Thursday May 18 2017
Australia Jobless Rate Down To 3-Month Low of 5.7%
ABS l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Australia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 5.7 percent in April of 2017 from 5.9 percent in March and below market estimates of 5.9 percent. It was the lowest jobless rate since January, as the economy added 37,400 jobs while the number of unemployed declined by 19,100.

In April, the seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate remained steady at 64.8 percent while market expected 64.7 percent.

Employment increased by 37,400 to 12,099,300, missing market estimates of a 50,000 gain: full-time employment decreased by 11,600 to 8,227,400 while part-time employment increased by 49,000 to 3,871,900.

Unemployment fell by 19,100 to 732,300. The number of unemployed persons looking for full-time work decreased by 12,300 to 514,200 and the number of unemployed persons only looking for part-time work dropped by 6,800 to 218,000.

Seasonally adjusted aggregate monthly hours worked in all jobs declined 4.3 million hours (-0.26 percent) to 1,659.5 million hours.




Thursday May 04 2017
Australia Trade Surplus Narrows More Than Estimated
Rida | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Australia's trade surplus narrowed 15 percent to AUD 3.11 billion in March of 2017 from an upwardly revised AUD 3.66 billion in February. The figure came in below market expectations of AUD 3.40 billion as exports rose less than imports.

Compared to the prior month, sales of goods and services increased by 2 percent to AUD 33.34 billion.

Rural goods rose 7 percent to AUD 4.14 billion, mainly due to a 10 percent increase of sugar, sugar preparations and honey and a 23 percent rise of wool and sheepskins.

Exports of non-rural goods (bulk commodities and non-bulk commodities) were little changed at AUD 21.0 billion, due to a 4 percent rise in metal ores and minerals and a 9 percent of other manufactures. Partly offsetting these rises were coal, coke and briquettes (-6 percent) and other non-rural, including sugar and beverages (-16 percent).

Non-monetary gold (gold which is not owned by monetary authorities and can be in the form of bullion, including coins, ingots or bar with a purity at least 995 parts per thousand) jumped 32 percent to AUD 1.85 billion.

Exports of services went up AUD 45 million ( 1 percent) to AUD 6.25 billion. The main component contributing to the rise was travel (1 percent).  

Imports of goods and services in March jumped 5 percent to AUD 30.23 billion. Consumption goods rose the most by 10 percent to AUD 8.46 billion, followed by intermediate and other merchandise goods (8 percent, driven by a 22 percent rise in fuel and lubricants and a 15 percent rise in parts for transport equipments). Also, non-monetary gold rose 14 percent. In contrast, capital goods fell 4 percent, due to civil aircraft and confidentialised items (-43 percent) and telecommunications equipment (-7 percent).

Purchases of non-monetary gold rose AUD 68 million (14 percent) to AUD 568 million.

Imports of services rose AUD 6 million to AUD 6.2 billion. The main components contributing to the rise in seasonally adjusted estimates were: other services (1 percent) and transport (1 percent). Partly offsetting these rises was travel (-1 percent). 

Considering January to March 2017, trade surplus was recorded at AUD 8.98 billion, an increase of 49 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.




Tuesday May 02 2017
Australia Holds Cash Rate Steady At 1.5% In May
RBA l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Reserve Bank of Australia left the cash rate unchanged at a record low of 1.5 percent during the meeting held on May 2nd, as widely expected. Policymakers expect the economic growth to increase to a little above 3 percent over the next couple of years and inflation is estimated to rise further gradually.

Excerpt from the statement by the governor, Philip Lowe:

The Bank’s forecasts for the Australian economy are little changed. Growth is expected to increase gradually over the next couple of years to a little above 3 percent. The economy is continuing its transition following the end of the mining investment boom, with the drag from the decline in mining investment coming to an end and exports of resources picking up. Growth in consumption is expected to remain moderate and broadly in line with incomes. Non-mining investment remains low as a share of GDP and a stronger pick-up would be welcome.

Indicators of the labour market remain mixed. The unemployment rate has moved a little higher over recent months, but employment growth has been a little stronger. The various forward-looking indicators still point to continued growth in employment over the period ahead. The unemployment rate is expected to decline gradually over time. Wage growth remains slow and this is likely to remain the case for a while yet.

The outlook continues to be supported by the low level of interest rates. Lenders have announced increases in mortgage rates, particularly those paid by investors and on interest-only loans. The depreciation of the exchange rate since 2013 has also assisted the economy in its transition following the mining investment boom. An appreciating exchange rate would complicate this adjustment.

Inflation picked up to above 2 per cent in the March quarter in line with the Bank’s expectations. In underlying terms, inflation is running at around 1¾ per cent, a little higher than last year. A gradual further increase in underlying inflation is expected as the economy strengthens.

Conditions in the housing market continue to vary considerably around the country. Prices have been rising briskly in some markets and declining in others. In the eastern capital cities, a considerable additional supply of apartments is scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years. Rent increases are the slowest for two decades. Growth in housing debt has outpaced the slow growth in household incomes. The recently announced supervisory measures should help address the risks associated with high and rising levels of indebtedness.

