Financial News from AAP

  • NT power prices to drop 5% on January 1 AAP - 24 minutes ago

    The Northern Territory government has announced a five per cent drop in power prices from January 1 but denies the news is a pre-election sweetener. Chief Minister Adam Giles told a Country Liberals Party conference in Darwin on Sunday the restructuring of PowerWater Corporation had resulted in the savings, which would equate to about $155 per year for the average family. This is a slight rollback of the 30 per cent power price increases announced by former chief minister Terry Mills, which came into effect on January 1, 2013.

  • Brazil to sue BHP, Vale for $5.2 billion AAP - 4 hours ago
    Brazil to sue BHP, Vale for $5.2 billion

    Federal and state governments in Brazil say they will sue iron ore miner Samarco and its co-owners BHP Billiton and Vale for $US5.2 billion ($A7.19 billion) for the damage caused when a dam burst earlier this month, creating an environmental disaster. Officials say the wave of mud that spilled into the Doce River on November 5 left an estimated nine tonnes of dead fish, polluted 850 kilometres of waterways and contaminated the source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people in Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo states. Brazil's environment minister Izabella Teixeira said that the companies will be sued to deal with the consequences of the burst dam over the next 10 years.

  • Turnbull urges strong CHOGM climate action AAP - Sat, Nov 28, 2015 11:26 AM AEDT
    Turnbull urges strong CHOGM climate action

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has encouraged other Commonwealth leaders to send a powerful signal to other nations that strong climate change action is needed. Mr Turnbull on Friday was at a special climate change session at the Commonwealth leaders' summit in Malta, also attended by special guests French President Francois Holland and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. "Ahead of COP21 it is a powerful signal to other countries of the world to show a similar level of ambition and commitment to working together for a strong result in Paris," he said.

  • Strong housing market lifts Vic budget AAP - Sat, Nov 28, 2015 10:55 AM AEDT
    Strong housing market lifts Vic budget

    Victoria's budget surplus is $500 million higher than expected, according to the state government. Melbourne's booming property market and huge population has helped lift the 2015-16 budget surplus from $1.2 billion to $1.7 billion in the budget update. Treasurer Tim Pallas said on Friday the state could not always rely on the stamp duty windfall, but said the strong property market had definitely helped the bottom line.

  • Old Beechworth Gaol sold for a steal AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 9:48 PM AEDT
    Old Beechworth Gaol sold for a steal

    It was once home to some of Victoria's most notorious criminals, and now the Old Beechworth Gaol has been sold for an undisclosed figure. The heritage-listed jail, that has housed Ned Kelly and slain Melbourne underworld figure Carl Williams, was auctioned on Friday, falling just short of the expected $2 million price tag. Auctioneer Rod Devlin said the property was passed in at $1.75 million but a sale was negotiated shortly after with an anonymous buyer.

  • Oz doing better than UK in gender equality AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 9:27 PM AEDT
    Oz doing better than UK in gender equality

    When it comes to gender equality in the workplace, Australia is doing better than Britain in most areas. Australia not only employs more female CEOs than Britain, but its overall gender pay gap is smaller. New figures released from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency's (WGEA) annual report show that full-time female employees in the private sector took home a base salary 19.1 per cent less than men last financial year - a difference of $17,423.

  • $A starting to recover its losses AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 5:50 PM AEDT

    The Australian dollar is starting to recover the losses it made after the release of disappointing business investment data on Thursday. In overnight trade, it hit a low of 72.14 US cents after business investment in the September quarter suffered its biggest quarterly fall in the 28-year history of the official survey. OANDA Australia and Asia Pacific senior trader Stephen Innes said the Australian dollar has managed to claw back some of its losses after hitting the overnight low.

  • SA govt signs off on Nystar finance AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 5:35 PM AEDT

    The redevelopment of the Nyrstar smelting plant at Port Pirie in South Australia has reached another milestone. The state government on Friday signed off on the $291.25 million financial support arrangement for the project. "The state government's financial guarantee has leveraged a $563 million investment that will deliver better environmental and health outcomes for the people of Port Pirie," SA treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said.

