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Australia's Central Bank Will Not Change Interest Rates Yet

Australia's central Bank may keep its interest rate at the same level for a fourth month, which means that next on the agenda are increasing borrowing costs as the economy shows signs of improvement. Glenn Stevens, Reserve Bank Governor, will maintain the overnight cash rate target at 3 percent as of August 4, 2009. He believes the economy will recover faster than he forecast at the beginning of the year as record low interest rates boosted consumer and business confidence. He cut interest rates "by a record 4.25 percentage points between September 2008 and April 2009" and hopes policy makers will find "a suitable timely way of returning to normal when the right time for that comes."

Australia's central bank may leave interest rates unchanged for a fourth month and signal that its next move will be to increase borrowing costs as evidence mounts that the economy is rebounding from the global recession. Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens will keep the overnight cash rate target at 3 percent at 2:30 p.m. in Sydney today, according to all 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Stevens said last week the economy may recover sooner than he forecast six months ago as the lowest interest rates in half a century and government spending boost consumer and business confidence. Stevens signaled he may not wait for unemployment to peak before raising rates, spurring speculation Australia will increase borrowing costs faster than most other nations. "The Reserve Bank is now starting to focus on how it will ultimately withdraw the massive monetary policy stimulus injected over the past nine months," said Matt Robinson, an economist at Moody's Economy.com in Sydney. Stevens, who slashed borrowing costs by a record 4.25 percentage points in six moves between September and April, said on July 28 that "hopefully" policy makers will find "a suitably timely way of returning to normal when the right time for that comes." Investors predict the benchmark rate will be 133 basis points higher in a year, a Credit Suisse Group AG index based on swaps trading showed at 1:01 p.m. in Sydney yesterday. By contrast, the Bank of England's key rate will be raised by 92.1 basis points and the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate by 81 basis points, according to separate indexes. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point. Economic Outlook It appears "that the downturn we are having may turn out not to be one of the more serious ones of the post War era, in contrast to the experiences of so many other countries," Stevens said on July 28. "We can much more easily imagine upside risks to the outlook, to balance out the downside ones, than was the case six months ago." Signs of a rebound in Australia's economy, which unexpectedly grew 0.4 percent in the first quarter after shrinking 0.6 percent in the previous three months, may prompt the central bank to revise its forecast for gross domestic product on Aug. 7. In May, the bank predicted GDP would contract 1 percent this year before expanding 2 percent in 2010. Retail sales increased in June for a fourth month, according to the median forecast of 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The sales figures will be released at 11:30 a.m. in Sydney today. Cash Handouts The surge in spending is boosting earnings at companies including David Jones Ltd. The nation's second-largest department store chain said on June 30 that earnings after tax will rise by between 20 percent and 30 percent in the six months ending July 25. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's government has distributed A$12 billion ($10 billion) in cash handouts to households this year and is spending A$22 billion to upgrade roads, railways, ports and schools. "It's becoming more common for Australians to see the glass as half full than as half empty," Stevens said last week. Consumer confidence jumped to the highest level in 19 months last month, according to a Westpac Banking Corp. survey. Stevens' latest comments contrast with his statement three weeks earlier, when he emphasized the bank had scope to cut borrowing costs if needed. "Given the Reserve Bank has been marketing a weak tightening bias over the past fortnight, presumably today will be about making that shift explicit in its official policy statement," said Rory Robertson, an economist at Macquarie Group Ltd. in Sydney. Stevens may say "something like; 'members agreed the recent improving signs at home and abroad have made the need for further easing seem less likely'," Robertson added.

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australia

Australian Agriculture Exports May Achieve $26 billion

Australia, the world's fourth-largest wheat exporter, may produce more of the grain than previously predicted after rain lifted crop prospects, National Australia Bank Ltd. said July 22. Australian farmers sow crops including wheat, barley and canola from about April to June for harvest from November. Wheat production in Australia will rise in the next financial year, Penm said, without giving precise figures. An El Nino weather pattern may become a risk for Australian farming conditions later this year, he said.

Australia's farm exports may rise 2 percent in the year to June 30, 2010, helped by "relatively favorable" crop conditions and a recovery from the global recession, the country's commodity forecaster said. Total exports from farming may total A$32 billion ($26 billion), the chief commodity analyst for the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Jammie Penm, told a grains conference in Melbourne today. Increased grain demand may be offset by a rising Australian dollar, which would reduce earnings on export sales, he said. The Canberra-based bureau last month predicted the nation's wheat crop will increase 2.7 percent to 21.9 million metric tons in the year ending June 30, 2010, with exports surging 14 percent to 14.6 million tons. Barley output will jump 13 percent to 7.7 million tons, with exports climbing 12 percent to 4.4 million tons, the agency said June 23. Pricing Volatile Grain prices in Australia are likely to remain volatile in the wake of deregulation that removed the nation's monopoly trading mechanism, said Michael Iwaniw, managing director of ABB Grain Ltd., the country's biggest barley exporter. The removal of the "single desk" for grain exports has created a void, with no single entity representing the industry, he said. Growers are warehousing more grain and genetically modified crops will eventually become "widespread'' in Australia, said Iwaniw, who today brought forward his departure from the Adelaide-based company to the end of this month. Canada's Viterra Inc. agreed in May to acquire ABB for A$1.6 billion. Earlier at the conference, Australian Agriculture Minister Tony Burke said the government could not close its eyes to increasing the use of genetically modified crops. The nation needs to lift its farm productivity in the next three to five years and genetically altered crops may be part of that, he said.

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australia

Costco to Invest $ 22 Million in Australia

The store on the fringe of Melbourne's central business district will be followed by an outlet in Sydney's western suburbs before Costco looks at more openings in the nation of almost 22 million, Australian Managing Director Patrick Noone said in an interview. The Issaquah, Washington-based retailer enters a market where Woolworths and Wesfarmers' Coles unit control almost three quarters of supermarket sales. "We'll have to see a competitive response from Coles and Woolworths," said Saxon Nicholls, who manages the equivalent of $439 million at Herschel Asset Management Ltd. in Melbourne. "The Australian retailers already have substantial scale in the market and it will depend on Costco getting its own scale in Australia."

Costco Wholesale Corp., the largest U.S. warehouse club chain, expects to lower Australian grocery prices with its first outlet in the country, providing new competition for Woolworths Ltd. and Wesfarmers Ltd. Costco, which will charge as much A$60 ($49) in annual membership fees to Australian customers, will open its Melbourne outlet Aug. 17 with a 14,000 square meter (151,000 square foot) store, almost three times the size of typical supermarkets. The store on the fringe of Melbourne's central business district will be followed by an outlet in Sydney's western suburbs before Costco looks at more openings in the nation of almost 22 million, Australian Managing Director Patrick Noone said in an interview. The Issaquah, Washington-based retailer enters a market where Woolworths and Wesfarmers' Coles unit control almost three quarters of supermarket sales. "We'll have to see a competitive response from Coles and Woolworths," said Saxon Nicholls, who manages the equivalent of $439 million at Herschel Asset Management Ltd. in Melbourne. "The Australian retailers already have substantial scale in the market and it will depend on Costco getting its own scale in Australia." Jim Cooper, a Melbourne-based spokesman for Coles, said the retailer would consider Costco's impact once the first store is open, declining to comment further. Benedict Brook, a spokesman for Woolworths, declined to comment. Low Profit Margins "We operate with low margins and with our membership fees, we can sustain low margins," Costco's Noone said. "Lower prices are important because people shop with us to get value." The Australian outlets will carry about 3,800 product lines, compared with 27,000 in some Coles outlets, with some variation for local tastes, Noone said. Instead of bulk packages of peanut butter popular in the U.S., Costco may stock items such as large sizes of Vegemite, the salty Australian spread. Costco's impact on Coles and Woolworths may extend beyond any market share it wins, as the company's practice of pricing goods as much as 15 percent below rivals is likely to influence perceptions of value, said analysts at Macquarie Group Ltd. "Membership fees allow Costco to operate at low margins and are a fundamental difference in the business model," Macquarie said in a July 7 note to clients. "All other retailers of like products could be forced to price within these bounds, depending on consumer response to Costco." Unemployment Rising The company enters a market where unemployment is increasing. Australia's June jobless rate rose to the highest in almost six years as the global recession reduced demand for commodity exports and mining companies fired workers. The nation avoided falling into recession this year after the government distributed more than A$12 billion in cash handouts to individuals and families. Noone, an Australian who has worked for Costco for two decades, said the size of the Australian network will depend on the success of the first two outlets, with the company typically targeting a ratio of one store per 500,000 people. "It all depends on how well we do what we say we are going to in Australia," Noone said. "When I was in Canada we started building warehouses to that ratio but when I left our brand name was such that we could build to 200,000 or 300,000 people and have a successful store." Coles and Woolworths are trialing hardwood floors, redesigned fresh produce sections and new shelving in their supermarkets. Costco is sticking with its warehouse design that uses concrete floors, exposed light fittings and inventory stacked on wooden pallets. The Australian unit has no plans to sell coffins, as some of its U.S. outlets do, Noone said. He expects the product range to evolve as Costco gains acceptance from consumers. "If we can get good volume we will stock it and sell it," Noone said. "We look at areas we can show great value and that is why we sell diamonds and liquor and candy and all the other things."

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australia

Australia's Central Bank Kept Interest Rates Unchanged

Australia was one of the few major economies including China and India to grow in the first quarter as government cash handouts and rate cuts stoked consumer spending. Growth may slow after recent reports showed exports dropped to a 14-month low, bank lending fell, home building approvals declined by the most since 2002 and job advertisements tumbled for a 14th month.

Australia's central bank kept interest rates unchanged for a third month amid signs the lowest borrowing costs in half a century and government spending are helping the economy skirt the global recession. There is still "some scope for further easing of monetary policy, if needed'" said Stevens, who slashed borrowing costs by a record 4.25 percentage points in six moves between September and April. "Economic conditions in Australia have to date not been as weak as expected a few months ago," he added. The Australian dollar rose to 79.86 U.S. cents at 3:16 p.m. in Sydney from 79.67 cents just before the decision was released. The two-year government bond yield fell 1 basis point to 3.81 percent. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

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australia

CSR Planning to Increase Sugar Value

CSR Ltd., Australia's second-largest maker of building products, is planning to spin off its sugar unit to take advantage of a 27 percent jump in prices for the sweetener in the past year and improving capital markets.

CSR Ltd., Australia's second-largest maker of building products, is planning to spin off its sugar unit to take advantage of a 27 percent jump in prices for the sweetener in the past year and improving capital markets. The demerger plan is targeted for completion by the end of the year ending March 31, the Sydney-based company said today in a statement. The sugar business is valued at A$1.2 billion ($958 million), UBS AG said in a report last month. CSR has a market value of A$2 billion. Shares of CSR, Australia's biggest sugar refiner, rose 6 percent on investor optimism for the plan, flagged by the company more than two years ago. Sugar is the best-performing commodity in the past year because of a world wide production shortfall. "They'll lose diversification of earnings but that will probably be viewed as less significant than investors now gaining a pure exposure to sugar and building materials separately," said Will Seddon, who helps manage $250 million at White Funds Management Pty. in Sydney.

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australia

Australian Airlines Addresses $66 Million Shortfall

National Australian airline Qantas has committed $66 million to cover a shortfall caused by the current economic crisis.

National Australian airline Qantas has committed $66 million to cover a shortfall caused by the current economic crisis. The injection of funds will be spread over three years in order to reflect "the adverse performance of financial markets over recent months". Previously, there were concerns that Quantas could be forced to inject an estimated $283 million to fix shortfalls caused by investment losses. Merrill Lynch recently estimated that the investment losses have cost Quantas' pensions plan $394 million since last June, turning a $296 million surplus into a a $98 million deficit.

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australia

Canadian Fund Bids for Australia's Mac Satellite

A Canadian superannuation fund has launched a friendly $1.37 billion takeover bid for Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group, in a move that put the squeeze on short sellers yesterday across the constellation of Macquarie's struggling listed satellite funds.

A Canadian superannuation fund has launched a friendly $1.37 billion takeover bid for Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group, in a move that put the squeeze on short sellers yesterday across the constellation of Macquarie's struggling listed satellite funds. Coming on the last day of the group's financial year, the deal should also bring in some eleventh-hour fees and help justify asset valuations which have come under scrutiny. The Canadian Pension Plan, a government-backed fund, will offer $2.50 per MCG stapled security and its associated management vehicle. While this represents a substantial premium to Monday's closing price of $1.50 for the satellite fund, which owns a collection of broadcast assets including television transmission towers, the offer falls well short of MCG's record high of $6.83.

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australia

Australian Banks Optimistic

The big bank bosses have declared Australia has weathered the worst of the global financial crisis, with some predicting official interest rates as low as 2 per cent later this year as the Reserve Bank attempts to keep the economy pumping.

The big bank bosses have declared Australia has weathered the worst of the global financial crisis, with some predicting official interest rates as low as 2 per cent later this year as the Reserve Bank attempts to keep the economy pumping. Bankers acknowledge their image has taken a battering in the crisis, with National Australia Bank admitting there was a perception banks had been profiteering from fees or failing to pass on in full interest rate cuts. In a wide-ranging speech to the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, NAB's chief executive, Cameron Clyne, said banks had failed to explain the pressures on their own funding costs and how these had affected their ability to price mortgages. Still, Mr. Clyne remained upbeat, given the signs of confidence emerging in economic indicators. With markets finally responding to moves by governments around the world to stabilize the financial system, he said the downturn in Britain and the US appeared to be "relatively close to the bottom".

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australia

Australian Shares Surge to One-Month High

Australian stocks jumped 3.1% to a one-month closing high as banks and mining companies climbed on hopes for an economic recovery taking hold, while agriculture stocks were boosted by strong rains.

Australian stocks jumped 3.1% to a one-month closing high as banks and mining companies climbed on hopes for an economic recovery taking hold, while agriculture stocks were boosted by strong rains. At the close, the benchmark S&P;/ASX200 index was up 3.1%, or 103.5 points, to 3451.9, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 2.9%, or 96.1 points, at 3393.4. The Australian dollar continues to get a boost from the stronger equities prices. It had recently lost some ground to 66.09 US cents, but was still up from yesterday's local close of 66.07 US cents. It was also worth 64.99 yen, 50.75 euro cents, 46.794 British pence and $NZ1.244. The three-day rise in the stock market has provided some confidence to investors and some expect the uptrend to continue.

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australia

Australia's Packer Buys His Way Out of US Casino Deal

James Packer's company Crown has agreed to fork out the best part of $400 million to save the company from having to go ahead with a $1.75 billion US casino deal made at the top of the market.

James Packer's company Crown has agreed to fork out the best part of $400 million to save the company from having to go ahead with a $1.75 billion US casino deal made at the top of the market. The suite of three casinos Crown had agreed to buy have plummeted in value since Crown signed an agreement nearly 15 months ago. The compromise deal is a face-saver for both sides and was welcomed by the market with shares in Crown closing up 70c, or 13 per cent, to $5.90. The deal came after intense negotiations between Crown and Millennium Gaming Inc, which owns the casinos - two in Las Vegas and one in Pennsylvania.

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australia

Australia Pledges $6.4m to Zimbabwe

Australia says it will provide funding to Zimbabwe, the first major donor to announce aid to the government since the start of power-sharing last month.

Australia says it will provide funding to Zimbabwe, the first major donor to announce aid to the government since the start of power-sharing last month. Canberra is providing $6.4m in direct aid to restore basic water, sanitation and health services. But Australia was "under no illusions about the fragility of the political situation," Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said in a statement. Analysts say the new government will be heavily dependent on Western donors and investors to rescue Zimbabwe's crippled economy. The US and UK governments have said they will only restore aid to Zimbabwe when they see evidence of genuine power-sharing between the rival parties.

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australia

Australian Jobless Rate Expected to Rise

The unemployment rate is likely to rise tomorrow and there is more evidence employers are shying away from hiring staff.

The unemployment rate is likely to rise tomorrow and there is more evidence employers are shying away from hiring staff. The number of job ads in newspapers and on the internet dropped more than 10 per cent last month - the biggest monthly fall in the series compiled by the ANZ Bank. There are now 40 per cent fewer positions advertised than a year ago. The trends suggest "a substantial rise in the unemployment rate is likely", said ANZ's head of Australian economics, Warren Hogan.

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australia

Australian Stock Market at Weakest Level in Six Years

The Australian stock market closed at its weakest levels in almost six years, weighed down by banks and resources stocks following a drop in oil and base metals prices plus a plunge on Wall Street overnight.

The Australian stock market closed at its weakest levels in almost six years, weighed down by banks and resources stocks following a drop in oil and base metals prices plus a plunge on Wall Street overnight. The benchmark S&P;/ASX200 index was down 43 points, or 1.35 per cent, at 3,145.5, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 37.1 points, or 1.18 per cent, to 3,111.7. It was the S&P;/ASX 200's weakest close since mid July 2003.

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australia

Australia Extends Short-Selling Ban

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has extended the ban on short-selling until at least the end of May.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has extended the ban on short-selling until at least the end of May. The ban, imposed in September of 2008, now only applies to companies with links to the finance industry. ASIC said it was pursuing a "cautious approach" amid "potential damage from aggressive or predatory practices" in volatile markets. It had conducted "extensive research and analysis" before making its decision.

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australia

Australia's Banks Ruled Among the Safest

Australia's four biggest banks are among the world's 20 safest, a survey has found.

Australia's four biggest banks are among the world's 20 safest, a survey has found. National Australia Bank, beat heavyweights such as HSBC, Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank to reach number 11 on the US-based Global Finance magazine list. The twice-yearly assessment, which examines the 500 largest banks in the world, is based on a comparison of the long-term credit ratings from agencies Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch as well as banks' total assets. NAB is followed by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia at number 12. ANZ Banking Group is ranked 15th, followed by Westpac in 16th place. The world's safest bank, according to Global Finance, is Germany's KfW.

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australia

Australia and Seoul Bank Plan $1 Billion Fund

South Korea's Woori Bank announced it will form a fund with Australian financial group Macquarie to invest in Korea with an estimated $1 billion.

South Korea's Woori Bank announced it will form a fund with Australian financial group Macquarie to invest in Korea with an estimated $1 billion. The deal is expected to be signed in Australia on Wednesday when South Korea President Lee Myung-Bak begins his visit to the country. Talks of the specifics are still underway, and the estimated amount is not finalized. The fund will be used to support state-backed projects including a "Green New Deal".

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australia

Australia Leaves Interest Rate Alone

In a surprising move, the central bank left the 3.25 percent interest rate alone after six straight months of rate cuts.

In a surprising move, the central bank left the 3.25 percent interest rate alone after six straight months of rate cuts. The vote of confidence from the Reserve Bank has not quelled the Government's fears of a sharp economic downturn, however. Official growth figures are expected to be released today. The news is feared after it was announced Canada's economy had contracted by 0.8 percent in the December quarter. The Canadian economy is similar to Australia's as it also heavily dependent on commodity exports. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has cautioned that Australia is one of only four OECD countries to not be in a recession or even have a contracting quarter, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to fight off the global crisis.

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australia

Foreign Speculation Threatening Australian Banks

The nation's corporate regulators are under pressure to renew the ban of short selling stocks amid speculation that foreign investors are waiting to drive down the share prices of the big four banks.

The nation's corporate regulators are under pressure to renew the ban of short selling stocks amid speculation that foreign investors are waiting to drive down the share prices of the big four banks. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission must decide by Friday whether to renew the controversial ban. A source, speaking on the condition on anonymity, said a coordinated plan by about three hedge funds is underway to target Australian banks should the ban be lifted. The ban was imposed in September and renewed in January. If the ban is renewed once again, Australia will be the only country in the world with a ban on short selling.

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australia

Australian Rate Cut Likely

A report about the health of Australian businesses has increased the risk of an official recession.

A report about the health of Australian businesses has increased the risk of an official recession. As the government prepares for a "dramatic" hit from the global slowdown, the Reserve Bank contemplates lowering the interest rates for the sixth consecutive month. The Bureau of Statistics has reported large falls in company profits and inventories. Growth figures being release tomorrow are expected to show the economy contracted for the 4th quarter of 2008. The contraction may have been inevitable as seven out of the top 10 trading parters of Australia are in a recession.

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australia

Australian Retailers Announce Plan to Hire 9000

Despite Australia's economic woes, it appears Australia's retail sector will rebound after loosing more than 2200 jobs by Pacific Brands and Lend Lease.

Despite Australia's economic woes, it appears Australia's retail sector will rebound after loosing more than 2200 jobs by Pacific Brands and Lend Lease. It has been announced that 9000 new jobs will be created in 2009 in the retail sector. The majority of the jobs will be created by Woolworths, the country's largest food retailer, which said it would create 7000 jobs in the second half of 2009. The company's discount rival, German company Aldi, said it was looking to employ another 2600 jobs due to its expansion plans across the eastern seaboard.

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australia

Australian Firm PacBrands May Win Millions in Grants

After cutting 1850 jobs and moving its manufacturing jobs to South-East Asia, Pacific Brands is in line to receive millions in grants from the government.

After cutting 1850 jobs and moving its manufacturing jobs to South-East Asia, Pacific Brands is in line to receive millions in grants from the government. The firm has asked the government to reimburse its investment research, development and manufacturing under Textile, Clothing and Footwear. The grants are intended to encourage industry innovation. Since, one of the requirements is to carry on "eligible manufacturing in Australia", Pacific Brands may not be eligible for the full amount. Last year the company received $9 million, and the year before it received $8.6 million. The Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia said it would be a disgrace if the company received government funds after moving its operations offshore.

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australia

Australia's Westfield in Red for the First Time

The global retail juggernaut Westfield revealed a net annual loss of $2.2 billion, marking the first loss in the 48-year history of the company.

The global retail juggernaut Westfield revealed a net annual loss of $2.2 billion, marking the first loss in the 48-year history of the company. The company currently has seven projects underway, at a forecasted cost of $4.6 billion, including a $3 billion project in London adjacent to the 2012 Olympics athletes' village. The company has been struggling because of the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Revenue in Australia has been much stronger than that in the US and England. The company has even forecasted a net operating income growth of 3 to 4 percent in Australia for the upcoming year, versus a 2 to 3 percent decline in England and the US.

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australia

Australian Mining Firm Strikes Deal with China

Fortescue Metals has signed a $1.2 billion deal for China's Hunan Valin Iron & Steel to purchase a 15 percent stake.

Fortescue Metals has signed a $1.2 billion deal for China's Hunan Valin Iron & Steel to purchase a 15 percent stake. The deal will give Hunan Valin Iron & Steel additional off take and a seat of the Fortescue board, but no rights to marketing or representation on management committees. To minimize dilution, Valin will purchase 8 percent of company stock from US hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, and the rest of the stock directly from Fortescue at $2.48. The deal comes after Fortescue announced that it plans to increase its output to 120 million tons, however, the deal will not cover the full cost of expansion, valued at around $3.9 billion.

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australia

Virgin Blue and its V Australia Offshoot Slump as Shares Tank

Virgin Blue's shares closed at 23.5 cents on Friday, after falling roughly 24 per cent during the last three weeks.

Virgin Blue's shares closed at 23.5 cents on Friday, after falling roughly 24 per cent during the last three weeks. The airlines market value has slumped to nearly half of the price of just one of their new 777 jetliners purchased for the V Australia offshoot. Aviation analysts are questioning why V Australia is expanding their trans-Pacific flights during these though economic times. Although almost every facet of air travel is down, chief executive Brett Godfrey, believes flying the Pacific as the final piece in creating a round-the-world network for Virgin Airlines.

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australia

Australia's BlueScope Steel Company Faces Second-Half Losses

BlueScope Steel is preparing for a second-half loss due to the unexpected economic downturn.

BlueScope Steel is preparing for a second-half loss due to the unexpected economic downturn. They plan to slash dividends and cut an unspecified number of jobs. Shares slid to a six-year low causing the company to slash its first-half dividend from 22c a share to 5c. Credit Suisse analyst Michael Slifirski said, if things did not improve, the company was heading for a $150 million second-half loss. Chief executive Paul O'Malley said, previous plans to cut costs by $100 million had been expanded to $150 million and that there would be job reductions, though he refused to say how many.

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australia

Moody's Downgrades Australian Airline

Ratings agency Moody's Investor Service has downgraded its outlook for Qantas Airways Ltd. due to the carrier's debt obligations and strained profitability.

Ratings agency Moody's Investor Service has downgraded its outlook for Qantas Airways Ltd. due to the carrier's debt obligations and strained profitability. The long-term senior unsecured rating has been downgraded from Baa1 to Baa2. Currently Qantas has about $1.5 billion in debt obligations. Moody's senior analyst noted that "The downgrade reflects deterioration in Qantas' credit profile over a period of time, which has significantly diminished the available cushion within the previous Baa1 rating." Quantas has taken a number of measures to improve its equity situation, but Moody's still found it prudent to downgrade its rating.

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australia

Australian Mining Company to Cut 19,000 Jobs

Mining company Anglo America PLC says it will cut 19,000 jobs this year and suspend dividend payments after reporting a 29 percent drop in 2008 profits.

Mining company Anglo America PLC says it will cut 19,000 jobs this year and suspend dividend payments after reporting a 29 percent drop in 2008 profits. The job cut will amount to 10 percent of the workforce. The company has been hit hard by the global economic crisis. Of the $5.2 billion it made last year, $4.3 billion came in the first half. Amid falling demand, profit is not expected to rise any time soon. Chief Executive Cynthia Carroll said, "As we begin 2009, the economic outlook remains weak, with limited visibility and we are continuing to experience volatility and downward pressure on commodity prices."

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australia

Australian Firm OceanaGold's Shares Rise

Shares in OceanaGold Corporation soared after a global rise in gold prices.

Shares in OceanaGold Corporation soared after a global rise in gold prices. The shares rose despite the fact that Australia's fourth largest gold producer incurred a full year net loss. Shares rose 16.5 cents, or 25.98 percent, to 80 cents. As a whole, the company lost $54.7 million for the 2008 business year, down from $69 million in 2007. Despite negative profits, the company achieved record gold sales revenues of $US217.2 million in 2008, up 108 percent from the previous year, thanks mainly to the rise in gold prices.

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australia

Australian Airline Handed Final Approval

International start-up airline V Australia has finally been given approval to begin air traffic. The company plans to fly internationally with flights to the United States.

International start-up airline V Australia has finally been given approval to begin air traffic. The company plans to fly internationally with flights to the United States. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) handed the airline its Air Operators Certificate on Thursday, clearing the final safety hurdle necessary before take-off. The success of V Australia may launch a trans-Pacific price war, as Delta, the world's largest carrier, plans to enter the same market later this year. V Australia's first flight will be from Sydney to Los Angeles on February 27th.

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australia

Australia's Reserve Bank Eyes More Rate Cuts

The Reserve Bank of Australia has suggested in the central bank's board meeting minutes earlier this month that it may implement more interest rate cuts to try to avoid a recession.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has suggested in the central bank's board meeting minutes earlier this month that it may implement more interest rate cuts to try to avoid a recession. They argued that sharp drops in global spending and business activity in recent weeks will negatively affect the Australian economy and acknowledged that interest rates will "trough" at 2% later this year. Interest rates were already cut by 4 percentage points since September 2008 to 3.25 percent, the lowest levels since 1964.

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australia

Australian Senate Passes $42 Billion Stimulus

The Senate has passed the $42 billion stimulus package, with a 30-28 vote, after Independent senator Nick Xenophon and the Rudd government reach a deal where the government agreed to give in to his requests to give funding for the Murray-Darling Basin.

The Senate has passed the $42 billion stimulus package, with a 30-28 vote, after Independent senator Nick Xenophon and the Rudd government reach a deal where the government agreed to give in to his requests to give funding for the Murray-Darling Basin. The package will now go back to the lower house, where the government has a strong majority, before it is passed into law. The agreement between Xenophon and the government includes $900 million for the Murray-Darling Basin, $500 million for water buybacks, $200 million in community grants and $200 million for stormwater harvesting.

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australia

Australia's Unemployment Rate Hits 4.8 Percent In January

Australia's unemployment rate has increased to its highest level since June 2006, up from 4.5 percent in December to 4.8 percent in January.

Australia's unemployment rate has increased to its highest level since June 2006, up from 4.5 percent in December to 4.8 percent in January. The increase was more than the expected 4.7 percent rate. Economists said that the rise in the unemployment rate is mainly due to the increase in the labour force participation rate. They argue that the labour market has been kept afloat by the government's $10.4 billion October economic stimulus package and that more people are entering or staying in the workforce to try to make ends meet.

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australia

Australia's Housing Shines Amid More Economic Gloom

Positive figures in Australia's housing market were recently reported amid broader economic gloom.

Positive figures in Australia's housing market were recently reported amid broader economic gloom. The value of new housing loans, excluding loans for people wanting to renovate, rose 5.9 percent in December. The number of loans extended to people building new properties also increased 9.9 percent in December. The higher number of home loans made by banks is encouraging news as the Australian government and the Reserve Bank continue to strengthen the housing markets.

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australia

Australia: Bad Loans Reach An 18-year High

The Australian banking sector continues to suffer from slowing lending growth, an increase in funding costs and the highest level of bad loans since the 1991 recession.

The Australian banking sector continues to suffer from slowing lending growth, an increase in funding costs and the highest level of bad loans since the 1991 recession. The National Australia Bank (NAB) is facing over $3 billion of bad debt charges if losses continue at the current rate. Despite of this, NAB is still projecting a strong overall revenue growth. ANZ recently said that their bad loans were rising and first-half profits will be down more than 15 percent from last year. Most of the bad loans come from corporate bad debts. While there no new large corporate losses being reported recently, there are fears about bad debts emerging more broadly, particularly among small to mid-sized businesses.

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australia

Australia's Rudd, States Plan Stimulus Projects

Australian states and territories have reached an agreement with the federal government on a timetable for infrastructure projects that are included in the latest multi-billion dollar stimulus plan.

Australian states and territories have reached an agreement with the federal government on a timetable for infrastructure projects that are included in the latest multi-billion dollar stimulus plan. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said after the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra that the first round of construction on primary schools will begin in June. The final 40 percent of school projects will start by December 1, 2009 and will be finished by March 2011. He also said that the agreement includes measures to ensure that states and territories shared the burden in completing the infrastructure plan. The infrastructure program will be overseen by Mike Mrdak, deputy secretary in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, as commonwealth coordinator-general. The next COAG meetings will focus on unemployment and the correct coordination of commonwealth and state labor market programs.

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australia

Australia Sharply Raises Debt Issuance

The Australian government will significantly expand debt issuance to fund the sharp increase in government spending, in the form of two economic stimulus packages, which will push the country into a budget deficit for the first time in seven years.

The Australian government will significantly expand debt issuance to fund the sharp increase in government spending, in the form of two economic stimulus packages, which will push the country into a budget deficit for the first time in seven years. It plans to issue between $22 billion and $24 billion debt by the end of June 2009. This stands in sharp contrast from recent years, when the government only issued around $5 billion annually.

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australia

Australia: Saving the Nation

Efforts to stave off recession has been intensified in Australia, with the government unveiling a $42 billion stimulus package and the Reserve Bank slashing interest rates by 1 percentage point.

Efforts to stave off recession has been intensified in Australia, with the government unveiling a $42 billion stimulus package and the Reserve Bank slashing interest rates by 1 percentage point. The six-pronged stimulus package included $12.7 billion in cash handouts, $28.8 billion for infrastructure, energy efficiency and tax breaks for small businesses, and $14.7 billion for constructing or upgrading a building in every school of the country over the next two years. The Reserve Bank cut the cash rate to 3.25 percent, pushing mortgage rates to their lowest level since the 1960s. The hope is that the $42 billion package will increase growth by 0.5 percent this financial year and by 0.75 to 1 percent in the 2009-2010 financial year.

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australia

Reserve Set to Cut Rates as House Prices Fall

The Reserve Bank is expected to cut interest rates as new figures show record decreases in house prices.

The Reserve Bank is expected to cut interest rates as new figures show record decreases in house prices. A Bureau of Statistics report showed a yearly fall of 3.3 percent of house prices in capital cities, the biggest in its 23-year history. Decreases in house prices significantly erodes the wealth of households because they put most of their savings into their home and because they hold high levels of debt against their homes. Economists expect the Reserve to cut the interest rate by 1 percentage point, to 3.25 percent, followed by another cut next month.

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australia

Australian Home Values Dip 8 Percent in 2008

Australia Property Monitors said residential property values nationwide fell, on average, 8 percent in 2008 and are expected to fall 'modestly' in the first half of 2009.

Australia Property Monitors said residential property values nationwide fell, on average, 8 percent in 2008 and are expected to fall 'modestly' in the first half of 2009. The news is particular discouraging because it seems the government's funding boost for first time home buyers has had little effect. However, one area of optimism has been Darwin, where house prices rose 5.5 percent and unit prices by 20.5 percent in 2008.

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australia

Big Australian Banks' Shares Expected to Fal

Shares in Australia's major banks are predicted to fall a further 10 percent this year as the economic meltdown forces increases in bad debt charges.

