Tuesday, November 30, 2010

GDP only positive because of rain drenched agriculture

Today’s National Accounts figures were not a huge surprise - except, of course, to many of the mainstream economic commentators, some of whom continue to demonstrate their undying faith by stating that the decline is nothing to worry about.

Neither are the downward revisions to the June quarter figures worth a second look.  The June quarter growth trend down was revised down from 0.9% to 0.7%, and seasonally adjusted down from 1.2% to 1.1%.

And possibly my favourite lines from the ABS release
In seasonally adjusted terms, Agriculture (up 21.5%) contributed 0.4 percentage points to GDP growth driven largely by strong forecasts for grain crops... GDP increased 0.2% in the September quarter, while non-farm GDP fell 0.2%

If it wasn’t for the surge in agriculture driven by last season’s strong rains, GDP growth for the quarter would have been negative, and for the year, just 2.3%.

Perhaps it is time to revisit some forecasts by our favourite economists back in September.

Peter Jolly, NAB - Our year ended GDP forecast has lifted to 3¼% from a little under 3%
Christopher Joye, Rismark - The economy is about to embark on a period of above-trend growth
Warren Hogan, ANZ - Hogan believes we are about to see a period of serious inflationary pressures thanks to the commodities boom's income wave
Michael Blythe, CBA - reckons the income surge will add 3 or 4 per cent to GDP over the next couple of years.

Yet the serious inflationary pressures and above trend growth seem to be a little hard to come by at the moment.

At least I can give myself a plug.  Heck, isn’t that what economists do?  My prediction from early September - Inflation and GDP will surprise on the low side in the September quarter.

Steve Kates explains much better how the data early in the year was deceptive due to the dramatic impact of fiscal stimulus, and that the private sector recovery is yet to appear. 


  1. any idea of the per capita GDP

  2. Going by abs numbers I estimate an extra 100,000 persons in the quarter, or 0.4%. this makes the quarter negative in terms of GDP per capita.

  3. mate tonight alan kohler got up and pointed out that savings is going up very nicely

    so debt is coming down and so is the currency

    that places us pretty well for an investment-led growth surge through exporting

    place your bets now

  4. stephen...alan kohler - yeah right!