The Australian economy may not be as robust as suggested in the International Monetary Fund's recent analysis, according to speakers at yesterday's Morningstar Investment Conference.
The potential for a surprise financial crisis in Australia is higher than it's been for the past 20 years, according to Dan Needham, managing director and chief investment officer, Ibbotson Asia.
Needham was responding to the recent International Monetary Fund's (IMF) report which listed Australia as one of the highest performing developed economies, tipping more of the same for the next two years.
"The expansion of household balance sheets and the fact that we have some sectors of the economy skirting recession, and we've had the tailwinds of the commodities boom, you withdraw those from the economy and then we could have a banking sector that could be in sharp de-leveraging mode," said Needham.
"I'm not sure if that's a statement about how strong the Australian economy is, or how weak other economies are," said Michael Karagianis, investment strategist, MLC Investment Management, in response to the same IMF report.
Karagianis said that while he agreed with the findings of the report, he would not over-state the strength of the Australian economy.
"The Australian Economy itself is actually very patchy.
"There are some parts of the economy that if they are not in recession now, are not far from it," and that while Australia compared well to Europe and the United States, it didn't underline any particular vibrancy.
"We have a very heavily indebted private sector, there are a lot of people out there more focused on looking after their own balance sheets rather than going out and spending so that the economy can accelerate," said Karagianis.