Browsing articles in "manufacturing"
Thursday 1st September 2016 - 5:25 pm
Comments Off on Retail sales “flat” ABS

Retail sales “flat” ABS

by Alan Thornhill

Retail sales were flat in July, according to figures the Bureau of Statistics published today.

 
The bureau also reported that new private capital spending continued to fall sharply in the June quarter.

 

But it said and that the number of working days lost through strikes – and other industrial disputes – rose over the past year.

 

 

The bureau said retail turnover did not change in July, although it had risen by 0.1 per cent in June.

 

It made this comparison on seasonally adjusted figures.

 

On the same basis, there were rises in food retailing (0.7 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.2 per cent), and other retailing (0.2 per cent).

 

Sales of clothing, footwear and personal accessories also rose by 0.3 per cent.

 

However department store sales fell during the month.
The bureau also said that, in seasonally adjusted terms, retail sales rose by 0.5 per cent in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania while sales in WA rose by 0.3 per cent and those in the ACT increased by 1.2 per cent.
Sales in the Northern Territory rose by 0.4 per cent.

 

However these rises were offset by falls of 0.6 per cent in Victoria and 0.2 per cent in NSW.
The bureau also noted that private new capital spending fell by 5.4 per cent in the June quarter of this year and dropped 17.4 per cent from the level seen in the same quarter of last year.
These falls are generally associated with the end of the mining boom.
The bureau also noted that Australia lost 100.7 thousand working days through strikes, in the 12 months to the end of June.
That was up from 76.8 thousand working days in the previous 12 months.

 

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Friday 19th August 2016 - 3:43 pm
Comments Off on Women’s pay “catching up” government

Women’s pay “catching up” government

by Alan Thornhill

The Federal government says there has been ‘encouraging” progress with its efforts to reduce the gap between the pay of men and women.

The Minister for Employment and Women , Senator Michaelia Cash, said today this is reflected in the latest average weekly earnings figures published by the Bureau of Statistics.

These showed, on average, that men working full-time earned $1,613.60 a week in May this year, while women were earning $1,352.50.

Although Senator Cash admitted that this still represents a difference of $261.10 a week, she said a close look at the Bureau’s figures also suggests that women are starting to catch up.

For example, she said that: “between May 2015 and May 2016, women’s weekly earnings grew by 3.4 per cent while men’s weekly earnings grew by 1.3 per cent.”

She said there is other evidence, too, that the “gender gap” between the pay of men and women is being trimmed.

The ABS data, for example, also showed that the gap,for full time employees has narrowed to 16.2 per cent, a decrease of 1.7 percentage points from a year ago.

However Senator Cash also said that while this is “encouraging,” the Government’s determination to cut this still “stubbornly high gap is unwavering.”

“Given that less than two years ago the gender pay gap was 18.5 per cent, these figures demonstrate significant progress,” Senator Cash said.

She claimed progress, too, in the government’s efforts to employ more women.

“In the month of July, the level of employment for women rose by 8,100 and is now at a record high of over 5.5 million.

“Furthermore, the participation rate for women has also trended upwards over the last 12 months,” she said.

Senator Cash also said: “the Turnbull Government is working to close the gender pay gap by:

* Ensuring women have the skills and support they need to work in growth industries, with $13 million invested through the National Innovation and Science Agenda in

getting more women into science, technology, engineering and maths

* Shining the light on pay equity through the work of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency

* Setting a new target of men and women each holding 50 per cent of Australian Government board positions and strengthening the BoardLinks program and

* Its scholarship and mentoring programs, improving gender diversity in senior leadership roles

*Partnering with UnitingCare on the Springboard Project to give women the opportunity to train and build a career in the UnitingCare network, while also

providing the flexibility to care for their families

* Supporting Australian women to participate in the workforce through our Jobs for Families Child Care package

* Boosting the superannuation of women who have taken time out of work through the Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset.

Senator Cash said it is clear from these latest figures that employers are taking action and this effort is producing results.

“To see these encouraging results continue we all need to maintain our attention on improving gender equality and that applies to Government, employers and individuals – ensuring we achieve true gender equality will require a concerted and lasting commitment from everyone,” she added.

Friday 12th August 2016 - 1:19 pm
Comments Off on Commercial lending eases

Commercial lending eases

by Alan Thornhill

Commercial lending fell by 2.2 per cent in June on trend figures the Bureau of  Statistics published today.

