The Kouk's top 40 hits and misses

more Over the summer break, while fiddling through data bases, reading and just being interested in things, I unearthed a few quirky bits and pieces about the Australian economy, people, sport

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more If you need a reliable, accurate, thought provoking and informed economic forecasting at both local and international levels, look no further. Informed by Stephen's exceptionally broad experience and background, his


more Stephen Koukoulas has a rare and specialised professional experience over more than 25 years as an economist in Treasury, as Global Head of economic and market research, a Chief Economist
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An economic update: Not much change

Mon, 27 Jul 2015

The economic picture hasn’t changed much in the few weeks I have been away on holidays.

Inflation is within the RBA target range. The labour market remains soft with the unemployment rate at 6 per cent and employment growth struggling to keep up with population growth. House price growth remains too strong. Mining investment is in free-fall. Consumer sentiment is dreadful while business confidence is OK, but lacking the oomph to underpin a lift in activity.

The RBA now seems to be happy to hold interest rates where they are for some time to come, especially with the Aussie dollar being smoked. The government, unfortunately, has abandoned economic policy reform with nothing on the economic agenda. The budget was a fizzer and the credit rating agencies are lining up to put Australia’s sovereign credit rating on negative watch.

Which agency will be the first to go?

And that's the century up for the Abbott government

Wed, 15 Jul 2015

When Mr Abbott's Coalition Parties swept to power just 22 months ago, government debt was $273 billion. 

Under the Abbott government's policy settings, government debt has increased by a neat $100 billion to a new record high of $373 billion, and there appears to be no let up in the pace with which the government is adding to its debt obligations with a spending spree usually only seen during periods of recession.

For a political party that campaigned furiously on the debt and deficit results under the previous government and with a specific promise to "pay off Labor's debt", the hypocrisy of Mr Abbott and his team is breathtaking.

The hypocrisy started with the decision of Treasurer Hockey to abandon the debt ceiling - we can all see why he was keen to do this - and has continued to unfold with a surge in government spending and the fact that the budget will remain in deficit in every year of Mr Hockey’s own forward estimates.