Sunday, December 16, 2012

A post on imbecilic old white men

An interesting twitter exchange yesterday twixt Rupert Murdoch and Malcolm Turnbull related to more shootins in the good ole US of A!
Rupert Murdoch @rupertmurdoch
Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy.


Malcolm Turnbull @TurnbullMalcolm
@rupertmurdoch I suspect they will find the courage when Fox News enthusiastically campaigns for it.
Rupert did not reply, however in an economic context this yesterday from Rupert was also interesting:
Rupert Murdoch @rupertmurdoch
Cheaper and cheaper US$ causing world inflation and currency wars as many industries become uncompetitive & layoff workers.
Oh dear, an imbecilic old white man who really deserve no respect or serious attention. If only we could get Paul Krugman to make a response on that one!

Meanwhile back in the real world, far far away from Fox News ....... or even the Wall St Journal for that matter!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Queensland: The Dump State?

Back in July Loose Change queried the wisdom of the fast action by the then new State Gummint to deliver on its election promise to axe the waste levy: Queensland wasted: doing the sums for Trouty

This left Queensland lagging other states with similar levies to encourage recycling and more efficient landfill practices. There were some hyperbolic claims by the member for Barron River that the levy had been responsible for the death of the construction industry. Queensland has a poor record compared to other states when it comes to landfill and waste.


Concerns about cross border trade in waste were dismissed despite a hike in the NSW waste levy by the Liberal Gummint there. So it was interesting to this report today at the Sydney Morning Herald: More Sydney trash to be dumped in Queensland:

Drivers heading north on the Pacific Highway will be jostling a rising number of B-double trucks following a decision by the Queensland government earlier this year to remove a levy on waste going to landfill.
As a result, an increasing number of trucks are taking Sydney's trash up the Pacific Highway to dump it across the northern border, with the waste industry estimating 1,000 tonnes of waste a week, or around 25 B-doubles, is now on the highway.
Queensland's Liberal National Party undertook to remove the levy if it won its state elections in March, with the election promise implemented on July 1, when the levy was removed. At the same time, the waste levy in NSW rose a further 10 per cent to $95.20 a tonne.
"When the NSW levy was around $70 a tonne, there was no talk of shipping waste to Queensland, but that changed when the levy topped $80 a tonne," one senior industry figure said. "Now that the levy has topped $95 a tonne, trucks are on the road.
"The top end of town is now talking of establishing transfer stations to send waste north."
Geoff Gerard, business development manager at waste processor Sita Australia, said: "Queensland is now the dumping ground for NSW waste."
Not only general waste is being put on the road, but a rising volume of contaminated waste is also being shipped north, including an estimated 3,000 tonnes of waste from Barangaroo, the redevelopment site on the western side of Sydney's central business district.
Beware the laws of unintended consequences!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

De-amalgamation Dumb

Local Government Minister Crisafulli has announced that referendums will proceed for de-amalgamations of Noosa, Livingstone, Mareeba and Douglas Shires. Problem is that the Boundaries Commissioner has recommended against all but Noosa.

There are reports from the Commissioner and QTC on all four with the following QTC assessment for Douglas:

In the first year, each rateable property in the Proponent Council area will on average need to contribute an extra $701 in rates to cover the costs of de-amalgamation. In the second year, the extra contribution will drop to $462 and is then expected to increase each year based on inflation.
And:
QTC has rated the Proponent Council as very weak. The very weak rating is supported by the following: forecast very high and sustained operating deficits, and the significant liquidity support (overdraft) required to fund operations in all of the five forecast years.
The Ministers own media statement rates the chance of long term viability for Douglas as "highly unlikely". Long term viability for Mareeba is assessed as "unlikely". Yet the referendums will proceed.

