It's the economy, stupid!

 
  fugazi Beginner

US life expectancy shortens for the second year in a row, mostly due to prescription drug overdose deaths and obesity (The Verge);

The leading causes of death in the US are still heart disease and cancer. But the opioid epidemic is taking a heavy toll — particularly on young and middle-aged Americans. Last year, over 63,000 people died of drug overdoses, a 21 percent increase from 2015. The last time life expectancy dropped for two years in a row was in 1962 and 1963, when a particularly bad flu season caused lots of deaths, according to the Washington Post.

While on the topic of the United States it looks as though there's a debt crisis on the way in the United States and by extension the rest of us... US Treasury 3-month bond yields have been steadily increasing as discussed further in this CNBC article.

These bonds are the type of bonds that Treasury sells when there's a problem getting money supply through Congress and the Senate - if it keeps going up then it shows the markets don't believe there's any solution to the US debt-crisis on the horizon (which there isn't - Trump wants to give tax cuts with even more borrowed money) and therefore a credit-crunch could be on the way?
don_dunstan
Indooroopilly Property Management

Thats right. But what about other impact preditions that can indicate crisis? Housing market is strong and the mortgages are stable. Where you think the crisis will happen?

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  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
http://www.theage.com.au/business/the-economy/new-indian-tariff-to-hit-australian-farmers-20171227-p4yy23.html

Righto Barnaby and your slimy mate Canavan, who you going to support? Adani or Australian farmers.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Thats right. But what about other impact preditions that can indicate crisis? Housing market is strong and the mortgages are stable. Where you think the crisis will happen?
fugazi
Million dollar question isn't it; who knows. I've been certain that we're at peak debt several times over the years but then we keep going.

Scott Morrison went to New York a few times this year and pleaded with the international banking community not to take our AAA away from us which will probably be the unravelling; what does he know that we don't. The debts are mounting though, that's for sure - private sector debt is a bigger problem but the various state governments are also spending too much - the NT and WA governments are both in huge amounts of trouble despite the fact that they just went through a mining boom.

Morrison was crowing that job creation is strong recently but then migration is at another high 360,000 permanent arrivals every year versus the long term historical average of 70,000. Melbourne in particular is developing huge problems with congestion that never ends - Batman and Hoddle only designed a village for a few hundred thousand - as it plows through 5 million there's all sorts of problems and the public are starting to push back against mass migration.

Something's gotta give.
  Groundrelay Chief Commissioner

Location: Surrounded by Trolls!
Reportedly IKEA continues to pay SFA tax here.  
$10.7m on over $1 billion revenue last year, profit nearly doubling, with millions in 'expenses' paid offshore.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Wages still being held down by our huge mass-migration program (ABC):

The economic 'growth' hasn't made a sizeable difference to the amount of Australians unemployed and has left us with the worst wages growth since the 1960s.

Companies are benefiting from this huge increase in workers and consumers. New migrants buy more things, which helps keep the tills ringing. This can be seen in the most recent profit figures, with companies experiencing a 27 per cent increase in profits in a year while workers received less than 2 per cent in wage increases.

With 1.8 million people out of work or looking for more hours and 250,000 new migrants moving to the country each year, there's very little incentive for bosses to give workers a big rise.

Permanent arrivals are more like 350,000 once all programs are taken into account - compare those figures to the long term average of 70,000 migrants per year up until 2003 and you'll soon see what the problems is: Its a deliberate policy setting to keep wages down - with unions gone there's no way that wages can rise.

