Economy of Australia

Economy of Australia

According to businesscarriers, Australia is one of the most economically developed countries in the world. In terms of GDP per capita, 27 thousand US dollars (according to the purchasing power parity of currencies), it is at the level of the leading European countries, and according to the Human Development Index calculated by the UN (an aggregate indicator that includes life expectancy, education level, per capita income population, etc.) – in 5th place among all countries of the world. Real incomes (national income) per capita over the past decade have grown by an average of 2.5% per year (with an average annual GDP growth rate of 3.2%). This is markedly higher than in the previous two decades, and higher than that of the vast majority of other developed countries. The Australian economy is small, its share in world GDP is slightly above 1%, and in industrial production – less than 1%.

The working-age population is 15.5 million people, or St. 78% of the country’s population, the share of employed or job seekers is 63.7%, and in 1992-2002 for men this share fell from 74.3 to 72.4%, while for women it increased from 51.9 to 55.3%. In the 1990s the unemployment rate gradually declined from 10.7% in 1993 to 6.6% in 2002. During this time, the share of union members among the employed fell from 39.6% to 23.1%, and the number of days lost due to strikes decreased by 3 -Five times.

The average annual growth rate of consumer prices over the past decade has been at the level of 2.5%, which is much lower than the level of the previous two decades. The cost of excisable goods (alcohol, tobacco), education and healthcare services increased the most, and food and transport increased to a lesser extent. Prices for clothing, housing and communication services have hardly risen.

Sectoral structure of the economy in terms of contribution to GDP (2001,%): agriculture, forestry and fisheries – 3.2, mining – 4.7, manufacturing – 11.7, construction – 5.0, energy, gas and water supply – 2.4, transport, warehousing and communications – 7.7, wholesale and retail trade – 9.8, finance and insurance – 6.6, business services and real estate operations – 11.2, education services, health care, public and personal services – 12.2, hospitality and recreation services – 4.1, housing services – 9.1, government services – 3.6. Another 8.7% is the contribution to GDP of taxes (net of subsidies).

Distribution of employees by sectors of the national economy (%): agriculture, forestry and fisheries – 4.6, mining – 0.9, manufacturing – 12.3, construction – 7.3, energy, gas and water supply – 0, 6, transport, warehousing and communications 6.7, wholesale and retail trade 19.5, finance and insurance 3.9, business and real estate services 11.7, education, health, community and personal services – 20.8, hotel business and recreational services – 7.6, government services – 4.1.

Compared to most other developed countries, the Australian mining sector plays a special role in the Australian industry. Its share in GDP has stabilized and fluctuates between 4.5-5%, depending on demand in the world market. The industry is highly diversified, saturated with enterprises with a high level of mechanization and automation and a small number of employees. According to data for 2001-02, Australia ranked 3rd in the world in the extraction of iron ore (185.3 million tons), manganese – 5th (1.6 million tons), bauxite – 1st (54 million tons), lead ores – 1st (about 1 million tons), zinc – 2nd (1.5 million tons), copper ore – 4th (0.9 million tons), nickel – 3rd (206 thousand. t), so-called. mineral sands – 1st (rutile – 237 thousand tons, 55% of world production; zirconium – 352 thousand tons, 39%, ilmenite – 2.2 million tons, 30%), tantalum – 1st (485 tons of concentrates, 77% of world production), natural industrial diamonds – 1st, precious and semi-precious diamonds – 2nd (total diamond production – 26.6 million carats), gold – one of the first places (265 tons), silver – 4th (2.06 thousand. t). In 2002, 273 million tons of hard coal (coking and thermal coal) and 66 million tons of brown coal were produced. Oil and condensate production amounted to 31.3 million tons, natural gas – 35.8 billion m3, uranium (one of the first places in the world) – 8937 tons (in terms of uranium oxide content).

In the manufacturing industry in the 1980-90s. rationalization took place, leaving mostly industries either viable in Australia or of strategic interest to it. The share of manufacturing in GDP over the past few decades has consistently declined from 28% (early 1960s) to the current 11.7%. The leading sectors of the manufacturing industry, operating mainly on local raw materials, remain food (23% of the volume of manufacturing production), metals and metalworking (15.4%), woodworking and pulp and paper (15%), petrochemical (14.7%). In mechanical engineering (18.9%), the leading role is played by the automotive industry, the production of household electrical appliances, electronics and the production of equipment for information technology.

