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Australia's "lucky" position shields against shocks: RBA
25/07/2012 - Australia was in a good position to avoid the global financial crisis and should continue to use its "lucky" position to shield against further economic shocks, the central bank governor says. Jason Cadden
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In a speech entitled "The Lucky Country", Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) governor Glenn Stevens said many foreign observers had remarked about the nations's economic and financial resilience.
"It is slowly becoming better recognised that the Australian economy's relative performance, against a very turbulent international background, has been remarkably good," Stevens told an Anika Foundation lunch on Tuesday.
He outlined why Australia avoided a recession during the GFC.
Stevens said the first factor was that Australia's banks went into the crisis in reasonable shape.
There were some poor lending decisions, he said, but among the major institution these issues were manageable.
The second factor he outlined was that the federal government was in a position to stimulate the economy and did so "promptly and decisively".
A surging Chinese economy saw a large demand for energy and resources, which pushed Australia's terms of trade to all-time highs and was a third factor why the Australian economy kept growing.
The fourth was the sharp fall in the Australian dollar at the end of 2008, making the price of our exports more competitive.
Steven said these factors did not happen through pure luck but from decisions by governments, financial institutions and regulators.
"Our natural resource endowment has provided a basis for the country to ride the boom in Asian resource demand," he said.
"We did not create that, though we still have to muster the capability to take sustained advantage of it.
"You don't suddenly acquire the credibility needed to ease monetary policy aggressively while the exchange rate is heading down rapidly.
"Authorities in lots of countries would not feel they could do that."
The RBA governor said future economic shocks that would hurt Australia could happen in a number of ways, such as a severe economic slowdown in China and a collapse in dwelling prices.
"The ingredients we would look for as signalling an imminent crash seem, if anything, less in evidence now than five years ago," he said.
"By the same token there are things we can do to improve our prospects or, if you will, to make a bit of our own future luck," he said.
"Some of the adjustments we have been seeing, as awkward as they might seem, are actually strengthening resilience to possible future shocks.
"Higher more normal rates of household saving, a more sober attitude towards debt, a re-orientation of banks funding, and a period of dwelling prices not moving much come into this category," Stevens said.
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Lou Furbadamo | 26/07/2012 08:45 1
Listening to this conflicting optimism makes one believe we live in parallel, compensating and inverse universes. Where unlike the Real majority of plain Unlucky, struggling plebites, that can’t afford rent, water, food, gas and electricity etc. There’s also the virtual dreamy Lucky, Lucky RBA, Bureaucracy and “sell our endowment farms” Miners. Even those of us partially lucky to own property, are seeing thousands unluckily wiped of it’s value, whilst unluckily paying higher extorted increased charges, insurance, rates, taxes and levies etc. to provide extracted, “parasitically leached luckiness” for the said dreamy Lucky Lucky! So we’re no longer a “Lucky Country” as the select Lucky tell us. But revised down, schizo “Australia the Lucky, Unlucky, Unlucky Country”. It’s confusing, but luckily we can now tell who our clueless, unpopular, politically unlucky, Lucky Julia and tangential cabinet listen to? Incredulously, if the bulk of the country wasn’t in dire mess and not experiencing Unlucky times. Why is she and government so much on the nose, that the gas and hot poll rage emitted could fuel an environmentally, carbon tax friendly power station? Oh that’s right! Silly Unlucky, Lucky Me! They haven’t spent enough billions on Lucky media campaigns to delude us just yet! Sadly, if you were ever going to feel sympathy for Julia and soon to be dubiously born again Lazarus Mc’Fizzer K. Dudd, it’s because they’ve had such “spurious advice to de-assist them”. The RBA credits four “saving Lucky factors” for safe guarding us from the GFC and gloatingly, self patronising claims “these factors did not happen through pure luck but from decisions by governments, financial institutions and regulators”: The “first factor was that Australia's banks went into the crisis in reasonable shape”. But how could they not be! when they’re Luckily favoured, pandered, allowed to dominate and seemingly mercilessly screw the unlucky public or worse? The second factor credited “was that the federal government was in a position to stimulate the economy and did so promptly and decisively". No thanks to Big Spending, Wasteful Labour Governments! Who, unluckily have no discerning idea of the judicious difference between blatant “Tuck Shop & Pink Bat Electrocution” Waste, Commendable Future Wealth Creation Infrastructure Spending and Berserk Terminal Consumption Debt Creating Spending! The third credited factor was “A surging Chinese economy saw large demand for energy and resources, which pushed Australia's terms of trade to all-time highs and why the Australian economy kept growing” No credit to Oz! Because that was purely due to the relatively exceptional Chinese Management & Economy. Pity none of our much more highly paid Politicos can’t emulate even a fraction of the rival’s wisdom & success? Further, Dudd’s Government in particular, fell for the old peanut under the china thimble trick and not only sold the goods but was incompetently fleeced of many “farms” as well! Something the modern conquistadors prudently don’t permit in their country. The fourth was “the sharp fall in the Australian dollar… making ..our exports more competitive”. Again no feather in cap, because that was due to global financial insecurity & money fleeing the country at a time of uncertainty. Nonetheless, the lower dollar (US$.65) was a fleeting, lucky competitive blessing! Too bad Unlucky Aust. can’t be blessed for too long, cause the currency meteorically quickly rose to an uncompetitive & irresponsible US$1.03 since. Finally, for true perspective, let them get down and talk to real, recent “Lucky Retrenched” workers in CMI, Ford, Toyota etc. that have uncompetitively closed, or otherwise they must have all won Tatts Lotto and decided to luckily retire? Perhaps then one may hopefully have a change of tune?
