Real_GDP 2017

The new Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg got off to a great start in his new job by releasing a 3.4% increase in GDP growth in the past financial year, better than any G7 country.

Growth is not achieved on a per capital basis, but on the fuel of population growth. It just doesn’t help the individual, with real wages remaining flat.

Breaking out the total GDP and the GDP per capita shows the stark difference between the two figures. This divergent trend has been apparent since 1993 with the start of the last growth phase.

The graph below shows GDP per capital has grown a total of 14% over 10 years, but total GDP by nearly 40%. More population may allow Telstra to sell more phones and let airports make more profits, but the individual is finding it tough.

The driver in GDP growth in the June quarter was consumption growth, but Australians’ debt levels, out of cycle interest rate increases, tightening lending standards, shifting out of interest only loans, and the running down of savings, point to the possibility that this growth is as good as it gets.

You would expect that increasing debt would add to Gross Domestic Product, given the fact that you would expect people to do something useful with the debt.

According to the RBA, total debt has increased by $1,200 billion over the last 10 years. The Government has also issued about $500 billion in debt. In return for the $1,700 billion in debt, GDP has increased $306 billion. Not very productive.