23/03/2009 - 06:28

Today's Business Headlines

23/03/2009 - 06:28

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It's the recession we will have - PM; Miners seek direct line to Barnett; Rudd to lobby for Beijing; Qantas chief to slash jobs in executive shake-up; AIG anger to hit credit plan

It's the recession we will have - PM
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has conceded Australia is sliding into a recession and says it is "virtually impossible" to sustain economic growth. The Age

Miners seek direct line to Barnett
Two of the country's biggest resources industry groups want the West Australian government to downgrade the role of the environment minister in the approval process for major projects, in a bid to slash regulatory delays that have dogged the sector in recent years. The Fin Review

Rudd to lobby for Beijing
Kevin Rudd is proposing an ambitious overhaul of the world economic order, pushing for China to be given a more central role in the International Monetary Fund in a move that threatens to divide the Group of 20 and anger Europe. The Australian

Qantas chief to slash jobs in executive shake-up
Qantas Airways is expected to slash up to 100 senior executive jobs in a revamp of its management structure, as new chief executive Alan Joyce puts his stamp on the airline and braces for a prolonged slump in global air travel. The Fin Review

AIG anger to hit credit plan
The populist backlash the White House helped foment over the huge bonuses paid to the now government-owned insurance giant AIG could help cruel the much anticipated rollout of a new plan to unclog the US credit markets. The Australian

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 4: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has effectively conceded Australia will slide into recession as global financial woes swamp domestic efforts to keep the economy buoyant.

Desperate West Australians who have lost their jobs or are facing cuts to work hours are swamping the Salvation Army, with the charity reporting a spike in demand for food, accommodation and counselling.

Page 5: Some of WA's most powerful businessmen say Perth is as well-placed as any city in the world to ride out the economic downturn but warn major infrastructure projects must go ahead to ensure it pulls through.

Negotiations over the state government's plans for a liquefied natural gas processing hub in the Kimberley have hit an 11th-hour snag after Aboriginal representatives walked out of a meeting.

Page 7: Peppermint Grove council is the "Monaco of WA" and should not have to merge with its neighbours under the government's push to cut the number of local councils, according to Premier Colin Barnett.

Australian consumers are partly to blame for the demise of 1,850 jobs at Pacific Brands, the company's chief executive says.

Page 9: Real estate agents have predicted a future for Hopetoun as a holiday and retirement Mecca, with buyers snapping up cheap blocks in the beleaguered south coast town.

Page 19: WA politicians may have to cop a wage freeze this year because of tough economic times, according to Treasurer Troy Buswell.

Business: Australian superannuation funds are still coming to grips with the risks climate change poses to long-term investment, according to a survey.

For Peter Margin, managing director of food group Goodman Fielder, there are some lessons to be learnt from Pacific Brands.

Fortescue Metals Group's second-biggest shareholder, Philip Falcone, who runs the $US7 billion ($10.2 billion) Harbinger Capital Partners, is starting a hedge fund that draws on his background in distressed securities, even as investors are locked into his biggest fund.

Borrowers are having to jump through hoops when they apply for home loans, as banks and other mortgage providers continue to tighten their lending criteria.

The head of an inquiry into executive salaries says say levels have risen sharply in recent years, but they look set to fall.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Qantas Airways is expected to slash up to 100 senior executive jobs in a revamp of its management structure, as new chief executive Alan Joyce puts his stamp on the airline and braces for a prolonged slump in global air travel.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh's pitch as a better economic manager who would preserve jobs and maintain infrastructure spending has helped Labor win a fifth term in the first state election since the full impact of the global economic crisis hit home.

The Obama administration is set to unveil a three-pronged plan to clear the US banking system of toxic mortgage-related assets by providing hundreds of billions of dollars worth of cheap loans to private investors.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has conceded that it will be "virtually impossible" for Australia to avoid a recession and warned that the global economic crisis was going to get worse before it got better.

Page 3: The Chinese government is certain to press its case for Chinalco's proposed investment in Rio Tinto when Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, Trade Minister Simon Crean and Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith all descend on China over the next fortnight.

Page 4: Small business operators hope Labor will deliver on its promised reduction of red tape, while larger business groups are relieved there was no hung parliament.

Page 6: Two of the country's biggest resources industry groups want the West Australian government to downgrade the role of the environment minister in the approval process for major projects, in a bid to slash regulatory delays that have dogged the sector in recent years.

Page 7: Short-term lenders are reporting a surge in demand as the economy slows, though government handouts are causing a temporary slowdown in business.

Page 9: The Rudd government will ban acceleration of deferred incentives to departing senior executives unless shareholder approval is first obtained, as part of its crackdown on golden handshakes, Corporate Law Minister Nick Sherry said.

