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Tuesday, 15 May

22:59

More bums on seats Pete Wargent Daily Blog

Sydney headcount surges

I was down in Sydney this morning for a meeting.

Now first up let's say that there are more than enough people hooting about Sydney's transport challenges right now, without me adding to the rapidly growing chorus! 

But the truth is that the blinkin' light rail project can't be finalised soon enough.

The construction itself is causing disruption all along the route, and the bus routes out to Uni-land and beyond are, shall we say, well patronised...


And yet, Sydney, we just can't stay mad at you.


It seems I'm not alone in this dilemma, as Australia becomes more and more popular with permanent & long term migrants and tourists from Asia. 

There was a bear case for Australian housing that predicted immigration would fall precipitously into the construction boom due to a weakening economy, but you can forget all that now.

Rolling annual permanent and long term arrivals blasted out to a new high of 795,600 over the year to March 2018. 

Most permanent migrants to Australia are heading to Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, in that order, and overwhelmingly they are opting to remain in the capital cities for the long term, according to ABS surveys on the characteristic of recent migrants. 

...

22:57

Infrastructure boom swings north as Queensland hits 5 million Pete Wargent Daily Blog

Infrastructure deficit tackled

An interesting graphic from BIS Oxford Economics charts Australia's infrastructure boom through looking at public sector funded transport projects of $2 billion or more in value.

If you live in Sydney you couldn't help but notice the ramp up in projects since 2015, with the jackhammers rampaging practically around the clock in the harbour city.

And some of those projects have years to run, particularly the massive West Connex, the real cost of which has been estimated at being anywhere from $17 billion to $45 billion, depending on who is controlling the narrative.

Looking forward the infrastructure boom is set to swing elsewhere as stamp duty take in Sydney finally begins its long descent. 

In absolute dollar terms, Victoria is set to experience a significant boost, particularly from the forthcoming $16.5 billion northeast link.

But with Melbourne's construction booming anyway, the shift will be most noticeable in Queensland as a range of transport projects kick off.

These will be supported by other inner Brisbane projects such as the flagship $3 billion plus Queen's Wharf project, and a number of others.


Brisbane boost

Brisbane is attracting interstate migrants and tourists in serious numbers, so these projects will definitely help to give the labour market an overdue boost.

Indeed, Queensland's official population count passed 5 million earlier today, so this is timely news. 

While some project feasibilities are yet to be finalised, seven key projects are henceforth set to pump $12 billion into t...

22:18

Why Hillary is Desperate About Iran?, 2221 "IndyWatch Feed Economics"

- Cerule - makers of plant-based products which have been scientifically proven to naturally increase the number of adult stem cells in your body. CLICK HERE: BillStill.StemCellintern.com Good afternoon, Im still reporting on: Why Hillary is Desperate About Iran?, 2221 Synopsis: Hillary Clinton is quickly losing her pull domestically, so why is she trying to resell the discredited Obama Iran Nuke deal abroad? Perhaps its because her reputation has yet to catch up with her? We now know another possible reason she - as well as globalist leaders in Europe - are absolutely desperate to sell the idea that Trump pulling out of the Iran nuke deal will lead to war. Now remember, thats exactly what they said about North Korea, before it became obvious that Trumps strategy was working. Well, the uber-left is retreating back into its two remaining citadels of anti-American, propagandistic purity communism (wherever it can still be found) and Iran. But why is the left so desperate to draw the line against Trumps efforts with Iran? Well, first of all, one more major foreign policy victory for team Trump would seal the fate of the uber-left for generations to come. Here is a clip of Hillary in Australia, followed by commentary from James Freeman, asst. editor of the Wall Street Journals editorial page: Support Our Sponsors: - Nobel Gold: Protect Your Money With Gold - Click Here- https://goo.gl/kx2yzW Or Call - 877-646-5347 - Virtual Shield VPN - the easiest way to create a home VPN. Go to: https://www.virtualshield.com/billstill - Trade Genius Academy: Learn the safe, sure way to trade. https://www.TradeGeniusAcademy.com - Natural Hemp Oil - Use promocode: BillStill for 10% off. Vets get 15% off. https://Naturalhempoil.com - Cerule - makers of plant-based products which have been scientifically proven to naturally increase the number of adult stem cells in your body. CLICK HERE: BillStill.StemCellintern.com -Jeevy Computers: Move up to business-level computer protection. 800-844-8613 http://jeevycomputers.com/pcs/ Still Report BTC address: 18Ky2c3CgPY3eu5N7ySoM3X6NjgEAN2w4v Connect with me; Bill Still: newspaper editor/publisher, economics reporter - top US publications, authored 22 books, 4 documentary videos & daily host of this Y/T channel, THE STILL REPORT: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109353617116072656672 Get the word Out: Please LIKE, COMMENT & SHARE! Our website: http://www.billstill.com Considered by informed insiders as the ultimate resource for surviving economic or financial collapse/crash and attaining the unvarnished truth about the latest US and world news, current events in Washington, and todays United States political climate. Please Like, Comment & Share. Bill Still is a former newspaper editor and publisher. He has written for USA Today, The Saturday Evening Post, the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, OMNI magazine, and has also produced the syndicated radio program, Health News. He has written 22 books...

