Australia on ‘negative watch’ as global economy continues to struggle
A country risk assessment has placed Australia on ‘negative watch’ as two leading sectors struggle against competitive prices in an already unstable economic climate.
The latest Coface Country Risk Assessment Review has found Australia is facing price-competitiveness disadvantages in manufacturing and in the tourism sector reportedly due to the appreciation of the Australian dollar.
In the review, which is a country assessment determined by economic, financial and political outlook, business climate assessment as well as Coface’s own payment experience with the country, Australia was predicted to have a 2.87 percent increase in growth this year.
New Zealand has also suffered similar results, failing to reach their 3.02 percent expected increase and also struggling in both manufacturing and tourism.
Countries whose previous rating also declined included: Slovenia, Iceland, Portugal, Argentina, Mozambique, Mali and Ukraine. While Europe’s economic state worsens, particularly in Italy, Spain and Portugal, the United States and Japan continue to flourish according to the review.
Following in this unpredictable economic trend is China, who have had a ‘soft-ish march quarter GDP’ according to the April Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) World Risk Development newsletter.
The slow down is reported to have observers worrying it will have a potential “knock-on effect” for commodity export prices, commodity export volumes, and Australian resource investment.
The Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics believe the major concern faced by Australia’s leading export industry is that the ‘slow down’ could undermine the resource investment boom now underway but “would have to be far sharper than currently foreseen.”
“Current and forecast prices are well above operating costs for most existing coal and iron ore mines and gas fields, and above operating and capital costs for most planned projects,” the Bureau stated.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is remaining positive believing the results are a reflection of a slow-paced economy expected to be felt around the world this year.
“Recent information is consistent with the expectation that the world economy will grow at a below-trend pace this year, but does not suggest that a deep downturn is occurring,” the RBA said in a statement.
The Coface review also noted Australia and New Zealand have both had a significant increase in company bankruptcy. Over half of recently surveyed Australian companies indicated that payment periods granted to their clients have grown by more than 60 days. In February 2012, on a six month sliding scale, business bankruptcies increased by 17 percent in Australia and by 109 percent in New Zealand.