Business Insider’s weekly in-depth economics and markets podcast, Devils and Details, is coming LIVE to The Ivy in Sydney on November 27th. We’ve got a stellar line-up of some of Australia’s most forthright and insightful commentators and analysts, with panels to discuss investment, property, and the outlook for 2019. Tickets are $50 and include drinks and canapes on the night.
Ahead of the event, we’ve asked some of our panellists for some thoughts on a few key issues. First up is Joanne Masters, senior economist at ANZ and one of Australia’s best inflation forecasters.
1. What are the key economic factors, at the global level or at home in Australia, you are watching most closely as we head towards 2019?
Everyone is watching housing, the news is dominated by it. Prices are now down 5% of a nationwide basis, and more in Sydney (down 8.5%). It’s not housing prices that matter per se but the flow through to the domestic economy. For the moment, consumers have weathered the storm – consumer confidence is above average and retail sales / consumption growth remain reasonable. However, there’s challenges and headwinds from here on in.
Globally, it’s still all about trade and now against a backdrop of slowing momentum in global growth. For Australia, the focus remains on China but it’s still very much a watch, wait and see topic.
2. Can you share a favourite unusual economic indicator you like to watch closely? Explain why it interests you.
I watch the RLB (Rider Levett Bucknall) Crane Index – it’s a great anecdotal way of looking at construction activity across Australia and the world. It also splits cranes by residential versus non-residential for a bit more colour.
The ANZ House Search Indicator is another one – it measures internet searches for house-buying related terms and has a reasonable relationship with housing prices.
3. What’s the most important piece of career advice you have to offer?
Tough to pick just one – I’d say it is to invest in your network, not just with those above you but your peer network. Your peers provide a great sounding board and you’ve got a high chance of working with them in the future. Part of this is, of course, social media.
Catch Joanne Masters at Business Insider Australia’s live event on November 27th >>