Australia’s unemployment rate rose as the nation posted its worst back-to-back years of job growth since the 1997 Asian financial crisis, throwing up an obstacle in Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s re-election bid this year.
The Reserve Bank of Australia said more interest-rate reductions may be appropriate to spur economic growth as a mining boom wanes, minutes of its Nov. 6 policy meeting showed, sending the nation’s currency lower.
Australia maintained the highest benchmark interest rate among major developed economies as domestic demand weathers a global slowdown that’s driving down the price of iron ore, the nation’s biggest commodity export.
Australian employers boosted payrolls in July and the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell as the nation’s resource-driven economy weathers a global slowdown, sending the local dollar near a 4 1/2-month high.
Australia’s central bank Governor Glenn Stevens signaled he’s prepared to extend a pause in interest rates as global market turmoil threatens an economy that grew last quarter at the fastest pace in four years.
Australia unexpectedly lost jobs for a second straight month in December, capping the nation’s worst year for employment in almost two decades and weakening the local currency as traders raised bets on interest-rate cuts.