Today's Business Headlines

10/08/2009 - 06:42

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Deal on BankWest debt; Uranium play gets nod on stake sale; Super cash for credit unions; Home truths from IMF; Retail battle as belts tighten

Today's Business Headlines

Deal on BankWest debt
The Commonwealth Bank has settled its dispute with the former owners of BankWest over the $2.1 billion it paid to buy the regional lender, which then required it to cover much higher than expected bad debts. The Age

Uranium play gets nod on stake sale
Mega Uranium's $US85 million ($101 million) Lake Maitland project, potentially WA's first uranium mine, has cleared another hurdle, with the Foreign Investment Review Board approving the sale of a 35 per cent stake in the deposit to Japanese investors. The West

Super cash for credit unions
More than 25 credit unions will meet the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority this week to seek approval for a $1 billion liquidity fund to be funded by the country's super funds. The Australian

Home truths from IMF
House prices are overvalued by as much as 20 per cent and the International Monetary Fund is worried that a price correction might yet pitch Australia into recession and bring massive losses to the banks. The Australian

Retail battle as belts tighten
Retailers will have to battle harder for sales dollars in the second half, with analysts forecasting that changes to household income, savings habits and work hours will dictate post-stimulus spending. Herald Sun

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Senior Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan has revealed plans to quit state politics for a tilt at the federal seat of Canning, as a new poll revealed almost four times as many WA voters preferred her as opposition leader to Eric Ripper.

Page 4: The absence of a legitimate challenger looks set to ensure that opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull will survive one of his toughest weeks in politics as bad polls, leadership tensions and policy divisions come together.

A major union yesterday launched a million-dollar campaign to pressure the state government to more than double its pay offer to school staff in what is becoming the biggest wage battle of this financial year.

Australians are lifting their levels of housing debt as they become more convinced that the worst of the global recession is over.

Page 7: China accused Rio Tinto of stripping $123 billion from the country through six years of commercial espionage, as it signalled it was broadening its spy blitz beyond the four mining employees detained in Shanghai.

Page 15: Household electricity prices would soar up to 40 per cent under the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme, modelling commissioned by the coalition reveals as it attempts to force changes to the proposal.

Business: Mega Uranium's $US85 million ($101 million) Lake Maitland project, potentially WA's first uranium mine, has cleared another hurdle, with the Foreign Investment Review Board approving the sale of a 35 per cent stake in the deposit to Japanese investors.

Commonwealth Bank has settled its dispute with the former British owners of BankWest over the $2.1 billion it paid to buy the lender last year.

Months of rising stock prices, talk of green shoots and mounting expectations the worst of the commodities downturn may have passed, look to have finally filtered down to the initial public offerings market.

For homeowners around the world struck by the collapse of property markets, figures showing the downward spiral may be halting are the most meaningful signs yet of a possible economic recovery.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The Rudd government faces growing business and political pressure to open the way for its renewable energy target legislation to be passed by federal parliament to allow investment worth $20 billion in technologies such as wind, solar and geothermal power.

David Thodey is expected to set new financial targets for the next three years and drop or delay some of the goals associated with Sol Trujillo's five-year transformation when the new Telstra chief executive unveils his maiden full-year results on Thursday.

The International Monetary Fund has cast doubt on the Rudd government's timetable for a return to budget surplus and says debt will be higher, in a revised forecast that predicts a stronger short-term recovery but weaker long-term growth.

Page 3: Big business wants the federal government to adopt a series of reforms to prevent industrial disputes under its workplace relations system amid warnings that the adversarial system could stifle economic growth.

Page 5: The hard-pressed car industry faces more uncertainty as the opposition pushes for changes to the centrepiece of the Rudd government's $6.2 billion car industry plan to improve accountability for the funds.

Page 6: News that the recession - such as it was - is now at an end has come as a surprise to truck companies, which face reduced demand due to lower levels of imports and a lingering reluctance of banks to lend.

Page 8: The peak business organisation in Western Australia has called on Treasurer Troy Buswell to start making tough decisions about the rampant growth of the public service after revelations that most major agencies are exceeding their approved headcount.

Page 9: Chief executives' salaried have fallen about 7 per cent in the past year as incentive payments based on corporate results have been affected by the economic downturn.

Page 14: A new geothermal energy player is likely to test the icy capital markets with an initial public offering this year.

Page 15: Woodside chief Don Voelte is not going to roll over easy. He will want compensation for some of the costs sunk into the existing infrastructure at Pluto.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Malcolm Turnbull will today reveal that thousands of jobs could be saved in crucial industrial regions under his rival emissions trading design, claiming it delivers the same pollution reductions as the Rudd government's scheme at a fraction of the cost to households and businesses.

Malcolm Turnbull's personal support has been hit a second time by disclosures about the fake email he used to call for Kevin Rudd's resignation with further slump in voter approval of his performance.

House prices are overvalued by as much as 20 per cent and the International Monetary Fund is worried that a price correction might yet pitch Australia into recession and bring massive losses to the banks.

Page 2: Rio Tinto has spied on Chinese steel mills for the past six years, according to a report from the heart of the Communist Party's intelligence operation.

The Rudd government is bracing for further Coalition attacks on its support for the motor vehicle industry, at least some of which it believes has been fuelled by further leaks from disgraced Treasury official Godwin Grech.

Page 4: Kevin Rudd faces the defeat of up to three bills and the deferral of another in the Senate this week but could still strengthen his hand against the opposition via a new inquiry into the Godwin Grech affair.

Page 5: The Rudd government's stimulus is working better than forecast. Part of the explanation is Treasury deliberately underplayed the so-called multipliers in the budget -- the bang that the nation would get for all that debt.

Why has the International Monetary Fund refused to fall in line with the Treasury or the even more bullish Reserve Bank over Australia's economic growth outlook? It may just look like a matter of degree, but the differences go to whether Australia comes out of the crisis stronger or weaker.

Business: More than 25 credit unions will meet the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority this week to seek approval for a $1 billion liquidity fund to be funded by the country's super funds.

The prospect return to something approaching economic normality hinges on consumers sustaining the free-spending pattern they have shown over the past five months.

The US unemployment rate dropped in July to deliver the labour market's best performance in a year, and while the decline was slight, it was enough to raise hopes that the economy is on the edge of recovery.

Reporting season is heading into its biggest week, with the focus on results from majors including BHP Billiton, Telstra and Commonwealth Bank.

Lloyds Bank is weighing up plans for a multi-billion-pound share issue to cut its dependency on the taxpayer.

China's sustained growth alone is not enough to bring about a global recovery, the new chief economist of the World Bank has warned.

The global economic slowdown has taken its toll on CEO salaries, with executive pay packages slashed by almost 7 per cent in the year to May.

As policy-makers prepare for the Copenhagen conference on climate change in December, a publicly listed but little known company at Lucas Heights in Sydney is getting closer to commercialising a nuclear enrichment technology that provides cheap, clean energy in an age of global warming.

Rio Tinto Diamonds will start a prefeasibility study at its Bunder mine in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh by early next year.

Base metals are expected to continue their resurgence over the remainder of the year, with China's increasing demand supported by a recovery in the US car and housing sectors.

Freddie Mac has reported a surprising profit in the second quarter and indicated that it may not need additional federal aid -- at least for now.

American International Group has become profitable but is still not thriving.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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