The other thing that's been annoying me lately is the drive to have young people complete training in "STEM" areas (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). This is despite the fact that graduates from these areas traditionally have the worst employment outcomes of any field and even the Department of Employment expects demand for these workers to decrease? We are NOT a high-tech or manufacturing nation any longer - there's simply no need to be training these young people only to tell them that the real work is in hospitality or wiping bums in a nursing home.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Relatively recently we have a public call for more engineering graduates. Figures (from memory) said that the country needs three times the current number of graduates per annum. Given the fact that graduate engineers are working as baristas, waiters, labourers or nothing at all one is compelled to wonder what prompted this latest piece of stupidity.
I will try to find reference as to who it was and post it later if I succeed.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Supply and demand ebbs and flows a lot when it comes to engineering. Ie. There was a glut of engineers in the early 1990s recession, a shortage in the late 1990s, somewhat of a glut after the tech wreck, shortage in mid-2000s mining boom, glut with the exit of local manufacturing this decade... It's very cyclic.

I know of engineering grads today who got top marks but are instead taking up trade apprenticeships straight out of uni.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
As I have mentioned before one of my mates is an established civil engineer and he says the market for new graduates is chronically over-supplied, he has his own business and people are approaching him for work all the time. He blames Engineers Australia for accrediting too many overseas trained engineers at $1,500 or so a pop. Like accountants its an industry that has been destroyed by oversupply from global job-seekers; it's completely wrong to suggest that there is a demand or a shortage. Speak to people who work in the industry and you'll soon find out the truth.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
INCIDENTALLY has anyone been following this story: Billionaire Canadian couple Bobby and Honey Sherman found dead in their CA$5 million Toronto home a few weeks ago - is it a suicide or murder? UK Sun:

The pair's horrified estate agent found them hanging by the swimming pool after turning up for a meeting about selling the property.

Cops initially said the deaths were being treated as suspicious but claimed no suspects were being sought.

But the wealthy couple's four children hit out at Toronto police for suggesting the deaths were part of a murder-suicide.

Murdered? What for? The part that I find interesting is that Bobby and Honey were good friends of the Clintons and had generously donated to the Clinton Global Initiative. Meanwhile it's also interesting to note that unemployment in the UK has hit a 42-year low as employers complain about the uncertainty in hiring labour from the continent post-Brexit - UK Telegraph:

Hotels and hospitality firms fear they may have to close as a result, while engineering and manufacturing companies are considering moving overseas to find the staff they need - harming British workers in the process.

Companies issued the stark warning in the British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) response to the Migration Advisory Committee’s call for evidence. The BCC wants the Government to give an “unconditional guarantee” to workers from the European Economic Area - which includes the EU - “that they and their families can remain here post Brexit”.

Employment in the UK is currently close to a record high while unemployment is at a 42-year low, making it harder for companies to find the staff they need, even without a fall in the supply of EU workers.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Back in OZ - the parent company of brands such as Fantastic Furniture and Best 'n Less has bought in experts to help it - ahem - sort things out (Perth Now);

Steinhoff Asia Pacific, which also owns Freedom Furniture and Best & Less, says it is financially strong but that it has appointed Minter Ellison and Ferrier Hodgson to provide legal, financial and corporate advice.

The company on Thursday said the appointment was supported by its local lenders, and was a prudent step while parent company Steinhoff International Holdings works through “significant uncertainty".

"Steinhoff Asia Pacific and its business are not in distress and are trading normally,” the company said in a statement.

Not surprised that Fantastic Furniture is not going that well, that place is like a really down-market Ikea... and Ikea is already rubbish as it is.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Happy New Year everyone.

Ross Gittins reminds us that the Aussie economy is actually extremely inefficient and loaded with rent-seeking oligopolies. Gittins dissects the list of industries that make "super profits" because they basically are established, have economies of scale and don't really have any competitors. On the top of the list of huge mark-ups is (of course) electricity transmission, being a natural monopoly pretty much free to charge whatever they want thanks to a number of court decisions that allow them to claim accelerated depreciation ("gold plating"). (Sydney Morning Herald);

...The list of industries with the highest super-profits reminds us how badly governments have stuffed-up the national electricity market, how much better they could be doing in controlling the prices of monopoly businesses such as Telstra, airports and port terminals, and in charging for liquor and gambling licences, not forgetting the indulgent treatment of private health funds.