Shares in Australia's major banks are predicted to fall a further 10 percent this year as the economic meltdown forces increases in bad debt charges. According to Austock Securities analyst, John Buonaccorsi, the news on the domestic economy suggests the outlook keeps getting worse and therefore credit quality for the banks and their bad debt charge will be worse than current forecasts.

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australia

Low Inflation Figures Tipped to Lead to Cut in Rates in Australia

Australian inflation figures are expected to show the first consumer prices decline in two years.

Australian inflation figures are expected to show the first consumer prices decline in two years. According to the Commonwealth Securities chief economist, Craig James, "When prices are falling, people don't want to buy because it will be cheaper next week or next month, and it ends up being entrenched -- people stay on the sidelines so retailers cut prices further and then they have to cut jobs, so it builds up a momentum,"

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australia

Australian Official Figures Understate Unemployment

The number of people unemployed in Australia is much higher than the official figures show because the vast majority of the 800,000 part-time workers are desperate to work more hours.

The number of people unemployed in Australia is much higher than the official figures show because the vast majority of the 800,000 part-time workers are desperate to work more hours. The global financial crisis has especially hit the retailers, in which about 170,000 people, are part-time workers looking to work more hours.

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australia

$5bn Worth of Australia's Exports to China at Risk

The slow down in the Chinese economy may wipe $5 billion off Australia's annual exports and eliminate thousands of jobs. According to Australian authorities, the recovery of the economy of China is as important to Australia as that of the US.

The slow down in the Chinese economy may wipe $5 billion off Australia's annual exports and eliminate thousands of jobs. According to Australian authorities, the recovery of the economy of China is as important to Australia as that of the US. Economists now predict a growth of 4.8% in the Chinese economic, compared with a record 13.9% during 2007.

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australia

Australia Govt Says Eyes Crisis Fund for Business

The Australian government is seriously considering a crisis fund to help commercial property investors refinance foreign bank loans. The fund would involve the government lending directly to businesses.

The Australian government is seriously considering a crisis fund to help commercial property investors refinance foreign bank loans. The fund would involve the government lending directly to businesses.

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australia

Australia's wine industry set back by financial crisis

Australia's wine exports have decrease by 18 percent in 2008 in the midst of the global financial downturn, after 15 years of continuous growth.

Australia's wine exports have decrease by 18 percent in 2008 in the midst of the global financial downturn, after 15 years of continuous growth.

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australia

Australia emission trade gives price indication

Australia, the rich world's largest per-capita emitter of greenhouse gases, will enforce a nationwide limit on emissions from mid-2010 by introducing a carbon-trading market where businesses that pollute less can sell emission credits to those firms that pollute more.

Australia, the rich world's largest per-capita emitter of greenhouse gases, will enforce a nationwide limit on emissions from mid-2010 by introducing a carbon-trading market where businesses that pollute less can sell emission credits to those firms that pollute more.

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australia

Nuclear Energy Needed to Cutting Greenhouse Emissions in Australia

If Australia wants to meet its climate change targets, the Federal Government will have to spend $6 billion to build alternative power generation.

If Australia wants to meet its climate change targets, the Federal Government will have to spend $6 billion to build alternative power generation. Nowadays, eighty-two per cent of Australia's energy comes from coal-fired power stations, so new low-emission technologies for electricity generation must be deployed on a massive scale to achieve Australia's greenhouse gas reduction targets.

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australia

Australia's Wesfarmers Says May Cut Dividend

Coal-to-groceries conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd will likely cut its dividend this year as earnings will reduce and financial market turmoil is affecting the value of some of its investments, sending its shares down nearly 5 percent.

Coal-to-groceries conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd will likely cut its dividend this year as earnings will reduce and financial market turmoil is affecting the value of some of its investments, sending its shares down nearly 5 percent.

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australia

Australian Coking Coal Exports Hit Hard by Global Crisis

The exports of coking coal, the most valuable export in Australia, have been seriously affected by the global financial downturn.

The exports of coking coal, the most valuable export in Australia, have been seriously affected by the global financial downturn. Analysts say that Australia will have to reduce its production of coking coal as the global demand decreases.

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australia

Australian Miners Cut 570 Jobs as Commodity Prices Dive

The current continued slump in commodity prices and the current financial challenges facing the Australian mining industry have caused 570 jobs losses across three states yesterday alone.

The current continued slump in commodity prices and the current financial challenges facing the Australian mining industry have caused 570 jobs losses across three states yesterday alone. The job losses affected Rio, which closed a $US229 million copper mine expansion in NSW, along with Xstrata and OZ Minerals, which closed zinc mines in Queensland and Western Australia.

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australia

Australia Cuts Rates to a Six-Year Low

Australia's central bank has announced an interest rate cut of 4.25%, the lowest in 6 years.

Australia's central bank has announced an interest rate cut of 4.25%, the lowest in 6 years. This is Australia's fourth rate cut in three months, suggesting a rapid slowdown in the country's economy. Economist predict that some parts of the country are already in recession.

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australia

Australia's Rio Tinto Plunges as Offer Scrapped

Australia's Rio Tinto Group, the third largest mining company in the world, announced that BHP Billiton has left a takeover offer of $66 billion.

Australia's Rio Tinto Group, the third largest mining company in the world, announced that BHP Billiton has left a takeover offer of $66 billion. Soon after, Rio Tinto plunged a record of 37% in London tradings. Rio is loaded with debt ($40 billion) generated from its 2007 acquisition of Alcan, a Canadian aluminum firm. Moreover, Rio Tinto is currently facing slowing global demand for aluminum which has set prices on the biggest annual drop in 17 years.

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australia

Australia to Join Asian Free Trade Deal

Australia plans to join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement between Brunei Darussalam, New Zealand, Singapore, Chile and the United States.

Australia plans to join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement between Brunei Darussalam, New Zealand, Singapore, Chile and the United States. Japan, Vietnam and Peru have also expressed interest in the agreement.

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australia

Australia: Mayors Told: Spend $300m Now

Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, unveiled a $300 million plan that is expected to create thousands of jobs and improve infrastructure.

Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, unveiled a $300 million plan that is expected to create thousands of jobs and improve infrastructure. The money will be split between councils and shires and will have to be spent on social and cultural infrastructure during the next following year. The plan aims to create jobs, support local companies and avert a recession.

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australia

Australia's St George Merger Sealed - Now for the Cost-Cutting

Westpac and the St. George Bank have sealed their merger and now begin plans for a three year strategy to cut as much as $2.7 billion in operation costs.

Westpac and the St. George Bank have sealed their merger and now begin plans for a three year strategy to cut as much as $2.7 billion in operation costs. Westpac will official take control of St. George on Dec. 1 and expects savings equivalent to a quarter of St. George's cost base to start flowing within the first few months.

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australia

ETS Will Cost Australian Families $1 Per Day

When Australia begins emissions trading in 2010, households' electricity and gas bills will rise about $7 a week.

When Australia begins emissions trading in 2010, households' electricity and gas bills will rise about $7 a week. Australia will begin using more renewable energy and wood products. Although GDP will continue to grow, aluminum and petroleum refineries will suffer.

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australia

Australia's Swan Approves St George, Westpac Merger

Australia's federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has approved the merger of St. George and Westpac banks.

Australia's federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has approved the merger of St. George and Westpac banks. Strict conditions will be imposed on the merger, including maintaining all Westpac and St. George retail banking brands.

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australia

Australia's COAG to Focus on Credit, Climate

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed that the federal government will be responsible for regulating mortgages, mortgage broking, margin lending, payday lending, and financial counseling services.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed that the federal government will be responsible for regulating mortgages, mortgage broking, margin lending, payday lending, and financial counseling services. In addition, the governments plan to develop a national energy efficiency strategy by the end of 2008.

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australia

Australia's Future Fund Undeterred by Fiscal Meltdown

Despite the instability of the global equity markets, Australia's Future Fund will not reduce its asset allocation in shares.

Despite the instability of the global equity markets, Australia's Future Fund will probably not reduce its asset allocation in shares. The Future Fund held assets of over $64 billion as of June 30 this year. It was originally set up in 2006 to pay the previously uncovered liabilities of public service superannuation.

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australia

Australian Senators Set to Support Luxury Car Tax Increase

The Senate is expected to clear a controversial luxury car tax increase today.

The Senate is expected to clear a controversial luxury car tax increase today. Those opposed to the tax increase say that it unfairly hits primary producers and tourism operators. To appease the opposition, farmers and tour operators will now receive a $3,000 tax rebate for each vehicle in operation.

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australia

Jobless Rate in Australia Lowest Since March

The unemployment rate decreased to 4.1% in August, the lowest its been in five months.

The unemployment rate decreased to 4.1% in August, the lowest its been in five months. Many expected the rate to rise to as high as 4.4%. Unemployment fell in almost every state and territory.

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australia

Australia Must Lead Climate Fight

Australia is believed to be the developed nation that will be most damaged by climate change.

Professor Ross Garnaut, an economist from the Australian National University, claims Australia will suffer from global warming more than any other developed country for three main reasons. First, Australia is hotter and drier, causing small variations in temperature to lead to bigger effects. Second, since Australia is situated in a region close to more vulnerable, poor countries, it may be affected by their problems. Lastly, due to the structure of the economy, export prices will be severely damaged by the climate-related sluggishness in poor countries. Consequently, Garnaut believes action must be taken immediately to lead the world in fighting climate change.

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australia

Australian on Axe-murder Charges

A 69-year-old Australian man suspected of hacking his wife and two grandchildren to death with an axe in the family home has appeared in court.

A 69-year-old Australian man suspected of hacking his wife and two grandchildren to death with an axe in the family home has appeared in court. He was also charged with the attempted murder of his 31-year-old daughter, who suffered a serious head injury.

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australia

Big Jump in Value of Exports Tipped for Next Year

Federal Government economists increased predictions of commodity exports in 2008-09 by $23 billion to $212 billion.

According to predictions by the Federal Government, the value of mineral and agricultural exports will jump 40 percent next year due to record iron ore and coal prices, as well as relief from the drought. A recent forecast of commodity exports in 2008-09 increased to $212 billion from a March forecast of $189 billion. This hike in predictions shows the convoluted local impact of rising world prices for raw materials.

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australia

Qantas Faces Stoppage Over Pay

Australian airline Quantas must face industrial action with the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) next week.

Australian airline Quantas must face industrial action with the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) next week. The ALAEA had asked for a wage increase of 5 percent for 1,500 engineers. This is the latest bad news as Qantas continues to struggle with fuel costs and service reductions, grounding flights to Japan and south-east Asia earlier this month.

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australia

ROC Oil Company Launches a $612 Million Dollar Takeover

Roc Oil is offering .792 shares and plus for Anzon Australia stock.

Roc Oil is offering .792 shares and plus for Anzon Australia stock. This is the third occasion that Anzon has become the focus of a merger in less than one year. If the takeover is successful, the new merger will have market capital of $1.2 billion and produce about 14,000 barrels of oil a day.

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australia

Australian Agriculture to Perform Strongly

The agriculture sector in Australia has been predicted to become the top performer on the market in the next coming months.

The agriculture sector in Australia has been predicted to become the top performer on the market in the next coming months. Despite a recent fall in investor returns, returns are predicted to be around 11 percent higher than those forecast on the broader market Commonwealth Bank's Jon Sutton explained.

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australia

Corporate Profits on Course for Slowdown

Goldman Sachs came out with a list of 24 companies facing refinancing of more than 15 percent this fiscal year.

Goldman Sachs came out with a list of 24 companies facing refinancing of more than 15 percent this fiscal year. Many Australian corporations are experiencing heavy profit losses of 5% to 10% due to the increased prices of oil and poor economy. Some companies that face low exposure to discretionary consumer spending and transport costs will continue to see profits: including Woolworths Coca Cola, and Telstra.

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australia

Australian economy shows unexpected resilience

Australia's resource-driven economy grew twice as fast as expected in the opening quarter, propelled by increased household and construction spending and a rise in government defense expenditure.

Australia's resource-driven economy grew twice as fast as expected in the opening quarter, propelled by increased household and construction spending and a rise in government defence expenditure. The seasonally adjusted 0.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in gross domestic product for the three months to March 31 lifted the annual rate of growth to 3.6 per cent and comes as Australia's central bank grapples with inflation that has reached its highest level since the early 1990s. The economy grew 3.6 per cent year-on-year.

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australia

Child Porn Web Broken by 70 Arrests

The nation's largest anti-pedophile investigation has yielded the arrests of dozens of men, including community leaders, a police officer, a teacher and a youth worker.

The nation's largest anti-pedophile investigation has yielded the arrests of dozens of men, including community leaders, a police officer, a teacher and a youth worker. The investigation, called Operation Centurion, was begun after an Australian hacker broke into a respectable European website and uploaded 99 explicit images of young girls.

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australia

Australia`s Sheep Production Lowest in 80 Years

Due to a long-running drought, sheep numbers are at their lowest levels in more than 80 years, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Due to a long-running drought, sheep numbers are at their lowest levels in more than 80 years, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Wheat production and barley yields have both dropped by over 50 percent, while rice production fell 84 percent.

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australia

Australian Companies Stuck in Subprime Mire

The credit crunch arising from the US subprime mortgage crisis has started to hit Australian small and medium enterprises, affecting their investment decisions and growth plans.

The credit crunch arising from the US subprime mortgage crisis has started to hit Australian small and medium enterprises, affecting their investment decisions and growth plans. Over half the businesses in a recent survey said the credit shortage is a big impediment to meeting revenue targets. However, most private businesses are still upbeat about the medium-term economic outlook, as profits are still strong.

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australia

India, Australia Agree to Finalize FTA Study by End of 2008

India and Australia settled to finalize a report at the end of the year about their Foreign Trade Agreement (FTA).

India and Australia settled to finalize a report at the end of the year of their Foreign Trade Agreement. The Minister of Australia for Trade, Simon Crean, stated that both countries' economies are complementary; therefore, they are natural investment partners.

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australia

Paid Parental Leave Proposal Would Strike all Workers

Australian workers may pay a levy of .5 percent of their wages, AUD5.70 per week, to fund a paid maternity leave scheme of six months.

Australian workers may pay a levy of .5 percent of their wages, AUD5.70 per week, to fund a paid maternity leave scheme of six months. Fathers will also benefit since they might receive a four week paid paternity leave.

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australia

Inflation Jolt Kills Rate Hopes

Any hope of a decrease in interest rates this year is gone and rates look to actually rise instead.

Any hope of a decrease in interest rates this year is gone and rates look to actually rise instead. This is because of a continuing high inflation rate, which is now at 4.2 percent, which in itself is beyond the target inflation rate. Automotive fuel and electricity have been the two main causes of inflation.

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australia

Australian Dollar Is Becoming Weaker

The Australian dollar is joining the Japanese yen and the US dollar in causing worries about the world financial system.

The Australian dollar is joining the Japanese yen and the US dollar in causing worries about the world financial system. This issue is influencing investors away from higher currencies and leveraged trades. To battle this, the Reserve Bank of Australia is looking to put interest rates on hold because of worries about the global credit squeeze and the effects of two rises in the interest rates that raised the cash rate.

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australia

Lihir to merge with Equigold

Gold miner Lihir Gold Ltd and Equigold NL will merge by June 2008.

Gold miner Lihir Gold Ltd and Equigold NL will merge by June 2008. This merger aims to create a global pure gold company with a diversified portfolio, strong financial base and growth profile. Their combined market capitalization will be around $A9 billion.

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australia

GDP Growth Eases

Australia's economy slowed down in the last three months of 2007.

Australia's economy slowed down in the last three months of 2007. In December, GDP grew at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 3.9 percent while the previous three months saw growth of 4.3 percent. The widening trade gap is blamed for the slowdown, shaving .8 percent of the GDP during December.

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australia

Reserve Bank lifts Interest Rates

The Reserve Bank of Australia raised its interest rate by 25 basis points to 7.25 percent, the highest rate in over 11 years.

The Reserve Bank of Australia raised its interest rate by 25 basis points to 7.25 percent, the highest rate in over 11 years. Mortgages and home loans stand to even be raised at higher rates because most commercial banks are feeling the credit squeeze and might pass the costs on to the consumer.

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australia

Company Profits Rebound

Australia's companies' profits increased in the fourth quarter, rebounding from the first decline in over two years.

Gross operating profits fell 1.4 percent in the third quarter of 2007 while the fourth quarter profits rose 3.9 percent, mostly led by mining, building, and manufacturing. Mining, manufacturing, and construction profits rose by 1.5 percent, 6.5 percent, and 13.7 percent respectively.

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australia

Business Spending Likely to top AUD 100 billion

Business investment is on its way to pass AUD 100 billion next financial year.

Business investment is on its way to pass AUD 100 billion next financial year. Statistics released from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that business spending is surging. Capital spending plans by firms, according to the ABS survey, are expected to reach AUD 78.5 billion.

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australia

Big Banks Face AUD 5.5 billion Risk Debt Exposure

Australia's leading banks are believed to have exposure of about AUD 5.5 billion to five of the most financially unstable companies.

Australia's leading banks are believed to have exposure of about AUD 5.5 billion to five of the most financially unstable companies. Centro Property Group, Australia's second largest shopping center owner, received its largest loan amount, AUD 1.7 billion, from the Commonwealth Bank. Although it doesn't mean that the companies are going to default or the bank is going to record a loss, the risky debt lent to these companies can pose a problem in the future.

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australia

Warning After Market’s ’Worst’ Start

ASX 200 and All Ordinaries had an 8 percent sell off since the New Year.

ASX 200 and All Ordinaries had an 8 percent sell off since the New Year. Perpetual Investments, one the largest fund managers on the ASX, warns that investors should not expect returns of more than 10 percent this year, citing that this year was the worst start to a trading year in 130 years.

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australia

China and Australia Forging Ties

On Tuesday Feb 5, 2008 the Chinese and Australian foreign minsters began their first bilateral strategic discussion in Canberra, Australia.

On Tuesday Feb 5, 2008 the Chinese and Australian foreign minsters began their first bilateral strategic discussion in Canberra, Australia. Five issues were addressed during the first day: increasing political trust, increasing bilateral cooperation, improve cultural and educational exchanges, increased sensitivity to one another's issues, and strengthen efforts to promote regional peace and stability.

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australia

Credit Growth Solid Despite Market Anxiety

Despite two interest rate hikes and the sub-prime loan crisis, credit growth stayed strong through the end of 2007.

Despite two interest rate hikes and the sub-prime loan crisis, credit growth stayed strong through the end of 2007. Credit given to the private sector during December 2007 grew by 1.1 percent; the annual rate grew by 16.5 percent, the sharpest growth since 1989. Business credit had stronger growth bringing in a 24.3 percent increase for 2007.

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australia

Margin Lending Broker Runs Out of Money

Tricom halted settlement, which is when the money is handed over for trades already agreed, on the ASX for more than four hours.

Tricom halted settlement, which is when the money is handed over for trades already agreed, on the ASX for more than four hours. The margin lending broker was unable to cover the cost of trades Monday causing the 12:30 pm settlement time to take place at 4:42 pm. Tricom owed about AUD 110 million when the settlement was scheduled.

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australia

Phew: US Rate Cute Stalls the Rout

The Australian bourse went up more than 4 percent in the second biggest gain in 10 years.

The Australian bourse went up more than 4 percent in the second biggest gain in 10 years. Although the market is quite bear, down more than 20 percent from its peak in November, the short term market recovered in resource equities with an overall 225.5 point gain for the day.

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australia

Black Tuesday: AUD 104b wiped off Share Index

In its biggest one day fall in 18 years, the Australian market crashed amid fears of a US recession.

In its biggest one day fall in 18 years, the Australian market crashed amid fears of a US recession. Since November 1, about AUD 300 billion has been lost from the share market. The benchmark index, ASX200, plunged more than 7 percent as the Australian market is tipping into bear territory.

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australia

CBA Joins Dearer Home Loans Club

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has become the third major lender to lift rates on home loans lifting interest rates .25 percentage points.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has become the third major lender to lift rates on home loans lifting interest rates .25 percentage points. In spite of being seen as one of the only banks that avoided the credit crunch, CBA claims that additional funding costs have cost the bank around AUD 100 million.

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australia

BlueScope to Expand in US

Australia's largest steel producer is set for an M&A to expand its US operations.

Australia's largest steel producer is set for an M&A to expand its US operations. BlueScope's North American subsidiary is set to buy IMSA Steel for USD 730 million. Investors liked the good news and pushed BlueScope's shares up closing at AUD 26 cents higher, at AUD 9.26. Even though lenders are a bit weary these days, they are willing to provide the full cost of this acquisition through a 364-day bridging facility.

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australia

Centro Braces for Earnings Downgrade

Centro Properties Group, Australia's second largest owner of shopping centers, is getting ready for an earnings downgrade.

Centro Properties Group, Australia's second largest owner of shopping centers, is getting ready for an earnings downgrade. Investors link this downgrade to an outstanding debt bill and to significant exposure to the US subprime mortgage crisis. Analysts have predicted a possible slashing of earnings and a share price drop. Centro currently operates shopping centers in the Midwestern part of the US.

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australia

Chinese Coal Giant Has Eyes on Australia

The word's second-largest coal company, China Shenhua Energy, is looking to spend about USD 80 billion to invest in China's growing demand for energy.

The word's second-largest coal company, China Shenhua Energy, is looking to spend about USD 80 billion to invest in China's growing demand for energy. President Ling Wen explained on Friday that his company is in talks with Indonesia, and is also looking at prospects like Australia and Mongolia. The Chinese government estimates that its energy demand will increase to about 4 percent annually.

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australia

Government Will Inherit Nation of Foreign Debtors

The new government will have to deal with a foreign debt of AUD 570 billion that currently is triple the size of the previous Labor government's debt.

The new government will have to deal with a foreign debt of AUD 570 billion that currently is triple the size of the previous Labor government's debt. During the September quarter the Bureau of Statistics reported that the debt was AUD 15.6 billion; only slightly smaller than the previous quarter. Some economists blame the strong Aussie dollar which could encourage citizens to buy offshore.

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australia

NAB Heads into American Breadbasket

Challenging the global leadership in the agricultural lending market, the National Australia Bank spent nearly USD 800 million to help it fully enter the North American farm sector.

Challenging the global leadership in the agricultural lending market, the National Australia Bank spent nearly USD 800 million to help it fully enter the North American farm sector. This included the acquisition of the Great Western Bank, based in South Dakota, which gives NAB a substantial chance of lending to a USD 310 billion a year industry.

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australia

Aboriginal Land Claims Stuck In a AUD 1billion Logjam

An excess of AUD 1 billion worth of land has been granted to the Aboriginal people in North South Wales but not completely transferred.

An excess of AUD 1 billion worth of land has been granted to the Aboriginal people in North South Wales but not completely transferred. According to the Auditor-General, the problem is that Land Department's processes are too slow. A spokesman for the NSW Lands Minister pointed out that AUD 1.36 million had been allocated over four years to address the problem. Out of 15,581 claims that were filed under the act by June 30 of this year, 57 percent were unresolved.

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australia

Australia's Mega-Merger: BHP Bids for Rio

In an AUD 400 billion deal, the world's second biggest producer of iron ore, BHP Billiton, has bid to merge with the world's second biggest producer, Rio Tinto.

In an AUD 400 billion deal, the world's second biggest producer of iron ore, BHP Billiton, has bid to merge with the world's second biggest producer, Rio Tinto. After a possible merge, the new company would still be number two with a combined production of 275 million tons per year, staying behind Brazil's CVRD with 300 million tons. BHP's CEO Marius Kloppers argues with a long-term extra value of USD 70 billion. Rio's CEO Tom Albanese has turned down all offers so far. However, analysts expect annual cost savings of more than USD 5 billion after tax to be an argument to be considered.

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australia

Thai Royalty Hikes: Setback and Chance for Australia's Kingsgate

Australia's miner Kingsgate Consolidated has been hit hard this week, as the Thai government announced unilateral raises of royalties for commodities such as gold, base metals, coal and limestone.

Australia's miner Kingsgate Consolidated has been hit hard this week, as the Thai government raised royalties for commodities such as gold, base metals, coal and limestone. What is a financial setback might nevertheless be a chance for the company: They have been eying the higher-grade northern lease of the Chatree gold mine in Thailand and are now sanguine that the Thai government will grant access. This could boost Kingsgate's Chatree production up to 170,000 ounces per year and enable expansion to double output to around 300,000 ounces. Thailand's top royalty rate now is at 10 percent. In comparison: Australia, the US, Canada and South Africa levy 2.5 percent.

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australia

AUD appreciates in Light of Anticipated Rate Rise

On Monday, the AUD traded at USD 0.9204 after an intraday high of 0.9218. This development is mainly due to an anticipated announcement by the Reserve Bank of Australia to raise the official cash rate by 25 basis points to 6.75 percent.

On Monday, the AUD traded at USD 0.9204 after an intraday high of 0.9218. This development is mainly due to an anticipated announcement by the Reserve Bank of Australia to raise the official cash rate by 25 basis points to 6.75 percent.

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australia

Australia's Reserve Bank: Two More Interest Rate Rises

According to National Australia Bank chief economist Alan Oster, Australia's Reserve Bank is very likely to further raise interest rates twice to 7 percent by February 2008.

According to National Australia Bank chief economist Alan Oster, Australia's Reserve Bank is very likely to further raise interest rates twice to 7 percent by February 2008, unless demand slows significantly down. Although both, the business conditions index and the business confidence index declined, consumers' demand and government spending support business activity.

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australia

Australia's Business Confidence Fell

According to the index of business confidence published by the National Australia Bank, business confidence in Australia has declined. The index fell from 11 to nine points for the December quarter.

According to the index of business confidence published by the National Australia Bank, business confidence in Australia has declined. The index fell from 11 to nine points for the December quarter. One third of the companies surveyed expect a positive outlook for the quarter, in particular non-residential construction companies and resources-related manufacturing sectors.

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australia

Australian Treasurer Bids Central Bank Not to Raise Interest Rates

Australian treasurer Peter Costello has strongly addressed the Reserve Bank of Australia not to raise interest rates. He said that the meltdown of the sub prime mortgage sector and the inevitable change from China's fixed exchange rate to a floating exchange rate will create a great level of instability which will result in a "huge tsunami" on the world's financial markets.

Australian treasurer Peter Costello has strongly addressed the Reserve Bank of Australia not to raise interest rates. He said that the meltdown of the sub prime mortgage sector and the inevitable change from China's fixed exchange rate to a floating exchange rate will create a great level of instability which will result in a "huge tsunami" on the world's financial markets.

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australia

Record Output for BHP Billiton Despite Cost Blowout in US Project

The world's largest miner, BHP Billiton, has posted another quarter of record performance, though the output was lower than in the June quarter.

The world's largest miner, BHP Billiton, has posted another quarter of record performance, though the output was lower than in the June quarter. Especially the iron-ore output, spurred by record production in a number of BHP Billiton's individual operations, for example in Western Australia and Brazil. However, the overall result was impaired by risen costs for two projects in the US.

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australia

Australia's Central Bank Likely to Raise Interest Rates

According to Westpac Melbourne Institute's chief economist Bill Evans, strong growth and inflation pressures will force the Reserve Bank of Australia to raise interest rates by 50 basis points in the upcoming months.

According to Westpac Melbourne Institute's chief economist Bill Evans, strong growth and inflation pressures will force the Reserve Bank of Australia to raise interest rates by 50 basis points in the upcoming months. Previously, the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Index of Economic Activity, has shown an annualized growth rate of the index of 5.6 percent, remaining above its long term trend of 4.3 percent.

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australia

Australian Companies Call for Tax Cuts

As the plans of the Australian government for a AUD 34 billion tax cut in personal income tax have been published yesterday, the Business Council of Australia calls for corporate tax cuts.

As the plans of the Australian government for a AUD 34 billion tax cut in personal income tax have been published yesterday, the Business Council of Australia calls for corporate tax cuts. The council argues that the current complex system acts as a barrier to investment.

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australia

Australia Reports Least Number of Unemployed in 33 Years

Australia's unemployment rate fell from 4.3 percent in August to a 33-year-low of 4.2 percent in September, due to a reduction in the participation rate. However, the number of employees increased by 13,000. As the labor force tightens, the Reserve Bank of Australia remains under pressure to raise interest rates to curb inflation.

Australia's unemployment rate fell from 4.3 percent in August to a 33-year-low of 4.2 percent in September, due to a reduction in the participation rate. However, the number of employees increased by 13,000. As the labor force tightens, the Reserve Bank of Australia remains under pressure to raise interest rates to curb inflation.

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australia

Australia: Interest Rate Rise Cools Business Confidence

According to the monthly business survey conducted by the National Australia Bank, business confidence has slipped for the fourth consecutive month, now having fallen to the lowest level since January.

According to the monthly business survey conducted by the National Australia Bank, business confidence has slipped for the fourth consecutive month, now having fallen to the lowest level since January. Major triggers for the development are the interest rate rise by 25 basis points in August and global financial turbulence.

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australia

Australia's Construction Sector on the Upswing

The Australian Industry Group-Housing Industry Association Performance of Construction Index (PCI) has shown its strongest growth rate since last year's June when it hit the mark of 55.2.

The Australian Industry Group-Housing Industry Association Performance of Construction Index (PCI) has shown its strongest growth rate since last year's June when it hit the mark of 55.2. Experts, however, advise against premature euphoria about a possible recovery of the troubled housing sector.

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australia

Australia's ANZ Bank heads towards Asia

The new head of ANZ Bank, Mike Smith, has announced Asia as new focus for expansion, as he considers the home markets of Australia and New Zealand as "very mature".

The new head of ANZ Bank, Mike Smith, has announced Asia as new focus for expansion, as he considers the home markets of Australia and New Zealand as "very mature". Besides the growth potential in Asian countries, especially the low impact of the global credit crunch is a big incentive to establish relations. However, Smith recognizes the difficulties in executing deals in Asia.

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australia

Australia's Bourse Leaves London, New York Behind

The ASX 200 has gained 15.9 percent since January this year, leaving Dow Jones and FTSE 100 with 11.2 respectively 2.6 percent increase far behind. In comparison to London's 2.6 percent gain since January: ASX 200 has gained 2.8 percent only within the last week.

The ASX 200 has gained 15.9 percent since January this year, leaving Dow Jones and FTSE 100 respectively far behind with 11.2 and 2.6 percent increases. In comparison to London's 2.6 percent gain since January: ASX 200 has gained 2.8 percent only within this week. As analysts expect the index to rise up to as high as 6730 points within the next weeks, "a relative immunity to the sub-prime mess and by huge support for the resources sector" are considered to be the main supporting factors for the ongoing development.

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australia

Austrade, ANZ Bank Ally

The Australian International Trade Agency, Austrade, and ANZ Bank have decided to intensify and formalize the already existing project-based partnership.

The Australian International Trade Agency, Austrade, and ANZ Bank have decided to intensify and formalize the already existing project-based partnership. The purpose of this alliance is to support Australian businesses with plans of global expansion. The fields, in which the two parties in particular try to work closer together are professional advice and support, market research and promotional activities.

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australia

Investor Confidence Returning to Australia

Australian markets have surged after the interest rate cut by the Fed from 5.25 to 4.75 percent. Especially metal prices, crude oil, mining and energy in general are positively affected by the spillover.

Australian markets have surged after the interest rate cut by the Fed from 5.25 to 4.75 percent. Especially metal prices, crude oil, mining and energy in general are positively affected by the spillover.

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australia

Australia Corrects Grain Production Forecast Considerably

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Research Economics (ABARE)has adjusted the expected production for winter grain this year downwards from 37 million tonnes in June to only 25.6 million tonnes now. The necessity to correct the forecast mainly arose from too dry conditions during the last two months.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Research Economics (ABARE)has adjusted the expected production for winter grain this year downwards from 37 million tonnes in June to only 25.6 million tonnes now. The necessity to correct the forecast mainly arose from too dry conditions during the last two months. Nevertheless, this year's results are expected to be significantly better than last year's, highly drought affected crops.

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australia

Australian Drought Causes Unprecedented Damage to Agriculture Industry and Economy

Since the onset of the Australian drought in 2002, decreases in milk production alone has "cost about 15,000 jobs and approximately [USD] 3 billion to the economy." As irrigation allocations are dramatically cut, tons of crops die and costs radically rise â€" all of which may have dramatic affects on the economy at a global scale.

Since the onset of the Australian drought in 2002, decreases in milk production alone has "cost about 15,000 jobs and approximately [USD] 3 billion to the economy." As irrigation allocations are dramatically cut, tons of crops die and costs radically rise â€" all of which may have dramatic affects on the economy at a global scale.

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australia

Bangladesh receives Wheat Worth AUD 14 Million From Australia

In order to support Bangladesh's food programs for people living in extreme poverty, the Australia has donated 38,550 tonnes of wheat with an overall value of AUD 14 Million.

