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Why is Australia the Lucky Country?

The UK is renewing its traditional ties with Australia with a post-Brexit trade deal, prompting the question: why has the country’s stock market punched above its weight since 1900?
Why is Australia the Lucky Country?
  • The UK’s post-Brexit trade deal with Australia has caused some consternation for farmers
  • But the challenges are more nuanced than the fallout from higher imports
  • Australia’s economic history provides an interesting lesson

A post-Brexit free trade deal with Australia has conjured nostalgic thoughts for some at the end of a long, sometimes traumatic separation from the EU. While we might be able to look forward to cheaper Aussie wine in the long term, the more interesting question for investors is why Australia’s stock market is officially ranked as the best-performing since 1900 – outpacing that of every other major economy. Not bad for a country with a harsh climate and the world’s biggest collection of venomous animals. 

The announcement of the trade deal was the cue for much anguish from Britain’s farming lobby. Speaking on Radio 4's Today Programme, Wales' first minister Mark Drakeford noted the countries' size difference as an especially pressing problem: "How can our hill farmers compete with the space that is available for the huge farms that they have in Australia," he said. 

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