Browsing articles in "Business"
Monday 8th August 2016 - 7:27 pm
Comments Off on Job ads “ease”

Job ads “ease”

by Alan Thornhill

Job advertising fell last month, according to research the ANZ bank published today.

 

The bank said job ads fell by 0.8 per cent in July.

 

It said this was the first decline since April and may reflect heightened uncertainty temporarily delaying the hiring plans of some employers.

 

It added that the annual growth in job ads has slowed to 6.9 per cent from 8.0 per cent  the previous month.

 

 

The bank said too, that the fall in July was driven by both internet and newspaper job ads.

 

Internet job advertisements, which are the main driver of total job ads, declined by 0.7 per cent in July, the bank noted.

 

It said that annual growth in internet jobs ads had slowed from 8.8 per cent  in June to 7.9 per cent in July.

 

The more volatile newspaper ads remain on a structural downward trend and fell further in July, down 12.6 per cent  in the month to be 41.7 per cent  lower than a year ago.

 

The bank’s head of Australian Economics, Felicity Emmett, said:  “the labour market has lost some momentum so far in 2016.”

 

She said there had been :  “slower average growth in both employment and job ads seeing the unemployment rate stabilise around 5.75 per cent.

 

The labour market has lost some momentum so far in 2016, with slower average growth in both employment and job ads seeing the unemployment rate stabilise around 5.75 per cent, in the second half of last year from a peak of 6.3 per cent.”

 

Ms Emmett said, too, that: “more recently, job ads rebounded strongly in May, followed by a modest rise in June.”

 

But she also noted that:  “…these increases have been partly unwound by the decline in July.

 

“Given that ads fell sharply in early July, we think this decline may partly reflect the impact of increased uncertainty following the close federal election on 2 July and the shock decision by the UK to leave the European Union on 24 June,” she said.

 

This impact appears to have been short-lived,

 

Job advertising fell las month, according to research the ANZ bank published today.

 

Ms Emmett also said:  “the labour market has lost some momentum so far in 2016.”

 

Ms Emmett said, too, that: “… job ads rebounded strongly in May, followed by a modest rise in June.”

 

But she also noted that:  “…these increases have been partly unwound by the decline in July.

 

“Given that ads fell sharply in early July, we think this decline may partly reflect the impact of increased uncertainty following the close federal election on 2 July and the shock decision by the UK to leave the European Union on 24 June,” she said.

 

This impact appears to have been short-lived,” Ms Emmett added.

 

 

With surveyed business conditions remaining upbeat and the RBA cutting rates in August, we look for a gradual improvement in hiring intentions over the remainder of the year,” Ms Emmett said.

 

 

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Thursday 4th August 2016 - 7:29 pm
Comments Off on PM hauls banks before parliament

PM hauls banks before parliament

by Alan Thornhill

The Federal government will haul Australia’s banks before a powerful parliamentary committee as it seeks to persuade them to pass on the Reserve Bank’s latest interest rate cut in full.

 

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull and his Treasurer, Scott Morrison, made the announcement in a joint statement today.

 

Labor might well have gone further.

 

It promised a royal commission into the behavior of  Australia’s banks, before last month’s Federal elections.

 

Mr Turnbull said that in  challenging economic times globally, it is important that Australians retain faith in our financial institutions and the decisions they are taking.

 

“The Australian economy depends critically on the performance and strength of our banking and financial system,” Mr Turnbull said.

 

” Banks operate under a social licence and have responsibilities to the Australian public.”

 

He said they would be asked, particularly about several matters.when they appear before the House of Representatives Economics Committee.

 

In particular the banks would be required to explain:

  • International economic and financial market developments and how these are affecting Australia
  • Developments in prudential regulation, including capital requirements, and how these are affecting the policies of Australian banks
  • The costs of funds, impacts on margins and the basis for bank interest rate pricing decisions
  • How individual banks and the banking industry as a whole are responding to issues previously raised in Parliamentary inquiries through their package of reforms announced in April 2016
  • Bank perspectives on the performance of the Australian economy, including strengths and risks.

 

The appearance by the banks will ensure they have the important opportunity to transparently account for their decision making and how they balance the needs of borrowers, savers, shareholders and the wider community, Mr Turnbull said.

 

The initial response from Australia’s banks was cautious.

 

Andrew Thorburn, the National Australia Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, said for example that his bank is looking  forward to the dialogue around “how we balance”  the needs of different  stakeholders.

 

He said it is also anticipating “outlining the full cost of being an unquestionably strong bank and bringing further insight to the topic of how we set our interest rates.

