Monday, March 31, 2014

Missed it by that much!

The Cairns Post carries a further report today on yet another in the series of backflips that will again see Aquis register interest in one of the two new regional casino licences in addition to the Reef bid: Aquis mega-resort at Yorkeys Knob developers place bid for regional integrated resort

However what caught my attention were the following comments from our favourite business editor:
In documents lodged on the Reef Hotel Casino website, the Fungs reveal a complicated structure of the Aquis Group which is 100 per cent owned by Tony Fung, who also wholly owns Aquis At The Great Barrier Reef Resort company.
He has established an offshore wholly owned holding structure, believed to be in the Marshall Islands, that owns: Aquis Reef Holdings which also owns Aquis Reef Operator Holdings which is buying Casinos Austria International Cairns (operator of the casino); Aquis RE Holdings, which is acquiring Reef Corporate Services (manager of the hotel casino); and Aquis Casino Acquisitions, which is buying the Reef Hotel Trust (owner of the casino and hotel).
Believed to be in the Marshall Islands? I thought we had pretty well documented the corporate links to the British Virgin Islands which are easily verified by an ASIC search for these companies. In fact it could also have been found by Nick in section 4, page 19, of the Aquis bidder's statement.

Never mind, a distance of a mere 13,259 km or 8,239 miles is pretty good by Nick's standards!

A = Marshall Islands; B = British Virgin Islands

The world's most notorious tax haven was not impressed by the leaks and their adverse impact on business. The leaks included some of the information previously posted on Tony Fung's BVI corporate connections. Apparently I could now go to prison for up to 20 years in the BVI for publishing such information, double the sentence for child pornography as reported by The Economist: Going overboard

Meanwhile a story a few years ago in Hong Kong Economic Times - iMoney on elder brother Thomas also offers some perhaps slightly different and less sycophantic perspective to the reports by the Cairns Post on Tony Fung ("the bad boy of stock markets") and also perhaps not entirely consistent with the brief history provided in the bidder's statement?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Boardwalk democracy demands a free Taiwan

It was a beautiful evening on the Cairns Esplanade today. The highlight was actually a free Taiwan democracy protest of some sort. Take that Chinese tourists!



There were no media cameras noted however I have seen far more poorly attended protest events appear in local evening news broadcasts. Exceptional organisation and co-ordination skills included a march along the boardwalk and more exotic chants to replace the usual "what do we want" etc! Well done although the detail was lost without language translation!!

I must say it was much better entertainment than the fire-twirling busking for which that particular location is renowned!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Victoria steals our lunch again!

The ABS released updated population estimates and the cosmopolitan café culture in Melbourne continues to steal our lunch eh!

Interstate migration was once the main driver of population growth in Queensland but has continued to lag recently. Gene Tunny at Queensland Economy Watch has a couple of good posts on this:

Interstate migration to Qld remains low, probably reflecting sluggish labour market

Queenslanders moving to Victoria

There is an excellent graph from Gene there on population movements between Victoria and Queensland which is now actually net negative on these most recent numbers. Victoria, along with WA, is now the beneficiary of net interstate migration.

There was an explosion of migration from Victoria in the early 1990's "recession we had to have" when the Victorian economy was hammered and refugees took to the roads in caravans with their scant remaining possessions. Many ended up in FNQ economically insulated by capital inflow from the then Japan bubble.

Anyway, this is my chart of sources of annual Queensland population growth rolling quarterly demonstrating the decline in interstate component:


The significant growth of overseas net migration reflects a national trend rather than anything specific to Queensland. There are also some similar trends here with recent posts on where short term visitors to Australia spend their most time.

The significance of cultural attractions for both tourism and a resident population should not be lost particularly in context of some of the appalling redneck levels of local debate around just that in Cairns in recent years on the value of cultural investment.

However the team at Macrobusiness also continue to raise concerns around the Melbourne economic model as they have done for some time: Melbourne's population Ponzi means it must grow

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reef bidders and targets statements

The bidders and targets statements for the takeover by Aquis have been posted this week and are available for download at Reef Casino Trust. Most interest is probably in the independent experts report within the target statement which has determined the offer fair and reasonable and I will peruse in due course.

Perhaps the first thing any holders should note however is "when will I be paid?" Effectively this wont be until up to a month after all the conditions have been waived or fulfilled. It has been indicated the process and conditions which includes probity and approval for transfer of the Casino licence may take some months so immediate acceptance wont necessarily bring any cash in a hurry. There may also be aspects around the timing of the next distribution to clarify?

