24/08/2009 - 06:49

Today's Business Headlines

24/08/2009 - 06:49

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Skills shortage 'to get worse'; Investors upbeat on Coles, but eye detail; Merger to fast-track mine; ASIC raises alarm over new CFD trade risks; Bad blood to hurt tourism

Today's Business Headlines

Skills shortage 'to get worse'
Australian businesses continue to rely on overseas labour to fill a skills shortfall despite the global financial crisis freeing up the labour market, according to a report. The West

Investors upbeat on Coles, but eye detail
Wesfarmers' recovery plan for the Coles Group businesses is slowly gaining traction with the investment community, but analysts remain frustrated by the group's reluctance to flesh out details of its strategy. The West

Merger to fast-track mine
Fortescue Metals Group and emerging iron ore miner BC Iron are expected to formalise their joint venture for the junior's Nullagine project in Western Australia today, ahead of schedule in a move aimed at fast-tracking the mine. The Australian

ASIC raises alarm over new CFD trade risks
Regulators are moving to close a legal loophole that is potentially putting hundreds of millions of dollars at risk in an already-risky trading instrument that allows investors to make bets on the direction of share, currency and commodity prices using borrowed funds. Sydney Morning Herald

Bad blood to hurt tourism
Australia's strained diplomatic relationship with China could further threaten already declining tourist numbers from a $2.2 billion market, with visitor numbers down as much as 80 per cent over the past three months after concerns over swine flu and the global recession. The Australian

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Oil and gas are likely to spill into the ocean from a drilling rig off WA's far north coast for seven weeks as the company in charge of the rig brings in specialist equipment to plug the leak.

Page 3: Free-range eggs continue to rise in popularity with consumers and big retailers increasingly turning to non-cage produce.

Page 4: WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls, who has an alliance but not a coalition with the state Liberal government, has urged the federal nationals to leave the coalition.

Page 5: Australian businesses continue to rely on overseas labour to fill a skills shortfall despite the global financial crisis freeing up the labour market, according to a report.

Cashed-up bogans are coming back, thanks top the $50 billion Gorgon gas deal, but they have learnt the lessons of the global financial crisis.

Page 9: High levels of low pay and unemployment for Australian women will get worse because of the global economic downturn, according to a report released today.

Page 11: A group of farmers opposed to genetically modified crops has called for a referendum to determine whether the technology can be commercially grown in WA.

Page 15: The state government has spent almost $1 million creating new departments since it came into power, drawing criticism from the public sector union and the opposition over the pledge to rein in spending.

Page 16: Fisheries Minister Norman Moore is under even greater pressure to reconsider his plan to restrict recreational fishing, despite declaring last week he would stare down critics on the Liberal back bench.

Business: Wesfarmers' recovery plan for the Coles Group businesses is slowly gaining traction with the investment community, but analysts remain frustrated by the group's reluctance to flesh out details of its strategy.

Fortescue Metals Group is believed to have agreed to an early finalisation of a partnership which will see BC Iron's Nullagine iron ore project enter production next year.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Borrowers in the corporate bond market, led by the major banks, are on track to raise a record amount this year, driven by falling borrowing costs, renewed investor appetite for bonds and the government guarantee on those issued by the banks.

Assistant Treasurer Nick Sherry is pushing for the Australian Taxation Office to take over all taxes, fees and charges imposed by every level of government to improve the efficiency of Australia's $350 billion tax system as a key reform of the Henry review.

Federal Bank chairman Ben Bernanke has delivered his most upbeat assessment to date of the global economy's recovery prospects, amid signs that the US housing market may also be emerging from its deep downturn.

Page 3: The Rudd government has put thoughts of an early 2010 election behind it and turned its attentions to framing a tough budget next May that can lock in its economic conservative credentials and win popular support from voters.

Page 5: The liquidators of failed whitegoods company Kleenmaid expect to know soon if the corporate regulator will pay for an investigation into whether the group was trading while insolvent during its last couple of years in business.

Page 8: Unions are calling on the Rudd government to consider stripping foreign students of their work rights while in Australia, to protect training and job opportunities for locals during the economic slowdown.

Page 12: Qantas Airways subsidiary Jetstar has revived plans to extend its international reach to southern Europe in the next two years.

