In today’s talking points: China’s first quarter growth above forecasted; Australian Household Debt Increasing; Australian Metadata not to be used in Civil Cases; Asian Financial Hubs catching up to Western counterparts
China’s first quarter Growth Surpassing Expectations
Official figures have reported an increased economic growth rate of 6.9% for the first quarter of 2017, which surpassed previous economic forecasts. China’s National Bureau of Statistics also reported that domestic consumption rose over this period, with retail February retail sales up by 10.9% from 2016. Furthermore, National Bureau of Statistics of China reports that value added industrial output has expanded 6.8% in this same first quarter.
One Third of Australians without Mortgage Buffer
In the most recent Financial Stability Review, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) issues a candid reminder that rising household debt and rapidly increasing house prices are set to be the main concerns for the federal government’s May budget. RBA findings reveal that those with higher household debt and lower financial buffers tend to be accumulating newer mortgage obligations, exposing further underlying vulnerability to increases in interest rates and income fluctuations. This could have negative flow on effects on consumption. However, the current low interest rates are allowing existing household debt obligations to be serviced. Despite this, the RBA’s findings serve as a warning to Australian consumers in this period of ‘between boom’ economic uncertainty.
Read more at ABC News
Metadata Capture not to be used for Civil Cases in Australia
The Australian Federal Government will continue with its intended plan to allow security agencies access to metadata that is captured and stored for up to 2 years by telecommunications companies. However, the use of this metadata will be confined to evidence in criminal prosecution and use in civil cases will not be permitted. Attorney General George Brandis concludes that there is “insufficient reason to justify making exceptions to the restrictions imposed by the data retention legislation,” despite reaffirming the need to capture metadata for national security concerns and counter-terrorism investigations. This comes as welcome news to lawyers and activists who have been protesting potential infringements on privacy and freedoms.
Read more at ABC News
Asian Financial Hubs Catching up to Western Hubs
The most recent Global Financial Centres Index published in late March 2017 has seen Shanghai and Beijing rise to 13th and 16th spots respectively, increasing three spots and ten spots from the previous ranking. These hubs are leading growth in the financial sector on both national and global levels, and by extension, are operating to close the gap between financial development across the Asian-pacific and Western countries. These findings highlight the potential for growth within Asian economies and financial sectors, luring further investment and business into these areas. Furthermore, the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiative, which is planned to facilitate trade, investment and infrastructure amongst Eurasian countries, has been prospectively lauded as bringing capital investment opportunities into China to develop this sector.
Read more at China Daily