On 24 April, ANZ Japan and the ANZCCJ co-hosted an economic outlook luncheon. This was ANZ Japan’s first official ‘Horizons’ session, an economic outlook series aiming to share views on crucial macro and market-moving issues, and how they may affect the relationship between Australia, New Zealand and Japan in particular.
The luncheon began with opening remarks by ANZCCJ Chair Andrew Gauci, who highlighted the role ANZ Japan takes in helping Australian and New Zealand businesses operating here. He also noted the significant increase of Japanese investment made into Australia in recent years, emphasising the importance of Japanese ties to the Australian economy.
Richard Yetsenga, ANZ Chief Economist and Head of Research, gave the keynote address on global macro trends, covering themes for the Asia Pacific region. Regarding the global economic future, Yetsenga noted: “The sun is out… this is about as good as it gets”. He noted aging populations and slower bank lending growth as factors that will have a key impact on the future of economies worldwide. Mr Yetsenga emphasised in particular the issue of Japan’s aging population, as it is now inside the investment horizon.
Mr Yetsenga discussed China’s structural reforms, and how they managed to maintain their GDP growth during this development by taking advantage of an upward trend in exports. Discussing exports more globally, he said that not all countries can grow through exports together, as someone has to be the end consumer, a role currently played by the US.
With these trade trends, Mr Yetsenga noted that unhappy voters globally were placing blame on free trade agreements, and stressed the need for answers as to why free trade is good for them to be provided.
After the presentation, a discussion panel was held with Mr Yetsenga and guest speaker Hajime Ueda, Senior Corporate Managing Director of the Nomura Research Institute. Moderated by Andrew Cornell, Managing Editor of bluenotes, the panel further discussed the macro themes, and regional trade and investment opportunities for Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
Of key interest during the discussion were the value of Australian management talent and Japan’s AI investments. Mr Ueda remarked that management teams acquired in Australia were valuable, and looked forward to expanding such talent internationally. He also noted Japanese society’s present acceptance of robotics as a promising sign in global AI competition.
Following the panel’s Q&A session, Andrew Gauci asserted in closing remarks that Australia goes beyond mining and resources, and that this is being proven today.