Browsing articles in "Trade"
Thursday 1st September 2016 - 7:01 pm
Comments Off on Consumer watchdog taking VW to court

Consumer watchdog taking VW to court

by Alan Thornhill

A leading motoring body has welcomed the consumer watchdog’s move to take Volkswagen to court  over allegations of misleading conduct, in dealing with  emissions from its diesel engines.

 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it would challenge the German car maker  in the Federal Court.

 
The Australian Automobile Association said this is an important step in delivering clarity to affected owners.

 
Its Chief Executive Michael Bradley said: “The Volkswagen Group has been shown to have misled millions of consumers globally and is being pursued for alleged breach of laws in other countries.

 

 

“It’s fitting the legality of the company’s actions be tested against Australian law.”

 

US authorities found that Volkswagen had intentionally programmed turbocharged direct injection diesel engines to activate certain emission controls only during laboratory tests.

 

They ordered VW to pay each of its customers an average of $5,000 each in compensation.

 

The company has said it won’t be making similar offers in Australia.

 

 

“But irrespective of whether or not the Federal Court finds the company guilty of a breach of law, Volkswagen Group is clearly guilty of breaching the trust of the Australian owners of tens of thousands of vehicles,” Mr Bradley said.

 

He said, too, that Australian authorities need to do more to protect motorists and the environment.

 

 

“More broadly, the actions of Volkswagen Group have called into question Australia’s emissions compliance regime and highlighted the fact that no independent vehicle compliance testing is performed in Australia to protect consumers, or the environment,” he said.

 

Mr Bradley said the AAA itself would be undertaking critical work in this area.

 

“Amid growing concerns that laboratory emissions testing is susceptible to manipulation and does not reflect the true emissions or fuel usage profiles of vehicles on Australian roads, the AAA is investing $500,000 to conduct an on-road emissions pilot test program of 30 vehicles on the Australian market,” he said.

 

Initial test results are due next month.

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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.

 

Tuesday 16th August 2016 - 2:45 pm
Comments Off on Vehicle sales rise – slightly

Vehicle sales rise – slightly

by Alan Thornhill

New vehicle sales rose by 0.1 per cent in July, on trend figures the Australian Bureau of Statistics published today.

 

However, on seasonally adjusted figures sales fell by 1.3 per cent, over that time.

 

On trend figures, sales rose by 1.5 per cent in the 12 months to the end of July.

 

And on seasonally adjusted figures, the rise was 1.6 per cent.

Tuesday 16th August 2016 - 1:48 pm
Comments Off on Housing price growth “overstated” RBA

Housing price growth “overstated” RBA

by Alan Thornhill

The Reserve Bank admitted today that estimates of recent housing price growth had been “overstated.”

 

The admission, made in the minutes of the meeting of the bank’s board meeting on   August 2 , is significant.

 

That’s because the bank has been relying on stronger than expected growth in the building and housing sectors to offset weaker performances in major resource export sectors, such as coal and iron ore.

 

However in today’s minutes the bank said:  “data on housing price growth from CoreLogic, which had been discussed at previous meetings, indicated that housing prices had increased very strongly in several cities in April and May.”

 

 

But it added:  “… new information had revealed that these growth rates were overstated.”

 

 

The bank said that had happened: “.. because of changes to CoreLogic’s methodology.”

 

 

And it added:  “data from other sources indicated that housing price growth had instead remained moderate in the June quarter.

 

 

“Other information showed that, while auction clearance rates had recently picked up a little in Sydney and Melbourne, the number of auctions was lower than in the preceding year and the average number of days that properties were on the market had increased.

 

“Housing credit growth had been little changed in recent months and remained below that of a year earlier.

 

“Rent inflation had declined to its lowest level since the mid 1990s and the rental vacancy rate had drifted higher to be close to its long-run average.”

 

However, the minutes also noted that net exports are expected to make a positive contribution to output growth over the forecast period, supported by the earlier exchange rate depreciation and ramp-up in LNG production.

 

“ In contrast, mining investment was expected to fall further,” the bank said.

 

It said there had been some signs that non-mining business investment was rising in some parts of the economy.

 

But, overall,  “it is still expected to remain subdued in the near term,” the bank’s notes said.

Tuesday 16th August 2016 - 12:18 pm
Comments Off on South Australian families “ripped off” on electricity bills

South Australian families “ripped off” on electricity bills

by Alan Thornhill

South Australian families are paying hundreds of dollars  a year more for their electricity than those in other parts of the country, according to a new report.

 

The report by the research group GetUp says that’s because the big three energy companies have been exploiting their market power in that State.

 

It says AGL, Origin and Energy Australia regulate what retailers can charge their customers.

 

Miriam Lyons  of GetUp   says the report, written by Bruce Mountain, reveals the hidden costs of big three’s stranglehold on the South Australian retail market.

 

And she said South Australian families, in particular, are being “ripped off. “

 

“Many South Australians are just keeping their head above water, and they shouldn’t be being ripped off by companies who are taking advantage of their oligopoly position to rake in massive profits,” Ms Lyons added.

 

“How is that, after deregulation, retail charges went from next to nothing to a huge 38 per cent slice of the average customer’s bill?” she asked.

 

The report says AGL, Origin and Energy Australia have a stranglehold on the state’s retail market.

 

 

“How is that, after deregulation, retail charges went from next to nothing to a huge 38 per cent slice of the average customer’s bill?” she asked.

 

This has huge impacts for people struggling to pay unaffordable energy bills.

 

 

Ms Lyons said the three companies are still  lining the pockets of  their energy executives “at the expense of Australian families.”

 

 

“Companies like AGL, Origin and Energy Australia are big enough that they should be able to undercut new entrants to the market ,”  Ms Lyons said.

 

“Instead the new players are much cheaper and the big guys have been able to overcharge customers whatever they want,”   she added.

 

 “When this kind of behaviour was revealed in the UK, there was a huge public outcry – yet their retail charges are a fraction of what the Big Three charge here.”

 

So far, none of the three companies has replied to these allegations.

 

 

 

Wednesday 10th August 2016 - 1:04 pm
Comments Off on Lending for investment housing rises

Lending for investment housing rises

by Alan Thornhill

Lending for investment housing rose by 3.2 per cent last month, on seasonally adjusted figures published by the Bureau of Statistics today.

 

The Bureau’s figures show that almost $11.8 billion was made available, through fixed loans, for this purpose last month.

 

The Bureau also reported that there had been a 1.2 per cent rise, in commitments for owner occupied housing last month.

 

Loans for the construction of dwellings rose by 2.1 per cent in June, while lending for the purchase of established dwellings rose by 1 per cent.

 

Lending for the purchase of new dwellings rose by 2.7 per cent in June.

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.

 

 

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.

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