Today's Business Headlines

09/12/2008 - 07:00

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Job fears grow, but unions want more; Non-bank lenders hurting; Miners tear into ETS proposal; BHP, Rio face $2bn iron threat; Qantas plays down BA merger

Today's Business Headlines

Job fears grow, but unions want more
The spectre of widespread unemployment is looming larger almost by the week, with figures released yesterday revealing another slump in job vacancy advertisements and a business survey pointing to further falls in sales and profits. The West Australian

Non-bank lenders hurting
Non-bank lenders will be squeezed out of the mortgage business within 12 to 18 months if global credit markets remain frozen, consolidating the major banks' competitive advantage. The West Australian

Miners tear into ETS proposal
The $80 billion mining industry has savaged the federal government's proposed carbon trading scheme, claiming its design is so onerous that even modest emissions targets would impose huge costs. The Fin Review

BHP, Rio face $2bn iron threat
Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto stand to lose up to $2 billion if Chinese steel companies succeed in their bid to terminate 2008 iron ore contracts three months early. The Australian

Qantas plays down BA merger
Qantas boss Alan Joyce played down the chances of a successful merger with British Airways yesterday, citing big hurdles to their plans to create a transcontinental mega-carrier. Sydney Morning Herald

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The spectre of widespread unemployment is looming larger almost by the week, with figures released yesterday revealing another slump in job vacancy advertisements and a business survey pointing to further falls in sales and profits.

Page 4: The global financial crisis has claimed another big WA resources project, with Apache Energy and Santos yesterday shelving plans for a $900 million offshore gas development.

Malcolm Turnbull has withdrawn unconditional support for the taxpayer-funded Christmas bonuses being tipped into the bank accounts of pensioners, carers and families, saying tax cuts would have been a preferable way of stimulating the economy.

The developing world could face an economic catastrophe with a global recession stretching into 2010 and big falls in some of WA's key commodity exports, the World Bank has warned.

Page 6: WA's scientist of the year, Jorg Imberger has reopened the debate about nuclear waste, saying the state could make a lot of money and fulfil its "global responsibility" if it accepted the world's waste.

Page 7: The federal government is forging ahead with its inquiry into the prospect of building a rail link from the city to Perth Airport despite the state government saying it does not support the idea.

Page 12: The federal opposition has urged the business community to make public its worries about the Rudd government's proposed workplace laws, drawing particular attention to increased rights of entry for unions.

A big transport company has supported aggressive emissions cuts out of concern the Rudd government may be getting a one-sided view from industry on carbon trading.

Page 14: Farmers slugged with high fertiliser costs are calling for stronger competition laws after a Senate committee found evidence of price-gouging and stockpiling.

Page 19: First-homebuyers are storming back into the WA market with a 90 per cent increase in the past three months.

Business: Non-bank lenders will be squeezed out of the mortgage business within 12 to 18 months if global credit markets remain frozen, consolidating the major banks' competitive advantage.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce says the proposed merger with British Airways may come to nothing, with three "big issues" still to be navigated even before regulators and the government take a look at it.

China has widened its front against the world's iron ore miners as it tries to win a better deal next year, yesterday suggesting they should accept price cuts of as much as 82 per cent.

World markets rallied yesterday as Chinese officials weighed new measures to bolster growth and US president-elect Barack Obama pledged the world's biggest economy would spend its way out of a recession.

Any move to take over oil and gas giant Santos would spark the interest of Australia's competition and foreign investment authorities, according to analysts.

Embattled producer Anvil Mining has joined the list of copper miners to bow to plunging prices, revealing last night it would shut its loss-making flagship Dikulushi mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The chief of building giant Boral's Midland Brock business is set to take charge of Austal's Australian operations, with the shipbuilder announcing Peter Hogan will step into the role left vacant by Bob Browning early next year.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The Australian Taxation Office has vowed to crack down on small and large businesses that try to illegally cut their tax bills in a bid to reduce the impact of the global financial crisis.

The employment outlook is deteriorating amid concerns that the federal government's $8.7 billion pre-Christmas hand-outs may provide only temporary relief from widespread job cuts in the retail sector.

Qantas Airways chief executive Alan Joyce has ruled out a three-way deal with British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, in his first public comments since plans for an $8 billion merger with BA were revealed last week.

Page 3: The $80 billion mining industry has savaged the federal government's proposed carbon trading scheme, claiming its design is so onerous that even modest emissions targets would impose huge costs.

Page 4: Domestic airfares have plunged to record lows for December, traditionally the most expensive month the travel, leaving domestic carriers preparing for a slow 2009 and passengers in the box seat for months of cheap flights.

Page 5: Unions are pushing for amendments to the Rudd government's proposed workplace relations reforms to allow them to negotiate with employers for more generous right-of-entry provisions and the removal of probation periods for unfair dismissal claims.

Page 10: United States president-elect Barack Obama said the US recession would worsen before a recovery took hold but he would offer and economic stimulus plan "equal to the task" without worrying about a short-term widening of the budget deficit.

Page 11: Japan's current account surplus narrowed for an eighth month in October as a deepening global slowdown dampened exports.

Page 14: The future of one of Australia's largest mining developments is up in the air after China's Citic Pacific withdrew its support for Santo's planned Reindeer gas project off Western Australia.

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Rudd government has been given an early Christmas present, with support for the Labor Party leaping to a six-month high.

Upmarket clothing retailer Herringbone has collapsed after suffering a 23 per cent fall in sales over the past two months.

The $60 billion coal industry is considering an offer from the Rudd government to pump millions of dollars into a special abatement fund to help measure and cut emissions from mining.

Page 2: Families are ploughing their Rudd-government bonuses into mortgages and savings, and not spending the money as intended.

Page 3: The criminal case against cardboard box magnate Richard Pratt may be dropped because of his ill health.

Business: Speculation that a group of Chinese companies could launch a bid for gas producer Santos has pushed its share price up 9 per cent.

Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto stand to lose up to $2 billion if Chinese steel companies succeed in their bid to terminate 2008 iron ore contracts three months early.

Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce has conceded there is a "reasonable chance" the airline's proposed $8 billion merger with British Airways will not go ahead.

As the former chief executive of Rural Press, Brian McCarthy has never lost sight of the uncompromising corporate culture that shaped him.

World equity markets soared yesterday amid hopes for fresh action by US authorities to fight a deepening recession.

Telstra could take on the free-to-air television networks by launching a set-top box next year that allows viewers to record TV shows and skip ads.

Origin Energy chief executive Grant King has extended his contract with the company for a further five years.

People with home loans are finding it harder to meet the repayments than last year, a report has found.

Shopping centre owner Macquarie Countrywide Trust has pushed out the maturity date on its $250 million in debt by 12 months to February 2012.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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