Lou Furbadamo | 30/07/2012 08:56 2
Given the avalanche of recent industry closures, retrenchments & that the future of Australian Manufacturing is at stake. I’m stunned there aren’t far more commentators critical of whimsical RBA Lucky Lucky assessments and apparent remedial inaction? Where are the objecting credit card frolicking unions? Perhaps we apathetically deserve what Pollies dish out after all? To emphasise the disconnect between the actual sorry, struggling state of much of our economy & the questionable rosy RBA handling of interest rates and the Australian dollar. Remember their self credited, fourth factor for avoiding GFC Recession was “the sharp fall in the Australian dollar at the end of 2008, making the price of our exports more competitive”. Which they gloatingly say “did not happen through pure luck but from decisions by governments, financial institutions and regulators” This is effectively trick nonsense, cause the dollar quickly went back up from around US65cents to over one dollar and has “recklessly stayed around there since”! So Tuesday’s 175 redundancies at Accolade Wine’s Reynella packaging plant & concerns of further lay-offs or closures in the supply chain, is no surprise. Despite not nesting with RBA hype and arguable deception, especially considering contradicting comments from S. A’s Wine Industry who said: “It’s not as though this is out of the blue”. “ the whole equation of making, bottling and selling is being looked at”. “That’s why we’ve seen redundancies like Accolade’s and 85 laid off at Orlando in May”. “The whole aspect of the economy of our business has changed”. Why? And what has the RBA & Gov. done to address the destructive distortion, other than feebly ignore, deny, say “too bad”! or suggest packing & moving the business over seas? Enviably! Why can the clever Chinese keep their interest & exchange rates competitively low? Further, SAWIA’S Louisa Rose, warned of the dire community impacts from the high Australian dollar. And said “We’re seeing the same sort of impacts from other industries such as the car manufacturing industry and unfortunately it’s the result of what happens particularly with the exchange rates and the global economy”. “The impact of the high Australian dollar is.. still a concern for the company”. Well surprise! surprise! How could any RBA bureaucrat possibly have predicted that? With Orlando’s & Accolade’s announcements, job losses in the wine packaging have topped 260 this year alone! Add the thousand of others and surely, industry’s desperate pleading should’ve stirred corrective action? Instead they’re raving on about how exemplary they’re managing the GFC and how well we’re doing? And incredulously taking credit for “managing the cold dollar”, that’s giving industries a debilitating mauling & sending companies broke? In addition, there are adverse knock on affects: Amcor reported operations were “adversely effected by.. the high dollar reducing customer volumes. Exports of filled wine bottles are..17 per cent lower. With the high dollar, glass demand in Aust. is well supplied and there is unlikely to be any further growth capital expenditure.” How much clearer do the “ Desperately Warnings” have to be to get due relief and support? What part doesn’t the RBA & PM not understand? A further step back in the dwindling supply chain is soda ash manufacturer and limestone supplier Penrice. Who’s “already been hit by reductions in Aust. glass manufacturing and competition from cheap imports of soda ash”. The recent “unlucky” cuts will therefore only make things worse! I wonder if all the good Aussie companies, abandoned in this vicious uncompetitive A$dollar circle still consider themselves Lucky! Lucky! now? as the RBA asserts.
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