That the government won't consider taking on the electricity companies is a symptom of how weak they are and how captured by vested interests we are: We're truly screwed. The only thing I can see that will upset this apple cart is if there's a recession or a government is elected that can take on the oligopolies (unlikely since they'll all be looking for jobs after politics...).
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
China issues not-so-subtle warnings that they aren't happy with our attitude on the South China Sea not belonging totally to them (News.com.au);

In a fiery opinion piece published on New Year’s Eve, a Chinese commentator warned Australia that its “interference” in the area may prompt China to “adopt strong countermeasures which will seriously impact Australian economic development”.

The piece published by the Communist Party-owned newspaper the Global Times said Australia’s “bigoted actions have jeopardised not only China’s national interests, but also Australian long-term interests, bringing Canberra’s structural contradictions and strategic dilemma to a worse level”.

It said Australia’s “kissing up to the US” had led to an imbalance in Australian strategy and squeezed its strategic space... Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang suggested Australia keep out of the issue.

“Australia is not a party directly concerned in the South China Sea issue, and it has made clear many times that it does not take sides,” he said.

Oh, now come on, that's not exactly fair. I think it would be impossible for Truffles to wedge himself any further up Ji Xingping's jaxie - the problem is that we can't do that and also be wedged up The Donald's jaxie simultaneously. The thing upsetting them so much is these so-called "freedom of navigation" exercises that the US is spearheading in the South China Sea (which we are expected to participate in militarily) - it's upsetting China's autocratic Politburo so much that they're even making veiled threats about sanctions against Australian exports (swoon! the horror!).

We are well and truly wedged here - if we say 'no' then the ANZUS treaty is finished but if we say 'yes' then there's no telling what those crazy commies will do... ban our produce? I think it could get even stronger than that; I wouldn't put them beyond a strategic strike on one of our military assets to send us a message.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
crazy commies
Don_dunstan
actually The PRCs economy is based around capitalism these days, the PRC IMO takes the worst attributes of Maoism/Stalinism and Raw Capitalism, The Majority of Marxist-leinists and Maoists have been purged recently by ping and jao zi ming (can't spell). I personally believe that we should adopt a Yugoslav Style Neutrality to get the best of both sides, though that is highly unlikely. There are barely any socialist parts of the economy and DONT GET ME STARTED ON EXPLOITED WORKERS AND TIBET.
  Clyde Goodwin2 Chief Train Controller

crazy commies
actually The PRCs economy is based around capitalism these days, the PRC IMO takes the worst attributes of Maoism/Stalinism and Raw Capitalism, The Majority of Marxist-leinists and Maoists have been purged recently by ping and jao zi ming (can't spell). I personally believe that we should adopt a Yugoslav Style Neutrality to get the best of both sides, though that is highly unlikely. There are barely any socialist parts of the economy and DONT GET ME STARTED ON EXPLOITED WORKERS AND TIBET.
Dangersdan707
I thought you hated those Social Justice Warrior tossers yet your spouting off exactly the same as one.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
No, I Clyde I never said I liked or agreed with them however I have stated my economic opinions else where. I don't like the ones who are like Feminazis and those people. I have allured that I am on the left of politics and I have stated that I am against the big 4 Parties. The extremely unreasonable ones (feminazis, ect) are the ones I am against ohh and identity politics (cause the mainstream left and right are just too inter that stuff. essentially CGW2 I believe that the modern left sold out the Proletariat (kill me, Rant possibly starting) to the SJW, the upper class progressives and THAT is a key part of political disenfranchisement. Sorry CGW2. being on the libertarian side of the spectrum I believe in a decentralised state, with MINORITY RIGHTS (a thing the PRC does very poorly) and Yes I SHOULD LEARN TO SPELL.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
crazy commies
actually The PRCs economy is based around capitalism these days...
Dangersdan707
You're making the same mistake that everyone else does in this country, PRC is nothing at all like a capitalist economy - at its heart still very much state-controlled and centrally planned. The state has a hand in nearly every large conglomerate directly appointing CEO's and boards themselves; there might be a lot of collusion between big business and the government in the USA (and Australia) but corporations are not directly controlled to that extent. Its basically so that they can make sure that the activities of their corporates aligns with the Politburo's interests both domestically and overseas. Landbridge (for example), the purchasers of the Port of Darwin (who have incidentally been struggling to make payments on their purchase recently) have extremely close ties with the People's Army and are even allowed to have their own private militia.

