On 15th February, the WA Chapter of the French-Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry was delighted to welcome members, guests and friends of the chamber to join us in Perth for a special Economic Outlook Business Briefing.
We were privileged to hear from Paul Bloxham, Chief Economist, HSBC Australia, New Zealand and Global Commodities, who gave our participants an in-depth insight into the Australian economy, discussing the global economic forecast and comparing Australia’s economic position with that of the rest of the world.
Paul opened the briefing by reminding us that the world was now 10 years on from the global financial crisis and that many things had changed over the last decade. Asia’s place in the world has grown considerably and this specific situation is important for Australia as it has presented many opportunities for the economy: commodities, exports and general conditions have all been affected.
However, Paul insisted that this growing Asian presence has been a key reason that Australia has not had a single recession in 27 years and that GDP has kept growing over the past few decades – which is unmatched in any other OECD country.
Paul developed his presentation by focusing on the mining boom, especially in Western Australia, and its effects on business conditions. He highlighted the fact that the weakness in the mining industry had weighed on wages growth, but that this had also been a way in which the labour market had adjusted, and that now there were signs that Western Australia was picking up pace. In Western Australia, employment growth was falling at 2% a year in mid-2016 but, at the beginning of 2018, it is growing at a rate of 3%. For the national growth story, he also mentioned the increase in service exports and developing tourism coming from Asia which represents 4.5 million visitors per year in Australia.
His presentation gave our participants a great insight into the state of the Australian economy and it allowed questions to be asked about government debt and the gas & oil industry. Paul then developed on fiscal policy and reminded us that government debt is quite low in Australia (19% of GDP) compared to the rest of the world. He expressed his views on the new North-American oil & gas development, especially shell production, which could affect both the global outlook and Australia. Paul explained that he believes that a rebalancing is occurring within the world production and consumption of oil.
The presentation was rounded off by our WA Chapter President, Christine Caseris, thanking Paul for sharing his invaluable expertise and knowledge, and highlighting the fact that while economies were quickly changing, French-Australian relations have kept on going from strength to strength and led to many successful business partnerships. She thanked everyone for coming and invited our participants to take the opportunity to network and continue the discussion.
FACCI regularly organises debriefs, seminars and events to give its members and communities the opportunity to share and exchange on various issues, subjects and discussions which may be of an interest for our participants.
This event was organised as part of an Economic Outlook Business Briefing ‘roadshow’ with Paul Bloxham giving parallel briefings for FACCI participants in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne.
The WA Chapter would like to take the opportunity to offer a very special thank you to Paul Bloxham for his fantastic presentation.
We would also like to express our gratitude to our ongoing sponsor Ernst & Young for hosting our events and to Liberty Offices for their strong business partnership.
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