Greece and the Survival of the Euro - Talking Business 2011 Ep 18c

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

Garry and Leon talk about Greece and whether the Euro will survive, falling house prices in Britain and the growing debate about executive pay in the UK. In Australia, the economy has suffered its biggest quarterly contraction since the recession of the early 1990s. National gross domestic product (GDP) fell a steep 1.2 per cent in the March quarter, largely as a result of the flood impact on Queensland coal exports. Export volumes collapse 8.7 per cent in the first quarter, which will subtract a whopping 2.4 per cent from growth, stalling the economy. Australian new home sales fall to levels seen during the global financial crisis. Declining home ownership rates mean a quarter of Australians won't own a home by the time they retire. The value of Australian capital city dwellings falls more than one per cent in the three months to April. Australian residential building approvals fall 1.3 per cent to 13,377 units in April, seasonally adjusted. Flooding in Queensland and Victoria have hit company profits in the March quarter. Company gross operating profits fall 2.0 per cent.The Australian manufacturing sector has contracted for the third straight month in May, weighed down by a near 30-year high Australian dollar. But on the plus side, consumer spending grows at is quickest pace in almost two years in April. And Australia's international trade appears to again be marching on a steady path to recovery. Australian shares have their worst day since June last year, wiping about $30 billion off the market's value. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has ordered a national blitz by senior ministers to sell the government's climate change plans.The federal government's carbon tax would raise about $11.5 billion in its first year, assuming a carbon price initially set at $26 per tonne, according to the government's top climate adviser Ross Garnaut. Unions have won significantly broader rights to legally protected strikes in a precedent-setting decision by the Fair Work Australia tribunal. Prime Minister Julia Gillard faces the threat of widespread strikes by government employees. Home owners are being offered bigger discounts on increasingly large mortgages. Analysts say budget airline Tiger Airways exiting Australia would push up domestic fares by up to 15 per cent. The nation's major retailers are pushing for unrestricted trading hours, in order to compete with overseas internet sites.

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Garry Barker and Leon Gettler
RMIT, Business, Economics