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Country Forecast Australia November 2017 Updater

Country Forecast Australia November 2017 Updater

  • November 2017
  • ID: 4981358
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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  • The next general election is due by November 2019, but an early poll looks possible. The ruling Liberal-National coalition's weak parliamentary position and internal divisions raise the likelihood that the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, could be forced to go to the electorate before his term is finished. The Economist Intelligence Unit expects that the Liberal-National coalition will lose power to the opposition Labor Party at the next election.
  • If the National Party is unable to retain a key seat at a by-election in December 2017, the chance of an early ballot will rise sharply. However, we believe that it will win the seat.
  • The government will remain generally open to foreign investment. However, stricter limits on foreign investment in new and existing residential housing and agricultural land, and by foreign state-owned enterprises, will make overseas investors more cautious.
  • We expect that the government will not achieve its goal of a balanced budget in fiscal year 2020/21 (July-June), as a weak global economic environ-ment will weigh on revenue growth. We expect the fiscal deficit to narrow from the equivalent of 2.3% of GDP in 2018 to 0.7% by 2022.
  • Despite weaker external demand from China in 2018, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA, the central bank) will refrain from cutting policy interest rates in 2018-19 amid concerns about property price inflation and increased imported inflation as the local currency weakens. Rates will begin to increase only from 2020 as domestic demand strengthens.
  • We forecast that real GDP will continue to grow at a respectable average annual rate in 2018-22, of 2.4%. Export growth will cool in line with the weaker economic performance in China, Australia's main export market. However, an expanding population will provide support to domestic demand growth.
  • At an average of 2.4% per year in 2018-22, inflation will remain comfortably within the RBA's 2-3% target range. Improving domestic demand conditions will add to price pressures in the later years of the forecast period.
  • Renewed weakness in prices for Australia's industrial commodity exports, combined with a persistent primary income deficit, will ensure that the current account remains in the red. We expect the current-account deficit to average the equivalent of 2.6% of GDP in 2018-22.

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