Taking account of the available information, the Board judged that holding the stance of monetary policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time.




Wednesday April 26 2017
Australia Inflation Rate At 2-1/2-Year High Of 2.1% In Q1
ABS | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Australia rose 2.1 percent through the year to the March quarter of 2017 from 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter 2016 while markets expected a 2.2 percent rise. It was the highest inflation rate since the September quarter 2014, driven by a surge in cost of transport and an increase in cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages and housing.

Year-on-year, cost increased for: food and non-alcoholic beverages (1.8 percent from 1.8 percent in the December quarter 2016), alcohol and tobacco (6.1 percent from 5.9 percent), clothing and footwear (0.3 percent from -0.9 percent), housing (2.5 percent from 1.9 percent), health (3.8 percent from 3.7 percent), transport (3.8 percent from -0.3 percent), education (3.3 percent from 3.3 percent) and insurance and financial services (2.7 percent from 2.7 percent). In contrast, cost declined for: furnishing, household equipment and services (-0.1 percent from 0.6 percent), communication (-4.8 percent from -5.9 percent) and recreation and culture (-0.2 percent from -0.5 percent)  

RBA Trimmed Mean CPI rose 1.9 percent year-on-year in the first quarter 2017, after gaining 1.6 percent in the preceding quarter and slightly above consensus of a 1.8 percent gain. Quarter-on-quarter, the index increased 0.5 percent, the same as an upwardly revised figure in the December quarter and in line with market estimates. RBA Weighted Mean CPI rose 1.7 percent year-on-year in the three months to March 2017, up from a downwardly revised 1.4 percent growth in the fourth quarter and slightly below expectations of a 1.8 percent rise. 

On a quarterly basis, consumer prices rose 0.5 percent, the same as in the previous quarter but slightly  below market expectations of a 0.6 percent increase. The most significant price rises this quarter are automotive fuel (5.7 percent), new dwelling purchase by owner-occupiers (1.0 percent), medical and hospital services (1.6 percent) and electricity (2.5 percent). These rises were partially offset by falls in international holiday travel and accommodation (-3.8 percent), fruit (-6.7 percent) and furniture (-3.5 percent). 




Thursday April 13 2017
Australia Jobless Rate Steady At 5.9% In March
Statistics of Australia | Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Australia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate came in at 5.9 percent in March of 2017, the same as the previous month and in line with market expectations. The economy added 60.9 thousand jobs while the number of unemployed increased by 4 thousand.

In March, the seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate came in at 64.8 percent, up from 64.6 percent in the prior month and above consensus of 64.6 percent.

Employment increased by 60,900 to 12,059,600, beating market estimates of a 20,000 gain: full-time employment increased by 74,500 to 8,238,600 while part-time employment decreased 13,600 to 3,821,000.

Unemployment increased 4,000 to 753,100. The number of unemployed persons looking for full-time work increased by 2,900 to 528,600 and the number of unemployed persons only looking for part-time work increased by 1,100 to 224,500.

Seasonally adjusted aggregate monthly hours worked in all jobs increased 3.2 million hours to 1,664.2 million hours.


Tuesday April 04 2017
Australia Keeps Cash Rate Steady At 1.5%
RBA l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Reserve Bank of Australia held the cash rate steady at a record low of 1.5 percent during the meeting held on April 4th, as widely expected. While saying domestic economy is continuing its transition following the mining investment boom, policymakers judged recent data are consistent with ongoing moderate growth.

Excerpt from the statement by the governor, Philip Lowe:

In Australia, most measures of business confidence are at, or above, average and non-mining business investment has risen over the past year. At the same time, some indicators of conditions in the labour market have softened recently. In particular, the unemployment rate has moved a little higher and employment growth is modest. The various forward-looking indicators still point to continued growth in employment over the period ahead. Wage growth remains slow.

The outlook continues to be supported by the low level of interest rates. Lenders have recently announced increases in mortgage rates, particularly those paid by investors. Financial institutions remain in a good position to lend. The depreciation of the exchange rate since 2013 has also assisted the economy in its transition following the mining investment boom. An appreciating exchange rate would complicate this adjustment.

Inflation remains quite low. Headline inflation is expected to pick up over the course of 2017 to be above 2 per cent. The rise in underlying inflation is expected to be a bit more gradual with growth in labour costs remaining subdued.

Conditions in the housing market continue to vary considerably around the country. In some markets, conditions are strong and prices are rising briskly. In other markets, prices are declining. In the eastern capital cities, a considerable additional supply of apartments is scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years. Growth in rents is the slowest for two decades.

Growth in household borrowing, largely to purchase housing, continues to outpace growth in household income. By reinforcing strong lending standards, the recently announced supervisory measures should help address the risks associated with high and rising levels of indebtedness. Lenders need to ensure that the serviceability metrics that they use are appropriate for current conditions. A reduced reliance on interest-only housing loans in the Australian market would also be a positive development.

Taking account of the available information, the Board judged that holding the stance of monetary policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time.




