As we enter a new decade indicators point to sluggish consumer spending and economic growth. Population growth may be slowing; consumers have become more pessimistic about the economy and business sentiment is subdued.
There are, however, some positive notes: rising house prices; and record-high consumer willingness to spend. The former is good for new vehicle sales and the latter provides an opportunity for the government to significantly boost consumer spending via fiscal stimulus.
In addition, there are growth opportunities for some products and in some segments of the population. Several such opportunities are identified in the report.
Australia was already facing the challenges of a slowing economy well before the tragic extensive bushfires and the emergence of coronavirus. Is there a scenario in which another factor combines with these circumstances to plunge the economy into recession? One such factor has been identified in my report. The federal government, the Reserve Bank, and companies need to have contingency plans in place.
The report also identifies four segments of the Australian population, with very different expectations about the year ahead. To the extent that these segments are represented by members of the federal parliament, this indicates why it is so difficult to find policies which we can all support.