Australia's Three Speed Economy - Talking Business 2011 Ep 39c

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

Leon and Garry discuss how a new study suggests Australia has a three speed economy. The RBA signals it might cut rates but inflation figures leave everyone guessing. The Australian Food and Grocery Council says retail sales will be subdued this Christmas. New research from the MYOB Business Monitor reveals Aussie business owners are pessimistic about the Australia’s economy. Australia's largest banks are told by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority to prepare “recovery plans” to prove they will survive economic downturn. Figures released by National Credit Insurance Brokers show the second highest business default rate for September in eight years. National Australia Bank reports a best-ever profit of $5.22 billion but Ten Network profit collapses by 90.5 per cent. Medical equipment maker ResMed suffers an 11 per cent profit fall. KPMG begins voluntary redundancies. Woolworths increases first quarter sales by 4.9 per cent to $14.597 billion. A new survey finds people will pay off debt than increase their Christmas spending if interest rates are cut. Australian producer prices rise 0.6 per cent. Prime Minister Julia Gillard calls on Commonwealth nations to urge European leaders to solve their debt crisis and vows to give developing countries access to the Australian market free of tariffs. Australia’s debt market rebounds. The Australian Industry Group/Australian Constructors Group Outlook survey finds that engineering and commercial construction expects expecting a boost this financial year. Engineering firms Leighton Holdings and WorleyParsons say Libya remains off-limits. More than 10,000 Qantas passengers to be hit by further flight delays, as negotiations between the airline and ground staff break down. Tourism officials warn the Australian tourism industry will be badly damaged with the Qantas dispute. Australians don't trust Qantas management or their plan to outsource jobs offshore, a survey has found. Woodside Petroleum Ltd increases third quarter revenue by 27 per cent. Treasury is told Queensland coal mines are still struggling with high water levels. Macarthur Coal falls into foreign hands. European regulators give the nod to a drug to treat cystic fibrosis which is good news for Australian-listed company Pharmaxis. Grant Thornton finds that small businesses feel the stresses of skilled worker shortages, backed up by Woodside chief Peter Coleman and Gina Rinehart. Australia uses social media to build the Asian tourism dollar through Jetstar's expanding overseas presence. One in 10 Australian households are in housing stress. Malcolm Turnbull declines to express confidence in the NBN chief. The federal government's planned mining tax hits a snag. Hundreds of millions worth of collateralised debt obligations (CDOs), distributed exclusively in Australia, are on the brink of collapse. Explosives maker Orica chooses former Newcrest Mining chief executive Ian Smith to succeed Graeme Liebelt as chief executive. Super fund members to wait another year or more to recoup money lost during the global financial crisis, according to Chant West. Bendigo and Adelaide Bank chief Mike Hurst warns that banks face a threat from "disruptive business models". WikiLeaks forced to suspend publishing classified files after a funding blockade by Visa and MasterCard. An independent expert says a plan by Rio Tinto Ltd and Japan's Mitsubishi to buy the rest of coal miner Coal and Allied Industries Ltd is fair and reasonable. Australians have a record $636 million unclaimed in bank accounts, insurance policies and uncashed dividend cheques. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission believes “significant unresolved issues” remain on the agreement to separate Telstra Corporation Ltd’s wholesale and retail arms.

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Garry Barker and Leon Gettler