The Australian share market is expected to dip slightly, ahead of the release of local economic data this week, headlined by GDP figures.
(Bloomberg) -- The devastation of the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. labor market will be on display this week, with Friday’s jobs report likely to show the unemployment rate soared to nearly 20% and employers cut millions more from their payrolls in May.The Labor Department’s data may mark the worst of the fallout from the disease as states have started to lift the shutdown orders that brought demand and the economy to a standstill. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey calls for the jobless rate to rise to 19.6%, the highest since the Great Depression era of the 1930s. Payrolls probably declined by almost 8 million after a whopping 20.5 million slump in April.What Bloomberg’s Economists Say:“Bloomberg Economics expects unemployment to peak near 20% in the second quarter and to then fall toward 10% by year-end. To be sure, this reflects an impressive rebound in the economy, but a clearly incomplete one, which leaves behind a significant share of the newly jobless.”\--For full preview, click here.Unemployment data across Europe are set to paint a similarly dismal picture, yet another reason for the European Central Bank -- which meets Thursday -- to boost its stimulus measures. Rate decisions are also due in Australia and Canada.Click here for what happened last week and below is our wrap of what’s coming up in the world economy.AsiaPMIs for May will be closely watched to assess the pace of the region’s recovery. Australia’s central bank board will meet Tuesday, with no changes expected to its target for three-year bond yields or the cash rate -- both set at 0.25%. The following day, Australia’s first quarter GDP growth data will be released. Economists are currently expecting only a moderate contraction in the period as a pre-lockdown retail splurge offsets the impact of restrictions that came into effect at the end of the quarter.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for AsiaEurope, Middle East and AfricaAnything less than an expansion of the ECB’s emergency asset purchasing program will be a big shock to economists and investors, who widely anticipate a 500 billion-euro ($555 billion) top-up by the Governing Council. Policy makers will also release their latest economic projections, possibly confirming President Christine Lagarde’s remarks that the euro area is mired in a much-worse slump than initially hoped.On the data front, PMI survey readings could give investors a clue whether Italy and Spain, seen as the euro area’s most vulnerable economies, are slowly starting to turn the page on the worst chapter of the crisis. In the U.K., house prices in May and mortgage approvals a month earlier could offer the first meaningful reading on the market after the lockdown brought viewings and sales to a halt.Elsewhere in Europe, Romania’s prime minister is expected to announce a new round of stimulus based on public investment and support for the private sector.Data on Friday will show the South Africa Reserve Bank continued purchasing government bonds in May after more than doubling its holdings in April to reduce dysfunctionality in the market.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for EMEAU.S. and CanadaThe Federal Reserve is in blackout this week before its next regularly scheduled FOMC meeting later this month. Meanwhile, in the runup to Friday’s jobs report, investors will digest more economic data showing the impact of the coronavirus. Reports include factory orders, trade numbers and the latest week of jobless claims.Tiff Macklem takes over as Bank of Canada governor on Wednesday, starting a seven-year term that will be characterized by the lowest interest rates in the nation’s history and deepening links with the federal government.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for the U.S.Latin AmericaOn Monday morning, Chile’s Imacec economic indicator, a proxy for output, may post a double-digit decline in April from a year earlier with the country shuttered by the outbreak and containment measures. That afternoon in Colombia, the minutes from Friday’s central bank meeting should give a much better idea of where the current easing cycle is headed now that the key rate is at a record low.On Wednesday, data in Brazil is likely to show that industrial output in April fell the most since at least 2003, when the national statistics agency introduced the current series. Reports on Friday from Chile and Colombia should show that inflation in both countries is slowing and well within their respective target ranges.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Latin AmericaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
South Korea is aware of U.S. President Donald Trump's invitation to Seoul to join this year's Group of Seven summit and will discuss the matter with the United States, a government official told Reuters on Sunday. Trump said on Saturday that he is postponing until September the G7 summit that had been scheduled for late June, and that he wants to invite Australia, Russia, South Korea and India to the meeting.