18:51

Debt Rattle May 15 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Economics"

Henri Matisse Odalisque couche aux magnolias 1923   Making Money In The Stock Market Just Got A Lot More Difficult (MW) Americas Worst Long-Term Challenges: #1- Debt. (Black) Fifteen Thoughts About Israel (Caitlin Johnstone) Australia Probes Claim Google Harvests Data, Makes Consumers Pay (R.) Warning Sounded Over Chinas Debtbook Diplomacy

The post Debt Rattle May 15 2018 appeared first on The Automatic Earth.

18:46

Timor challenges for the new government Part 1 Bill Mitchell billy blog

The citizens of Timor-Leste went to the polls on Saturday in an effort to elect a government. The reports last night indicate that Xanana Gusmaos Party, in a three-party coalition Parliamentary Majority Alliance (AMP, which includes Taur Matan Ruaks group) have toppled the incumbent Fretilin leadership. At the last election (July 2017), the Fretilin Party led by Mari Alkatiri was able to form minority government (with Democratic Party support) after a third party (KHUNTO) pulled out. A stalemate emerged. Some commentators called it a constitutional crisis, in that, the minority government could not function effectively. After some years of stable politics, Timor-Leste has been going through a period of political volatility as a new generation of politicians enter the scene and replace the older stagers who were dominant at the formation of this tiny island state in 2002. I wont go into the politics of the election battle but both major parties promised to fast-track economic development to make some dent into a growing poverty problem. This is a country that has been enduring decades of foreign occupation and before that more than 250 years of colonial servitude. The latter (Portugal) imposed Catholicism on the people while the former (Indonesia) spat-the-dummy when they were finally forced out in 1999 and destroyed vital public and private infrastructure as they marched back across the border.

Introduction

After shedding Indonesians, the next exploiters to line up (apart from the shocking treatment Australia has handed out over territorial borders) was the international multilateral institutions (IMF, the World Bank, and the UN) the usual suspects who made sure that economic policy would stay within tight neoliberal parameters and prevent the new independent government from creating an effective development path.

For background on the way in which the people of Timor-Leste were abused by the Portuguese, the Indonesians, Australia the book by James Dunn (1983) Timor: A People Betrayed is worth reading.

The Australian government, anxious to appease Indonesia, also betrayed our own citizens, over the murder by Indonesian troops of five journalists working for Australian media at Balibo (Timor) in 1975 and the deliberately cover-up that followed. The Australian government is still refusing to release documents relating to that incident.

The movie Balibo is worth watching in that regard.

The Australian government knew in advance that the Indonesians were going to re-colonise Timor that is, brutally invade it in October 1975, just a month before the invasion. We abandoned a people who had nurtured our own soldiers during the Pacific fight against...

17:00

Elvis, aliens and solar power "IndyWatch Feed Economics"

How a remote Australian town found itself at the vanguard of a global revolution.

14:52

Economic Numbers Are Less than Meet the Eye Daily Reckoning Australia

Investors can be forgiven for thinking they hit the trifecta last Friday.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that unemployment had dropped to 3.9%, the lowest in almost 20 years.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta reported that its widely-followed GDP forecasting tool was showing projected growth for the second quarter of 2018 at 4%, exactly where Trump boosters like Larry Kudlow said it would be.

Finally, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 332 points (1.39%), partly in response to the other good news. It was almost enough to make a trader sing, Happy days are here again

Or not.

The fact is that this good news hides more than it reveals. A look behind the numbers discloses a sobering outlook for investors.

Lets start with the employment report. The US Department of Labor/Bureau of Labor Statistics report dated 4 May 2018 showed the official US unemployment rate for April 2018 at 3.9%, with a separate unemployment rate for adult men of 4.1% and adult women of 3.7%.