  • Aust bonds rally ends AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 5:23 PM AEDT

    The Australian bond market has lost a little ground amid profit taking after enjoying several days of gains during the week. Aussie bond futures prices rose on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday because of ...

  • Aust stock market fades into red AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 5:03 PM AEDT

    The Australian share market has faded into the red after a positive start, dragged back by the absence of a lead from US markets, and investor fatigue. Phillip Capital senior client adviser Michael Heffernan said the local bourse was not down by a significant amount on a day when there were no major drivers. "We had no lead from America, but European markets were quite okay," Mr Heffernan said.

  • Oroton showing positive signs AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 4:54 PM AEDT
    Oroton showing positive signs

    Oroton's move away from heavy discounting is bearing fruit for the embattled luxury accessories retailer. Chief executive Mark Newman says like for like sales growth rose eight per cent during the first 17 weeks of its current financial year in a sign the strategy is working. "Although it is early in the year and the biggest trading months are still ahead of us, this is a positive sign that the investment in the brand over the past 18 months is beginning to bear fruit," Mr Newman told the company's annual general meeting on Friday.

  • Rio pushes button on $2.6b bauxite project AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 4:52 PM AEDT

    Mining giant Rio Tinto has given the nod to its massive $US1.9 billion ($A2.63 billion) South of Embley bauxite expansion project in northern Queensland. Rio said the long-awaited approval would boost the company's annual bauxite exports from Cape York by around 10 million tonnes per year as conditions in aluminium markets improve. The global miner plans to initially produce 22.8 million tonnes of bauxite per year from 2019, replacing production from the depleting East Weipa mine 40 kilometres away.

  • $2.6b bauxite project to help regional Qld AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 4:38 PM AEDT
    $2.6b bauxite project to help regional Qld

    Queensland's sluggish regional economy is set for a boost with Rio Tinto announcing a $2.6 billion investment in its bauxite operations in the state's far north. The company's Amrun project, to be built 40km south of Weipa on Queensland's Cape York Peninsula, will include the construction of a mine and port to expand production and extend the life of its existing bauxite operations. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Friday welcomed the announcement, saying the project would provide 1100 jobs during its peak construction phase and ensure the continued employment of Rio Tinto's current 1400-strong Weipa workforce.

  • Stocks to watch on Friday AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 4:23 PM AEDT

    Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange on Friday: MTS - METCASH - down 1.5 cent, or 1.12 per cent, at $1.32 More than 2,500 jobs will be created over the next five years as Metcash-owned supermarket ...

  • Aust shares close lower AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 4:18 PM AEDT

    The Australian share market has closed slightly lower in a lacklustre session bereft of leads. At the close on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was DOWN 8.1 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 5,202.6, ...

  • Rio Tinto announces $2.6bn Amrun project AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 4:08 PM AEDT
    Rio Tinto announces $2.6bn Amrun project

    Rio Tinto has announced a $2.6 billion development of its bauxite operations in far north Queensland. Chief executive Sam Walsh says the Amrun project, which will include a new mine and port on the Cape ...

  • Rio gives nod for $1.9b bauxite project AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 3:19 PM AEDT

    Rio Tinto has approved its massive $1.9 billion South of Embley bauxite project on Queensland's Cape York Peninsula. The mining giant has changed the name of the mine to the Aboriginal word Amrun, with ...

  • Retail toughest in 50 yrs: Solomon Lew AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 2:55 PM AEDT
    Retail toughest in 50 yrs: Solomon Lew

    Australia's retailers have faced their most challenging period for 50 years, says retailing mogul Solomon Lew. The chairman of Premier Investments, which owns retailer Just Group, says a fragile global economy, a slowdown in China, and volatile share markets, commodity prices and currencies have all affected general investment and growth. In Australia, the transition from the mining boom had not been well managed and has been compounded by cost-of-living pressures, high levels of personal debt, unemployment and poor public policy decisions driven largely by recent political instability.

