Friday, November 04, 2011

Welcome aboard Stephen Koukoulas

Stephen Koukoulas describes himself this way:

"I'm an economist who has never been afraid of voicing views on economic policies and financial market trends. I have unique professional experience having worked in Treasury, was Chief Economist (Australia) at Citibank, was advisor to the Prime Minister, wrote for the Australian Financial Review and led the global research team for TD Securities from London."

On Twittter he wrote that he is "not strictly an ALP supporter, just a passionate advocate of good economic policy; which happens to reside with ALP".

I hope he would agree that it doesn't always.

Reading Koukoulas is always worthwhile. Tweeting since he left the prime minister's offfice as @TheKouk, he is now blogging at

I've added him to my blogroll --->> (near the top)

He is up there with his sparing partner, renaissance man Christopher Joye, also highly recommended.

And I've added Laura Tingle, whose Friday columns have now been freed from the AFR paywall.

Here's Stephen's latest post:

The IMF for Dummies

Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey are trying to score political points over the Government's objective of boosting funding for the IMF. The comments are at best ill-informed. I suspect they do not have a good understanding of the role and function of the IMF and when they do, they would reconsider their attack.

According to the IMF web page, "The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world."

"The IMF provides loans to countries that have trouble meeting their international payments and cannot otherwise find sufficient financing on affordable terms. This financial assistance is designed to help countries restore macroeconomic stability by rebuilding their international reserves, stabilizing their currencies, and paying for imports—all necessary conditions for relaunching growth."

Yet Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey are suggesting Australia should not participate in any more IMF funding and loan programs. Egad!

And for Australia's role and involvement in the IMF, this blockbuster speech from Ken Henry in 2003 is apt today.

Enough said.