In order to support Bangladesh's food programs for people living in extreme poverty, the Australia has donated 38,550 tonnes of wheat with an overall value of AUD 14 Million. The food contribution will mainly be used to support the Vulnerable Group Development and School Feeding Program of Bangladesh. Overall, more than 600,000 people will benefit from this particular donation.

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australia

Australia: Woodside Petroleum Eyes Taiwanese Buyers

Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia's second-largest oil and gas producer, has announced that it has explored discussions with Taiwan's CPC Corporation, among other potential Asian buyers, regarding liquefied natural gas (LNG) sales. Although a Woodside spokesperson declined to confirm speculation, many analysts believe the dialogue was focused on Woodside's Browse project in Western Australia, which is a gas field estimated to contain 20 trillion cubic feet of gas and 300 million barrels of condensate. Taiwan's LNG demand is forecasted to rise 31 percent to 10.5 million metric tons in 2010, and that figure is expected to double by the end of the next decade. Taiwan uses LNG for 90 percent of its total gas and is Asia's third-largest buyer, behind Japan and South Korea.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia's second-largest oil and gas producer, has announced that it has explored discussions with Taiwan's CPC Corporation, among other potential Asian buyers, regarding liquefied natural gas (LNG) sales. Although a Woodside spokesperson declined to confirm speculation, many analysts believe the dialogue was focused on Woodside's Browse project in Western Australia, which is a gas field estimated to contain 20 trillion cubic feet of gas and 300 million barrels of condensate. Taiwan's LNG demand is forecasted to rise 31 percent to 10.5 million metric tons in 2010, and that figure is expected to double by the end of the next decade. Taiwan uses LNG for 90 percent of its total gas and is Asia's third-largest buyer, behind Japan and South Korea.

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australia

Aussie Concerns of US Economy Send Corrections in ASX 200

The S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 87.2, or 1.4 percent, to close at 6,191.20 in Sydney. Stocks heavily tied to U.S. earnings such as James Hardie Industries NV, the largest seller of home siding (weatherboards) in America, experienced 1.1 percent contraction as the stock slid 9 cents to AUD 7.80. Many analysts view a continuous rise in unemployment will undermine the strength of the U.S. consumer and ultimately force malefic spillovers into other economies.

Reports of a four-year low in U.S. employment figures were, according to analysts, the catalyst for the sharp drop as Australian shares fell by the most in almost a month. The S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 87.2, or 1.4 percent, to close at 6,191.20 in Sydney. Stocks heavily tied to U.S. earnings such as James Hardie Industries NV, the largest seller of home siding (weatherboards) in America, experienced 1.1 percent contraction as the stock slid 9 cents to AUD 7.80. Many analysts view a continuous rise in unemployment will undermine the strength of the U.S. consumer and ultimately force malefic spillovers into other economies.

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australia

Aussie Market Buoyed Up by Resource Stocks

Energy and resource stocks have been driving the gains on the Australian bourse S&P/ASX 200 as prices for commodities such as oil and metals increased on Friday. As trading closed in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 27.4, or 0.4 percent to finish the week at 6,278.4. Major advances by Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Rio Tinto Group and BHP Biliton Ltd. (which rose to a record level) occurred as investors sought shield their exposure from the U.S. subprime rout in firms with diversified, multinational revenue streams. A measure of six metals traded on the London Metal Exchange, including copper and nickel, rose 1.2 percent. Copper gained 2 percent, nickel rose 0.1 percent, and zinc added 0.2 percent.

Energy and resource stocks have been driving the gains on the Australian bourse S&P/ASX 200 as prices for commodities such as oil and metals increased on Friday. As trading closed in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 27.4, or 0.4 percent to finish the week at 6,278.4. Major advances by Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Rio Tinto Group and BHP Biliton Ltd. (which rose to a record level) occurred as investors sought to shield their exposure from the U.S. subprime rout in firms with diversified, multinational revenue streams. A measure of six metals traded on the London Metal Exchange, including copper and nickel, rose 1.2 percent. Copper gained 2 percent, nickel rose 0.1 percent, and zinc added 0.2 percent.

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australia

Australia: Employers Add Twice as Many Positions as Forecasted

As the nation is already in the throes of a labor shortage stemming from the mining boom, Australian employers hired nearly twice as many employees as economists had forecasted for the month of August. According to the figures provided by the Bureau of Statistics released in Sydney today, the number of people employed jumped 31,900 last month, whereas the unemployment rate remained unchanged at its current 33 year low of 4.3 percent. Many analysts are concern that this continued job growth, when paired with the labor shortage set in place, will drive wages higher and ultimately add to inflation. This scenario gears much anticipation to the future actions of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

As the nation is already in the throes of a labor shortage stemming from the mining boom, Australian employers hired nearly twice as many employees as economists had forecasted for the month of August. According to the figures provided by the Bureau of Statistics released in Sydney today, the number of people employed jumped 31,900 last month, whereas the unemployment rate remained unchanged at its current 33 year low of 4.3 percent. Many analysts are concerned that this continued job growth, when paired with the labor shortage set in place, will drive wages higher and ultimately add to inflation. This scenario gears much anticipation to the future actions to the Reserve Bank of Australia.

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australia

Australia’s Central Bank Holds Rates Steady

The Reserve Bank of Australia held its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the 11 year high of 6.5 percent. The overnight cash rate was left untouched after Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens had raised the rate last month to help curb inflation. This decision is in line with central banks worldwide as the desire to refrain from rising the cost of borrowing in order to get a better assessment of how economic growth will be hindered by the U.S. subprime mortgage rout. Deputy Governor Ric Battellino noted that pressures indeed remain in Australia's money market and that the bank will act as needed to help stabilize the cost of credit.

On Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia held its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the 11 year high of 6.5 percent. The overnight cash rate was left untouched after Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens had raised the rate last month to help curb inflation. This decision is in line with central banks worldwide as the desire to refrain from rising the cost of borrowing in order to get a better assessment of how economic growth will be hindered by the U.S. subprime mortgage rout. Deputy Governor Ric Battellino noted that pressures indeed remain in Australia's money market and that the bank will act as needed to help stabilize the cost of credit.

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australia

Business Investment Helps Australia’s Second Quarter Growth

The Australian economy grew nearly twice as fast as forecasted by economists in the second quarter, largely because of a surge in business investment.

According to figures released on Tuesday in Sydney by the Bureau of Statistics, the Australian economy grew nearly twice as fast as forecasted by economists in the second quarter, largely because of a surge in business investment. Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 0.9 percent over the course of the second quarter, which puts the current state of the Aussie economy 4.3 percent higher than where it stood one year ago. Analysts attribute increased investment spending and rising exports by such resource giants as Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd. to have helped ensure such solid growth, especially when confronted with the ripple of the U.S. subprime market fallout.

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australia

Australian Drought Helps Sending Wheat to Record Prices

Strong global demand and the lowest stockpiles in 26 years have sent wheat prices to a record level for the second consecutive day. According to a Texas-based agricultural marketing company owner, global buyers are rushing to secure dwindling wheat supplies stemming from hindrances in production from major exporting countries, particularly Australia. Last year's Australian wheat harvest was severely devastated by drought that eked out a meager 9.9 million tons, nearly 61 percent lower than that produced in the previous year. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) now places Australia's wheat farmers at an output level of 23 million tons this year. Still, much depends upon the amounts of precipitation to ensure favorable crop yields.

Strong global demand and the lowest stockpiles in 26 years have sent wheat prices to a record level for the second consecutive day. According to a Texas-based agricultural marketing company owner, global buyers are rushing to secure dwindling wheat supplies stemming from hindrances in production from major exporting countries, particularly Australia. Last year's Australian wheat harvest was severely devastated by drought that eked out a meager 9.9 million tons, nearly 61 percent lower than that produced in the previous year. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) now places Australia's wheat farmers at an output level of 23 million tons this year. Still, much depends upon the amounts of precipitation to ensure favorable crop yields.

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australia

Australia: Rising Exports Will Help Narrow Trade Gap

According to a recent survey of economists, Australia's running trade deficit probably narrowed for the month of July after logistics recovered from disruptions caused by stormy weather that paralyzed shipments. The Aussie trade gap contracted to AUD 1 billion from June's figure of AUD 1.75 billion based on the surveyed economists median estimates. Many analysts see the increase in exports as the igniting factor that will help propel Australia to continue its economic expansion, which is growing for the sixteenth consecutive year. On Friday, the Bureau of Statistics will release their monthly report in Sydney to confirm the figures.

According to a recent survey of economists, Australia's running trade deficit probably narrowed for the month of July after logistics recovered from disruptions caused by stormy weather that paralyzed shipments. The Aussie trade gap contracted to AUD 1 billion from June's figure of AUD 1.75 billion based on the surveyed economists median estimates. Many analysts see the increase in exports as the igniting factor that will help propel Australia to continue its economic expansion, which is growing for the sixteenth consecutive year. On Friday, the Bureau of Statistics will release their monthly report in Sydney to confirm the figures.

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australia

Westfield Group Capping USD 7.5 Billion in Asset Sales in 8 Months

Sydney-based Westfield Group has said that it will sell half of its interest in the Doncaster shopping mall in Melbourne to be redeveloped by a unit of Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., the world's second largest commercial broker. This sale adds to the bevy of Westfield's recent security and asset sales of stakes in U.K. and Australian malls, allowing the company to cut funding costs by tapping into the equity in the more than AUD 60 billion of retail centers it manages.

Sydney-based Westfield Group, the world's largest shopping center owner, has said that it will sell half of its interest in the Doncaster shopping mall in Melbourne to be redeveloped by a unit of Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., the world's second largest commercial broker. This sale adds to the bevy of Westfield's recent security and asset sales of stakes in U.K. and Australian malls, allowing the company to cut funding costs by tapping into the equity in the more than AUD 60 billion of retail centers it manages.

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australia

Australian Securities Exchange Meets Month High

The S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 96.70, roughly 1.6 percent, to end trading in Sydney at 6185.20, which is the highest the index has been since July 26.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index reached a one-month high on Monday upon economic news demonstrating that U.S. growth will not be as burdened by subprime mortgage losses as investors had initially feared. The S&P;/ASX 200 Index gained 96.70, roughly 1.6 percent, to end trading in Sydney at 6185.20, which is the highest the index has been since July 26. Monday's addition is compiled upon last week's 7.4 percent jump, which amounted to the biggest weekly rise in the benchmark index's 15 year history. Australian companies Woolworths Ltd., ABC Learning Centres Ltd. and WorleyParsons Ltd. all contributed to the rise after each firm reported higher profits.

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australia

Higher Commodity Prices Help BHP to Record Profits

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's biggest mining company, reported an eighth consecutive record profit with an Australian record USD 13.4 billion (AUD 17 billion) profit as gains are seen in commodity prices. BHP Billiton's incoming chief executive Marius Kloppers, who is due to take over the reins from current CEO Chip Goodyear in October, said BHP would significantly ramp up development spending to USD 8 billion this year from about USD 5 billion in 2006-07. This announcement underscores Mr. Kloppers development platform focused on internal expansion projects totaling more than USD 70 Billion (AUD 87 Billion) through 2013.

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's biggest mining company, reported an eighth consecutive record profit with an Australian record USD 13.4 billion (AUD 17 billion) profit as gains are seen in commodity prices. BHP Billiton's incoming chief executive Marius Kloppers, who is due to take over the reins from current CEO Chip Goodyear in October, said BHP would significantly ramp up development spending to USD 8 billion this year from about USD 5 billion in 2006-07. This announcement underscores Mr. Kloppers development platform focused on internal expansion projects totaling more than USD 70 Billion (AUD 87 Billion) through 2013.

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australia

Australia Sends Aid as East Timor Faces Food Shortage

Australia will help East Timor as it faces a food shortage. According to Australian researchers, "31 to 40 per cent of crops grown by subsistence farmers in Southeast Asia can be lost to pests and diseases." Australia plans to send researchers to teach local specialists how to prevent the spread of pests and diseases in able to sustain their crops. The World Food Program predicted that up to one-fifth of the population of East Timor will be suffering from severe hunger by October if action is not taken.

Australia will help East Timor as it faces a food shortage. According to Australian researchers, "31 to 40 per cent of crops grown by subsistence farmers in Southeast Asia can be lost to pests and diseases." Australia plans to send researchers to teach local specialists how to prevent the spread of pests and diseases in able to sustain their crops. The World Food Program predicted that up to one-fifth of the population of East Timor will be suffering from severe hunger by October if action is not taken.

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australia

Western Australia Labor Shortage May Spur Delays

According to a report issued Monday by the engineering and maintenance contractor Monadelphous, acute labor shortages in Western Australia are becoming "critical" and will cut into companies' earnings in the booming region. Macmahon Holding, a mining and construction contractor based in Perth, is also battling labor shortages and turning to the east coast to meet the demand of labor for the strong pipeline of new projects.

According to a report issued Monday by the engineering and maintenance contractor Monadelphous, acute labor shortages in Western Australia are becoming "critical" and will cut into companies' earnings in the booming region. Macmahon Holding, a mining and construction contractor based in Perth, is also battling labor shortages and turning to the east coast to meet the demand of labor for the strong pipeline of new projects.

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australia

Australia, NZ: Dollars Rise Again

After Asian shares gained for two consecutive days, both the Australian dollar and the New Zealand dollar have recovered from their losses. The Australian dollar rose against the Japanese yen from 91.57 yen to 92.20 yen in Sydney and 92.61 late in New York. The New Zealand dollar rose from 79.40 yen to 79.75 yen and 80.30 yen respectively.

After Asian shares gained for two consecutive days, both the Australian dollar and the New Zealand dollar have recovered from their losses. The Australian dollar rose against the Japanese yen from 91.57 yen to 92.20 yen in Sydney and 92.61 late in New York. The New Zealand dollar rose from 79.40 yen to 79.75 yen and 80.30 yen respectively.

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australia

Australia: Dollar Makes Gains for Second Day

After closing last week at a nine month low against the U.S. Dollar, the Australian Dollar (AUD) has gained for the second straight day to 80.70 U.S. cents with the help of advances by the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Analyst contribute much of the Aussie's continue gain to investors buying higher yielding assets with borrowed Japanese Yen (JPY). The AUD recovered from the year low against the JPY, as Japan's interest rate at 0.5 percent is paled by Australia's 6.5 percent interest rate, which spurs on carry trading.

After closing last week at a nine month low against the U.S. Dollar, the Australian Dollar (AUD) has gained for the second straight day to 80.70 U.S. cents with the help of advances by the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Analyst contribute much of the Aussie's continue gain to investors buying higher yielding assets with borrowed Japanese Yen (JPY). The AUD recovered from the year low against the JPY, as Japan's interest rate at 0.5 percent is paled by Australia's 6.5 percent interest rate, which spurs on carry trading.

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australia

Australia: The Dollar Slips to 5 Month Low

After Thursday's trading came to a close, the Australian dollar (AUD) had plunged to US 79.84 cents, which is the lowest level of purchasing power since mid-March. A temporary closure at the Sydney Futures Exchange (SFE) coupled with Australian investors drawing liquidity from the share market amid the credit crunch brought on by the U.S. subprime mortgage securities market all were attributable to the dollar's sink. The closure at the SFE occurred at 12:45 AEST and lasted until 3:00 AEST, and, according to analysts, caused shaky traders to look for alternative options to hedge against their equity exposure.

After Thursday's trading came to a close, the Australian dollar (AUD) had plunged to US 79.84 cents, which is the lowest level of purchasing power since mid-March. A temporary closure at the Sydney Futures Exchange (SFE) coupled with Australian investors drawing liquidity from the share market amid the credit crunch brought on by the U.S. subprime mortgage securities market all were attributable to the dollar's sink. The closure at the SFE occurred at 12:45 AEST and lasted until 3:00 AEST, and, according to analysts, caused shaky traders to look for alternative options to hedge against their equity exposure.

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australia

Aussie Hedge Fund Profits from Shorting Mortgage Securities

While Sydney-based hedge funds Basis Capital Funds Management Ltd., Absolute Capital Group Ltd. and Mariner Bridge Investments Ltd., have all been hurt by the turmoil in the U.S. subprime mortgage market, HFA Holdings Ltd. have announced that their funds have benefited substantially. In a statement release Thursday, the Hedge Fund had anticipated the fallout in subprime mortgage securities as long as two years ago and had the foresight to short the securities-borrowing securities and then selling in the hope that they can be bought back cheaper, thereby profiting from the proceeds. The company's shares closed today at AUD 1.84, which was a pulled up by a 12 percent gain during today's trading.

While Sydney-based hedge funds Basis Capital Funds Management Ltd., Absolute Capital Group Ltd. and Mariner Bridge Investments Ltd., have all been hurt by the turmoil in the U.S. subprime mortgage market, HFA Holdings Ltd. have announced that their funds have benefited substantially. In a statement release Thursday, the Hedge Fund had anticipated the fallout in subprime mortgage securities as long as two years ago and had the foresight to short the securities-borrowing securities and then selling in the hope that they can be bought back cheaper, thereby profiting from the proceeds. The company's shares closed today at AUD 1.84, which was a pulled up by a 12 percent gain during today's trading.

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australia

Shareholders of Alinta Accept AUD 7.7 Billion Bid

Shareholders of Alinta Ltd., Australia's largest power and gas transmission line owner, have approved the sale and dismantlement of the company between Singapore Power Ltd. and Babcock & Brown Ltd. at the price of AUD 7.7 billion (USD 6.4 billion). The Perth-based Alinta had 97 percent of shareholders in favor of the sale, which is due to be approved by the Federal Court on August 17. Singapore's monopolistic utility company and the Sydney-based Babcock-Australia's second-biggest investment bank-beat a rival offer by Macquarie Bank Ltd. to divide up the utility's nationwide network of gas and power lines, power plants and an asset management business.

Shareholders of Alinta Ltd., Australia's largest power and gas transmission line owner, have approved the sale and dismantlement of the company between Singapore Power Ltd. and Babcock & Brown Ltd. at the price of AUD 7.7 billion (USD 6.4 billion). The Perth-based Alinta had 97 percent of shareholders in favor of the sale, which is due to be approved by the Federal Court on August 17. Singapore's monopolistic utility company and the Sydney-based Babcock-Australia's second-biggest investment bank-beat a rival offer by Macquarie Bank Ltd. to divide up the utility's nationwide network of gas and power lines, power plants and an asset management business.

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australia

Sales Forcast Sends Aussie Retailer JB Hi-Fi Share’s Soaring

A record surge in the share price of JB Hi-Fi Ltd. occurred after the company gave a sales growth forecast 10 percent higher than analysts' estimates. The Melbourne-based company expects sales to increase 33 percent to AUD 1.7 billion (USD 1.4 billion) in the 12 months ending June 30. JB Hi-Fi Ltd. has been the best performing retailer this year in Australia's S&P/ASX 200.

A record surge in the share price of JB Hi-Fi Ltd. occurred after the company gave a sales growth forecast 10 percent higher than analysts' estimates. The Melbourne-based company expects sales to increase 33 percent to AUD 1.7 billion (USD 1.4 billion) in the 12 months ending June 30. JB Hi-Fi Ltd. has been the best performing retailer this year in Australia's S&P/ASX 200.

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australia

Australia: S&P/ASX 200 Rallies to Rebound After Biggest Loss in 6 Years

On Monday, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 75.60, or 1.3 percent, to close at 6,011.60, which was demonstrated by an upward movement in roughly three stocks for every stock that slipped. Analysts attribute the rally to the actions of the U.S. Federal Reserve that injected $38 billion to banks to restore confidence in credit markets, yet these actions were unable to affect the S&P/ASX 200 before it closed on Friday after plunging 3.7 percent, its largest drop in 6 years.

On Monday, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 75.60, or 1.3 percent, to close at 6,011.60, which was demonstrated by an upward movement in roughly three stocks for every stock that slipped. Analysts attribute the rally to the actions of the U.S. Federal Reserve that injected $38 billion to banks to restore confidence in credit markets, yet these actions were unable to affect the S&P/ASX 200 before it closed on Friday after plunging 3.7 percent, its largest drop in 6 years.

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australia

Aussie Dollar Slides Amid U.S. Subprime Credit Woes

In what currently has been the largest currency fluctuation of the day, the Australian dollar dropped as credit market losses spurred investors to unload high-yielding assets procured through carry trades. As the Aussie slid for the third straight week vis-à-vis the yen (JPY), risk-averse investors have slowly diminished their practice of buying high-yielding assets with funds borrowed in Japan. Analysts attribute the paring of the carry trades to BNP Paribas SA, France's largest bank, suspending withdrawals from funds that own subprime mortgages.

In what currently has been the largest currency fluctuation of the day, the Australian dollar dropped as credit market losses spurred investors to unload high-yielding assets procured through carry trades. As the Aussie slid for the third straight week vis-à-vis the yen (JPY), risk-averse investors have slowly diminished their practice of buying high-yielding assets with funds borrowed in Japan. Analysts attribute the paring of the carry trades to BNP Paribas SA, France's largest bank, suspending withdrawals from funds that own subprime mortgages.

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australia

Australia: Unemployment Rate Near 33 Year Low Amid Skills Shortage

The Bureau of Statistics released official employment figures for July today, which showed that employers hired extra workers for the ninth consecutive month. Analysts believe this boom in hiring is worsening a labor shortage that is driving up wages and inflation. Official figures released in Sydney show employment rose 21,800 from June, while the jobless rate was unchanged at 4.3 percent, close to a 33-year low.

The Bureau of Statistics released official employment figures for July today, which showed that employers hired extra workers for the ninth consecutive month. Analysts believe this boom in hiring is worsening a labor shortage that is driving up wages and inflation. Official figures released in Sydney show employment rose 21,800 from June, while the jobless rate was unchanged at 4.3 percent, close to a 33-year low.

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australia

RBA Increases Benchmark Interest Rate to Decade High

On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia's Governor Glenn Stevens raised the overnight cash rate target to 6.5 percent, which was the first adjustment in nearly 10 months. Governor Stevens, in his attempts to curb an inflation rate manifesting at higher levels than initial forecasts and slow down the largest surge in lending since 1989, opened Wednesday morning with a rate hike. The central bank pushed up its benchmark interest rate a quarter of a point to its highest level in 11 years. Analysts have noted that numerous central banks across the globe are in the battle against higher than expected inflation rates as booming economies drive up food and commodity prices.

On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia's Governor Glenn Stevens raised the overnight cash rate target to 6.5 percent, which was the first adjustment in nearly 10 months. Governor Stevens, in his attempts to curb an inflation rate manifesting at higher levels than initial forecasts and slow down the largest surge in lending since 1989, opened Wednesday morning with a rate hike. The central bank pushed up its benchmark interest rate a quarter of a point to its highest level in 11 years. Analysts have noted that numerous central banks across the globe are in the battle against higher than expected inflation rates as booming economies drive up food and commodity prices.

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australia

Australia: Roughly 25,000 Jobs Added in July

Adding signs that Australia will likely extend its 16 years of economic expansion, the Bureau of Statistics tallied the creation of 25,000 jobs in July, which is a gain of 2,500 over June. Analysts have demonstrated that the gains in the labor market have boosted consumer confidence and spending. Estimates for the July jobless rate range between a 33 year low of 4.2 percent and a 15 month high of 4.9 percent.

Adding signs that Australia will likely extend its 16 years of economic expansion, the Bureau of Statistics tallied the creation of 25,000 jobs in July, which is a gain of 2,500 over June. Analysts have demonstrated that the gains in the labor market have boosted consumer confidence and spending. Estimates for the July jobless rate range between a 33 year low of 4.2 percent and a 15 month high of 4.9 percent.

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australia

Australia grants USD 2.14 Million of Aid to Cambodia

The Australian government has stated that it will provide Cambodia with USD 2.14 million for the improvement of rehabilitation services for landmine victims in remote areas of the country. The aid project, being planned for a period of two years, includes the supply of prosthetic limbs and skills'-training programmes, and the support rehabilitation centres.

The Australian government has stated that it will provide Cambodia with USD 2.14 million for the improvement of rehabilitation services for landmine victims in remote areas of the country. The aid project, being planned for a period of two years, includes the supply of prosthetic limbs and skills'-training programmes, and the support rehabilitation centres.

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australia

South Korea to Seek FTA with Australia

South Korean Finance Minister, Kwon O-kyu has ordered senior officials to seek a free trade agreement with Australia. Kwon O-kyu stated that as the two countries stand poised to release the results of joint study on a possible bilateral free trade agreement, the officials should prepare an FTA talks if such a deal is found to be beneficial for both countries. South Korea is major importer of Australian livestocks and raw material products.

South Korean Finance Minister, Kwon O-kyu has ordered senior officials to seek a free trade agreement with Australia. Kwon O-kyu stated that as the two countries stand poised to release the results of joint study on a possible bilateral free trade agreement, the officials should prepare an FTA talks if such a deal is found to be beneficial for both countries. South Korea is major importer of Australian livestocks and raw material products.

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australia

The Bank for International Settlements’ Report: Potential Global Crisis

This report is based on the Bank for International Settlements' 77th Annual Report released June 24, 2007 in Basel, Switzerland.


The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) forecasts all manner of dismal future trends in its 77th Annual Report. The BIS telegraphs through their report that current global growth is not sustainable and there is a strong probability that the credit boom may ignite a long-lasting global crisis not unlike that of the Great Depression of the 1930s or the East Asian Financial Crisis of the 1990s.

The Bank (BIS) states that recently "real growth has been maintained around levels that are among the highest recorded" and "despite significant upward shocks to most commodity prices, underlying inflation levels have generally remained subdued." The Bank also affirms that "real interest rates and risk premia of all sorts have remained uncharacteristically low" and "global trade imbalances have thus far been easily financed and exchange rates have been generally quite stable." Although some economists believe that this exuberant growth is sustainable, the BIS addresses certain issues in the current global economy that could possibly lead to serious problems in the near future.

Although inflationary pressures are suppressed right now, the threat of global inflation is real as growth in industrialized countries is slowing and growth in developing countries is rapidly increasing. The Annual Report highlights the Chinese government's failed attempts to slow growth by tightening monetary policies perpetuating "robust broad money and credit growth" that could increase inflationary pressure and has "raised questions for some central banks about sustainable growth." Currently, lenders are increasingly willing to extend risky credit to corporations with inflated debt levels. In addition to increased sovereign, corporate and personal credit around the world, the cost of raw materials is increasing, which will only add to global inflationary pressure. Despite the signaling of these cautionary markers in the Annual Report, the long-term effects of this credit boom are unknown.

Another important uncertainty in the global market is the effect of the all-time high ratio of house prices to rents in the United States. According to the BIS, wages are not increasing sufficiently to support the increase in consumer spending and investment, citizens are increasing personal debt, and mortgage rates continue to rise. If housing prices decline there may be steep deceleration in US growth and dire consequences for social infrastructure. The United States economy still has a large impact on the world economy and any downturn in the US housing market could have significant effects on global growth. According to the United Nations' "World Economic Situation and Prospects 2007," the occurrence of a plunge in US housing prices will considerably weaken global growth and cause problems in financial markets around the world.

The Bank comments that global trade imbalances are important medium-term uncertainties. Many economists believe that the US external imbalance is unsustainable and will eventually adjust. According to the Annual Report, the uncertainty lies in the possibility of "large and perhaps abrupt movements in exchange rates" or whether "capital inflows needed to finance such deficits will be available" in the future.

The Bank asserts two reasons to explain how public sector inflows may become unreliable. First, country currencies may rise as a result of government "hands-off" policies rooted in distorted beliefs regarding effects of government intervention. Second, current holders of large reserves of US dollars may start to favor reserves in other currencies.

The Bank acknowledges that many people believe "individual asset price increases are justified and therefore more likely to be sustainable" but it also portends that "market reaction to good news might have become irrationally exuberant." If the latter is the case, purchasers of risky investments could be vulnerable in the long run. Banks, global players, and companies have been encouraged to invest in risky instruments based on low expected loss, but there is a probability of an unwelcome shock that would have massive consequences.

Based on the above excerpts from the Annual Report and the economic analysis of all the issues affecting the conclusions stated in the report, it appears that the global economy is vulnerable and growth may not be sustained.

This report is based on the Bank for International Settlements' 77th Annual Report released June 24, 2007 in Basel, Switzerland.


The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) forecasts all manner of dismal future trends in its 77th Annual Report. The BIS telegraphs through their report that current global growth is not sustainable and there is a strong probability that the credit boom may ignite a long-lasting global crisis not unlike that of the Great Depression of the 1930s or the East Asian Financial Crisis of the 1990s.

The Bank (BIS) states that recently "real growth has been maintained around levels that are among the highest recorded" and "despite significant upward shocks to most commodity prices, underlying inflation levels have generally remained subdued." The Bank also affirms that "real interest rates and risk premia of all sorts have remained uncharacteristically low" and "global trade imbalances have thus far been easily financed and exchange rates have been generally quite stable." Although some economists believe that this exuberant growth is sustainable, the BIS addresses certain issues in the current global economy that could possibly lead to serious problems in the near future.

Although inflationary pressures are suppressed right now, the threat of global inflation is real as growth in industrialized countries is slowing and growth in developing countries is rapidly increasing. The Annual Report highlights the Chinese government's failed attempts to slow growth by tightening monetary policies perpetuating "robust broad money and credit growth" that could increase inflationary pressure and has "raised questions for some central banks about sustainable growth." Currently, lenders are increasingly willing to extend risky credit to corporations with inflated debt levels. In addition to increased sovereign, corporate and personal credit around the world, the cost of raw materials is increasing, which will only add to global inflationary pressure. Despite the signaling of these cautionary markers in the Annual Report, the long-term effects of this credit boom are unknown.

Another important uncertainty in the global market is the effect of the all-time high ratio of house prices to rents in the United States. According to the BIS, wages are not increasing sufficiently to support the increase in consumer spending and investment, citizens are increasing personal debt, and mortgage rates continue to rise. If housing prices decline there may be steep deceleration in US growth and dire consequences for social infrastructure. The United States economy still has a large impact on the world economy and any downturn in the US housing market could have significant effects on global growth. According to the United Nations' "World Economic Situation and Prospects 2007," the occurrence of a plunge in US housing prices will considerably weaken global growth and cause problems in financial markets around the world.

The Bank comments that global trade imbalances are important medium-term uncertainties. Many economists believe that the US external imbalance is unsustainable and will eventually adjust. According to the Annual Report, the uncertainty lies in the possibility of "large and perhaps abrupt movements in exchange rates" or whether "capital inflows needed to finance such deficits will be available" in the future.

The Bank asserts two reasons to explain how public sector inflows may become unreliable. First, country currencies may rise as a result of government "hands-off" policies rooted in distorted beliefs regarding effects of government intervention. Second, current holders of large reserves of US dollars may start to favor reserves in other currencies.

The Bank acknowledges that many people believe "individual asset price increases are justified and therefore more likely to be sustainable" but it also portends that "market reaction to good news might have become irrationally exuberant." If the latter is the case, purchasers of risky investments could be vulnerable in the long run. Banks, global players, and companies have been encouraged to invest in risky instruments based on low expected loss, but there is a probability of an unwelcome shock that would have massive consequences.

Based on the above excerpts from the Annual Report and the economic analysis of all the issues affecting the conclusions stated in the report, it appears that the global economy is vulnerable and growth may not be sustained.

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australia

S&P/ASX 200 Rebounds From Worst Loss in 6 Years

After U.S. markets reversed losses as concerns diminished that the subprime mortgage losses are spreading into other sectors, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index followed Wall Street's suit to rally after its worst loss in 6 years. Word that Bear Stearns Co. and Macquarie Bank Ltd. were feeling the ripples of the U.S. subprime woes sent ASX stocks plunging 3.3 percent on Wednesday, which is the largest drop since September 17, 2001. BHP Billiton and other resource companies helped spur on the rally to rebound.

After U.S. markets reversed losses as concerns diminished that the subprime mortgage losses are spreading into other sectors, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index followed Wall Street's suit to rally after its worst loss in 6 years. Word that Bear Stearns Co. and Macquarie Bank Ltd. were feeling the ripples of the U.S. subprime woes sent ASX stocks plunging 3.3 percent on Wednesday, which is the largest drop since September 17, 2001. BHP Billiton and other resource companies helped spur on the rally to rebound.

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australia

Australia: Smorgon Steel Dismantlement Approved

In another example of further consolidation in the steel industry, shareholders of Smorgon Steel voted to support their company's dismemberment of assets. Under the break-up arrangement, Smorgon Steel's assets will be divided between rival OneSteel and the once BHP Billiton subsidiary BlueScope Steel, where the former will receive Smorgon's distribution business for AUD 700 million while the latter will see the remaining assets at AUD 1.1 billion. Analysts contend that this merger is in the interest of Smorgon's shareholders.

In another example of further consolidation in the steel industry, shareholders of Smorgon Steel voted to support their company's dismemberment of assets. Under the break-up arrangement, Smorgon Steel's assets will be divided between rival OneSteel and the once BHP Billiton subsidiary BlueScope Steel, where the former will receive Smorgon's distribution business for AUD 700 million while the latter will see the remaining assets at AUD 1.1 billion. Analysts contend that this merger is in the interest of Smorgon's shareholders.

