The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tom, tom, tom: What will GDP today tell us about Aussie economic growth?

D-day for the Australian economic debate. We get the GDP stats at 11.30am and unemployment tomorrow. The financial markets and virtually all economists are looking for weak data to fit with the popular narrative. The RBA will also be perversely crossing its fingers for weak data given its stunning five rate cuts since November have been predicated on a "sub-trend" economy generating only "modest" growth, and a forecast rise in the unemployment rate to 5.5%. The partial GDP info provided to date has forced some economists to reluctantly revise up their projections for quarterly growth to 0.8% or higher, but the Bloomberg median is only 0.6%, which is clearly sub-trend. Likewise, the Bloomberg survey estimate for unemployment is 5.1%, which is a significant pop from 4.9%. It is entirely possible we get a conflict between the GDP and labour data, as has occurred often in the past (eg, a healthy GDP print followed by weaker labour data). Expect to read and hear a lot of spin one way or another.