In agricultural circulation is approx. 60% of the territory of the continent, 90% of which is suitable mainly for pasture cattle breeding using pasture, another 5% is sown pastures, and only the remaining 5% is reserved for crops. Despite difficult natural conditions, economic and technological progress has allowed Australia to become one of the leading suppliers of agricultural products to the world market. Although the share of agriculture in the country’s GDP and employment has decreased several times over the past few decades, it remains an important sector of the economy. In the 1990s the volume of agricultural production increased by 39%. At the same time, if in 1990 the shares of crop production and animal husbandry in it were 46.4 and 53.6%, respectively, then in 2000 they were already 56 and 44%. The cultivated cereals give a low yield, which is compensated by the scale of the sown area. Approx. 80% of vegetables, 70% of fruits, just under 50% of sugar cane,  the main crop of wine grapes, rice, cotton, etc. In the best years, the wheat harvest is 22-24 million tons, coarse fodder crops – 11-13 million tons (barley – 6.5-6.7 million tons, oats – 1.8-2.0 million tons, lupine – 1, 8-2.0 million tons), rice – approx. 1.5 million tons, canola (rapeseed) – up to 2.5 million tons, sugar cane – 38-39 million tons, sorghum – more than 2 million tons, wine grapes – almost 1.4 million tons.

The role of sheep breeding to the beginning. 21st century decreased noticeably. From a peak of 178 million heads reached in 1971, the number of sheep dropped to 107 million by 2002. The main problem is the unfavorable world situation. Australia provides 27% of the world wool shear (645 thousand tons, 2001) (including 50% of high-quality merino wool), up to 90% of which is usually exported. The number of cattle in 2002 exceeded 30 million heads (over 90% – beef cattle) compared with 25 million in 1981. In 2002, the slaughter amounted to: 9.4 million heads of cattle, 14.5 million sheep and 17.4 million lambs, 5.4 million tons of pigs, which together gave 3.2 million tons of meat. The growth in the consumption of “white” meat at the expense of “red” contributed to the increase in the number of broiler poultry in the 1990s. 1.3 times. For 1981-2001, the cost of seafood (tuna and other types of fish, lobsters, shrimp, scallops, oysters, etc.) increased by 7 times – up to 2.5 billion Australians. dollars. Aquaculture is also a growing industry. In 2001, she gave products (salmon, tuna, trout, shrimp, oysters, etc.) worth 750 million Austral. dollars. Roundwood harvesting is at the level of 23-24 million m3 per year (approximately equally accounted for by natural felling and plantations).  The volume of lumber production fluctuates between 3.5-4 million m3, meeting the needs of the country’s woodworking and pulp and paper industry for raw materials by about 85%.

Transport in Australia, taking into account its geographical characteristics, plays an important economic and social role. The total length of state and private railways is almost 39.5 thousand km (about 3 thousand km are electrified). Of these, with a standard gauge (1435 mm) of track – 16,343 km, incl. 8,000 km of national roads (connecting different states). By rail in 2001, 498 million passengers were transported (an increase of 1/4 in a decade). The total length of highways is 810 thousand km, incl. with concrete or asphalt surface 331 thousand km (2002), including approx. 14 thousand km of federal highways. In 2001, there were 9,870,000 passenger cars, 1,770,000 light commercial vehicles, 419,000 trucks, 68,000 buses and 351,000 motorcycles in the country. The length of inland navigation routes (mainly for small vessels with shallow draft) is 8.4 thousand km. Seaports – 97, incl. 15 – on the island of Tasmania. All major cities have their own seaports. In addition to them, each state has at least 1-2 large seaports. Its own commercial marine fleet consists of 54 vessels, of which 45 are coastal navigation (total tonnage 1.5 million tons) and 9 ocean-going (783 thousand tons). Australia is a country with very intensive air (internal and external) communication. From St. 400 airfields 261 have paved runways, including 12 international airports. On ser. 2002 registered 11,779 aircraft: 10,696 aircraft and helicopters, incl. 172 airliners from major airlines, and 1083 gliders. In 2001, the volume of domestic traffic reached 30, 4 billion passenger-km (+13% to the level of 1996). The main airports of the country in 2001 were used by 60.5 million passengers (16.8 million – international), incl. in Sydney – 16.6 million people. (share in international traffic – 49%), in Melbourne – 13.3 million (19.7%) and in Brisbane – 10 million people. (15.1%). The length of gas pipelines is 5.6 thousand km, oil pipelines – 2.5 thousand km, oil product pipelines – 500 km. In 2001, the total turnover of all types of transport amounted to 320.1 billion tkm of cargo, incl. 134.1 billion tkm of railway, 117.8 billion tkm of road, 97.4 billion tkm of maritime (especially coastal), about 3 billion tkm of air. Export shipping by Australian ships amounted to 506 million tons. The volume of imported cargo handled was 58 million tons.

