The “pop-star” economy could go pop

Written By: - Date published: 4:36 pm, January 17th, 2015 - 38 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags:

This the time of year when papers are thin and economic prognostications abound as the pop-star economists from banks and brokers look to raise their public profile. In 2013 the same Cameron Bagrie gave us the “rock-star” economy, this year apparently in Wellington we can all be  part of the “movie-star” economy. Such puffery is not just a feature of New Zealand’s summer though, as this from my favourite cartoonist Alex of The Daily Telegraph shows.

Alex130114_3162696a

 

 

 

 

 

Following on from Bryan Gould’s post, I think a less superficial and more fundamental look at our economic prospects makes much more sense. Such a one was given by John Bolton on interest.co.nz, where he says:

With incredibly loose monetary policy implemented around the world we are going through uncertain economic times. Nobody convincingly knows what will happen and over what timeframe. In the media we are dished up with a succession of short-term views on the currency, growth, and interest rates. None of which capture the big structural issues lurking ominously in the background.

Early in 2014, NZ economists were forecasting that mortgage rates would hit 8% by the end of 2015. Rates would be fuelled by our rock-star economy, confidence, record commodity prices and full capacity leading to underlying inflation. All of this was based on short-term signals. There was little regard for 2014 being the peak of a commodity cycle, which has since fallen back by around 40%. Inflation sits at 1% and it is now clear that interest rates will remain low.

The whole article is worth a read. Bolton has a sober warning

Asset markets are driven by surplus money buying up assets at higher and higher prices, and lower yields. There is too much money floating around and not enough places to invest it. Businesses have surplus capacity and face weaker demand and lower prices. All of this is a recipe for a massive market correction when it finally arrives.

I once heard an Indian proverb about rivers that is a great analogy for printing money. I can’t for the life of me find it, so here goes the JB version …

When Man diverts rivers, the river responds by building up sediment and so the water level increases. Over time Man builds a higher riverbank, and yet more sediment forms. This repeats until the riverbank is too high and eventually collapses during a flood. Whereas once a flood was manageable it now destroys the entire valley.

.. and so it is that history repeats.

The bubble goes “pop.” People suffer, big-time.

If there’s a lesson, it is that our media should pay less attention to the self-interested bankers and brokers about the state of the world and the New Zealand economy, and more attention to those with an eye on the fundamentals and on history.

38 comments on “The “pop-star” economy could go pop”

  1. fisiani 1

    Oh how the Left would love the economy to falter. That’s perhaps the only way to halt the public’s love affair with National. It’s one of the reasons why the Left hate Free Trade agreements which will boost the NZ economy. It’s why they oppose oil and mineral extraction. It’s why they oppose welfare reform. It’s why more and more people from traditional Labour backgrounds are switching to the Force.

    • What a nasty little person you are.

      Who thinks like that*?

      *rhetorical disbelief at the pettiness of this commentator

      • disturbed 1.1.1

        1000% Naturesong,

        Fistiani is just a NatZ mole plant.

        Our economy is in deep shit thanks to their NatZ No Hope economy of borrow to spend and live in hope of commodity price increases.

        Treasury;
        2008 *** Crown debt 8 billion. 6% of GDP
        2014 *** Billion Government crown debt. 26% of GDP.

        All this while the economy contracts except for Housing speculation.

        No hope economy as fewer and fewer products are made here and raw log exports & wool and many more commodities that could be value added, just go offshore to come back as furniture and carpets and other stuff.

        What a dumb lot of carpetbaggers they are as hollow men and women.

    • BassGuy 1.2

      Is that why a massive 35% of eligible voters put a tick beside National?

      Not much of a love affair.

    • Truth Will Out 1.3

      The Force?

      What role is Gerry Brownlee starring in? Pizza the Hutt?

      Are you sure you don’t mean “The Farce”?

      That will be a much more accurate description, when the “Rock Star” economy turns into the “Death Star” economy – as it implodes.

    • Skinny 1.4

      Hey Faeces you can rule a line through oil exploration around here. The foreign polluters will be gone by summers end. First white gold, now black gold, our rock slide economy is on the move tumbling down.

    • b waghorn 1.5

      My fear is a left gov will get in in2017 and be unable to turn the super tanker sized fuck up that the nats are making around in 3 years and the none thinkers will vote barstards back in in 2020

      • Colonial Rawshark 1.5.1

        Well the Left better have a radical and visionary plan because I think the world economy will be deeper in the toilet by 2017 and the boffins at Treasury and the RB will be telling the Labour Cabinet that austerity is the only alternative.

