Reserve Bank Cutting Interest Rates - Talking Business 2011 Ep 45c

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

Leon and Garry discuss how the Reserve Bank has cut interest rates for the second consecutive month and banks passing it on. Standard & Poor's has warned it could downgrade the triple-A rating of the eurozone debt rescue fund, a day after nearly all governments of the monetary union were given a similar notice. The current account deficit has fallen 15.4 per cent to $5.64 billion in the September quarter in seasonally adjusted terms. Company profits soared to a record high in the year to September. Australia's construction industry continues to decline in November but at a slower pace. The unemployment rate has risen to 5.3 per cent. The ANZ job advertisement series is flat. Australia's big four banks are downgraded by Standard and Poor's. Business confidence falls as worries grow that the European financial crisis will worsen. Australia's services sector continues to contract in November as frugal households save more. Clothing retailer Fletcher Jones is placed in administration. But according to a new forecast by Australia’s leading online commerce enablers, PayPal, eBay and Australia Post, we are set for the busiest ever online shopping week. Hedge funds are set to have a tilt at the Nine Network. The TD Securities-Melbourne Institute monthly inflation index fell 0.1 per cent in November, following a rise of 0.1 per cent in October and September. The Federal Court of Australia has ruled that a class action for overcharging against the ANZ can proceed. Labor has backed union calls to strengthen the Qantas Sales Act. Rio Tinto is to press the Canadian government to allow it to be the operator of its recently acquired high-grade Roughrider uranium deposit in Saskatchewan. Rio Tinto has shipped its 100 millionth tonne of iron ore from the Pilbara to Baosteel under its Bao-HI joint venture. Whitehaven Coal and Aston Resources are negotiating a $4.7 billion merger to create a Gunnedah Basin focused coal group. A massive hole in the federal budget to the tune of $20 billion will become a game-changer for business and company directors as the government uses legislation to enhance the powers of the ATO to grab billions of dollars in extra tax revenue to plug its holes. Finger scanners are being used to monitor workers' hours and lunch breaks. The ABC has been awarded a permanent contract for the federal government's Australia Network broadcasting service. AiG chief executive Heather Ridout joins the RBA board. APN News & Media Ltd expects its second half result to be weaker than last year. The competition watchdog has abandoned its quest to stop the Metcash purchase of the Franklins grocery chain. Virgin Australia's domestic passenger numbers surge by 7.4 per cent in October. Aquila Resources secures WA Government environmental approval for its West Pilbara iron ore project. Almost 500 companies and individuals were convicted in the September quarter for taxation and superannuation offences, an increase of 20%, and 12 people were sentenced to jail. Heavy rains and a dramatic rise in the number of household solar energy panels have helped to boost Australia's renewable energy production in the past financial year. Sales of locally made family cars slump by more than a third last month. Five Japanese power companies have committed to buying $70 billion of liquefied natural gas from Australia. Seven Group Holdings Ltd takes over National Hire Ltd. An Australian businessman, Matthew Ng, has been sentenced in China to 13 years in jail for embezzlement. News Limited is fighting a decision by the ATO to disallow more than $2 billion in alleged currency exchange losses. BHP Billiton has raised gas production at Petrohawk by 12 per cent. Brisbane’s XXXX brewery workers will take industrial action. The resource boom has delivered Western Australia the fastest quarterly state growth ever recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Foster’s loses its chief executive. CPAS want to improve the reporting of super funds.

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Garry Barker and Leon Gettler
RMIT, Business, Economics