(Bloomberg) -- Phyllis Lam has lived in Hong Kong for 42 years. It’s where she was born, went to school, met her husband and planned to raise her two children.But like a growing number of Hongkongers disillusioned by China’s tightening grip on the city, Lam now feels she has little choice but to leave. “I have no confidence in Hong Kong’s future,” she said in an interview. “I have two young kids, so I have to plan for them.”For many in Hong Kong who’ve long feared an erosion of their freedoms under Chinese rule, last week marked a tipping point. Spurred to action by Beijing’s decision to impose controversial national security legislation on the former British colony, residents have been flooding migration consultants with questions on how to move their families overseas.“We get an inquiry every 2 to 3 minutes,” said Gary Leung, chief executive officer of Global Home, a property and migration consultancy. The firm’s client requests have swelled to about 20 times normal levels, with Taiwan and Europe among the most asked-about destinations, Leung said.With many countries still enforcing travel restrictions to fight the coronavirus, it’s too early to gauge how many Hongkongers will ultimately move out. But consultants say the odds of an eventual exodus are growing as lawmakers from the U.K., the U.S. and Taiwan signal they may ease entry requirements for some Hong Kong citizens.A wave of emigration could erode Hong Kong’s attractiveness to multinational companies, hundreds of which rely on local talent to drive their growth across the Greater China region and the rest of Asia. The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong has warned that retaining top-tier employees in the city may become more difficult.Signs that more Hongkongers are planning to leave have been increasing since last year, when a now-scrapped extradition bill sparked mass protests and violent clashes with police in the heart of the city’s central business district.While Hong Kong doesn’t publish high-frequency immigration statistics, applications for good citizenship cards -- which certify a person doesn’t have a criminal record -- serve as a proxy because they’re often needed to apply for foreign visas. The monthly number of applications averaged 2,935 from June 2019 to April 2020, a 50% jump versus 2018.It’s not the first time the city has faced the prospect of a brain drain. An estimated 300,000 people left between 1990 and 1994, fearing Hong Kong’s handover to China from Britain would destroy the city’s civil liberties and capitalist system. Yet predictions of Hong Kong’s demise ultimately proved unfounded, with its status as Asia’s premier financial hub only becoming more entrenched over the following two decades.Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Friday that the security law will only target “an extremely small minority of illegal and criminal acts” and that the “life and property, basic rights and freedoms of the overwhelming majority of citizens will be protected.” China’s central government has made similar remarks in the past week.Jolie Lo, an administrative executive, is among Hongkongers who plan to stay. She wants to be close to her aging parents and is wary of the challenges she might face overseas.“I may encounter other problems such as racial discrimination,” said Lo, who has studied in New York and worked in Beijing. “I won’t say I regret my decision to come back to Hong Kong. Since we are here now, we should just try our best to preserve our homes.”Read more: What Are the New Laws China Is Pushing for Hong Kong?Others see emigration as their best option. David Hui, managing director at Centaline Immigration Consultants (HK) Ltd., said his firm is now receiving as many as 100 inquiries a day from Hongkongers interested in moving to countries including Australia, the U.K. and Canada. Taiwan, Malaysia and Portugal are also becoming increasingly popular. “The national security law is definitely a push factor,” Hui said.Critics of China’s Communist Party worry that it will use the law to crack down on dissent and undermine the “one country, two systems” principle that has kept Hong Kong’s judiciary separate from the mainland’s since the 1997 handover. In a survey of 9,477 pro-democracy supporters last week by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Program, 96% said they opposed the law. Among those who said they weren’t pro-democracy, 29% opposed it and 62% supported it.“Now I fear censorship could be even more serious in Hong Kong,” said Ming, 30, who works in the art world and declined to give her surname, citing the sensitivity of the subject. “I don’t see a future here anymore, so it’s time to look for options.”Phyllis Lam and her husband, who are both holders of British National (Overseas) passports, haven’t decided yet where they’ll move. Canada is high on the list, but their top choice is the U.K. The country’s Home Office has said it may open a path to citizenship for almost 3 million Hong Kong residents who have BN(O) status.“In any case, we will send the kids away,” Lam said. “We don’t think the current environment in Hong Kong is good for them.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The scramble to jump on one of the hottest gold trades in years -- by shipping bullion to New York -- has sparked what may be one of the largest ever physical transfers of the metal.