Australia Fast Facts
Australia is in Oceania, a continent located between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. Australia’s land area is 7,682,300 sq km which makes it the world’s 6th largest country by size; however Australia is not densely populated in many areas. Its population is 21,515,754 (July 2010 est.) which makes Australia the world’s 54th largest country by population size.
Australia Economy and GDP
Australia's abundant and diverse natural resources attract high levels of foreign investment and include extensive reserves of coal, iron ore, copper, gold, natural gas, uranium, and renewable energy sources.
Australia’s economy is estimated to have a GDP of $824.3 billion (2009 est. in US dollars) which makes it the world’s 19th largest economy.
A series of major investments, such as the US$40 billion Gorgon Liquid Natural Gas project, will significantly expand the resources sector. Australia also has a large services sector and is a significant exporter of natural resources, energy, and food.
Key tenets of Australia's trade policy include support for open trade and the successful culmination of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, particularly for agriculture and services. The Australian economy grew for 17 consecutive years before the global financial crisis. Subsequently, the Rudd government introduced a fiscal stimulus package worth over US$50 billion to offset the effect of the slowing world economy, while the Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates to historic lows.
These policies – and continued demand for commodities, especially from China – helped the Australian economy rebound after just one quarter of negative growth. The economy grew by 1.5% during the first three quarters of 2009 – the best performance in the OECD. Unemployment, originally expected to reach 8-10%, peaked at 5.7% in late 2009 and fell to 5.3% by February 2010.
As a result of an improved economy, the budget deficit is expected to peak below 4.2% of GDP and the government could return to budget surpluses as early as 2015. The Australian financial system remained resilient throughout the financial crisis and Australian banks have rebounded. Australia was one of the first advanced economies to raise interest rates – three times since October 2009 – and the government removed the wholesale funding guarantee for financial institutions in March 2010.
During 2010, the government will focus on raising Australia's economic productivity, managing the symbiotic, but sometimes tense, economic relationship with China, passing emissions trading legislation, and dealing with other climate-related issues such as drought and devastating bushfires. Australia is engaged in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks and ongoing free trade agreement negotiations with China and Japan.
Investing in Australia and Australia’s Economy
There are many ways to invest in Australia ranging from Australian stocks traded internationally, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) specific to Australia or including Australia as part of the Asian region, as well as ETFs on specific commodities from Australia. Investors seeking to learn more about investment opportunities in Australia should click below:
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