Loose Change can think of another D-word for Crisafulli related to the shape of his cranium. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Everage Cairns

Noted this week was a report in the Cairns Post  with a negative comparison of Cairns wages relative to Australia  ....... and Townsville *sigh*:
THE average Cairns worker is taking home $44,813 in yearly salary, about $3000 less than the national average, the Australian Bureau of Statistics says.
Now doesn't that make Cairns look poor? However in terms of regional variation after downloading the data, Cairns looks quite everage to me? This is consistent with a theme I will return to that Cairns is more everage than thought by many.

This report was based on small area data released by ABS this week. It is average personal income data. There are some problems with this: The data is for 2009/2010 which is now two years ago; That was the period of highest unemployment in FNQ, which was also most particular to higher income males; The data is personal income and not household data; The data is exclusive of  Government transfers such as dole and  pensions.

Care should also be taken with average components such as the wage and salary data referenced by the Post as most individuals will have multiple sources of income from different components which such as superannuation and invvestment. Consequently the average wage for a region can be higher than the total average income. The Post appear to have taken their $44,813 number by incorrectly averaging unweighted SA3 wage and salary data for North and South Cairns? Close enough perhaps!

Average incomes in the more productive larger capitals are almost always above regional areas, except for some mining centres. Greater Sydney leads the way with total income average of $55,010. This is well above Greater Melbourne at $50,413.  Greater Brisbane comes in at $48,895. Because these are the largest populations centres they have a significant impact on that national average.

The wage and salary average for the Rest of Queensland is $44,835 which is almost exactly the same as the Post have used for Cairns! Average total personal income from all sources for Rest of Queensland is $42,981 while the equivalent for Cairns is almost $45,000. So Cairns is above the regional Queensland average on that measure.

Total average income, as well as average wages & salaries, are higher in Cairns than both the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Total average income in regional Victoria is just $38,995 so perhaps the Post should use that as a headline comparison?

Friday, November 30, 2012

November Cairnswatch

With the 2012 year closing fast the penultimate edition of Cairnswatch from Rick Carr at HTW was released today.

There is no significant change from recent trends  although I thought Rick made an interesting comment in the overview:
On the plus side are continuing gains in airport arrivals, building approvals and
employment. However the downside is an extremely tight rental housing market, which
if not resolved will become a constraint on future economic growth.
Most media and political comment to date has perceived tight rental markets and higher rents as a positive set to drive housing construction growth. This is not a given however and as previously noted places such as Perth have maintained much tighter rental markets for a year or two now without having induced substantial building activity or stronger property prices.

Loose Change pointed out previously that Cairns is well represented in rental suburbs and a dysfunctional rental housing market may not turn out to be all positive.  Credit data today from ABS was weak reviving speculation of further interest rate cuts.

Also noted this month in Cairnswatch was the special topic of mortgagee and receiver sales which fits quite well with much previous comment at Loose Change!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

End of the Line

The Far North has always had a reputation as an "end of the line" place which attracts those seeking to escape until they get to where the road goes no further. A curious news snippet surfaced today that Cairns police arrested a conman on Britains "Most Wanted" list following a random breath test.

Robert Taylor-Barefoot had been in Cairns more than a year and operating a business under the alias Sam Jeffers.
He had set up an advertising firm advising how to maximise marketing prospects through social media and claimed to work closely with internet giants Google and Twitter and to be a close friend of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.
The business website of "Sam Jeffers" still remains: SJMEDIA

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Oh dear!

Price competition is a problem??
This initiative by our government didn't make any headlines, but it will potentially hold huge benefits for the Cairns economy.
The change allows small, local businesses and contractors to compete on an even playing field for council projects.
I know so many Cairns businesses who have previously missed out on contracts because they just can't compete on price alone with big, multi-national companies. They have no(sic) a much better chance to win those contracts under these changes.
Well done to Local Government Minister Crisafulli for listening to councils and local businesses on this one.
Apparentlty price competition is something which hurts our economy? And again he is spruiking that if we all buy off each other locally we will all be fabulously wealthy? Wealth through autarky! It works for North Korea? 