“The flows into New York are unprecedented,” said Allan Finn, global commodities director at logistics and security provider Malca-Amit. His company’s teams in New York have been working 24 hours a day to cope with demand while navigating lockdowns, flight disruptions and social distancing.Gold flooded into the U.S. in recent months as traders rushed to profit from an arbitrage caused by dislocations in the market triggered by the pandemic. Since late March, some 550 tons of gold -- worth $30 billion at today’s price and roughly equal to global mine output in the period -- have been added to Comex warehouse stockpiles. Hundreds of tons of that was imported.While tens of billions of dollars of gold change hands every day in financial markets, a much smaller amount tends to physically move between vaults in trading hubs like London, Zurich and New York.But that started to change as the Covid-19 crisis affected the supply chain. When planes were grounded and Swiss refineries closed in late March, traders were worried they wouldn’t be able to get gold to New York in time to deliver against futures contracts. That caused futures, which typically trade in lockstep with the London spot price, to soar to a premium of as much as $70 an ounce.That created an opportunity for enterprising traders: buy gold somewhere in the world at the spot price, sell futures, and benefit from the difference by shipping the metal to New York.The scale of the trade has been revealed in exchange reports, import and export data and comments from some of the leading precious metals shipping and vaulting companies. On Thursday, traders declared their intent to deliver 2.8 million ounces of gold against the June Comex contract, the largest daily delivery notice in bourse data going back to 1994.Swiss gold exports to the U.S. have surged, reaching 111.7 tons in April, the highest on record. American import data for April isn’t yet available, but already in March gold imports topped $3 billion, according to the Census Bureau, the highest in at least a decade. Refineries as far away as Australia have ramped up output of kilobars -- the form typically delivered on the Comex -- to ship to New York.For Brink’s Ltd. Managing Director Mark Woolley, the spike in demand to ship gold to New York has been unlike anything he’s seen in 20 years in the market.“The amount of metal that we’ve successfully moved into New York is pretty significant,” he said Thursday on a webinar hosted by the London Bullion Market Association. “It’s probably not far off the total amount of metal that’s been mined in this period.”CME Group Inc., which owns Comex, responded to the recent market dislocation by introducing a new contract allowing the delivery of 400-ounce bars, the type traded in London. Still, “other changes need to be at least considered,” according to LBMA Chairman Paul Fisher.The enormous movement of gold has been a boon for logistics companies, but also a challenge. Not only have passenger flights -- on which shipments are typically transported -- been grounded, but New York City, where many Comex warehouses are located, has also been a hotspot for the virus.To deal with flows, Loomis International U.K. opened up additional vault capacity. Malca-Amit considered using airports in Boston and Philadelphia, but hasn’t needed to yet, Finn said.While large volumes and virus-related restrictions at vaults and airports caused some delivery delays, much of the spike in the premium for futures contracts in March -- which left some banks nursing sizable losses -- was driven by perception rather than reality, Finn said.“My own personal opinion is that any assessment on the inability to get gold in was ill-informed at the time and was made on assumptions rather than fact,” he said.Still, the bonanza for precious metals shippers may last a while. Large deliveries have seen June Comex futures drop to a discount to spot prices this week, but later dated futures are still at a premium. And as investor interest in other precious metals picked up, futures for silver and platinum have also traded at premiums to spot.“The guys in New York have done a great job,” said Brian Hayward, head of Loomis International U.K. “We’re seeing a lot of silver head that way right now.”(An earlier version corrected the Y axis in the first chart)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s government will call on states to eliminate payroll taxes as part of the nation’s efforts to jump-start the economy and create jobs, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.“I’d love the states to get rid of the payroll tax,” he said. They “have also got their own balance sheets, and their own economic capacity, and we’ve already announced very significant support, and will continue to look at opportunities, but the states will be required to do more I suspect going forward as well.”The government’s coronavirus recovery plans will involve changes to taxes on income, and for small and medium businesses, Frydenberg said in the interview. The proposals are expected to be finalized ahead of the government’s annual budget release in October, he said, according to the report. The Treasurer is also looking at reforms that would make it easier for small businesses to borrow, he told the Telegraph.New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said earlier this month he was considering altering payroll taxes in his state as part of a major overhaul of the local taxation system.