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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

Henry Thornton, No 70

Philip Lowe prepares to leave his seven years as leader, with two articles 12 and 13 August 2023.

‘In his final parliamentary appearance, Lowe returned to a long-standing theme: the critical importance of lifting our sagging productivity performance.’

No growth in labor productivity for three years, with a large reduction early this year.

If that were to continue, it would mean lower growth in the economy, smaller growth in asset values and real wage increases very difficult. Smaller pie for governments to serve. ‘I think it’s the Number 1 medium-term economic issue’ said Mr Lowe.

‘The situation is not very good’.

Asked if he had any regrets from his seven years at the helm of the Reserve Bank, he said: ‘I wish I had understood the implications of the pandemic a bit more’ he replied.

He said the economic outlook in early 2020 was “very scary”, and the Reserve Bank’s response had been maximum support and insurance to protect against, and that ‘s contributed to the inflation problem now.

A fine summary by Karen Maley.

Then there is a report from Page 1 continued on Page 4, I think by Will Swanton – but perhaps I am confused. ‘Overall, Philip Lowe said recent data was consistent by inflation returning to the RBA’s 2 to 3 per cent target range by 2025, ‘adding to expectations that the central bank was at the start of an extent cash rate pause.’ (I am still doubtful at this stage, though the slowing of China’s growth may be a useful contribution.)

Another useful contribution, on Page 39, by Laura Tingle, with ‘Wall-to-wall Labor has got to deliver a housing fix.’

This is another useful contribution, and Laura shares some interesting thoughts. My overall concern is that Mr Lowe’s rising interest rates and Mr Chalmers and his growth of his bursting sales. The idea of 750,000 new people from July 23 to June 24 can keep happy to find houses for those people seem impossible, suggesting to me a nasty attempt at new growth. Please tell me Mr Chalmers if you think this can possibly be done without a weird and complex confusion.

Phil Lowe has handled his departure with great relaxion and I congratulate his seven-year ending. The picture with Phil and Michele on Page 4 show two cheerful people and Mr Lowe will no doubt find another useful job.

Philip Lowe and Michele Bullock

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