Information in the bidders statement doesn't really provide any greater illumination on the Fungs. There is a detailed list of the family investments in Queensland but only a vague reference to "two major Chinese property development projects".

Fung is described as having been a private investor since the exit in 1996 from Sun Hung Kai which had been founded by his father in 1969. This doesn't appear to be strictly correct from my research with no mention of his subsequent interest in Yu Ming which some media reports have claimed as the source of his billionaireness.

There have also been changes in the corporate structure. The offer for Reef Casino Trust is from Aquis Casino Acquisitions Pty Ltd. At the time the offer was announced this was held wholly owned by Tony Fung in his own name with an address in Hong Kong. This has now been shifted earlier this month to within the holding structure ultimately held in the British Virgin Islands.

 
Sources of Consideration (section 4) also provides further detail on the structure and source of funds:
 


That may comply with the probity standards of the current Queensland administration but doubt it would satisfy my own standards as appropriate for a casino licence. Aquis at the Great Barrier Reef Resort Pty Ltd currently continues to remain outside that structure and held directly by Tony Fung

Disclaimer: I hold 5,000 RCT units through a super fund.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Oh dear no!

Gavin King
We've got a local tourism industry really firing & employing 1000s of people - so why aren't more of our local youth in those jobs?
Your thoughts: is it an issue with business owners or is it that young people are reluctant to take on entry level jobs?

 
I wonder why that booming tourism sector creating thousands of jobs doesn't show up in any employment stats? Perhaps the word "firing" has been misinterpreted here?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Brotherhood of St Laurence jumps the shark on youth unemployment

The Brotherhood of St Laurence have in recent months been campaigning on the worthy cause of youth unemployment. The most recent update from the Brotherhood is now being widely reported with some sensational growth forecasts: No jobs or attitude? Why are so many youths unemployed in Cairns?
Youth unemployment in Cairns is now the highest in the country and is reaching a crisis point.
Figures released by the Brotherhood of St Laurence yesterday show an 88 per cent rise in the jobless rate over the past two years and youth unemployment in the city at 21.6 per cent as of last month.
That figure is set to more than double by 2016 to 46 per cent if action is not taken.
The numbers here are derived from the ABS labour force survey. We know how volatile this is for the entire region, or even states, with frequent cautions on the sample size and even more caution is required for smaller subsectors such as youth employment. Conus has posted in recent months on the problems and issues here with the data and also applied a trend analysis, although still cautions on the reliability of this with some unrealistic anomalies apparent in the underlying data:

Cairns Youth Unemployment

Brotherhood of St Laurence and Cairns Youth Unemployment ...again
Youth unemployment in Cairns is clearly a problem but the Brotherhood's reporting, and seeming lack of understanding of some of the statistical difficulties, doesn't appear to be a particularly helpful way of progressing the issue.

I think that is too kind. I would actually call it beyond naïve to the extent of dishonest and appears to have been manufactured with deliberate intent for sensational media coverage.  The particular issue is the way they have taken unreliable regional data to extrapolate sensational "forecasts" of extreme levels of youth unemployment in two years.

The emphasis in the media release from the Brotherhood is on growth percentages and their extrapolated numbers for media consumption:
If it continues to rise at the current rate, the level of youth unemployment will hit 46 per cent in parts of Australia in 2016, the revealing analysis of the new data found.
Somehow we then move subsequently in the media release from this already stretched hypothetical to an analytical "forecast":

At these rates of increase, the new analysis forecasts youth unemployment by 2016 will hit:  46.0 per cent in Cairns.
This methodology is garbage in - garbage out squared! Had they extrapolated like that for a few more years they could have had a youth unemployment rate beyond 100% and really sent Nick Dalton into orbit?

Detail of their "analysis" is actually somewhat limited beyond the media releases so it isn't even clear how they have reached some of these numbers from what they have provided. I wonder if they would like to include underlying assumptions or implications on broader unemployment rates for the period?

I seem to recall a previous post on another worthy charity misrepresenting homeless statistics.


