Australian Economy

Macquarie boss backs Australian economy to withstand interest rate hikes

While Wikramanayake was optimistic about growth in the short term, she said the war in Ukraine had knock-on effects for commodity prices, inflation and global supply chains, all of which clouded the medium term outlook.

“While in the near term, global growth looks set to remain strong, it means in the medium term that the outlook is less certain for us all,” Wikramanayake said.

Macquarie, a major financier of both renewable and fossil fuels, has been a big winner from the recent volatility on global commodity markets and a wave of merger and acquisition activity.

Wikramanayake will deliver the financial giant’s full-year results on Friday, with markets expecting it to hand down a bumper $4.5 billion profit for the year to March.

Despite the uncertainty on global markets, Wikramanayake’s speech underlined themes that the bank sees as key drivers of growth: decarbonisation, digitisation, and the large pools of global capital chasing returns.

She said Australia had experienced a record amount of merger and acquisition activity in 2021 and there had also been a strong start to 2022, partly because pools of private capital had been prepared to pay a premium for assets in this market.

“Australia has been an appealing market as we’ve seen for this international capital, given our relative success in managing the pandemic, and the current economic conditions, and a range of really attractive well-run businesses here,” she said.

“So the weight of available capital means there’s still scope for significant investment opportunities during this year, despite this spectre of rising interest rates.”

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