GDP Growth and Interest Rates On Hold - Talking Business 2011 Ep 32c

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

Leon and Garry discuss how Australia’s GDP climbs 1.2 per cent in the June quarter, up from the 0.9 per cent contraction in the March quarter. The RBA keeps interest rates on hold at 4.75 per cent but the market continues to bet the RBA will cut rates while retailers say the rate cut can’t come soon enough. Australian construction activity falls to its lowest level in almost two and a half years, home loans grow 1 per cent in July, less than expected, advertising revenue for commercial radio drops 0.22 per cent and a Sensis survey shows small business profitability is at a record low in Australia. Nielsen finds that Australian consumer confidence falls to its lowest level in two years. Australia’s unemployment rises to 5.3 per cent. Job advertisements in Australia fall again in August, the fourth drop in five months. A survey finds that one in four people are unable to meet living costs. Householders with credit and debit cards are spending an average of 38 per cent more on goods and services than they did in 2003-04, Farmers’ confidence falls to its lowest level in more than two years. Australia’s current account deficit narrows to $7.42 billion in the second quarter of 2011. The World Economic Forum finds Australia's world ranking in competitiveness slid to 20th place, from 16th last year. Australian companies will have to refinance over $A100 billion in debt over the next 18 months. A private sector measure of inflation records its first fall in almost two years. The ABS finds that company gross operating profits rose 6.7 per cent to $67.54 billion in the second quarter of 2011. An ABS study finds that fuel and power bills eat up no more of our wallets than they did six years ago. Australian banks will need to meet new global capital rules ahead of the internationally agreed timetable under proposals. The Australian Industry Group calls on the government for more flexible workplace rules. Former BHP Billiton chairman Don Argus criticizes the Gillard government for its failure to tackle issues like productivity. Rio Tinto attacks the government over the carbon tax. The ACTU blames employers for low productivity. SABMiller accuses Foster’s of making misleading and deceptive statements in presenting its annual profit. Toyota and the unions are locked in an industrial dispute. A decade long study of ASX-100 companies has found that while their share values increased by just 31 per cent, their chief executive’s pay packages more than doubled over the period. The Australian Retailers Association wants to cut shop workers’ penalty rates. The Productivity Commission rejects retailers calls to impose a GST on online sales. The Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation wants to change the tax on wine to reduce abuse. Research shows that Australia's major institutional superannuation funds grew at more than double the pace of their global peers last year. The mining industry comes out with a report showing it paid more tax than the government claims.

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Garry Barker and Leon Gettler