The Australian Dollar's 28 Year High - Talking Business 2011 Ep 26c

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

Leon and Garry talk about consumer prices rising more than expected in the three months to June, signaling an interest rate hike and sending the Australian dollar to a28 year high. A new study shows Australia’s house prices have become unaffordable. The Reserve Bank of Australia tells bank investors and the executives that the double-digit growth days are over. The Reserve Bank governor has again warned retailers and lenders the consumption boom of the mid-90s to mid-2000s was a one-off but adds consumers will return. The latest Nielsen survey shows that Aussie consumer confidence has plummeted seven points on the previous quarter, equating to three consecutive quarters of decline. Sales at Coles rise rise 6.7 per cent to $31.8 billion in financial 2011 amid declining prices and consumer confidence. Shoppers can expect to keep paying just $1 a litre for milk for the foreseeable future after Coles committed to the low price-tag. The Wesfarmers Ltd-owned supermarket Australian businesses are taking almost a full month longer than average to pay their bills. Ratings agency Fitch has downgraded its economic outlook for the Queensland Government from stable to negative. Meanwhile, financial markets are becoming increasingly jittery about the world's richest economy defaulting on its debt as the August 2 deadline draws ever closer. Relationships between the Government and business have deteriorated sharply. Commonwealth Bank chief Ralph Norris announces his retirement. The Bank of Melbourne (BoM) opens 40 branches in Victoria as part of the bank's relaunch and plans to add 85 more. Macquarie forecasts that full-year net profits would improve over the previous year’s $956 million. Royal Dutch Shell to halt refining operations at its Clyde plant in Sydney before mid-2013. Coles has been cleared of predatory pricing by selling its house brand milk at a discounted rate. The competition regulator has raised concerns that the planned $2 billion takeover of pay TV operator Austar by rival Foxtel, part owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, could hurt competition on three fronts. Deloitte Access Economics says the RBA will increase interest rates three times in the coming year. A rise in producer prices confirms there is pressure on consumer prices. Premier, the owner of clothing brands including Just Jeans and Portmans to close up to 50 stores and downgrades its profit guidance. Poor retail conditions across the country are likely to persist into the first quarter of the 2011-12 financial year, according to a new retail-linked logistics report. With super funds, the median growth fund posted a 9.2 per cent return in the 12 months to June. Explosives maker Orica Ltd has reaffirmed that profit in fiscal 2011 will be higher than 2010. GrainCorp has entered into a binding agreement to buy European malt producer GermanMalt GmbH & Co for €58 million ($A77.95 million).

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Garry Barker and Leon Gettler