Frydenberg Says Australia Economy Resilient Despite Coronavirus

Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the economy is proving resilient despite the impact the coronavirus is having on its biggest trading partner, China.

Treasury is monitoring the effects of the outbreak on tourism and education and the consequences of international supply chains being disrupted, Frydenberg said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Sunday at the G-20 in Riyadh.

“We will continue to monitor the situation, but we do know that the Australian economy is remarkably resilient,” he said.

Australia is among a string of nations that has banned people from entering the country from mainland China due to the virus, and its National Security Committee is reviewing the restrictions on a weekly basis. The ban has meant more than 100,000 Chinese students have been unable to start university classes in Australia this term — a significant hit for the A$38 billion ($25 billion) education sector as just over a quarter of new foreign students come from China.

The epidemic is another headwind for Australia, already struggling with the fallout from a summer of devastating wildfires and a crippling drought. China is a key destination for exports of energy, metals and agricultural products and Australia is the world’s most China-dependent developed world economy.

Frydenberg acknowledged about a third of Australia’s exports go to China. But he said the government had diversified its trading relationships, reaching agreements with Indonesia, Japan and Korea and by supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Source: Bloomberg