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Wednesday, 15 March 1961

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) (Treasurer) - It is a fact that a loan closed at the time mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition. The only reason why no formal announcement has been made is that always after the closing of a loan a certain time elapses while some of the subscriptions from outlying places come in. However, I have had the best estimate that the Treasury can make on the advices received by it, and I had proposed later to-day to issue a press statement giving the full details. I am sure that the Leader of the Opposition, as well as all honorable members, will be gratified to know that whilst this was the largest loan sought by the Commonwealth for some time, the result has been the best since February, 1960, and that £34,700,000 of the target of £35,000,000 appears to have been subscribed. Having regard to existing circumstances I think that we can regard that as a highly satisfactory result.

Mr Calwell - You ought to get a good result with the price you are paying for it.

Mr HAROLD HOLT - While I am on my feet I will mention another loan of which I have not yet given any formal indication, which is being raised in Switzerland. The price being paid for the money raised there is a coupon rate of 4i per cent. - a rather better issue price from Australia's point of view than was the case for a similar loan of 60,000,000 Swiss francs last year when, with the same coupon rate of 4i per cent., the loan was issued at a discount, at 99. I myself attach some significance to the fact that the Swiss bankers, who are able to select their borrowers with great discrimination - indeed, any country in the field of borrowing regards itself as fortunate if it can be placed in the queue for the Swiss loan market, because rates are more favorable in Switzerland than they are in any of the financial centres of the world - should show such faith in Australia. I think that in view of all the circumstances Australia can feel gratified that there should be this confidence shown in our country and our future by the Swiss bankers, and that we should be able to raise money in Switzerland on such favorable terms.

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