20071123 australian prime minister john howard 77920113 18
Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who is up for reelection this weekend. - 


Lisa Napoli: The race for prime minister in Australia is reaching a fevered pitch. Voters there go to the polls tomorrow. But investors are more focused on what's happening in the U.S. Eleanor Bell reports.

Eleanor Bell: John Howard has been Australia's prime minister since 1996. He's presided over a booming economy, given high demand for natural resources from China and India.

Even with the economy in his favor, polls indicate Howard could face defeat in this weekend's national elections. But the expected change in government has not upset the Australian stock market.

This is ANZ Bank chief economist Saul Eslake:

Saul Eslake: Markets' focus has very much been on the same developments that markets in other past of the world are looking at. That is the subprime mortgage crisis, the write-downs of losses by banks and the impact of all of this on federal reserve policy and the outlook for the U.S. economy.

The U.S. credit crunch could severely impact Australia's key trade partners. Asian countries account for seven of Australia's 10 largest export markets.

In Sydney, Australia, I'm Eleanor Bell for Marketplace.