Govt must change budget course: JP Morgan

One of the world's largest investment banks has warned the Abbott government that it risks losing its three triple-A credit ratings if it doesn't change the course of the budget. JP Morgan chief economist in Australia Stephen Walters says in a report that the budget is in chronic deficit and public debt is ballooning "seemingly unchecked". "The loss of Australia's coveted triple-A sovereign rati…

  • PaperlinX UK in administration AAP - 21 minutes ago

    Troubled packaging group PaperlinX has placed its UK businesses in administration. Australia-based PaperlinX, Britain's biggest paper merchant, blamed the poor performance of the UK business for a $28.4 ...

  • Inflation stays below RBA's target band AAP - 28 minutes ago

    Inflation is staying well below the Reserve Bank's two to three per cent target, keeping the door open for more interest rate cuts. Consumer prices rose 0.4 per cent in March, following a flat result in February, according to the TD Securities/Melbourne Institute monthly inflation gauge. The annual rate of inflation was 1.5 per cent, and in January was 1.3 per cent. TD head of Asia Pacific research Annette Beacher said the RBA was in an uncomfortable position because the housing sector was staying strong but the rest of the economy was sluggish and price growth was staying low.

  • RBA rate cut on the way, experts say AAP - 29 minutes ago

    Overnight, iron ore fell below $US50. Iron ore for immediate delivery to the port of Tianjin in China fell to $US49 a tonne, from $US51, while at the port of Qingdao it was $US49.53. Media reports this week also predicted an April cut, amid suggestions some journalists had received backdoor briefings by the Reserve Bank of Australia. The market is pricing in a more than 70 per cent chance that the RBA board will cut the cash rate from 2.25 per cent to two per cent when it meets on Tuesday.

  • MIDDAY UPDATE: Dairy product prices slide on supply … BusinessDesk - 31 minutes ago

    Dairy product prices declined in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, led by a slump in prices for butter milk powder and whole milk powder, amid concern about an increase in supply.

  • QBE reviewing dividend payout policy AAP - 40 minutes ago

    QBE has told shareholders they can expect a higher dividend this year, with the insurance giant considering lifting its payout ratio. Chairman Marty Becker said he could understand why shareholders wanted the payout ratio policy of up to 50 per cent of cash profits changed. QBE's balance sheet is stronger and consensus analyst forecasts are for a 30 per cent profit jump this year. QBE has largely completed its remediation program in North America and Europe, and has sold the Argentine Workers Compensation business.

  • Aust shares open higher AAP - 52 minutes ago
    Aust shares open higher

    The Australian share market has opened higher. At 1010 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 18.9 points, or 0.32 per cent, at 5,879.7, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 18.0 ...

  • Oil heir Getty had serious health problems AAP - 57 minutes ago
    Oil heir Getty had serious health problems

    A court filing by Andrew Getty, the oil heir found dead in Los Angeles, says he had a serious health problem. The 47-year-old Getty, whose grandfather J. Paul Getty's fortune made his family among the richest in US history, wrote in a March 16 filing for a restraining order against his girlfriend that a rise in his blood pressure would place him at risk of injury or death.

  • Fonterra likely to increase farmer payout for the 2015/16 … BusinessDesk - 57 minutes ago

    Fonterra Cooperative Group is likely to increase its forecast payout to dairy farmers next season by enough to make production profitable for most farmers as lower global milk supply drives up prices, according to economists who follow the sector. Average prices dropped 10.8 percent in the GlobalDairyTrade auction overnight, with New Zealand's key product, whole milk powder, falling 13.3 percent. Still, economists said weak prices are occurring at a low point in the nation's milk production cycle and prices are likely to pick up in late 2015 and early 2016 when production and manufacturing rise, and farmers get the benefit of a lower kiwi dollar. Economists at the four main New Zealand banks which forecast Fonterra's payout expect the cooperative to pay between $5.75 per kilogram of milksolids and $6.20/kgMS for the 2015/16 season, which would be from the cooperative's forecast of $4.70/kgMS for the 2014/15 season, according to a BusinessDesk survey.

