May 22, 2024 by Dymphna

Investors ramp up google searches: the economy in pictures

See the world through the eyes of an economist: Investor finance, wages and military spending.

These are the charts that caught my eye this week. First up, property investors are making a comeback. Google searches for ‘investment property’ are back at all time highs. This suggests that investor finance commitments should pick up in the months ahead.

There was an interesting chart from IFM (not to be confused with IMF) investors, which shows that Australian households have the highest debt servicing burdens in the world, after Norway.

Part of the story here is that Australia has very few fixed rate mortgages compared to the rest of the world, which means that when the official interest rate goes up, households feel the pain pretty quickly.

The wages data continues to suggest that the heat is coming out of the labour market, with both private and public sector wages rolling over.

And where wages go, services inflation tends to follow, which suggests that inflation should keep trending lower from here. (Did you hear me, RBA?)

On the activity front, household consumption is clearly softening, but private sector investment plans are back at mining boom levels. That boosts economic acticity now, and into the future.

And finally, and perhaps concerningly, military spending is on the rise all over the world, thanks mostly to the US and China. Peace is always a fragile thing.

And that’s how the world looked through the eyes of an economist this week.