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Central bank governor of the year 2002: Ian Macfarlane – Luck and a lot of good judgement

Ian Macfarlane points to the dynamism of Australia’s economy, neglected by a market that went hi-tech mad, as part of the reason for his success at the Reserve Bank of Australia. But he’s made a few good calls of his own.

When Ian Macfarlane, governor of Reserve Bank of Australia, is told that he is Euromoney's central bank governor of the year, it's as if he has been told something self-evident. But he quickly points out that he doesn't deserve to take all the credit. "If the award is for the performance of the country and for the bank, then I am not surprised," he says. "Because the numbers coming out of Australia have been so good for so long that I feel that Australia is due some recognition." Good is an understatement. The numbers are exceptional and have been for 11 years. Since 1990, Australia's average annual rate of growth has been 3.4%, faster than any other OECD economy of comparable size. Among developed economies, Norway is next most impressive at 3%. The one economy that left them all standing is Ireland's, which in the same period has an average annual growth rate of 6.3%.

Today, while many central bank governors help to fight rearguard actions against recession, Macfarlane continues to steer an economy that boasts growth rates of more than 4%. It's an enviable position. And central bank governors that can claim, as he can, that their economies over the past year did better in relative terms than ever before are few and far between.

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