March 2017

The Recent Economic Performance of the States

Australian Economy
Thomas Carr, Kate Fernandes and Tom Rosewall

Economic growth in Australia's south-eastern states has underpinned a gradual strengthening in the non-mining economy in recent years. In contrast, economic conditions have been weaker in Western Australia and Queensland as the large-scale mining investment in these states has concluded. Differences in investment have been a key source of regional variation in activity, but there are also common themes across a range of economic indicators, such as growth in the services sector.

households, investment, mining

Insights into Low Wage Growth in Australia

Australian Economy
James Bishop and Natasha Cassidy

Recent low wage growth in Australia appears to be only partly explained by spare capacity in the labour market, the decline in inflation outcomes and the decline in the terms of trade from its 2011 peak. In this article, we present some tentative evidence that the relationship between wage growth and labour market conditions may have changed, and that this may help to explain recent low wage growth. Using job-level micro wage data, we also find that, since 2012, wage increases have been less frequent and wage growth outcomes have become much more similar across jobs.

inflation, labour market, wages

Housing Market Turnover

Australian Economy
Hannah Leal, Stephanie Parsons, Graham White and Andrew Zurawski

The rate of housing market turnover, an important indicator of housing market conditions, has trended lower since the early 2000s. This is partly because households are moving less often and fewer own their own homes. More recently, the increase in apartment building is likely to have resulted in measured turnover being understated. A lower housing turnover rate could reduce housing-related economic activity and might lead to lower household leverage than otherwise.

finance, households, housing, income and wealth

Inflation Expectations in Advanced Economies

Global Economy
Rachel Adeney, Ivailo Arsov and Richard Evans

Anchored inflation expectations are important for price stability because expectations affect current actions. Although all inflation expectations measures provide some information about future inflation, professional forecasters have been the most accurate in predicting future inflation, while market-implied and consumer measures have tended to be less so. Recent declines in inflation expectations have been concentrated in the measures that have historically been less accurate predictors. The more accurate measures have been more stable and have remained close to central banks' inflation targets.

forecasting, inflation, international

Developments in Banks' Funding Costs and Lending Rates

Belinda Cheung

This article updates previous Reserve Bank research on the ways in which developments in the composition and pricing of banks' debt funding have affected their overall cost of funds and influenced lending rates. Major banks' outstanding funding costs and lending rates declined in 2016, following two reductions in the cash rate. However, lending rates and funding costs did not decline by as much as the cash rate. This was largely due to an increase in the cost of deposit funding, which reflected competition between financial institutions for deposits.

banking, fees, payments

Return on Equity, Cost of Equity and the Implications for Banks

Financial Stability
David Norman

Returns on equity for the major Australian banks have declined of late, following equity raisings in 2015. At the same time, estimates of the cost of raising new equity appear to have fallen very little, despite large declines in risk-free rates. These two developments help to explain why Australian bank stocks are now trading at a declining, but still sizeable, premium to their book value.

banking, risk and uncertainty

How Australians Pay: New Survey Evidence

Mary-Alice Doyle, Chay Fisher, Ed Tellez and Anirudh Yadav

The Reserve Bank's 2016 Consumer Payments Survey showed that Australian consumers are increasingly using their debit or credit cards instead of paying in cash or writing cheques. While more and more small payments are being made with contactless ‘tap and go’ cards, cash is still often used for lower-value transactions and accounts for a significant share of payments for some segments of the community.


Recent Trends in Banknote Counterfeiting

Alexandra Brown, Shaun Collard and Morgan Spearritt

Counterfeiting banknotes is a crime under Australian law. Although counterfeiting in Australia remains modest by international standards, the rate of counterfeiting has been rising in recent years as counterfeiters have increasingly taken advantage of developments in printing and copying. To ensure that counterfeiting remains low and banknotes remain a secure payment method, the Reserve Bank of Australia is issuing a new series of banknotes with upgraded security features. This article discusses trends highlighted by the Reserve Bank's ongoing monitoring and analysis of banknote counterfeiting activity in Australia.

banknotes, currency, money, payments

The Rise of Chinese Money Market Funds

Global Economy
Kate McLoughlin and Jessica Meredith

Money market funds (MMFs) pool funds in an investment vehicle to invest in short-term, highly rated securities. The MMF sector in China has grown rapidly over the past few years and is now the world's second largest by assets, though it is small compared with China's domestic bank deposits. This growth has been driven by investors attracted by high yields relative to bank deposits and technological developments that allow Chinese MMFs to offer a convenient cash management service. Chinese MMFs differ from similar products in many other countries: they tend to be more leveraged, and they offer more liquidity and maturity transformation. Nonetheless, recent regulatory reforms to address vulnerabilities have taken a similar direction to reforms globally.

china, financial markets, funding

The graphs in the Bulletin were generated using Mathematica.

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