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australia

Australia May Lift Ban on Uranium Sales to India

Australia will announce soon if it will lift the current ban on uranium sales to India. The United States completed negotiations on a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation deal that will give India access to U.S. nuclear fuel and equipment. Australia holds almost half of the world's known uranium reserves and is now considering selling the export to India even though India has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Australia will announce soon if it will lift the current ban on uranium sales to India. The United States completed negotiations on a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation deal that will give India access to U.S. nuclear fuel and equipment. Australia holds almost half of the world's known uranium reserves and is now considering selling the export to India even though India has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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australia

Singapore Firm CitySpring Buys Aussie Basslink Power Cable

In a USD 1 billion purchase that will be funded with debt and new shares of publicly traded CitySpring Infrastructure Trust, the Singapore company CitySpring Infrastructure Management Pte agreed to buy Australia's Basslink electricity cable from National Grid Plc. Operational since April of last year and originally built for AUD 780 million, the Basslink cable allows Tasmania to import electricity from Australia during dry periods and to export surplus hydro and wind power. This is the Singapore firm's first investment in Australia.

In a USD 1 billion purchase that will be funded with debt and new shares of publicly traded CitySpring Infrastructure Trust, the Singapore company CitySpring Infrastructure Management Pte agreed to buy Australia's Basslink electricity cable from National Grid Plc. Operational since April of last year and originally built for AUD 780 million, the Basslink cable allows Tasmania to import electricity from Australia during dry periods and to export surplus hydro and wind power. This is the Singapore firm's first investment in Australia.

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australia

Australia-Indonesia: Free Trade Agreement Feasibility

Indonesia and Australia have agreed to launch a feasibility study on a free trade agreement (FTA). The Australian Prime minister, John Howard said that this free trade pact will tighten the bond between the two nations. Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has also agreed upon the free trade pact considering that not only has Australia been increased imports of Indonesian merchandise, foodstuffs and beverages, but also Australia has been playing a positive role in the economic development of Indonesia.

Indonesia and Australia have agreed to launch a feasibility study on a free trade agreement (FTA). The Australian Prime minister, John Howard said that this free trade pact will tighten the bond between the two nations. Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has also agreed upon the free trade pact considering that not only has Australia been increased imports of Indonesian merchandise, foodstuffs and beverages, but also Australia has been playing a positive role in the economic development of Indonesia.

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australia

Australia: Demand Starts Groundwork on Natural Gas Project

Woodside Petroleum Ltd., a Perth-based resource company, has announced plans to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project valued at USD 10.5 billion. The project has established a supply deal with the Japanese utility companies Kansai Electric Power Co. and Tokyo Gas Co. Global demand for LNG is expected to triple by the end of next decade, but currently Japan is the world's largest LNG buyer, according to analysts. Woodside, Australia's second largest oil and gas producer, will begin production at 4.3 million metric tons a year and deliveries to Japan by 2010.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd., a Perth-based resource company, has announced plans to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project valued at USD 10.5 billion. The project has established a supply deal with the Japanese utility companies Kansai Electric Power Co. and Tokyo Gas Co. Global demand for LNG is expected to triple by the end of next decade, but currently Japan is the world's largest LNG buyer, according to analysts. Woodside, Australia's second largest oil and gas producer, will begin production at 4.3 million metric tons a year and deliveries to Japan by 2010.

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australia

BHP Billiton, Miners Pace Asia-Pacific Index Losses

Slumping metal prices led Australian mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. to complete its largest 2-day drop in nearly 5 months, joining miners across the region as the industry dragged down the regional benchmark index. Japan's Nippon Electric Glass Co. and Advantest Corp. fell as well, hurt by a downward adjustment in their earnings reports. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index declined by 1.2 percent, hitting 158.64 at 6:04 pm in Tokyo. The key indexes of Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia, all posters of record highs earlier in the week, declined on Thursday. Benchmarks in South Korea and Taiwan suffered their largest declines in over 4 months.

Slumping metal prices led Australian mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. to complete its largest 2-day drop in nearly 5 months, joining miners across the region as the industry dragged down the regional benchmark index. Japan's Nippon Electric Glass Co. and Advantest Corp. fell as well, hurt by a downward adjustment in their earnings reports. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index declined by 1.2 percent, hitting 158.64 at 6:04 pm in Tokyo. The key indexes of Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia, all posters of record highs earlier in the week, declined on Thursday. Benchmarks in South Korea and Taiwan suffered their largest declines in over 4 months.

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australia

Aussie Hedge Fund Feels Ripples of U.S. Subprime Woes

Absolute Capital Group Ltd., an Australia-based hedge fund that specializes in investments geared toward collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), has halted withdrawals from two of its funds after an increase in expected losses on account of the contagioned effects of the U.S. subprime mortgage situation. Basis Capital, another Australian hedge fund rocked from similar re-pricing in the credit sector, has hired the help of Blackstone Group LP to negotiate losses with bankers. CDOs pool assets ranging from investment-grade debt to high-yield loans, and repackage them into bonds.

Absolute Capital Group Ltd., an Australia-based hedge fund that specializes in investments geared toward collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), has halted withdrawals from two of its funds after an increase in expected losses on account of the contagioned effects of the U.S. subprime mortgage situation. Basis Capital, another Australian hedge fund rocked from similar re-pricing in the credit sector, has hired the help of Blackstone Group LP to negotiate losses with bankers. CDOs pool assets ranging from investment-grade debt to high-yield loans, and repackage them into bonds.

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australia

US Economic Slowdown Weighs on Asia-Pacific Benchmark Index

Toyota Motor Corp. led the decline in Asian stocks on Wednesday, followed closely by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. as a sub-par outlook on the US economy is expected to last into the first half of 2008. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index lost 0.5 percent to hit 160.67 as of 6:09 pm in Tokyo, eroding a 0.9 percent gain that saw the index hit a record high yesterday. Benchmarks in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore all fell from record highs.

Toyota Motor Corp. led the decline in Asian stocks on Wednesday, followed closely by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. as a sub-par outlook on the US economy is expected to last into the first half of 2008. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index lost 0.5 percent to hit 160.67 as of 6:09 pm in Tokyo, eroding a 0.9 percent gain that saw the index hit a record high yesterday. Benchmarks in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore all fell from record highs.

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australia

Mining Groups Help S&P/ASX 200 Hit Record Mark

Resource stocks BHP Billiton Ltd. and Newcrest Mining Ltd. led the way for helping Australia's S&P/ASX 200 reach a record high as both mining groups announced that production of their main commodities where at record levels. BHP announced that fourth-quarter copper, iron ore and nickel production were at their highest output level ever, which aided BHP gaining 50 cents, or 1.3 percent, to AUD 38.78. Newcrest, Australia's largest gold mining company, announced that fourth-quarter gold production jumped 15 percent to a record 463,170 ounces after more high grade ore was mined in Telfer Mine, Australia's largest gold mine.

Resource stocks BHP Billiton Ltd. and Newcrest Mining Ltd. led the way for helping Australia's S&P/ASX 200 reach a record high as both mining groups announced that production of their main commodities where at record levels. BHP announced that fourth-quarter copper, iron ore and nickel production were at their highest output level ever, which aided BHP gaining 50 cents, or 1.3 percent, to AUD 38.78. Newcrest, Australia's largest gold mining company, announced that fourth-quarter gold production jumped 15 percent to a record 463,170 ounces after more high grade ore was mined in Telfer Mine, Australia's largest gold mine.

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australia

Financial Stocks Lead Slip to Keep S&P/ASX 200 Off the Records

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 31.40, of 0.5 percent, to 6,390.40 after reaching record levels on Friday, July 20. Shares linked closely with the U.S., such as James Hardie Industries NV and lenders including National Australia Bank Ltd., felt the reverberation of the continued fallout from the sub-prime mortgage issue after U.S. banks increased their reserve for defaulting loans.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 31.40, of 0.5 percent, to 6,390.40 after reaching record levels on Friday, July 20. Shares linked closely with the U.S., such as James Hardie Industries NV and lenders including National Australia Bank Ltd., felt the reverberation of the continued fallout from the sub-prime mortgage issue after U.S. banks increased their reserve for defaulting loans.

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australia

Asia's Regional Benchmark Rises on Metal Prices, Earnings Reports

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained by 0.8 percent on Friday to close at 159.96, which exceeded the previous record close of 159.50 on July 13. China's CSI 300 Index out-performed all other indexes in the region with a 4.3 surge, with all other markets open for trading advancing as well. The region's top performers were paced by LG Electronics Inc., Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., BHP Billiton, and Nippon Steel Corp.

 

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained by 0.8 percent on Friday to close at 159.96, which exceeded the previous record close of 159.50 on July 13. China's CSI 300 Index out-performed all other indexes in the region with a 4.3 surge, with all other markets open for trading advancing as well. The region's top performers were paced by LG Electronics Inc., Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., BHP Billiton, and Nippon Steel Corp.

 

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australia

Soaring Metal Prices Lift Australian Benchmark Near Record High

BHP Billiton Ltd. and Santos Ltd. led gains on the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index, which hit a record high as metal prices soared to a near 6-week high. Metal prices have been fueled by growth and takeover speculation in the Chinese market, though the index was also fueled by oil trading at an 11-month high. The S&P/ASX 200 had gained 23.50 points, or 0.4 percent, to hit 6,408.70 at 2:34 PM in Sydney. The index is expected to remain above its previous record of 6,400.6 by closing.

BHP Billiton Ltd. and Santos Ltd. led gains on the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index, which hit a record high as metal prices soared to a near 6-week high. Metal prices have been fueled by growth and takeover speculation in the Chinese market, though the index was also fueled by oil trading at an 11-month high. The S&P/ASX 200 had gained 23.50 points, or 0.4 percent, to hit 6,408.70 at 2:34 PM in Sydney. The index is expected to remain above its previous record of 6,400.6 by closing.

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australia

Aussie Dollar Trading at Heights Not Reached Since 1989

The Australian dollar is currently headed for its fifth consecutive weekly gain vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar. A commodity rally on Friday has shown Australia's dollar trading against the yen at a 16 year high. Analysts point to the advancement of the metals prices index on the London Metal Exchange to a six week high, China's growth report released Thursday, and raw materials composing roughly 14 percent of Australia's total GDP all aid in benefiting the rise of the Aussie dollar.

The Australian dollar is currently headed for its fifth consecutive weekly gain vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar. A commodity rally on Friday has shown Australia's dollar trading against the yen at a 16 year high. Analysts point to the advancement of the metals prices index on the London Metal Exchange to a six week high, China's growth report released Thursday, and raw materials composing roughly 14 percent of Australia's total GDP all aid in benefiting the rise of the Aussie dollar.

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australia

Australia: Basis Capital Feels Ripple of U.S. Subprime Shakeout

Basis Capital Fund Management Ltd., a Sydney-based hedge fund, announced that its investments in collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) had been tarnished by "guilt by association." The Australian hedge fund had AUD 1 Billion in assets in May, but it was reported that its two funds lost 9 and 14 percent in June. Basis Capital is the first Australian-based hedge fund to report losses from the fallout of the U.S. subprime market.

Basis Capital Fund Management Ltd., a Sydney-based hedge fund, announced that its investments in collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) had been tarnished by "guilt by association." The Australian hedge fund had AUD 1 Billion in assets in May, but it was reported that its two funds lost 9 and 14 percent in June. Basis Capital is the first Australian-based hedge fund to report losses from the fallout of the U.S. subprime market.

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australia

S&P/ASX 200 Falls as Australian Commodity Stocks Slip

After a slight weakness in overnight commodity prices that accounted for a drop in copper, gold and oil prices, Australian commodity stocks slipped Wednesday with the resource giants leading the way. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company, Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia's largest gold mining company and Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia's second-largest oil producer all displayed roughly a 2 percent drop in share price.

After a slight weakness in overnight commodity prices that accounted for a drop in copper, gold and oil prices, Australian commodity stocks slipped Wednesday with the resource giants leading the way. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company, Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia's largest gold mining company and Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia's second-largest oil producer all displayed roughly a 2 percent drop in share price.

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australia

Australian Wheat Crop Forecasted to Miss Expectations

JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced today that the world's third-largest exporter of wheat may miss forecasted production levels by 11 percent. Attributable to dry weather in the western states, Australia may produce 20 million metric tons of wheat whereas previous accounts were forecasted at 22.8 million tons. Western Australia has provided at least a third of Australia's wheat exports every year since the 2000-01 harvest, according to analysts at JPMorgan.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced today that the world's third-largest exporter of wheat may miss forecasted production levels by 11 percent. Attributable to dry weather in the western states, Australia may produce 20 million metric tons of wheat whereas previous accounts were forecasted at 22.8 million tons. Western Australia has provided at least a third of Australia's wheat exports every year since the 2000-01 harvest, according to analysts at JPMorgan.

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australia

Commodity Prices Emboldens Consolidation in Aussie Resources

Consolidated Minerals Ltd., which is at the center of a takeover battle between Pallinghurst Resources Fund LLP and Territory Resources Ltd., added 19 cents, or 5.8 percent, to close at AUD $3.45. A statement released by managing director Rod Baxter said profit will benefit from higher manganese prices and investment in its nickel business. Consolidated Minerals stepped out of the red after it cut costs and increased output to show a shareholder return 75.7 percent in fiscal 2007.

Consolidated Minerals Ltd., which is at the center of a takeover battle between Pallinghurst Resources Fund LLP and Territory Resources Ltd., added 19 cents, or 5.8 percent, to close at AUD $3.45. A statement released by managing director Rod Baxter said profit will benefit from higher manganese prices and investment in its nickel business. Consolidated Minerals stepped out of the red after it cut costs and increased output to show a shareholder return 75.7 percent in fiscal 2007.

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australia

Mining Sector Consolidation Buoys Up Australian Stocks

Resource stocks BHP Billiton Ltd. and Alumina Ltd. led the way for a record breaking day in the S&P/ASX 200 as the index rose 26.0 to close at 6389.40, or 0.4 percent rise. After mining giant Rio Tinto Group's announced its plan to buy Alcan Inc., expectations circulated among analysts that further consolidation will occur in the mining secort Rio's bid was announced after the Australian market closed on Thursday.

Resource stocks BHP Billiton Ltd. and Alumina Ltd. led the way for a record breaking day in the S&P/ASX 200 as the index rose 26.0 to close at 6389.40, or 0.4 percent rise. After mining giant Rio Tinto Group's announced its plan to buy Alcan Inc., expectations circulated among analysts that further consolidation will occur in the mining secort Rio's bid was announced after the Australian market closed on Thursday.

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australia

Mining Giants Lead Gains on Australian Share Market

Paced by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Group, Australian stocks rebounded from two consecutive days of losses, with 14 stocks rising for every five that fell. Rio Tinto Groups' announcement that it will bid for aluminum giant Alcan Inc. spurred heavy buying before trading was suspended pending a statement. The S&P/ASX 200 jumped 38.3 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 6,363.4.

Paced by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Group, Australian stocks rebounded from two consecutive days of losses, with 14 stocks rising for every five that fell. Rio Tinto Groups' announcement that it will bid for aluminum giant Alcan Inc. spurred heavy buying before trading was suspended pending a statement. The S&P/ASX 200 jumped 38.3 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 6,363.4.

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australia

Aussie Company Wesfarmers Ltd. Seeks AUD 10 Billion Loan for Takeover

Westfarmers Ltd., Australia's largest home-improvement chain whose businesses also include mining and insurance, hired Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., BNP Paribas SA, and National Australia Bank Ltd. to arrange a record AUD 10 Billion loan to fund its takeover of Coles Group Ltd. In what is to be the largest borrowing by an Australia-based company, Wesfarmers's debt is currently rated A-, which is seventh-highest of a possible 10 investment grades by Standard & Poor's. Perth-based Westfarmers also intends to sell as much as AUD 14 billion in new stock to secure control of the newly acquired Coles.

Westfarmers Ltd., Australia's largest home-improvement chain whose businesses also include mining and insurance, hired Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., BNP Paribas SA, and National Australia Bank Ltd. to arrange a record AUD 10 Billion loan to fund its takeover of Coles Group Ltd. In what is to be the largest borrowing by an Australia-based company, Wesfarmers's debt is currently rated A-, which is seventh-highest of a possible 10 investment grades by Standard & Poor's. Perth-based Westfarmers also intends to sell as much as AUD 14 billion in new stock to secure control of the newly acquired Coles.

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australia

Australia: Hiring Boom Subsides as Unemployment Rate Rises

According to figures released by the Bureau of Statistics in Sydney, the unemployment rate rose to 4.3 percent after reaching a 33-year low of 4.2 percent in May. Analysts attribute the rise in joblessness to phone companies and airlines contracting their workforce to reduce rising wage costs. The hiring boom that sparked a worker shortage and drove up wages has forced companies such as Telstra Corp. and Qantas Airways Ltd. to respond by cutting staff or shifting operations to low-wage countries.

According to figures released by the Bureau of Statistics in Sydney, the unemployment rate rose to 4.3 percent after reaching a 33-year low of 4.2 percent in May. Analysts attribute the rise in joblessness to phone companies and airlines contracting their workforce to reduce rising wage costs. The hiring boom that sparked a worker shortage and drove up wages has forced companies such as Telstra Corp. and Qantas Airways Ltd. to respond by cutting staff or shifting operations to low-wage countries.

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australia

Australia: Consumer Confidence Hovers Near Record Level

Consumer confidence hovered around record levels in July, according to a survey released by Westpac Banking Corp. and Melbourne Institute of 1,200 Australians. The confidence index slipped 0.6 percent from last month, despite the decision of the central bank to leave interest rates alone for the eighth consecutive month and a drop in fuel prices.

Consumer confidence hovered around record levels in July, according to a survey released by Westpac Banking Corp. and Melbourne Institute of 1,200 Australians. The confidence index slipped 0.6 percent from last month, despite the decision of the central bank to leave interest rates alone for the eighth consecutive month and a drop in fuel prices.

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australia

US-dependent Stocks Drop Australia's ASX 200 from Record High

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index fell from yesterday's record high as stocks that are dependent on US sales, most notably CSL Ltd. and Brambles Ltd., suffered from a strengthening Aussie dollar. Analysts expect the currency issue to be a major factor for Australian traders ahead of the next earnings season. The S&P/ASX 200 lost 39.1 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 6,361.50. For every six stocks that rose, approximately 14 fell.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index fell from yesterday's record high as stocks that are dependent on US sales, most notably CSL Ltd. and Brambles Ltd., suffered from a strengthening Aussie dollar. Analysts expect the currency issue to be a major factor for Australian traders ahead of the next earnings season. The S&P/ASX 200 lost 39.1 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 6,361.50. For every six stocks that rose, approximately 14 fell.

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australia

Aussie Business Confidence Stays at Two-Year High

According to a survey released by National Australia Bank Ltd. in Melbourne, Australia's business confidence remained at the two-year high in June courtesy of rampant demand for commodities in the Asian markets. China's demand for resources has propagated mining and resource stocks such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Group into a period of rapid economic expansion. This expansion has spilled over into the Australian economy showcased by a 33-year low in unemployment, record high consumer and business spending, and a 7.6 percent surge last quarter in company profits.

According to a survey released by National Australia Bank Ltd. in Melbourne, Australia's business confidence remained at the two-year high in June courtesy of rampant demand for commodities in the Asian markets. China's demand for resources has propagated mining and resource stocks such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Group into a period of rapid economic expansion. This expansion has spilled over into the Australian economy showcased by a 33-year low in unemployment, record high consumer and business spending, and a 7.6 percent surge last quarter in company profits.

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australia

Strong Asia-Pacific Currencies Lead to Slip in Regional Stocks

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index slipped 0.1 percent on Tuesday to close at 157.81, as Asia-Pacific currencies such as the yen and Australian dollar traded strong. The Aussie dollar traded near an 18-year high while the yen experienced a pause in its weakening trend as it strengthened against both the US dollar and the euro. Markets dropped across the region except in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand. Thailand's SET index was the region's biggest gainer, jumping 1.7 percent.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index slipped 0.1 percent on Tuesday to close at 157.81, as Asia-Pacific currencies such as the yen and Australian dollar traded strong. The Aussie dollar traded near an 18-year high while the yen experienced a pause in its weakening trend as it strengthened against both the US dollar and the euro. Markets dropped across the region except in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand. Thailand's SET index was the region's biggest gainer, jumping 1.7 percent.

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australia

Logistics Bottleneck to Cost Coal Producers AUD 350 Million

Inadequate rail and terminal capacity have contributed to massive port congestion at the Newcastle port in Australia. The logistic bottlenecks, paired with a string of recent winter storms, are delaying ships outside of the world largest coal-export port at the potential price of AUD 350 million. As docked ships await their place in the logistics queue, Xstrata Plc, the world's largest thermal coal exporter, estimates that miners are penalized at nearly AUD 1 million a day for the idle vessels. Record coal prices have lead to all time high freight rates and supply volumes, which continue to be disrupted by the winter storms, costing producers an estimated AUD 2 billion in lost sales.

Inadequate rail and terminal capacity have contributed to massive port congestion at the Newcastle port in Australia. The logistic bottlenecks, paired with a string of recent winter storms, are delaying ships outside of the world largest coal-export port at the potential price of AUD 350 million. As docked ships await their place in the logistics queue, Xstrata Plc, the world's largest thermal coal exporter, estimates that miners are penalized at nearly AUD 1 million a day for the idle vessels. Record coal prices have lead to all time high freight rates and supply volumes, which continue to be disrupted by the winter storms, costing producers an estimated AUD 2 billion in lost sales.

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australia

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. Invests in Vietnam

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. is paying USD 88 million for a 10 percent share of Vietnam's Saigon Securities Inc., joining other foreign banks that have recognized a real opportunity in the quickly expanding Southeast Asian nation's economy. The Vietnamese government is currently forecasting economic growth to be above 8.5 percent by 2010.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. is paying USD 88 million for a 10 percent share of Vietnam's Saigon Securities Inc., joining other foreign banks that have recognized a real opportunity in the quickly expanding Southeast Asian nation's economy. The Vietnamese government is currently forecasting economic growth to be above 8.5 percent by 2010.

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australia

Commodity Prices Help Aussie Stocks Reach Record Heights

Expectations of higher commodity prices and speculation of consolidation in the resources sector, particularly in energy shares, drove the S&P/ASX up 49.50, or 0.8 percent, to close at 6400.60 on Monday. Resource giants BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's biggest mining company that receives nearly a fifth of its sales from oil, and Santos Ltd., Australia's third largest oil producer, both climbed as oil prices traded around a 10-month high.

Expectations of higher commodity prices and speculation of consolidation in the resources sector, particularly in energy shares, drove the S&P/ASX up 49.50, or 0.8 percent, to close at 6400.60 on Monday. Resource giants BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's biggest mining company that receives nearly a fifth of its sales from oil, and Santos Ltd., Australia's third largest oil producer, both climbed as oil prices traded around a 10-month high.

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australia

First Drop in a Week on International Asia-Pacific Index

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index dropped for the first time in seven days on Friday, fueled by speculation that a rise in bond yields will lure money away from the equity market. Though China's CSI 300 posted its biggest gain in five months, the benchmark indexes of Japan, Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka all slipped. South Korea's Kospi Index climbed 6.7 percent this week, and Thailand's SET Index posted its largest weekly gain in four years.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index dropped for the first time in seven days on Friday, fueled by speculation that a rise in bond yields will lure money away from the equity market. Though China's CSI 300 posted its biggest gain in five months, the benchmark indexes of Japan, Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka all slipped. South Korea's Kospi Index climbed 6.7 percent this week, and Thailand's SET Index posted its largest weekly gain in four years.

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australia

Aussie Fund Managers See Great Potential in Japan

Richard Gilbert, chief executive officer of the Investment and Financial Services Association of Australia, believes that there is great potential in the Japan-Australia mutual fund relationship, but that it is not being reached. Japanese retirees and investors have a penchant for putting their money in overseas investments, and Japanese investment in Australian securities by publicly offered investment funds has seen a tenfold increase over the past six years.

Richard Gilbert, chief executive officer of the Investment and Financial Services Association of Australia, believes that there is great potential in the Japan-Australia mutual fund relationship, but that it is not being reached. Japanese retirees and investors have a penchant for putting their money in overseas investments, and Japanese investment in Australian securities by publicly offered investment funds has seen a tenfold increase over the past six years.

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australia

Coca-Cola Amatil May Sell Korean Division to LG Household

Exclusive talks have begun between Sydney-based Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd. and LG Household & Health Care Ltd., a division of South Korea's fourth-largest industrial group, concerning the sale of the Coca-Cola Amatil's Korean bottling unit. By acquiring Coca-Cola Korea, LG Household will boost sales of products through a nationwide distribution network and expand into South Korea's valued USD 3 billion beverage market. It is speculated that Coca-Coal Amatil, Australia's largest soft-drink producer, will stand to lose as much as AUD 50 million on the sale with a formal agreement expected in the upcoming quarter.

Exclusive talks have begun between Sydney-based Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd. and LG Household & Health Care Ltd., a division of South Korea's fourth-largest industrial group, concerning the sale of the Coca-Cola Amatil's Korean bottling unit. By acquiring Coca-Cola Korea, LG Household will boost sales of products through a nationwide distribution network and expand into South Korea's valued USD 3 billion beverage market. It is speculated that Coca-Coal Amatil, Australia's largest soft-drink producer, will stand to lose as much as AUD 50 million on the sale with a formal agreement expected in the upcoming quarter.

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australia

Australia: Metals Advance Helps Resource Giants Climb

Mining and energy giants BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group helped to pull up the S&P /ASX 200 Index by 63.70, or 1 percent, to close at 6362.30 after metals prices including copper and lead climbed. Both BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto reached record highs; BHP, the world's biggest mining company, added 70 cents, or 1.9 percent, to AUD 37.10, while Rio Tinto, the third-biggest, rose AUD 2.16, or 2.2 percent, to AUD 102.51.

Mining and energy giants BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group helped to pull up the S&P /ASX 200 Index by 63.70, or 1 percent, to close at 6362.30 after metals prices including copper and lead climbed. Both BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto reached record highs; BHP, the world's biggest mining company, added 70 cents, or 1.9 percent, to AUD 37.10, while Rio Tinto, the third-biggest, rose AUD 2.16, or 2.2 percent, to AUD 102.51.

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australia

Australia: Unexpected Slump in May’s Retail Sales

In what may be signs of a lull in a rapidly expanding economy, the Bureau of Statistics released figures on Tuesday signifying an unexpected slump in Australia's retail sales while building approvals dropped to a six-year low. This data may illuminate the central bank's intentions to leave interest rates untouched as they convene tomorrow. After the first quarter's economic expansion that paralleled a three-year growth record, higher fuel prices and slowing consumer spending might mean bump in Australia's recent growth track.

In what may be signs of a lull in a rapidly expanding economy, the Bureau of Statistics released figures on Tuesday signifying an unexpected slump in Australia's retail sales while building approvals dropped to a six-year low. This data may illuminate the central bank's intentions to leave interest rates untouched as they convene tomorrow. After the first quarter's economic expansion that paralleled a three-year growth record, higher fuel prices and slowing consumer spending might mean bump in Australia's recent growth track.

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australia

Australia: Record Takeover as Wesfarmers Ltd. Becomes Nation’s Largest Retailer

Wesfarmers Ltd., the Perth-based home-improvement chain, has agreed to purchase Coles Group Ltd. for AUD 20.7 billion (USD 17.7 billion) after rival bidders TPG Inc. and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. dropped out of the running. The takeover has broken the record set in April as the largest Aussie deal when Mexico's Cemex SA agreed to buy Australia's Rinker Group Ltd. at AUD 16.6 billion. Wesfarmers is now to become Australia's largest retailer; its shares closed Friday at a record AUD 45.73 as the company looks to incorporate Coles, which is valued at AUD 22 billion including debt.

Wesfarmers Ltd., the Perth-based home-improvement chain, has agreed to purchase Coles Group Ltd. for AUD 20.7 billion (USD 17.7 billion) after rival bidders TPG Inc. and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. dropped out of the running. The takeover has broken the record set in April as the largest Aussie deal when Mexico's Cemex SA agreed to buy Australia's Rinker Group Ltd. at AUD 16.6 billion. Wesfarmers is now to become Australia's largest retailer; its shares closed Friday at a record AUD 45.73 as the company looks to incorporate Coles, which is valued at AUD 22 billion including debt.

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australia

Australia: Afternoon Trading Boosts Stocks Back into the Black

The Australian indices are recovering from Wednesday's market correction with strong trading late in the day in local resource stocks, energy and the banks. Wednesday's trading displayed investors' anxiety as the S&P/ASX 200 and the All Ordinaries slipped in one of the market's largest single-day losses this year. The Australian indices recouped a large portion of these losses Friday, as hedge funds and commodity trading advisers (CTAs) surged in selling equities and futures in afternoon trading.

The Australian indices are recovering from Wednesday's market correction with strong trading late in the day in local resource stocks, energy and the banks. Wednesday's trading displayed investors' anxiety as the S&P/ASX 200 and the All Ordinaries slipped in one of the market's largest single-day losses this year. The Australian indices recouped a large portion of these losses Friday, as hedge funds and commodity trading advisers (CTAs) surged in selling equities and futures in afternoon trading.

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australia

Aussie Expansion Leaves Labor Market Tight

On Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released figures showing that the number of seasonally adjusted job vacancies rose by 3.9 percent to 166,900 between February and May. The total number of unemployed people per vacancy fell to below 3 percent, relatively lower than the past decade's average of 5.6 percent. This information confirms that the demand for labor in Australia is growing faster than supply, which may accelerate wage growth faster than the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) anticipates in their factors to target inflation.

On Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released figures showing that the number of seasonally adjusted job vacancies rose by 3.9 percent to 166,900 between February and May. The total number of unemployed people per vacancy fell to below 3 percent, relatively lower than the past decade's average of 5.6 percent. This information confirms that the demand for labor in Australia is growing faster than supply, which may accelerate wage growth faster than the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) anticipates in their factors to target inflation.

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australia

Australia: S&P/ASX 200 Slips as Commodity Prices Drop

The Australian S&P/ASX 200 slipped for the fifth consecutive trading day, adding to the longest slump in over 3 months. Aussie resource and mining giants BHP Billiton Ltd., Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., and Woodside Petroleum led the dive in share prices as copper, zinc, oil, and other commodities fell in value. Furthermore, woes over the U.S. housing market and the associated curb in U.S. spending crept into analysts' concerns and triggered a decline in U.S. associated firms such as James Hardie Industries NV and Westfield Group.

The Australian S&P/ASX 200 slipped for the fifth consecutive trading day, adding to the longest slump in over 3 months. Aussie resource and mining giants BHP Billiton Ltd., Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., and Woodside Petroleum led the dive in share prices as copper, zinc, oil, and other commodities fell in value. Furthermore, woes over the U.S. housing market and the associated curb in U.S. spending crept into analysts' concerns and triggered a decline in U.S. associated firms such as James Hardie Industries NV and Westfield Group.

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australia

Job Growth Surges as Aussie Employer Confidence Reaches Record Levels

Most Australian companies are expecting to add to their workforce in the September quarter, according to the results of the latest Employment Expectations survey from recruitment firm Hudson released Monday. In Queensland, only 4.1 percent of employers expect to cut staffing levels, whereas 46 percent of employers plan to increase permanent employment levels. Still, with a historically low unemployment rate, organizations' ability to attract and retain staff will continue to seriously impact productivity.

Most Australian companies are expecting to add to their workforce in the September quarter, according to the results of the latest Employment Expectations survey from recruitment firm Hudson released Monday. In Queensland, only 4.1 percent of employers expect to cut staffing levels, whereas 46 percent of employers plan to increase permanent employment levels. Still, with a historically low unemployment rate, organizations' ability to attract and retain staff will continue to seriously impact productivity.

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australia

Continued Growth for Aussie Mineral and Energy Commodity Exports

On Monday, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) released a report stating that continued growth in Australia's mineral and energy commodity exports will boost commodity earnings to some AUD 150 billion for 2007-2008. Citing an increase in the value of thermal coal and crude oil exports, earnings from energy exports are forecast to increase by nearly 6 percent to roughly AUD 43 billion. Continued expansion in metals and other minerals exports will sustain substantial growth, according to the ABARE report, on the heels of steady increases in the iron ore, gold and nickel sectors.

On Monday, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) released a report stating that continued growth in Australia's mineral and energy commodity exports will boost commodity earnings to some AUD 150 billion for 2007-2008. Citing an increase in the value of thermal coal and crude oil exports, earnings from energy exports are forecast to increase by nearly 6 percent to roughly AUD 43 billion. Continued expansion in metals and other minerals exports will sustain substantial growth, according to the ABARE report, on the heels of steady increases in the iron ore, gold and nickel sectors.

