Economy

Abbott to unveil ministry; Summers bows out of Fed race: Midday Roundup

Yolanda Redrup /

New Prime Minister Tony Abbott is expected to unveil his new government ministry later today.

It is expected to feature several new faces following some departures. Sophie Mirabella, previously shadow minister for innovation, industry and science, said on Friday she shouldn’t be considered for a cabinet position given she may not retain her seat.

The ABC is reporting that deputy treasurer Mathias Cormann will be promoted to the post of finance minister. Abbott is also expected to break with the tradition of appointing a National to the trade position: the money is on Andrew Robb taking the role.

Bronwyn Bishop is expected to be appointed Speaker in the new parliament.

Summers bows out of Fed race

The leading contender to replace Ben Bernanke atop the US Federal Reserve has bowed out overnight.

Larry Summers, the director of the national economic council, announced he would not be interested in the role in a letter to US President Barack Obama.

“I have reluctantly concluded that any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve the interests of the Federal Reserve, the Administration, or ultimately, the interests of the nation’s ongoing economic recovery,” he wrote.

In recent months, Summers has been widely criticised for his role in the damaging Asian financial crisis, where he pushed austerity policies that are widely regarded to have failed. He’s also been seen as too much of a Wall Street insider, unlikely to push for further regulation of the big banks.

Several members of Washington’s Senate Banking Committee expressed reservations about Summers. This opposition is believed to have been what finally led him to bow out.

The leading contender for the role is now economist Janet Yellen, who has been at the Federal Reserve since 2004. However, with Summers’ resignation, the field is now open.

Shares reach five-year high

Australian shares have hit a five-year high this morning, following Larry Summers’ withdrawal of his candidacy to chair the United States Federal Reserve.

Just after open the S&P/ASX200 benchmark hit 5,266 points, a level not seen since before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, but just after midday it had dropped slightly to 5251.9, up 32.3 points.

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