Recovery in the British Economy - Talking Business 2011 Ep 20c

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

Garry and Leon talk about signs of recovery in the British economy, the Bank of England close to finally raising interest rates, the prospect of another downgrade of Greece, Prada and the rise of China, a crack down on debt manager companies in the UK and energy prices with the gouging of consumers. In Australia, billions are wiped off the Australian sharemarket because of worries about Greece and the US economy. Over 1,000 people lose their jobs as 140 outlets in the Colorado clothing group close. Federal Small Business Minister Nick Sherry predicts bricks and mortar bookstores will be all but wiped out by online shopping within five years. Angus & Robertson sacks 519 workers and closes 42 stores. Household electricity bills to rise by up to 30 per cent by mid-2013. Business conditions deteriorate in May, as a result of the February floods. Australian consumer confidence falls to a two-year low in June. Inflation fears continue to moderate after spiking during the flood crisis. Sales of new motor vehicles in Australia fall 7.6 per cent in May. The RBA warns that interest rates are still likely to rise to help contain inflation, probably in August. Monday's earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, is likely to have caused an additional $US3 billion to $US5 billion in insured losses on top of damage from two previous quakes. Insurance Australia Group says it is “far too early” to assess the cost of the latest earth tremors to hit New Zealand but it’s one of two of Australia's biggest insurance companies lifting premiums as they react to the recent succession of natural disasters and brace for higher costs. The number of homeowners striking financial trouble is rising, providing an early warning that mortgage arrears could hit the profits of the big banks. Domestic cattle producers are concerned that Prime Minister Julia Gillard's decision to ban live cattle exports to Indonesia will flood Australia's beef market and lead to a sharp drop in prices for all beef products. But the breaking of the drought has nearly doubled the annual cash income of northern beef producers. Foreign air hostesses are working for budget airline Jetstar - for half the pay of Australian workers. Private equity group Archer Capital has extended its recent spending spree with a $450 million purchase of the company behind local fast-food chains Red Rooster, Oporto and Chicken Treat. Queensland's budget bottom line will dive more than $2 billion into the red after the state's summer of natural disasters. Hedge funds holding more than $2 billion worth of Centro Properties debt offer to sell their share of Centro debt to Lend Lease. Lend Lease reportedly rejects the debt offer.

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Garry Barker and Leon Gettler