Various types of communication have been developed. There is St. 10 million conventional telephone lines and approx. 9 million mobile devices. More than 600 radio and 100 TV stations, St. 25.5 million radios and 10 million televisions. Information technology is spreading rapidly. In 2002, St. 60% of dwellings had a home computer (one of the first places in the world). There were 10.63 million users (54% of the country’s population) for 570 Internet providers.

In 1991-2001, retail turnover increased by almost 40% to 163.4 billion Australians. dollars (about 35% of all consumer spending). The number of retailers was 98,289 with more than 1.1 million employees. 95% of enterprises employ less than 20 people. But for 200 enterprises with the number of employed St. 200 people accounts for almost 52% of the total retail turnover and 49% of those employed in the industry. The share of the largest groups of retail and service enterprises is as follows: enterprises selling food products – 38.8% of all retail sales; hotels, restaurants, cafes, clubs, etc. — 17.5%; enterprises selling household goods – 12.6%; department stores — 8.4%; enterprises selling clothing and related products – 6.7%; enterprises selling goods for recreational purposes (sports, tourism, etc.) – 4.5%; retail enterprises of a different profile – 11.5%. The turnover of wholesale trade enterprises in 1992-2002 increased by about 85%, exceeding 240 billion Australians. dollars. There are 45,000 enterprises in wholesale trade, employing 470,000 people. Wholesale enterprises are divided into three large industry groups: enterprises selling engineering products – 45.2% of all wholesale sales (an average annual increase in sales in the 1990s – 5.1%), basic materials – 33% (2.7%) , personal consumption and household goods – 22.7% (-1.0%). During this period, the industry has undergone a major transformation associated with the widespread introduction of information technology, the concentration of wholesale sales, and the reduction of labor and capital intensity. basic materials – 33% (2.7%), personal and household goods – 22.7% (-1.0%). During this period, the industry has undergone a major transformation associated with the widespread introduction of information technology, the concentration of wholesale sales, and the reduction of labor and capital intensity.

The provision of a diverse range of services has become an important sector of the economy. Its total contribution to GDP in 2001 was approx. 47%, and the share in the number of employed – 48%. In 2001, there were almost 690 thousand enterprises operating in the service sector (excluding retail trade enterprises, which can also be classified as services), or approx. 60% of all private sector enterprises. The most developed services are education, health care, public and personal services, business and real estate services, finance and insurance, hospitality and recreational services. This sector of the economy is increasingly diversifying and is the main source of employment growth.

The scale of the country, its diverse nature are a good basis for the development of tourism. Direct spending on tourism in 2001 was equivalent to 4.7% of GDP, and the total consumption of goods and services related to tourism, 10% of GDP. Domestic tourism accounted for 3/4 of total expenditures and foreign – 1/4. More than 550 thousand people are directly employed in the tourism industry. Between 1992 and 2002, the annual number of foreign tourists increased from 2.5 million to 4.8 million. Foreign tourism has overtaken some of the country’s major merchandise exports as a source of foreign exchange. The number of Australian tourists visiting other countries annually increased from 2.2 million to 3.4 million during this period.

