Garry Barker and Leon Gettler - Talking Business 2010 Ep 27b

A review of the week in business, with expert analysis and commentary

Leon and Garry talk about the latest inflation figures coming in lower than expected and suggesting there will be no pre-election rate rise. Similarly, the cost of materials to business has grown at a modest pace, less than economists expected so inflation seems to be under control for now. Coles sales figures have come out better than Woolworths. Coles has also announced plans for a car insurance product. But other parts of retail are struggling with Harvey Norman reporting a dip in sales. Richard Branson’s Virgin Money launches new credit cards. It’s grim scene in the insurance market with QBE and IAG reporting 40% and 50% falls in profit respectively. But developer Australand has reported a massive increase in its profit. The ACTU is involved in a Fair Work Australia test case involving Qantas. The unions claim Qantas is using a New Zealand subsidiary JetConnect to underpay Australian pilots but Qantas says JetConnect is a New Zealand company. Debt held against one of Australia’s most emissions intensive power stations Loy Yang B has been cut to junk status by Standard & Poor’s because of uncertainty about carbon policies and pricing. Queensland’s economy has been relegated to equal worst in the country by CommSec. Business has attacked proposals by the Coalition to cut immigration, saying we need more people to create growth. Telstra is fined $19 million for anti-competitive behavior. Telstra meanwhile has released a survey showing people are prepared to go without food and drink to keep their Internet connection. At the same time, Telstra announces it is reducing broadband prices and undercutting its rivals in the lead up to the National Broadband Network. Telstra chief executive David Thodey says Telstra will look at cutting more jobs. Building activity remains flat with an underwhelming supply of new projects coming through, according to a BIS Shrapnel survey. The maker of Sunbeam kitchen appliances GUD Holdings announces a record profit on the back of its MasterChef sponsorship. Westpac has raised money in the US, suggesting the funding options for Australian banks are increasing. NBN construction chief Patrick Flannigan says the NBN is on track regardless of the Federal election. Companies are now taking two months to pay their bills, the Coalition announces plans to cut corporate tax to 28.5%, Coca Cola might buy beer assets from Foster’s, house price rises are slowing down, pay TV operator Austrar announces a drop in first half profit and Harold Mitchell sells his media buying company Mitchell Communications for $$363 million.

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Garry Barker and Leon Gettler
RMIT, Business, Economics