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- As China’s demand recovery outpaces the rest of Asia, falling fuel exports from the refining giant are providing a much-needed buffer for other processors in the region still grappling with lowered consumption and poor margins.China is curbing exports with refiners selling fuels locally amid a rebound in demand and move to cash-in on higher prices due to a government-imposed “floor price,” said traders and analysts. Shipments so far this month have halved from April and are a quarter of the monthly average in the first quarter, according to Kpler.The cuts have coincided with plant closures and maintenance across South Korea, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines, tightening supplies and pushing prompt prices against later shipments in the narrowing of so-called contango. As refineries return to operation, however, the market rebalancing will depend on a sustained demand rebound.China’s refiners are being discouraged from sending fuels abroad due to weak demand from fuel-importing nations such as Indonesia, and lower export prices when compared with domestic sales, said Yang Xia, analyst with SCI99. Shipments are likely to continue falling this quarter, according to the industry consultant.On average, Chinese fuel marketers who sold cargoes abroad in April had a theoretical loss of 932 yuan a ton for gasoline and 1,486 yuan a ton for diesel, as opposed to domestic sales, data by SCI99 showed. The nation exported 400,000 barrels of clean fuels so far this month, according to Kpler.Fuel demandAs lockdowns across Asia eased, diesel has become one of the strongest performers as industrial activity returned. In Singapore, margins for the fuel have climbed more than 80% from its bottom in mid-May, while producing gasoline flipped into a profit last week before slipping into losses. Commuters who chose to drive their cars over traveling on public transport are boosting demand for the motor fuel.These gains, however, are at risk of being eroded as more refineries return from planned maintenance or consider higher operating rates with demand still well below pre-virus levels. If that happens, balances may potentially flip back into deep oversupply, weighing on margins, said the traders and analysts.Floating storage of clean fuels off Singapore -- while still sizable -- is beginning to shrink. The glut that’s seen as a proxy for the region’s fuel consumption and economic health had made its way into tankers during the peak of coronavirus lockdowns when excess fuel had no where to go.About 12.4 million barrels of clean fuels were floating in Malacca Strait, Singapore Strait and East of Singapore as of May 25, a 4.4% drop from the previous week, according to Kpler. In mid-May, the hoard was about 13 million barrels, and just 5.4 million barrels on April 28.Playing Catch-upDespite several bullish signs across Asian fuel markets, the near-term recovery in margins appears to be more related to supply cuts rather than thriving consumption, according to the traders and analysts.Despite a quicker recovery in China versus elsewhere in Asia, full recovery in China’s domestic air traffic numbers could take a few months, and even longer in some other countries, said Brendan Sobie, founder of aviation analysis firm Sobie Aviation.In India, one of Asia’s top fuel guzzlers, demand for gasoline and diesel were recovering, but remains about 40% below last year’s levels and could take until the end of 2020 to get close to full recovery.Read also: Unlike China, India Oil Demand Stays Weak as Economy FaltersHigher fuel prices currently seen in Asia could be short-lived, said Sri Paravaikkarasu, Asia oil director of industry consultant FGE. A stronger demand recovery may come in June, but if refiners boost processing rates, this will threaten fuel margins, she said.“They will have to juggle high product inventories and demand recovery,” said the Singapore-based analyst, adding that refiners may increase runs cautiously in the coming month. Another cautionary point is the possibility of a second wave of infections, which could stymie nascent recovery, she said.(Updates with analyst comment in eleventh paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
US shares have closed mostly higher as investors viewed measures against China as being less threatening to the US economy than originally feared.
Britain is prepared to offer extended visa rights and a pathway to citizenship for almost 3 million Hong Kong residents in response to China's push to impose national security legislation in the former British colony. China's parliament has approved a decision to go forward with national security legislation for Hong Kong that democracy activists, diplomats and some in the business world fear will jeopardise its semi-autonomous status and its role as a global financial hub. Britain, the United States, Australia, Canada and the EU have all sharply criticised the move.
