Currency and Banking
The unit of currency in Australia is the Australian dollar, divided into 100 cents and coined in 5¢, 10¢, 20¢, 50¢, $1, and $2 pieces. The Australian dollar is freely traded on international currency markets. (A$1.60 equals U.S.$1; 1998 average).
The first Australian bank was established in Sydney in 1817. The banking system now includes the Reserve Bank of Australia, established in 1911, which handles the functions of central banking, including note issuance; the components of the Commonwealth Banking Group, including the Commonwealth Development Bank and the Commonwealth Savings Bank; and three other major banks: the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Westpac Banking Corporation, and the National Australia Bank. A number of privately owned or state-owned banks operate, as well as many foreign banks. The Australian Stock Exchange conducts trading in six cities: Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney.
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