 

On seasonally adjusted figures the fall that month  was even bigger at 8.7 per cent.

 

Lease finance fell by 2.8 per cent in June, but rose by 13 per cent on seasonally adjusted figures.

 

Personal finance rose by 0.3 per cent on trend figures, but fell by 3 per cent on seasonally adjusted figures.

 

Housing finance for owner occupation rose by 0.2 per cent in June on trend estimates, while seasonally adjusted figures showed a 1.8 per cent rise.

Friday 12th August 2016 - 11:08 am
Comments Off on Federal government decision “xenophobic” critic

Federal government decision “xenophobic” critic

by Alan Thornhill

Critics of the Federal government’s decision to block a Chinese bid for a large part of the NSW energy grid are calling it “xenophobic.”

 

However  the Treasurer, Scott Morrison, who rejects that description, says the decision was taken on “national security” grounds.

 

That led Bob Carr, a former foreign minister, who is now director of the Australia-China Relations Institute, to ridicule the decision.

 

“The Treasurer’s decision …is a huge concession – the first major policy sacrifice – to the Witches’ Sabbath of xenophobia and economic nationalism stirred up in the recent Federal election,” Mr Carr said .

 

“The Treasurer’s statement refers not to FIRB (the Foreign Investment Review Board’s) advice but to the “review process,” he noted.

 

“Does this mean that his decision is not based on the analysis of FIRB but has been arrived at in his own office?” Mr Carr asked.

 

Last year the FIRB approved State Grid bidding for Transgrid, which holds New South Wales electricity distribution and telecommunications assets.

 

“Ausgrid’s telecommunications assets are meagre in comparison.

 

“ There was a different political climate,” Mr Carr said.

 

“If State Grid’s offer for a New South Wales distribution asset raises a security risk why weren’t the same risks apparent when State Grid was allowed to purchase the distribution assets of South Australia and Victoria?” he added .

 

“Unless no foreign investment in Ausgrid is to be allowed, this decision is not driven by public opinion.

 

“A Lowy poll showed the Australian people nominating China as our best friend in Asia, over and above the Japanese.

 

“The US Studies Centre at Sydney University produced a poll that showed more Australians seeing China’s role in Asia in a positive light than America’s. ”

 

“Only one conclusion can be reached,” Mr Carr said.

 

“The Treasurer is conceding to economic populism in the Senate and sacrificing the health of the New South Wales budget and jobs and investment in infrastructure.”

 

Thursday 11th August 2016 - 1:43 pm
Comments Off on Commercial property:worth a look

Commercial property:worth a look

by Alan Thornhill

 

Commercial property?

 

With returns on interest investments at historic lows – and fresh doubts appearing about the future of residential investment, this might be worth some thought.

Especially in view of the results of the National Australia Bank’s latest Commercial Property Survey,which is for Q2 2016

 

It shows that: “sentiment in the retail commercial property market has risen to its highest level in over six years.”

 

However, the bank adds: “strong retail market confidence was not enough to offset the lower sentiment recorded across the office, industrial and CBD hotels sectors.

 

“ Overall, the NAB Commercial Property Index fell 7 points to +5 in the second quarter of this year,” it said.

 

“This was a strong quarter for capital growth in the retail property sector, with respondents expecting retail to grow 1.5 per cent in the next year.

 

“As a result, sentiment in the retail commercial property sector rose to its highest level since early 2010,” NAB Group Chief Economist Alan Oster said.

 

“However, sentiment from respondents was lower across all other sectors, particularly in CBD hotels which was the weakest sector overall .”

 

“Looking towards the future, confidence levels remain broadly unchanged over the next one to two years across all markets.”

 

Market sentiment remained strongest in NSW (+37) and Victoria (+28), likely driven by the continued non-mining recovery whilst sentiment fell heavily in SA/NT (-27

to -51) and, although still subdued, improved slightly in WA (up +4 to -48).

 

The Q2 Survey showed that one in two developers plan to start new works within the next six months.

 

“But developers have also reported further deterioration in their debt and equity funding situations.”

 

That is expected to continue over the next six months.

 

“This is coupled with respondents reporting the average pre-commitment percentage required for developments increased for the fifth straight quarter,” Mr Oster said.

 

The Bank said About 230 property professionals had participated in the Q2 Survey.

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.

 

 

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.

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.

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