Update: Info on this even via Hansard explanatory notes to the legislation is strangely scarce? 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Observations on eclipse demographics


photo.jpg

Sadly for the stoic souls who remained in the city the view of this weeks total eclipse was interrupted from The Esplanade by a particularly annoying cloud which stubbornly resisted advice on what it should do with itself. Subsequent attempts by KS to offload his $4 cardboard eclipse watching glasses on eBay have also been unsuccessful!

Radio advertisements today promote a bumper report on the eclipse in the Weekend Compost print edition, although there doesn't appear to be much online. As previously noted the brisk trade in town stripped supermarket shelves of some essential items such as bottled water and chips. The Telstra mobile network also slowed to a crawl Wednesday morning.

Noted also in social media and anecdotally were observations on the skewed demographics of the visitors. The legendary 'feral' community in the Far North appeared rejuvenated. A description of eclipse visitors as 'organic' appeared in a facebook forum, although it was felt that 'skanky' was a bit extreme! Use of the term 'hippy' itself now definitely betrays the old white men demographic.

KS observed that items such as the Woolies Macro organic brand shelves were also bare at  the CBD store. Organic muesli became scarce! It was an influx of a demographic which i'm not entirely sure was anticipated? Empirical research would be interesting.

Meanwhile the arrival of direct flights from China may have promoted a less relaxed demographic of stall operators at Rusty's Market this weekend. Dressed in immaculate white shirt and tie this man had printed material only in Chinese so I have no idea what he was promoting. I don't recall ever before seeing a stall at Rusty's operated by anyone wearing a tie? Mind you this was the least busy stall on the day!

 photo.jpg
 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Girls go to work

The latest ABS regional employment data for Far North has continued some of the positive trends of recent months. The unemployment rate fell to 9.3% while estimated employment gained a further 1,800 jobs and the participation rate also increased.

All of the gains were in female employment which in the last 6 months has shown a big turnaround from the previously weak trend. I guess this is mostly related to tourism? The female data as usual is tagged with a sample warning from ABS.




However, the male unemployment rate remains above 10%. It should be remembered the data is not seasonally adjusted as the national data is. This weeks eclipse influx should support the current month ahead of the Christmas season. China Eastern has also reported 80% occupancy for the initial two weeks of direct flights to Cairns from Shanghai. The test is likely to be in the new year which is typically very weak in the Far North.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Eclipse of the wine cask long overdue

The Cairns Post has a report on busy weekend trading around the region ahead of the eclipse: Total eclipse of the mart in Cairns.

"BOTTLED water, bread, softdrinks and chips became hot property in Far Northern supermarkets as eclipse revellers stocked up and left shelves bare."
Even Mareeba is described as "bopping"?? Busy trade was certainly noted at city outlets particularly among a backpackerish genre possibly associated with the above shopping list? The phenomenon was also noted at liquour outlets.

However also noted was confusion as patrons with shopping trolleys filled with liquid refreshment were advised of restrictions on purchase of wine casks in the city before 4pm. The restrictions on wine casks are a measure to control alcohol abuse, although my understanding is that these only apply in the city and not the suburbs?

Apparently it is socially fine from a policy perspective to buy a cask at 10AM in the burbs and pass out at home during the day, but not to do so in the city and pass out with head rested on the silver pillow thoughtfully enclosed in the cask for such purpose!

Alcohol management plans on Cape York continue to be contentious. There was also a recent proposal by the evil retail duopoly to set a floor price on alcohol in Alice Springs, which apparently drew a query from the ACCC. However the anomalous taxation of cheap wine remains ridiculous.

Wine is taxed on price while all other liquour is taxed by the quantity of alcohol. This means cheap bulk wine is minimally taxed compared to quality wine and other alcohol. The grubby political history to buy the support of  wine grape farmers in the riverland goes all the way back to the Fraser guvmint in the 1970's.