Update: Comments and analysis on youth unemployment from Jeff Borland at Melbourne Uni.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Employment blues continue to play

The run of weaker employment data for Cairns continued in February with the latest ABS numbers out today. As always the Conus Trend provides the best acoustics to remove statistical and seasonal noise: Poor jobs data throughout North Queensland

If we now look at the far more relevant Conus Trend data the picture becomes clearer, but no more positive. In Cairns the only bright note is that Conus Trend employment, which has been falling every month since Mar 2013, finally registered an unchanged plot. The Conus Trend Participation Rate continued to slide (down to 61.5, the lowest level since we began the Trend series over 6 years ago) and the Conus Trend Unemployment Rate remained stuck at 8.5% (where it has now been since Nov 2013, following upward revisions to previous months). The Conus Trend Employment/Population ratio now sits at a new record low of just 56.5.
I'm still curious about some aspects of the changes made last month to statistical regions after trying to correlate some employment numbers between the new and old areas which didn't seem to make sense. Following last weeks widely reported job surge in the national data I also noted another rant from Ricardian Ambivalence: "Getting right to the point,  my view is that the Feb 2014 jobs report is bunkum"

Mr Ambivalence is always keen to point out that the labour force survey is designed to measure an unemployment rate rather than employment. However I have always thought that the employment numbers and trend must at least have some validity over time with our volatile regional data.

With the new (raw) regional data extending back to 1998 this month I have graphed the unemployment rate for Cairns v Queensland. This displays the percentage point difference between the two with a 12 month moving average:

 
Up until 2004 the unemployment rate in Cairns was on average below the Queensland rate. It may be possible here to conjecture a relationship between the subsequent period of a higher unemployment rate and the shift to a higher $AUD as a factor of significance?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Land tax as part of a regional strategy?

Amidst the current debate on debt and asset sales there seems to have been a faint hint this week that taxation measures could be on the agenda. The Queensland tax effort has previously been identified as an issue and the initial draft Costello report did make some suggestions here on the revenue side.

The suggestions included a broader application of land tax. Land taxes have been prominently supported in recent years including the Henry tax review. However one of the few revenue measures by Treasurer Tim was to instead hike insurance stamp duty, a tax which is supported by almost nobody.

I did comment on this at the time last year and how insurance stamp duty disadvantages FNQ relative to SEQ with an equivalent home insurance premium in Cairns roughly double: Insurance 'king hit' for FNQ

So based on the last few years land valuations what would happen if we instead replaced such taxes with a broader land tax?

 
That insurance stamp duty comparison between Cairns and Brisbane would be reversed to advantage FNQ. One would think such a land tax policy would actually be coherent with the stated regional development objectives of both State and Federal Governments?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

February fade at airport

February is typically the weakest month of the year at Cairns Airport and not even the influence of the Chinese New Year period has been able to change that. Last months February fade continued the trend to dampen the previous months exuberance.

There was still an increase in passenger traffic of 2.7% at the domestic terminal over the previous February although this is well below the current annual growth at 6.4% and the strong growth in January. Again comparison is difficult because the lunar CNY straddled the two months this year more evenly.


 
International traffic continues to be more problematic and was weak in both the most recent months. The airport report numbers show a whopping 11.8% decline in February after meagre 0.7% growth in January. That is despite CNY and the reintroduction of direct flights. International is now down 6.5% financial YTD on the previous year.
 
There remain comparison issues with previous historical data at the International T1 yet to be resolved. I'm also not sure what Jetstar changes to the Cairns - Darwin - Singapore route may have on international and domestic mix.
 
Source: Cairns Airport 


Monday, March 17, 2014

Rates hike for Edge Hill?

I have sorted the latest Valuer-General land valuations for Cairns by suburb. The table below sorts these, top to bottom, by median value change and then by the newly updated median value. Edge Hill leads the way with a jump in median values of 21.1%.

The numbers here align with a previous report and my recent post on Median property price malarkey. The story here is pretty much as I suggested then. Recovery in the Cairns property has been patchy rather than broadly based where the response so far is less than any suggested boom.

Again, care must be taken with median values in suburbs like Edge Hill and Whitfield where the scale can vary from hillside elevated elites to something down in the ditch. The residential median value change for Cairns overall was 2.1% and less than that for multi-unit land.

The primary purpose of these valuations is for council rates and land tax. This is often misunderstood and cynically exploited by politicians claiming credit for rate increases below the increase in property valuations. Campbell Newman was particularly adept at this when property was booming in BNE!

What matters for your rates are you relative valuation compared to the rest of the council area. On these numbers, assuming no significant change in council policy, the median residents of Edge Hill could expect a rates hike of about 20% in the general rates component.

This is not unusual in a period when a market and valuations begin to move. Different suburbs move at different times but more often than not revert towards historical relative mean over time and cycles. Cairns is now rare in being a large council which does not average valuations over a 3 year period which would smooth this volatility in council rates.

