Is Australia In Recession?

Well I know it’s old news, but as I mentioned them yesterday, I do want to get this one out. Although I am now far, far away, the demise of both Woolworth’s and MFI has still saddened me a great deal. These two stores were British icons.

Woolworth’s, the wonder of Woollies, is no more. MFI have had their last sale. (Did anyone ever buy anything from them when they didn’t have a sale on?) I am sorry to see them go. It’s not that I’m a sentimental sort of guy or that I had any fond memories of either of these shops. Besides, I’ve now got “Crazy Clark’s”….

Crazy Clark's Win the Woolworths Lookey-Likey Competition

Crazy Clark's Win the Woolworth's Lookey-Likey Competition

…..And “Super Amart” …

Super Amart - Australia's MFI

Super Amart - Australia's MFI

….to buy my pencil sharpeners and cheap flatpack furniture. Yes, our equivalent boys over here are still going strong, at least I think they are. For how much longer, who knows. So, is Australia in recession too? According to an article in “ The Australian” on the 31st of January 2009….

“THE global financial crisis has dragged Australia into recession with its economy forecast to contract by 0.2pc this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.”

But in “WAtoday” on the 6th of February 2009….

“The Reserve Bank has slashed its growth and inflation forecasts, but predicts Australia will avoid a recession, while warning the jobless rate will rise significantly as the nation suffers fallout from the global financial crisis.”

So, I don’t know! Neither do two of the countries leading publications. Things have certainly slowed up a good deal since we arrived 15 months ago. The whole area was buzzing like a boom town at the end of 2007. The “tradies” as the tradesmen are called around here, would just not show up.

It’s a bit of an Australian thing actually. When you ask for a quote, they never seem to say “ no thanks, I’m just not interested’. Instead, they would promise to be round the next day or during the week and just not show up. I even had a plasterer come round to measure up and he promised to drop a quote into my letterbox by the end of the week. Nothing ever showed.

All of the work I needed doing to my house is now done I’m pleased to say. I had to do a lot of it myself, including the plastering, because tradies just didn’t show. But last week I had a call from a tiler who asked if I had any work left. Yes, things are slowing down.

But it is sad to see how deep in the small brown kangaroo pellets the UK is right now. Only time will tell but I don’t think the recession will hit us as bad here as in Britain. When big concerns like Woolworths and MFI go down, they take hundreds of smaller firms with them. As long as the likes of Crazy Clarks and Super Amart are still selling their stuff, we’ve got a better chance.

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Kathryn February 2, 2012, 12:28 am | Link

    I agree, Bob. We all want the UK and Europe to boom as a healthy “world” economy will benefit us all in the long run. When I was in Europe recently I noticed a lot of people (in the UK and througout Europe), eating out, going to the movies, travelling and generally enjoying life. You have to wonder if things are REALLY as bad as the media like to make out …. I hope not. How much of the world’s woes are generated by the doom and gloom one reads in the media?

    • BobinOz February 6, 2012, 9:00 pm | Link

      I think it has been scientifically proven that people who do not read papers or listen to the news are 57% happier than those that do.

      Well, I just made that up, but I bet it’s not far off 🙂

  • Kathryn February 1, 2012, 5:40 pm | Link

    No, I don’t believe Australia is in a RECESSION but some things, like real estate, have slowed down a bit (in some areas). Australia’s economy is currently one of the most buoyant in the western world mainly because China is buying up our resources like there is no tomorrow. What happens in Europe will only have a moderate knee jerk affect on us but Australia will have the capacity to get over it quickly. Quite simply, Australia does not rely on Europe for much of anything these days as we now realise that we are AustralASIAN – geographically, financially and psychologically. I really believe that the large majority of Australians SEE our country as Asiatic and our links to Britain (beyond the sentimental and historical) are getting more and more remote. Australia is no longer the country it was in the 1950-1970’s.

    However, on the other hand, what happens in the USA, of course, WILL (most definitely) have a more considerable affect on us because America is the world’s largest market and if it is “sick”, we are likely to catch a cold. The MAJOR issue is if China goes down …. If the dragon falls, we will go down with her because that country (along with Japan) are our biggest customers.

    The rise of the Aussie dollar is great for Australians travelling overseas but is not kind to our export markets. The world gets smaller and smaller and, quite frankly, I don’t think any country is in isolation but we are the “lucky country” that has managed to weather the last economic dip successfully – hopefully, we will be able to ride the next storm.

    • BobinOz February 1, 2012, 11:56 pm | Link

      What is interesting is that this article is almost 3 years old now. Yet we are still wondering whether Australia is in recession or not, and I agree with you Kathryn, we are not.

      We weren’t three years ago, we haven’t been during the last three years, and we are not now. But things have definitely slowed down a great deal.

      As for the rest of the world though, particularly Europe and the USA, they are “having it tough” as we Australians say.

      We live in a very fragile economic world at the moment, who knows what will happen next. But at the moment, Australia isn’t doing too badly. Let’s hope all the gloom and doom talk elsewhere is wrong and things start to pick up for everyone sometime soon.

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