The 2019 EPO report features contributions from:
Michael Blythe, Chief Economist and Managing Director Economics, Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Michael Blythe notes Australia’s economic prospects waxed and waned in 2018. Growth was strong enough to boost the labour market with unemployment close to the full employment rate and a hint of wages growth. However, a degree of pessimism has emerged about the country’s economic prospects in 2019 fuelled by global uncertainty in financial markets.
Domestic political overview
Karen Middleton, Political Editor, The Saturday Paper
Karen Middleton recounts a year in Australian politics that saw the Coalition Government embroiled in scandal, in-fighting and inertia around energy policy. After what seemed a positive start to 2018, the Government ended the year having replaced both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister and lost its slim majority.
International political overview
Sara James, Emmy Award winning journalist and author
Sara James casts a reporter’s eye over the tumultuous first term of the Trump presidency. From a front-row seat at the November Midterm elections, she examines how Trump’s pugilistic style and rhetoric has polarised Americans and may have emboldened far-right politicians and their supporters, both in the US and abroad.
Domestic policy overview
Dr Jenny Gordon, Chief Economist, Nous Group
Dr Jenny Gordon reviews policy developments in 2018 and considers how they might unfold in 2019. Dr Gordon notes tax reform remains in the too hard basket for most politicians while an inability to reach consensus on energy policy was pivotal in unseating another prime minister. Results were mixed on education with little to note on environment, multicultural or foreign aid policy.
European policy overview
Dr Hubertus Bardt, Managing Director and Head of Research at the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln (German Economic Institute)
Dr Hubertus Bardt examines the economic and policy landscape in Europe where Brexit, trade restrictions, increased support for populist and right-wing parties and immigration policies will be key issues in 2019. In Germany, the ageing population, the high cost of pension schemes and a shortage of qualified workers are placing pressures on the nation’s economy.
US economic overview
Joesph Minarik, Senior Vice President and Director of Research, CED
Dr Joseph Minarik writes that the controversial late-2017 tax cut may turn out to be a double-edged sword for the US economy. With growth picking up, a job market going gangbusters, lowering unemployment, increasing wages and low inflation, the economy looks in good shape. The tax cut may be behind a looming debt crisis with trouble ahead for the US federal budget.
China policy overview
Associate Professor Jane Golley, Acting Director, Australian Centre on China in the World, Australian National University
Jane Golley maps the phenomenal rise of China’s economy since economic reforms and opening-up began 40 years ago. Despite taking its place as an economic powerhouse, in 2018 the Chinese economy began to slow, and debt rose, calling into question the policy direction of President Xi Jinping.