There are a few interesting aspects in these numbers. Largest increases are mostly related to higher value suburbs. An anomaly here may be Freshwater / Stratford. My guess and feedback is that there has been minimal turnover in this tightly held suburb which could play catch-up although values remain comparable with Edge Hill.

There has also been a modest increases along the southern corridor suburbs. The big jump in Gordonvale is an anomaly here. However, previously Gordonvale has been heavily sold down with receiver land sales which had been noted in previous valuations, so should be seen as a recovery from that and land values remain modest. Council rates in Gordonvale will fall below the minimum rate valuation anyway.

Also, beware those percentage changes because of rounding in the values. This could make relativities appear more lumpy. Again, valuations are at October 1st 2013.


Suburb
No. of residential properties Current median value New median value Median value change
Edge Hill 1,203 $177,500 $215,000 21.1%
Gordonvale 1,724 $91,000 $105,000 15.4%
Whitfield 1,278 $200,000 $227,500 13.8%
Palm Cove 502 $205,000 $225,000 9.8%
Redlynch 2,362 $152,500 $167,500 9.8%
Smithfield 1,432 $147,000 $157,500 7.1%
Trinity Park 901 $147,000 $157,500 7.1%
Kewarra Beach 1,755 $155,000 $165,000 6.5%
Trinity Beach 1,248 $162,500 $172,500 6.2%
Kamerunga 191 $150,000 $157,500 5.0%
Clifton Beach 747 $210,000 $220,000 4.8%
White Rock 1,266 $110,000 $115,000 4.5%
Edmonton 3,027 $114,000 $119,000 4.4%
Bentley Park 2,513 $120,000 $125,000 4.2%
Mount Sheridan 2,996 $124,000 $129,000 4.0%
Freshwater 531 $210,000 $210,000 0.0%
Stratford 353 $190,000 $190,000 0.0%
Kanimbla 845 $167,500 $167,500 0.0%
Brinsmead 1,883 $162,500 $162,500 0.0%
Cairns North 336 $157,500 $157,500 0.0%
Bayview Heights 1,630 $152,500 $152,500 0.0%
Caravonica 603 $150,000 $150,000 0.0%
Parramatta Park 546 $147,000 $147,000 0.0%
Yorkeys Knob 524 $147,000 $147,000 0.0%
Earlville 1,081 $138,000 $138,000 0.0%
Holloways Beach 686 $137,000 $137,000 0.0%
Mooroobool 2,109 $135,000 $135,000 0.0%
Woree 905 $135,000 $135,000 0.0%
Machans Beach 394 $130,000 $130,000 0.0%
Manunda 930 $128,500 $128,500 0.0%
Westcourt 617 $128,000 $128,000 0.0%
Manoora 982 $120,000 $120,000 0.0%
Bungalow 475 $118,000 $118,000 0.0%
Babinda 437 $74,000 $74,000 0.0%

Sunday, March 16, 2014

2014 Land Valuations & Property Market Movement Report

The 2014 Queensland land revaluations were released this week by the Valuer-General and almost passed by without notice. The  Property Market Movement Report provides a general overview for Queensland. Commentary for Cairns and Douglas includes:
 
Demand for improved residential properties has continued to strengthen throughout 2013. For the year ending 30 September 2013, there were 2,298 house sales recorded in the local government area representing an increase of 20.4% on the previous twelve month period. The median house price increased 4.8% to $359,500 over the same time.

The residential and rural home site market within the Cairns locality has generally experienced a minor increase in land values over the last 12 month period. Land values in the Babinda locality have remained static due a lack of demand, whilst moderate reductions have occurred in the Bramston Beach locality.

Distressed sales have been prevalent in the commercial, industrial and multi-unit market sectors since 2009. However, properties which are well located and have secured tenancies in place are still holding their levels of value. Land values in all three sectors have levelled out within the Cairns region over the past 12 months with minimal to no change in value recorded in these sectors.

Similar to Cairns, residential land values within Port Douglas have generally experienced a minor increase over the last 12 month period after an extended period of falling values and recent stabilisation. However, values have decreased in some other areas where the supply of land is still greater than the demand. Values have continued to reduce at Wonga Beach. Residential values in the town of Mossman have generally remained unchanged.
 
There is also commentary on the Cassowary Coast and Tablelands which were generally weaker. Townsville was not revalued this year for some reason. Median valuation tables for councils by land category:


 
 
There will also be a new feature to play with this year for the valuation data:

This year the Land Valuations Globe through the Queensland Globe on Google Earth will give landowners unprecedented access to information. This includes the spatial representation of the valuation, valuation dates, the ability to search by property identification number and a real property description and all on a satellite imagery background that allows users to zoom in to property level.