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australia

Australia: AUD 900 Million Increase to Farm-Export Earnings Forecast

On the verge of a larger than expected grain crop and higher dairy and beef prices, Australia raised its forecast for farm-export earnings by AUD 900 million. Australia, the world's largest exporter of wool and third-largest exporter of wheat, is finally recovering in farm output after a pervasive drought choked production last year. This increase, when coupled with Australia's high earnings from minerals and energy, is an example of the country's expansion that is continuing to build upon 16 consecutive years of growth.

On the verge of a larger than expected grain crop and higher dairy and beef prices, Australia raised its forecast for farm-export earnings by AUD 900 million. Australia, the world's largest exporter of wool and third-largest exporter of wheat, is finally recovering in farm output after a pervasive drought choked production last year. This increase, when coupled with Australia's high earnings from minerals and energy, is an example of the country's expansion that is continuing to build upon 16 consecutive years of growth.

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australia

Australian Raw Materials Still Fueling Resource Boom

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 continued to flirt with record figures as the insatiable demand for raw materials pushed resource stocks to all time highs. Both resource heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Group lead the way into record territory while many analysts are speculating the first investment moves of the Future Fund, which is Australia's independently managed investment fund intended to meet the government's future liabilities for the payment of superannuation to retired public servants.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 continued to flirt with record figures as the insatiable demand for raw materials pushed resource stocks to all time highs. Both resource heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Group lead the way into record territory while many analysts are speculating the first investment moves of the Future Fund, which is Australia's independently managed investment fund intended to meet the government's future liabilities for the payment of superannuation to retired public servants.

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australia

Aussie Dollar Continues to Reach Great Heights

On Thursday, the Australian Dollar (AUD) reached its highest mark in 17 and 16 years vis-à-vis the U.S. Dollar (USD) and the Japanese Yen (JPY), respectively. Analysts believe so-called carry trades have helped the AUD climb as investors have borrowed Yen at attractive rates to invest in Australia's high yielding currency. There is much speculation that the AUD will continue to gain against the USD within the next week.

On Thursday, the Australian Dollar (AUD) reached its highest mark in 17 and 16 years vis-à-vis the U.S. Dollar (USD) and the Japanese Yen (JPY), respectively. Analysts believe so-called carry trades have helped the AUD climb as investors have borrowed Yen at attractive rates to invest in Australia's high yielding currency. There is much speculation that the AUD will continue to gain against the USD within the next week.

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australia

Australia’s Queensland Cotton Holdings Finally Sold

Olam International Ltd. agreed to buy Australia's Queensland Cotton Holdings Ltd. for AUD $166.45 million in cash after increasing its offer to secure the support of rival bidder Louis Dreyfus & Cie. SA. After raising their offer twice, Olam International Ltd. will pay AUD 5.90 a share for Brisbane-based Queensland Cotton, which is nearly 24 percent more than their opening gambit of AUD 4.75 a share. This purchase will give Olam access to about a third of the cotton crop in the world's fourth largest exporter of the fiber.

Olam International Ltd. agreed to buy Australia's Queensland Cotton Holdings Ltd. for AUD $166.45 million in cash after increasing its offer to secure the support of rival bidder Louis Dreyfus & Cie. SA. After raising their offer twice, Olam International Ltd. will pay AUD 5.90 a share for Brisbane-based Queensland Cotton, which is nearly 24 percent more than their opening gambit of AUD 4.75 a share. This purchase will give Olam access to about a third of the cotton crop in the world's fourth largest exporter of the fiber.

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australia

Australia’s Largest Health-Care Company Accepts Revised Buyout Offer

Symbion Health Ltd., Australia's largest health-care company, has accepted a revised offer to sell off its vitamins and pharmacy operations after Ironbridge Capital and Archer Capital were capable of matching a rival bid by proposed last month by Sigma Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Ironbridge and Archer Capital will divide Symbion with Healthscope Ltd., which operates hospitals in Australia, thereby avoiding the payment of an AUD 10 million break fee that would have been mandatory in the earlier Sigma Pharmaceuticals bid.

Symbion Health Ltd., Australia's largest health-care company, has accepted a revised offer to sell off its vitamins and pharmacy operations after Ironbridge Capital and Archer Capital were capable of matching a rival bid by proposed last month by Sigma Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Ironbridge and Archer Capital will divide Symbion with Healthscope Ltd., which operates hospitals in Australia, thereby avoiding the payment of an AUD 10 million break fee that would have been mandatory in the earlier Sigma Pharmaceuticals bid.

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australia

Australia’s Forecasted Wheat Crop is Reduced by 10 Percent

The fallout of Australia's worst drought in a century is continuing to affect the country's agriculture industry as the production forecast for wheat is slashed by 10 percent on concern of dry weather. Australia, once the third-largest global exporter of wheat behind the U.S. and Canada two years ago, is now forced to confront low inventories and extreme weather patterns that have pushed wheat prices to an 11 year high. Extreme weather is leading many analysts to expect further cuts in forecasted and actual production output.

The fallout of Australia's worst drought in a century is continuing to affect the country's agriculture industry as the production forecast for wheat is slashed by 10 percent on concern of dry weather. Australia, once the third-largest global exporter of wheat behind the U.S. and Canada two years ago, is now forced to confront low inventories and extreme weather patterns that have pushed wheat prices to an 11 year high. Extreme weather is leading many analysts to expect further cuts in forecasted and actual production output.

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australia

Qantas Air Invests in Vietnam's Pacific Airlines

Australia's Qantas Group signed a deal with Vietnam's State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) to purchase a 30 percent stake in Pacific Airlines (PA). The agreement will help develop both airlines; PA hopes to increase its share of the domestic aviation market as well as expand its international services and Qantas is able to fulfill its Southeast Asian expansion goal. This is the first agreement signed with foreign investors in Vietnam's domestic aviation market and more is to be expected soon.

Australia's Qantas Group signed a deal with Vietnam's State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) to purchase a 30 percent stake in Pacific Airlines (PA). The agreement will help develop both airlines; PA hopes to increase its share of the domestic aviation market as well as expand its international services and Qantas is able to fulfill its Southeast Asian expansion goal. This is the first agreement signed with foreign investors in Vietnam's domestic aviation market and more is to be expected soon.

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australia

Australian Universities Lagging Behind Resource Boom

Despite being in the midst of the nation's largest natural resources boom, Australian Universities are contracting their geosciences departments as student enrollment in the hard sciences continues to shrink. Over the past decade, 10 geosciences schools have closed or downsized, leaving an estimate of roughly 30 metallurgists graduating each year from Australian Universities. Mining companies are currently pushing the Australian government for incentives, such as tax rebates, to train graduates in related professions to help meet the shortfall of labor recruits.

Despite being in the midst of the nation's largest natural resources boom, Australian Universities are contracting their geosciences departments as student enrollment in the hard sciences continues to shrink. Over the past decade, 10 geosciences schools have closed or downsized, leaving an estimate of roughly 30 metallurgists graduating each year from Australian Universities. Mining companies are currently pushing the Australian government for incentives, such as tax rebates, to train graduates in related professions to help meet the shortfall of labor recruits.

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australia

Chinese Steelmakers Put Australian Iron Ore in High Demand

In an attempt to help meet rising demand from Chinese steelmakers, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. is planning to raise AUD 1 Billion to expand the capacity of its Western Australia iron ore project that is currently under construction. The influx of the raised capital will expand the capacity of the facility to boost output to roughly four times of what is its current slated to produce. The price of iron ore has rose to a five year record and many analysts expect the resource to maintain an all-time high price level for the next five years.

In an attempt to help meet rising demand from Chinese steelmakers, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. is planning to raise AUD 1 Billion to expand the capacity of its Western Australia iron ore project that is currently under construction. The influx of the raised capital will expand the capacity of the facility to boost output to roughly four times of what is its current slated to produce. The price of iron ore has rose to a five year record and many analysts expect the resource to maintain an all-time high price level for the next five years.

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australia

Mining and Resource Groups Lead Gain on Australia’s Stock Exchange

After increases in prices of such commodities as copper and crude oil, the S&P/Australia Stock Exchange (ASX) 200 Index rose for its second consecutive gain, lead by mining and resource stocks. Both BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, and Rio Tinto Group, the third-largest, reached record heights as their stocks climbed to meet high levels of demand for commodities. Analysts forecast strong growth as demand for commodities continues at unprecedented levels.

After increases in prices of such commodities as copper and crude oil, the S&P/Australia Stock Exchange (ASX) 200 Index rose for its second consecutive gain, lead by mining and resource stocks. Both BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, and Rio Tinto Group, the third-largest, reached record heights as their stocks climbed to meet high levels of demand for commodities. Analysts forecast strong growth as demand for commodities continues at unprecedented levels.

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australia

Australian Executives Emerge as Top Wealth Creators for Shareholders

According to a report from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), during the past five years Australian executives have emerged as the global leaders in creating wealth for shareholders. The BCG report shows that the risk-adjusted five year total shareholder return (TSR), which measured the sum of changes in market capitalization and dividends of Australia's top 100 companies, edged out other Asian nations that achieved similar TSR values but at the cost of high volatility.

According to a report from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), during the past five years Australian executives have emerged as the global leaders in creating wealth for shareholders. The BCG report shows that the risk-adjusted five year total shareholder return (TSR), which measured the sum of changes in market capitalization and dividends of Australia's top 100 companies, edged out other Asian nations that achieved similar TSR values but at the cost of high volatility.

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australia

Australian Central Bank Has Ample Response Time for Expansion

After leaving the overnight cash rate target unchanged for the sixth consecutive meeting, Glenn Stevens, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), stated that there is ample time to respond to accelerated economic growth and inflation after consumer prices rose less than expected. Stevens hopes this added time will allow the opportunity to examine trends in demand and assess the best response in monetary policy.

After leaving the overnight cash rate target unchanged for the sixth consecutive meeting, Glenn Stevens, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), stated that there is ample time to respond to accelerated economic growth and inflation after consumer prices rose less than expected. Stevens hopes this added time will allow the opportunity to examine trends in demand and assess the best response in monetary policy.

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australia

Australian Wage Growth Slows Under Enterprise Bargaining

According to data released from Australia's Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, average annualized wage increases (AAWIs) slowed 0.1 percent to 3.7 percent. Despite the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) view of wage growth above 4.5 percent as troublesome, there is much speculation concerning a rate hike considering the nation's accelerated expansion.

According to data released from Australia's Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, average annualized wage increases (AAWIs) slowed 0.1 percent to 3.7 percent. Despite the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) view of wage growth above 4.5 percent as troublesome, there is much speculation concerning a rate hike considering the nation's accelerated expansion.

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australia

Australia: Business Confidence Highest in Two Years

Continuing to show signs of expansive economic growth, Australia's business confidence rose to the highest level in two years. According to a survey of 600 companies released in Melbourne, the sentiment index rose two points since April. Coupled with the Australian unemployment rate at a 33 year low, many analysts expect a rate increase as the appropriate reaction from the Reserve Bank.

Continuing to show signs of expansive economic growth, Australia's business confidence rose to the highest level in two years. According to a survey of 600 companies released in Melbourne, the sentiment index rose two points since April. Coupled with the Australian unemployment rate at a 33 year low, many analysts expect a rate increase as the appropriate reaction from the Reserve Bank.

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australia

Australian Consortium Enters Myanmar's Oil and Gas Sector

An Australian-led consortium has become the latest player to enter Myanmar's offshore hydrocarbon sector, reaching an agreement with Myanmar to begin offshore exploration and production sharing on the Yetagun East Block in the Gulf of Martaban. Offshore hydrocarbon is considered the most important and dynamic industry in Myanmar, and the sustainable and secure supply of energy from Myanmar's abundant, relatively untapped resources has long been a priority for Myanmar.

An Australian-led consortium has become the latest player to enter Myanmar's offshore hydrocarbon sector, reaching an agreement with Myanmar to begin offshore exploration and production sharing on the Yetagun East Block in the Gulf of Martaban. Offshore hydrocarbon is considered the most important and dynamic industry in Myanmar, and the sustainable and secure supply of energy from Myanmar's abundant, relatively untapped resources has long been a priority for Myanmar.

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australia

Chinese Government to Invest in BHP Billiton

According to an Australian newspaper, the recently formed Chinese State Investment Co. might make a bid for BHP Billiton, which runs as a single entity and produces crude oil, natural gas, iron ore, coal, steel, aluminum, diamonds, and other commodities. On that basis, shares of BHP Billiton trade in two US stocks rose.

According to an Australian newspaper, the recently formed Chinese State Investment Co. might make a bid for BHP Billiton, which runs as a single entity and produces crude oil, natural gas, iron ore, coal, steel, aluminum, diamonds, and other commodities. On that basis, shares of BHP Billiton trade in two US stocks rose.

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australia

Australian Dollar Falls After 17-Year High

The Australian dollar weakened on Friday following its 17-year high on Thursday due to sell-offs in the global equities market. The Australian dollar was trading Friday at USD 0.8436, down from yesterday's close of USD 0.8459. Despite the slight drop, Head of Research at the National Australia Bank said the local currency was still holding up well due to strong local data, including news that housing finance rose 2.2 percent in May.

The Australian dollar weakened on Friday following its 17-year high on Thursday due to sell-offs in the global equities market. The Australian dollar was trading Friday at USD 0.8436, down from yesterday's close of USD 0.8459. Despite the slight drop, Head of Research at the National Australia Bank said the local currency was still holding up well due to strong local data, including news that housing finance rose 2.2 percent in May.

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australia

Australian Stocks Drop for Fourth Straight Day

Australian stocks dropped on Friday for the fourth straight day due in part to concern that interests rates will rise in the United States economy. The S&P/ASX Index slid 79.40 points or 1.3 percent to close at 6231.70 in Sydney and only 19 companies gained out of the 200 companies in the Index. But despite these losses, Australia is still experiencing an employment boom and the economy is growing at its fastest pace in three years.

Australian stocks dropped on Friday for the fourth straight day due in part to concern that interests rates will rise in the United States economy. The S&P/ASX Index slid 79.40 points or 1.3 percent to close at 6231.70 in Sydney and only 19 companies gained out of the 200 companies in the Index. But despite these losses, Australia is still experiencing an employment boom and the economy is growing at its fastest pace in three years.

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australia

Timor Leste Considers Building New Military

Timor Leste is considering the creation of a new national army, a missile-equipped navy, and an air force in order to protect oil and gas interests in the Timor Sea. The idea was first put forward in a recommendation by Timorese defense planners along with their Portuguese and Malaysian advisers. Australia and Indonesia were uninformed about the plan until its limited diplomatic release and will most likely not look favorably on this report, which is entitled Force 2020.

Timor Leste is considering the creation of a new national army, a missile-equipped navy, and an air force in order to protect oil and gas interests in the Timor Sea. The idea was first put forward in a recommendation by Timorese defense planners along with their Portuguese and Malaysian advisers. Australia and Indonesia were uninformed about the plan until its limited diplomatic release and will most likely not look favorably on this report, which is entitled Force 2020.

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australia

Australian Unemployment Falls to 4.2 Percent

After increasing roughly four times more than expected in May, Australian employment has reached its highest mark in 33 years. According to the Bureau of Statistics in Sydney, the unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent, which has fueled investors' expectations of an interest rate hike. Coupled with the expansive growth of Australia's economy, this job boom is adding pressure to the Central Bank to raise its benchmark rate, which is already at a six-year high of 6.25 percent.

After increasing roughly four times more than expected in May, Australian employment has reached its highest mark in 33 years. According to the Bureau of Statistics in Sydney, the unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent, which has fueled investors' expectations of an interest rate hike. Coupled with the expansive growth of Australia's economy, this job boom is adding pressure to the Central Bank to raise its benchmark rate, which is already at a six-year high of 6.25 percent.

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australia

Australia’s Quarterly Growth Rate Highest in Three Years

The Australian Bureau of Statistics announced yesterday that the 1.6 percent rise in GDP was the fastest pace of quarterly growth since December 2003, when the economy grew at 2 percent. The booming economy is enjoying the longest growth in Australia's history, unemployment is at a three-decade low, and yet there is no sign of inflation in the growth figures. In spite of the recent boom, Australia's Reserve Bank announced it would leave rates on hold for another month.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics announced yesterday that the 1.6 percent rise in GDP was the fastest pace of quarterly growth since December 2003, when the economy grew at 2 percent. The booming economy is enjoying the longest growth in Australia's history, unemployment is at a three-decade low, and yet there is no sign of inflation in the growth figures. In spite of the recent boom, Australia's Reserve Bank announced it would leave rates on hold for another month.

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australia

Australia: Living Costs to Increase Under a Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme

On Monday, Australia's federal Treasurer Peter Costello said the price of goods and services will have to rise under a carbon emissions trading scheme. Mr. Costello stressed that there is no such thing as a "cost free" reduction in carbon emissions and that a price response will be instrumental in getting people to reduce their reliance on carbon emitting goods and services.

On Monday, Australia's federal Treasurer Peter Costello said the price of goods and services will have to rise under a carbon emissions trading scheme. Mr. Costello stressed that there is no such thing as a "cost free" reduction in carbon emissions and that a price response will be instrumental in getting people to reduce their reliance on carbon emitting goods and services.

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australia

Yen Carry Trade Helps Australian, NZ Dollars Reach 15-Year Highs

After gaining for the fourth successive day, New Zealand's and Australia's Dollars reached a 15 year high against the Yen, as the currencies benefited as carry trades continue to remain in favor. Reacting to a 0.5 rise in Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average and the rebound of Chinese stocks, New Zealand currency rose to 91.73 yen (the highest since August 1990) and the Australia's Dollar traded as high as 101.99 yen, a level unattained since April 1992.

After gaining for the fourth successive day, New Zealand's and Australia's Dollars reached a 15 year high against the Yen, as the currencies benefited as carry trades continue to remain in favor. Reacting to a 0.5 rise in Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average and the rebound of Chinese stocks, New Zealand currency rose to 91.73 yen (the highest since August 1990) and the Australia's Dollar traded as high as 101.99 yen, a level unattained since April 1992.

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australia

Plans for Australia's Carbon Emissions Futures Market Established

In advance of the proposed introduction of a national carbon trading system, the Australian Securities Exchange expects to initiate a futures market for carbon emission permits. ASX Ltd., owner of the Australian Securities Exchange, is appointing a working group to assist in the design of a futures market with industry input. ASX will also focus on advising the Australian government on implementing an efficient futures market for permits.

In advance of the proposed introduction of a national carbon trading system, the Australian Securities Exchange expects to initiate a futures market for carbon emission permits. ASX Ltd., owner of the Australian Securities Exchange, is appointing a working group to assist in the design of a futures market with industry input. ASX will also focus on advising the Australian government on implementing an efficient futures market for permits.

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australia

BHP Bilton Gives Australian Stock Market a Boost

The Australian stock market finished the week up 20 points on the benchmark S&P/ASX200 at 6,333.5, while the ordinaries gained 21.7 points to 6,363.5. Despite worries over the earlier volatility in the Shanghai stock exchange, the Australian stock market performed well due to a 2 percent gain by mining giant BHP Bilton, which emerged enthusiastically after the appointment of new chief executive Marius Kloppers. Other resource stocks also did well, including BHP's rival, Rio Tinto, which gained 0.5 percent.

The Australian stock market finished the week up 20 points on the benchmark S&P/ASX200 at 6,333.5, while the ordinaries gained 21.7 points to 6,363.5. Despite worries over the earlier volatility in the Shanghai stock exchange, the Australian stock market performed well due to a 2 percent gain by mining giant BHP Bilton, which emerged enthusiastically after the appointment of new chief executive Marius Kloppers. Other resource stocks also did well, including BHP's rival, Rio Tinto, which gained 0.5 percent.

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australia

Strong Gains Against the Yen for Aussie and Kiwi

The Australian and New Zealand dollars surged against the yen this week, with both currencies reaching 15-year comparative highs. Among the 16 most-traded currencies, New Zealand's kiwi was the week's biggest gainer against the yen, climbing 2 percent this week to 90.14 yen, while the Australian Aussie climbed 1.4 percent to 101.67 yen. Market analysts attribute the surge to the presence of excess global liquidity, which has boosted the carry trade, and an improving appetite for risk.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars surged against the yen this week, with both currencies reaching 15-year comparative highs. Among the 16 most-traded currencies, New Zealand's kiwi was the week's biggest gainer against the yen, climbing 2 percent this week to 90.14 yen, while the Australian Aussie climbed 1.4 percent to 101.67 yen. Market analysts attribute the surge to the presence of excess global liquidity, which has boosted the carry trade, and an improving appetite for risk.

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australia

Journalist Claims Australia Extorted Timor Leste Over Oil

Former journalist Paul Cleary alleges in his recently published book, The Shakedown, that Australia extorted Timor Leste over oil and gas in the sea between the two countries. Appointed by the UN to advise Timor Leste's president, Cleary explains that Australia attempted to bully Timor Leste out of lucrative oil and gas rights in the Timor Sea during negotiations between the two countries, which began in 2000. Currently, oil from the Timor Sea serves as Timor Leste's main source of revenue.

Former journalist Paul Cleary alleges in his recently published book, The Shakedown, that Australia extorted Timor Leste over oil and gas in the sea between the two countries. Appointed by the UN to advise Timor Leste's president, Cleary explains that Australia attempted to bully Timor Leste out of lucrative oil and gas rights in the Timor Sea during negotiations between the two countries, which began in 2000. Currently, oil from the Timor Sea serves as Timor Leste's main source of revenue.

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australia

Philippines Trying to Resolve Issue of Exporting Fruit to Australia

Filipinos have been waiting for more than a decade for the release of the long overdue import risk analysis (IRA) on the entry of fresh fruits to Australia. Philippine Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, who joins President Arroyo's Australia visit, will discuss resuming fruit exports to Australia with his Australian counterparts. If the trade issues are solved, the Philippines could export 10 million cartons of fresh bananas, with great potential for other fruits such as pineapples and mangoes, to Australia.

Filipinos have been waiting for more than a decade for the release of the long overdue import risk analysis (IRA) on the entry of fresh fruits to Australia. Philippine Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, who joins President Arroyo's Australia visit, will discuss resuming fruit exports to Australia with his Australian counterparts. If the trade issues are solved, the Philippines could export 10 million cartons of fresh bananas, with great potential for other fruits such as pineapples and mangoes, to Australia.

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australia

Sri Lanka Aid Donors Sign Aid Code

Sri Lanka's primary aid donors have agreed upon and signed an aid code detailing how to provide humanitarian and development assistance to Sri Lanka. Called the "Guiding Principles", a major aspect of the code is the underlining of the conditions required to allow donors and their implementing partners to work. Australia, Japan, and South Korea are among the 14 government bodies to sign the code, which has also been endorsed by such NGOs as the United Nations and World Bank.

Sri Lanka's primary aid donors have agreed upon and signed an aid code detailing how to provide humanitarian and development assistance to Sri Lanka. Called the "Guiding Principles", a major aspect of the code is the underlining of the conditions required to allow donors and their implementing partners to work. Australia, Japan, and South Korea are among the 14 government bodies to sign the code, which has also been endorsed by such NGOs as the United Nations and World Bank.

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australia

Australian Trade Deficit Drops in April

Australia's trade deficit decreased in April to AUD962 million from AUD1.63 billion in March, according to the Bureau of Statistics. This may signal an upcoming surge in the world's largest exporter of iron ore and coal, as miners and energy producers boost exports after a two year spending spree on new mines, rigs, ports, and railways. This will stoke economic growth in the Australian economy, which is expanding for the 16th straight year.

Australia's trade deficit decreased in April to AUD962 million from AUD1.63 billion in March, according to the Bureau of Statistics. This may signal an upcoming surge in the world's largest exporter of iron ore and coal, as miners and energy producers boost exports after a two year spending spree on new mines, rigs, ports, and railways. This will stoke economic growth in the Australian economy, which is expanding for the 16th straight year.

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australia

Morgan Stanley Purchases Investa Properties; Australian Stocks Rise

Morgan Stanley agreed to buy Investa Property Group, Australia's biggest office owner, for USD3.9 billion. The bid is still subject to an independent expert's report confirming that the offer is in the best interests of the shareholders, and 75 percent of the stock must approve the deal at the next shareholders meeting. However, the Australian stock market has already felt the positive effects of the deal, as Australian stocks gained on the heels of the purchase.

Morgan Stanley agreed to buy Investa Property Group, Australia's biggest office owner, for USD3.9 billion. The bid is still subject to an independent expert's report confirming that the offer is in the best interests of the shareholders, and 75 percent of the stock must approve the deal at the next shareholders meeting. However, the Australian stock market has already felt the positive effects of the deal, as Australian stocks gained on the heels of the purchase.

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australia

APEC to Study State-Owned Oil Firms

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) energy ministers plan to study the impact of state ownership of oil and gas companies among its 21-member body by focusing on their trade and investment. The study expects to form partnerships between state-controlled and private oil companies in order to efficiently develop reserves.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) energy ministers plan to study the impact of state ownership of oil and gas companies among its 21-member body by focusing on their trade and investment. The study expects to form partnerships between state-controlled and private oil companies in order to efficiently develop reserves.

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australia

Mining Companies May Bankroll Port Efficiency Project

Mining Groups Xstrata Plc and Rio Tinto Group are considering investing in railways and ports to help alleviate bottlenecks resulting from inefficient infrastructure. The Australian coal industry is forgoing nearly AUD2 billion from the backlogged coal exports that arise from congested shipping ports. Export prices for power-station coal rose last week to their highest level in 13 weeks as reduced exports from China tightened supplies.

Mining Groups Xstrata Plc and Rio Tinto Group are considering investing in railways and ports to help alleviate bottlenecks resulting from inefficient infrastructure. The Australian coal industry is forgoing nearly AUD2 billion from the backlogged coal exports that arise from congested shipping ports. Export prices for power-station coal rose last week to their highest level in 13 weeks as reduced exports from China tightened supplies.

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australia

Australia’s Retail Sales Gain Less in April Than Expected

Retail sales rose 0.1 percent from March, according to a report compiled by the Bureau of Statistics. The report notes sales at department stores fell 3.4 percent in April from March, which is attributed to slower consumer spending brought on by concern over fuel prices. Moreover, citing a survey by Westpac Banking Corp. and the Melbourne Institute, gasoline prices are a bigger concern than interest rate increases for about half of Australia's consumers.

Retail sales rose 0.1 percent from March, according to a report compiled by the Bureau of Statistics. The report notes sales at department stores fell 3.4 percent in April from March, which is attributed to slower consumer spending brought on by concern over fuel prices. Moreover, citing a survey by Westpac Banking Corp. and the Melbourne Institute, gasoline prices are a bigger concern than interest rate increases for about half of Australia's consumers.

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australia

Australia's Emissions Trading Scheme Could Lead to Stranded Assets

On Monday, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) energy business forum served as the platform for a warning to Australia's exploration of implementing an emissions trading scheme for energy generation. Citing the introduction of a similar system in Europe, unless a carefully constructed trading scheme is produced, Australian markets could observe stranded assets. Massive wealth transfers, sharply higher power prices through manipulation in the national electricity pool and the destruction of asset values among generating companies are all potential repercussions, should a strong government regulatory environment not be established.

On Monday, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) energy business forum served as the platform for a warning to Australia's exploration of implementing an emissions trading scheme for energy generation. Citing the introduction of a similar system in Europe, unless a carefully constructed trading scheme is produced, Australian markets could observe stranded assets. Massive wealth transfers, sharply higher power prices through manipulation in the national electricity pool and the destruction of asset values among generating companies are all potential repercussions, should a strong government regulatory environment not be established.

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australia

Railway Bottlenecks Cost Australia AUD 1 Billion in Coal Exports

A crisis paper from Australia's leading coal mining companies reveals that a logistics bottleneck at Queensland's Dalrymple Bay port is costing mining companies AUD 1 billion a year and threatening the future of exports to key Asian customers. The report shows that the state-owned Queensland Rail National's inability to consistently provide manpower, locomotives, and wagons is largely responsible for the backlog. Coal is Australia's largest export earner and Queensland is the world's largest coal exporter.

A crisis paper from Australia's leading coal mining companies reveals that a logistics bottleneck at Queensland's Dalrymple Bay port is costing mining companies AUD 1 billion a year and threatening the future of exports to key Asian customers. The report shows that the state-owned Queensland Rail National's inability to consistently provide manpower, locomotives, and wagons is largely responsible for the backlog. Coal is Australia's largest export earner and Queensland is the world's largest coal exporter.

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australia

Inflation Fears May Lead to Australian Interest Rate Hike

In an attempt to quell rising "inflationary pressures," the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Thursday that Australia's Central Bank may be moved to raise interest rates. The Reserve Bank of Australia will continue efforts to counteract the mining and building boom, which has supported the fastest jobs growth in 17 years. Surging Chinese demand and record commodity prices have aided the expansive growth for energy production and mining, particularly in the construction industry,which now employs almost one-tenth of Australian workers. The economic pickup and low jobless rate may spur faster inflation, the OECD said.

In an attempt to quell rising "inflationary pressures," the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Thursday that Australia's Central Bank may be moved to raise interest rates. The Reserve Bank of Australia will continue efforts to counteract the mining and building boom, which has supported the fastest jobs growth in 17 years. Surging Chinese demand and record commodity prices have aided the expansive growth for energy production and mining, particularly in the construction industry,which now employs almost one-tenth of Australian workers. The economic pickup and low jobless rate may spur faster inflation, the OECD said.

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australia

Australian Stocks Grow on Gains in Mining and Banking

Australia's soaring banking sector slid off of its heady pace on Wednesday, but gains in the mining sector, led by Rio Tinto, kept Australian shares on the rise. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose by 0.3 percent to 6,355.1 points, with Rio Tinto gaining by 2 percent to A$94.50 per share. Despite falling off their rapid pace, three of Australia's four major banks gained on Wednesday, with Commonwealth Bank leading the way with a 23 cent jump to A$55.18 per share.

Australia's soaring banking sector slid off of its heady pace on Wednesday, but gains in the mining sector, led by Rio Tinto, kept Australian shares on the rise. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose by 0.3 percent to 6,355.1 points, with Rio Tinto gaining by 2 percent to A$94.50 per share. Despite falling off their rapid pace, three of Australia's four major banks gained on Wednesday, with Commonwealth Bank leading the way with a 23 cent jump to A$55.18 per share.

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australia

Australian Dollar Strengthens on High-Yield Risks

Ending five consecutive days of losses, the Australian dollar advanced on Tuesday, most notably fueled by investors' increasing desire for risky, high-yield assets on the nation's stock exchange. The Australian dollar increased to 82.27 US cents, up from 81.96, while also trading at 99.80 yen, up from 99.60. However, economists warn that the Australian dollar will be tested later this week as A$945 million of Uridashi bonds come up for redemption.

Ending five consecutive days of losses, the Australian dollar advanced on Tuesday, most notably fueled by investors' increasing desire for risky, high-yield assets on the nation's stock exchange. The Australian dollar increased to 82.27 US cents, up from 81.96, while also trading at 99.80 yen, up from 99.60. However, economists warn that the Australian dollar will be tested later this week as A$945 million of Uridashi bonds come up for redemption.

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australia

US$4 Billion Investment in Asia Planned by Chevron Corp.

Focusing on petroleum expansion and production in Asia, Chevron Corp. will invest about US$4 billion in a number of Asian nations this year, worth 20 percent of their projected global spending. Chevron's major endeavors include an offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Australia, petroleum production in Indonesia and Thailand, and enhanced exploration drilling in Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Cambodia. In addition, Chevron has slated five exploration and production projects in China.

Focusing on petroleum expansion and production in Asia, Chevron Corp. will invest about US$4 billion in a number of Asian nations this year, worth 20 percent of their projected global spending. Chevron's major endeavors include an offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Australia, petroleum production in Indonesia and Thailand, and enhanced exploration drilling in Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Cambodia. In addition, Chevron has slated five exploration and production projects in China.

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australia

Australia's Stock Index Falls After Setting Record High

Australia's Key Stock Index S&P/ASX 200 fell after reaching record highs led by BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group. The drop was mainly due to the falling prices of metals such as zinc and copper. The Index slid 53.40, or 0.8 percent, to 6312.50 at the close in Sydney.

Australia's Key Stock Index S&P/ASX 200 fell after reaching record highs led by BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group. The drop was mainly due to the falling prices of metals such as zinc and copper. The Index slid 53.40, or 0.8 percent, to 6312.50 at the close in Sydney.

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australia

Australia to Announce emmisions Trading Scheme at APEC

Australia, the host of APEC's September gathering, is working to develop an emissions trading scheme. This would involve the setting of a price for carbon and putting in place a target for green house gas emissions. Under this scheme dubbed the "Sydney declaration", polluters who are unable to meet the emission standards would be allowed to buy credits from others at the set price.

Australia, the host of APEC's September gathering, is working to develop an emissions trading scheme. This would involve the setting of a price for carbon and putting in place a target for green house gas emissions. Under this scheme dubbed the "Sydney declaration", polluters who are unable to meet the emission standards would be allowed to buy credits from others at the set price.

