High Australian Dollar - Talking Business 2011 Ep 9c

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

Garry and Leon talk about the soaring Australian dollar. It’s in record territory against the greenback and is tipped to hit $1.10 by year’s end. Prime Minister Julia Gillard a review into the formula for the GST and the mining states are expected to be the big winners. Treasury has warned that the Japanese earthquake and tsunami will hit Australia's export industry, as new figures show Japan's manufacturing industry has slumped. Most older Australians are worried about their approaching retirements and expect they will have to keep working., according to a new survey. Australia faces a flood of foreign capital as the mining boom continues to attract foreign investment, says the RBA. The Government makes two new appointments to the RBA board. RBA research shows cash is falling out of favour and more people are using debit cards and hardly anyone writes a cheque. Mastercard has a campaign to roll out more contactless payment terminals in competition with the Eftpos system. Sensis says its revenues will fall for the next three years but wants to arrest this with a move into digital. Qantas is combating rising fuel costs with plans to sack managers, retire aircraft and cut domestic and international flights. But that hasn’t stopped Moody’s from cutting the Qantas credit rating because of its high debt blowing out. Retail spending increases 0.5% in February. Disgraced ex-David Jones CEO Mark McInnes takes over at Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments. Coles says the next battle with Woolworths will be over frozen chickens. Franklins says matching Coles and Woolworths on low milk prices is costing it $20,000 a week. A new report from Rabobank shows that private labels will take a 50% share of the food retail market by 2025. Harvey Norman says it’s finally going to launch an online retail store. JB Hi Fi announces a share buyback, sending its share price up despite a $25 million profit downgrade. The Colorado Group, the company behind brands like JAG and Diana Ferrari, is in receivership after lenders pull the plug with it owing them $396 million. Beef is becoming more expensive because of low herd numbers, coinciding with Australia’s biggest cattle beef producer AACo announcing it will spend $27 million buying 53,000 head of branded cattle from the Tipperary Group. Farm chemicals group Nufarm is back in the black, declaring a small profit of $4.4 million and Sigma Phamacueticals has almost halved its full year net loss. The growth of companies like Origin Energy might be in doubt with the new O’Farrell Government in NSW reviewing the sale of electricity assets to Origin and TRUenergy.

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Garry Barker and Leon Gettler
business, Economics, RMIT