I received a great e-mail from Kim White which helped put things back into perspective rising above all the dooms-day commentators. The glass is actually half full rather than half empty.
1. Australia has an enviable unemployment rate of 4.9%. Although the EU zone and the US have unemployment rates of 9.9% and 9.1% respectively, other advanced economies in our region like Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and even Japan are all below 4.5%. Seems like a solid neighbourhood.
2. China is now our biggest trading partner and even conservative growth predictions for that massive economy are at 8.5%. They are currently recording 9.6% per annum growth. China's GDP growth in one year is almost as big as our entire economy. And we are riding that long China wave.
3. Our two biggest exports are Coal and Iron Ore. China consumes 47% of the worlds Coal and 48% of the worlds Iron Ore. We are in the box seat.
4. Sydney now has a rental property vacancy rate of just 1.2%. This number has steadily reduced since 2004 when it sat at 4.2% Sydney's population keeps growing as construction of new housing continues to fall. Property prices are dropping in all of Australia's other capital cities. Sydney is remaining steady. I have no doubt that Sydney's property values are being protected by the forces of supply and demand.
5. Our Public debt level is one of the lowest amongst the so called "advanced" economies. This means a smaller interest cost to burn up our taxes. It seems like the rest of the Western world is mired in debt. A genuine competitive advantage.
6. West Australia’s massive liquified natural gas projects are about to commence and will help lead Australia into the largest mining investment boom in its history, underpinning the highest sustained terms of trade in 140 years. The politicians are telling us that just building these projects will create an additional 150,000 jobs.
7. A recent news report claimed that June retail sales were down compared to last year (doom and gloom). This is true but let's have a better look at this data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics;
June 2011 = $5.92B
June 2010 = $5.98B
June 2009 = $5.79B
June 2008 = $5.38B
June 2007 = $5.32B
June 2006 = $5.04B
There are undoubtedly a number of sectors in retail that are suffering right now but this years total retail sales would have been viewed as a mini boom only a few years ago.
8. Whilst we are all feeling the increasing cost of living, average full time wages have grown from $1,163 per week in Feb 2008 to $1,341 in Feb 2011 (and climbing). Note: Feb is the most recent 2011 data at the ABS.
9. According to "The Economist" magazine, four of Australia's capital cities rank in the world top 10 for most liveable cities. Interestingly, Brisbane was not one of them : )
10. Finally, Credit Suisse have released a ranking of Countries based on the average wealth of each adult citizen Australia has had a 211% increase since 2000. Apparently our average adult citizen was worth $320,990 USD at the end of 2010. We are ranked 3rd in the world (see below).