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Australia - Bushfires may reduce Q1 GDP by 0.1%

The deadly bushfires that are ravaging Australia are first and foremost a human tragedy. But there are economic effects to consider, too. We suspect that the impact on consumption and working hours will be negligible, while firefighters working longer hours may boost output. But the fires will reduce agricultural output, may curb construction activity due to unhealthy air quality and tourism may also take a hit. All told, we suspect that the bushfires will curb Q1 GDP by around 0.1%.
Marcel Thieliant Senior Japan, Australia & New Zealand Economist
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Australia & New Zealand Chart Book

Consumption to surge even as real incomes fall

We now expect Australia’s inflation to rise by more than 6% this year. Even allowing for an acceleration in earnings growth and a further solid rise in employment as immigration resumes, that will result in the first annual fall in real household disposable income since the early 1990s. By contrast, we expect gains in nominal disposable income to continue to stay ahead of increases in consumer prices in New Zealand. Even so, we expect Australia’s real consumption growth to outpace New Zealand’s this year, for two key reasons. First, consumer spending in Australia has only just started to surpass its pre-virus peak but is already well above that watermark in New Zealand. Accordingly, there’s more scope for catch-up in Australia. Second, consumer confidence in Australia has softened but has collapsed in New Zealand, where it reached an all-time low in March. We’ve pencilled in a 6% rise in Australia’s consumption this year, well above our forecast of a 2.8% rise in New Zealand. ANZ Drop-in (18th May, 07:00 BST/14:00 SGT): Join economists from our Australia and Markets services shortly after the release of Q1 labour market data for a discussion about the Australian growth, inflation and monetary policy outlook. Register now.

17 May 2022

Australia & New Zealand Economics Weekly

Minimum wage to rise by 4% this year

Suggestions by Labor leader Albanese that minimum wage increases in line with inflation plus productivity growth are sustainable are wide of the mark at a time when consumer prices are rising twice as fast as the RBA would like them to. But with even employers supporting a large minimum wage hike, we now expect the Fair Work Commission to lift the minimum wage by 4% next month. While that would reduce the hit to household incomes from soaring living costs, it would add to the upward pressure on inflation. ANZ Drop-in (19th May, 07:00 BST/14:00 SGT): Join economists from our Australia and Markets services shortly after the release of Q1 labour market data on 18th May for a discussion about the Australian growth, inflation and monetary policy outlook. Register now.

13 May 2022

Australia & New Zealand Economics Update

New Zealand - Wage growth will rise further before it falls

The 6% rise in the minimum wage will help lift wage growth further this year. But a loosening labour market and smaller minimum wage hikes in the years ahead will facilitate a slow down in wage growth from next year. Markets Drop-In (11th May, 10:00 EDT/15:00 BST): We’re discussing our Q2 Outlook reports and what they say about the potential performance of bonds, equities and FX rates as inflation peaks in a special 20-minute briefing on Wednesday. Register now.

11 May 2022

More from Marcel Thieliant

Australia & New Zealand Economics Update

RBA may make QE more flexible

We now expect the RBA to refrain from announcing a target for the overall amount of bond purchases at the July meeting while keeping the weekly pace of purchases unchanged at $5bn. A more flexible approach to bond-buying would make it easier for the Bank to end QE by mid-2022 as we anticipate.

8 June 2021

Australia & New Zealand Economics Weekly

Solid Q1 GDP more than makes up for Q2 weakness

The strong rise in GDP in Q1 has prompted us to revise up our GDP forecasts for this year. And while the Victoria lockdown will weigh on consumption growth in Q2, sentiment is holding up so we expect consumption to rebound in Q3 once the lockdown is lifted. Finally, soaring demand for housing is driving record capacity constraints in the construction industry. With the border likely to remain closed until the middle of next year, construction firms will find it difficult to alleviate the labour shortages they are facing.

4 June 2021

Japan Economics Weekly

Industry to benefit from recovery in capital spending

The slump in retail sales in April suggests that consumer spending may have fallen further during the third state of emergency. However, the medical situation is improving and the vaccination rollout is accelerating. And Japan’s traditional growth engine, its large manufacturing sector, is roaring back to life as industrial output is now above pre-virus levels. While GDP growth this year will fall short of expectations, we think it will be stronger than most anticipate in 2022.

4 June 2021
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