THE NEWS WRAP: Australia on course to remain one of world’s best-performing economies

Australia is on course to retain its status as one of the best-performing economies in the world, a panel of economists has predicted.


The panel, brought together by The Australian, says that the government is on schedule for a budget surplus in 2011-12.


Fears over a crash in China’s economy is unfounded, according to the panel, with a ‘soft landing’ expected to aid Australian businesses.


Dollar sky high


The Australian dollar broke through the US97 cent barrier overnight on its seemingly unstoppable march to parity with the US currency. It touched a high of US97.3cents before dropping back slightly.


Meanwhile, Virgin Blue, dogged by recent problems over its check-in system, is set to be one of the main beneficiaries of the soaring dollar. The airline, along with rival Qantas, has seen the US-dollar driven costs of jet fuel and aircraft leases drop sharply.


Migration falls


Australia should brace itself for labour market pressures after net migration shrank 25% in the year to March 31. New ABS figures showed that the biggest drops were in Western Australia and Queensland, sparking fears of a ‘two-speed’ economy. 


Conroy v Slim


Communications minister, Stephen Conroy, has hit back at the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim, over the National Broadband Network. Slim, who made his fortune in the communications industry, claimed that the NBN was too costly.


However, Conroy’s office said that Slim’s comments were “no surprise” given his riches in owning a “vertically-integrated monopoly.” 


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