Craig James


Chief Economist

I am married with three children (all in their 20s) and currently live in Huntleys Cove in the inner west of Sydney. Chief interest is athletics and trying to keeping up with the children.My current role is Chief Economist, Commonwealth Securities, interpreting big picture economic and financial trends for customers, clients and staff. Previously I was Chief Economist at Colonial and have worked at the Australian Financial Review as a senior writer.As well as providing presentations to staff and clients and commentaries on financial and economic trends, I appear regularly in the electronic and print media.I have worked in banking, finance and journalism for 38 years.I hold both Bachelor and Master degrees in Commerce (Economics). Both degrees were undertaken at University of NSW. I am an Adjunct Professor at Curtin Business School in Perth.


No areas of expertise

Market correction: What does it all mean?

Craig James

The US Dow Jones has fallen by over 1,800 points or 7.1 per cent over the past two days. After hitting record highs on January 26, the Dow Jones index has eased to 2-month lows. Show More

rates correction

State of the States: NSW remains on top; TAS climbs to fourth

Craig James

NSW has retained the position as the best performing economy, at or near the top of all indicators. Victoria holds second spot on the economic performance rankings with strength provided by high population growth, boosting housing demand. Show More

state of the states ASX:CBA CommSec State of the States

The 8 big issues for 2018

Craig James

For the past 16 years we have produced “The Big Issues” report – a report that has sought to highlight the issues that are expected to influence the economy over the forthcoming 12 months. Show More

The Federal budget: Making the right choices

Craig James

Each budget is different. The economic environment, global context, budget priorities and goals are all different. In terms of this budget – the first in the Government’s new term – the Government wants to be seen as “making the right choices”. That focus makes sense – the Government has to... Show More

deficit infrastructure rates federal budget 2017

Fed rate hike: What does it mean?

Craig James

The US Federal Reserve has lifted the target federal funds range by 25 basis points to 0.75-1.00% as expected. Two more rate hikes are anticipated in 2017 and three in 2018. The US rates decision affects global interest rates, currencies and sharemarkets. So, what happened and what does it mean? Show More

fed economics rates Hike

Keep an eye on oil

Craig James

I consider the oil price to be the single most import chart to watch today. OPEC oil producers still appear committed to the production agreement but US oil producers are adding to global supplies and keeping downward pressure on prices. The chart is telling me that oil prices looked to... Show More

oil inflation deflation charts

Stellar earnings results from Corporate Australia

Craig James

There are still two days of the earnings season to go. Remarkably all but 8 of the 135 companies produced a profit for the six months to December. That is, around 94 per cent of companies made money. Excluding BHP Billiton, aggregate profits lifted by 37 per cent. Almost 89... Show More

The Year that Was: 2016; The Year Ahead: 2017

Craig James

The Australian sharemarket had its best year in three years, but what's ahead in 2017? The report has a mix of text, tables and graphics to set the scene for 2017. Access the PDF here: Show More

Aussie shares

Household debt...and assets

Craig James

One important point to remember with debt. As long as the debt taken on is to purchase an asset which is appreciating at a faster rate, and serviceability is not a concern, then the situation is sustainable. Understandably higher debts run higher risks if asset prices start falling and/or interest... Show More

household balance sheet

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US Election: The Aftermath

Craig James

The "flash" reaction from Election Night. But the conclusions hold up in light of the stunning Show More

US Election: On a Knife's Edge

Craig James

Some believe that recent falls on sharemarkets are almost unprecedented. They aren't - we saw the same situation four years ago. Back then the Dow fell 8.5% from the highs. This time the Dow is down 2.5%. A link to the CommSec report on the US Election is below. Show More

elections markets shares

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Profit reporting season

Craig James

So far 128 of the ASX200 companies have reported full year results - all but 12 have produced a profit. Excluding BHP Billiton, aggregate profits are up 8.5%; 92% of companies paid a dividend and 85% lifted or maintained dividends. Aussie sharemarket has basically trended sideways through the reporting season. Show More

The third wheel of economic policy

Craig James

I think there are two factors behind low inflation results. The first is the ongoing conservatism post GFC. This will pass in time. The second is “disruption” – the ability of consumers to buy whenever and wherever they want. In the current environment, businesses are more likely to look for... Show More

inflation the buy side brief Australian Interest Rates

It’s all about inflation

Craig James

The chart below is the household spending deflator – or the measure of inflation for Aussie consumers. The current environment is all about inflation. Consumers are spending more because most prices are restrained. Now I could have chosen consumer prices, business prices, mining & rural prices or global inflation. But... Show More

The RBA is in unchartered territory

Craig James

Australia has one of the highest cash rates of advanced nations. But at the same time, Australia’s inflation rate has come down over time and now is in line with the economies of Asia and North America that also possess healthy rates of economic growth. It is reasonable then for... Show More

aud cash rate macroeconomics the buy side brief

Oil slumps over 6% at open

Craig James

Oil opens electronic trade down over 6% across futures contracts out to January 2017 Show More

Moody blues

Craig James

Rather than a warning, rating agency Moody's has just made an observation: all sides of politics need to make some hard decisions on tax. And decisions for all the country rather than just playing politics. The Reserve Bank has made similar observations - we love roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, but... Show More

The Correction we had to have

Craig James

Global sharemarkets had become 15-20% over-valued and now we are seeing the necessary and expected correction. We saw a similar correction from July to October last year before markets rebounded back to highs over the next four months. What's going on? Check it out here. Show More


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Analysis of RBA rate decision

Craig James

CommSec analysis of rate decision Show More