Australia 'ideal destination' for foreign investors

Mild inflation, stable political and economic environment nation's selling points, says envoy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 April, 2013, 5:24am

Australia's mild inflation and stable political and economic environment made it an ideal destination for foreign investment, said Kelvin Thomson, the country's parliamentary secretary for trade, who is travelling across Asia to promote a range of foreign investment opportunities.

Thomson, who was in Hong Kong yesterday, said Australia was rich in natural resources.

The country had also coped well with the financial crisis and had inflation running at about 2 per cent, he said.

Thomson said many companies had invested in Australia because of the positive operating environment.

Direct trading between the Australian dollar and the yuan, which started this month, was important for Australia and China as well as Hong Kong, which is the principal offshore yuan market and serves as a gateway to mainland China.

Thomson expects trade between Australia and mainland China to achieve a higher efficiency and said financial institutions were interested in providing more yuan-related trade services.

Only 1 per cent of trade between Australia and China is settled in yuan currently.

Thomson said direct currency trading would open up more business between the two countries. He expects the use of yuan in trade to be more significant but declined to project a figure.

The first Australia-Hong Kong yuan trade and investment dialogue was held in Sydney last week and Thomson said more vehicles would facilitate yuan business across the region.

Thomson also welcomed foreign investment in the property market in Australia.

He said the market had cooled in the past few years. "In some cities, the price is even dropping."

Property prices in cities including Melbourne and Sydney had eased in the past couple of years, he said.

Trade with Asia accounted for 25 per cent of Australia's gross domestic product in 2011 and the country is looking to raise it to at least 33 per cent by 2025.