Leon and Garry - Mixed Outlook for the Australian Economy - Talking Business 2011 Ep 6c

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

Leon and Garry talk about the mixed outlook for the Australian economy. The latest NAB survey shows that business confidence has rebounded as firms shook off the effects of the floods and Cyclone Yasi. Australia’s unemployment remains steady at 5% and the number of jobs ads is rising. But consumer confidence looks shaky, and commentators put that down to the proposed carbon tax. The number of owner occupier home loans has also slipped and the outlook is grim for retail following the summer’s natural disasters. Australian construction activity is also down and Australian executives are rapidly losing confidence, according to the latest Dunn & Bradstreet survey. Corporate insolvencies are also heating up and petrol prices have risen to a near 29 month high. Westpac is resurrecting the Bank of Melbourne brand to regain market share, the NAB is expanding into China and Treasury has published draft legislation which will force banks to scrap fees and charges. National Foods says the milk wars between Coles and Woolworths push corner shops out of business and threaten the supply chain. Mining companies are providing pay rises of about 20% to attract IT workers. Governor-General Quentin Bryce supports quotas for women in board rooms. RBA governor Glenn Stevens raises the prospect of a global food shortage. Asahi Breweries is refused permission to buy P&N Beverages. More Australians are falling victim to online scammers who are netting $1 billion a year. Soaring oil prices could weaken the Aussie dollar. Rio Tinto increases its offer price for Riversdale Mining. The Gunns pulp mill gets the go ahead. Retailers will have to shoulder the bulk of $220 million in additional costs to run eftpos systems. British store John Lewis will set up an online store to compete with Myer and David Jones. BlueScope Steel to combine its Australian and New Zealand businesses. Newspapers have agreed to start reporting their daily circulation figures. Fairfax Media acquires holiday rental business Occupancy for $29 million, to replace the dwindling money from its classifieds. Former Victorian premier John Brumby will chair the $6 billion industry fund MTAA Super. The Supreme Court approves AMP’s takeover of Axa Asia Pacific. Singapore Exchange to submit a sweetened bid for the ASX. Rio Tinto pouts Julia Gillard on notice that it wants more compensation for the carbon tax. CVC’s Nine Entertainment to sell its stake in, potentially delaying the float of Nine. Call centre provider Salmat has to sack 700 staff after losing its contract with Telstra. Australian registrations of the .au domain hits the 2 million mark, although questions remain about how many of these sites are active. Online retailer Ruslan Kogan bets JB Hi Fi it will not be selling Apple goods in 2014. Visy and Amcor have to make a record payout for cartel activity. Oz Minerals to spend $250 million buying a copper gold project in South Australia. Qantas is raising its airfares due to rising fiuel costs. Over 8% of Australians now own a tablet and 35% have a smart phone, according to the latest Nielsen figures. Seven to sue the Ten network for poaching James Warburton.

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Garry Barker and Leon Gettler
Economics, Business,RMIT