September 2015

Banknote Stakeholder Engagement

Amanda Evans, Greg Gallagher and Amanda Martz

The Reserve Bank has a responsibility to ensure confidence in Australia's banknotes as a secure method of payment and a store of wealth. One of the ways in which the Bank does this is by providing education and training to people who handle cash regularly in their jobs, and the public in general, so that they can easily check the authenticity of their banknotes. In the lead-up to the next generation of Australian banknotes, this work will be crucial to ensure public confidence in the new banknote series. It is also important to engage with key stakeholders who produce and use machines that will accept the new banknotes. This article outlines the work that the Bank has undertaken to establish suitable communication channels and engage with key stakeholders in preparation for the Next Generation Banknote (NGB) program.

banknotes, currency, money, payments, rba survey, regulation

Housing Wealth Effects: Evidence from New Vehicle Registrations

Australian Economy
Christian Gillitzer and Jin Cong Wang

This article investigates the relationship between housing wealth and consumption using postcode-level variation in housing prices and new passenger vehicle registrations as a proxy for consumption at a postcode level. It is estimated that a one per cent increase in housing wealth is associated with about half a per cent increase in new passenger vehicle registrations – the consumption indicator. But because new vehicle consumption is likely to be particularly sensitive to changes in housing wealth, the results suggest a relatively modest relationship between housing wealth and total consumption.

housing, income and wealth

Long-run Trends in Housing Price Growth

Australian Economy
Marion Kohler and Michelle van der Merwe

This article examines the factors driving long-run trends in Australian housing price growth over the past three decades. During the 1980s, housing prices grew broadly in line with general price inflation in the economy. The period from the 1990s until the mid 2000s saw relatively strong housing price growth associated with a significant increase in the debt-to-income ratio of Australian households. Since the mid 2000s, strong population growth has played an increasing role in explaining housing price growth.

debt, housing, income and wealth, inflation

Lower Bulk Commodity Prices and Their Effect on Economic Activity

Australian Economy
Adam Gorajek and Daniel Rees

Recent declines in bulk commodity prices have reduced the growth of household income, company profits and government revenues. The declines have been associated with a contraction in mining investment and, by lowering the growth of aggregate demand, have restrained non-mining business investment. At the same time, a number of factors are helping to offset the effects of declining commodity prices. These include accommodative monetary policy and the depreciation of the exchange rate. Also, after saving some of the mining boom proceeds, households appear to be reducing their rates of saving to maintain consumption.

commodities, export, households, mining

Explaining the Slowdown in Global Trade

Global Economy
Jarkko Jääskelä and Thomas Mathews

Following the global financial crisis, global trade contracted sharply and, after an initial recovery, grew at an unusually slow pace relative to global GDP. This article reviews cyclical and structural explanations for this phenomenon, and finds econometric evidence that cyclical factors – namely shifts in the composition of aggregate demand toward less import-intensive components and heightened economic uncertainty – can explain most of the slowdown in trade in a panel of advanced economies. Although the slowdown in aggregate global trade is well explained by the model used, the results vary by country. For Australia, the model performed well until 2012, after which it over-predicted import growth, most likely because it did not adequately capture the import intensity of mining investment and resource exports.

export, global economy, trade

Default Risk Among Australian Listed Corporations

Financial Stability
Michael Robson

Market-based information can help detect deteriorating corporate health because it incorporates more forward-looking information than other data sources such as financial statements. With this in mind, the Reserve Bank has developed an indicator of financial health based on a contingent claims framework developed by Merton (1974), which is sometimes called a distance-to-default model. The Bank will primarily use the model to assess trends in financial health for the corporate sector as a whole and, in aggregate, the model is able to broadly match the dynamics of the corporate failures data, suggesting that it will be a useful addition to the Bank's existing suite of monitoring tools. The results from the model suggest that corporate financial conditions remain robust, despite some deterioration more recently, which partly reflects the headwinds faced by listed resource companies.

business, financial stability, risk and uncertainty

The Life of Australian Banknotes

Alexandra Rush

An assessment of the likely life of a banknote is an important input to a currency issuer's planning. Without accurate predictions of banknote life, there is the potential to incur the economic costs of producing and storing excess banknotes or, conversely, in an extreme case, of not being able to meet the public's demand. The life of a banknote, however, is not directly observed and must be estimated. This article discusses some traditional measures of banknote life and provides some alternative estimates using ‘survival’ modelling.

banknotes, currency, money, payments

The graphs in the Bulletin were generated using Mathematica.

ISSN 0725–0320 (Print)
ISSN 1837-7211 (Online)