  • China insurance sales army heightens risk AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 2:33 PM AEDT

    Chinese insurers are on a hiring binge, recruiting an army of agents to sell their products to a burgeoning middle class, but the risk of mis-selling by inexperienced agents on commission could prove costly to the industry and its customers. In an immature market with less than half the penetration of the United States, and about a quarter of Japan's, China's insurers tapped the rising demand mainly by selling through banks, until regulators curtailed that channel in 2014 over concerns that inexperienced customers assumed the products were as safe as bank deposits. The largest, China Life Insurance Co, increased its salesforce by 28 per cent to nearly a million in the six months to June, while next in line, Ping An, swelled its sales ranks by 25 per cent to 800,000.

  • The week in numbers to Nov 27 AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 2:30 PM AEDT

    The big and small numbers that grabbed attention - or should have - in the business world over the past week. Monday: Five billion - The world's online population is expected to double to five billion ...

  • No rate cuts, at least until next year AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 2:17 PM AEDT

    The Reserve Bank is chilling out on cutting the cash rate - at least until next year. All 13 economists surveyed by AAP expect the RBA to keep the cash rate at two per cent at its December meeting on Tuesday, but six are predicting that there will a cut early in 2016. In a speech on Tuesday, RBA governor Glenn Stevens indicated that he is is still prepared to reduce the cash rate again, if needed, after cutting it in February and May.

  • Australia Post gets go ahead for $1 stamps AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 2:02 PM AEDT
    Australia Post gets go ahead for $1 stamps

    The price Australians must pay to keep alive their daily national letter delivery service has been approved by the consumer watchdog at $1 a stamp - and a much longer wait. Australia Post has been given the thumbs up from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to raise the price of a basic stamp by more than 40 per cent while taking two days longer to deliver the letters they are stuck on. With Australians increasingly switching to digital options such as paperless billing and email, the alternative, Australia Post has said, is cutting post offices and services.

  • Call for royal commission on Timor spying AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 1:13 PM AEDT

    Independent senator Nick Xenophon has called for a royal commission into spy allegations concerning Australia's negotiations with East Timor over an oil and gas treaty. East Timor has recommenced legal action against Australia in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague over claims that spies bugged their cabinet room in 2004 during talks over the reserves worth $40 billion. "It must be an independent judicial inquiry so we can get to the truth of these matters," Senator Xenophon told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

  • Schwartz's 20yr Pfizer mission pays off AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 1:11 PM AEDT

    Alan Schwartz knows how to play a long game. The executive chairman of boutique investment bank Guggenheim Partners spent almost 20 years cultivating Pfizer boss Ian Read as a client. Schwartz, 65, had been working with Read since 2013 to find a European-registered company with which US firm Pfizer could combine and shift its headquarters to a country with a lower tax rate, so-called inverting.

  • Have earlier business events: Fairbairn AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 1:01 PM AEDT

    Late night business dinners should be replaced by more female-friendly events which finish earlier, the new boss of a major British business lobby says. Sporting events and black-tie dinners are often seen as the default places to network and strike deals, says Carolyn Fairbairn, who became first woman to head the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in November. "I have never been a fan of the business dinner.

  • Aurora winning fans ahead of debut album AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 12:47 PM AEDT

    The Norwegian singer Aurora cast her spell over a London audience this week with her special brand of electro-pop and deep lyrics, delivered with an angelic voice that has made Katy Perry a fan. Aurora, 19, is an emerging artist whose debut album is set for release next year, but she already has some serious followers. Perry, the highest-earning woman in music this year according to Forbes, tweeted back in March that Aurora's music made her heart flutter, and urged her own fans to "check this angel".

  • Stein's law says oil will rise: Kemp AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 12:34 PM AEDT

    "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop," according to Herbert Stein, former chief economist to US President Richard Nixon. The emerging supply-demand imbalance could only be resolved by a sharp price fall which was triggered in July 2014 after Islamic State fighters failed to seize Kurdistan's oilfields and Libya resumed oil exports. In retrospect, all this is obvious, but the clues were there at the time for anyone who tracked data on stagnant consumption and accelerating US oil production.