Note that valuations are as at 1 October, 2013. You can check out the valuations here: 2014 annual land valuations

 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Population projections and a potential Dalton protege

The Cairns Post campaign of the week has related to population growth and density with a push to extend height limits in the CBD: Is 'big Cairns' going to be bigger than Hobart? Population predicted to swell to 205,000 over next decade
The Weekend Post can reveal another 55,000 people are expected to descend on Cairns over the next 10 years, surpassing the current populations of Geelong and Hobart. The new forecast by Queensland Treasury shows the population of Cairns is expected to rise by 2.1 per cent, slightly above the state's average growth rate of 2 per cent.
Well, almost. The numbers here from the latest estimates released this week seem to be for the Cairns Council area projected from a 2011 base to 2026. A period of 15 years. Perhaps Nick Dalton has a protégé?

The debate and PR entirely bypassed the current projections for more granular SA2:


There are clearly some debatable aspects in here when it comes to density .... in population terms I mean!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Unravelling the tourism survey statistics

There seems to have been some delay and confusion around release of the latest National Visitor Survey from Tourism Australia. The results were somewhat mixed with some less than compelling numbers for Qld although TNQ was more promising: NVS not good news for Qld.

At a regional level there is better news. Not only are overnight trips up by 6% on the year, but the average stay in TNQ has also lengthened to 5.3 nights (up from just 4.9 nights 6 months earlier). On the downside, expenditure in the region was up just 1.3% from a year ago (which equates to a real decline with CPI running at 2.7%).
 
There has however been some selective colourful spin in the media releases such as from the Member for Cairns:
New figures released by Tourism Research Australia reported that around 1.6 million Australians visited the picturesque Tropical North Queensland in 2013, an increase of 6% on the year prior. This researched (sic) reported a 19% increase in domestic holidaymakers to the region, with the intrastate holiday market increasing 11%. The majority of visitors to the region were from Sydney, Brisbane or from within the Tropical North Queensland region.

Then there is the summary version from the Domestic Tourism Snapshot from TQ:

TNQ continued recent growth in domestic visitation with a 6.0%  increase over the year. Though interstate visitors decreased 2.0%, the growth was driven by a 10.7% increase in intrastate visitors which in itself was due to a 30.4% increase in visitors from within the TNQ region. Overall domestic expenditure increased slightly at 1%.  

The Townsville Bulletin is reporting some scepticism on the numbers for their city:  Operators query tourism spike.  I'm not really familiar with this survey over time but suspect there may be a good margin for error around some of these component numbers? Interstate visitors to Queensland were down 21.8% on the December quarter 2012 which seems quite dramatic.

I'm unsure where the relevant regional components are located in the TA Excel sheets but that 19% (18.9%) increase in domestic holidaymakers, which makes up more than 60% of total domestic visitors, would appear to imply very weak numbers in other sectors with total visitation increase at 6%?

Meanwhile this week the ABS also released international arrivals and departures stats with perhaps some recovery evident in the recent Chinese weakness. However an update of last months graph on which state departing visitors had spent most time is still not positive for Qld with another new low.

Warning: This is raw data where there is an obvious seasonal pattern.
 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Aquis approvals process continues as a dogs breakfast

A new report today on the ever changing landscape of the casino licence process: $4.2 billion Aquis mega-resort developers adjust tactics around casino licence

There have been some Olympian backflips and twists on negotiations and tactics in recent months as mentioned in my most recent post: Still no Tony?.

Beyond the licence manoeuvres an interesting component of the latest news includes:
Facilities such as a sports stadium could now be built in the inner-city rather than being included in the Aquis site. A revamp of Barlow Park is also possible.
This actually begins to address at least some of the quite reasonable concerns that were raised by the town planning expert at the Aquis Aware meeting before Christmas. We may actually be finally entering a more realistic phase.

The Aquis Aware group are still quite right to raise concerns over transparency as the whole exercise has been something of a dogs breakfast. Finally we also have some reality over the funding (re-edited from CP report):

Mr Fung, who has spent more than $15 million on the development, will meet with investors and banks in Hong Kong this week to raise the billions of dollars needed to fund the project.
Mr Fung said he had emphasised "a very tight schedule" because of emerging casino markets in Asia and would meet with investors and banks in Hong Kong this week to raise the money to fund the project. 
He said raising the billions of dollars for the project relied on the casino licence. "Aquis relies on a gaming licence to get started," Mr Fung said. "You give me the licence and I say 99 per cent (Aquis goes ahead)."
Mr Fung said he had spent $15 million to date on the project but did not have "a bottomless pit."
I think this is the first time other investors have been suggested that the project may not be just an entity of the cuddly "billionaire" Fung Family?

