Here’s a fascinating article that demonstrates the real lack of consensus in economic thought seen since the GFC. While anyone familiar with history of economic thought is aware of the conflicting views even within the ‘Mainstream’ that have been around for the past 80 or so years, prior to the GFC there was usually one dominant side to the argument. Even more telling is the fact that since Milton Friedman’s untimely demise, there hasn’t been a single figure who has been seen as the face of contemporary economics. If you’re interested have a read, it’s also got some great content for possible exam discussion questions so it’s a win-win!
The All Ords finished and extremely volatile week slightly higher than it left off on Friday last week at 5089 compared to 5072. As seems to be the case for the past few weeks the local share market just seems to be ‘jogging up and down on the spot’ not moving definitively in one direction or another.
However, resources stocks have been trending lower for the past few months, with even more concerns sparked on Tuesday when Swiss commodity firm Glencore began selling off assets in the wake of their 1st half loss of USD $676 million. But, shockingly (and hopefully not in the economic sense) this trend seems to be riven more by fundamentals rather than speculation with the stock prices following deteriorating commodity prices.
In contrast, retail sales data released this week show a 4.5% increase this week alone in an upward trend evident since the GFC. Yet, if every dark cloud has a silver lining it can also be said every bright cloud holds the potential for a downpour with most of this increase driven by demand for household goods which in turn has been fueled by the housing boom. While I’m no meteorologist (well, at least not professionally) the IMF has been suggesting that this boom may be coming to an end, further reinforced by the slowing price growth in the Sydney market the past few months.
I’ve been requested to dedicate this edition of the newsletter to our VP-Events Ruark Lantay Lefkovich who regularly assists the publications department in the development of our mailouts. This week he’s supplied us with one of the eclectic articles we’ve come to demand of him, this time investigating the economics of onion rearing. I must say it’s quite ogre-due…
While the so called ‘liver transplant’ of a new PM and Treasurer may have helped domestic conditions it did nothing to stop the influence of global conditions on our relatively small-open economy as the dollar fell 3% in a week, ending on Friday at around USD 0.70.
Foreign holdings of Australian debt fell to about 64%, it’s lowest levels in nearly 6 years. On financial markets the ASX200 had a rough week, falling below and staying there on Wednesday before recovering and ending the week at above 5050. Over the past 6 months banks and energy providers have been the most volatile and amusingly utilities were the least, suggesting you can increase your utility by purchasing them.
Late in the week Fed Chair Janet Yellen fronted the media in a relatively rare appearance after last weeks surprising decision not to increase rates. She commented that, baring any unforeseen crises, while rates were left on hold last week they can be expected to be raised by the end of the year.
Despite this consumer confidence has seen the biggest weekly jump since the survey began in 2008, mainly due to the post-leadership change ‘sugar hit’. Longer term effects are yet to be seen but signs are fairly reassuring.
I’d like to dedicate this edition of the newsletter to Kai Zen for his constant service to this publication, including his kind donation of this week’s article. Written by the highly respected French economist Thomas Picketty it outlines the potential benefits the refugee ‘crisis’ could infact have for the still fragile European economy. He also highlights how pre-GFC, Europe had a very different attitude towards immigration, but the past 8 years have changed their view and not for the better, linking poor economic management with a deteriorating social tolerance.