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australia

Australia's Drought May Be Over

Australia's worst drought in a century ended with a severe rain storm that drenched the land with rain of up to 53mm in some areas. The Australian weather bureau suggests that this drought could be over which would have significant impacts on on the agricultural community. The Bureau of Meteorology believes that "El Nino" has ended and weather patterns have return to a more normal state.

Australia's worst drought in a century ended with a severe rain storm that drenched the land with rain of up to 53mm in some areas. The Australian weather bureau suggests that this drought could be over which would have significant impacts on on the agricultural community. The Bureau of Meteorology believes that "El Nino" has ended and weather patterns have return to a more normal state.

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australia

Australian Resource Minister Fighting for the Development of WA Gas Field

The Australian Federal Resource Minister, Ian Macfarlane is attempting to resolve a dispute that has blocked the development of BHP Billiton's Macedon gas field just of Australia's western coast. The field is estimated to contain 1.2 trillion cubic meters of gas which could be used for commodity chemicals like methanol and ammonia urea or as an industrial gas feed stock for power generation.

The Australian Federal Resource Minister, Ian Macfarlane is attempting to resolve a dispute that has blocked the development of BHP Billiton's Macedon gas field just of Australia's western coast. The field is estimated to contain 1.2 trillion cubic meters of gas which could be used for commodity chemicals like methanol and ammonia urea or as an industrial gas feed stock for power generation.

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australia

Australian Banks Expand to India

Booming consumer finance space and growing opportunities in the corporate finance sector are the biggest incentives for foreign banks to enter India's banking sector. In particular, the sector is interested in Australian banks due to the further increase in trade relations between both countries. Since Macquire has already expanded to Australia, Westpac Institutional Bank has been approved to open a representative office as well.

Booming consumer finance space and growing opportunities in the corporate finance sector are the biggest incentives for foreign banks to enter India's banking sector. In particular, the sector is interested in Australian banks due to the further increase in trade relations between both countries. Since Macquire has already expanded to Australia, Westpac Institutional Bank has been approved to open a representative office as well.

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australia

South Korea, Australia Explore Free Trade Agreement

Private research institutions from South Korea and Australia will jointly explore the feasibility of a free trade pact between the two nations, who currently engage in two-way trading worth around US$14 billion a year. Though the Federation of Korean Industries is eager to expedite talks with Australia, Deputy Trade Minister Kim Han-Soo has called for a "cautious approach" due to the cultural sensitivity of South Korea's rice sector.

Private research institutions from South Korea and Australia will jointly explore the feasibility of a free trade pact between the two nations, who currently engage in two-way trading worth around US$14 billion a year. Though the Federation of Korean Industries is eager to expedite talks with Australia, Deputy Trade Minister Kim Han-Soo has called for a "cautious approach" due to the cultural sensitivity of South Korea's rice sector.

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australia

Is the Drought Drying Up Australia’s Economy?

IN AUSTRALIA, extreme climatic conditions are common, and the current drought, which began in 2002, is a prime example. The nature of the agricultural industry is highly cyclical and inefficient, using two thirds of Australia's total water consumption, and being the only industry that has negatively affected Australia's overall economic performance. Although the agricultural industry currently contributes 2.7% to Australia's GDP, associated multiplier effects have lead to a reduction of 0.6 percentage points from the last four quarter's GDP growth of 2.8%; a 17.6% detraction. Farm GDP for 2006-07 is expected to fall by 22% from the previous financial year. Two questions need to be addressed: whether poor performance is due to drought conditions or general seasonal variability, and which strategies are available to combat the inefficiencies of this industry.

A Plummeting Industry

Alongside competitive global markets, current drought conditions are worsening the farming industry in production, income, and exports. The average long term growth of the net value of farm production during non-drought periods has been 45%, but as of 2002, this value dropped to 1.43%. The most drought-affected areas include South Australia, Victoria, and southern parts of Western Australia, and correlate with poorer agricultural output. Drier conditions have lead to widespread crop failures, and lack of water irrigation in major production regions has lowered production in dominant industries such as dairy and wheat.

Farm export value has declined on average by 2.7%cent since 2002. Australia exports two thirds of its agricultural output, and in the face of declining export prices, certain agricultural industries have become unprofitable. In particular, the wine industry, which exports 60% of total output, will be greatly affected, as world prices are expected to drop to AUD3.61 per liter, causing 90% of the grape-growing industry to be unprofitable.

In light of these problems, farm cash incomes are forecast to decline by 67% to AUD26 600 for 2006-07, the lowest level in thirty years, and 44% of farms will experience negative cash flows. This will lead to increased debt burdens and investment constraints.

Responding to climatic and technological changes

Improvement in farm management practices will enhance responsiveness to climatic and technological changes. Farmers need to be more responsive to changes in order to improve productivity and competitiveness. As an example, management of water resources should aim to use water efficiently, avoid wastage, and may incorporate recycling methods. Other important areas of focus include salinity, land degradation, moisture conservation, and pest management.

Innovation as key driver of competitiveness

Technological innovation is critical for the industry and requires government and non-agricultural industries' support. The performance of non-agricultural industries can lead to improvements in the agricultural sector. For instance, the environmental biotechnology industry may find new methods in reducing soil erosion and find new crop breeds that are more tolerant to salinity and pests. The role of climate scientists and researchers to develop forecast models that have greater predictive power for future climatic events will enhance farmers' rate of adaptability. Improved infrastructure and transport systems may enable more efficient supply chain management and reduce possibilities of damaging goods, translating to greater cost savings to farmers. The development and implementation of renewable energy in farm practices may lower environmental costs, easing governmental restraints on expansion opportunities.

Government Policy-setting a Critical Aid

The Australian government's role to invest, educate and facilitate farmers is essential for the agricultural industry. Current measures taken by the government include drought financial assistance and counseling services. Recent global trade liberalization will provide the industry better access to international resources, increase growth in agricultural exports by USD9 billion by year 2020, and enable the industry to grow more competitive and productive. Future improvements in international trade will enable Australia's agricultural industry to benefit from the increasing demands of larger economies like China and India. Increased R&D investment in agricultural machinery and equipment, biotechnology, and other associated areas will trim down inefficiencies. Policy-driven measures should aim to minimize constraints that cause farmers to be less productive, including controls that impede the ability to adjust farm sizes, choose desired farm locations, and diversify crops. Keeping farmers informed on changes and the encouragement to adopt new technologies will better position the agricultural industry on a global scale.

It is evident that drought conditions are highly correlated with poor agricultural performance. Climate change is expected to cause the southern half of Australia to continue to become drier. Aggressive measures need to be undertaken to ensure Australia's agricultural industry can improve its productivity, sustainability, and competitiveness in the face of future climatic and global impacts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IN AUSTRALIA, extreme climatic conditions are common, and the current drought, which began in 2002, is a prime example. The nature of the agricultural industry is highly cyclical and inefficient, using two thirds of Australia's total water consumption, and being the only industry that has negatively affected Australia's overall economic performance. Although the agricultural industry currently contributes 2.7% to Australia's GDP, associated multiplier effects have lead to a reduction of 0.6 percentage points from the last four quarter's GDP growth of 2.8%; a 17.6% detraction. Farm GDP for 2006-07 is expected to fall by 22% from the previous financial year. Two questions need to be addressed: whether poor performance is due to drought conditions or general seasonal variability, and which strategies are available to combat the inefficiencies of this industry.

A Plummeting Industry

Alongside competitive global markets, current drought conditions are worsening the farming industry in production, income, and exports. The average long term growth of the net value of farm production during non-drought periods has been 45%, but as of 2002, this value dropped to 1.43%. The most drought-affected areas include South Australia, Victoria, and southern parts of Western Australia, and correlate with poorer agricultural output. Drier conditions have lead to widespread crop failures, and lack of water irrigation in major production regions has lowered production in dominant industries such as dairy and wheat.

Farm export value has declined on average by 2.7%cent since 2002. Australia exports two thirds of its agricultural output, and in the face of declining export prices, certain agricultural industries have become unprofitable. In particular, the wine industry, which exports 60% of total output, will be greatly affected, as world prices are expected to drop to AUD3.61 per liter, causing 90% of the grape-growing industry to be unprofitable.

In light of these problems, farm cash incomes are forecast to decline by 67% to AUD26 600 for 2006-07, the lowest level in thirty years, and 44% of farms will experience negative cash flows. This will lead to increased debt burdens and investment constraints.

Responding to climatic and technological changes

Improvement in farm management practices will enhance responsiveness to climatic and technological changes. Farmers need to be more responsive to changes in order to improve productivity and competitiveness. As an example, management of water resources should aim to use water efficiently, avoid wastage, and may incorporate recycling methods. Other important areas of focus include salinity, land degradation, moisture conservation, and pest management.

Innovation as key driver of competitiveness

Technological innovation is critical for the industry and requires government and non-agricultural industries' support. The performance of non-agricultural industries can lead to improvements in the agricultural sector. For instance, the environmental biotechnology industry may find new methods in reducing soil erosion and find new crop breeds that are more tolerant to salinity and pests. The role of climate scientists and researchers to develop forecast models that have greater predictive power for future climatic events will enhance farmers' rate of adaptability. Improved infrastructure and transport systems may enable more efficient supply chain management and reduce possibilities of damaging goods, translating to greater cost savings to farmers. The development and implementation of renewable energy in farm practices may lower environmental costs, easing governmental restraints on expansion opportunities.

Government Policy-setting a Critical Aid

The Australian government's role to invest, educate and facilitate farmers is essential for the agricultural industry. Current measures taken by the government include drought financial assistance and counseling services. Recent global trade liberalization will provide the industry better access to international resources, increase growth in agricultural exports by USD9 billion by year 2020, and enable the industry to grow more competitive and productive. Future improvements in international trade will enable Australia's agricultural industry to benefit from the increasing demands of larger economies like China and India. Increased R&D investment in agricultural machinery and equipment, biotechnology, and other associated areas will trim down inefficiencies. Policy-driven measures should aim to minimize constraints that cause farmers to be less productive, including controls that impede the ability to adjust farm sizes, choose desired farm locations, and diversify crops. Keeping farmers informed on changes and the encouragement to adopt new technologies will better position the agricultural industry on a global scale.

It is evident that drought conditions are highly correlated with poor agricultural performance. Climate change is expected to cause the southern half of Australia to continue to become drier. Aggressive measures need to be undertaken to ensure Australia's agricultural industry can improve its productivity, sustainability, and competitiveness in the face of future climatic and global impacts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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australia

Australia's Unemployment Rate Falls to 33-year Low

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has announced that the country's unemployment rate decreased to 4.4 percent in April which is the lowest rate since 1974. Although this is good news for the government, economists fear the tight labor market with hiking wages might cause inflation and force the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has announced that the country's unemployment rate decreased to 4.4 percent in April which is the lowest rate since 1974. Although this is good news for the government, economists fear the tight labor market with hiking wages might cause inflation and force the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates.

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australia

Australian Government Appeals to Voters with Tax Cuts

Falling behind the Labor party in the opinion polls for Australia's upcoming election, the Liberal-National party coalition announced that they will raise income tax thresholds, placing four out of five Australians in the middle tax bracket. Prime Minister John Howard hopes the new spending of A$67.5 billion, A$5 billion of which will be spent on subsidies for child-care, will help sway public opinion in the Labor party's favor. His plan aims to bolster the Australian economy by A$31.5 billion over the next four years.

Falling behind the Labor party in the opinion polls for Australia's upcoming election, the Liberal-National party coalition announced that they will raise income tax thresholds, placing four out of five Australians in the middle tax bracket. Prime Minister John Howard hopes the new spending of A$67.5 billion, A$5 billion of which will be spent on subsidies for child-care, will help sway public opinion in the Labor party's favor. His plan aims to bolster the Australian economy by A$31.5 billion over the next four years.

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australia

Buyout Group Fails in Qantas Takeover

Macquarie Bank Ltd. and its partners failed to achieve the 50 percent of shares necessary to extend their takeover bid of Qantas Airlines. The buyout group is considering a new, higher offer, but faces opposition from regulators and investors concerning excessive foreign ownership levels and the potential movement of jobs overseas. Qantas shares, Australia's most traded stock, have fallen 3 percent since the takeover's failure was announced.

Macquarie Bank Ltd. and its partners failed to achieve the 50 percent of shares necessary to extend their takeover bid of Qantas Airlines. The buyout group is considering a new, higher offer, but faces opposition from regulators and investors concerning excessive foreign ownership levels and the potential movement of jobs overseas. Qantas shares, Australia's most traded stock, have fallen 3 percent since the takeover's failure was announced.

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australia

Australia's Consumers Start A Spending Boom

Australia's consumer spending seems to be upswinging. The China boom has led to more jobs and growth in real income, while tax cuts generate more cash to be spent on a vast range of products with falling prices. Consumer spending is having a positive influence on growth; Australia's Treasury might correct their estimate for this year's growth from 3.75 per cent to 4 per cent.

Australia's consumer spending seems to be upswinging. The China boom has led to more jobs and growth in real income, while tax cuts generate more cash to be spent on a vast range of products with falling prices. Consumer spending is having a positive influence on growth; Australia's Treasury might correct their estimate for this year's growth from 3.75 per cent to 4 per cent.

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australia

Two Banking Groups Exploit Islamic Banking and Finance Market in Australia

Malaysia based CIMB Group and Kuwait Finance House (KFH) have developed alternative ways to enter into Australia's banking and finance market, particularly within the Muslim community. KFH plans to work with Muslim cooperatives and an Australian bank to distribute the structured instruments. CIMB with lots of deals in Malaysia and other countries might set up an office in Australia like what it had done before. So far, none of the Australian banks has really been into Islamic banking and finance.

Malaysia based CIMB Group and Kuwait Finance House (KFH) have developed alternative ways to enter into Australia's banking and finance market, particularly within the Muslim community. KFH plans to work with Muslim cooperatives and an Australian bank to distribute the structured instruments. CIMB with lots of deals in Malaysia and other countries might set up an office in Australia like what it had done before. So far, none of the Australian banks has really been into Islamic banking and finance.

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australia

Decline in Australia's Inflation

The TD Securities/Melbourne Institute's recent survey shows a relative decline in inflation rates for the month of April, from its o.5% leap in March to a diminished 0.1% inflation rate. This may prove beneficial in keeping the prices of imports stable. However, even with inflation in check, shortages in housing units and a projected decline in food productivity may still increase the overall cost of living for the Australian public.

The TD Securities/Melbourne Institute's recent survey shows a relative decline in inflation rates for the month of April, from its o.5% leap in March to a diminished 0.1% inflation rate. This may prove beneficial in keeping the prices of imports stable. However, even with inflation in check, shortages in housing units and a projected decline in food productivity may still increase the overall cost of living for the Australian public.

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australia

Qantas Will Buy Stake in Vietnam's Pacific Airlines

Australian flag-carrier Qantas and Vietnam's Pacific Airlines have reached an agreement that Qantas would buy a 30 percent stake in Vietnam's Pacific Airlines to expand in the Asian market. Both countries' governments support this investment.

Australian flag-carrier Qantas and Vietnam's Pacific Airlines have reached an agreement that Qantas would buy a 30 percent stake in Vietnam's Pacific Airlines to expand in the Asian market. Both countries' governments support this investment.

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australia

Single Market Needs Kiwi Firms to be Less Risk-Averse

The creation of a single market for Australia and New Zealand will make New Zealand gain more benefit than Australia due to its smaller economy. However, New Zealand's businesspeople's risk-aversion to investment is not good news for the single market, but hopes are to encourage New Zealand's businesses to actually get out and export.

The creation of a single market for Australia and New Zealand will make New Zealand gain more benefit than Australia due to its smaller economy. However, New Zealand's businesspeople's risk-aversion to investment is not good news for the single market, but hopes are to encourage New Zealand's businesses to actually get out and export.

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australia

China and Australia Begin Free Trade Talk

The two countries' Trade and Commerce Ministers hope to achieve progress in free-trade talks before Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit in September. Australia is interested in the liberalization of the service industry and agricultural industry in China. Based on official Chinese statistics, trade between both countries reached 6.27 billion dollars in the first three months of 2007.

The two countries' Trade and Commerce Ministers hope to achieve progress in free-trade talks before Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit in September. Australia is interested in the liberalization of the service industry and agricultural industry in China. Based on official Chinese statistics, trade between both countries reached 6.27 billion dollars in the first three months of 2007.

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australia

Asia's Tourism Industry on Threat

A decision of the European Community to cap emissions on all aircraft flying out of Europe may be a threat to the Asian tourism industry as airlines will have to buy permissions to exceed emission limits. These additional cost will be passed on to the customers, who might not be able to afford long-haul flights in the future. Regarding an Australian poll, up to one fifth of leisure travelers would consider abandoning air traveling not to support global warming.

A decision of the European Community to cap emissions on all aircraft flying out of Europe may be a threat to the Asian tourism industry as airlines will have to buy permissions to exceed emission limits. These additional cost will be passed on to the customers, who might not be able to afford long-haul flights in the future. Regarding an Australian poll, up to one fifth of leisure travelers would consider abandoning air traveling not to support global warming.

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australia

Asian Stocks Decline In Response To U.S. Federal Reserve Board Minutes Indicating Interest Rate Hike

Ending a 6-week high, Asian stocks fell Thursday based on comments by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board that it may raise interest rates to curb inflation. The comments were contained in the minutes of a Federal Reserve Board meeting. The countries most affected were Japan, Australia, and Taiwan

Ending a 6-week high, Asian stocks fell Thursday based on comments by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board that it may raise interest rates to curb inflation. The comments were contained in the minutes of a Federal Reserve Board meeting. The countries most affected were Japan, Australia, and Taiwan

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australia

Third Day Rise for Asia Stocks -- Record Highs in China, South Korea and Indonesia Indexes

Asia stocks rose for a third day, with some indexes reaching record highs. Advances were seen in the technology, transportation and mining sectors.

Asia stocks rose for a third day, with some indexes reaching record highs. Advances were seen in the technology, transportation and mining sectors.

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australia

Australian Dollar Rises to 17 Years High

The Australian Dollar climbed up to 82.41 cents yesterday, its highest rate since October 1990. In the forefront, Mexican cement producer Cemex SA had raised its bid for Australia's biggest construction material provider Rinker Group Ltd. to $14.2 billion.

The Australian Dollar climbed up to 82.41 cents yesterday, its highest rate since October 1990. In the forefront, Mexican cement producer Cemex SA had raised its bid for Australia's biggest construction material provider Rinker Group Ltd. to $14.2 billion.

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australia

Business Confidence Strengthens as Rates Stablizes

The National Australia Bank's (NAB) survey reveals that business conditions as well as business confidence continue to strengthen. Stable rates have greatly contributed to a positive expectation of business conditions. Despite these positive indications, the NAB expects that the Reserve Bank of Australia will keep its interest rates on hold for the rest of the year.

The National Australia Bank's (NAB) survey reveals that business conditions as well as business confidence continue to strengthen. Stable rates have greatly contributed to a positive expectation of business conditions. Despite these positive indications, the NAB expects that the Reserve Bank of Australia will keep its interest rates on hold for the rest of the year.

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australia

Aussie Consumer Confidence Hits High

Australian consumer confidence hit a 19-month high in March, buoyed by slowing inflation, high employment, and steadier borrowing rates. Increased demand from Asia for raw materials has led to expanded mines, ports, and railways in Australia, increasing the job growth rate to its highest in 17 years. The central bank is not expected to raise interest rates again before early 2008.

Australian consumer confidence hit a 19-month high in March, buoyed by slowing inflation, high employment, and steadier borrowing rates. Increased demand from Asia for raw materials has led to expanded mines, ports, and railways in Australia, increasing the job growth rate to its highest in 17 years. The central bank is not expected to raise interest rates again before early 2008.

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australia

Australian Shares See Biggest Jump in 4 Years

After a 5-day slump follwoing one of the worst days in the last 5 years, Australian stocks surged on Tuesday. The S&P/ASX 200 Index jumped 2.1%, the largest one-day jump since 2003. The rebound was led by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto which both lost almost a tenth of their market values last week. New Zealand's NZX 50 fell 0.1% on the same day.

After a 5-day slump follwoing one of the worst days in the last 5 years, Australian stocks surged on Tuesday. The S&P/ASX 200 Index jumped 2.1%, the largest one-day jump since 2003. The rebound was led by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto which both lost almost a tenth of their market values last week. New Zealand's NZX 50 fell 0.1% on the same day.

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australia

APEC's Free Trade Area Woes

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in Hanoi from November 17 to 19 resulted in renewed discussions on trade. APEC leaders drafted a statement on the WTO's Doha Development Agenda and the Hanoi Action Plan. The leaders agreed on the need to continue the stalled round of Doha trade negotiations. However, they refuse to empower negotiators to execute this goal until all members are better prepared for liberalization.

The longer APEC nations put off negotiating a multilateral agreement, the more difficulties they are likely to face. It will be considerably harder to catch up with developed nations and trade blocs such as the EU. APEC will also be losing potential profits. To prevent unequal economic gains, protection of smaller, vulnerable nations is necessary. However, all will lose if Asian economies continue to interact with one another as inefficiently as they currently do. If these nations are going to remain internationally competitive, they must consolidate economic power.

The slow pace of progress invites criticism. Is APEC really as inefficient as its detractors claim? APEC allows smaller nations to balance against stronger players such China and the US, while still cooperating with them for economic gain. With the kinds of obstacles that the leaders face, some wariness is justified. A free trade area only has potential if developing countries in APEC take necessary precautions. They must be strong enough to withstand fluctuations in international markets before they open their economies to free trade. Capacity-building measures and the flexibility for leaders in determining national trade policies will prevent an agreement from benefiting members unequally.

APEC nations should not delay too long, or they risk lagging behind economically. A free trade agreement between APEC nations would facilitate trade within the bloc and internationally. These countries already control nearly half the world's trade and 56 percent of global gross domestic product. WTO negotiations had come to a halt because of disagreement on subsidies. In Hanoi, the US and Japan did not complete unfinished discussions on reductions in agricultural subsidies. China and Australia also have yet to consider further tariff cuts on industrial goods. The conference, however, did open debate for the first time since Doha and concessions are likely to follow. The Hanoi Action Plan outlines details of a multinational agreement. The agreement will streamline the negotiation process and replace 50 bilateral treaties. It proposes that members institute measures which will prepare economies for trade liberalization. The Plan also identifies corruption as an obstacle to growth. The leaders also focused on energy security. Development of renewable technologies and cleaner use of fossil fuels are among the issues of concern. The difficulties in WTO negotiations have made leaders wary.

The chances for success may be higher for a regional trade area. The EU for instance has proved more successful, but APEC will face different challenges. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinks that the EU trade bloc was easier to create because of greater political similarities between nations. APEC includes some of the world's richest and poorest countries. The disparity in economic backgrounds also makes it difficult to find common ground. The conference agenda included discussions of pandemic diseases such as AIDS and disaster response plans. Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet issued a statement on North Korea's nuclear arsenal. Some are critical of the meeting's success since no declaration was issued. APEC does provide a forum for world leaders to discuss pressing concerns, but international security is not the organization's primary focus. Those types of discussions would diffuse its main purpose which is to discuss economic development and trade.

APEC should begin negotiations much sooner than it plans. It can simultaneously help its smaller members strengthen their economies. The bloc could integrate weaker economies, seeking to strengthen vulnerable industries, at a slower pace. Other necessary measures include improving infrastructure and reforming laws. Meanwhile, nations can continue to sign bilateral or even smaller multilateral agreements. They can also provide aid to some of the lesser developing nations. APEC should also begin to develop enforcement procedures. As a trade bloc, the organization could later leverage its influence to more effectively address security and health issues.

 

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in Hanoi from November 17 to 19 resulted in renewed discussions on trade. APEC leaders drafted a statement on the WTO's Doha Development Agenda and the Hanoi Action Plan. The leaders agreed on the need to continue the stalled round of Doha trade negotiations. However, they refuse to empower negotiators to execute this goal until all members are better prepared for liberalization.

The longer APEC nations put off negotiating a multilateral agreement, the more difficulties they are likely to face. It will be considerably harder to catch up with developed nations and trade blocs such as the EU. APEC will also be losing potential profits. To prevent unequal economic gains, protection of smaller, vulnerable nations is necessary. However, all will lose if Asian economies continue to interact with one another as inefficiently as they currently do. If these nations are going to remain internationally competitive, they must consolidate economic power.

The slow pace of progress invites criticism. Is APEC really as inefficient as its detractors claim? APEC allows smaller nations to balance against stronger players such China and the US, while still cooperating with them for economic gain. With the kinds of obstacles that the leaders face, some wariness is justified. A free trade area only has potential if developing countries in APEC take necessary precautions. They must be strong enough to withstand fluctuations in international markets before they open their economies to free trade. Capacity-building measures and the flexibility for leaders in determining national trade policies will prevent an agreement from benefiting members unequally.

APEC nations should not delay too long, or they risk lagging behind economically. A free trade agreement between APEC nations would facilitate trade within the bloc and internationally. These countries already control nearly half the world's trade and 56 percent of global gross domestic product. WTO negotiations had come to a halt because of disagreement on subsidies. In Hanoi, the US and Japan did not complete unfinished discussions on reductions in agricultural subsidies. China and Australia also have yet to consider further tariff cuts on industrial goods. The conference, however, did open debate for the first time since Doha and concessions are likely to follow. The Hanoi Action Plan outlines details of a multinational agreement. The agreement will streamline the negotiation process and replace 50 bilateral treaties. It proposes that members institute measures which will prepare economies for trade liberalization. The Plan also identifies corruption as an obstacle to growth. The leaders also focused on energy security. Development of renewable technologies and cleaner use of fossil fuels are among the issues of concern. The difficulties in WTO negotiations have made leaders wary.

The chances for success may be higher for a regional trade area. The EU for instance has proved more successful, but APEC will face different challenges. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinks that the EU trade bloc was easier to create because of greater political similarities between nations. APEC includes some of the world's richest and poorest countries. The disparity in economic backgrounds also makes it difficult to find common ground. The conference agenda included discussions of pandemic diseases such as AIDS and disaster response plans. Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet issued a statement on North Korea's nuclear arsenal. Some are critical of the meeting's success since no declaration was issued. APEC does provide a forum for world leaders to discuss pressing concerns, but international security is not the organization's primary focus. Those types of discussions would diffuse its main purpose which is to discuss economic development and trade.

APEC should begin negotiations much sooner than it plans. It can simultaneously help its smaller members strengthen their economies. The bloc could integrate weaker economies, seeking to strengthen vulnerable industries, at a slower pace. Other necessary measures include improving infrastructure and reforming laws. Meanwhile, nations can continue to sign bilateral or even smaller multilateral agreements. They can also provide aid to some of the lesser developing nations. APEC should also begin to develop enforcement procedures. As a trade bloc, the organization could later leverage its influence to more effectively address security and health issues.

 

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australia

Aussie Retail Growth Higher than Expected

Contrary to earlier estimates that had retail sales growing 0.5% in January, the Central Bank announced Friday that the sector grew 0.9%. This rapid growth has led many to speculate that the Central Bank will take further steps to curb inflation. The Australian economy surged last year thanks in large part to a mining boom that created 300,000 jobs.

Contrary to earlier estimates that had retail sales growing 0.5% in January, the Central Bank announced Friday that the sector grew 0.9%. This rapid growth has led many to speculate that the Central Bank will take further steps to curb inflation. The Australian economy surged last year thanks in large part to a mining boom that created 300,000 jobs.

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australia

Russian Foreign Reserves Revealed

The Russian Central Bank disclosed the exact structure of its foreign currency reserves on its website on Tuesday. It keeps 51.5% of its reserves in US dollars, 38.6% in Euros, and the rest in a combination of pounds, yen, and francs. The bank is interested in further diversifying its reserves, which hit $311.2 billion in February, into the Swiss franc and Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand dollars.

The Russian Central Bank disclosed the exact structure of its foreign currency reserves on its website on Tuesday. It keeps 51.5% of its reserves in US dollars, 38.6% in Euros, and the rest in a combination of pounds, yen, and francs. The bank is interested in further diversifying its reserves, which hit $311.2 billion in February, into the Swiss franc and Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand dollars.

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australia

Asian Markets Fall Again After Rebound

Chinese stocks fell again after rebounding Wednesday from their biggest drop in a decade. Elsewhere, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand markets were all down. The Philippines, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Indonesia indices were up, with the Philippines' rise as the region's biggest gain of the day after seeing Asia's biggest drop Wednesday at 7.9 percent.

Chinese stocks fell again after rebounding Wednesday from their biggest drop in a decade. Elsewhere, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand markets were all down. The Philippines, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Indonesia indices were up, with the Philippines' rise as the region's biggest gain of the day after seeing Asia's biggest drop Wednesday at 7.9 percent.

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australia

China Causes Global Markets to Tumble

Global markets hit a skid Wednesday as Shanghai Stock Exchange fell by nearly 9 percent. Elsewhere, the Australian stock market experienced its largest one-day sell off since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The fall wiped out weeks worth of gains and presented buying opportunities.

Global markets hit a skid Wednesday as Shanghai Stock Exchange fell by nearly 9 percent. Elsewhere, the Australian stock market experienced its largest one-day sell off since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The fall wiped out weeks worth of gains and presented buying opportunities.

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australia

Job Growth Creates Retail Growth

Australian retail sales increased by 0.5% in January, the Bureau of Statistics reports, largely spurred by surging employment. Australia created more than 300,000 jobs in 2006, boosting consumer confidence and and spending. These increases come despite recent raises in the interest rate by the Reserve Bank of Australia to curb inflation.

Australian retail sales increased by 0.5% in January, the Bureau of Statistics reports, largely spurred by surging employment. Australia created more than 300,000 jobs in 2006, boosting consumer confidence and and spending. These increases come despite recent raises in the interest rate by the Reserve Bank of Australia to curb inflation.

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australia

TAFTA Increases Trade Between Thaliand, Australia

The Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), which has been in place since 2005, helped Thailand produce a surplus of 35.11 billion baht in trade with Australia last year. The pact promises low tariffs on goods traded between the countries. Major Thai exports to Australia include cars, steel and jewelery. Major Thai imports from Australia include crude oil, diamonds and gold. TAFTA also encourages investment in certiain sectors, such as textiles, steel and metal products, and electronics and parts. In 2006, Australian investment in Thailand increased 1.81 billion baht.

The Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), which has been in place since 2005, helped Thailand produce a surplus of 35.11 billion baht in trade with Australia last year. The pact promises low tariffs on goods traded between the countries. Major Thai exports to Australia include cars, steel and jewelery. Major Thai imports from Australia include crude oil, diamonds and gold. TAFTA also encourages investment in certiain sectors, such as textiles, steel and metal products, and electronics and parts. In 2006, Australian investment in Thailand increased 1.81 billion baht.

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australia

Labor Shortage Could Fuel Inflation

Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens said Wednesday that Australia must maintain flexibility in its workforce and labor laws to avoid inflation. Labor shortages, like the current one in Australia, can often fuel inflation if the supply is not flexible enough to adapt to changes in demand or if labor policy is too constraining. Stevens predicted a wage growth rate of 4% to go along with the expected inflation rate of 2.5% in the coming year.

Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens said Wednesday that Australia must maintain flexibility in its workforce and labor laws to avoid inflation. Labor shortages, like the current one in Australia, can often fuel inflation if the supply is not flexible enough to adapt to changes in demand or if labor policy is too constraining. Stevens predicted a wage growth rate of 4% to go along with the expected inflation rate of 2.5% in the coming year.

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australia

Aussie Inflation Falling

The Reserve Bank of Australia announced today that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) will fall from 3% down to 2% over the next 9 months. The measure of inflation is expected to increase back up to 2.75% by this time next year. The Australian economy showed moderate growth through the second half of 2006, buoyed by low oil prices and strong consumer demand.

The Reserve Bank of Australia announced today that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) will fall from 3% down to 2% over the next 9 months. The measure of inflation is expected to increase back up to 2.75% by this time next year. The Australian economy showed moderate growth through the second half of 2006, buoyed by low oil prices and strong consumer demand.

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australia

Aussie Stocks Hit All-Time High

A key Australian stock index hit an all-time high on Wednesday, as local firms reported strong earnings. The S&P/ASX200 index crossed 6000 points and is expected to go well beyond 6100 by the end of the year. High liquidity availability and strong metal prices have helped the market. Analysts warn that things could take a downturn if unexpected gas price increases or geopolitical problems crop up.

A key Australian stock index hit an all-time high on Wednesday, as local firms reported strong earnings. The S&P/ASX200 index crossed 6000 points and is expected to go well beyond 6100 by the end of the year. High liquidity availability and strong metal prices have helped the market. Analysts warn that things could take a downturn if unexpected gas price increases or geopolitical problems crop up.

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australia

Australian Consumer Sentiment Up

Australia's consumer sentiment index rose 1.7% in February, the second straight month of increases. The index is expected to increase throughout 2007 as the Reserve Bank of Australia lowers forecasts for inflation. A 30-year low in unemployment is also fueling high sentiment.

