Today's Business Headlines

21/10/2008 - 06:52

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RBA warns on bank guarantee; Mortgage fund freezes withdrawals; Grylls, Barnett up ante in royalties stalemate; Atlas reviews iron ore plans; Profits in reverse for car retailer AHG

Today's Business Headlines

RBA warns on bank guarantee
Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens is warning the Rudd government its blanket guarantee of bank deposits is creating serious dislocation in the entire financial system and must be changed. The Australian

Mortgage fund freezes withdrawals
The nation's biggest mortgage fund, the $2.9 billion Challenger Howard Mortgage Fund, is set to freeze investor redemptions after the federal government's deposit guarantee plan prompted a run of withdrawals as nervous investors flocked back to the big banks. The Fin Review

Grylls, Barnett up ante in royalties stalemate
The tenuous agreement at the heart of the Liberal-Nationals government is in a shambles after Nationals leader Brendon Grylls yesterday refused to rule out blocking next year's Budget in Parliament if it did not honour the spending promise he made to voters before the election. The West

Atlas reviews iron ore plans
Atlas Iron has joined a growing chorus of emerging iron ore miners reviewing operations on the back of the demand slowdown from China. The Australian

Profits in reverse for car retailer AHG
Australia's largest car retailer has reported a 30 per cent slump in profit in the three months to September as tighter margins clashed with a decline in consumer spending. The Australian

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The tenuous agreement at the heart of the Liberal-Nationals government is in a shambles after Nationals leader Brendon Grylls yesterday refused to rule out blocking next year's Budget in Parliament if it did not honour the spending promise he made to voters before the election.

Just a day after Kevin Rudd complained that Australians had had "a gutful" of greed and excessive executive salaries, his Future Fund has revealed it paid its top executive almost $1 million last year despite the fund failing to meet its financial performance targets.

Page 4: WA's LNG industry has turned up the heat on the federal government over its proposed emissions trading scheme, with Chevron warning yesterday that the ETS could cost it up to $400 million a year while Woodside Petroleum claimed it would add $500 million annually to the cost of running the North West Shelf venture.

Page 5: Atlas Iron has become the latest WA iron ore miner of slowing Chinese demand, saying yesterday it would be forced to sell its ore on the less-lucrative spot market after failing to secure a long-term buyer.

WA scrap metal businesses have been hit hard by the global financial meltdown, with many facing the prospect of closing or laying off staff because of falling commodity prices.

US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has warned of a "protracted slowdown" in the economy and said consideration of a second economic stimulus plan by Congress would be appropriate.

Page 6: An independent inquiry will be held into the role of government departments monitoring safety standards at gas plants in the wake of the Varanus Island explosion which crippled WA's gas supplies, the state government revealed late yesterday.

Page 7: Colin Barnett has called on other states to use more natural gas for Australia's energy needs as a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and proposed building a pipeline from the Kimberley to South Australia.

Page 10: Growers of genetically modified canola will need to set up buffer zones of just five metres to keep the GM crops away from regular varieties if WA follows national industry guidelines, sparking fears of contamination if the state adopts the controversial technology.

Business: The global financial crisis, peak interest rates and high petrol prices have fuelled a dramatic slowdown in the automotive industry, with weak sales driving a 30 per cent slump in September-quarter net profit for the country's biggest car retailer, Automotive Holdings Group.

Resolute Mining has been forced to reconsider plans to raise $51 million after its share price slumped below the level at which it had hoped to carry out the rights issue.

Macquarie Group has offloaded a $2 billion portfolio of Italian mortgages the credit crunch forces the investment bank to pull out of funding new loans, including in Australia.

Aquila Resources has pulled a planned spin-off of its exploration assets, citing market volatility.

Shares in ING rebounded more than 20 per cent in early trading last night after the Dutch government threw the bank and insurer a $19.2 billion lifeline to shore up its capital position.

Troubled investment bank Babcock & Brown said it would overhaul corporate governance and fee structures at two of its listed funds to address investor concerns about transparency and accountability.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The nation's biggest mortgage fund, the $2.9 billion Challenger Howard Mortgage Fund, is set to freeze investor redemptions after the federal government's deposit guarantee plan prompted a run of withdrawals as nervous investors flocked back to the big banks.

The Chinese government will adopt "flexible and prudent" plans to strengthen the world's fourth-largest economy after the slowest pace of growth in five years fuelled fears the Asian powerhouse may not be immune from the global downturn.

Page 4: Treasurer Wayne Swan has conceded the government's $76 billion infrastructure plan to fight the global financial crisis will be financed from, future surpluses, raising questions about whether the government can deliver on its "nation building" election promises.

Page 5: Funding pressures faced by banks have eased dramatically, giving lenders room to implement a fresh round of cuts to interest rates.

Page 9: West Australian gas users will be hit by price rises as one of the biggest suppliers passes on the federal government's $2.5 billion condensate tax within the next 12 months.

Page 5: Expectations the official interest rates may drop close to five per cent next month have been parred back.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens is warning the Rudd government its blanket guarantee of bank deposits is creating serious dislocation in the entire financial system and must be changed.

Small business leaders will ask the Rudd government for tax relief and easier access to credit at a special summit with senior federal ministers on Friday.

Page 3: Kevin Rudd has promised carers the government will explore the idea of putting money into their superannuation savings.

Page 6: The global financial crash cost taxpayers $752 million in the three months to September 30, cutting the value of assets held in the federal Future Fund.

Page 7: The Reserve Bank's confidence that it has inflation under control has been tested by a doubling in the rate of wholesale price increases.

Page 9: A serious rift has developed between the West Australian Liberal and National parties just four weeks after they formed a precarious alliance government.

World: US Republican presidential hopeful John McCain engaged in some unusual candour yesterday when he contemplated a loss on November 4.

Business: The Australian heads of several investment banks are warning the government their exclusion from bank guarantees will limit their lending capacity and damage the economy.

A slowdown in China's growth, from 10.1 per cent in the June quarter to 9 per cent in the September quarter, was in line with expectations in Australia's mining industry.

A warning has been sounded about the multi-billion-dollar mortgage trust sector, with most rated trusts leaking funds in an "unsustainable" trend for both fund managers and investors, according to research firm and stockbroker Lonsec.

Atlas Iron has joined a growing chorus of emerging iron ore miners reviewing operations on the back of the demand slowdown from China.

Australia's biggest investment bank, Macquarie Group, will sell its Italian mortgages portfolio because of increases in funding costs, and book a $70 million after-tax charge as a result.

Australia's largest car retailer has reported a 30 per cent slump in profit in the three months to September as tighter margins clashed with a decline in consumer spending.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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