  • CommBank calls for confidence boost AAP - 1 hour 23 minutes ago

    The Commonwealth Bank has launched a fresh call for the federal government to develop a long-term plan to tackle the major economic threat posed by sagging confidence levels. Australia's biggest lender says volatility in the global economy, and in particular falling commodity prices, was undermining confidence levels among consumers and businesses. In a letter to shareholders, the bank's chairman David Turner and chief executive Ian Narev said weak confidence was a significant economic threat and urged the government to act. Mr Narev in February urged the government to act to address sagging business confidence as he unveiled the bank's record $4.6 billion first half profit.

  • QBE ponders lifting dividend payout policy AAP - 1 hour 37 minutes ago

    QBE chairman Marty Becker says shareholders should expect a higher dividend this year and that the insurance giant was considering lifting its payout ratio. He told the group's AGM that he could understand ...

  • Japan business confidence wavers AAP - 1 hour 39 minutes ago

    Doubts about a rebound in Japan's economy are rippling through boardrooms across the country, a key central bank survey suggests, as efforts to revive growth falter. The Bank of Japan's closely watched Tankan report shows confidence among big manufacturers stood at plus 12 in March, flat from the previous survey and missing expectations that the level would come in at 14. While sentiment among non-manufacturers was more upbeat, they pared profit expectations while Japan's increasingly pessimistic corporate titans trim their spending plans. "A weak yen and lower oil prices has provided some support (to the economy) but the Tankan showed that firms, particularly manufacturers, are now acutely aware that overseas demand is softening," SMBC Nikko Securities said in a report.

  • F&P Appliances records surge in global sales, narrows … BusinessDesk - 1 hour 44 minutes ago

    Fisher & Paykel Appliances, the Auckland-based manufacturer and consumer credit company owned by China's Haier Group, narrowed its full-year loss in 2014 after sales growth across all its markets drove a 46 percent gain in revenue. The loss narrowed to $12.6 million in calendar 2014, from a loss of about $31 million a year earlier, according to the accounts of Haier New Zealand Investment Holding Co. Sales rose to $1.13 billion from $772 million. The Chinese company took full control in 2012 and F&P Appliances was delisted from the NZX.

  • ASX-listed My Net Phone to buy Spark's international … BusinessDesk - 1 hour 53 minutes ago

    The company said in a statement to the ASX that the business will add A$90 million to A$100 million in annual revenue from wholesale voice trading and generate pretax earnings of about A$3.5 million in its first year, before potential synergies and savings. Spark will retain its international data business. The sale was part of Spark's strategy to focus primarily on its New Zealand operations . My Net Phone said the acquisition will give it a "carrier grade global voice network spanning four continents, specialist staff, custom-built international voice trading systems, over 220 international carrier relationships and interconnect agreements and the Telecom New Zealand International brand.

  • Bond prices surge on weak US data AAP - 1 hour 54 minutes ago

    Bond futures prices have surged on the back of disappointing economic data out of the US. Growth in the US manufacturing sector slowed for the fifth straight month in March. And US businesses increased ...

  • Climate pledge deadline slow but promising AAP - 2 hours 3 minutes ago

    A rough deadline for Tuesday saw only 33 out of 195 countries submit pledges for tackling greenhouse gases under UN climate talks scheduled to conclude just over eight months from now. Among major carbon emitters, the United States, the European Union and Russia put their positions on the table as expected, along with Mexico, the first emerging country to do so. "While there has been some progress in what governments are proposing for the post-2020 period, with several countries moving from 'inadequate' to 'medium,' proposals are still a long way from being 2C compatible," said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics, a monitoring group. "The delay (in submitting pledges) is going to be a problem," cautioned Celia Gautier of the French branch of Climate Action Network (CAN), an umbrella group of NGOs.

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