Soaring Oil Prices, Libyan Crisis and Australia - Talking Business 2011 Ep 8c

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

Garry and Leon talk about how soaring oil prices caused by the Libyan crisis is creating problems in Australia with Virgin Blue now facing a loss, Qantas raising domestic airfares and Caltex saying its refiner margins are shrinking. The World Bank says the slowdown in Japan following the earthquake is temporary but Moodys says Japan faces a recession. Still, investors have shrugged off these “black swan” events. They are focusing on growth and markets are booming. Treasurer Wayne Swan is softening us up for a tough Budget to help pay for the rebuilding after the Queensland floods. Labor grants concessions to the miners over its mining tax. The Future Fund sells out of Telstra. A lot is happening in retail with Nasdaq listed pawn shop operator Ezcorp taking a controlling stake in Cash Convertors, Solomon Lew looking to buy Colorado Group, Foster’s fighting with retailers over the price of beer, David Jones reporting lower sales and consumers spending $150 million on retail using smart phones. Online retailing is expected to grow over the next 12 months. But iconic cake company Susan Day is put in the hands of administrators. Woolworths is being taken to court for its “honest to goodness” campaign which Organic Marketing Australia says was stolen. In Queensland, premier Anna Bligh says it will two years to rebuild after the floods. ASIC chairman Tony D’Aloisio to step down. The Sinhapore Exchange is soldiering on in its attempts to take over the ASX but it faces strong political opposition Mining magnate Andrew Forrest is now ranked the richest man in Australia on the BRW Rich List. Macquarie Group is struggling to hold on to staff because it might not be able to pay them enough. Coca Cola-Amatil does a deal with Beam Global, the company behind Jim Beam, creating potential for more sales revenue through Beam and Coke. Unions are pushing for $28 a week pay increase for the minimum wage and Qantas faces stroke action. A new survey from DBM shows Westpac is the most popular bank. In the legal battle between Seven and Ten, Seven claims outgoing executive James Warburton took sensitive confidential documents. The Productivity Commission raises concerns about the carbon tax, farmers are set to make a killing from it, Gillard says she will compensate low income families and the new head of Treasury says it will only cost families an extra $1.30 a week. Russia’s state owned Rosatom Corporation withdraws its takeover offer for Mantra Resources after the Japan nuclear crisis. ISP TPG announces 23% rise in profit to $33.8 million. There is a management shakeout at Fairfax. Banks are still running into problems with technology with NAB’s UBank bought down by technical issues. Super returns are set to slump because of markets falling. The director of one of Australia’s biggets Ponzi schemes, Graeme Hoy, is jailed for 13 years. Customers holding Borders and Angus & Robertson gift cards have until April 3 to use them. Swiss commodites trader Glencore takes a controlling stake in Blackthorn Resources.

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Garry Barker and Leon Gettler