The Henry tax review recommended reform as have almost all objective analyses. Just a few weeks ago the National Health Preventative Agency told the relevant minister:
"Based on public health considerations, the Agency finds that the current operation of the Wine Equalisation Tax is of concern and requires reappraisal."
Ignored again ..... how many times now .....  despite the push for revenue to fund a surplus? Mind you there are many economic concerns apart from health. Why is scarce irrigation water being used to produce cheap tax-advantaged alcohol consequently exacerbating a social problem?




Friday, November 9, 2012

UN Tourism Report

The previous tourism post  included a reference to a recent UN World Tourism Organisation report. This includes some interesting data and graphs such as this showing international arrivals and tourism receipts recovering from the GFC to resume trend growth.


The previous tourism post also included a chart from Macrobusiness on the tourism trade balance. This table for the top ten tourism receipt nations shows the currency impact with Australia the only one to decline in local currency despite growth is $US terms.  


When it comes to international travel Australians come in at number ten despite the tyrrany of distance and now also top the list in per capita expenditure. I have also commented previously on Chinese tourism spending perhaps reflecting an elite demographic in a large population and this table shows how low Chinese tourism spending per capita is despite coming in at number three on aggregate.


Finally, the tourism growth forcast doesn't make tourism look like such a bad place to be given the wailing and screaming we have heard in recent years that Cairns needed to diversify or perish.





Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Qld participation rate cliff?

Following the previous post on today's labour force data I updated with a link to Grogs Gamut which included commentary and graphs specific to Queensland. A quick comparison of trend participation rate for Queensland relative to Australia is interesting.

Queensland has had a higher participation rate relative to the national average however this has narrowed sharply in the last year. Regional data is out next week but again despite the poor unemployment rate FNQ has remained among the top participation rates in Qld. Again this is trend data for how many percentage points the Queensland participation rate is above the Autralian rate since 1998:

Employment v Interest Rates

The labour market has been a focus of the polarisation of opinion between those who think the RBA shoulda cut, and those who think they shouldna cut before anyway. I doubt that today's labour force data frfom ABS will resolve that difference.

The headline (seasonally adjusted) outcome was a rise in employment and a slight fall in the unemployment rate. Within that there are some weaker indicators, most particularly in aggregate hours worked. The trend rate of unemployment nudged up a notch.

Queensland continues to look relatively weak in recent months. Trend unemployment rate in Queensland also ticked up however it is the participation rate trend in Queensland that should probably be of most concern.

The trend participation rate in Queensland is the lowest since 2006 despite the unemployment diverging to the upside of the national average. During calendar 2012 the national trend participation rate has nudged down by 0.2% while Queensland trend has fallen by 0.9%, although it still remains above the national rate.

Some of the more interesting wonky data and comments on the labour market and interest rates in the last week have been at Ricardian Ambivalence. As usual Mark the Graph is quick off the mark with  an excellent range of charts including comparison of the state trend unemployment rates:





Earlier today New Zealand released some quite weak labour market stats. I recall recent reports of stronger inward migration across the ditch in the last year so that could also be a trend to watch.

Update: As soon as I posted that Grogs Gamut also has just posted some commentary and lots of graphs including a particular focus on the recent weakness in Queensland. 




Tourism comings and goings

Conus Consulting blog has a summary of this weeks arrivals and departures data with both showing gains and particularly arrivals from China.

Macrobusiness also posted with extensive graphs and commentary: Green shoots for Australian tourism?

This also includes an interesting comment and graph on the tourism trade balance:
Finally, the slight recent improvement in tourism numbers was also reflected in trade data released on Monday by the ABS, which revealed a third consecutive monthly increase in Australia’s tourism-related trade surplus to $193 million in September:




Also this week was noted a post at The Economist: The world still travels
INTERNATIONAL tourists are proving notably resilient to the storms buffeting the world's economies. According to the UN World Tourism Organisation's Tourism Highlights, last year there were 983m international arrivals, a 4.6% increase on 2010. And 2012 has started even better, so expectations now are for over one billion arrivals by the year end.
 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Giddy up!