The 3.9% unemployment rate is based on a total workforce of 160 million people, of whom 153 million are employed and 6.3 million are unemployed. The 3.9% figure is the lowest unemployment rate since 2001 and, before that, the early 1970s.

The average rate of unemployment in the US from 1948 to 2018 is 5.78%. By these superficial measures, unemployment is indeed low and the economy is arguably at full employment.

Still, these statistics dont tell the whole story.

When statistics dont reveal everything

Of the 153 million with jobs, five million are working part-time involuntarily; they would prefer full-time jobs but cant find them or have had their hours cut by current employers. Another 1.4 million workers wanted jobs and had searched for a job in the prior year but are not included in the labour force because they had not searched in the prior four weeks.

If their numbers were counted as unemployed, the unemployment rate would be 5%.

Yet the real unemployment rate is far worse than that. The unemployment rate is calculated using a narrow definition of the workforce. But there are millions of able-bodied men and women between the ages of 2554 capable of work who are not included in the workforce.

These are not retirees or teenagers but adults in their prime working years. They are, in effect, missing workers. The number of these missing workers not included in the official unemployment rolls is measured by the Labor Force Participation Rate, or LFPR.

The LFPR measures the total number of workers divided by the total number of potential workers regardless of whether those potential workers are seeking work or not. The LFPR plunged from 67.3% in January 2000 to 62.8% in April 2018, a drop of 4.4%.

If those potential workers reflected in the difference between the 2018 and 2000 LFPRs were added back to the...

14:50

How Aussie Banks Could Trigger a Property Crash Daily Reckoning Australia

The biggest lie in the Australian economy at the moment is that the next move in interest rates will be up.

Yet while the Big Four banks may move their interest rates higher, the Reserve Bank of Australia wont.

Theres a consensus among analysts that the RBA has to move rates up soon because they cant stay at 1.50% forever.

Thats true.

But the cash rate can go lowerand thats exactly what the RBA is likely to do next.

Ill explain why

The typical argument goes that if rates stay too low for too long, theyll make property prices even more unaffordable. People will spend recklessly because low rates encourage borrowing. And theyll ramp up debt-fuelled spending if rates stay low for much longer.

Well, thats already happened.

Total household debt-to-income in Australia is at 199.7%. Thats one of the highest rates in the world, according to UBS, an investment bank.

Currently, Aussies owe $2.46 trillion in bank loans and credit facilities. Of that, $1.6 trillion is wrapped up in outstanding mortgage debt.

Yet, with debt at record levels, it appears we have exhausted growth in the form of credit-driven consumption.

As a result, its a risky time in the Aussie economy.

Consumption data is showing that Australians are tapped out. And retail spending in Australia is growing at a very slow rate last seen during the financial crisis.

Furthermore, the inflation rate is at 1.9% well under the RBAs 23% target.

While Im often highly suspect of official statistics, these figures go some way to show how little consumers are spending.

Any rate increase from the RBA would further slow consumer spending. Yet theres zero chance that the RBA will want to hamper economic activity.

Which means that its all up to the big Aussie banks to change lending rates.

Aussie banks control the mortgage market now

Over the past four years, Aussie banks have set the lending rate in Australia, not the Reserve Bank.

This disconnect first appeared in July 2014 when the RBA cash rate was at 2.50%.

After two years of campaigning to distance itself from the RBA, ANZ finally announced it would hold a panel once a month to set its own interest rate regardless of what the RBA did.

People were furious.

Shortly after, HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham told The Age this would allow ANZ to pass on rate hikes to customers faster, rather than waiting for the RBA to move. Bloxham added that he and other analysts were tipping that the next rate hike at the time would come in the first quarter of 2015. Which is interesting because, come February 2015, the RBA dropped the cash to 2.25%.

By December 2014, the three other major banks all quietly announced they would set their own interest rate policy regardless of the RBAs decisions.

Since ANZ made its mov...

14:01

EOS Price Watch: Bulls Defending Long-Term Area of Interest "IndyWatch Feed Crypto"

EOS Price Key Highlights

  • EOS is correcting from its recent rally but appears to be finding support at current levels.
  • This 50% retracement level is within an area of interest where plenty of buy orders are likely located.
  • A bounce off this level could take EOS back to the swing high and beyond.

EOS looks ready to resume its climb as it is encountering some bullish pressure at the current area of interest.

Technical Indicators Signals

The 100 SMA is above the longer-term 200 SMA to confirm that the path of least resistance is to the upside. This suggests that the rally is still likely to resume at this point. EOS price is also nearing the 100 SMA dynamic support near the 61.8% retracement level.

