Wayne Swan & The Australian Economy

Treasurer Wayne Swan has insisted that the budget will be returned to a surplus, as promised, by 2012/13. But he says the slowing global economy has made conditions just a bit more difficult. In a much-needed confidence boost for the Gillard Government, Wayne Swan this week won the prestigious global award of Finance Minister of the Year.

The only other Australian Treasurer to win the title from Euromoney magazine was Paul Keating in 1984, when he was dubbed the “world’s greatest treasurer” by Bob Hawke. Australia’s longest-serving treasurer Peter Costello was never awarded the prize. Mr Swan will be presented with the gong at a reception in Washington this week. Euromoney said he won for his “swift response” to stop Australia falling into recession amid the global financial crisis and for maintaining one of the world’s best-performing economies.

An International Monetary Fund report predicts Australia’s economy will grow by 3.3 per cent next year – far ahead of the 1.9 per cent average for advanced economies. Most economists say the Reserve Bank could keep official interest rates on hold for another 12 to 18 months. They tip the RBA will wait to see if worries about a double-dip recession in the US and Europe and rising Australian unemployment will contain inflation. The RBA’s cash rate has been steady at 4.75 per cent since last November. 

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