Tony Abbott sworn in; Economy activity set to rise this year, Westpac survey predicts: Midday Roundup

Tony Abbott has officially been sworn in as the 28th Prime Minister of Australia.

A total of 42 ministers, assistant ministers and parliamentary secretaries have been sworn in this morning, as the Coalition prepares to get to work on its election promises.

First on the agenda is Abbott’s often pledged promise to repeal the carbon tax. Treasurer Joe Jockey is also ready to give the Clean Energy Corporation orders to cease operating.

The new Immigration Department will also cease granting permanent protection visas.

The new cabinet was announced on Monday and has been criticised for only containing one woman, Julie Bishop, who goes into the role of Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Economy activity set to rise this year, Westpac survey predicts

The pace of economic activity is set to increase in the next several months, according to the latest results from the Westpac Melbourne Institute Leading Index.

The index increased by 4.1% in July, above the long-term trend of just 2.9%.

The index measures the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months in the future. In a statement Westpac economist Bill Evans says the result is notably above the long-term trend.

“It is therefore still pointing to a stronger above-trend growth outlook than is expected by Westpac,” Evans says.

“The Reserve Bank seems to be in line with Westpac’s view. It recently revised down its own near-term growth forecast.”

Evans also says Westpac still expects a rate cut to be announced in November.

Shares flat as investors await news of US Fed

The Australian share market opened slightly lower this morning, as investors continue to await news of the two-day Federal Reserve meeting in the United States.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 3.6 points or 0.1% to 5247.6 at 12.00 AEST, while in the United States the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 35 points or 0.2% to 15,529.7.


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