Gold soars: Economy round-up

Andrew Scott’s resignation as chief of Centro has done nothing to help the fragile confidence of Australian markets, which quickly declined from an initial rise on opening to be trading at 5981.1 at 12.20pm, just 1.1 points up on yesterday’s close.

One beneficiary of all the fragility on equity markets and the declining US dollar has been the gold price. Last night the near-month bullion contract hit a new high of $US915.90 an ounce, a new record high.

The Australian dollar has also been trading strongly in recent days as fears about the US economy drive speculation of an imminent rate cut there. At 12.28pm the Australian dollar is trading at US89.92c, down on yesterday’s local 89.42c close.

The strong Australian dollar is one factor helping our tourism industry. Overseas tourists visiting Australia increased 2.7% in November, seasonally adjusted. Short-term visitor arrivals are currently 0.4% higher than when they last troughed in August 2007 and 0.5% higher than in November 2006.

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