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Australia picks first female central bank head to shepherd through reform

Australia has appointed the first female head of its central bank, passing over the current governor to elevate his deputy to the high-profile job amid a public backlash over steeply rising interest rates. Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced Michele Bullock would head the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) for the next seven years, having chosen not to reappoint Governor Philip Lowe for a second term. Bullock, 60, joined the RBA in 1985 with a masters from the London School of Economics and is widely respected by analysts.

Why Philip Lowe not reappointed?

Lowe will leave on Sept. 17, marking the end of his 43-year career at the bank. The decision comes as Lowe is due to accompany Chalmers to a Group of 20 meeting in India next week. The government has been under pressure to dump Lowe for encouraging people to borrow during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 by saying interest rates were unlikely to rise until 2024, only to start hiking two years early in mid-2022. The central bank has since lifted rates 12 times to a decade-high of 4.1%, adding hundreds of dollars to monthly mortgage repayments at a time when a cost of living crisis is already stretching household budgets.

About the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) 

The RBA is currently undertaking the biggest reorganisation in decades after an independent review into its operations recommended sweeping changes to the way policy was formulated and communicated. The Reserve Bank of Australia is Australia’s central bank and banknote issuing authority. It has had this role since 14 January 1960, when the Reserve Bank Act 1959 removed the central banking functions from the Commonwealth Bank.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • Reserve Bank of Australia Capital: Canberra;
  • Reserve Bank of Australia Prime minister: Anthony Albanese;
  • Reserve Bank of Australia Currency: Australian dollar ($) (AUD).

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