 

“I am proud to be a banker,” he added.

 

” It has always required carefully thought through decisions,” he added.

 

“But the focus has been on serving the many people who rely on us to get these decisions right. ”

 

 

Thursday 4th August 2016 - 12:57 pm
Comments Off on Retail sales rise – slightly – in June

Retail sales rise – slightly – in June

by Alan Thornhill

Retail sales rose 0.1 per cent in June on seasonally adjusted figures  the Bureau of Statistics published today.

 

The Bureau said   this followed a rise of 0.2 per cent in May 2016.

It said that in seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (3.5 per cent), household goods retailing (0.3 per cent) and department stores (0.7 per cent).

 

But there were falls in food retailing (-0.6 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.1 per cent) and other retailing (-0.1 per cent) in June 2016.
In seasonally adjusted terms, retail sales rose in Queensland (1.1 per cent) and Western Australia (0.1 per cent).

 

Turnover in South Australia was relatively unchanged (0.0 per cent).

 

And there were falls in New South Wales (-0.2 per cent), Victoria (-0.1 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (-0.6 per cent), the Northern Territory (-1.1 per cent) and Tasmania (-0.2 per cent).

 

The Bureau also said that the trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.2 per cent in June following a 0.2 per cent rise in May 2016.

 

Compared to June 2015 the trend estimate rose 3.1 per cent.

 

 

Online retail turnover contributed 3.4 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

 

In seasonally adjusted volume terms, turnover rose 0.4 per cent in the June quarter 2016, following a rise of 0.5 per cent in the March quarter 2016.

 

The largest contributor to the rise was “other retailing,”  which rose 1.9 per cent in seasonally adjusted volume terms in the June quarter 2016.

Wednesday 3rd August 2016 - 9:47 pm
Comments Off on PM confronts banks

PM confronts banks

by Alan Thornhill

Malcolm Turnbull directly challenged Australia’s big banks today, saying they should pass on the rate cut the Reserve Bank announced earlier this week in full, or explain why.

 

So far the banks have been passing on about half of the 0.25 per centage point cut.

 

That has left families with $300,000 mortgages some $20 a month out of pocket.

 

The Prime Minister said Australia had needed a period of economic transition after its huge mining construction boom.

 

“That’s why we have the big trade export deals, the big deals, the big free trade deals,” he said.

 

However the shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen disagreed.

 

He said the government was simply “chest beating” on the rate cut.

 

So, this is a Government which is being exposed for a lack of economic leadership, for a lack of economic plan,” Mr Bowen said.

 

He said the government had no plan to increase investment in the non-mining sector, to ensure that we have jobs for the future. “

 

Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison are simply not up to the job,” Mr Bowen said.

Wednesday 3rd August 2016 - 1:59 pm
Comments Off on How we spend our time – and money

How we spend our time – and money

by Alan Thornhill

Hard working Australians, who leave themselves little time to shop, are buying more of their food and groceries online.

 

The National Australia Bank, which watches these trends, says we spent more than $20 billion, making online purchases over the past year.

 

And the strongest growth, seen in that time, was among those aged 35 to 44.

 

That is people of prime working age.

 

Their spending on groceries and liquor rose by 20,5 per cent over the past year.

 

They also spent 19.2 per cent more on homewares and appliances.

 

Meanwhile 18-24 year olds spent 22 per cent more on fashion and 19.9 per cent more on media.

 

The bank said that while overall growth in online spending was still quite strong, it had flattened from that seen back in 2011 when the index was first established.

 

The bank’s Chief Econmomist, Alan Oster, said  “the $20.1 billion spent online by Australians in the last year is equivalent to 6.8 per per cent of spending in the bricks and mortar’ retail sector.

 

“And growth by online businesses is far outpacing these traditional retailers,” he added.s

Tuesday 2nd August 2016 - 4:17 pm
Comments Off on Rates hit new low

Rates hit new low

by Alan Thornhill

The Reserve Bank today cut its cash rate by 25 basis points, to its lowest level ever, just 1.5 cent.

 

Explaining the decision, the bank’s Governor, Glenn Stevens said: “the global economy is continuing to grow, at a lower than average pace.

 

“Several advanced economies have recorded improved conditions over the past year, but conditions have become more difficult for a number of emerging market economies.

 

“Actions by Chinese policymakers are supporting the near-term growth outlook, but the underlying pace of China’s growth appears to be moderating, “ Mr Stevens said.

 

He noted that: “commodity prices are above recent lows.”

 

However he added: “…this follows very substantial declines over the past couple of years.

