Monday, 14 December 2015

Andrew Charlton: Unsustainable Growth

Andrew Charlton is an Oxford-educated economist, and co-founder and Director at AlphaBeta, a strategy advisory business with offices in Singapore and Sydney. The firm serves clients throughout Australia and Asia.

He is particularly interested in the future of the Chinese economy, and how it impacts on the Australian economy. He and an AlphaBeta team traveled to China in late summer 2015 to research the matter. “In the course of meeting dozens of business leaders and government officials,” he wrote, “it became clear we were asking the wrong question.”

Many economists are projecting economic growth in China to gradually decline to 6.2 percent by 2017, as certain economic stimuli are not expected to have long-term sustainability. The important question for Australia, says Andrew Charlton, is: “How can we adapt to ensure we continue to profit as China’s economy changes?”

Andrew Charlton andhis colleagues at AlphaBeta have been watching the Chinese economy for a long time. “We warned at the height of the boom in 2011 that China’s growth was unsustainable,” he wrote. “We forecast growth to fall to between 5.0 - 7.5% and pointed out the diabolical consequences for Australian commodity prices.” At the time, his expressed views were not popular, “but they have since become a painful reality.”

Andrew Charlton and his fellow economists at AlphaBeta believe that China’s economy will continue to slow. But China’s economy, he says, is not just slowing down; it’s changing lanes. “For Australian businesses, [most] the question of where it grows?”

Andrew Charlton holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Oxford and is a Rhodes Scholar. He was the Senior Economic Advisor to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd from 2008 to 2010.

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