Rural News

  • iPad prices show $A is at fair value AAP - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 5:25 PM NZST

    Farmers, manufacturers and tourism operators might beg to differ, but if iPad prices are anything to go by, the Australian dollar's current value is exactly where it should be. According to CommSec's iPad Index, which compares the price of the popular Apple product across 51 countries, the recent rise in the dollar has it hovering around fair value. With a sale price of around $A598 ($US561), Australia is the 13th cheapest place to buy the latest iPad, putting it roughly on par with the US and China. "It suggests that the Aussie dollar is probably around fair value against the greenback," CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian said.

  • IPCC warns cost of no action will be high AAP - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 12:23 PM NZST

    The UN's expert panel on climate change has highlighted the disconnect between international goals to fight global warming and what is being done to attain them. Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases must drop by 40-70 per cent by 2050 to keep the global temperature rise below the two-degree Centigrade cap set in UN climate talks, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says. "There is a clear message from science: To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual," said Ottmar Edenhofer, one of three co-chairs of the IPCC working group looking at ways to fight climate change. Leaked drafts of that document show that the biggest reason for the rising emissions is the higher energy needs resulting from population growth and expanding economies in the developing world, mainly in China and other large countries.

  • Greece to issue more bonds AAP - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 7:31 AM NZST

    Greece will issue more bonds after last week's successful five-year debt sale that ended a four-year drought, the head of the debt agency says. "The bond sale was just the first step," Stelios Papadopoulos, head of the public debt management agency (PDMA) told Kathimerini daily on Sunday. A day later, visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Greece's return to the international bond markets showed "renewed confidence" in the crisis-hit country. The PDMA chief on Sunday said Greece wanted to "pique the interest of foreign investors, so they can focus on the real reform carried out in the country".

  • Aussies worried about foreign firms: Joyce AAP - Sun, Apr 13, 2014 4:08 PM NZST
    Aussies worried about foreign firms: Joyce

    Australians are naturally concerned about foreign government-owned firms buying local assets, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says. And the Nationals MP says he will make a case to block any sales that aren't in the national interest. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has flagged easier access for Chinese state-owned enterprises investing in Australia on a recent visit to Shanghai. However, Mr Joyce said Australians were naturally cautious about foreign government-owned firms buying local assets because they held the interests of their own governments.

  • Foreign investment changes face fight AAP - Sat, Apr 12, 2014 7:01 PM NZST
    Foreign investment changes face fight

    The government will face a tough battle if it seeks to ease foreign investment restrictions, say the Australian Greens and South Australian independent Senator Nick Xenophon. The warnings follow Prime Minister Tony Abbott's visit to China where he discussed making it easier for Chinese state-owned enterprises to do business in Australia, and increase Chinese foreign investment from Australia's largest trading partner. But Greens leader Christine Milne said her party would not support any rule changes which would allow foreign government subsidiaries to invest up to $15 million in Australian agriculture, without first going through the Foreign Investment Review Board.

  • Cardno looks to Americas, not Asia AAP - Thu, Apr 10, 2014 5:34 PM NZST

    Australia's future prosperity is inextricably tied to Asia but Brisbane-based company Cardno doesn't seem particularly interested. The fast growing infrastructure and environment services group has hitched its wagon to the North and Latin American economies and predicts a shift in global manufacturing from China to Mexico. New chief executive Michael Renshaw told AAP this week he hopes it takes Cardno to global powerhouse status. Cardno's diverse operations, such as engineering for oil and gas drillers, consulting on climate change and more have increased net profits every year for a decade, including $43.1 million for the latest half year.

  • Impose conditions on Galilee mine: court AAP - Tue, Apr 8, 2014 8:58 PM NZST

    A multi-billion dollar coal mine in Queensland's Galilee Basin should only go-ahead if a number of conditions are met, the state's land court has ruled. The non-binding recommendations were made to the state government on Tuesday after a bid by six parties to stop the Alpha Mine, part owned by Gina Rinehart. They argued the mine would contribute to climate change and have "permanent and irreversible" effects on ground water. Queensland Land Court member Paul Smith recommended the mine be rejected or further conditions imposed.

  • $A lower but still going strong AAP - Tue, Apr 8, 2014 2:37 PM NZST

    The Australian dollar has drifted lower but remains strong on greenback weakness and signs the local economy is picking up. At 1200 AEST on Tuesday, the local currency was trading at 92.75 US cents, down from 92.84 cents on Monday. The Australian dollar had maintained much of its gains on the back of last week's disappointing US non-farm payrolls report, Easy Forex currency dealer Milica Nikolic said. A recent change of tune by Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens, who has taken a break from jawboning the Australian dollar, had also helped the currency, Ms Nikolic said.