  • Sharemarket retreats, but still higher AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 12:15 PM AEDT

    BHP Billiton was up 22 cents to $19.16 at 1201 AEDT, while Woodside Petroleum was the best performer in the energy sector, up 62 cents at $30.23. The big four banks were mixed, with ANZ and Commonwealth Bank in the red, but National Australia Bank and Westpac higher. The worst performer for the second day running was Slater and Gordon, which was down 23 cents, or 24.47 per cent, at 71 cents, despite the law firm seeking to reassure investors that planned UK government changes to road traffic accident compensation claims will not have a major impact on its British operations.

  • $A trading in tight range AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 12:12 PM AEDT

    The Australian dollar is slightly lower as currency traders wait for a string of key local and overseas economic indicators. At 1200 AEDT Friday, the local unit was trading at 72.21 US cents, down from ...

  • ACCC gives Aust Post OK for price hike AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 12:01 PM AEDT

    Australia Post has been given the thumbs up by the consumer watchdog to raise the price of a basic postage stamp by more than 40 per cent while taking longer to deliver letters. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says it does not plan to object to Australia Post's proposal to raise the cost of a basic stamp from 70 cents to $1 and allow two business days for delivery. Australia Post wants to implement the change from January to help offset the huge losses it incurs on the service due to dwindling demand.

  • Lew calls for scrapping of online tax AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 11:26 AM AEDT
    Lew calls for scrapping of online tax

    Solomon Lew's Premier Investments wants an immediate scrapping of the tax break on online purchases from overseas below $1000 and an end to "punitive" weekend penalty rates. Premier Investments owns the retail group, Just Group, which includes Just Jeans, Peter Alexander and Smiggle. Mr Lew, who is chairman of Premier Investments, says Premier applauds the government's announcement in June that the level at which GST and duties are applied will be lowered from $1000 to zero.

  • Campaigners hope others follow Nestle AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 11:01 AM AEDT

    Nestle's admission that slave labour is used to produce its seafood sourced from Thailand sets an example for other companies who need to join forces to push the Thai government to clean up its supply chain, campaigners say. Nestle on Monday disclosed forced labour was in its supply chain after a year-long investigation found migrants were sold and lured by false promises to work in Thailand's seafood sector, kept in debt bondage and degrading conditions. The disclosure came as a surprise as international companies rarely acknowledge abuses in their supply chains despite coming under increasing pressure from consumers and governments to be transparent about how and where their products are sourced.

  • Support for banks, resources boosts bourse AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 10:56 AM AEDT

    The Australian share market has opened higher, following positive leads from European bourses overnight with Wall Street closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. "Given yesterday's market, we appear to be firing on all cylinders this morning at this early stage," CMC Markets, chief market analyst Ric Spooner said. After dipping below the $19 mark on Thursday, BHP Billiton had a strong start to trading, up 19 cents to $19.13 at 1019 AEDT.

  • Morrison welcomes premier's contribution AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 10:44 AM AEDT
    Morrison welcomes premier's contribution

    Treasurer Scott Morrison has welcomed South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill's contribution to the tax debate. Mr Weatherill has proposed lifting the GST to 15 per cent, but in return wants a share of ...

  • Smiggle boss slams post-mining transition AAP - Fri, Nov 27, 2015 10:40 AM AEDT
    Smiggle boss slams post-mining transition

    Solomon Lew has accused successive Australian governments of mismanaging the economy's post-mining boom transition and reiterated his hopes for a period of stability under prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. Premier Investments chairman Mr Lew has told the company's annual general meeting that retail conditions were the most challenging he had known in 50 years, despite a 20.7 per cent lift in annual profit due to the success of stationary brand Smiggle and sleepwear chain Peter Alexander. "The transition from the mining boom has not been well managed and is overlaid by cost of living pressures, high levels of personal debt, under- and unemployment and poor public policy decisions driven largely by recent political instability," Mr Lew told shareholders in Melbourne on Friday.