MYEFO’s out, and the numbers are in line with what’s been telegraphed in recent days and weeks.
These tables are the key two you need to see. First, the budget bottom line over the four-year forward estimates period:
And there’s the update to the economic parameters, which forecasts a 6.5% unemployment peak, slightly higher than forecast back in May. Critically, the growth in nominal GDP – that’s economic growth before you adjust for inflation – will be the lowest in 50 years, according to the government. This is what’s putting the pressure on the budget bottom line, driven mainly by the dramatic fall in commodity prices.
But the nominal economy is, to borrow a phrase from Peter Jolly at NAB, where people “earn, spend, and live”. In other words, nominal growth is a better gauge of what the economy really feels like. And with it running at 1.5%, it’s a good indication of why consumers are still reluctant to spend.
But note the strong rebound from 1.5% this financial year to a more normal 4.5% the following year. That level of nominal GDP growth would feel like a boom compared to the last 12 months. Bring it on.