 

“Australia’s terms of trade remain much lower than they had been in recent years.

 

“Financial markets have continued to function effectively.

 

Mr Stevens said: ” Funding costs for high-quality borrowers remain low and, globally, monetary policy remains remarkably accommodative.

 

“In Australia, recent data suggests that overall growth is continuing at a moderate pace, despite a very large decline in business investment,” he added.

 

“Other areas of domestic demand, as well as exports, have been expanding at a pace at or above trend.

 

“Labour market indicators continue to be somewhat mixed, but are consistent with a modest pace of expansion in employment in the near term.

 

“Recent data confirm that inflation remains quite low.

 

“Given very subdued growth in labour costs and very low cost pressures elsewhere in the world, this is expected to remain the case for some time.

 

 

“Given very subdued growth in labour costs and very low cost pressures elsewhere in the world, this is expected to remain the case for some time,” Mr Stevens said.

 

 

The Bureau of Statistics reported that Australia’s inflation rate, on the Consumer Price Index, stood at just 1 per cent in the 12 months to the end of June.

 

That is well below the bank’s target range – of 2 to 3 per cent inflation – over the course  of a business cycle.

Sunday 31st July 2016 - 2:57 pm
Comments Off on A joint appeal:for the homeless

A joint appeal:for the homeless

by Alan Thornhill

Australia’s politicians would like you to stop for a moment today and think of the nation’s homeless.

 

On the eve of National Missing Persons Week, the Justice Minister, Michael Keenan, said one person goes missing every 15 minutes in Australia.

 

More than 35,000 people are reported missing each year and more than 2,000 people are currently listed as a long-term missing person.

 

“These are our family, friends, colleagues, and members of our community,” Mr Keenan  added.

 

He said: “… I am encouraging all Australians to follow your instincts if you have concerns for someone’s welfare and suspect they may be missing.

 

“That is why on the eve of National Missing Persons Week 2016, I am encouraging all Australians to follow your instincts if you have concerns for someone’s welfare and suspect they may be missing,” he said.

 

Mr Keenan said, too, that trends among missing people are now being studied closely.

 

“To better understand the trends in missing persons cases, the Australian Federal Police are currently leading a comprehensive research project—Missing Persons in Australia—through its National Missing Persons Coordination Centre,” Mr Keenan said.

 

A report due is due by the end of the year.

 

Meanwhile the opposition accused the government of not taking the situation seriously enough.\

 

The shadow minister for housing and homelessness, Senator Doug Cameron, said that every night one Australian in 200 has no home they can call their own.

 

More often than not, homelessness is a result of circumstances beyond any anyone’s control.

 

There are complex social, financial and medical issues for it.

 

Most of Australia’s homeless people find life “very tough indeed,” Senator Cameron said
“They are living from day to day, from hand to mouth, finding shelter and safety where they can; on someone’s couch, in an emergency shelter or in some other temporary supported accommodation,” he added.

Friday 29th July 2016 - 4:03 pm
Comments Off on Those country cousins – in a big city store

Those country cousins – in a big city store

by Alan Thornhill

The hard right is keeping Malcolm Turnbull on a short leash.

 

 

That was shown, yet again, today when the Prime Minister llrefused to back Kevin Rudd’s bid to become Secretary General of the United Nations.

 

 

The decision caused some surprise in Canberra.

 

 

After all, Mr Turnbull’s cabinet had been evenly divided on the issue, just one day before.

 

 

And it left the current Prime minister, alone, to make that decision.

 

 

Well, almost alone.

 

 

There is still the little matter of the secret agreement that the Liberal party’s country cousins, in the National Party, made Mr Turnbull, himself, sign before they accepted him as Prime Minister, last September.
Neither of the Coalition partners has, so far,  revealed what is in that agreement.

 

But, perhaps they don’t have to.

 

 

For, as the old saying has it: “by their works, ye shall know them.”

 

 

It would be an honour for a small country like Australia to have one of its citizens as deeply involved in settling world disputes, as Mr Rudd would be, if he gets that job.

 

And in such circumstances relatively small matters, like past differences in domestic politics, are often overlooked.,

 

Those who can’t bring themselves to make such accommodations risk being labelled as insular in their outlook.

 

That label isn’t sticking to to Mr Turnbull just yet.

 

However, this latest decision isn’t the first of its kind.

 

That has led to a series of doubtful stories about Mr Turnbull, with headlines like “ will the real Malcolm Turnbull please stand up?”

 

So far, he hasn’t.

 

And his country cousins are still running the shop.

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Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
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