Apparently there is a horse race of some significance this week. Funnily enough recent days have seen announcements, or rather re-announcements, of state guvmint funding for country horse racing.

Within the current budgetary austerity somehow horse racing became a priority and what better time to promote that than cup week. The Member of Cairns was proudly re-announcing the contribution for Cannon Park:
Mr Dickson said the $1.96 million dollar project would see the existing turf track completely rebuilt, the installation of a grassed access track suitable for ambulances and a much-needed renovation of the current stable facilities.

“The Newman Government is continuing to deliver on its pledge to rejuvenate the Queensland racing industry and projects like this are just one of the many ways we are rebuilding racing across the state,” Mr Dickson said.

“I am determined to create a sustainable future for Queensland racing, and this regionally focused funding forms a big part of that commitment. “This upgrade will provide a much needed boost to Cairns racing, allowing the club to attract stronger race fields and entice more patrons to the track.”
Not to be outdone as the field approached the starting gates at Flemington the Premier was twittering away on a new race meeting in addition to their current cup day event at Kumbia (population 191)!

Premier Campbell Newman and Racing Minister Steve Dickson today announced Kumbia Race Club (KRC) would receive a second race meeting next year as part of the Sustain Country Series.
Mr Newman said the additional meeting on June 1 was part of his Government’s commitment to rejuvenating country clubs, racing and their communities.

“Country racing is the heart and soul of the industry and we are taking the steps needed to protect and reinvigorate these regional clubs.”
While the amounts are admittedly small I cant help but feel 'picking winners' in what remains a declining industry despite some high profile events, such as Cairns amateurs, is misguided. Never mind, the contract for Cannon Park has been awarded to a local company which is apparently always good irrespective of the price!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

War on Sugar

Loose Change posted previously on the Sugar Challenge from prominent economist Rory Robertson (currently in the employ of Westpac I believe) where he challenged research on sugar and obesity. Aussie Macro Moments continues to update the progress of Rory's war on the Far Norths most important agricultural commodity.

The latest salvo was delivered in Canberra at a discussion on the place of sugar in Australia's dietary intake.
The clear need for a tougher stance against added and concentrated sugar is where the evidence leads - and that, by the way, also is the Australian Government's current position in the draft guidelines - even if the University of Sydney and others with strong links to the sugar and sugary-food industries (Slides 11 and 12) have been busy misrepresenting the basic facts of this matter.
Rory has also published a quick tour of his credibility in earlier public debates. However, I hadn't previously been aware that Rory is a product of Cape York from Strathburn Station.

The War on Sugar may be having some impact as the sugar price has been weaker since Rory opened fire:



   

Friday, November 2, 2012

Eclipse euphoria!

Cairns and Port Douglas are now in countdown for the forthcoming total eclipse of the sun. As previously speculated there is growing speculation on whether (to quote Oscar Wilde), and the probability of whether the sunrise event will coincide with a clear horizon! Were KS an eclipse gambler he would not be placing his chips on this one!!

However when it come to astronomical events KS is a cynic who still remains deeply disappointed with God for delivering during his lifetime the most dismal visitation of Halleys Comet of all time! Sorry God but you deserve crap on that one mate!

Never mind the astronomical event but rather the reported economics: Eclipse to inject $75 million into Far Northern economy

The King Parrot hit the analogy hard:  "A huge shot in the arm for the Cairns & FNQ economy". Perhaps a shot in the butt may have been more appropriate?

Ah Cairns, the junkie economy apparently?  Mind you we are far from alone when it comes to that! Why has economics become so closely aligned with drug metaphors of stimulants and injections?

Injections, multipliers and clocks rule! Yet again a primary source would be nice but remains elusive and while I suspect methodology has advanced since the worst political excesses of the Kennett years on this event economics stuff .... who knows?

