New South Wales is poised to lead the country in growth in the next two years, topping Victoria, even as the overall economy remains weak and the pain continues for the resources-powered economies of Queensland, NT and Western Australia.
According to the latest Economic Outlook bulletin by leading industry analyst BIS Shrapnel, the Australian economy will remain weak for some years yet until the non-mining sectors start to drive growth. However, the boost due to investment in housing will decline as as state-by-state housing peaks, and then falls, it adds.
“The structural shift has begun – albeit with years to come,” says the report.
A lower dollar has boosted the key tradeables sectors: tourism, education services, agriculture, manufacturing industries and some business services, which power the economies of NSW and Victoria, the report says. The trade-exposed states of NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, which had suffered under the high dollar from 2007 to 2014 – are now strengthening because of the increased competitiveness from the lower dollar.
“This is a major reversal in interstate relativities from just four years ago,” said BIS Shrapnel senior economist and report author, Richard Robinson.
“For most of the decade to 2012, the mining investment boom saw Western Australia, Queensland and, more recently, the Northern Territory, record by far the strongest economic growth. Now, with the resources investment boom well into a substantial decline – and with more to come – they have been overtaken by NSW and Victoria. The pendulum is swinging away from the mining boom regions and states, and towards the states now being boosted by the lower dollar and their non-mining tradeables and services sectors.”
The peak in the mining boom and subsequent falls in both resources investment and commodity prices coincided with the 30 per cent decline in the Australian dollar (against the US dollar) to US72 cents in the March quarter 2016, although the dollar has since risen to US76 cents.