At the center of the country’s monetary and financial system is the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which acts as the country’s central bank. The RBA is responsible for monetary policy, financial stability and the functioning of payment systems. It is the only issuer of the national currency, the holder of gold and foreign exchange reserves, sets the official discount rate, conducts operations on the open market, incl. on the currency. Other regulatory authorities are the Australian Prudential Regulation Agency (AAPR), which since 1998, instead of the RBA, has been responsible for supervising commercial banks, as well as insurance companies, pension funds and a number of financial companies (building credit companies, credit cooperatives, financial partnerships, etc. .). Since July 1, 2000, self-managed pension funds have been overseen by the Australian Revenue Authority. As of July 1, 2002, the total assets of the country’s financial institutions amounted to 2227 billion Australians. dollars (excluding mutual obligations – 1588 billion), of which commercial banks accounted for 866 billion (38.9%), other financial corporations that accept deposits (investment banks, construction credit companies, credit cooperatives, financial companies of various profiles and etc.) – 239 billion (10.7%), for pension funds – 453 billion (20.4%), for insurance companies – 267 billion (12%), for financial intermediaries (various trust companies, corporations of economic development, housing cooperatives, etc.) – 251 billion (11.3%), for financial corporations of states and territories (created to manage their assets and liabilities) – 94.5 billion (4.2%). Finally, 56 AUD 8 billion dollars (2.5%) accounted for the RBA. The 4 largest commercial banks account for St. 1/2 of the assets of all 49 banks. The insurance industry (42 companies) is also controlled by several of the largest companies. As of July 1, 2002, shares and other securities traded on the stock exchange were in circulation for AUD 739 billion. dollars In addition to the exchange, securities were issued for another 568 billion Australians. dollars. Up to 2/3 of adult Australians are shareholders. OK. 75% of the total volume of settlements in the country passes through a centralized electronic clearing system. As of 2001, the country had St. 11 thousand branches and agencies of banks, building associations and credit unions, 2.8 thousand points in post offices providing a limited set of payment services, 14.7 thousand ATMs and St. 400 thousand electronic payment processing terminals.

The current government of the country is pursuing a policy of curbing growth and even reducing budget spending. Since the 1997 financial year (in Australia it starts on July 1 and ends on June 30 of the next year), the federal budget was reduced to a deficit, and even then a meager one (0.1% of GDP), only in 2001. Federal budget expenditures (2002,%): social welfare and welfare 41.8, health care 17.3, defense 7.7, education 7.2, operation of the federal government 6.3, total expenditures on other items of the functioning of the state machine (payment of interest on public debt, transfers to states, territories and municipalities, maintenance of law and order, etc.) 9.2, the total share of economic items (support for various industries and sectors of the economy, etc.) 8.1. The tax burden on the economy (the ratio of the sum of all collected taxes to GDP, in 2000 – 31.8%, including federal – 26%) – one of the smallest among developed countries. Taxes provide up to 95% of federal government revenue and St. 32% – states (grants and subsidies of the federal government – 44%). In the structure of federal taxes in 2002, income tax accounted for 53.0%, income tax – 19.7%, indirect taxes – 16.7%, insurance pension fees – 2.9%, etc. On July 1, 2000, a federal value-added tax was introduced – the tax on goods and services (GST), in 2000 its share was 13.6% of all federal tax collections. At the same time, the tax on wholesale sales and a number of others were abolished. The income tax rate has been reduced from 36% to 34%. Income tax rates effective July 1, 2003: on income up to AUD 6,000. dollars per year – 0%, up to 21.6 thousand – 17%, up to 52 thousand. – 30%, up to 62.5 thousand – 42%, St. 62.5 thousand – 47%.

The ratio of federal public debt to GDP is one of the lowest among OECD countries. In 1995-2002, the federal debt fell from 19.1% to 4.3% of GDP.

Between 1992 and 2002, the average weekly income of full-time workers increased from AUD 541 to AUD 868. dollars (up to 685 dollars, adjusted for the growth of the consumer price index). The least paid are considered to be approximately 1.7 million employed people who receive less than 570 Austral. dollars a week. At the same time, among the countries – members of the OECD, Australia in relation to the minimum wage to the average (about 58%) is second only to France (60%). Wages make up 56-58% of the total income of households, the rest – social payments and other sources. Income distribution among Australia’s approximately 9 million households since ser. 1990s remains stable. The share of the bottom quintile (20%) in the total volume of all households – 4%, the next – 9%; fifteen%; OK. 24%, and the top – just above 48%. The share of savings in disposable income in 1991-2001 was below 4% – one of the worst indicators in the OECD. The share of food expenditures is only 11% of total household expenditures, and the largest item is housing expenditures, 18.6%. OK. 80% of the country’s population lives in their own homes.

In 1991-2001, the share of exports of goods and services in GDP increased significantly – from 16.7 to 22.8%, and the total foreign trade quota (including services) – from 33.5 to 45.6%. The terms of trade index (the ratio of export prices to import prices) in the 1990s. had mostly negative dynamics, but since 2000 it has been improving for 3 years in a row.

