again.

Buying the dip is a successful strategy until it isnt.

Now that we have entered the escalatory phase in rhetoric and military preparation, markets have still not come to terms with reality.

In March of 2003, when the US invaded Iraq, we could see that coming.

CIA Director George Tenet was sending warnings, Secretary of State Colin Powell was speaking at the United Nations, and then President George W. Bush declared Saddam Hussein a global threat.

While the CIA bungled the pre-war intelligence, the point is that the orders to invade Iraq were given a year before.

The same story is playing out now.

While the US President can always call off military action, the planning phases for an attack on North Korea are going on now. Orders have been given. Preparations have been made. It is fair to say that contingency plans have been in place since the late 1990s.

The North Korean issue was dumped in Donald Trumps lap. It is largely attributed to bad diplomacy and faulty leadership through the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. There have been deals with North Korea, put in place throughout the years, which put hard sanctions on the regime.

Weve been down this road before. Every time North Korea engages in dangerous behaviour, the international community and the US place pressure on the rogue state. It has worked where both sides have agreed to terms, but the North Koreans continuously break their promises and escalate programs.

For the eight years under the Obama administration, nearly nothing was done and the issue was largely ignored. Its hard to point blame at Trump. While he has dialled up the rhetoric, this has been going on for decades.

North Korea: the logic of war

As tensions increase, theres going to be rising stock market volatility. This is where the logic of war comes in. The French call it la logique de la guerre. The logic of war is different than the logic of diplomacy. It refers to the dynamic of how wars begin, despite the fact that the war itself will be horrendous, counterproductive, and possibly end in complete defeat.

Under the logic of war, theres an escalatory logic that leads to war even when no one thinks...

01:12

Modern alchemy turns plastic into diamonds "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/modern-alchemy-turns-plastic-into-diamonds/news-story/e5261bd0594ef1ad8fbbde17f4168e4e

It was the pipedream that mesmerised medieval monarchs: to finance castles and conquests by turning lead into gold. Now astrophysicists have gone one better, turning plastic into diamonds.

Californian scientists say they have used a laser and the worlds brightest X-ray to recreate the diamond rain thought to occur deep inside planets Uranus and Neptune. The experiment, outlined in the journal Nature Astronomy, supports a theory that extreme pressure and heat distils methane into piles of diamonds.

The researchers, based at an accelerator laboratory managed by Stanford University, used polystyrene to simulate the methane that gives Neptune its bluish tinge.

They bombarded it with pairs of shockwaves caused by a high-powered laser, in an experiment designed to mimic conditions about 8000km below the planets surfaces.

Diamonds were formed during the pressure peak when the second shockwave overtook the first.

...

00:13

The divide-and-conquer strategy of the CIA in France 1985-style "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

A good friend sent me a document that was released under the US Central Intelligence Agencys rules about archives. The CIA has established a fabulous Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room where all sorts of stuff is released after they deem it benign to current security concerns. The 1985 CIA document France: Defection of the Leftist Intellectuals written by CIA operatives, provides an analytical summary of the leading lights in the French left-wing intellectual thought in the 1980s with a view of promoting .. It is redacted but only marginally. There is no doubt as to what the message is. It helps us understand the forces that were mounted against the progressive Left by right-wing, pro-market forces and how the public was manipulated to reject This is part of the research I am currently doing on the way literature, particularly fiction, is used to advance the neo-liberal ideological position to make it look as though the ideas about governments running out of money and the like are just extensions of our usual individual experience in families and households. That research will be disseminated in a paper that Louisa Connors and I are giving at the upcoming MMT conference in Kansas City.

Regular readers will know that I have written extensively about the so-called austerity turn that the Mitterrand Socialist government took in 1983, which has been used, in addition to James Callaghans British Labour Conference speech in 1976, as the turning point in a progressive Left acceptance of the market and the alleged limitations on the capacity of the state to maintain full employment and prosperity.

At the time (and since) Mitterrands decision, driven by the increasingly Monetarist Jacques Delors, who was on his way to leading the charge to Maastricht, was constructed as being the only alternative (an application of what Margaret Thatcher would term the TINA option).

Any coherent analysis the situation in 1983 makes it clear that Mitterrand did have an alternative, just as the British Labour government had an alternative in 1976. Their respective embrace of what we now broadly term neo-liberalism was a choice not an inevitability.

France could have attenuated its chronic problems by breaking the nexus with the dominant German mark (under the European ERM) and floating the franc, a choice which would have freed domestic macroeconomic policy from its recession-prone bias (given the relative trade strengths of the German and French currencies).

The point is that the austerity turn was an explicit decision to embrace neo-liberalism and abandon the Socialist roots of the PS. The alternative, to remain faithful to their roots and to reject the growing Monetarist...

Wednesday, 23 August

11:03

Central banks still funding government deficits and the sky remains firmly above "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

There was an article in the Financial Times last week (August 16, 2017) Central banks hold a fifth of their governments debt which seemed to think there was a challenge facing policymakers in unwinding assets after decade of stimulus. The article shows how central banks around the world have been buying huge quantities of government (and private) bonds and holding them on their balance sheets. Apparently, these asset holdings are likely to cause the banks headaches. I dont see it that way. The central banks, in question, could write the debt off any time they chose with no significant consequence. Why they dont is the question rather than whether they will become insolvent if the values crash (they wont) or whether the yields will skyrocket if they sell them back into the non-government sector (they wont). Last week (August 15, 2017), the US Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board put out their updated data on Foreign Holders of US Treasury Securities. Other relevant data was also published which helps us trace the US Federal Reserve holdings of US government debt. Overall, the US government holds about 40 per cent of its own total outstanding debt split between the intergovernmental agencies (27.6 per cent) and the US Federal Reserve Bank (12.4 per cent). In some quarters, the US central bank has been known to purchase nearly all the change in total debt. That folks, is what we might call Overt Monetary Financing and the sky hasnt fallen in yet as a consequence.

