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Debt and Business Cycles - What this means for Government Budgets?

Updated: May 2, 2018

There are business (asset) cycles and these normally last a few years. Historical central bank behaviour is to address these through monetary policy (interest rates increases); however given sluggish growth and low global interest rates this is not on the cards for the foreseeable future. Overlaying asset cycles are debt cycles and these can last 20-50 years.

Central Bank inflation and unemployment assumptions have been hopelessly wrong for years now. Does it matter? No, because what is important to economic growth is expenditure, and consumers either spend cash or credit.

If credit is tightened through central bank policies (as Australian Prudential Regulation Authority is doing by tightening banking lending practices) then this form of expenditure must be replaced by cash expenditure. This is not possible because consumers are loaded with debt reducing their disposal incomes and corporates are being very cautious. Unless the economy grows around 3% or more the Government may be forced to allow fiscal (Federal Budget deficit to increase) expansion, or otherwise there may be a recession.

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