The moving averages avoided a downward crossover on the latest convergence, signaling that buyers are putting up a fight. In that case, EOS could be ready to retest the swing high at 23.00 or create new highs.

RSI is heading lower to show that sellers still have some energy to take price down, but the oscillator is approaching oversold levels to reflect exhaustion. Stochastic is also on the move down but is starting to pull up without even hitting oversold territory.

EOS/USD Daily Chart from TradingView

Market Factors

Just last week, the the Chief Financial Officer of Commonwealth Bank of Australia Rob Jesudason reportedly signed on with the firm of the founders of the worlds fifth largest cryptocurrency in the market today, Block.one. This is the private firm which has developed both the EOS token and the blockchain technology behind it.

According to Brendan Blumer, CEO of Block.one:

Rob Jesudason had ideal skills for the tech-related role in the firm. He has a proven track record of success in global financial services, he also...

07:41

CFO of Australias Commonwealth Bank Quits Role To Join EOS Token Developer Block.One "IndyWatch Feed Crypto"

Rob Jesudason, the CFO of Australias Commonwealth Bank has resigned with immediate effect in order to join EOS token developer Block.one as group president and COO

05:49

Sandpit John Quiggin

A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

05:48

Monday Message Board John Quiggin

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

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Monday, 14 May

21:28

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms, Plot to Kill Vinnik Uncovered in Greece "IndyWatch Feed Crypto"

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms, Plot to Kill Vinnik Uncovered in Greece

In Mondays Bitcoin in Brief, Belgiums financial watchdog, which earlier this year published a warning about potentially fraudulent platforms promising fast and easy profits to crypto investors, has just expanded its blacklist. In Russia, reports have surfaced of a plot to assassinate Alexander Vinnik in Greece, where he fights an extradition request from US authorities accusing him of laundering billions of dollars, including funds from the hacked Mt. Gox. Elsewhere, Australia allocates budget for blockchain research, and Dubai-based exchange Bitoasis suspends dirham withdrawals.

Also read: This Week in Bitcoin: Ghost Scares Markets, Facebook Mulls Coin

Belgium Expands List of Fraudulent Crypto Platforms

Belgiums Financial Services and Markets Authority has expanded its list of unauthorized and potentially fraudulent crypto companies operating in the country. The financial watchdog has recently published a new warning noting that the FSMA is receiving an increasing number of consumer complaints regarding investments in cryptocurrencies [and] once again warns the public about these platforms, often operated by fraudsters who are now resorting to cryptocurrencies to swindle consumers. The regulator also said th...

20:13

Australian Health Service Provider Asked to Pay $15,000 Bitcoin Ransom "IndyWatch Feed Crypto"

Cyber attacks are a very big problem in day and age. In a lot of cases, such threats are designed to steal sensitive information from companies and service providers. Australias Family Planning NSW recently fell victim to such an attack which saw thousands of patients almost having their sensitive details exposed. The criminals demanded a Bitcoin ransom for the sum of AU$15,000.

The Family Planning NSW Attack Explained

Family Planning NSW is one of the largest sexual health providers in Australia. They serve thousands of clients throughout the country. It also means the organization wields a lot of sensitive information, which poses a big target for hackers and other criminals. A recent cyber attack exposed a few weaknesses in the organizations website, which left their databases vulnerable. To this day, it remains unclear if anyone effectively had their details exposed in the process.

According to company officials, the attack was never about data theft. Instead, the hackers demand a Bitcoin ransom after infiltrating the website. With numerous attacks happening around the time period, the ulterior motive remains rather unclear. In the ransom message, the attackers threatened to shut down the Family Planning NSW website altogether.

Paying AU$15,000 in ransom is a rather steep amount. There was a timer on the website which showed the amount of time left to make the payment. It is unclear if the ransom has been paid at this stage. The Family Planning NSW website has been shut down to prevent any future attacks or discrepancies. The security weakness used for the previous attack has been addressed as well.

Bitcoin Ransom Requests Remain an Issue

Over the past few years, there has been an influx of criminal activity demanding a Bitcoin ransom. This trend has become most apparent in the malware industry. Various strains of ransomware will lock users out of their computers and wont...

18:23

Commonwealth Bank CFO Leaves Financial Sector in Favor of EOS "IndyWatch Feed Crypto"

The financial is slowly becoming a career stepping stone rather than a final destination. A lot of people working in this industry eventually move on to completely different things.T his has become especially apparent when it comes to the cryptocurrency industry. The CFO of Commonwealth Bank is now the COO and Group President of the EOS project.