They report, as if it is news, that Leading central banks now own a fifth of their governments total debt which is in the assessment of the journalists:

a sign of the scale of the challenge they will face in unwinding unprecedented stimulus measures deployed over the past decade.

Why is that?

Well central banks in six nations that embarked on quantitative easing over the past decade now hold more than four times the pre-crisis level of assets and the public composition amounts to one dollar in every five of the $46tn total outstanding debt owed by their governments.

Scared yet?

The article recounts that:

Central banks bond-buying has helped push sovereign yields to record lows and in some cases into negative territory, with bondholders paying governments to own their paper.

Okay, that just shows who is in charge the currency-issuing government not the bond markets.

Private bond dealers are being forced into a hunt for yield by the central banks. The idea that the bond traders...

10:15

It's time for Queensland to shine "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Queensland picking up

Hot on the heels of the SEEK survey, comes another positive set of job ads figures.

Total job advertisements are now +26 per cent higher than at the 2013 nadir, according to the Department of Employment. 


After a torrid time since 2013, Queensland is now leading the way forward, with the strongest annual increase from around the states. 


Rebound

Many of the finest opportunities over the decade ahead will be found in the Sunshine State.

Townsville is set for an economic lift following a torrid few years, while Cairns, Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast will continue to benefit from the Chinese tourism boom.

Then there is the Commonwealth Games coming up in 2018, which will be another welcome boost for Brisbane and the Gold Coast. 

Of course, the above figures are only one measure of what's going down (or up) in the Queensland economy.

ANZ's 'Stateometer' covers a considerably broader set of measures, and showed Queensland accelerating back to life in the June quarter....

08:46

Don't try to revive the zombie TPP "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Don't revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Use our online form to send a message to the Trade Minister now!

...

08:29

Job ads not too shabby "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Jobs market firing up

Job ads are now a very solid +12.6 per cent higher than a year ago according to SEEK.

Aside from a brief 14-month period in 2007/8, the index has never been higher - although there are more part time jobs advertised today. 


Ads continued to accelerate in New South Wales (+7.3 per cent) and Victoria (+14.1 per cent).

But it was heartening to see that the southern states are now contributing, with a scorching +22 per cent increase in Tasmania in particular. 

The strongest performing industry was mining, and this was reflected by improving numbers in Western Australia (+16.8 per cent), South Australia, and the Northern Territory. 

Queensland also produced a vastly improved result, up by +20.2 per cent over the year, the best result since 2011. 

Advertised salaries are also rising solidly, while the number of applicants per advertised position is also in a pleasing decline. 

Lovely jubbly.

04:50

Changing the world "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Whats the problem? Class struggle? Population? Debt? Bank nationalisation? Something else? Something else is more important than each of the others, but we always say its too hard and will never happen! And so we continue to plod along in an economic slough of despond, blaming this government or that government, for not taking this []

02:00

Trump Plays a Familiar Card "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

That was quick

In early July, I wrote that the US would make a strategic play to send American natural gas to Eastern Europe.

Well, guess whatLithuania just became the first ex-Soviet state to import some this week.

The US is stealing market share from Russia here. This wont be good news for the men in Moscow.

Oil and gas dominate the Russian economy even more than iron ore and coal dominate ours. Every lost sale hurts.

Russian gas used to have a monopoly market here, and it gave Russia enormous geopolitcal sway. The implied threat was always shutting down the pipelines.

Except thats now weakening. And make no mistake: Lithuania is definitely giving the bird to Russia right now.

The Financial Times quotes Lithuanias energy minister as saying,

We are happy to reach a point where importing gas from U.S. is not only politically desirable but also commercially viable.

Notice the politics comes first and the price second.

The US will treat the Baltic states and Poland favourably to keep Russia contained on its Western border. Even sweeter, these energy exports are going to send a lot of money back to the US.

This is only just gearing up. The company actually shipping the gas isnt just exporting to Europe. Its also shipping to Latin America and Asia.

More gas will follow, and export cheap energy all over the world.

This is wildly bullish for European countries like Spain, without much in the way of energy reserves. It will bring costs down.

But thats not all

Trump: no real maverick here

We know now that Trump is not the true maverick he appeared to be before the election. Therell be no genuine attempt to dismantle the US military industrial complex.

That means the giant US defence firms will continue to see a river of government money flow to them.

Look no further than Afghanistan for proof of this. Trump has now reversed his position to withdraw the US military from Afghanistan. The US is now going to add more troops and treasure to the 16-year war.

I also find it interesting that Trump has singled out Pakistan for further American pressure. Pakistan has become a strategic place for another big player in town China.

 

Beijing has built a strategic port on the Pakistani coast, which gives China access to the Indian Ocean, and the potential to send energy imports to its eastern pro...

01:52

Melbourne voted most liveable city (again) "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

For the seventh year in a row, Melbourne has been voted the world's most lievable city by The Economist. 

The world's most liveable city without an airport train!

IndyWatch Australian Economic News Feed Archiver

Go Back:30 Days | 7 Days | 2 Days | 1 Day

IndyWatch Australian Economic News Feed Today.

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IndyWatch Australian Economic News Feed was generated at Australian News IndyWatch.

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