Sunday, January 13

Blog holiday

Dear reader, I am heading off for an extended blog holiday.

Thursday, January 10

November 2012 Retail Sales

Over the last three to six months we are seeing shrinking sales across household goods, clothing/footwear, department stores, and cafes, restaurants and takeaways. In total, it looks like retail spending is flat-lining.

In respect of the States, Tasmania is in a contracting world of pain, growth in a number of states is slowing, and Western Australia continues to grow well ahead of the others.

Thursday, January 3

Some things I have not looked at for a while

At 698, the Baltic Dry Index is bottom-feeding again (but still above its February 2012 minimum of 647).

The DEEWR leading indicator rose for the 5th consecutive month in December 2012. Cyclical employment is still heading south.

The growth in trend unemployment (drawing on the ABS and DEEWR payments data).

Wednesday, January 2

Commonwealth revenue and expenditure as a percent of GDP

The base chart:

Which some like to interpret in the context of the macroeconomic and/or political environment.

Explanatory notes: In the first of the back-plane coloured charts, the orange areas indicate two or more quarters of decline in real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted, includes zero growth quarters). The yellow areas indicate two or more quarters of decline in real GDP per capita (either seasonally adjusted or in trend terms, noting this selection is interpreted a little capriciously).

In the second chart, the red area indicate Federal Labor governments. The blue areas represent Coalition governments. The light/dark shading indicates parliamentary terms between Federal elections.

Tuesday, January 1

Monthly government financial statements

In the lead up to Christmas, the Government released its monthly financial statements for September and October. These statements also saw the government acknowledge that it is unlikely to achieve a surplus this financial year. A quick look at the data is in order. Growth in individual and company tax revenue appears to be slowing.

However, indirect tax is up sharply and growth in total revenue is tracking at a similar (but perhaps slower) rate to previous years.

Note: The source data on the Finance website includes this footnote to Note 2 on Indirect Tax (October 2012), which goes about half way to an explanation for the leap in indirect tax: “(a) As foreshadowed in the September monthly statements, the carbon price mechanism (accrual) revenue will be reported in the October and future monthly statements. The revenue is recorded through the year as emissions occur (no cash payments for the carbon price are due until June 2013). Each monthly outcome will be based on the expected annual results. The October amount includes the full year to date amount since no carbon price revenue was shown in the July, August or September accounts. The October outcome includes around $641 million of revenue related to emissions in October and around $1,922 million related to emissions in the July to September period.” 

The rate of total spending looks like it's ticking up.

The underlying cash balance has not changed much this financial year. However, with revenue growth flat (or declining slightly) and expenditure still growing, it looks like we are no longer closing the gap on the annual deficit.

November 2012 Credit Aggregates

Yesterday the RBA served up its credit aggregates for November 2012. From the first two charts we can see that lower interest rates are not translating into significant borrowing growth. The drop-off in the 6-month annualised line is particularly noticeable.

Let's look at that growth rate in its long-term context.

And a more detailed look at the components.