Australia is a shining example of how to build an economy that can withstand volatility in the markets and avoid recessions, and the US Federal Reserve is looking to emulate its example.
The US is contending with the idea that it may be able to fend off a recession and believes that the key to preventing a downturn lies in the Australian economy, which has yet to see any strong dip in GDP growth this century.
This is despite a worldwide fiscal crisis ten years ago, the dotcom bubble bursting the early 2000s and shooting commodity prices earlier in this decade. While many other economies seem to have suffered significantly, Australia has proved particularly resilient.
There are some questions over exactly why this is the case and how sustainable it is. Despite Australia having boosted GDP for the 27th year running, it relies on some resources that must run out eventually, including commodities. Australia is home to some of the world’s mining giants, which are currently undergoing a boom again. That sector’s big recession came just a few years ago, and Australia withstood it fairly easily.
The country has also looked to welcome economic migrants to fill gaps in skills and solve a shortage of general labor in the right areas. Household debt has been consistently climbing, leading to fears that the housing loan market is on a precipice.
One of the main curious differences between the US and Australia right now is that the US is growing its economy rapidly and raising interest rates at the same time, while Australia is not.
Whenever interest rates continually rise and the economy grows, financial experts often think that a downturn is on the way and that the country’s financial position is precarious.
Analysts have been discussing at length how the US may be able to mirror some of Australia’s positive traits and shore up its economy in case of additional volatility. JPMorgan Chase’s Chief US Economist, Michael Feroli, said that ‘there is no cosmological constant which says expansions must cease after a certain number of years,’referring to Australia’s habit of withstanding every hardship that the global market throws at it.
Part of the US’ current problem, according to Feroli, is that it ‘may not have the same shock absorbers as Australia,’ but he believes that it is possible to develop this, adding that the US avoiding a recession would depend on ‘enough finesse and some luck.’
One odd factor in this situation is that the Australian dollar is not actually that safe. Against the US dollar, it often struggles, and its value drops. This does, however, tend to boost exports. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) called this a good thing and said that a natural deflation in Australia’s currency allows it to deliver economic growth and better wages for citizens.
When market jitters strike hardest, everyone tends to run to the US dollar, which makes it hard to do anything other than continue to boost the currency. The US dollar ends up becoming a sort of gold standard but protecting it from a recession becomes even harder under these circumstances. If the US can figure out what Australia keeps doing right, then it may be able to remain stable for a while longer.