Chris Bowen, a key backer of returned Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, was sworn in as Australia’s third treasurer in 17 years and faces the challenge of reviving a slowing economy as a mining-investment boom wanes.
Australian business confidence fell in April for a second straight month and advertisements for job vacancies dropped for the first time since January, a sign the central bank’s interest-rate increases may cool domestic demand.
Australia’s four biggest lenders are divided over whether Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens and his board will resume reductions next week in the highest benchmark interest rate among major developed nations.
Australia, the third-biggest wheat exporter, should welcome overseas investment in its agricultural industries to improve infrastructure and efficiency as Asian food demand climbs, said Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.
Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. started a second bullion vault in Asia to cater for growing physical demand that the Melbourne-based company sees driving prices as much as 14 percent higher over two years.