Obviously an eclipse event would 'inject' less in peak season (when visitors will simply be displaced rather than additional) than it would in the middle of November. The timing of this event is fortuitous in that regard. Whether this is factored into these reports is unknown and unreported?

Open information is not that difficult really?

P.S. KS is just disappointed that he cant find a market in eclipse visibility futures!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

CairnsWatch in the data mix

Recent days have thrown some interesting data into the mixer and revived debate twixt those who think interest rates must be cut and them who think they shouldn't have already been cut. Building approvals from ABS generated positive comment:

Conus Consulting: Good news on building approvals
Queensland Economy Watch: Building industry recovery looks more likely 

Credit data from the RBA was less positive with an alternative perspective from The Kouk. Tracking the alternative perspectives on residential property in Australia is quite easy. If you want the negative perspective you go to Macrobusiness. If you want the positive perspective you go to Christopher Joye. If you are undecided you just open a bottle of Shiraz and enjoy the debate!

Rick Carr has also released his CairnsWatch report to provide perspective of Cairns position. Yet again when it comes to property the story is low and declining vacancy rates. However, as with so many trends, Cairns is not unique. Low vacancy rates have become a feature more widely without yet triggering booming property activity eg: Perth with a vacancy rate below 1%.

Rick did refer to this in his recent Cairns Chamber presentation in the context that we shouldn't expect investors to flood into Cairns property because of low vacancy rates because there are many other attractive markets with similarly low vacancy rates. The comments on rents are also interesting:
"Between September 2011 and September 2012, the weighted average median rent increased from $325 to $350 per week for houses, and from $240 to $255 per week for
units. Rents are likely to continue increasing during 2012-13 as the rental supply stays
tight
."
They are quite substantial increases of 7.7% and 6.3% respectively for the year given the high unemployment rate and languid economy. As posted previously Cairns is well represented with two of the top fifty rental suburbs in Australia according to RP Data.

Beyond residential property the continuing trend and strong season in domestic terminal traffic is also noted in CairnsWatch.





Sunday, October 28, 2012

Done Dirt Cheap

Dirty deeds are suggested by the Sydney Morning Herald on property deals for cheap Cairns units:
IN SEPTEMBER last year Luke Bellamy was forwarded an email from a real estate agent who had looked around the outside of his investment property in Cairns. ''I have to say if I was an owner … I would not be happy … the complex looked and smelt like something in a Third World country,'' Tammy Salvestro wrote.
Salvestro was desperately trying to find tenants for one of the apartments in Maroubra Lodge, a former motel turned unit block marketed in 2007 to Bellamy and other interstate investors.
Not really a surprise for anyone aware of these units which are old former motel accommodation along Sheridan St. More surprising may be that when they were flogged at the top of the market back in 2007 they were described as "deluxe abodes".

The SMH backed up with another horror story for a similar Cairns investor: Dream of a new life turns into a nightmare! The description of this building may be confused and I believe it to be similar older converted motel style units on the same stretch of Sheridan St.

With strata costs topical the reports of investors being milked through excessive body corporate fees  is also interesting. Something to watch and I wonder if it will even make a paragraph in the Cairns Post?

Update: The SMH is still running on this with another featured today: Buried in debt;  &Loans in breach of super rules



A treatise on clocks!


Clocks! If there is anything financial that attracts more ire than multipliers here at Loose Change it is investment clocks. KS has been previously employed in 'financial services' where such clocks are features of the sales pitch.

So it was interesting to see the Parrot for Cairns facebook this week on the fabulous clock presented by the new CEO at the Cairns Chamber:

Photo: I really like this "Cairns economic clock", created by new Cairns Chamber of Commerce CEO Deb Hancock.
It shows where Deb believes our great city is sitting on the boom-bust cycle and reflects exactly what the sentiments I hear around Cairns.
We've still got a long way to go, but continuing the momentum and building business confidence is the key to our rebound.
I'm really excited about Deb's passion and vision for Cairns and look forward to working with her and the Chamber exec.