Commonwealth CFO Jumps Ship

A very peculiar trend is forming in the financial sector. Various Wall Street experts are flocking to cryptocurrency as of late. This booming industry offers a lot of new opportunities waiting to be explored. It now seems this trend is taking place in other parts of the world as well. In Australia, Commonwealth Bank CFO Rob Jesudason is leaving the firm in favor of EOS.

Jesudasons main tasks at Commonwealth Bank include auditing, treasury, and investor relations, among other things. His addition to the EOS team as Chief Operating Officer will create a lot of waves in the industry. He is joining EOS as a member of the Board of Directors. Additionally, he will become the projects Chief Operating Officer and Group President. Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer explains Jesudasons role as follows:

Rob has a proven track record of success in global financial services, where he has been involved in industry innovation and facilitated regulatory advancement enabling the adoption of new technologies. His alignment with our organizational priorities of creating compliant, high-performance blockchain solutions, is an ideal fit for Block.one, and is an exciting conclusion to our thorough search for the right individual.

The Allure of Blockchain Technology

EOS is a project focusing on developing scalable blockchain software. Their high-performance project will enable secure data transfer and decentralized application support. It is considered to be the first performant blockchain platform for developers. At the time of writing, the project is valued at just over $12bn.

Blockchain technology can affect many different aspects of peoples daily lives. With a strong focus on low-cost, fast, and scalable solutions, EOS has a competitive advantage over some other solutions on the market. Parent company Block.one acknowledges the project is...

18:09

Lower bond yields do not save the Japanese Government money Bill Mitchell billy blog

I was going to write about the situation in Timor-Leste after its national elections were held on Saturday. But I will hold that over for another day as I get some more information. So today, I think we can learn a lot from an issue raised in the Bloomberg article (May 14, 2018) Kurodas Stimulus Saves Japan $45 Billion, Easing Debt Pressures which discusses the QE program in Japan and introduces several of the basic errors that mainstream financial commentators make when discussing these issues. The article traverses all the usual suspects including the misconception that numbers in official accounts are costs to government and that smaller numbers in official accounts mean the government can put larger numbers in other accounts than it might have been able to. These articles are as pervasive as they are erroneous. Hopefully, as the precepts of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) spread and are understood more journalists will endure scrutiny of the rubbish they write and the public commentary and debate will progress towards a more reasonable realistic appraisal of what is going on in the world of finance and money. This article is one of the worst I have read this year so far. And there have been some real terrors!

The sub-titles to the articles were:

Driving down borrowing costs is saving the government money

But low rates hurt savers, pensioners and even the BOJ itself

In the first case, there is no sense that the government saves its own currency.

In the second case, it is true that lower yields provide less income to holders of the bonds, which might include pensioners but to take it further and suggest that the BOJ is in the same boat is to invoke the household budget metaphor, which is wrong at the most elemental level.

We will explain that presently.

The articles main argument goes like this.

1. The Bank of Japans massive monetary stimulus has saved Japans government about $45 billion in borrowing costs, helping the worlds most indebted developed nation pay for its debt pile.

How so?

This graphic is provided.

...

14:12

Rampant US House Flipping Set to Boost ASX Daily Reckoning Australia

Heres something you never thought would happen

US President Donald Trump might disappear from Twitter for a while.

Why?

The Wall Street Journal reports that the average American wage is going backwards accounting for inflation.

Higher prices are eating whatever pitiful salary growth is showing up.

But dont despair

It doesnt mean US stocks cant keep firing higher and lead the world into a final leg-up of this historic bull market.

The mainstream press would have you believe this low wage growth is a result of slack productivity. Its an assumed correlation that politicians in particular love to spout.

But that couldnt be further from the truth.

Ill explain

The huge gains that the US economy produces are captured in the asset markets. The rich get richer and the wage slaves get the dregs. Australia is no different.

But you dont have to take my word for it. Heres an interesting graph I came across recently

Source: St Louis Fed

As you can see, corporate profits are booming while average wages go nowhere.

All up, US stocks and real estate are currently experiencing a bonanza.

Case in point: In the 12 months to March, US corporations have returned almost US$1 trillion in stock buybacks and dividends.

The March quarter saw the highest level of buybacks since 1998. Theres plenty more to come too.

Why do I bring this up?

People are not fools. The average American will know that their regular job wont secure a comfortable retirement. I think theyre increasingly going to look to property and shares to get ahead. This is going to rev up the asset markets even more.

