While Australia’s economy notched up its 26th year of uninterrupted economic growth in 2017, there’s no shortage of people out there who think that tougher times lie ahead.
Indeed, to some, the Australian economy is simply a two-trick pony, reliant upon housing and mining for its enviable growth record.
A land of “houses and holes” is a phrase that’s often heard.
Perhaps those pessimists are right, going off this chart from Commsec:
It shows the performance of Australia’s All Ordinaries Stock Market Index in 2017, looking at the annual percentage change by individual sector.
While most sectors posted gains last year, helping the index to a gain of close to 8% following a 7% gain in 2016, the thing that really stands out is the dominance of banks, materials and real estate in terms of total market capitalisation.
They’re enormous, and, as a consequence, highly influential on not only the performance of Australian stocks but also the Australian economy.
Given their dominance, how they fare will have a large say on how the broader economy is likely to perform.
Yes, they’re not the entire economy, but they are a very big part.
And with house prices in Australia’s southeastern capitals starting to decline and the outlook for Chinese commodity demand uncertain as the government presses ahead with deleveraging across its industrial sector, one suspects the “houses and holes” mantra will continue to be heard in the year ahead, much like it has every year since the global financial crisis.