    • Atiawa 1.6

      What a fuckwit. Running this country the way this government has, is childs play. There is no forward thinking, it is all about the here & now. Anybody, and its obvious that the pre-requisite is the use of half a brain, could achieve what has happened. Borrow and hope, look after your mates and to hell with anyone who isn’t assisting with propping up the rich and powerful.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.6.1

        +1

        This government cares nothing for NZ or NZers and will trash both for their own personal enrichment and aggrandizement.

    • dave 1.7

      if you hadn’t noticed fis nz oil exploration is screwed at 40 dollars a barrel oil exploration in one of the worlds most remote countries isn’t going to happen and mineral prices are through the floor so another of your key-god plans has just went bang the brighter future rock star economy return to surplus is all bull fraud and lies just like you!

  2. dv 2

    Current nat debt
    NZ$ 94,097,287,596

    • Weepus beard 2.1

      Blimey. It was 80 billion just a couple of months ago, wasn’t it?

      Imagine what it will be when this govt leaves office?

      • Colonial Rawshark 2.1.1

        The Govt needs to be increasing our debt faster (as well as increasing taxes on corporations and the top 5%), but spending the money in different ways.

    • dave 2.2

      thats only gov debt dv the total debt is terrible fueled by years of speculation and mal investment
      503 billion dollars best estimate jan 2015

      The Components of New Zealand’s Debt (31 March 2014)   
      Agriculture $51,910,000,000
      Business $78,851,000,000
      Consumer $14,283,000,000
      Corporate Overseas – excluding overseas borrowing by banks (as at 31 Dec 2013) $69,326,000,000
      Government $75,979,000,000
      Housing $190,645,000,000
      Local Territorial Authorities (June 2014 budget) $12,122,303,000
      NEW ZEALAND’S TOTAL DEBT $493,116,303,000
      Population 4,523,900
      AVERAGE DEBT PER NEW ZEALANDER $109,002

  3. fisiani 3

    Current NZ debt just $94,097,287,596
    http://www.usdebtclock.org/

    Have a look at the US debt.

    http://www.nationaldebtclock.co.uk/

    Have a look at UK debt.

    We have one of the very best economies in the OECD all thanks to soon to be Sir Bill English.

    • dv 3.1

      Ja notice they are Somewhat bigger eccomies

      Don’t forget the

      NZ$4,540,544,409 py interest

    • Karen 3.2

      You must be joking.
      NZ’s debt was $10 billion when Bill English took over from Michael Cullen. It is now $94 billion and rising.
      The Nats have never been good managers of the economy. Too much personal greed which is often coupled with a high level of stupidity.

      • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 3.2.1

        Yeah, bloody Bill who has effectively put how many of us in debt – us, our children, our grandchildren, and even our great-grandchildren?

        • Colonial Rawshark 3.2.1.1

          Don’t worry about that FFS! Its only spreadsheet numbers, write it off if you have to.

          The Left need to get beyond its obsession with lowering the public debt. What do you want, a UK style austerity programme?

          The main mechanism Cullen used to lower the government debt was to allow NZers to run up massive household and private sector debt.Just consider that before praising the man’s management of the govt debt unconditionally.

          • Lanthanide 3.2.1.1.1

            Yes, but imagine the government was $50b in surplus, and private debt was an aditional $90b over what it would have been. Suddenly the government has money and therefore options about how to respond to international bad events.

            They could, for example, redistribute their surplus to the bottom 70% of the country. It seems more difficult in capitalism to arrange the economy if the money is In the hands of the voters.

    • DoublePlusGood 3.3

      You know that means that New Zealand would have to devote the equivalent of ALL of its economic activity for a full 6 months just to wipe out the 94 billion debt, right?
      Fancy working unpaid for the next 6 months? Thought not.

      • Colonial Rawshark 3.3.1

        It’s only a numbers game. Write the debt off or restructure it if it gets to be that much of a problem. They are just spreadsheet entries after all.

        If you don’t want the government to run a deficit you have two main choices. Force households and the private sector to run the deficit instead: in other words, austerity.

        Or, start running trade surpluses. Whooops NZ has never done that and we don’t have any leadership which can pull that off.

        So, we are back to austerity. All keen for that are we?

        • Skinny 3.3.1.1

          Of course Key and his masters are banking on Labour choosing austerity. It allows the rich elite to continue the scam. Austerity measures hurt the masses as has happened in the UK. The Tories over there are on their way out, people are waking up, let’s hope Labour sees this and as you say write off the debt and ‘eat the rich’.

          • phillip ure 3.3.1.1.1

            watch greece next weekend..