(Bloomberg) -- The global economy is beginning to dust itself off after being flattened by a world health crisis.Central bankers and government officials have pursued policies to resuscitate economies, travel restrictions are being partially eased in Europe, and cheap borrowing costs are generating homebuying in the U.S.Here are some of the charts that appeared on Bloomberg this week, offering signs of stabilization an modest improvement in the economic activity throughout the world:WorldSlowly but not surely, the world economy is emerging from its coronavirus-enforced hibernation. A new set of daily activity gauges from Bloomberg Economics finds almost all of the economies it monitors witnessed a pick-up in activity since late March and early April, although no country is yet approaching its pre-virus levels.The global jobs slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic is bottoming out, if data from LinkedIn is a guide. The social networking platform says the percentage of its members who joined a new employer stabilized over the past six weeks, after plunging in March. France is showing the sharpest pickup, and Italy -- one of Europe’s hardest-hit nations -- is seeing a “mild improvement.”U.S.Americans hunkered down at home for more than two months and businesses closed in order to help slow the spread of Covid-19. A new real-time gauge of social distancing, however, shows the nation’s economy is beginning to stir to life once again.Housing is heating up and near record-low mortgage rates are providing plenty of fuel. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index of home-purchase applications, which plunged in March amid pandemic-related lockdowns, is now the highest since the end of January after its biggest six-week gain in 27 years.EuropeTourist destinations in Europe are opening their borders again, though not everyone is welcome. Cyprus’ decision to blacklist Sweden, which had a laxer response to Covid-19 than most of the continent, triggered accusations of “discrimination” in the Nordic country.The recovery will require funds and that will be supported by the European Commission unprecedented 750 billion-euro stimulus plan to help struggling economies. Italy and Spain will be the main beneficiaries.Asia-PacificA trans-Tasman travel “bubble” is being planned to allow quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand, after their success in suppressing the virus. Such a move represents a head start in the long process of restoring normality for both nations after weeks of extended lockdown measures.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
US consumer spending plunged by a record-shattering 13.6 per cent in April as the coronavirus pandemic shut businesses and forced millions of lay-offs.
(Bloomberg) -- Sea-Doo maker BRP Inc. halted production at factories from Australia to Mexico during the coronavirus lockdown. Now it’s rushing to crank them back up, to capture rising demand for all-terrain vehicles and other toys for the outdoors.BRP says sales were up 35% in the first three weeks of May across its global dealers network as people look for ways to stay busy while remaining socially distant. Yet the company still expects a 40% drop in revenue in the three months through July. Production won’t fully resume till next week, leaving it unable to fully replenish inventories until later in the quarter.“We totally understand and accept why we needed to do it but when you see now that customers want to buy and we have difficulty to ramp up, it’s definitely a frustration,” Chief Executive Officer Jose Boisjoli said in an interview. “Our factory will be loaded from June 1 until the end of the fiscal year.”Shutdowns curtailed about two months of production capacity, according to Boisjoli, also hurting shipments in the quarter that ended April 30, when revenue dropped 7.8%. The Valcourt, Quebec-based company was forced to scale back investment plans and said it would end its unprofitable production of outboard motors for boats, laying off 650 people in the U.S.Shares of BRP, which is partly owned by Bain Capital, fell 4.1% in New York Thursday. While they’re down 22% this year, they’ve more than doubled from a March low. The recent gains led RBC Capital Markets analyst Steven Arthur to downgrade his rating to sector perform from outperform Friday.In the U.S., shares of Thor Industries Inc. and Winnebago Industries Inc., the two largest publicly-traded recreational vehicle makers, have also more than doubled since hitting bottom in March. Cooped-up consumers looking for recreation -- but fearing the coronavirus -- have flocked to campers and trailers that let them travel while staying away from others.Read more: Scared Americans Desperate to Travel Buy Up ‘Covid Campers’The U.S. is BRP’s strongest market, followed by Canada and Europe, Boisjoli said. Brazil and Mexico are still in more acute phases of the pandemic, he said.All-terrain vehicles have been popular while demand for watercraft products such as the Ski-Doo recently saw a spike, Boisjoli said. An internal survey showed 30% of North American customers in the past month were new to its products, compared with 20% usually.While record high unemployment and sinking consumer confidence may jeopardize the momentum, Boisjoli touted the vehicles as ideal for social distancing.“We’re not happy with this global crisis but we could be an industry that is favored by the situation,” he said.(Updates with RBC downgrade in fifth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The option, which is already available in a handful of cities in Australia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, will cost $50 per hour. Fares for regular Uber rides are generally based on the level of demand and the trip distance. Uber said it decided to expand the hourly feature to the U.S. after riders requested an option for extended trips during the pandemic to avoid exposure to different drivers and vehicles when taking multiple trips in a confined time period.