Australia's consumer sentiment index rose 1.7% in February, the second straight month of increases. The index is expected to increase throughout 2007 as the Reserve Bank of Australia lowers forecasts for inflation. A 30-year low in unemployment is also fueling high sentiment.

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australia

APEC FTA Woes

THE ASIA Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in Hanoi from November 17 to 19 resulted in renewed discussions on trade. APEC leaders drafted a statement on the WTO's Doha Development Agenda and the Hanoi Action Plan.1 The leaders agreed on the need to continue the stalled round of Doha trade negotiations. However, they refuse to empower negotiators to execute this goal until all members are better prepared for liberalization.2 The longer APEC nations put off negotiating a multilateral agreement, the more difficulties they are likely to face. It will be considerably harder to catch up with developed nations and trade blocs such as the EU. APEC will also be losing potential profits. To prevent unequal economic gains, protection of smaller, vulnerable nations is necessary. However, all will lose if Asian economies continue to interact with one another as inefficiently as they currently do. If these nations are going to remain internationally competitive, they must consolidate economic power.

Criticisms
The slow pace of progress invites criticism. Is APEC really as inefficient as its detractors claim? APEC allows smaller nations to balance against stronger players such China and the US, while still cooperating with them for economic gain.3 With the kinds of obstacles that the leaders face, some wariness is justified. A free trade area (FTA) only has potential if developing countries in APEC take necessary precautions. They must be strong enough to withstand fluctuations in international markets before they open their economies to free trade. Capacity-building measures and the flexibility for leaders in determining national trade policies will prevent an agreement from benefiting members unequally.

APEC nations should not delay too long, or they risk lagging behind economically. A free trade agreement between APEC nations would facilitate trade within the bloc and internationally. These countries already control nearly half the world's trade and 56 percent of global gross domestic product..4 WTO negotiations had come to a halt because of disagreement on subsidies.5 In Hanoi, the US and Japan did not complete unfinished discussions on reductions in agricultural subsidies. China and Australia also have yet to consider further tariff cuts on industrial goods. The conference, however, did open debate for the first time since Doha and concessions are likely to follow.

The Plan
The Hanoi Action Plan outlines details of a multinational agreement. The agreement will streamline the negotiation process and replace 50 bilateral treaties.1 It proposes that members institute measures which will prepare economies for trade liberalization. The Plan also identifies corruption as an obstacle to growth.7 The leaders also focused on energy security. Development of renewable technologies and cleaner use of fossil fuels are among the issues of concern.8

The difficulties in WTO negotiations have made leaders wary.9 The chances for success may be higher for a regional trade area. The EU for instance has proved more successful, but APEC will face different challenges. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinks that the EU trade bloc was easier to create because of greater political similarities between nations.10 APEC includes some of the world's richest and poorest countries. The disparity in economic backgrounds also makes it difficult to find common ground.11

The Agenda
The conference agenda included discussions of pandemic diseases such as AIDS and disaster response plans. Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet issued a statement on North Korea's nuclear arsenal. Some are critical of the meeting's success since no declaration was issued.12 APEC does provide a forum for world leaders to discuss pressing concerns, but international security is not the organization's primary focus. Those types of discussions would diffuse its main purpose which is to discuss economic development and trade.

Conclusion
APEC should begin negotiations much sooner than it plans. It can simultaneously help its smaller members strengthen their economies. The bloc could integrate weaker economies, seeking to strengthen vulnerable industries, at a slower pace. Other necessary measures include improving infrastructure and reforming laws. Meanwhile, nations can continue to sign bilateral or even smaller multilateral agreements. They can also provide aid to some of the lesser developing nations. APEC should also begin to develop enforcement procedures. As a trade bloc, the organization could later leverage its influence to more effectively address security and health issues.

THE ASIA Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in Hanoi from November 17 to 19 resulted in renewed discussions on trade. APEC leaders drafted a statement on the WTO's Doha Development Agenda and the Hanoi Action Plan.1 The leaders agreed on the need to continue the stalled round of Doha trade negotiations. However, they refuse to empower negotiators to execute this goal until all members are better prepared for liberalization.2 The longer APEC nations put off negotiating a multilateral agreement, the more difficulties they are likely to face. It will be considerably harder to catch up with developed nations and trade blocs such as the EU. APEC will also be losing potential profits. To prevent unequal economic gains, protection of smaller, vulnerable nations is necessary. However, all will lose if Asian economies continue to interact with one another as inefficiently as they currently do. If these nations are going to remain internationally competitive, they must consolidate economic power.

Criticisms
The slow pace of progress invites criticism. Is APEC really as inefficient as its detractors claim? APEC allows smaller nations to balance against stronger players such China and the US, while still cooperating with them for economic gain.3 With the kinds of obstacles that the leaders face, some wariness is justified. A free trade area (FTA) only has potential if developing countries in APEC take necessary precautions. They must be strong enough to withstand fluctuations in international markets before they open their economies to free trade. Capacity-building measures and the flexibility for leaders in determining national trade policies will prevent an agreement from benefiting members unequally.

APEC nations should not delay too long, or they risk lagging behind economically. A free trade agreement between APEC nations would facilitate trade within the bloc and internationally. These countries already control nearly half the world's trade and 56 percent of global gross domestic product..4 WTO negotiations had come to a halt because of disagreement on subsidies.5 In Hanoi, the US and Japan did not complete unfinished discussions on reductions in agricultural subsidies. China and Australia also have yet to consider further tariff cuts on industrial goods. The conference, however, did open debate for the first time since Doha and concessions are likely to follow.

The Plan
The Hanoi Action Plan outlines details of a multinational agreement. The agreement will streamline the negotiation process and replace 50 bilateral treaties.1 It proposes that members institute measures which will prepare economies for trade liberalization. The Plan also identifies corruption as an obstacle to growth.7 The leaders also focused on energy security. Development of renewable technologies and cleaner use of fossil fuels are among the issues of concern.8

The difficulties in WTO negotiations have made leaders wary.9 The chances for success may be higher for a regional trade area. The EU for instance has proved more successful, but APEC will face different challenges. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinks that the EU trade bloc was easier to create because of greater political similarities between nations.10 APEC includes some of the world's richest and poorest countries. The disparity in economic backgrounds also makes it difficult to find common ground.11

The Agenda
The conference agenda included discussions of pandemic diseases such as AIDS and disaster response plans. Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet issued a statement on North Korea's nuclear arsenal. Some are critical of the meeting's success since no declaration was issued.12 APEC does provide a forum for world leaders to discuss pressing concerns, but international security is not the organization's primary focus. Those types of discussions would diffuse its main purpose which is to discuss economic development and trade.

Conclusion
APEC should begin negotiations much sooner than it plans. It can simultaneously help its smaller members strengthen their economies. The bloc could integrate weaker economies, seeking to strengthen vulnerable industries, at a slower pace. Other necessary measures include improving infrastructure and reforming laws. Meanwhile, nations can continue to sign bilateral or even smaller multilateral agreements. They can also provide aid to some of the lesser developing nations. APEC should also begin to develop enforcement procedures. As a trade bloc, the organization could later leverage its influence to more effectively address security and health issues.

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australia

Unemployment in Australia Falls to 31-Year Low

Australia's jobless rate unexpectedly fell to a 31-year low in January as fewer people sought work, exacerbating a worker shortage that may stoke wages and inflation. The jobless rate fell to 4.5 percent from 4.6 percent in December, the lowest since May 1976. Australia's workforce of 10.3 million shed 3,600 jobs in January. The median estimate of 24 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News predicted 2,500 extra jobs and an unchanged jobless rate.

Australia's jobless rate unexpectedly fell to a 31-year low in January as fewer people sought work, exacerbating a worker shortage that may stoke wages and inflation. The jobless rate fell to 4.5 percent from 4.6 percent in December, the lowest since May 1976. Australia's workforce of 10.3 million shed 3,600 jobs in January. The median estimate of 24 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News predicted 2,500 extra jobs and an unchanged jobless rate.

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australia

Australian Stocks Hit Record Highs

Australia S&P/ASX200 rose 40.7 points to a record high of 5814.1 on Tuesday, while the all ordinaries index gained 39.1 points to an uncharted 5796.8. Analysts attributes the recent growth of Australia's stock market to the rising US markets and commodity prices, which provided a warm welcome to what is tipped to be another strong reporting season.

Australia S&P/ASX200 rose 40.7 points to a record high of 5814.1 on Tuesday, while the all ordinaries index gained 39.1 points to an uncharted 5796.8. Analysts attributes the recent growth of Australia's stock market to the rising US markets and commodity prices, which provided a warm welcome to what is tipped to be another strong reporting season.

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australia

Proposed Rules of Origin in Emerging Asia-Pacific Preferential Trade Agreements: Will PTAs Promote Trade and Development?

World trade is increasingly being dominated by preferential trade agreements that have taken precedence over multilateral trade negotiations. Within Asia and the Pacific an explosion of bilateral deals is taking place that seems likely to produce a tangle of hub-spoke trade blocs centered on major Asian or Pacific countries.

World trade is increasingly being dominated by preferential trade agreements that have taken precedence over multilateral trade negotiations. Within Asia and the Pacific an explosion of bilateral deals is taking place that seems likely to produce a tangle of hub-spoke trade blocs centered on major Asian or Pacific countries.

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australia

Reserve Bank of Australia's Official Reserve Assets

A monthly statistical release on the Reserve Bank of Australia's official reserve assets.

A monthly statistical release on the Reserve Bank of Australia's official reserve assets.

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australia

Reserve Bank of Australia's Quarterly Statistical Release on Consumer Price Inflation

A quarterly statistical release on the measures of consumer price inflation.

A quarterly statistical release on the measures of consumer price inflation.

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australia

Reserve Bank of Australia's International Banking Statistics

A quarterly indicator of Australia's International Banking Statistics.

A quarterly indicator of Australia's International Banking Statistics.

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australia

Reserve Bank of Australia's Index of Commodity Prices

A monthly indicator on the index of commodity prices.

A monthly indicator on the index of commodity prices.

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australia

Reserve Bank of Australia's Monthly Financial Aggregates

A monthly indicator on financial aggregates.

A monthly indicator on financial aggregates.

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australia

Monthly Indicator on the Reserve Bank of Australia's Bulletin Statistical Tables

Monthly Indicator: Bulletin Statistical Tables.

Monthly Indicator: Bulletin Statistical Tables.

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australia

Weekly Indicator on the Reserve Bank of Australia's Turnover of Government Securities

A weekly indicator on the turnover of selected Commonwealth Government Securities.

A weekly indicator on the turnover of selected Commonwealth Government Securities.

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australia

Reserve Bank of Australia's Weekly Statement of Liabilities and Assets

A weekly statement on the Reserve Bank of Australia's Liabilities and Assets.

A weekly statement on the Reserve Bank of Australia's Liabilities and Assets.

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australia

Reserve Bank of Australia's Weekly Indicators on Commonwealth Government Securities

A weekly indicator on non-official holdings of Commonwealth Government Securities.

A weekly indicator on non-official holdings of Commonwealth Government Securities.

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australia

Daily Statistical Rates of Selected Commonwealth Government Securities

Daily indicator of selected commonwealth Government securities.

Daily indicator of selected commonwealth Government securities.

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australia

Reserve Bank of Australia's Daily Exchange Rates

See the latest exchange rates

See the latest exchange rates

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australia

Important APEC Meeting Starts January 15 In Australia

Meetings between APEC officials will begin in Australia on January 15th. Many important issues will be discussed about the economic health of the Asia-Pacific territories; from Free Trade Agreements to agricultural biotechnology. This is the first of many meetings between APEC officials regarding the economic health of Asia-Pacific in the year 2007.

Meetings between APEC officials will begin in Australia on January 15th. Many important issues will be discussed about the economic health of the Asia-Pacific territories; from Free Trade Agreements to agricultural biotechnology. This is the first of many meetings between APEC officials regarding the economic health of Asia-Pacific in the year 2007.

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australia

Australia's Rise of Interest Rate

Rising inflationary indicators have pushed up the chance of a fourth interest rate hike in 10 months to a 50-50 possibility, according to economists and investors. Another lift in rates by the Reserve Bank of Australia would drive interest rates to 6.5 per cent -- the highest level in over a decade. Inflationary pressure has intensified since the release of stronger than expected job growth and economic data that shows consumer sentiment growing as the Australian economy enters its 16th consecutive year of growth. The betting on an interest rate rise within the next six months is at 80 per cent.

Rising inflationary indicators have pushed up the chance of a fourth interest rate hike in 10 months to a 50-50 possibility, according to economists and investors. Another lift in rates by the Reserve Bank of Australia would drive interest rates to 6.5 per cent -- the highest level in over a decade. Inflationary pressure has intensified since the release of stronger than expected job growth and economic data that shows consumer sentiment growing as the Australian economy enters its 16th consecutive year of growth. The betting on an interest rate rise within the next six months is at 80 per cent.

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australia

Relative Efficiency, Scale Effect, and Scope Effect of Public Hospitals: Evidence from Australia

Using the 1997-1998 New South Wales public-hospitals comparison data, we investigate the hospital-level inefficiency by applying a stochastic-frontier multiproduct cost function. We use a flexible translog cost function to reduce the measurement errors of the outputs of the hospital. The main findings are: First, inefficiency accounts for 9.3% of total hospital costs in large hospitals and 11.3% in small hospitals, when including complexity indicators. Second, diseconomies of scale exist in very large hospitals, whereas scale economies appear in very small hospitals. Third, scope effects are found in both large and small hospitals. Fourth, small hospitals are more labor-intensive than large hospitals are.

Using the 1997-1998 New South Wales public-hospitals comparison data, we investigate the hospital-level inefficiency by applying a stochastic-frontier multiproduct cost function. We use a flexible translog cost function to reduce the measurement errors of the outputs of the hospital. The main findings are: First, inefficiency accounts for 9.3% of total hospital costs in large hospitals and 11.3% in small hospitals, when including complexity indicators. Second, diseconomies of scale exist in very large hospitals, whereas scale economies appear in very small hospitals. Third, scope effects are found in both large and small hospitals. Fourth, small hospitals are more labor-intensive than large hospitals are.

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australia

Financial Integration in Asia: Estimating the Risk-Sharing Gains for Australia and Other Nations

Holding foreign assets reduces the volatility of a country's income by allowing countries to share risk. Yet, financial integration is limited in Asia. This paper estimates how much Australia and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region would gain from greater financial integration. The results suggest that these welfare gains are large, which argues in favor of a progressive capital account liberalization across the region.

Holding foreign assets reduces the volatility of a country's income by allowing countries to share risk. Yet, financial integration is limited in Asia. This paper estimates how much Australia and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region would gain from greater financial integration. The results suggest that these welfare gains are large, which argues in favor of a progressive capital account liberalization across the region.

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australia

Australia and China Forge Nuclear Partnership

Australia and China have agreed to terms allowing Australia to export Uraniam for twenty-eight new nuclear power plants in China by the year 2020.

Australia and China have agreed to terms allowing Australia to export Uraniam for twenty-eight new nuclear power plants in China by the year 2020.

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australia

Australian Energy Firms Continue to Merge

AGL Energy seeks to acquire Origin Energy in a bid to take over 49 percent of the energy market. No premium will be paid to shareholders and skeptics do not see this merger as a way to increase the energy companies competitiveness.

AGL Energy seeks to acquire Origin Energy in a bid to take over 49 percent of the energy market. No premium will be paid to shareholders and skeptics do not see this merger as a way to increase the energy companies competitiveness.

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australia

Statement - Finance & Economic Development in Australia

Address to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) Annual Dinner
Melbourne - 12 December 2006

Address to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) Annual Dinner
Melbourne - 12 December 2006

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australia

Australian Exports Up Despite Strong Currency

Exports rose 10% during the 2005-2006 fiscal year, posting 10% growth despite the strong Australian Dollar. Highly sophisticated exports like pharmaceuticals and automobiles lead the push while more simple exports suffered due to competition from China. Agriculture exports have continued to suffer due to drought.

Exports rose 10% during the 2005-2006 fiscal year, posting 10% growth despite the strong Australian Dollar. Highly sophisticated exports like pharmaceuticals and automobiles lead the push while more simple exports suffered due to competition from China. Agriculture exports have continued to suffer due to drought.

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australia

Do inflation targeting central banks behave asymmetrically? Evidence from Australia and New Zealand

This paper tests the standard quadratic approximation to central bank preferences on data from Australia and New Zealand, two of the earliest explicit inflation targeting countries. The standard linear-quadratic monetary policy model assumes central bank preferences over key macroeconomic variables, such as inflation and output, can be usefully approximated by a quadratic function. This approximation implies that a deviation from a target is considered to be equally costly irrespective of whether the deviation is positive or negative. Combined with a linear model of the economy, quadratic preferences are useful because they yield a first order condition that implies a linear interest rate reaction function. This paper relaxes the assumption of quadratic preferences by allowing central banks to regard the costs associated with positive and negative output gaps differently. Our models also test for the possibility that positive and negative deviations of inflation from target to be treated differently. During the inflation targeting period in both countries, evidence suggests that we cannot reject quadratic preferences over inflation deviations (from target). We cannot reject that New Zealand's preferences regarding deviations of output from trend are quadratic, but Australia's behaviour does not appear to be consistent with quadratic preferences. Instead, the preferences of the Reserve Bank of Australia appear to be more accurately modelled with an asymmetric loss such that the Reserve Bank of Australia views negative output gaps as more costly than positive output gaps.

This paper tests the standard quadratic approximation to central bank preferences on data from Australia and New Zealand, two of the earliest explicit inflation targeting countries. The standard linear-quadratic monetary policy model assumes central bank preferences over key macroeconomic variables, such as inflation and output, can be usefully approximated by a quadratic function. This approximation implies that a deviation from a target is considered to be equally costly irrespective of whether the deviation is positive or negative. Combined with a linear model of the economy, quadratic preferences are useful because they yield a first order condition that implies a linear interest rate reaction function. This paper relaxes the assumption of quadratic preferences by allowing central banks to regard the costs associated with positive and negative output gaps differently. Our models also test for the possibility that positive and negative deviations of inflation from target to be treated differently. During the inflation targeting period in both countries, evidence suggests that we cannot reject quadratic preferences over inflation deviations (from target). We cannot reject that New Zealand's preferences regarding deviations of output from trend are quadratic, but Australia's behaviour does not appear to be consistent with quadratic preferences. Instead, the preferences of the Reserve Bank of Australia appear to be more accurately modelled with an asymmetric loss such that the Reserve Bank of Australia views negative output gaps as more costly than positive output gaps.

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australia

NZ Expects "More of the Same" for 2007

National Business Review writer Nevil Gibson outlines New Zealand's economic situation.

National Business Review writer Nevil Gibson outlines New Zealand's economic situation.

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australia

Australia Running Hot as Global M&A's Hit Record High

M&A deals hit record highs at $US3.9 trillion this year. This surge will continue and Australia will continue to pursue profiable deals.

M&A deals hit record highs at $US3.9 trillion this year. This surge will continue and Australia will continue to pursue profiable deals.

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australia

Joint Study for Enhancing Economic Relations between Japan and Australia, including the Feasibility or Pros and Cons of a FTA

The study was overseen by the Joint Consultative Committee, co-chaired by Dr Geoff Raby, Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Mr Mitoji Yabunaka, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The study was overseen by the Joint Consultative Committee, co-chaired by Dr Geoff Raby, Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Mr Mitoji Yabunaka, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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australia

Private Equity Firms Eye Top Australian Firms

According to Deutsche Bank, Australia's top five firms may become atrractive targets of private equity firms in the coming year.

According to Deutsche Bank, Australia's top five firms may become atrractive targets of private equity firms in the coming year.

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australia

Regional Intergration and Industrial Growth Among Developing Countries - three case of three ASEAN members

Has the revival of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the early 1990s affected the industrial growth of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines? The author uses two mechanisms to capture this potential impact: scale effects, and intermediate imports variety. She performs the analysis on twenty two industries (at the three-digit level of the International Standard Industrial Classification) over the period 1971-95. The results show significant heterogeneity in industry-level returns to scale. Moreover, the three ASEAN members have very small, mostly negative cross-industry scale effects. As a result, they may not achieve large, or across-the-board gains from their regional arrangement through scale effects. The author finds unexpected results with respect to the role of intermediate imports variety in industrial growth. She finds no support for the hypothesis that non-regional (rest of the world) suppliers, and goods variety have a positive effect on ASEAN industries through the channel of imported intermediate inputs. The regional variety measure, however, seems to have a positive effect on the output growth of a handful of industries. This result seems due to the fact that these countries have long had a strong intra-regional, and intra-industry trade, whose history predates, and outweighs the ASEAN revival.

Has the revival of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the early 1990s affected the industrial growth of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines? The author uses two mechanisms to capture this potential impact: scale effects, and intermediate imports variety. She performs the analysis on twenty two industries (at the three-digit level of the International Standard Industrial Classification) over the period 1971-95. The results show significant heterogeneity in industry-level returns to scale. Moreover, the three ASEAN members have very small, mostly negative cross-industry scale effects. As a result, they may not achieve large, or across-the-board gains from their regional arrangement through scale effects. The author finds unexpected results with respect to the role of intermediate imports variety in industrial growth. She finds no support for the hypothesis that non-regional (rest of the world) suppliers, and goods variety have a positive effect on ASEAN industries through the channel of imported intermediate inputs. The regional variety measure, however, seems to have a positive effect on the output growth of a handful of industries. This result seems due to the fact that these countries have long had a strong intra-regional, and intra-industry trade, whose history predates, and outweighs the ASEAN revival.

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australia

Australia and Japan's Economic Partnership Agreement Will Hurt Local Economy

Farmers in Hakkaido fear a loss of 4.2 % in GDP if Japan removes tariffs on Australian products. The EPA between Australia and Japan would increase agricultural imports from Australia.

Farmers in Hakkaido fear a loss of 4.2 % in GDP if Japan removes tariffs on Australian products. The EPA between Australia and Japan would increase agricultural imports from Australia.

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australia

Australia Housing and Housing Finance

The Reserve Bank of Australia has produced the works from central banks on housing development and finance. Macro-economic growth has increased demand for both. Banks examine the possible effects of price increases.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has produced the works from central banks on housing development and finance. Macro-economic growth has increased demand for both. Banks examine the possible effects of price increases.

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australia

Australian Development Group Eyes Vietnamese Property

Watpac--a Brisbane development firm- plans to expand into Asia begining with Vietnam. Venture capital firms see Vietnam's entry into the WTO as a promising signal for increased FDI and hope to grow the propety sector.

Watpac--a Brisbane development firm- plans to expand into Asia begining with Vietnam. Venture capital firms see Vietnam's entry into the WTO as a promising signal for increased FDI and hope to grow the propety sector.

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australia

Reserve Bank of Australia's Governor Suggest Bank "Stress" Test

Basically, "stress" tests bombard banks with "everything that could possibly go wrong" at one time. This includes a housing market bust, a recession, high unemployment, and sharp declines in exchange rates and interest rates. Overall the banks seemed to be able to withstand these attacks.

Basically, "stress" tests bombard banks with "everything that could possibly go wrong" at one time. This includes a housing market bust, a recession, high unemployment, and sharp declines in exchange rates and interest rates. Overall the banks seemed to be able to withstand these attacks.

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australia

Commonwealth Bank's Chief Economist Sees No Price Boom Bust

Speculation about commodity price booms followed by busts have had a poor track record in some cases. Despite the drought and soft consumer spending things are looking up for the Australian economy.

Speculation about commodity price booms followed by busts have had a poor track record in some cases. Despite the drought and soft consumer spending things are looking up for the Australian economy.

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australia

Australia's Old Reserve Bank's Vault Gets a Face Lift

The Reserve Bank's old vault has been rated as the best in Australia, since it has been transformed into a high-security facility. It is now used to store personal valuables instead of the Reserve Bank's gold bullion.

The Reserve Bank's old vault has been rated as the best in Australia, since it has been transformed into a high-security facility. It is now used to store personal valuables instead of the Reserve Bank's gold bullion.

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australia

Japan Set to Begin FTA Talks with Australia

Japanese Ministers gave the go signal to enter full-fledged talks with Australia regarding the free trade agreement. This will be the country's first FTA talks with a major exporter of farm products, a sensitive area Japan has avoided in other free trade pacts with other nations. The approval to enter talks with Australia will include cutting tariffs and other trade barriers. The final agreement to launch FTA talks is expected when the Japanese Prime Minister Abe meets with his Australian counterpart, Prime Minister Howard at the East Asia summit in the Philippines.

Japanese Ministers gave the go signal to enter full-fledged talks with Australia regarding the free trade agreement. This will be the country's first FTA talks with a major exporter of farm products, a sensitive area Japan has avoided in other free trade pacts with other nations. The approval to enter talks with Australia will include cutting tariffs and other trade barriers. The final agreement to launch FTA talks is expected when the Japanese Prime Minister Abe meets with his Australian counterpart, Prime Minister Howard at the East Asia summit in the Philippines.

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australia

Kevin Rudd's Romance with the Corporate Sector

As Kevin Rudd steps up as Labor Party leader the corporate sector is taking an inventory of his credentials. There is a general consensus that he is well-qualified for the job.

As Kevin Rudd steps up as Labor Party leader the corporate sector is taking an inventory of his credentials. There is a general consensus that he is well-qualified for the job.

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australia

US and Asian Economies Differ Over Free Trade Bloc Process

The United States and Asian economies are at odds on how to implement a plan to set up a Asia-Pacific free trade area. The Asian economies want to start a free trade area among themselves before considering a free trade area for the Asia-Pacific. However, the US government wants to implement these plans simulataneously. Washington is pushing a prompt implementation of the Asia-Pacific plan because it would jolt non-Apec members, such as Brazil and India, to restart talks for a new global trace pact.

The United States and Asian economies are at odds on how to implement a plan to set up a Asia-Pacific free trade area. The Asian economies want to start a free trade area among themselves before considering a free trade area for the Asia-Pacific. However, the US government wants to implement these plans simulataneously. Washington is pushing a prompt implementation of the Asia-Pacific plan because it would jolt non-Apec members, such as Brazil and India, to restart talks for a new global trace pact.

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australia

Malaysia and Australia Set No Date for the FTA Deal

Both leaders of Malaysia and Australia refused to set a date for the completion of a free trade pact. Australian Prime Minister Howard thinks that the negotiations should be done methodically. Furthermore, he mentioned that there should not be any pressure for a timeline on the free-trade agreement talks which began in April 2005.

Both leaders of Malaysia and Australia refused to set a date for the completion of a free trade pact. Australian Prime Minister Howard thinks that the negotiations should be done methodically. Furthermore, he mentioned that there should not be any pressure for a timeline on the free-trade agreement talks which began in April 2005.

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australia

The Reserve Bank of Australia Measuring Underlying Inflation

Tony Richards, head of the Reserve Bank of Australia's economic analysis department, addressed the Australian Business Economists at an event hosted today. The topic was underlying inflation and its effects on financial markets. The RBA seeks to distinguish "signals" from "noise" and set monetary policy accordingly.

Tony Richards, head of the Reserve Bank of Australia's economic analysis department, addressed the Australian Business Economists at an event hosted today. The topic was underlying inflation and its effects on financial markets. The RBA seeks to distinguish "signals" from "noise" and set monetary policy accordingly.

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australia

Central Bankers Upbeat Over Global Growth Next Year

The world's top central bankers discussed the future of global growth. There seems to be a consensus that the global economy was strong and sustainable, but in order to mitigate risks banks would have to fix their attention on inflation. Some hint to continued raises in interest rates to offset "overly optimistic investment".

The world's top central bankers discussed the future of global growth. There seems to be a consensus that the global economy was strong and sustainable, but in order to mitigate risks banks would have to fix their attention on inflation. Some hint to continued raises in interest rates to offset "overly optimistic investment".

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australia

Will China Dam the Brahmaputra?

As China seeks to divert water to the Yellow river by damming the Brahmaputra river; fishermen downstream fear their livelihood is in danger. The Indian state of Assam fears the dam will cause economic and ecological devastation in the region. Chinese officials deny plans, but the issue will be raised as Chinese President Hu Jintao visits Delhi today.

As China seeks to divert water to the Yellow river by damming the Brahmaputra river; fishermen downstream fear their livelihood is in danger. The Indian state of Assam fears the dam will cause economic and ecological devastation in the region. Chinese officials deny plans, but the issue will be raised as Chinese President Hu Jintao visits Delhi today.

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australia

The Australian Foreign Exchange Market

A look at how the the Australian foreign exchange market has evolved and grown during the floating exchange rate period. The report also looks at the developments in current interests to the foreign exchange market. This report assesses the Australian market relative to markets elsewhere.

A look at how the the Australian foreign exchange market has evolved and grown during the floating exchange rate period. The report also looks at the developments in current interests to the foreign exchange market. This report assesses the Australian market relative to markets elsewhere.

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australia

Recent Developments in the Australian Hedge Fund Industry

The RBA offers a concise look at the Hedge Fund industry both globally and in Australia. Hedge funds have grown in improtance with a greater role in financial markets. The use of non-traditional investment styles and the size and growth of the investor base has increased as well with more institutional and individual investor seeking diversified portfolios. However, the actual risks and returns on Hedge fund's performance is said to be "difficult" to measure.

The RBA offers a concise look at the Hedge Fund industry both globally and in Australia. Hedge funds have grown in improtance with a greater role in financial markets. The use of non-traditional investment styles and the size and growth of the investor base has increased as well with more institutional and individual investor seeking diversified portfolios. However, the actual risks and returns on Hedge fund's performance is said to be "difficult" to measure.

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australia

APEC Shelves Free Trade Zone Plans

The Asian Pacific Economic Co-operation forum has shelved plans to create a "vast free trade area" that would aggregate the numerous bi-lateral and regional tarde agreements in the region. The ambitious proposal lost mometum to various side deals at the forum. APEC has shifted its focus to resurrecting talks on the Doha round of the WTO.

The Asian Pacific Economic Co-operation forum has shelved plans to create a "vast free trade area" that would aggregate the numerous bi-lateral and regional tarde agreements in the region. The ambitious proposal lost mometum to various side deals at the forum. APEC has shifted its focus to resurrecting talks on the Doha round of the WTO.

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australia

Officials from Viet Nam, Australia, New Zealand, and Brunei Discuss Regional Ties

Viet Nam's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Gia Khem met with Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer, New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters, and Brunei's Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Lim Jock Seng to discuss regional and bilateral co-operation.

Viet Nam's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Gia Khem met with Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer, New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters, and Brunei's Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Lim Jock Seng to discuss regional and bilateral co-operation.

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australia

Australian Money Moves to Bank Stocks

The sharemarket in Australia rose yesterday and closed higher due to a move by investors to banking and financial stocks. The banks and financials leapt into the spolight while the commodities and resources sector had a "choppier run."

The sharemarket in Australia rose yesterday and closed higher due to a move by investors to banking and financial stocks. The banks and financials leapt into the spolight while the commodities and resources sector had a "choppier run."

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australia

APEC Leaders Ponder Region-Wide FTA While Doha Round Struggles

APEC business leaders see an Asia-Pacific-wide free trade agreement as an alternative way to boost regional commerce if efforts to resuscitate the collapsed Doha Round of world trade talks fail.

Initiated by the US and labelled the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), the arrangement would link all 21 members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) grouping, which accounts for nearly half of the world trade and 70 per cent of world economic growth.

"We want the World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade talks to succeed, but obviously it does not look that easy although many bilateral efforts are still going on," said Tan Sri Azman Hashim, chairman of the AmBank Group and Malaysian representative to the annual Apec Business Advisory Council (ABAC) meeting in Hanoi yesterday.

"There are suggestions that if we don't succeed in reviving the WTO talks, then how about the FTAAP as the next step," he told newsmen.

He added that the mechanics of establishing a region-wide FTA may be complex as Apec was a diverse group and not all members may be ready or able to join the effort at the same time. "Some may have to join first and others later," he said.

Apec leaders are determined, officials say, to make a last ditch effort to revive the failed WTO talks at their Hanoi summit over the weekend.

WTO director-general Pascal Lamy is due to attend the Apec Ministerial Meeting mid week and hold talks with Apec officials to see if there are ways to revive the failed trade talks.

The Doha Round of WTO talks, seen as the way to global trade liberalisation and eradication of poverty and imbalances, collapsed after four years in July 2006 following disagreements between the US and the European Union over farm subsidies.

Australia's ABAC representative Peter Charlton said business leaders believed that if there was no way forward for the failed WTO talks, then the FTAAP would be the fall- back.

"Although the best position is to have a successful outcome to the WTO negotiations, the primary position is that if everything else fails and the WTO fails on the Doha Round, then the FTAAP is the secondary choice," he said.

With the US lending its weight to the FTAAP proposal, Apec leaders could take it up seriously and set a foundation for the path towards making the plan a success in future.

There are at present over 50 bilateral FTAs between Apec member countries floating around at various stages of agreement and some officials see one region-wide FTA as a way to overcome duplications and problems arising from a proliferation of bilateral FTAs.

On the question of Apec reform, ABAC business leaders believed that there was a need to refresh some of Apec's goals and aspirations.