It was interpreted thus by the King Parrot:  "I really like this "Cairns economic clock", created by new Cairns Chamber of Commerce CEO Deb Hancock.  It shows where Deb believes our great city is sitting on the boom-bust cycle and reflects exactly what the sentiments I hear around Cairns." (sic)

Yes! This man was indeed a professional (sic) journalist in a past life! The clock "created" by Deb is remarkably similar to dozens of such clock versions used in the financial sales spruiking profession:
 


Same clock really repeated tirelessly on the web and almost the same time on the clock?!?  You may note that there are also a couple of 'creative' additional comments on rental vacancy rates at the bottom on Deb's version to calibrate the clock to Cairns.

Such clock has been originally attributed to the Evening Standard newspaper in London in 1937. An interesting year for anyone familiar with economic history when Roosevelt turned his clock back before going to bed and reversed the US recovery from depression!

The original Evening Standard version did replace 'recession' at the bottom of the cycle bottom with 'depression'. Indeed, 1937 was preceded by an interesting depression period in the economic history of the UK following the return to the gold standard in 1925. The consequences of that decision (Keynes: 'The Economic Consequences of Mr Churchill') are not dissimilar to some of the internal devaluations currently proving so successful in Greece and Spain!

Funnily enough Churchill is the political hero of the King Parrot! May we not repeat the same mistakes in the Banana Republic of Cairns! In our two-speed economy only half the nation is currently on summer time! Clearly we will need our own Far North central bank and currency to drive our clock around (Brett Moller for Guvnor?).

The clock gained most credence in the Post WW2 era of cycles driven by inflation and responsive monetary policy. This clock appears broken by GFC events around 2008. Japan broke their clock a few decades ago and replaced it with  a digital version that just blinks on and off while going backward and forward at random intervals of an hour or two.

Matty Yglesias at Slate recently noted the outstanding economic performance of Australia: RBA shows again that it's the best central bank in the world. So following the last clock cycle and 'recession we had to have' the RBA decided to lock the clock away in the safe, and Australia has managed consistent economic growth for 20 years since. In regional context it has recently been noted by the RBA Guvnor that if anything regional disparity in unemployment may have declined.

This is not to deny the subdued Far North economy in recent years, and Loose Change has in the past always suggested that the views of the Cairns catastrophists were misplaced. Cairns has a positive future and always did even when the catastrophists were crying ruin! However, the clock here doesn't really help understanding our regional economy and may in fact distort perceptions and policy.

The best clock comment I found: "Unfortunately, there's no rule that says the Investment Clock has to go clockwise." Fidelity Investments have developed a stylishly modern square clock where they plot their monthly tea-leaf  readings. As we can see this appears to have turned counter-clockwise in recent months!

 

However, my  favourite and most useful clock may be the Armageddon Clock from Mr Firstdogonthemoon. At just $50 this may prove a more useful investment than the investment clock:

This 25cm actual clock will happily remind you that the world is ending. At least you will know what time it happens.
 Armageddon clock



Friday, October 26, 2012

Preliminary Post: Insurance Tropicali Graph

Square eyes today were a consequence of some time wrestling with numbers on the Southern Oscillation Index. So here is a preliminary graph on the effort subsequent to a more comprehensive post:



The red line here is an historical six year moving average, and the timeframe here is from 1860 until now. The volatile black line is a moving annual average.

This is no doubt metereologically unsound methodology but was selected because six years is the same timeframe the insurers and Guvmint Actary have used to validate historical underpricing in the last six years!

As can be seen the 'historically underpriced' period of the last six years is one of only four similar extreme La Nina events in the 150 years on the record.

Selective data is usually to be expected but how disappointing to see it unprofessionally supported by the Australian Government Actuary in a formal report?