  • $A holds onto gains made on US jobs data AAP - Mon, Apr 7, 2014 7:39 PM NZST

    The Australian dollar is higher after disappointing US jobs data weakened the greenback. At 1700 AEST on Monday, the local currency was trading at 92.84 US cents, up from 92.36 cents on Friday. The Aussie dollar rallied after a US non-farm payrolls report fell short of high expectations on Friday. The local currency held onto those gains but remained within a narrow range as traders wait for official Australian jobs data, out on Thursday, FXCM market analyst David de Ferranti said.

  • Late rally pushes share market higher AAP - Fri, Apr 4, 2014 7:21 PM NZDT

    Late gains have pushed the share market slightly higher ahead of the release of US job numbers. Investors are hoping the US non-farm payrolls employment data for March, due out on Friday night, will clarify ...

  • Aust bonds firmer ahead of US jobs data AAP - Fri, Apr 4, 2014 7:13 PM NZDT

    Australian bond futures prices are slightly higher, in quiet trade ahead of the release of US employment figures. Non-farm payrolls figures for March are due out late on Friday night, and are expected to show strong employment growth after January and February's data were impacted by terrible weather in the US. ANZ head of interest rate research Tony Morriss said there was a lot of caution ahead of the US employment figures.

  • $A edges higher ahead of US data release AAP - Fri, Apr 4, 2014 2:37 PM NZDT

    The Australian dollar is slightly higher as investors wait for the release of important US jobs data. US non-farm payrolls data for March is due to be released on Friday night, and will influence where the Aussie dollar goes next, ThinkForex senior markets analyst Matt Simpson said. Poor jobs figures could see the Australian dollar rise against its US counterpart to 93.50 US cents, he said.

  • Aust share market slightly lower AAP - Fri, Apr 4, 2014 2:19 PM NZDT

    The Australian share market is slightly lower as investors wait for a catalyst to give the market greater drive. Investors are hoping for inspiration from US non-farm payrolls employment data for March, to be release on Friday night, or the announcement of additional economic stimulus measures from China, OptionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said. "Investors are extremely cautious about pushing this market higher, especially up to those fresh five-and-a-half-year highs, which are about one per cent above the levels that we've been at," Mr Le Brun said. Among the major banks, National Australia Bank had fallen 12 cents to $35.25, Westpac was down 13.5 cents at $34.335, Commonwealth Bank had lost 35 cents to $76.68 and ANZ was one cent lower at $33.20.

  • Abbott seeks progress on Japan trade deal AAP - Fri, Apr 4, 2014 1:48 PM NZDT
    Abbott seeks progress on Japan trade deal

    A free trade deal with Japan can't be concluded without better concessions for Australian farmers, the federal government says. Prime Minister Tony Abbott will lead a week-long trade mission including premiers and business leaders to Japan, South Korea and China starting this weekend. In Seoul, Mr Abbott is set to sign a free trade deal with Korea, but work is still under way on the agreement with Japan. A key issue is Japan's 38 per cent import tariff on Australian beef.

  • Lion to assess losing Woolworths contracts AAP - Thu, Apr 3, 2014 8:10 PM NZDT
    Lion to assess losing Woolworths contracts

    Dairy company Lion says being dumped as Woolworths' milk supplier in Victoria and Western Australia will affect volumes at its plants in those states. Lion lost contracts to supply Woolworths' private label white milk to Victorian and West Australian stores, with the supermarket giant announcing a raft of new, longer contracts nationally. New Zealand dairy company Fonterra won a 10-year contract to supply milk to Woolworths in Victoria from February 2015, while Brownes was chosen for a seven-and-a-half year deal in WA from this July. Lion said it was disappointed, with the impact yet to be assessed.

  • Bishop defends free trade push AAP - Thu, Apr 3, 2014 3:53 PM NZDT
    Bishop defends free trade push

    Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says Australia will not be signing free trade agreements for the sake of it. Prime Minister Tony Abbott departs on Friday for his first official visits to South Korea, Japan and China. Progressing trade deals with Japan and China are on the agenda and Mr Abbott will sign off on a deal struck with Korea. Ms Bishop played down farmers' concerns about beef tariffs being phased out over 15 years under the Korean deal and that Australia could be signing up to a dud.

  • Woolworths signs Fonterra deal in Vic AAP - Thu, Apr 3, 2014 1:14 PM NZDT

    Thirty jobs will be created under a new deal between Victorian Woolworths stores and dairy producer Fonterra. Woolworths secured the milk supplier for a 10-year contract, under which its processing facility in Cobden in rural Victoria will expand to meet the demand. Premier Denis Napthine says the deal is a vote of confidence in the state. "This is a great vote of confidence in the dairy industry in Victoria and particularly southwest Victoria," he told reporters on Thursday.