PRC has the cursory appearance of a capitalist economy but in reality isn't anything like it; in the West there's a semblance of a meritocracy but in China you need to be a Party Member before you can get anywhere in life (often the positions are hereditary); there's nothing fair about it at all.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
@don_dunstan refer to what I said, next Did you read the statement entirely?

The PRC In My Opinion takes the worst attributes of Maoism/Stalinism and Raw Capitalism, The Majority of Marxist-leinists and Maoists have been purged recently by zi zing ping and jao zi ming (can't spell)
Dangersdan707
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
I'm not trying to call you ignorant, mate, I'm just pointing out that in a capitalist or properly market-based society there has to be certain features that are absent in China - so while they may have adopted some market economy features they are still a centrally-planned totalitarian communist country.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Reportedly IKEA continues to pay SFA tax here.  
$10.7m on over $1 billion revenue last year, profit nearly doubling, with millions in 'expenses' paid offshore.
Groundrelay
Funky hip global corporations like Apple are the worst offenders apparently paying almost nil tax globally; the Paradise Papers have pretty much proven the propensity of successful multinationals to plan their tax burden to zero aided and abetted by people like Price Waterhouse Coopers et al.

Also surprised to read recently that U2 frontman Bono (Paul Hewson) pays almost no tax on his global earnings thanks to some very complicated tax planning involving Malta and Belarus... when he was confronted about it he basically said that it wasn't his fault he has very clever tax people (!).

It's the hypocrisy of these celebrities that I can't stand - on the one hand imploring governments to engage in his charity programs and getting taxpayers of the world to fund aid programs but on the other hands spending not a cent of his own money on this stuff - to the extent that he won't pay into the tax pools that pay for these programs. And yet his personal net worth is somewhere around US$600,000,000.

Pathologically greedy.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
THE Australian is reporting today that the national grid will be partially closed down this weekend by AEMO to avoid blackouts during the heat:

The Australian Energy Market Operator, the national energy regulator, is in talks with more than a dozen power-hungry companies in Victoria and South Australia in a bid to get ahead of weekend blackouts.

The 14 companies, with major factories across the two southern states, may need to shut down operations over the weekend as heightened airconditioner use could lead to major blackouts.

Companies including Australian Paper, Visy and BlueScope Steel have been paid incentives to cut down on operations to avoid the kind of sporadic blackouts South Australia struggled through last summer.

Maybe we can all hope that the wind blows a bit so that we can at least have the fans on.
  Groundrelay Chief Commissioner

Location: Surrounded by Trolls!
... Maybe we can all hope that the wind blows a bit so that we can at least have the fans on.
don_dunstan
Likely to be windy, which is not uncommon under these conditions. Unfortunately not so good re. bush fires and bringing down transmission lines.

Also sunny too! All those solar panels out there will be doing their thing. That’ll take some load off the grid and where not being utilised feeding electricity back in for the greater good.

I remember back in the 1990's, black/brown-outs in the Eastern States being attributed to the boom in McMansions with ducted air conditioning. Now many older homes have been retrofitted with A/C systems and it's not uncommon to see several split systems per building. Must all be adding to peak demand.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Wind and Sunshine seems to be doing ok today so far in meeting demand.  Hydro helping too.

