13 July 2020
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Craig James

Craig James is CommSec’s Chief Economist.

On leaving school Craig James joined the (then) Rural Bank, whilst undertaking university studies. He received his Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) at University of NSW in 1984 and then a Master of Commerce (Economics) at the same university in 1988.

He remained at the Rural Bank, which became the State Bank over time and then Colonial, working in branches, Corporate, Planning and Economic Research.

He became chief economist of Colonial Group in September 1987, before becoming chief economist at CommSec in August 2000 with the Commonwealth takeover of Colonial.

In 2002 Craig had a sea-change, joining the Australian Financial Review. He had always wanted to pursue a role in journalism and enjoyed the role as an economic commentator and analysts, finding that he could pursue a journalistic-type role as well as doing more electronic media work at CommSec and rejoined the group in 2003.

On taking the reigns of chief economist at Colonial, Craig endeavoured to style their research in a “user-friendly” way – something that set their research apart and still does today. The approach has been successful in their media work and in promoting Colonial, and then CommSec, to the general public. CommSec is the most quoted economic group in the mainstream media.

CommSec economic reports are a bit different in that they devise tools such as the ‘Mums and Dads’ share index and the iPod index, and undertake research on the weather and demographic changes to show how they affect the economy.

Craig currently does around 2-3 regular TV crosses a day, ad hoc radio and newspaper interviews and writes regular commentaries as well as presenting to staff, clients and external organisations.

Outside work, Craig's main interests are athletics (cross country in winter), weight training, reading widely across a range of newspapers, magazines and electronic media, and trying to keep up with the children.

3 August 2009
Investor signposts - week beginning 3 August 2009

The big picture A few months ago, the consensus view of economists was that unemployment would lift to at least eight per cent. We have always believed that this view was way too pessimistic, believing that unemployment would top out between 6.5 to 7.0 per cent, below the 30-year average of 7.1 per cent. But […]

27 July 2009
Investor signposts: week beginning 26 July 2009

The big picture In recent weeks, central banks around the globe have started providing more upbeat commentary on the economic landscape. And the much more optimistic rhetoric was clearly highlighted by Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, in his semi-annual testimony in front of Congress. He cited "tentative signs of stabilisation" in demand, the prospect of […]

20 July 2009
Investor signposts - week beginning 20 July

Investors have plenty of reasons to feel frustrated by the performance of the Australian share market over the past 18 months. While the Australian economy has out-performed every major developed nation, our share market has closely tracked the under-performing US market. In fact, the measure of the relationship (correlation) between the Australian and US share […]

20 July 2009
Investor signposts: week beginning 19 July 2009

The big picture Investors have plenty of reasons to feel frustrated by the performance of the Australian share market over the past 18 months. While the Australian economy has out-performed every major developed nation, our share market has closely tracked the under-performing US market. In fact, the measure of the relationship (correlation) between the Australian […]

13 July 2009
Investor Signposts - week beginning July 13 2009

In the US, retailers aren’t complaining just about high unemployment, recession and falling house prices – the weather has also proved problematic. Until recently, the summer in the north-east has proved unseasonably cool and wet, reducing demand for seasonal items like air conditioners and clothing. Investors and analysts tend to focus on economic factors when […]

3 July 2009
Investor Signposts - week beginning 5 July 2009

The Government’s two cash handouts to Aussie households have done their job. Retail spending has risen in seven of the past eight months, with the 7.1 per cent annual growth (in seasonally adjusted terms) well above the long-term average of around six per cent. Larger retailers have done best by far with sales up over […]

26 June 2009
Investor signposts - week beginning 28 June 2009

Upcoming economic and financial market events Australia 30 June Private sector credit (May): Housing credit is growing, but other lending is becalmed. 1 July Retail trade (May): We tip a 0.4pct increase in sales. Building approvals (May): Another solid increase in approvals is tipped, up by around 7pct. 2 July International trade (May): A small […]

15 June 2009
Investor signposts - week beginning 21 June 2009

Upcoming economic and financial market events Australia 22 June Car Sales (May): We expect that car sales were up five per cent seasonally adjusted. 26 June Financial accounts (March quarter): Reveals data on financial wealth and business balance sheets. Overseas 23 June US Existing home sales (May): There is just over 10 months supply of […]

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