Leading Australian economist Dr. Chris Caton of BT Financial Group has told an investor seminar today, hosted by leading accounting and financial services firm, Crowe Horwath, in Brisbane that even though Queensland economy has under-performed in recent times, the tide is turning.

“We expect Queensland growth to accelerate as the changes in the government in Canberra have helped consumer and business confidence which will also help Queensland,” he said.

Dr Caton added that the outlook for the Australian economy is ‘somewhat positive’.

Low interest rates and the decline in the Australian dollar continue to be significant factors in helping the economy transform from the commodity boom.

“The non-mining sector has been sluggish but is slowly on the mend,” said Dr Caton.

“The bright spots on the domestic front have been Professional services, Health and Accommodation.

“Inflation is not an issue and we are expecting the RBA to keep rates on hold at least until the end of the current financial year and we are forecasting the Aussie dollar at 70 US cents at June 30, 2016, which represents around fair value to us.

“There is no question investors are challenged by the current economic environment. We are in a low yield environment globally and share market volatility has increased

“The Australian equity market is neither cheap nor expensive in our view. Having said that we are forecasting the ASX 200 to complete the calendar year at 5400 and the financial year at 5800, but we think world markets still look better value than the Aussie market.

“From a yield perspective, equities still offer better returns than the alternatives.

“Media talk of a housing bubble is a little over the top. Australian house prices are expensive by world standards but not massively so. Prices have been rising rapidly in Sydney and Melbourne, 16.7% and

14.2% respectively over the year to September 2015. Brisbane’s rise has been more modest and sustainable at 4.5%, which is below the national average of 11%, a figure which reflects the overheated South Eastern state markets.

“Much of the world economic conversation centres on two issues: China (can the Chinese government manage the slowdown in growth) and US interest rates. We think the risks associated with the Chinese situation have been overstated and there is no doubt some of the data coming out of there is confusing.

“The issue is how seamlessly or otherwise does the Chinese economy transfer to a consumer led phase. As for the US rates, it is looking increasingly likely that any rise will not occur until 2016,” Dr Caton said.

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About Crowe Horwath

Crowe Horwath Australasia is the largest provider of practical accounting, audit, tax, business and financial advice to individuals and small and medium enterprises from a comprehensive network of over 100 offices.

The team includes approximately 3,000 principals, professionals and support staff located in Australia and New Zealand.

Crowe Horwath Australasia was formally privatised and inducted into the Findex Group on 6 January, 2015.

Crowe Horwath International is ranked amongst the top 10 global accounting networks, and is known for delivering quality audit, tax and advisory services in more than 100 countries worldwide.

About Findex

Findex is one of Australia’s largest privately owned financial advisory and accounting groups. It has businesses across the spectrum of the financial advice and accounting industry including middle range, high net worth, public sector and online, with more than $17 billion under management.

The Findex brands include Crowe Horwath (Australia and New Zealand), Centric Wealth, Financial Index Wealth Accountants, Prescott Securities, MBP Advisory, Civic Financial Planning and MOVO online advice, looking after the needs of around 250,000 clients. It employees over 3000 finance professionals from 120 capital city and regional offices.

Findex has been awarded the IFA Excellence Awards for Dealer Group of the Year 2014 and listed in the BRW 2014 Most Innovative Companies list. It is the only financial services company of any scale to have the highest internationally recognised quality standard for service and process, ISO 9001 across multiple brands and offices, including Financial Index Wealth Accountants and MOVO.

More about the Findex Group: www.findexgroup.com.au

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