8 December 2021
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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.

11 January 2010
Investor signposts - week beginning 10 January 2010

The big picture One development that may have missed your attention over the Christmas/New Year period was a new trade agreement involving Australia. But this isn’t your ordinary garden-variety bilateral free trade agreement, but rather Australia’s largest free trade agreement involving six nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and New Zealand. At […]

5 January 2010
Investor Signposts: Week beginning 3 January 2010

People in other parts of the globe will be glad to see the back of 2009 – particularly those in the US, UK and Europe. But here in Australia, 2009 wasn’t all gloom and doom, in fact for many consumers and investors, 2009 was a very good year indeed. Take the broader economy. While economic […]

29 December 2009
Noughties in perspective

In terms of economic conditions, the noughties was arguably Australia’s best decade in the modern era.  Unemployment remained low across the period, there were consistent real wage gains, wealth levels soared, and outcomes for both inflation and interest rates were far better than in the 1970s or 1980s, although less stellar than the 1960s. Some […]

21 December 2009
Investor signposts - week starting 20/12/09

The big picture The festive season kick into full swing over the next week and with most investors in wind-down mode, and it’s worth reflecting on how the economic landscape has changed over the past year - particularly given that the latest round of economic growth figures have come and gone for another quarter. Earlier […]

14 December 2009
Investor signposts - week starting 13 December 2009

The big picture The year is fast drawing to a close, so it’s worth checking how the share market and Aussie dollar have performed on a global basis over 2009. Certainly the Aussie dollar has had a roller-coaster ride, falling to as low as US62.45 cents early this year and rebounding to US94.05 cents in […]

7 December 2009
Investor signposts - week beginning 6 December 2009

The big picture With interest rates on the rise, the question on everyone’s minds is where will the Reserve Bank stop? Rates have now risen for three consecutive months and the Reserve Bank is giving few hints that it is ready to pause. It’s always important to keep in mind that it is the level […]

27 November 2009
Investor signposts - week beginning 29 November 2009

The big picture Attention is fast shifting to 2010 with most questions focussing on the likely health of the US economy. Unfortunately this focus on the US is a legacy from the past when that economy mattered more to Australia, and indeed mattered more to the world as a whole. But many investors are still […]

23 November 2009
Investor signposts - week beginning 22 November 2009

The big picture During the week, results of the latest motor vehicle census were released. But somewhat surprisingly, especially given then that cars are the second biggest purchase in many people’s lives, the data attracted little attention. The figures showed that there were just over 12 million cars on Australian roads as at the end […]

13 November 2009
Investor signposts: week beginning 15 November 2009

The big picture In the perfect world, we would know exactly how many jobs are created every month and how many people were looking for work. And while technology could bring us closer to that nirvana situation over the next decade, we are still a long way short of that currently. The simple fact is […]

6 November 2009
Investor signposts: week beginning 8 November 2009

The big picture Data on retail spending is published every month, but it is the quarterly estimates that provide the most valuable insights. Not only are these estimates less volatile than the monthly numbers, but detailed figures are provided on the volume of goods actually purchased as well as price changes. Actually it is the […]

2 November 2009
Investor signposts - week beginning 1 November 2009

The big picture The Federal Treasurer is right: there has been a broad-based easing of inflationary pressures. The latest inflation figures (blink and you would have missed them) indicate that electricity and water charges, the cost of house purchase and rents were the big movers in the September quarter. All these items are in the […]

23 October 2009
Investor signposts - week beginning 25 October 2009

The big picture It would be a far less complicated world if there was just one measure of inflation. But unfortunately there isn’t. While the general public focuses on the consumer price index to get a handle on inflation, policymakers and other boffins closely track a myriad of other measures to try and understand what […]

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