Bogor Goals adopted at an Apec meeting in Indonesia seek to realise free and open trade and investment by 2010 for developed countries and 2020 for developing countries.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is due to address ABAC delegates on Saturday as will his counterparts from Singapore, Thailand, the US and others.

Businessmen and some Apec officials are concerned that the regional trade and economic grouping's meeting of ministers on November 15-16 and summit of heads of governments on November 18-19 may be distracted by other major non-trade issues such as the South Korean diplomacy expected to be pursued on the sidelines by the US, China, Japan and South Korea.

On Malaysian businessmen's interest in Apec, Azman said: "We, just like everybody else are interested to see what happens in Apec is good for our business in Malaysia. When Apec talks about liberalisation, we have to keep an eye on how it is done.

"We try to slow them down a bit (on liberalisation) as there is always a push to open up (our economies) tomorrow. In many ways we are not ready yet for it."

Azman said Malaysia was pushing for Apec to focus on capacity building so that the country and its businesses can get more prepared and ready to absorb greater globalisation.

This article was provided courtesy of The Business Times.

APEC business leaders see an Asia-Pacific-wide free trade agreement as an alternative way to boost regional commerce if efforts to resuscitate the collapsed Doha Round of world trade talks fail.

Initiated by the US and labelled the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), the arrangement would link all 21 members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) grouping, which accounts for nearly half of the world trade and 70 per cent of world economic growth.

"We want the World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade talks to succeed, but obviously it does not look that easy although many bilateral efforts are still going on," said Tan Sri Azman Hashim, chairman of the AmBank Group and Malaysian representative to the annual Apec Business Advisory Council (ABAC) meeting in Hanoi yesterday.

"There are suggestions that if we don't succeed in reviving the WTO talks, then how about the FTAAP as the next step," he told newsmen.

He added that the mechanics of establishing a region-wide FTA may be complex as Apec was a diverse group and not all members may be ready or able to join the effort at the same time. "Some may have to join first and others later," he said.

Apec leaders are determined, officials say, to make a last ditch effort to revive the failed WTO talks at their Hanoi summit over the weekend.

WTO director-general Pascal Lamy is due to attend the Apec Ministerial Meeting mid week and hold talks with Apec officials to see if there are ways to revive the failed trade talks.

The Doha Round of WTO talks, seen as the way to global trade liberalisation and eradication of poverty and imbalances, collapsed after four years in July 2006 following disagreements between the US and the European Union over farm subsidies.

Australia's ABAC representative Peter Charlton said business leaders believed that if there was no way forward for the failed WTO talks, then the FTAAP would be the fall- back.

"Although the best position is to have a successful outcome to the WTO negotiations, the primary position is that if everything else fails and the WTO fails on the Doha Round, then the FTAAP is the secondary choice," he said.

With the US lending its weight to the FTAAP proposal, Apec leaders could take it up seriously and set a foundation for the path towards making the plan a success in future.

There are at present over 50 bilateral FTAs between Apec member countries floating around at various stages of agreement and some officials see one region-wide FTA as a way to overcome duplications and problems arising from a proliferation of bilateral FTAs.

On the question of Apec reform, ABAC business leaders believed that there was a need to refresh some of Apec's goals and aspirations.

Bogor Goals adopted at an Apec meeting in Indonesia seek to realise free and open trade and investment by 2010 for developed countries and 2020 for developing countries.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is due to address ABAC delegates on Saturday as will his counterparts from Singapore, Thailand, the US and others.

Businessmen and some Apec officials are concerned that the regional trade and economic grouping's meeting of ministers on November 15-16 and summit of heads of governments on November 18-19 may be distracted by other major non-trade issues such as the South Korean diplomacy expected to be pursued on the sidelines by the US, China, Japan and South Korea.

On Malaysian businessmen's interest in Apec, Azman said: "We, just like everybody else are interested to see what happens in Apec is good for our business in Malaysia. When Apec talks about liberalisation, we have to keep an eye on how it is done.

"We try to slow them down a bit (on liberalisation) as there is always a push to open up (our economies) tomorrow. In many ways we are not ready yet for it."

Azman said Malaysia was pushing for Apec to focus on capacity building so that the country and its businesses can get more prepared and ready to absorb greater globalisation.

This article was provided courtesy of The Business Times.

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australia

Reserve Bank of Australia Publishes Statement on Monetary Policy

Australia has experienced continued economic growth and has witnessed increased expansion in economic growth by neighboring countries throughout Asia. In Australia, empolyment rates are up and high commodity prices have left little spare capacity in the economy. This has been moderated by the rise in the exchange rate of the Australian dollar, but the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) expects an increase in inflation pressures. So, the RBA has taken a more restrictive monetary policy and intends to lift interest rates back to normal levels.

Australia has experienced continued economic growth and has witnessed increased expansion in economic growth by neighboring countries throughout Asia. In Australia, empolyment rates are up and high commodity prices have left little spare capacity in the economy. This has been moderated by the rise in the exchange rate of the Australian dollar, but the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) expects an increase in inflation pressures. So, the RBA has taken a more restrictive monetary policy and intends to lift interest rates back to normal levels.

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australia

Forecasting Monetary Policy a Taxing Concern for Central Banks

Central banks that send clear signals to the market about the fututre path of official rates may improve market expectations, which may also lead to better macroeconomic performance. The RBA says it will proceed in openly expressing its monetary policy and its view of the economy's direction.

Central banks that send clear signals to the market about the fututre path of official rates may improve market expectations, which may also lead to better macroeconomic performance. The RBA says it will proceed in openly expressing its monetary policy and its view of the economy's direction.

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australia

South Korea Interest Rates are Unchanged

South Korea's central bank Governor Lee Seong Tae has not raised the already five year high interest rates. He stated that inflation is steady; however gains in home prices could be "worrisome." High real estate prices and increasing household debt may threaten sustained growth in South Korea's longest expansion in a decade.

South Korea's central bank Governor Lee Seong Tae has not raised the already five year high interest rates. He stated that inflation is steady; however gains in home prices could be "worrisome." High real estate prices and increasing household debt may threaten sustained growth in South Korea's longest expansion in a decade.

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australia

Japan to enter FTA with Australia

Japan and Australia are very close to approving a free trade agreement that some say could be worth $40 billion. Australia's Prime Minister John Howard and Japan's Prime Minster Shinzo Abe will meet later next week to possibly seal the deal. FTA talks between the two countries have been going on for nearly two years and were thought to have been spurred by Japan's worry over China's growing economic power.

Japan and Australia are very close to approving a free trade agreement that some say could be worth $40 billion. Australia's Prime Minister John Howard and Japan's Prime Minster Shinzo Abe will meet later next week to possibly seal the deal. FTA talks between the two countries have been going on for nearly two years and were thought to have been spurred by Japan's worry over China's growing economic power.

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australia

Asian Markets End Broadly Higher

Most Asian markets ended slightly higher Wednesday, particularly in Singapore and Shanghai's exchanges. Unfortunately the same news can not be shared for Japan's Nikkei, which edged 0.2% lower to 16,375.26.

Most Asian markets ended slightly higher Wednesday, particularly in Singapore and Shanghai's exchanges. Unfortunately the same news can not be shared for Japan's Nikkei, which edged 0.2% lower to 16,375.26.

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australia

Qantas Buys Eight More Airbus A380

Australia's Qantas Airways ordered eight more Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft. This will bring Qantas a total of 20 of these aircrafts. The 20 airliners are due to be delivered between 2008 and 2015. The Airbus A380 will be capable of carrying 840 passengers.

Australia's Qantas Airways ordered eight more Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft. This will bring Qantas a total of 20 of these aircrafts. The 20 airliners are due to be delivered between 2008 and 2015. The Airbus A380 will be capable of carrying 840 passengers.

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australia

Asia: Stocks at a Five-Month High

Asian stocks were at a five-month high Monday as word spread that strong earnings would be reported for Toyota Motor and Hyundai Motor companies. Toyota advanced ¥80 to ¥6,960. Hyundai Motor climbed 1,300 won to 77,800 won.

Asian stocks were at a five-month high Monday as word spread that strong earnings would be reported for Toyota Motor and Hyundai Motor companies. Toyota advanced ¥80 to ¥6,960. Hyundai Motor climbed 1,300 won to 77,800 won.

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australia

Australian Interest Rates on the Rise

The IMF forecast that Australia's interest rate would rise about 3 percent this year and and 3.5 percent next year. Analysts warn that additional monetary tightening is needed to counter rising inflation rates that are already well above the central bank's target.

The IMF forecast that Australia's interest rate would rise about 3 percent this year and and 3.5 percent next year. Analysts warn that additional monetary tightening is needed to counter rising inflation rates that are already well above the central bank's target.

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australia

Global Warming Threatens Wine Export

Global warming is threatening Australia's wine production, an export trade that is worth US$3.8bn a year. Wine growers have been warned that temperatures are projected to rise 1.7C by year 2030. This will mean vineyards will have to relocate to cooler areas to continue production of popular wines such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc.

Global warming is threatening Australia's wine production, an export trade that is worth US$3.8bn a year. Wine growers have been warned that temperatures are projected to rise 1.7C by year 2030. This will mean vineyards will have to relocate to cooler areas to continue production of popular wines such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc.

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australia

Australia Lifts Media Restrictions on Foreign Ownership

Australia's parliament passed a law lifting restrictions on foreign ownership and mergers. This new law will allow foreigners to take control of Australian media companies and enable people to own two forms of media in one city. The legislation will take effect early next year but already has two major deals in the works with media giants Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd and Seven Network.

Australia's parliament passed a law lifting restrictions on foreign ownership and mergers. This new law will allow foreigners to take control of Australian media companies and enable people to own two forms of media in one city. The legislation will take effect early next year but already has two major deals in the works with media giants Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd and Seven Network.

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australia

Higher Bond Income Allows for NZ Dollar to Rise

The world's best-performing major currency in the past three months has extended its gains furthermore, rising about 7% against the US Dollar during this period. Today, as of 9:25am, the NZ dollar bought 66.47 US cents. Investors continue to be attracted to the high yields, which could be further boosted by a quarter-point increase to 7.5% on overnight lending. As house sales rise and factory production approaches capacity, prices have no choice but to increase.

The world's best-performing major currency in the past three months has extended its gains furthermore, rising about 7% against the US Dollar during this period. Today, as of 9:25am, the NZ dollar bought 66.47 US cents. Investors continue to be attracted to the high yields, which could be further boosted by a quarter-point increase to 7.5% on overnight lending. As house sales rise and factory production approaches capacity, prices have no choice but to increase.

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australia

Mergers Bill to Be Revived

Legislation governing corporate mergers in Australia was reintroduced today by Treasurer Peter Costello. The Bill will enable firms to gain approval for mergers from the Australian Competition Tribunal. Numerous organizations have voiced support of this legislation known as the "Dawson Bill". The Government plans to implement other reforms following its passage.

Legislation governing corporate mergers in Australia was reintroduced today by Treasurer Peter Costello. The Bill will enable firms to gain approval for mergers from the Australian Competition Tribunal. Numerous organizations have voiced support of this legislation known as the "Dawson Bill". The Government plans to implement other reforms following its passage.

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australia

Wall St Opens the Door to Record

The Australian share market closed 22.5 points higher to 5276.4 on the local market. This is the second highest since May 11, when it closed at 5318.2 It was heavy-duty miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto which drove the All Ordinaries Index. Following close behind were Jubilee Mines and Minara Resources. Despite the shift upward, market attention remains focused on possible private equity buyouts and takeovers.

The Australian share market closed 22.5 points higher to 5276.4 on the local market. This is the second highest since May 11, when it closed at 5318.2 It was heavy-duty miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto which drove the All Ordinaries Index. Following close behind were Jubilee Mines and Minara Resources. Despite the shift upward, market attention remains focused on possible private equity buyouts and takeovers.

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australia

Suncorp Makes Bid for Insurer

Suncorp-Metway, Australia's sixth-largest bank, has offered to buy the Promina Group for $5.8 billion, in order to become Australia's second-largest auto and home insurer.

Suncorp-Metway, Australia's sixth-largest bank, has offered to buy the Promina Group for $5.8 billion, in order to become Australia's second-largest auto and home insurer.

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australia

Australia Suffers Despite Wall Street Success

Despite the new Dow Jones record high, Australia has a down day due to "commodity sensitivity."

Despite the new Dow Jones record high, Australia has a down day due to "commodity sensitivity."

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australia

Australia's Santos Gas Supplies Indonesia

Australian oil and gas producer Santos Ltd. has started supplying industrial customers in Indonesia's East Java province with natural gas from its Madura block via a pipeline.  This is the result of a $550million deal signed in 2005 for Madura to supply East Java with gas for a period of eight to twelve years.  The contract could save Indonesia from burning 38 million barrels of diesel over this stretch of time.

Australian oil and gas producer Santos Ltd. has started supplying industrial customers in Indonesia's East Java province with natural gas from its Madura block via a pipeline.  This is the result of a $550million deal signed in 2005 for Madura to supply East Java with gas for a period of eight to twelve years.  The contract could save Indonesia from burning 38 million barrels of diesel over this stretch of time.

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australia

Australia Considers Uranium Deal with India

Australia is considering whether it should match a controversial US nuclear deal with India to allow Canberra to sell uranium to the Indian Government.  Foreign Minister Alexander Downer urges caution in selling uranium to countries that have not signed the NPT (nuclear non-proliferation treaty) warning that it would set a dangerous precendent.  Prime Minister John Howard has stated that it would not bow under current pressure to sell uranium to India, though it may reconsider its position in the future.

Australia is considering whether it should match a controversial US nuclear deal with India to allow Canberra to sell uranium to the Indian Government.  Foreign Minister Alexander Downer urges caution in selling uranium to countries that have not signed the NPT (nuclear non-proliferation treaty) warning that it would set a dangerous precendent.  Prime Minister John Howard has stated that it would not bow under current pressure to sell uranium to India, though it may reconsider its position in the future.

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australia

Oil Prices Fall Below $60 in Asia

Crude oil fell to below $60 a barrel this morning in the Asian markets. Oil prices have dropped nearly 25% since mid July. Experts say this is still a strong price, but some say its expected to rise before the end of the year.

Crude oil fell to below $60 a barrel this morning in the Asian markets. Oil prices have dropped nearly 25% since mid July. Experts say this is still a strong price, but some say its expected to rise before the end of the year.

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australia

WTO Calls for Australian Wheat to Stop Subsidies

Thursday the World Trade Organization called for the removal of subsidies to the Australian Wheat Board (AWB). The WTO says no progress can be made in international trade talks until the monopoly AWB is no longer supported by subsidies. AWB is accused of heavy subsidies and cheap loans to food exporters. Australia made these same accusations of the US and European exporting practices.

Thursday the World Trade Organization called for the removal of subsidies to the Australian Wheat Board (AWB). The WTO says no progress can be made in international trade talks until the monopoly AWB is no longer supported by subsidies. AWB is accused of heavy subsidies and cheap loans to food exporters. Australia made these same accusations of the US and European exporting practices.

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australia

Australia says US and EU taking Hard Line on Agriculutral Trade Talks

Australia's trade minister has claimed that the United States and the European Union are unwilling to compromise on WTO global trade talks.  According to Mark Vaile, "Countries like the EU and Japan are in a very defensive position as far as reforming their agricultural programs...."  Australia has proposed a deal in which the US cuts farm subsidies by $5billion USD and the EU reduces tariffs by 5%.

Australia's trade minister has claimed that the United States and the European Union are unwilling to compromise on WTO global trade talks.  According to Mark Vaile, "Countries like the EU and Japan are in a very defensive position as far as reforming their agricultural programs...."  Australia has proposed a deal in which the US cuts farm subsidies by $5billion USD and the EU reduces tariffs by 5%.

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australia

Japan and Australia Impose Sanctions on DPRK

In compliance with a UN Security Council resolution denouncing North Korea's test firing of long-range missles, Japan and Australia have imposed sanctions that ban fund transfers and remittances to 11 Pyongyang-based trading companies.  The companies have been accused of bankrolling DPRK's weapons arsenal, and are being immediately affected by the sanctions.

In compliance with a UN Security Council resolution denouncing North Korea's test firing of long-range missles, Japan and Australia have imposed sanctions that ban fund transfers and remittances to 11 Pyongyang-based trading companies.  The companies have been accused of bankrolling DPRK's weapons arsenal, and are being immediately affected by the sanctions.

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australia

Reserve Bank of Australia Publishes Annual Report

Check out the Annual Report

Check out the Annual Report

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australia

US Beef Returns to South Korea

South Korea has finally agreed to readmit US beef exports, causing some worry in the Australian meat industry.  Since US beef was banned in 2004, Australia's share of the market has grown 120%, now worth $600 million.  Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) expects to lose 20% of its share in exported value after American trade resumes.

South Korea has finally agreed to readmit US beef exports, causing some worry in the Australian meat industry.  Since US beef was banned in 2004, Australia's share of the market has grown 120%, now worth $600 million.  Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) expects to lose 20% of its share in exported value after American trade resumes.

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australia

Most Asian Markets Rise as Lower Oil Prices Boost Shares in Tokyo

Indices in Hong Kong and Japan rebounded from recent loss-streaks as a fall in crude oil prices has alleviated market tension, boosting investor confidence and increasing activity.  Most east-Asian exchanges shared similar change of pace while trade in Southeast Asia remained relatively flat or declined slightly.

Indices in Hong Kong and Japan rebounded from recent loss-streaks as a fall in crude oil prices has alleviated market tension, boosting investor confidence and increasing activity.  Most east-Asian exchanges shared similar change of pace while trade in Southeast Asia remained relatively flat or declined slightly.

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australia

ASIA DEVELOPMENT OUTLOOK 2007

Despite challenges from rising oil costs, commodity costs, and interest rates, the Asia Development Bank expects 7.7% growth for 2007.

Despite challenges from rising oil costs, commodity costs, and interest rates, the Asia Development Bank expects 7.7% growth for 2007.

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australia

Australian Cities Seek Indian Investments

Seeking Indian investments, delegations from two Australian cities, Melbourne and Ballarat, Tuesday held interactive meetings in New Delhi with leading investors and highlighted possibilities they offer.  Australia has become an increasingly important economic partner for India, with bilateral trade at $5.8 billion in 2005-06.  Leaders discussed possible collaborations in information and communications technology, mining, manufacturing, and entertainment.  Melbourne also offered assistance in preparing for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi (it was hosted this past year in Melbourne).

Seeking Indian investments, delegations from two Australian cities, Melbourne and Ballarat, Tuesday held interactive meetings in New Delhi with leading investors and highlighted possibilities they offer.  Australia has become an increasingly important economic partner for India, with bilateral trade at $5.8 billion in 2005-06.  Leaders discussed possible collaborations in information and communications technology, mining, manufacturing, and entertainment.  Melbourne also offered assistance in preparing for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi (it was hosted this past year in Melbourne).

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australia

Cost Blowouts Hit Woodside

Woodside Petroleum's multi-biollion expansion of hte North-West Shelf gas project is the latest victim of soaring industry costs, with the price tag blowing out by more than 20 percent.

Woodside Petroleum's multi-biollion expansion of hte North-West Shelf gas project is the latest victim of soaring industry costs, with the price tag blowing out by more than 20 percent.

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australia

No Rates Rise Expected

The Reserve Bank is likely to announce this morning that mortgage repayments will stay steady at least for the next month. However, the growth in industries pressures the future of rates.

The Reserve Bank is likely to announce this morning that mortgage repayments will stay steady at least for the next month. However, the growth in industries pressures the future of rates.

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australia

Chemeq to Lay Off 50

Chemeq Ltd, an animal pharmaceutical company will lay off approximately 50 employees and move its corporate headquarters to the company-owned facility in Rockingham as part of its new corporate growth strategy.

Chemeq Ltd, an animal pharmaceutical company will lay off approximately 50 employees and move its corporate headquarters to the company-owned facility in Rockingham as part of its new corporate growth strategy.

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australia

Small to Medium Enterprise More Optimistic

Small to medium enterprises have a more optimistic view of business conditions than their larger counterparts. However, the National Australia Bank survey shows that Australia is currently functioning as a two speed economy.

Small to medium enterprises have a more optimistic view of business conditions than their larger counterparts. However, the National Australia Bank survey shows that Australia is currently functioning as a two speed economy.

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australia

Tectonic to Raise $45 Million for New Gold Mine

Tectonic Resources NL prepares to raise $45 million to develop its second gold mine, targeting 100,000 ounces of gold a year. The project has an initial five-year mine life which would produce 250,000 ounces of gold and 550,000 ounces of silver, production that would generate total cashflow of more than $100 million.

Tectonic Resources NL prepares to raise $45 million to develop its second gold mine, targeting 100,000 ounces of gold a year. The project has an initial five-year mine life which would produce 250,000 ounces of gold and 550,000 ounces of silver, production that would generate total cashflow of more than $100 million.

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editor picks 

Other Important News In Australia


Australian Agriculture Exports May Achieve $26 billion

Australia, the world's fourth-largest wheat exporter, may produce more of the grain than previously predicted after rain lifted crop prospects, National Australia Bank Ltd. said July 22. Australian farmers sow crops including wheat, barley and canola from about April to June for harvest from November. Wheat production in Australia will rise in the next financial year, Penm said, without giving precise figures. An El Nino weather pattern may become a risk for Australian farming conditions later this year, he said.

Australia's farm exports may rise 2 percent in the year to June 30, 2010, helped by "relatively favorable" crop conditions and a recovery from the global recession, the country's commodity forecaster said. Total exports from farming may total A$32 billion ($26 billion), the chief commodity analyst for the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Jammie Penm, told a grains conference in Melbourne today. Increased grain demand may be offset by a rising Australian dollar, which would reduce earnings on export sales, he said. The Canberra-based bureau last month predicted the nation's wheat crop will increase 2.7 percent to 21.9 million metric tons in the year ending June 30, 2010, with exports surging 14 percent to 14.6 million tons. Barley output will jump 13 percent to 7.7 million tons, with exports climbing 12 percent to 4.4 million tons, the agency said June 23. Pricing Volatile Grain prices in Australia are likely to remain volatile in the wake of deregulation that removed the nation's monopoly trading mechanism, said Michael Iwaniw, managing director of ABB Grain Ltd., the country's biggest barley exporter. The removal of the "single desk" for grain exports has created a void, with no single entity representing the industry, he said. Growers are warehousing more grain and genetically modified crops will eventually become "widespread'' in Australia, said Iwaniw, who today brought forward his departure from the Adelaide-based company to the end of this month. Canada's Viterra Inc. agreed in May to acquire ABB for A$1.6 billion. Earlier at the conference, Australian Agriculture Minister Tony Burke said the government could not close its eyes to increasing the use of genetically modified crops. The nation needs to lift its farm productivity in the next three to five years and genetically altered crops may be part of that, he said.

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Costco to Invest $ 22 Million in Australia

The store on the fringe of Melbourne's central business district will be followed by an outlet in Sydney's western suburbs before Costco looks at more openings in the nation of almost 22 million, Australian Managing Director Patrick Noone said in an interview. The Issaquah, Washington-based retailer enters a market where Woolworths and Wesfarmers' Coles unit control almost three quarters of supermarket sales. "We'll have to see a competitive response from Coles and Woolworths," said Saxon Nicholls, who manages the equivalent of $439 million at Herschel Asset Management Ltd. in Melbourne. "The Australian retailers already have substantial scale in the market and it will depend on Costco getting its own scale in Australia."

Costco Wholesale Corp., the largest U.S. warehouse club chain, expects to lower Australian grocery prices with its first outlet in the country, providing new competition for Woolworths Ltd. and Wesfarmers Ltd. Costco, which will charge as much A$60 ($49) in annual membership fees to Australian customers, will open its Melbourne outlet Aug. 17 with a 14,000 square meter (151,000 square foot) store, almost three times the size of typical supermarkets. The store on the fringe of Melbourne's central business district will be followed by an outlet in Sydney's western suburbs before Costco looks at more openings in the nation of almost 22 million, Australian Managing Director Patrick Noone said in an interview. The Issaquah, Washington-based retailer enters a market where Woolworths and Wesfarmers' Coles unit control almost three quarters of supermarket sales. "We'll have to see a competitive response from Coles and Woolworths," said Saxon Nicholls, who manages the equivalent of $439 million at Herschel Asset Management Ltd. in Melbourne. "The Australian retailers already have substantial scale in the market and it will depend on Costco getting its own scale in Australia." Jim Cooper, a Melbourne-based spokesman for Coles, said the retailer would consider Costco's impact once the first store is open, declining to comment further. Benedict Brook, a spokesman for Woolworths, declined to comment. Low Profit Margins "We operate with low margins and with our membership fees, we can sustain low margins," Costco's Noone said. "Lower prices are important because people shop with us to get value." The Australian outlets will carry about 3,800 product lines, compared with 27,000 in some Coles outlets, with some variation for local tastes, Noone said. Instead of bulk packages of peanut butter popular in the U.S., Costco may stock items such as large sizes of Vegemite, the salty Australian spread. Costco's impact on Coles and Woolworths may extend beyond any market share it wins, as the company's practice of pricing goods as much as 15 percent below rivals is likely to influence perceptions of value, said analysts at Macquarie Group Ltd. "Membership fees allow Costco to operate at low margins and are a fundamental difference in the business model," Macquarie said in a July 7 note to clients. "All other retailers of like products could be forced to price within these bounds, depending on consumer response to Costco." Unemployment Rising The company enters a market where unemployment is increasing. Australia's June jobless rate rose to the highest in almost six years as the global recession reduced demand for commodity exports and mining companies fired workers. The nation avoided falling into recession this year after the government distributed more than A$12 billion in cash handouts to individuals and families. Noone, an Australian who has worked for Costco for two decades, said the size of the Australian network will depend on the success of the first two outlets, with the company typically targeting a ratio of one store per 500,000 people. "It all depends on how well we do what we say we are going to in Australia," Noone said. "When I was in Canada we started building warehouses to that ratio but when I left our brand name was such that we could build to 200,000 or 300,000 people and have a successful store." Coles and Woolworths are trialing hardwood floors, redesigned fresh produce sections and new shelving in their supermarkets. Costco is sticking with its warehouse design that uses concrete floors, exposed light fittings and inventory stacked on wooden pallets. The Australian unit has no plans to sell coffins, as some of its U.S. outlets do, Noone said. He expects the product range to evolve as Costco gains acceptance from consumers. "If we can get good volume we will stock it and sell it," Noone said. "We look at areas we can show great value and that is why we sell diamonds and liquor and candy and all the other things."

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Australia's Central Bank Kept Interest Rates Unchanged

Australia was one of the few major economies including China and India to grow in the first quarter as government cash handouts and rate cuts stoked consumer spending. Growth may slow after recent reports showed exports dropped to a 14-month low, bank lending fell, home building approvals declined by the most since 2002 and job advertisements tumbled for a 14th month.

Australia's central bank kept interest rates unchanged for a third month amid signs the lowest borrowing costs in half a century and government spending are helping the economy skirt the global recession. There is still "some scope for further easing of monetary policy, if needed'" said Stevens, who slashed borrowing costs by a record 4.25 percentage points in six moves between September and April. "Economic conditions in Australia have to date not been as weak as expected a few months ago," he added. The Australian dollar rose to 79.86 U.S. cents at 3:16 p.m. in Sydney from 79.67 cents just before the decision was released. The two-year government bond yield fell 1 basis point to 3.81 percent. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

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CSR Planning to Increase Sugar Value

CSR Ltd., Australia's second-largest maker of building products, is planning to spin off its sugar unit to take advantage of a 27 percent jump in prices for the sweetener in the past year and improving capital markets.

CSR Ltd., Australia's second-largest maker of building products, is planning to spin off its sugar unit to take advantage of a 27 percent jump in prices for the sweetener in the past year and improving capital markets. The demerger plan is targeted for completion by the end of the year ending March 31, the Sydney-based company said today in a statement. The sugar business is valued at A$1.2 billion ($958 million), UBS AG said in a report last month. CSR has a market value of A$2 billion. Shares of CSR, Australia's biggest sugar refiner, rose 6 percent on investor optimism for the plan, flagged by the company more than two years ago. Sugar is the best-performing commodity in the past year because of a world wide production shortfall. "They'll lose diversification of earnings but that will probably be viewed as less significant than investors now gaining a pure exposure to sugar and building materials separately," said Will Seddon, who helps manage $250 million at White Funds Management Pty. in Sydney.

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Australian Airlines Addresses $66 Million Shortfall

National Australian airline Qantas has committed $66 million to cover a shortfall caused by the current economic crisis.

National Australian airline Qantas has committed $66 million to cover a shortfall caused by the current economic crisis. The injection of funds will be spread over three years in order to reflect "the adverse performance of financial markets over recent months". Previously, there were concerns that Quantas could be forced to inject an estimated $283 million to fix shortfalls caused by investment losses. Merrill Lynch recently estimated that the investment losses have cost Quantas' pensions plan $394 million since last June, turning a $296 million surplus into a a $98 million deficit.

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Canadian Fund Bids for Australia's Mac Satellite

A Canadian superannuation fund has launched a friendly $1.37 billion takeover bid for Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group, in a move that put the squeeze on short sellers yesterday across the constellation of Macquarie's struggling listed satellite funds.

A Canadian superannuation fund has launched a friendly $1.37 billion takeover bid for Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group, in a move that put the squeeze on short sellers yesterday across the constellation of Macquarie's struggling listed satellite funds. Coming on the last day of the group's financial year, the deal should also bring in some eleventh-hour fees and help justify asset valuations which have come under scrutiny. The Canadian Pension Plan, a government-backed fund, will offer $2.50 per MCG stapled security and its associated management vehicle. While this represents a substantial premium to Monday's closing price of $1.50 for the satellite fund, which owns a collection of broadcast assets including television transmission towers, the offer falls well short of MCG's record high of $6.83.

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Australian Banks Optimistic

The big bank bosses have declared Australia has weathered the worst of the global financial crisis, with some predicting official interest rates as low as 2 per cent later this year as the Reserve Bank attempts to keep the economy pumping.

The big bank bosses have declared Australia has weathered the worst of the global financial crisis, with some predicting official interest rates as low as 2 per cent later this year as the Reserve Bank attempts to keep the economy pumping. Bankers acknowledge their image has taken a battering in the crisis, with National Australia Bank admitting there was a perception banks had been profiteering from fees or failing to pass on in full interest rate cuts. In a wide-ranging speech to the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, NAB's chief executive, Cameron Clyne, said banks had failed to explain the pressures on their own funding costs and how these had affected their ability to price mortgages. Still, Mr. Clyne remained upbeat, given the signs of confidence emerging in economic indicators. With markets finally responding to moves by governments around the world to stabilize the financial system, he said the downturn in Britain and the US appeared to be "relatively close to the bottom".

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Australian Shares Surge to One-Month High

Australian stocks jumped 3.1% to a one-month closing high as banks and mining companies climbed on hopes for an economic recovery taking hold, while agriculture stocks were boosted by strong rains.

Australian stocks jumped 3.1% to a one-month closing high as banks and mining companies climbed on hopes for an economic recovery taking hold, while agriculture stocks were boosted by strong rains. At the close, the benchmark S&P;/ASX200 index was up 3.1%, or 103.5 points, to 3451.9, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 2.9%, or 96.1 points, at 3393.4. The Australian dollar continues to get a boost from the stronger equities prices. It had recently lost some ground to 66.09 US cents, but was still up from yesterday's local close of 66.07 US cents. It was also worth 64.99 yen, 50.75 euro cents, 46.794 British pence and $NZ1.244. The three-day rise in the stock market has provided some confidence to investors and some expect the uptrend to continue.

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Australia's Packer Buys His Way Out of US Casino Deal

James Packer's company Crown has agreed to fork out the best part of $400 million to save the company from having to go ahead with a $1.75 billion US casino deal made at the top of the market.

James Packer's company Crown has agreed to fork out the best part of $400 million to save the company from having to go ahead with a $1.75 billion US casino deal made at the top of the market. The suite of three casinos Crown had agreed to buy have plummeted in value since Crown signed an agreement nearly 15 months ago. The compromise deal is a face-saver for both sides and was welcomed by the market with shares in Crown closing up 70c, or 13 per cent, to $5.90. The deal came after intense negotiations between Crown and Millennium Gaming Inc, which owns the casinos - two in Las Vegas and one in Pennsylvania.

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Australia Pledges $6.4m to Zimbabwe

Australia says it will provide funding to Zimbabwe, the first major donor to announce aid to the government since the start of power-sharing last month.

Australia says it will provide funding to Zimbabwe, the first major donor to announce aid to the government since the start of power-sharing last month. Canberra is providing $6.4m in direct aid to restore basic water, sanitation and health services. But Australia was "under no illusions about the fragility of the political situation," Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said in a statement. Analysts say the new government will be heavily dependent on Western donors and investors to rescue Zimbabwe's crippled economy. The US and UK governments have said they will only restore aid to Zimbabwe when they see evidence of genuine power-sharing between the rival parties.

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