The High Australian Dollar and Job Cuts - Talking Business 2011 Ep 29c

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

Leon and Garry discuss how the high Australian dollar and a slowdown have claimed their first mass casualties, with Qantas, GWA, Westpac, OneSteel and Thiess Egremont announcing job cuts. Wages rise less in the June quarter than the market expects and RBA minutes show the RBA will probably keep interest rates on hold. Women's pay rises by less than half as high as for male workers . Retiring Reserve Bank board member Warwick McKibbin says the RBA board should not have a majority of business leaders. World Bank president Robert Zoellick says Australia is better placed to withstand another global financial crisis. But world markets fall in response to worries about the stability of European lenders and concerns about a slowdown. Treasurer Wayne Swan warns parliament that a weaker global economy will have an impact on Australia but says Australia's fundamentals are strong. Economists predict the government will fail to return the federal budget to surplus next financial year. The CBA Business Sales Indicator falls 0.8 per cent, pointing to a slowdown. The Westpac/Melbourne Institute Leading Index falls again. Blood products maker CSL reports a 10.7 per cent drop in net profit to $940.6 million due to the high Australian dollar. Australian shopping centre giant Westfield Group defies retail gloom and posts a half-year net profit of $650.9 million. Variety retail chain The Reject Shop reports a 31 per cent fall in annual profit after the January floods almost destroyed its Queensland distribution centre. Brambles reports a six per cent rise in profit. Retail Food Group reports a 4.6 per cent net profit rise to $27.9 million. Newcrest Mining reports a 63 per cent rise in net profit to $908 million. Ansell reports a 2.8 per cent rise in net profit to $122.7 million. Gaming group Tabcorp Holdings Ltd reports a 14 per cent rise in full-year net profit. Casino group Echo Entertainment reports a full-year net profit of $226 million. Leighton’s reports a net loss of $408.8 million, down from last year’s $612.00 million profit. AMP posts a bigger-than-expected 18 per cent fall in first-half net profit to $349 million. James Hardie Industries reports a 99 per cent fall in first quarter net profit after an unfavourable asbestos adjustment. Property company Goodman Group reports net profit recovered to $392 million in 2010/11 from the previous year's loss. iiNet Ltd's full year profit declines three per cent to $33.37 million. OZ Minerals Ltd's first half profit falls 72 per cent after it settles a class action. Australian energy giant Woodside Petroleum reports an 8.1 percent fall in half-year net profit to US$828 million. Boral reports a full year net profit of $167.7 million. Real estate advertising company REA Group posts a 37 per cent rise in net profit to $67.5 million. ASX Ltd reports a 7 per cent rise in full-year net profit. UGL Ltd increases full year profit by 9.7 per cent. Village Roadshow reports a higher profit only because of asset sales. Half year profit for Adelaide Brighton Ltd falls by 10.6 per cent amid housing sector weakness. Insurance Australia Group takes its first step into China by acquiring a $100 million stake in Chinese general insurer Bohai Property Insurance. Westfield joins hands with Facebook to boost in-store retail sales in Australia.

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Garry Barker and Leon Gettler