Unconventional measures? We obtained them. Quantitative easing? Indeed, certainly. Prolonged liquidity functions? Don’t brain if I do. We didn’t fairly get to adverse curiosity fees or helicopter money. But hey, there is generally upcoming 12 months.


And even though we did not see helicopter money in 2020 – which is technically sent by central financial institutions to citizens – we did see Canberra undertaking a great career of using to the skies to drop bucket-loads of cash handouts, job support payments, early entry to super, tax cuts and more.

Yep, factors acquired deeply bizarre in 2020. We stayed at dwelling. We stockpiled rest room paper. We doused ourselves in hand sanitiser.

In the meantime, in addition to our central bank’s decisive steps, our politicians, way too, threw off their political hairshirts and did what wanted to be done. A Liberal conservative government introduced the most important welfare coverage in modern day heritage by way of JobKeeper and racked up a trillion dollars in financial debt on the national credit card. You see? Unusual.

As a direct consequence, Australia’s corona-ravaged overall economy has emerged from 2020 remarkably powerful. Although it is continue to as well shortly to declare our economic downturn more than.


Of course, in a complex sense, we know that financial output expanded in the September quarter, as opposed to contracting, as it did, in the March and June quarters – the “technological” definition of a recession. But smart persons really don’t hold their hats on that.

In early November, ahead of those GDP figures were produced, I questioned our Reserve Bank governor a straightforward query: “Hi Phil. Is the economic downturn over?”

To which Philip Lowe gave a straightforward reply: “No, the recession is not more than … we anticipate GDP expansion to be good in the September quarter, and I am hoping it is solidly positive. But a good deal of persons are out of do the job, a whole lot of firms have shut, and a whole lot of men and women do not have their usual several hours of work. The degree of output is, I assume, proper as a result of this 12 months and next year, heading to be beneath exactly where it was at the conclusion of past calendar year. So on any reasonable definition, we are in a recession, other than for the specialized definition of two quarters of negative expansion.”

Lowe’s feedback, of training course, also preceded by about a week the announcement by Pfizer of a vaccine with 90 for every cent-additionally effectiveness. It could nevertheless establish to be that we have turned the corner on recession.

But then you can find China.

In my checklist of things to be expecting in 2020, I included “geopolitical risk”. As items turned out, that chance profile took on a decidedly extra reddish hue than the tangerine-tinted tensions I expected (bye-bye Donald).

China’s new trade boundaries are imposing actual and significant pain on our exporters, who can only scramble to discover substitute consumers for their goods. Employment are on the line.

Counterintuitively, nevertheless, so considerably it’s been a beautiful trade war for federal finances. Many thanks to a number of variables, together with uncertainty about China’s following steps, the price tag of Australia’s most important export – iron ore – has surged to multi-year highs of about $150 a tonne. That compares with Treasury’s forecast that the rate would drop to $55 a tonne by mid future yr.

This is set to deliver a tidy increase to export earnings and the federal price range base line. How extensive that will last is anyone’s guess, of study course.


Looking ahead, I anxiety people yearning for a return to “precedented” instances in 2021 may well nicely be still left upset. This 12 months seems to be extremely significantly like what statisticians get in touch with a “series break” – a issue in time when the methodology of a study modifications to these types of an extent it is no for a longer period probable to reasonably evaluate results from just one time period to the other.

Lifetime has modified. We have altered. But we’ve also proved ourselves up to the obstacle in so numerous approaches.

In an interview with Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy a few months back, I requested him for a phrase to sum up 2020. His first reaction was just “busy”. But on even more thought, he made available a different: “adaptive”.

“It has been a calendar year wherever we have just had to adapt to the instances that have turned up in front of us constantly in the course of the calendar year.”

So, as we prepare to wind down for the festive time, may possibly I wish you a restful split and offer this reassuring thought for 2021.

No just one actually understands what up coming year has in keep for us. But even so bizarre it receives, 2020 has proved: we will adapt.

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