Today's Business Headlines

24/11/2008 - 06:57

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Destined for a deficit; Property price fall worst in 25 years; Industry funds face attacks on unlisted valuations; Powers lock horns on crisis; Atlas digs in as big backers flex muscle

Today's Business Headlines

Destined for a deficit
The federal budget is destined to sink next year into its first deficit in nearly a decade as the global financial crisis shakes official economic forecasts. The Australian

Property price fall worst in 25 years
The once booming Perth property market has recorded its third consecutive quarterly fall in the median house price -- a phenomenon not seen in 25 years -- as talk of a recession eats into consumer confidence. The Australian

Industry funds face attacks on unlisted valuations
Superannuation funds face another wave of write-downs as the major funds prepare to revalue billions of dollars of unlisted assets such as infrastructure, property and private equity investments in their portfolios. The Fin Review

Powers lock horns on crisis
The world's two most powerful leaders have clashed on the global financial crisis, with China's Hu Jintao calling for tougher regulation of the world financial system and George W. Bush pressing the case for free markets. The Australian

Atlas digs in as big backers flex muscle
Atlas Iron chiefs will meet this week to shore up defences against its biggest shareholder IMC Resources after last week's shock sacking of chairman David Dixon amid suggestions the Asian shipping company could be eyeing control of the fledgling miner. The West

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The federal budget will slide into deficit next financial year as tax receipts fall and unemployment rises but the economy might still stave off a recession, one of the nation's preeminent economic forecasters has predicted.

Page 3: Carnarvon banana growers fear their chemical-free industry, which supplies more than a quarter of Perth's bananas, could be ruined by plans to import bananas from the Philippines.

The WA government has threatened to set up a special state-based industry taskforce to crack down on union militancy amid concerns that newly re-elected construction union boss Kevin Reynolds will take advantage of possible Rudd government moves to dilute powers of the existing federal watchdog.

Page 4: WA households are being "gouged" by the North West Shelf venture because its anti-competitive marketing arrangements are supporting excessive gas prices, a leading academic says.

The main gas industry body claims it has already provided the federal government with independent evidence of the damaging impact of an emissions trading scheme, after Kevin Rudd said the industry was yet to substantiate claims with hard data.

Page 6: Asia-Pacific political leaders have promised not to resort to protectionism as the world's economies slow sharply in coming months after a strong plea from US President George Bush to maintain their commitment to free markets.

Page 7: Australia's first open-ocean fish farm, off the coast of Two Rocks north of Perth, could be producing 100,000 tonnes of seafood a year within five years, a leading aquaculture body said yesterday.

Page 10: WA small businesses remain upbeat about the global economic downturn, with most optimistic about their long-term prospects, according to a new survey.

Page 11: Small businesses are being squeezed by commercial banks that are refusing to pass on even half the cuts in official interest rates, arousing concern that a key part of the economy is being financially hurt in the midst of the global financial crisis.

Business: Atlas Iron chiefs will meet this week to shore up defences against its biggest shareholder IMC Resources after last week's shock sacking of chairman David Dixon amid suggestions the Asian shipping company could be eyeing control of the fledgling miner.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Superannuation funds face another wave of write-downs as the major funds prepare to revalue billions of dollars of unlisted assets such as infrastructure, property and private equity investments in their portfolios.

US president-elect Barack Obama moved to bolster market confidence by selecting Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary, charging the well-respected Federal Bank of New York president with delivering plans to create 2.5 million jobs and formulating a massive stimulus package aimed at reviving economic growth.

APEC leaders have vowed to step up "extraordinary" efforts to boost the international economy to stop it sliding further into recession, underscoring their growing concerns about the global financial crisis.

In less than a week, the nation's second-largest oil and gas producer will finally throw off what Santos chief executive David Knox refers to as the company's "security blanket".

Page 3: Banks are lining up to test the federal government's wholesale funding guarantee, adding to pressure on the government to ensure the scheme works as planned.

Page 5: Unions are set to gain easier access to workplaces under the federal government's rewrite of industrial relations laws, despite pledges by Labor before the last election to retain existing restrictions on union rights of entry.

The Australian car industry hopes the Rudd government will this week unveil a temporary credit pool to fill a $2 billion shortfall in the local car finance market that threatens to put some dealers out of business.

Page 10: APEC businesspeople have called on leaders of member economies to back string stimulus packages to cushion the effects of a continued "process of deleveraging".

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The world's two most powerful leaders have clashed on the global financial crisis, with China's Hu Jintao calling for tougher regulation of the world financial system and George W. Bush pressing the case for free markets.

The mystery of Rene Rivkin's Swiss bank accounts is closer to being solved, with the late stockbroker's bankruptcy trustee winning a legal battle for access to confidential financial documents.

The federal budget is destined to sink next year into its first deficit in nearly a decade as the global financial crisis shakes official economic forecasts.

Page 2: The budget is likely to sink into deficit next year, according to Access Economics, which estimates that Treasury has exaggerated the Government's tax revenue by $20 billion.

The Rudd Government faces a voter backlash if Telstra pulls out of the bidding process for the national broadband network, says Labor's key pollster.

Page 3: The once booming Perth property market has recorded its third consecutive quarterly fall in the median house price -- a phenomenon not seen in 25 years -- as talk of a recession eats into consumer confidence.

Page 4: Unions will target Malcolm Turnbull in a new national television advertising campaign designed to pressure the federal Opposition to quickly pass Labor's proposed federal workplace laws.

Julia Gillard says voters have become so accustomed to her in the job as Australia's first woman Acting Prime Minister that it is regarded as "business as usual''.

Business: The global financial system remains fractured and more US blue-chip companies are struggling despite a solid bounce on Wall Street that is expected to provide short-term momentum for regional equities and credit markets.

As Citigroup executives and directors wrestle with whether drastic changes are needed at the New York banking firm, Citi itself has launched a counterattack aimed at stabilising the company.

As US banking giant Citigroup teeters, and global financial markets continue to unravel, the world's securities regulators, including Australian Securities and Investments Commission boss Tony D'Aloisio, will hold an urgent teleconference today to examine whether new regulations seeking to stop abusive short selling practices have been effective.

The international banks backing Babcock & Brown have lost patience with the Australian financier, which may be close to default on its billion-dollar loan portfolio.

BHP Billiton has moved a step closer to production cuts in its own right after its Brazilian joint-venture iron-ore pellet operation flagged a 65 per cent cut in output for at least the next eight weeks, ''in response to current weak market demand''.

Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens warned last week it was possible for Australia to talk itself into a downturn and made a plea for both markets and commentators to remain focused on the long-term opportunities.

Gold is trading at close to record levels in Australian dollar terms after the bullion price surged 5.8 per cent on global markets on Friday -- but the trouble is that local gold miners aren't producing enough of the lustrous stuff to take advantage of the heady conditions.

Lion Nathan, the country's second-biggest brewer, has signalled it is ready to pull out of its $8 billion bid for Coca-Cola Amatil if the takeover became ''genuinely hostile''.

Emerging Australian iron ore company Iron Ore Holdings (IOH) has discovered a significant zone of high-grade bedded iron mineralisation at its Weeli Wolli project.

Members of General Motors' board of directors are willing to consider ''all options'' for the ailing carmaker, including an eventual filing for bankruptcy protection, a stance that puts them in rare disagreement with chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner, people familiar with the matter say.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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