Britain has urged China to reconsider imposing a new security law on Hong Kong and hopes Beijing is listening, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday. "We have urged China to reconsider the implementation of this law and live up to its responsibilities as a leading member of the international community," the spokesman said. "We hope they will listen carefully to the arguments we have made in public and in private about the impact which Beijing's proposal would have on Hong Kong."
(Bloomberg) -- Iron ore surged past $100 a ton as supply woes in Brazil coincide with sustained, robust demand in top steel producer China.Benchmark spot prices climbed to $101.05 on Friday as Brazil, the world’s second-largest exporter, saw a surge in coronavirus infections, stoking worries that the pandemic may curb local supply. In April, miner Vale SA cut its annual shipment guidance on bad weather and the virus’s impact on operations. Meanwhile, port stockpiles of iron ore in China have continued to decline.The industrial staple has prospered in 2020 even as the coronavirus pandemic hammered industrial activity in many economies, although Bloomberg Intelligence has been among observers warning that market may flip to a surplus in the second half. In addition to Vale, the higher prices will bolster returns at BHP Group, Rio Tinto Group and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.The early resumption of industrial operations in China has fueled a recovery in downstream activity and steel mills continue to increase output, China International Capital Corp. analysts including Ma Kai wrote in a note. “Iron ore will fundamentally maintain a tight balance this year,” with supply gradually recovering from the third quarter, they said.Benchmark spot prices are at the highest since August. Futures in Singapore were at $97, heading for their biggest ever monthly gain. On the Dalian Commodity Exchange, futures have rallied 23% in May.Credit Suisse Group AG recently estimated that the market is now at “peak tightness,” a condition that will probably persist until July. Bloomberg Intelligence expects a 34-million-ton surplus in the second half on higher supply and stagnating demand, flipping from a 25-million-ton deficit in the first half. That’s throwing a spotlight on whether the price gains are sustainable.“There remain doubts” as to the strength of the rally over the next one to three months, said Hui Heng Tan, analyst at Marex Spectron Group. A pickup in supply in Australia and Brazil is expected to gather pace, although disruptions in the South American country will be a factor to watch in the second half, he said. That increase in volumes could potentially coincide with when China exits its peak construction period with elevated steel stockpiles, he said.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
* Loans: Riskier loans test resilience of institutional market By Mariko Ishikawa SYDNEY, May 29 (LPC) - The leveraged finance market Down Under is showing signs of revival, with a couple of event-driven loans injecting life into a market that slowed to a trickle when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Infrastructure services company Ventia and private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners are leading a US$3.81bn-equivalent pipeline of sizeable term loan Bs, in a test of resilience for institutional loans in Australasia. Ventia is eyeing a A$525m-equivalent (US$340m) dual-currency add-on TLB to fund its acquisition of Broadspectrum, the Australian services unit of Spain's Ferrovial.
Shares on the ASX have fallen by more than 1.6 per cent amid concerns about the US-China relationship, with financials the worst hit, losing 3.6 per cent.
* The federal government has announced it will refund $721 million which it claimed as part of its 'robodebt' scheme. * The robodebt scheme attempted to identify social security 'overpayments' and recoup money the government said was owed to it, but it was controversial from the beginning. * Refunds will be issued from July. * Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.* * *The federal government has announced it will scrap its controversial 'robodebt' scheme, which attempted to automatically claw back alleged overpayments to social security recipients, and will refund $721 million to those who already paid.A statement from government services minister Stuart Robert announced Services Australia would "refund all payments" which were raised as part of the robodebt program. The minister said the department had identified 470,000 affected debts, which are now set to be wiped and refunded.The robodebt scheme, which began in 2016, was criticised from the outset. Many current and former benefit recipients received letters accusing them of having been overpaid, and that they now owed the government money.The problem was, as many recipients and activists pointed out, the debts were often wildly overinflated as they were calculated with a formula which averaged out income and earnings over a series of fortnights, rather than identifying what was earned in a particular week. This led to situations where casual workers or sole traders with inconsistent earnings had their incomes averaged incorrectly – leading to debts which were either overestimated or entirely invalid.It was a rotten scheme at its core, more focused on maximising the money 'recouped' for the government and being punitive than any sort of managerial competence. On numerous occasions, robodebts were found to be unenforceable by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal due to a lack of concrete proof that debts were actually owed.In March, The Guardian reported the government had privately conceded it would have to refund more than 400,000 payments, as the prospect of losing a class action lawsuit from robodebt recipients loomed.Regardless of the total collapse of the program, Robert stands behind the government's effort towards "upholding the integrity of Australia's welfare system".Stuart said that averaging of ATO data was no longer used to calculate debts as part of the Income Compliance Scheme as of November, with the suggestion being that any debts raised since then are valid."The Income Compliance Program was designed to make identifying welfare overpayments more efficient," his statement reads. "It assisted with reviews where customers did not respond, or fully engage, with requests to clarify discrepancies between income earnings reported to Centrelink and the Australian Tax Office."This effort towards 'efficiency' would likely have been little consolation to those who received debt notices under an unlawful scheme.Refunds will start being issued in July.