Page 14: Falling Chinese steel prices could mean bad news for the rest of the world, despite the best efforts of companies outside China to rationalise production to better meet demand.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Nationals have directly challenged Malcolm Turnbull's authority on climate change, boasting that Liberal MPs are beginning to back their blanket rejection of a carbon emissions trading system.

Australia's strained diplomatic relationship with China could further threaten already declining tourist numbers from a $2.2 billion market, with visitor numbers down as much as 80 per cent over the past three months after concerns over swine flu and the global recession.

Page 2: More than half the nation's employers believe pattern bargaining is likely under Labor's workplace laws, and almost a third fear they will be held to ransom by unions as a result of new bargaining rules.

Page 2: Serious splits have emerged within the coalition on nuclear power, with outspoken Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce yesterday calling for a referendum on the issue, while Liberal senate leader Nick Minchin declared any discussion "utterly futile".

Malcolm Turnbull accused Labor of resorting to "gossip and smear" after fresh reports that he sought a political career with the ALP before running for parliament as a Liberal.

Australia's battered relationship with China has not diminished Beijing's support for Kevin Rudd's vision for an Asia Pacific community by 2020, the Prime Minister's special envoy said yesterday.

Page 3: Internet scammers have stepped up their attacks on the personal details of Australian taxpayers, with the tax office reporting a 31 per cent increase in cyber security incidents.

The ABC has become embroiled in an internal rift over last week's Media Watch program, prompting one of the corporation's radio journalists to quit in protest.

A medical workforce expert is urging the federal government to stick to its plans to slash Medicare rebates for cataract surgery, accusing eye specialists of "blatant blackmail" over their campaign to stir public outrage at the move.

Page 5: Poor rainfall could mean the NSW grain crop will fail this winter, but wheat growers on the other side of the continent are headed for one of the best harvests on record.

NSW farmers will test a key part of the national water strategy in the High Court today when they challenge a commonwealth-state agreement that cuts their allocations by about 70 per cent.

Page 6: More than 60 workers will continue laying pipe about 500m from a massive oil leak that will take at least 50 days to plug, following assurances from company PTTEP Australasia that the workers' safety is paramount.

The Rudd government has declined to take up Australia's position on the executive board of Unesco, fearing it could jeopardise its top foreign policy goal of securing a UN Security Council seat.

The board members of Sunsuper moved to increase the group's exposure to property early last year, which sparked the investment giant's now controversial $100 million investment in the Trinity group.

Business: Global economic hopes have soared after one of the world's most powerful financial policymakers declared conditions had "levelled out" and that prospects for a recovery "appear good".

Two of Australia's largest retailers have called on the government to pull back on fiscal stimulus spending, as consumers become increasingly confident about the future of the domestic economy because of low interest rates and steady employment.

China is expected to overtake the US as the world's largest economy within a decade.

A new federal resource rent tax is likely to replace state-based mining royalties under the Henry Tax Review's plan for a radical reassignment of state and federal taxes.

While US Federal Reserve officials will need to be careful not to hike rates too soon, the central bank should not be timid once it actually moves into a tightening phase, says economics professor Carl Walsh of the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Fortescue Metals Group and emerging iron ore miner BC Iron are expected to formalise their joint venture for the junior's Nullagine project in Western Australia today, ahead of schedule in a move aimed at fast-tracking the mine.

The company reporting season enters the home straight this week, with a slew of blue-chip stocks expected to extend the trend of better-than-anticipated results.

AGL Energy says it will develop up to $7 billion worth of renewable energy projects over the next decade.

Qantas says it has become less profitable because of lower demand on key routes to Los Angeles and London.

It's hard to sell a nickel laterite story in a market that lost patience with the sector after BHP Billiton closed its $US2 billion ($2.4bn) project, but Bronwyn Barnes believes her exploration company is on the path to success.

The world's top six oil companies have showered investors with $US125 billion ($150bn) in dividends and share buybacks over the past year and half, according to new research.

Former clients of Lehman Brothers' European arm have been struck a blow, with the British High Court saying it cannot approve a plan to fast-track the return of about $US9 billion ($10.9bn) of their assets.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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