Saturday 21 October 2017

The world has a cold and now Australia is sneezing

Good times under threat: Seagulls hover overhead as racegoers make their way home after attending Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse last month
Good times under threat: Seagulls hover overhead as racegoers make their way home after attending Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse last month

AUSTRALIA appears to be no longer immune to the economic ill-winds plaguing most of the developed world – a worrying sign for the thousands of Irish emigrants that have made the country home.

The state's economy expanded at a slower pace in the last quarter than anticipated, with households boosting their savings as a mining boom wanes.

Gross domestic product rose by 0.6pc in the third quarter, down from the 0.7pc figure recorded in the previous three months.

The Australian dollar, which was trading at 91.36 US cents before the release, fell to three-month lows.

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey described the economy as being stuck in second gear, according to the 'Sydney Morning Herald'. And he claimed that 0.6pc quarterly growth was not good enough to be able to deliver the jobs that people want.

The annual growth rate is expected to be 2.5pc. While strong compared to European standards, it is lower than economists' estimates. And it is weaker than the 3.3pc figure reached last year.

"It's a fairly disappointing report," said Su-Lin Ong, head of Australian economic and fixed-income strategy at Royal Bank of Canada in Sydney. "The risk is we're stuck in a sub-par growth economy for a while."

The Treasury's top economic forecaster David Gruen said last month Australia should brace for the weakest income growth in half a century in the coming 10 years.

To maintain recent income growth levels would require labour productivity growth to average 3.2pc a year for a decade – something never achieved before, Mr Gruen said.

"Unless we get back to productivity growth, back to some serious choices about economic policy it's not going to last much longer," Ross Garnaut, who advised former Prime Minister Bob Hawke during the 1980s overhaul of the Australian economy, said.

Canada could soon overtake Australia as the destination of choice for young Irish workers, according to one of the country's largest migration specialist.

Recruiter VisaFirst said there has been a massive shift in the number of Irish residents expressing interest in Canada.

Colm Kelpie

Irish Independent

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