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Australia Considers Cuts to Rein in Second-Smallest Debt

Australia may sell assets and cut welfare spending to rein in a debt burden that is already the second-smallest among developed nations, bolstering a bond market that is off to its best start since 2000.

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey will deliver his first budget on May 13. A five-kilogram (11-pound) tome published yesterday by the National Commission of Audit recommended savings of as much as A$70 billion ($65 billion) a year within a decade. The independent body, led by former Business Council of Australia President Tony Shepherd, wants the government to commit to achieving surpluses over the economic cycle.