Australia an “embarrassment", says economist

Australia an “embarrassment", says economist
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Australia must “stop the pendulum” of overtaxation if it is to truly benefit from the Asian century, according to economist Clifford Bennett.

Bennett told delegates at ATEC Meeting Place in Sydney that Australia is “really pricing itself out various markets” at the moment.

Australia must start to think of itself as part of Asia, he warned.

“In Asia, we are an embarrassment and an underperformer,” he said. “We’ve had the worst economic performance of our region.”

A tactic of raising rates has backfired on Australian economic growth.

“What we did by raising our rates was kill off the nurturing of a recovery that was taking place post-GFC,” he said.

Bennett predicted that the Australian economy would “get worse before it gets better” but was confident that it would continue to benefit from the resources boom.

“The resources boom is not over,” he insisted, with demand for iron ore in China continuing to grow.

Bennett predicted a “second wave” of economic growth in China, along with a resurgence in the economic strength of Japan which he described as the “only soft spot” in Asia.

“Japan will be restating its nuclear programs and there will be a sigh of relief in Japan,” he forecast.

Australian tourism stands to benefit from the growing prosperity in the region, Bennett added.

“It’s going to mean a lot more travel time,” he said. “In Beijing, people seriously want to get out of there, if for nothing else but to breathe fresh air.”

Meanwhile, Bennett projected the Australian dollar would peak at around 1.17 or 1.18 over the coming years.

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