Australian economy sees tough first half of 2019, expert explains

The first half of 2019 is going to be tough for the Australian economy – but it’s not all bad news, according to one expert at AUSPACK 2019.

Economic guru Stephen Koukoulas took guests at the AUSPACK 2019 Business and Industry conference through the state of the economy and what lies ahead.

Koukoulas said Australia is strongly linked to economic trends around the world.

“What happens in the global economy is absolutely vital to us. When the world economy has a hard landing, we get caught in the backwash of that,” he said. “The world economy is going to be OK. It’s not going to be boom times, but it’s not going to be a hard landing.”

Business and consumer sentiment are down, acting as a drag on the economy, and the housing market is also in a downturn; the low Australian dollar is, however, helping exports.

Koukoulas also cited lower interest rates, plus growth in public sector spending and non-mining business investment, as good economic news for Australia.

Three key takeaways:

  • The economy is in for a soft six months.
  • Much hinges on housing, global economic conditions, and business and consumer sentiment.

Industry 4.0 was also the talk of AUSPACK as industry expert John Broadbent said businesses that are slow to adopt Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology risk being left behind.

Broadbent told guests at that early adopters of this technology will find themselves at a significant advantage once the mainstream catches up, while laggards will struggle to catch up.

“The longer you kick the can down the road, the bigger the gap becomes,” he said.

According to Broadbent, the nine main use cases for Industry 4.0 and IIoT technology are asset tracking, automation, predictive maintenance, safety and security, smart buildings, customer engagement, data intelligence, product-as-a-service, and agile design processes.

The utility of properly gathering and analysing business data is huge, said Broadbent, and can save businesses time and money,

“How would you feel about sitting in your car with no dashboard, windscreen blacked out, rear view is where you were thirty days ago, and the managing director is in the passenger seat asking are we there yet? You wouldn’t drive like that, but people run their businesses like that all the time,” he said.

Three key takeaways:

  • Early adopters will have a leg-up once Industry 4.0 technology becomes commonplace.
  • Data analytics can save time and money.
  • Though investment can be expensive, there is a cost to doing nothing as well.