June 2017

Houses and Apartments in Australia

Australian Economy
Tom Rosewall and Michael Shoory

Apartments have become an important part of the housing mix in Australia. This has several implications for assessments of residential activity. The lag from a change in monetary policy to the effect on residential activity might increase, because it takes longer to build large apartment buildings than detached houses. Apartment developments use different construction materials and labour, and may face different cost pressures to the detached house segment. They also face different supply-side constraints.

housing, inflation, interest rates, investment

Estimating the NAIRU and the Unemployment Gap

Australian Economy
Tom Cusbert

Spare capacity in the labour market is an important input into forecasts of inflation and wage growth. This article describes how the Bank estimates one measure of spare capacity in the labour market – the gap between the unemployment rate and the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (NAIRU). Model estimates of the NAIRU are highly uncertain and can change quite a bit as new data become available. The estimates suggest that the NAIRU has declined since the mid 1990s and is currently around 5 per cent.

inflation, labour market, wages

Australian Capital Flows

Australian Economy
Susan Black, Blair Chapman and Callan Windsor

Capital inflows have underpinned the expansion of Australia's productive capacity for the past 200 years or more. Recently, there have been three noteworthy changes in the composition of these flows. First, most inflows to the mining sector are now direct funding from offshore, rather than reinvested earnings. Second, foreign investors have been more actively managing their holdings of Australian government debt securities. Third, regulatory reforms have led to changes in banks' short-term debt funding.

balance sheet, capital, export

Banking Fees in Australia

Rachael Fitzpatrick and Graham White

The Reserve Bank has conducted an annual survey on bank fees since 1997. The most recent survey suggests that banks' aggregate fee income increased at a relatively slow pace in 2016. Deposit and loan fee income continued to decline relative to the value of products on which these fees are levied. Greater use of electronic payment methods continued to support moderate growth in credit card and merchant service fee income.

banking, business, payments

How Have Australian Banks Responded to Tighter Capital and Liquidity Requirements?

Financial Stability
Tim Atkin and Belinda Cheung

Australian banks have responded to tighter regulatory requirements for capital and liquidity over the past decade, which has strengthened their resilience to adverse shocks. While banks are now in a much better position to deal with these types of shocks, this strengthening has also had implications for their funding costs and some key profitability metrics. This article outlines some of the main changes to banks' activities as they have responded to the tighter capital and liquidity requirements.

financial stability, global financial crisis, liquidity, risk and uncertainty

The Australian Exchange-traded Funds Market

Michelle Cunningham

Assets under management in the Australian exchange-traded funds (ETF) market have more than tripled over the past four years to around $25 billion. ETFs enable investors to gain exposure to a wide range of assets at relatively low cost. Australian ETFs have generally replicated their investment benchmarks closely and deviations have tended to be small and temporary. However, there are some potential risks associated with investing in ETFs.

financial markets, investment, securities

The Ongoing Decline of the Cheque System

Ed Tellez

Cheque use in Australia has declined significantly over the past few decades and currently represents only a small share of non-cash payments. This decline reflects changes in the payments market as a result of technological change and customer preferences for faster, digital payments. To ensure that the payment needs of individuals and businesses continue to be met, the payments industry has embarked on a number of initiatives to manage the decline in cheque use.

banking, money, payments

Conditions in China's Listed Corporate Sector

Global Economy
Chris Read

The financial statements of listed companies provide a detailed insight into the broader conditions faced by businesses in China. Listed firms have deleveraged over the past few years, although declining profitability has reduced their capacity to cover interest payments, especially for state-controlled firms. High leverage and declining profitability in the real estate and construction sectors remain a concern, especially given these sectors have been a key driver of economic growth in recent years.

business, china, debt, financial markets, liquidity

The Chinese Interbank Repo Market

Global Economy
Ross Kendall and Jonathan Lees

The market for repurchase agreements (repos) is an important source of short-term funding for financial institutions operating in China. This article outlines the key features of Chinese repo markets, focusing on the interbank market, before discussing recent developments and their impact on the bond market. Repo rates have fallen and become less volatile over the past couple of years, encouraging greater risk-taking in financial markets. Policy settings in China have both shaped and responded to these developments.

banking, bonds, china, financial markets

The graphs in the Bulletin were generated using Mathematica.

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