  • Aust bonds weakened by strong data AAP - Thu, Apr 3, 2014 11:26 AM NZDT

    Australian bond futures prices are lower on the back of stronger economic data in the US and expectations that local data will also come in strong on Thursday. The figures came ahead of a batch of important Australian data on Thursday, including retail sales and trade figures, as well as the European Central Bank policy decision and US non-farm payrolls on Friday. At 0830 AEDT on Thursday, the June 2014 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 95.780 (implying a yield of 4.220 per cent), down from 95.815 (4.185 per cent) on Wednesday. The June 2014 three-year bond futures contract was at 96.870 (3.130 per cent), down from 96.890 (3.110 per cent).

  • Dairy leads commodity index decline AAP - Wed, Apr 2, 2014 5:13 PM NZDT
    Dairy leads commodity index decline

    New Zealand commodity prices have dropped for the first time in four months as cheese and milk powder decline. The ANZ Commodity Price Index fell 0.1 per cent to 337 in March. International prices for 10 of New Zealand's main commodities increased in the month and three fell. Dairy product prices fell 8.9 per cent in Fonterra's latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, the biggest drop in 20 months, as volumes increased.

  • Aussie bonds lower ahead of US data AAP - Tue, Apr 1, 2014 6:51 PM NZDT

    Australian bond futures prices are lower as risk appetite grows on expectations of positive upcoming US jobs data. Optimism that US non-farm payrolls data would show a pickup in employment in the world's largest economy was weighing on bonds, ANZ head of interest rate research Tony Morriss said. The Reserve Bank's decision to keep the cash rate on hold on Tuesday was widely expected and governor Glenn Stevens' accompanying statement had little impact on the bond market, he said. At 1630 AEDT on Tuesday, the June 2014 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 95.860 (implying a yield of 4.140 per cent), down from 95.910 (4.090 per cent) on Monday.

  • Costs of climate change steep AAP - Tue, Apr 1, 2014 3:50 PM NZDT

    Advisers to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say that the world economy may suffer losses of between 0.2 per cent and two per cent of income if temperatures rise by two degrees from recent levels. Below are some of the costliest impacts, according to a 49-page summary from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which met in Tokyo this week. Demand for residential air conditioning in the summer will rise from 300 terawatt hours a year in 2000 to about 4,000 terawatt hours in 2050 and more than 10,000 terawatt hours in 2100. For comparison, Vietnam currently consumes about 100 terawatt hours of power in a year.

  • Italian firm buys WA dairy company AAP - Tue, Apr 1, 2014 2:54 PM NZDT
    Italian firm buys WA dairy company

    Italian dairy giant Parmalat has bought control of Western Australian milk and fruit juice company Harvey Fresh. Harvey Fresh, established in the farming town of Harvey, south of Perth, in 1986, is WA's second largest dairy producer. The company also supplies fruit juice in WA and NSW, with two production facilities employing about 250 people.

  • Milk's glass half-empty, as demand falls AAP - Fri, Mar 28, 2014 6:01 PM NZDT

    Want almond milk? More and more consumers do. They've also got soy milk, coconut milk, flax milk and all sorts of trendy juices and bottled waters.

  • Qld downpour a mixed blessing for farmers AAP - Fri, Mar 28, 2014 4:12 PM NZDT

    Downpours across drought-stricken Queensland are a mixed blessing for farmers. Queensland's south and southeast were deluged on Thursday and Friday morning, with falls of more than 200mm recorded in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Key farming regions along the Queensland coast and the Darling Downs have also been drenched with 50 to 200mm, while parched northwestern areas have been soaked over the past several weeks. Queensland farmers and graziers are battling one of the worst and widest droughts on record with more than 70 per cent of the state officially in drought.

  • Instability, weather push up wheat prices AAP - Fri, Mar 28, 2014 1:01 PM NZDT

    Political instability in Ukraine - coupled with potential freeze damage to winter wheat in the United States and a deepening drought in some major wheat producing countries - are conspiring to significantly drive up wheat prices, economists say. US Wheat Associates, the industry's trade group, said in a recent report that concern over the political situation in Ukraine - which supplies six per cent of the world's wheat export market - was one of the factors for the price spikes. Crimea last year accounted for about seven per cent of Ukraine's grain exports. The Black Sea region is one of the world's major wheat producing areas, with Russian wheat alone accounting for almost 11 per cent of the world's export market.