To date it has all seemed too much a PR charade rather than an appropriate process with the Post representing Fung as some kind of deity while the Cairns business community gather around like a South Pacific cargo cult waiting for their treasure to be delivered.

Fung is meeting with the Premier and A-G this week. It is to be hoped there is some insistence on greater transparency around the corporate structure as appropriate for any casino licence in Australia.

Update: A somewhat different aspect reported at the ABC: Aquis threaten to split over licence split

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Almost a unit building approval in Cairns?

Buoyant building approvals out today exceeded expectations and have been welcomed, with units mostly leading the way. Macrobusiness includes its usual graph-laden post: Dwelling approvals surge.

Queensland was also strong but in FNQ it wasn't quite so positive as reported at Conus: Strong Building Approvals not reflected locally. The numbers here should be expected to be seasonally lumpy at this time of year, however the Conus trend numbers as the best indicator were generally flat compared to the previous month.

An interesting note was that the CRC approvals included 4 in the category "new other residential building", which is other than houses, such as units. This would be the first such approval in CRC since the duplex in Bentley Park in August 2012! However, a quick look at the SA2 data shows that this appears to have been in Port Douglas which hasn't yet been split out following the new year council de-amalgamation.

An updated south v north split for the Cairns City area:


Note: The SA2 data here includes an aggregated Cairns SA4 so at least this can now be correlated with the new employment data area.

Still no Tony?

The Cairns Post has reported that Aquis has received FIRB approval to purchase the land at Yorkeys Knob, currently subject to an option. I'm not sure that was ever subject to any doubt anyway? I'm more curious of status and what happened to the initial EIS which is now required to be resubmitted and was never released?

The Post now reports that the Fungs will seek to split the Reef Casino licence with Aquis, while the application process for one of the other two regional licences will be pursued "as a backup". This seems to differ from the intention reported prior to the Premier's visit last week?

The tax regime for any split and the two regional proposals will be of interest. The Reef Casino is currently taxed concessionally compared to the larger venues in Brisbane and Gold Coast. It's difficult to see why all these proposals should not be taxed uniformly?

Meanwhile Forbes Magazine has featured their rich list including including Crown Casino's James Packer at #208 lamenting the failure of his private life: Inside The 2014 Forbes Billionaires List: Facts And Figures

There are 1,565 global billionaires listed but still no Aquis Fungs? Hong Kong billionaires

Note: The FIRB Annual Report (pdf) was also released last week.

Where the jobs will be?

Australia’s employment blind spots: Where the jobs will be in 2017

Graph for Jobs


Employment projections by industry, occupation and region

Revisiting multipliers

Paul Krugman has a blog post today relevant to a favourite rant topic, the war on multipliers. This considers to what extent the resources sector is responsible for the outperformance of the Texan economy relative to the USA: Oil, Gas, & Rick Perry
This mining expansion must also have had a multiplier effect, as mining operations and workers spent money in the local economy, raising incomes, and generating further increases in demand. The state of the art estimates of regional multipliers come from Nakamura and Steinsson (pdf), who use fluctuations in defense spending as natural experiments; they conclude that the multiplier is around 1.5. So that 2 percent of GDP Texas extractive boom should have raised the state’s GDP by 3 percent, or 2.7 percent relative to the nation as a whole.
The paper referenced is Fiscal Stimulus in a Monetary Union: Evidence from US Regions, September 2013.  Some interesting concepts and comments in there which may have to wait until the weekend for closer analysis.

Monday, March 3, 2014

This man is a wedding photographer!

Ah Facebook, the ultimate forum of all ignorance! This gem spotted among comments at the Cairns Post page:


 
Graeme Bint The Pacific Ocean is 165.25 million square kilometres. It provides almost half of the Earth’s water area. It covers 30% of the worlds surface. The size of the Pacific Ocean is bigger than the total size of the landmass of all the continents together! It is the deepest ocean at an average depth of about 3,800 m! It houses the Marina Trench. I think it will manage to take a little extra sand!
 
 
 
I did post a reply as to whether the "Marina Trench" was at Port Hinchinbrook and await a response?