Tuesday April 04 2017
Australia Trade Surplus Surges In February
ABS l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Australia's trade surplus widened 138 percent to AUD 3.57 billion in February of 2017 from an upwardly revised AUD 1.50 billion surplus in January and beating market expectations of AUD 1.8 billion. It was the second-largest surplus on record, as exports rose 1 percent from the prior month while imports fell 5 percent.

Between January and February 2017, goods and services credits rose AUD 0.47 billion (1 percent) to AUD 32.41 billion. Non-monetary gold went up AUD 0.35 billion (33 percent) and non-rural goods increased by AUD 0.24 billion (1 percent). In contrast, rural goods fell  AUD 0.2 billion (-5 percent). Net exports of goods under merchanting remained steady at AUD 41 million. Services credits rose AUD 76 million (1 percent).

Goods and services debits fell  AUD 1.60 billion (-5 percent) to AUD 28.83 billion. Consumption goods declined by AUD 0.86 billion (-10 percent). Also, intermediate and other merchandise goods fell AUD 0.8 billion (-9 percent). In contrast, capital goods rose AUD 77 million (1 percent) and non-monetary gold rose AUD 2 million. Services debits fell AUD 28million.


Thursday March 16 2017
Australia Jobless Rate At 13-Month High of 5.9% In February
ABS l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Australia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 5.9 percent in February of 2017 from 5.7 percent in January while markets expected 5.7 percent. It was the highest jobless rate since January 2016, as the economy lost 6,400 jobs while the number of unemployed increased by 26,000.

In February, the seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate came in at 64.6 percent, the same as in the prior month and in line with consensus.

Employment decreased 6,400 to 11,998,800 and missing markets estimates of 16,000 gain: full-time employment increased 27,100 to 8,158,900 while part-time employment decreased 33,500 to 3,840,000.

Unemployment increased 26,000 to 748,100. The number of unemployed persons looking for full-time work increased 10,800 to 523,800 and the number of unemployed persons only looking for part-time work increased 15,100 to 224,300.

Seasonally adjusted aggregate monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased 20.5 million hours to 1,661.9 million hours.


Tuesday March 07 2017
Australia Keeps Cash Rate At Record Low Of 1.5%
RBA l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Reserve Bank of Australia left the cash rate steady at a record low of 1.5 percent during the meeting held on March 7th, as widely expected. While saying headline inflation is expected to be above 2 percent this year, policymakers judged holding the stance of policy unchanged would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time.

Excerpt from the statement by the governor, Philip Lowe:

The Australian economy is continuing its transition following the end of the mining investment boom, expanding by around 2½ per cent in 2016. Exports have risen strongly and non-mining business investment has risen over the past year. Most measures of business and consumer confidence are at, or above, average. Consumption growth was stronger towards the end of the year, although growth in household income remains low.

The outlook continues to be supported by the low level of interest rates. Financial institutions remain in a good position to lend. The depreciation of the exchange rate since 2013 has also assisted the economy in its transition following the mining investment boom. An appreciating exchange rate would complicate this adjustment.

Labour market indicators continue to be mixed and there is considerable variation in employment outcomes across the country. The unemployment rate has been steady at around 5¾ per cent over the past year, with employment growth concentrated in part-time jobs. The forward-looking indicators point to continued expansion in employment over the period ahead.

Inflation remains quite low. With growth in labour costs remaining subdued, underlying inflation is likely to stay low for some time. Headline inflation is expected to pick up over the course of 2017 to be above 2 per cent, with the rise in underlying inflation expected to be a bit more gradual.

Conditions in the housing market vary considerably around the country. In some markets, conditions are strong and prices are rising briskly. In other markets, prices are declining. In the eastern capital cities, a considerable additional supply of apartments is scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years. Growth in rents is the slowest for two decades. Borrowing for housing by investors has picked up over recent months. Supervisory measures have contributed to some strengthening of lending standards.


Thursday March 02 2017
Australia Trade Surplus Narrows To 3-Month Low
ABS | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Australia's trade surplus unexpectedly narrowed 61 percent to AUD 1.30 billion in January of 2017 from a downwardly revised AUD 3.33 billion surplus in December and missing market expectations of AUD 3.8 billion. It was the smallest surplus in three months, as exports fell 3 percent from the prior month while imports rose 4 percent.

Between December 2016 and January 2017, goods and services credits fell AUD 0.95 billion (-3 percent) to AUD 31.8 billion. It is the first decline in seven months as non-monetary gold fell AUD 0.67 billion (-39 percent) and non-rural goods dropped AUD 0.40 billion (-2 percent). In contrast, rural goods rose AUD 57 million (1 percent) and net exports of goods under merchanting went up AUD 1 million (17 percent). Services credits rose AUD 72 million (1 percent).

Goods and services imports rose AUD 1.09 billion (4 percent) to AUD 30.49 billion. It is the biggest gain since September of 2015, due to rises in purchases of consumption goods (AUD 0.54 billion or 7 percent); intermediate and other merchandise goods (AUD 0.343 billion or 4 percent); capital goods (AUD 0.18 billion  or 3 percent) and non-monetary gold (AUD 22 million or 5 percent). Services debits increased AUD 3 million.