There are already signs that this is taking shape

The US house flippers are back!

A report by Attom Data Solutions last month noted that house flipping is at an 11-year high. So much for learning the lessons of the housing crisis! Precisely zero has changed.

On top of this, last month a banking deregulation bill passed the US Senate, easing rules for small and midsize banks. Now its off to the House of Representatives. Trump could sign it into the law within a few weeks.

How does this affect Australians?

This legislation is another step in dismantling the regulations brought in after 2008.

It means small- and mid-tier banks in the US get less regulatory oversight and more incentive to grow their asset base think more loans and deals.

Not only that, June could be another big month for the US financial sector. The Fed is due to...

11:32

Government should reject Trumps threat to affordable medicines through TPP and other trade deals AFTINET

Media Release, May 14, 2018: US President Donald Trumps policy to end freeloading and force trading partners to increase prices they pay for US pharmaceutical exports is a direct threat to Australias policy of ensuring affordable medicines through our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.

This policy results from the US pharmaceutical companies absurd and unproven argument that if other governments abandon their affordable medicine policies and agree to higher prices, the companies would then lower their prices in the US. Both Canada and New Zealand have strongly rejected this push. There has so far been no reported response from the Turnbull government. We call on the government to reject this policy, said Dr Ranald.

The US policy is a direct attack on Australias Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which keeps medicine prices down by regulating for lower wholesale prices to the pharmaceutical companies and then subsidising the retail price to consumers.  Trumps strategy for higher prices could be achieved through US bargaining to re-join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or through bilateral talks based on the 2005 Australia-US Free Trade Agreement. The government should make clear that this is unacceptable, said Dr Ranald.

The clauses in theTPP-11 relating to higher prices for biologic medicines were only suspended after Trump pulled the US out of the TPP in 2017, and could be revived if the US re-joins the deal. None of the other 11 TPP countries wanted these clauses, but they agreed to them in the original TPP-12 deal in exchange for some increased access to US markets for their products.

The suspended biologics clauses in the TPP-11 should be deleted and the Australian government should firmly reject the absurd argument that Australia and all other countries should change our regulation which ensures access to affordable medicines. The Trump policy shows how trade agreements are being used to make global rules that favour corporations over people's needs, said Dr Ranald.

The US is the only comparable industrialised country which does not have a comprehensive system for regulating medicine prices, and it is trying to use trade agreements to remove our regulation. Rather than using trade agreements to attack other systems, the US should introduce its own regulation.

Contact Dr Patricia Ranald 0419 695 841

Quotes from...

10:17

Trump threatens Australias affordable medicines through trade deals AFTINET

May 14, 2018: US President Donald Trump last Friday ordered his Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, to end freeloading and force trading partners to increase prices they pay for US pharmaceutical exports.

This policy results from the US pharmaceutical companies absurd and unproven argument that if other governments abandon their affordable medicine policies and agree to higher prices, the companies would then lower their prices in the US.

Both Canada and New Zealand have strongly rejected this push. There has so far been no reported response from the Turnbull government,.  AFTINET has called on the government to reject the Trump policy.

The US policy is a direct attack on Australias Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which keeps medicine prices down by regulating for lower wholesale prices to the pharmaceutical companies and then subsidising the retail price to consumers. Trumps strategy for higher prices could be achieved through US bargaining to re-join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or through bilateral talks based on the 2004 Australia-US Free Trade Agreement.

"It's time to end the global freeloading once and for all. I have directed US Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer to make fixing this injustice a top priority with every trading partner," Trump said during a speech at the White House Rose Garden.

"We have great power over the trading partners; you're seeing that already. America will not be cheated any longer, and especially will not be cheated by foreign countries," the president added.

The clauses in theTPP-11 relating to higher prices for biologic medicines were only suspended after Trump pulled the US out of the TPP in 2017, and could be revived if the US re-joins the deal. None of the other 11 TPP countries wanted these clauses, but they agreed to them in the original TPP-12 deal in exchange for some increased access to US markets for their products.

However, Trumps demands last Friday were far more sweeping, encompassing prices for all medicines imported from the US, where five of the worlds largest ten pharmaceutical companies are based.

Sunday, 13 May

23:13

First homebuyers are...buying Pete Wargent Daily Blog

First homebuyers return

Some interesting statistics on the rolling annual number of first hombuyers.

New South Wales: 25,100 (+54 per cent from a year earlier)

Victoria: 33,500 (+24 per cent)

Queensland: 24,500 (+14 per cent)


Market incentives at work.

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