GS’s Aus Eco team (Tim Toohey and Co) do a good job, so I was surprised to see them claim that the recent run of data had been the most disappointing in the last six years, in a report they published yesterday. I track this stuff as well, and on my measures the downside surprises were much larger in H2’08, following the LEH shock (which is why the RBA was cutting by 100bps at a time).
I was also surprised at their list of shocks: we know that there are temporary factors at work in a few cases, and other data looks okay.
Monthly trade data was weak due to Chinese New Year (China is such a major importer that you can see the same pattern even in US data); abstracting from the govt policy change that boosted Dec and pulled Jan down, housing finance is trending up; the Westpac Consumer Confidence survey move down was less than one sigma, and in any case the weekly Roy Morgan data shows that it’s bounced; and NAB business conditions were up – not down!
The labour market appears to be balanced with unemployment at ~5.25% for the last three quarters — and job ads are firming up.
That’s much better than 2008, and markedly better than mid 2011.