Bowen And Hockey Spar Over Interest Rate Decision

The Treasurer, Chris Bowen, has defended today’s interest rate decision by the Reserve Bank, whilst the shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey, says the economy is weakening.

At a press conference following the Bank’s decision to cut the cash rate by 25 basis points to 2.5%, Bowen said lower interest rates contributed to lower living costs for Australians, particularly in housing. [Read more…]


Government Releases Updated Economic Outlook; Deficit Up, Growth Slows, $17bn Of Budget Cuts

The Rudd government has released an updated economic outlook statement that shows this year’s budget deficit blowing out to $30.1 billion.

Treasurer Chris Bowen and Finance Minister Senator Penny Wong have announced $17 billion of budget cuts aimed at producing a surplus of $4 billion in 2016-17. [Read more…]


Kevin Rudd’s National Press Club Address: The Australian Economy In Transition

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd addressed the National Press Club in Canberra today.

Rudd’s speech centred on depicting the Australian economy as strong and its difficulties as small by comparison with the rest of the world.

He reiterated his previous statements that the China boom is over and emphasised the economy’s transition to a new investment phase. He argued that ongoing productivity improvement is vital and attacked the negativity of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

  • Listen to Rudd’s speech (29m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Listen to Rudd take questions (33m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Watch Rudd’s speech (29m)
  • Watch Rudd’s graphs:

Official transcript of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Address to the National Press Club.

The Australian Economy in Transition: Building a new National Competitiveness Agenda

I am, without apology, an optimist about our nation’s future.

Our national strengths are formidable.

Our weaknesses, compared with the rest of the world, are few. [Read more…]


Reserve Bank Lowers Rates To 2.75%

The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut its cash rate 0.25% to 2.75%, the lowest rate since the 1950s.

In a statement, Governor Glenn Stevens said the RBA’s board “judged that a further decline in the cash rate was appropriate to encourage sustainable growth in the economy, consistent with achieving the inflation target.”

Swan

The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, said the economy had strong growth, low unemployment and contained inflation. He said there was no comparison between today’s low interest rates and the emergency rates that prevailed during the global financial crisis.

Hockey

The Shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey, said the Reserve Bank was showing leadership and doing the “heavy lifting” for the government by responding to a deteriorating economy. He said rates were now beyond emergency levels.

  • Listen to Wayne Swan’s remarks (11m) – transcript below

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Listen to Joe Hockey’s remarks (6m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Listen to remarks by Peter Anderson, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (4m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Interest Rates Since 1990

Text of statement from Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens.

At its meeting today, the Board decided to lower the cash rate by 25 basis points to 2.75 per cent, effective 8 May 2013.

The global economy is likely to record growth a little below trend this year, before picking up next year. Among the major regions, the United States continues on a path of moderate expansion and China’s growth is running at a more sustainable, but still robust, pace. Japan has announced significant new policy initiatives aimed at strengthening demand and ending deflation. The euro area remains in recession. Commodity prices have moderated a little in recent months though they remain high by historical standards.

Financial conditions internationally continue to be very accommodative, with risk spreads reduced, funding conditions for most financial institutions improved and borrowing costs for well-rated corporates and sovereigns exceptionally low. [Read more…]


Reserve Bank Leaves Interest Rate Unchanged At 3%

The Reserve Bank has left the official cash rate unchanged at 3.0%.

The decision was taken at the bank’s Board meeting today. Rates were last reduced in December 2012. During 2012, rates fell by 1.25%. This followed a reduction of 0.5% in 2011.

In a statement, the Reserve Bank Governor, Glenn Stevens, said: “There are a number of indications that the substantial easing of monetary policy during late 2011 and 2012 is having an expansionary effect on the economy. Further such effects can be expected to emerge over time.”

Stevens said economic growth was “close to trend over 2012, led by very large increases in capital spending in the resources sector”. The peak in resource investment is “drawing close”, he said.

Inflation is consistent with the medium-term target of 2%.

The ALP was quick to release this graphic:

ALP

Statement from Glenn Stevens, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 3.0 per cent.

Global growth is forecast to be a little below average for a time, but the downside risks appear to be reduced. While Europe remains in recession, the United States is experiencing a moderate expansion and growth in China has stabilised at a fairly robust pace. Around Asia generally, growth was dampened by the earlier slowing in China and the weakness in Europe, but again there are signs of stabilisation. Commodity prices have declined somewhat recently, but are still at historically high levels.

Internationally, financial conditions are very accommodative. Risk spreads are narrow and funding conditions for financial institutions have improved. Long-term interest rates faced by highly rated sovereigns, including Australia, remain at exceptionally low levels. Borrowing conditions for large corporations are similarly very attractive. Share prices are substantially above their low points. However, the task of putting private and public finances on sustainable paths in several major countries is far from complete. Accordingly, financial markets remain vulnerable to setbacks. [Read more…]


Reserve Bank Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged

At its monthly meeting today, the Reserve Bank of Australia has left the cash rate unaltered.

The cash rate has been 3.0 per cent since the Reserve’s December board meeting.

Statement from Glenn Stevens, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 3.0 per cent.

Global growth is forecast to be a little below average for a time, but the downside risks appear to have lessened over recent months. The United States is experiencing a moderate expansion and financial strains in Europe are considerably reduced compared with the situation through much of last year. Growth in China has stabilised at a fairly robust pace. Around Asia generally, growth was dampened by the earlier slowing in China and the weakness in Europe, but again there are signs of stabilisation. Commodity prices are little changed recently, at reasonably high levels.

Sentiment in financial markets is much improved compared with the middle of last year. Risk spreads have narrowed and funding conditions for financial institutions are more favourable. Long-term interest rates faced by highly rated sovereigns, including Australia, remain at exceptionally low levels. Borrowing conditions for large corporations are very attractive. Share prices have risen substantially from their low points. However, the task of putting private and public finances on sustainable paths in several major countries is far from complete. Accordingly, as seen most recently in Europe, financial markets remain vulnerable to occasional setbacks. [Read more…]


Anthony Albanese: Driving Productivity Through Infrastructure

The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, has outlined the federal government’s approach to infrastructure and productivity in an address to The Sydney Institute.

Albanese

  • Listen to Albanese’s speech (27m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Listen to the Question & Answer session (35m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Transcript of Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese’s speech to The Sydney Institute.

Infrastructure: Driving Productivity

INTRODUCTION

“Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything.”

So said Paul Krugman in his “The Age of Diminished Expectations”.

It’s no secret that Australia’s overall productivity rate has fallen over the past decade.

There are some who argue that the solution lies totally in industrial relations.

This is ideologically driven.

The fact is that Australia’s labour productivity is in the top dozen of international performers.

As the Australian National University’s Dean Parham pointed out recently, in recent years labour productivity has increased by 3.3 per cent per year.

Whilst this has occurred, capital productivity has actually declined by 4.3 per cent.

So the truth is that addressing productivity requires more than the simplistic slogans of those who would seek to return to WorkChoices under another name. [Read more…]