            ..the polls are saying a far-left/green coalition are going to be voted in..

            ..and they are promising to tell the eu to stick the austerity-regime they imposed on greece..

            ..where the sun don’t shine..

            ..it promises to be very ‘interesting’..

    • dave 3.4

      bullshit! 503 billion dollars

  4. Weepus beard 4

    Pretty small minded comment there from fisiani. Apparently, if he had his way, there’d be no questioning of government policy whatsoever.

  5. georgecom 5

    One factor only mentioned in passing, aside from the drop in prices, in the Bolton article is oil. Currently motorists are enjoying the fall in prices. During times of high prices people talk about demand (consumption destruction), higher prices kills off demand and the price should throttle back.

    What we have not heard much about, until now anyway, is supply destruction. Tumbling prices are starting to filter through to investment and jobs. Low prices will kill off supply. How much, is yet to be determined. Some of the recent commentary I have read is pretty optimistic and predicts little impact on the likes of US shale oil production, believing the production costs are relatively low. More realistic commentary’s suggest the fracking industry is vulnerable. There may be a difference between existing wells in production and replacement wells/new investment. The scary part for the fracking industry is the rapid decline in wells and the need to constantly invest in new wells to replace the falling production – ‘running to stand still’.

    A lack of investment now begs the question what will occur in 2-3 years if demand returns, without sufficient new production to match the rising demand. A rise in oil prices? This sounds very similar to the idea of a ‘bumpy plateau’ of demand/supply creation/destruction that describes a world reaching limits of petroleum production.

  6. greywarshark 6

    But that’s Fisiani’s specialty small, perfectly formed heaps of steaming rubbish.

  7. Saarbo 7

    Regarding the tripe fed to us from Bank Economists, I found this on this mornings RNZ site from ASB Economist Nathan Penny: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/rural/263890/2015-picked-to-be-a-better-year-for-dairy
    ASB seem more concerned about holding up an overinflated NZ dairy farm market than providing us with any reality.

  8. So a mainstream professional economist sees the light?

    It’s not too hard really.

    Trillions of fictitious capital chasing assets and commodities driving up their price way about their value.

    Because capitalism has exhausted its potential to grow by producing more value out of workers labour power.

    Money cannot spin value out of money.

    It has to be invested in the production of labour value to increase value.

    The outlay on high tech to increase labour productivity does not in itself produce value, only those who used high tech as tools of production i.e. workers, do.

    When bosses are handed trillions of paper by central banks to invest in new production, but fail to do so because they cannot count on workers agreeing to slave conditions to guarantee profits, they put their excess money into speculation.

    So we do know what will happen don’t we?

    As China comes up against this same limit there will be no surviving viable capitalist power capable of bailing out defunct global capitalism.

    Pop, Pop, Pop.

    That’s the sound of the financial superstructure built on cloud 9 popping off as trillions of fictitious capital evaporates into the warming atmosphere.

    That’s the market equivalent to a world war where capitalism destroys its non-performing assets and reduces its labour force to slavery to generate a new boom, except…

    Today capitalism is destroying its own historic presupposition, nature.
    Nature is not quiet and the wages slaves who are part of nature are not quiet.
    They will not lie down and die as fodder for zombie capitalism.

    The pop. pop, pop of the bubbles will find an echo in the pop, pop, pop of AK47s and the pop, pop, pop of the glaciers.

    Living labour will rise up and seize the dead labour of past generations and put it to its own use minus the parasitic ruling classes who exit stage right.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crisis_theory

  9. disturbed 9

    Why does anyone even respond to Fisiani as He/She must smoke dope and always be high, or paid very well to spout NatZ bullcrap.

    We are entering another recession now so Fiscaini will soon disappear without a trace anyway as the shit will stick to him/her if around when the next global shock dominoes fall arrives.
    dominoes fall
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?acwcia31.html

    This is the world in 2015
    By James Langton in New York
    THE world is on the brink of a new era that may resemble the script of a James Bond film in which international affairs are increasingly determined by large and powerful organisations rather than governments, according to a study just published by the CIA in Washington.
    These could include alliances between some of the most powerful criminal groups such as the Mafia and Chinese triads. Such groups, according to the CIA, “will corrupt leaders of unstable, economically fragile or failing states, insinuate themselves into troubled banks and businesses, and co-operate with insurgent political movements to control substantial geographic areas”.
    The agency adds: “Their income will come from narcotics trafficking; aliens smuggling; trafficking in women and children; smuggling toxic materials, hazardous wastes, illicit arms, military technologies, and other contraband; financial fraud; and racketeering.”

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