Split cycle systems are pretty efficient if room temp is set at something reasonable (ie 25c, not 20c) compared to old 1980s systems.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
No, I Clyde I never said I liked or agreed with them however I have stated my economic opinions else where. I don't like the ones who are like Feminazis and those people. I have allured that I am on the left of politics and I have stated that I am against the big 4 Parties. The extremely unreasonable ones (feminazis, ect) are the ones I am against ohh and identity politics (cause the mainstream left and right are just too inter that stuff. essentially CGW2 I believe that the modern left sold out the Proletariat (kill me, Rant possibly starting) to the SJW, the upper class progressives and THAT is a key part of political disenfranchisement. Sorry CGW2. being on the libertarian side of the spectrum I believe in a decentralised state, with MINORITY RIGHTS (a thing the PRC does very poorly) and Yes I SHOULD LEARN TO SPELL.
"Dangersdan707
I'm sorry, but my native language is English. Could somebody please supply a translation?
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
THE Australian is reporting today that the national grid will be partially closed down this weekend by AEMO to avoid blackouts during the heat:

The Australian Energy Market Operator, the national energy regulator, is in talks with more than a dozen power-hungry companies in Victoria and South Australia in a bid to get ahead of weekend blackouts.

The 14 companies, with major factories across the two southern states, may need to shut down operations over the weekend as heightened airconditioner use could lead to major blackouts.

Companies including Australian Paper, Visy and BlueScope Steel have been paid incentives to cut down on operations to avoid the kind of sporadic blackouts South Australia struggled through last summer.

Maybe we can all hope that the wind blows a bit so that we can at least have the fans on.
don_dunstan
Huge difference between "will be partially closed down this weekend" (your words) and "may need to shut down" (from the article that you are citing). Mischievous, is what it is.

FWIW there is no sign of load shedding today. At the moment there is over 6GW of gas generation in reserve between the linked states. Although tomorrow might be hotter around Sydney, it will be cooler south of the divide in Victoria but there will still be plenty of wind about. I don't expect load shedding to occur this weekend.

What doesn't help the overall situation is the inability of Liddell PS (Turnbull's baby), to get more than two units operating. Unit 2 destroyed itself months ago and Unit 3 crashed a few days after Christmas, and hasn't been operating since. Hardly reliable.

On the economic aspect of load shedding, regardless of the chronic or acute cause of it, the way it was explained to me the other day by a production manager at one of the companies that you mentioned, is that it is far better to shut down some of the plant in a controlled manner with a few hours notice than be forced to shut due to a blackout. The areas of the plant that are agreed to shut if load shedding is called for, are not critical to the ongoing production to the rest of the plant and the company gets paid to boot. Because requests for load shedding are outside the control of the company it is silly of them to get worked up about it. Load shedding is not a big deal.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Elon Musk's Telsla has another spectacular failure - they managed to produce around 3,500 vehicles in December of which only 1,500 were suitable to be delivered to customers. Musk predicted in July when the first ones were delivered that they'd be up to 20,000 vehicles per month by now... oops! You have to pay in full for your Tesla when you order it - I wonder how many back-orders there are for the Model 3, unfulfilled?

Meanwhile Australia's clean food image under attack yet again with more Chinese counterfeiting of our food discovered: This time Tasmanian candied cherries (of all things!) - (ABC);

This week Reid Fruits was alerted by its Asian importer to a box of cherries at a Hong Kong wholesale market that was emblazoned with its brand.

Ms Gregg said the fake carton was almost identical to the real thing, but was missing the sticker used to identify the authentic cherries.

"Each year we put a unique sticker on the cartons which is quite intricate, it's often laser-cut," she said.

Reid has also started embellishing its cardboard packaging to make it harder to copy.

"The box itself is embossed and also has gold foil, so it's quite an expensive box to produce and that is also a deterrent to the counterfeiters."

Astonishing, we should vigorously prosecute anyone found counterfeiting any of our stuff overseas though - our brand is incredibly important.

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