The ABS released its International Trade Price Indexes for the September quarter this week, and the "good" news was that export prices did not decline in Q3, coming in flat for the quarter, but import prices rose further by 1.4 per cent.
Looking at the historical data, the decline in Australia's terms of trade may well have some way to run yet.
In commodities markets experiencing a prices boom, sooner or later either the demand which sparked the boom falters, or supply ramps up in response to more attractive pricing.
In this instance we got both.
China's imbalanced growth, once heavily skewed towards construction, is now hopefully rebalancing towards other sectors, while at the same time bulk commodities are now being exported from countries such as Australia in record volumes.
One chapter of the resources boom story that has not yet been written in full is the LNG tale. With LNG exports now being shipped from our shores we know that export volumes have the potential to contribute significantly to Australia's GDP growth over the next year or two, though the question of what will happen to the commodity price remains as yet unanswered.
Two-speed property markets
For property markets in resources regions the labour-intensive construction phase of the boom represented the "the good bit". Now we are faced with the bad bit as the construction phase of the boom fades away.
Unfortunately much of the property market commentary turned bullish on mining regions around 2012, despite commodity prices in SDR terms having peaked back in July 2011 (or September 2011 in Aussie dollar terms).
This has been the subject of increasingly vigorous invective on chat forums from investor folk who were led down the mining hotspot path - which is understandable enough, for the simple artithmetic of portfolio losses determines that many will not be around long enough to get back to breakeven.
This graphic shows why although while property investment is not suitable for everyone, those of us with slightly saner heads were suggesting inner ring Sydney as a safer bet in 2012.
Boom-bust markets are a dangerous game for leveraged speculators, and the fallout from large drawdowns can take decades to recover, assuming that they ever recover. Generally speaking it is better for most investors to stick with capital city markets which offer the long term potential for steady and consistent capital gains.
Despite the dismal performance of many resources regions the latest fortnightly data from the titles registry shows that at the state level Queensland transaction volumes have been continuing to undertake a long, drawn out recovery over the past four years.