The products of agriculture, mining and raw materials processing industries account for 70-80% of annual Australian exports, incl. for agricultural products – 10-11%, mining – 26-27%, for metallurgy and metalworking products – 16-17%, food industry – 14-15%, oil refining and petrochemistry – up to 7%, and for machinery and equipment – only 13-14%. Australia ranks first in the world in the export of wool, bauxite and alumina, one of the first in the export of wheat, sugar, meat, coal, iron ore, primary aluminum, gold, silver, liquefied natural gas. It is one of the leading exporters of many other types of agricultural products and raw materials. The main import item is manufactured products, St. 90%, share of machinery and equipment – approx. fifty%. The largest trading partner for about 30 years has been Japan. Its share in the foreign trade turnover of Australia is 15.9% (2001), the share of the United States is 13.9%, China, which has recently advanced to 3rd place, is 7.9%, South Korea is 6.0%, New Zealand is 5.1%, Great Britain – 4.7%. Japan is also the main market (since the late 1960s) for Australian products – 18.8%, followed by the USA – 9.9%, catching up with them South Korea – 8.1%, China – 6.4% and New Zealand – 6.3%. For several decades now, the United States has dominated imports – 18%, Japan has also been in 2nd place for a long time – 12.9%, China has advanced to 3rd place in recent years – 9.4%, followed by Germany – 5.6%, Great Britain – 5.2%, New Zealand – 4.1% and South Korea – 3.9%.

The volume of trade in services fluctuates between 25-30% of the volume of trade in commodities. Export of services (2000,%): USA 16.2, Japan 11.7, Great Britain 11.0, New Zealand 7.2, Singapore 5.9. Imports of services (%): US 21.0, UK 12.4, Japan 6.9, Singapore 6.5 and New Zealand 5.2.

The trade balance is most often in deficit, but in 2000-01 its small surplus was recorded. The balance of trade in services in 1997-2001 was positive only once. The deficit of the balance of payments according to current accounts is chronic, in 1992-2002 its average value was 4.2% of GDP – one of the highest rates among developed countries.

Australia is a traditional area for the application of foreign capital. The main investors are the USA, Great Britain, other European states, and in the last two decades also the countries of East Asia. On ser. In 2002, cumulative (accumulated) foreign investment in the Australian economy amounted to 844.4 billion Australians. dollars, having increased by 65% since 1997. Of this amount, 55% fell on portfolio investments, 25% – on direct investments, 16% – on loans, credits, deposits, etc., and 4% – on derivative securities. Unlike imports, the export of capital from Australia is basically a phenomenon of the last 20 years. After the weakening of foreign exchange controls in 1983, the increase in capital exports took on an explosive character. On ser. In 2002, the cumulative total of capital exports from Australia was AUD 453.9 billion. dollars, more than doubling since 1997. The share of portfolio investments – 35%, direct – 34%, loans, credits, deposits, etc. – 24%, derivative securities – 7%.

Over the past 10 years, the declining dynamics of the exchange rate of the Australian currency has prevailed. So, in 1997-2002, it fell from 78 to 52 US cents, from 0.49 to 0.36 British pounds and from 90.51 to 66.10 yen for 1 Australian. Doll.

Australia’s external debt has increased significantly since 1983. Interest payments on external debt are one of the most important reasons for the current account deficit in the balance of payments. However, the structure of external debt has changed dramatically. If in 1983 the total share of the public sector (federal government, states, public financial and non-financial corporations) in net external debt was approximately 1/3, then by 2002 it fell to 4%, and the private sector increased from 2/3 to 96%. Between 1996 and 2001, public sector net external debt declined from AUD 65.2 billion. dollars to 12.1 billion, and private – increased from 143.4 billion to 317.6 billion. In 1990-2002, the ratio of the country’s net external debt to GDP increased from 33 to 47%.

Over the past 20 years, the Asia-Pacific region has become the main geographical direction in the development of the country’s foreign economic relations. It is no coincidence that Australia was one of the main initiators of the creation in 1989 of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, which includes almost all the states of East Asia and the main countries of the western part of the Pacific Ocean. Australia’s only bilateral “closer economic ties” (quasi-common market) agreement is with New Zealand.

Economy of Australia