Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Data on the Australian Economy

Every month the RBA releases a publication called A Collection of Graphs on the Australian Economy and Financial Markets. It really is quite fabulous although I think that they should release a companion document with the original data so that punters like me can construct their own graphs from the data without having to trawl through different statistical publications. When queried the RBA argued that some of the data was only available on subscription and couldn't be reproduced in its original form. Be that as it may, both the RBA and Treasury are generally very helpful when requests are made for data.

The latest edition of the collection is for May and contains data up to the 29th of April.

A couple of graphs caught my attention (sorry they didn't reproduce that well)

This first one shows China and India's amazing performance since 2000, just how badly they were affected by the collapse of world trade in 2009 and then how quickly they recovered. 

This second graph shows one of the reasons why Australia has done so well in recent times. Growth in Australia's trading partners has outpaced growth in the OECD as a whole. To get an accurate comparison we would need to do similar graphs for individual countries trading partner GDP, but obviously having extensive trade with Asia has served us well in recent times

This messy third graph shows the collapse of trade over 2008-09. This is particularly true for Japanese trade, which fell more than any other trading partner during this period of time and is the reason why it lost its position as Australai's most important export market to China, which didn't fall by quite so much.

This fourth graph shows Australia's sound fiscal position compared to most countries with only the Scandinavians in a better position among developed countries. Despite fears about Spain and its high deficit, it does not have a particularly bad overall debt position. (The deficit is the yearly figure and debt is the accumulation of deficits over time). This figure is the best one (see my earlier post Public Debt (for Nerds) for an explanation) rather than the generally misleading gross public debt figure that is usually trotted out to scare the uninformed!

  This fifth graph shows the important distinction between the public and private components of foreign debt. As it clearly shows, Australia's foreign debt problem is privae in nature, although noone seemes to be that worried about it. The lifting of the super guarantee gradually to 12% will help to bosst Australian savings and make for better retirement for lots of Australians into the future.

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