West Australian politicians may have to cop a wage freeze this year due to tough economic times, Treasurer Troy Buswell said.

Page 13: The cash-settled total return swap entered into by North American brewer Molson Coors for a 5.3 per cent stake in Foster's Group matures later this year, but the brewer has made not contract with Foster's about its strategic intentions.

The market's enthusiastic response to last week's premium hard coking coal settlement between BHP Mitsubishi Alliance and Japan's Nippon Steel may be unjustified, given an expectation other producers could receive less for their own products.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Kevin Rudd is proposing an ambitious overhaul of the world economic order, pushing for China to be given a more central role in the International Monetary Fund in a move that threatens to divide the Group of 20 and anger Europe.

On the eve of the Queensland election, Labor's key strategists, state secretary Anthony Chisholm and the premier's chief of staff Mike Kaiser, were the subject of much talk among party members.

Twenty-six of the nation's largest remote Aboriginal communities will be targeted for billions of dollars in new federal funding as part of the Rudd Government's push to close the gap between blacks and whites.

Page 2: The royal commissioner who exposed how the South Australian government buried itself in debt in the 1990s has spoken out against the heavy federal deficit Kevin Rudd will take on to stave off the effects of the recession.

Malcolm Turnbull has moved to squash speculation he would resurrect Work Choices if the Coalition was returned to power at the next election.

Queensland's rocketing borrowing requirement is increasing the pressure on Wayne Swan to guarantee all state government debt, and the issue will be discussed at a meeting the Treasurer is to hold with his state and territory counterparts in Canberra on Wednesday.

Page 3: Marcus Einfeld has used a television program to express the guilt, shame and remorse he stubbornly withheld from the court that last week sentenced him to three years behind bars.

Australian universities are responsible for providing quality education, not consecrated religious spaces, according to a university involved in a bitter dispute over Muslim prayer rooms.

Page 4: Political strategist Lynton Crosby has taken one of the most surprising turns in his career by taking on an election campaign for a party other than Australia's Liberals or the British Conservatives.

Page 5: Low-paid jobs do not make Australian men any more susceptible to future unemployment than higher-paid jobs, new research shows.

Air safety investigators have taken the flight recorders from an Emirates A340-500 after its tail hit the runway on takeoff in Melbourne late on Friday.

Page 8: Deputy Premier Paul Lucas has used his own recent health scare and continuing effort to lose weight as a reason for Queenslanders to focus more on disease prevention when he is the minister in charge of public hospitals.

Page 9: Queensland's Liberal National Party may face moves by moderate Liberals to dismantle it following the LNP's unexpectedly poor electoral showing.

Business: The populist backlash the White House helped foment over the huge bonuses paid to the now government-owned insurance giant AIG could help cruel the much anticipated rollout of a new plan to unclog the US credit markets.

A tentative view is beginning to form that the global banking system, having been on high alert since last year's collapse of Lehman Brothers, might be over the worst of the financial crisis.

A phalanx of Kevin Rudd's cabinet ministers will launch a month-long charm offensive aimed at shoring up economic ties with China this week.

As the recession sows fear across the investment community worldwide, new opportunities for rich gains are being created by one person's toxic asset becoming another's fire-sale bargain.

The federal government could be preparing to back state government debt in a bid to kick-start the national infrastructure agenda now locked in a funding crisis.

Xstrata Plc chief executive officer Mick Davis says takeover opportunities are starting to appear after a rout in commodity prices sent shares of mining companies plunging.

There are concerns policymakers could be setting the stage for another global crisis if they do not address the imbalance between the US economy and the rest of the world.

In a country as small as Luxembourg, there's no room for clutter, which is why Australian retailer Howard's Storage World has put the country at the centre of its international expansion plans.

Britain faces a year of falling prices that will add to the pressures on the already deteriorating public finances, analysts say.

Pull down the bunting, re-cork the champagne, throw out the sausage rolls - there will be no celebration party for the Queensland uranium players.

Falling oil prices are raising interest in Australia's liquefied natural gas sector as oil majors look to boost vital reserves they can no longer secure in areas like Canada's oil sands.

Crude oil prices may decline this week on speculation that US oil and fuel inventories will increase because the recession has curbed demand and as a "fragile" stock market rally loses steam.

Goldman Sachs Group still has $US6 billion ($8.75 billion) in trading bets outstanding with American International Group but protected itself from problems at the insurer before it nearly collapsed, according to a senior executive.

There has always been a rabid sense of the underdog at the Independent Community Bankers of America annual convention, where lenders from throughout the US meet, many clad in shorts and golf shirts.

 

 

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