Asia Pacific Countries: Australia’s New Investment
ASIA PACIFIC COUNTRIES – Australia is planning to offer millions of dollars in funding for different projects in the Pacific region, sources said.
The efforts were reportedly part of Australia’s plan to diminish China’s influence in the region.
China has been recently challenging Australia’s prominence in the region with years of increased aid to the region that sports immense resources under the ocean.
China doesn’t admit to seeking more influence in the Pacific, and claims that the aids it provides are solely for economic development.
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last year that the country would set up a fund for Pacific countries.
The fund would be as much as A$3 billion, or $2.07 billion, in the form of cheap loans and grants. The efforts would solidify the country’s standing in what Morrison called was “our patch.”
According to the people familiar with the plans, the fund will have rolled out by July 31. The country aims to give the go-ahead for several projects to show its commitment, as per sources.
“We haven’t finished which projects will be approved first but the plan is to have them rubber stamped quickly,” said another source, who also wished not to be named.
The investment in the Asia Pacific countries would be poured into telecommunications, transport, water projects, and energy.
Asia Pacific Countries, Aussie, Other Markets
Meanwhile, on another side of the economy, Australia’s unemployment rate remained at 5.2% last month.
That’s higher than the 5.1% that economists expected.
The AUD/USD pair slipped 0.3% to 0.6906 after the release of the data that showed jobs increased 42,300 in May from April.
In other currencies, the NZD/USD pair lost 0.1%, while the USD/JPY pair was 0.2% lower to 108.32.
The Japanese yen pulled off its safe-haven appeal as Asian stock markets declined. Risky assets generally tumbled in the wake of the mass protests in Hong Kong and the worries over the looming trade war between the US and China.
The US dollar index that gauges the greenback against a basket of six other currencies lost 0.1% to 96.925.
US consumer prices barely increased last month, and this pressured the Federal Reserve more to cut interest rates this year.
Fed officials including Chairman Jerome Powell also indicated that they were open to easing the US central bank’s monetary policy.
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