  • PM Abbott flags deal for Japanese cars AAP - Thu, Mar 27, 2014 3:51 PM NZDT

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australia is more than happy to drop its tariffs on Japanese manufactured goods in exchange for greater access for farm exports. Mr Abbott will visit Japan next month as part of a trade mission that will also take in China and South Korea. Australia imposes a five per cent tariff on imported Japanese cars, but the decision by Holden, Ford and Toyota to progressively close their plants has forced a rethink of the policy. "We are more than happy to drop tariffs on manufactured imports from Japan, but we are very much hoping to get a much better deal on agricultural exports from Australia," Mr Abbott told Nikkei.

  • Synlait Milk reports profit boost of $5.3 million Newstalk ZB - Thu, Mar 27, 2014 1:01 PM NZDT

    Synlait Milk has posted a $12.1 million profit after tax for the half-year ending in January.

  • Nufarm profit rises despite drought impact AAP - Wed, Mar 26, 2014 5:11 PM NZDT

    Agricultural chemicals and seeds supplier Nufarm has more than doubled its half year profit but says the drought hit Australian market remains challenging. Two years of hot, dry weather had affected product demand and margins in the local market, managing director Doug Rathbone said. Much needed rainfall would drive increased demand for products, but inventory is estimated to be high and pricing pressure is expected to continue for the remainder of the fiscal year, Mr Rathbone said. Nufarm recently announced plans to cut 105 jobs as part of a cost cutting restructure of its Australian business.

  • Market volatility blamed for Fonterra result Newstalk ZB - Wed, Mar 26, 2014 2:49 PM NZDT

    Fonterra's half year profit has plunged and it is warning the second half is not likely to be any better.

  • Profit down for dairy giant Fonterra AAP - Wed, Mar 26, 2014 11:33 AM NZDT

    Interim profit for New Zealand's biggest company, Fonterra, has slipped by more than 50 per cent. The world's biggest dairy exporter says the price of milk ran ahead of that for products such as cheese and casein, cutting its margins. Chief executive Theo Spierings said the first half of the year had been "exceptional" for the dairy co-operative. "The past six months has been a period of mixed fortunes for the co-operative," said Mr Spierings.

  • Nufarm more than doubles 1H profit AAP - Wed, Mar 26, 2014 11:11 AM NZDT

    Agricultural chemicals and seeds supplier Nufarm has more than doubled its first-half profit, thanks to strong growth from its South American business and tax credits. Nufarm made a net profit of $18.8 million for the six months to January 31, up from $8.4 million a year ago. Meanwhile, it said strong growth in South America, especially Brazil, more than offset the impact of drought conditions in Australia and lower earnings from North America and Europe. Nufarm said it expected its full-year profit to be above the $81 million recorded for the 2012/13 financial year, despite challenging conditions in Australia and North America.

  • A big drop in profit for Fonterra Newstalk ZB - Wed, Mar 26, 2014 9:01 AM NZDT

    Fonterra's half year after tax profit is down 53 percent to $217 million.

  • China, Netherlands sign trade pacts AAP - Mon, Mar 24, 2014 11:29 AM NZDT
    China, Netherlands sign trade pacts

    China and the Netherlands have signed a trade pact pledging Dutch dairy expertise to help Chinese producers boost the quality and quantity of their milk. The deal signed at a ceremony at Prime Minister Mark Rutte's official residence in The Hague on Sunday is another step by China to rehabilitate the reputation of its dairy industry in the aftermath of tainted milk product scandals. It was part of a raft of deals and memoranda of understanding inked on the second day of a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is in the Netherlands with a large trade delegation. Imported milk products like baby formula still have a reputation for safety in China and command far higher prices than local brands.

  • New York experiences distillery revival AAP - Fri, Mar 21, 2014 6:01 PM NZDT

    Nearly a century after the United States imposed prohibition, small distilleries are finally making a comeback in Brooklyn and the Bronx, crafting batches of gin, rum, rye, bourbon and vodka. The "made in New York" spirits trend is part of a boom in the popularity of locally grown food, farm-to-table dining and craft products. Kings County Distillery in the Brooklyn Navy Yard was founded in 2010 by two friends who had been making moonshine in an apartment. It is the first whisky distillery to be licensed in New York since prohibition, a 1920 to 1933 nationwide ban on alcohol.

  • Artisanal movement reaches the food court AAP - Fri, Mar 21, 2014 4:01 PM NZDT

    In Singapore's equivalent of food courts, hawkers sell steaming bowls of noodles, giant crabs in pepper sauce and slices of pungent durian. But that was Food Court 1.0. Recently, shoppers from New York to Seattle have seen a reboot of the food court experience, as sumptuous farmers markets-slash-gourmet eateries become increasingly common. "They're exciting, delicious, affordable, democratic places to eat," says Stephen Werther, the chief executive officer of Wink Retail Group, which has partnered with food personality Anthony Bourdain to create a New York food hall - today's preferred nomenclature - featuring dishes from around the world.