Deloitte says it will shorten its list of candidates to buy Virgin Australia early next week after all parties reaffirmed their interest.
The administrator of Virgin Australia Holdings <VAH.AX> expects to shortlist two preferred bidders early next week after parties on Friday confirmed non-binding indicative proposals to acquire the airline. Brookfield Asset Management, which pulled out of the first bidding round and was not on the initial shortlist of four, submitted a proposal on Friday with the encouragement of unions and administrator Deloitte, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Brookfield and Deloitte both declined to comment on that development.
* Australian job hunters have been at the forefront of a changing labour market, as they try to navigate an economy in flux. * Analysis from job site Indeed shows how different sectors have fared with the shutdown, with hospitality and retail jobs again in hot demand. * The number of searches for delivery driver jobs meanwhile has declined alongside farm and supply chain workers, as other opportunities emerge. * Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.* * *The Australian job market has just undergone what will go down as its strangest few months on record, as businesses begin reopening their doors. While the business shutdown in March left job seekers out in the cold, they're now being welcomed back into the fold – and it shows. Analysis by job site Indeed, provided exclusively to Business Insider Australia, shows just how the workforce adapted over the months leading up to May."Early in the crisis, job seekers reacted swiftly to new hiring announcements. Australia’s supermarket sector, led by Coles and Woolworths, was one of the chief beneficiaries," Indeed Asia-Pacific economist Callam Pickering said. "At its peak, more than 10% of all searches on Indeed AU were directed at Australian supermarkets, around seven times higher than normal."However, while those same people might have been shoved unceremoniously out of hard-hit industries, they're now hoping to be taken back into the fold as venues and shop re-open."In the week ending 22 May, searches for cafe and restaurant were up 56% and 49%, respectively, compared with two weeks earlier. Rapid search growth is also apparent for terms such as chef, cook, barista and hospitality."As the likes of Merivale begin reopening, hospitality might be dominating the surge in search traffic but it's not the only sector looking to make a comeback. Searches for retail jobs were up around 30%, while the reopening of dentists saw dental assistant positions jump by a similar margin.However, it's hardly business as usual quite yet."While job seekers are certainly more interested in hospitality and retail, their search share is still somewhat below pre-crisis levels. That reflects a number of factors, including a limited number of new job postings in those areas, along with staggered re-openings across the country," Pickering said.Despite demand for workers in these areas still lagging, many will soon be forced to begin applying again. From June, JobSeeker 1 recipients will again be required to search for and apply for jobs to receive their benefit. With many left desperately looking for a steady income, Indeed saw roaring demand for 'driver' and 'delivery driver' roles that is only just beginning to abate."Delivery driver, which requires little to no training, was particularly attractive to Australians who had lost their jobs or been stood down temporarily. Even with the current decline, searches for driver or delivery driver is still well above pre-crisis levels," Pickering said. Perhaps reflecting a decline in demand for groceries and other essentials, job searches for farm work, pharmacy assistants and supply chain functions like forklift drivers and stackers have also fallen sharply.With restrictions only just beginning to ease now, and unemployment expected to only rise from here, job hunters aren't out of the woods just yet.
The Bank of Japan's yield curve control (YCC) is drawing attention from other central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, as a possible policy tool to help economies recover from the devastation caused by coronavirus pandemic. Fed officials, including New York Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams, have recently said YCC could be a tool to complement forward guidance. After cutting rates to historic lows, Australia's central bank set a target of around 0.25% for the three-year bond yield.