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  • Australia to sign up to China Bank AAP - 3 hours ago
    Australia to sign up to China Bank

    Australia will join the club of more than 30 countries negotiating the set-up of a $100 billion China-led development bank. After holding out for months, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Sunday that Australia intends to sign up to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. China is promoting the bank as a vehicle to help combat an estimated $8 trillion infrastructure gap in the region over the next decade, but the US has reservations about the venture. Signing on before Tuesday's deadline allows Australia to participate as a prospective founding member in negotiations to set up the bank.

  • Hockey warns on continued Senate blockage AAP - 5 hours ago
    Hockey warns on continued Senate blockage

    Joe Hockey has warned that if the Senate keeps blocking the government's spending cuts it will result in massively increased taxes in the future. Mr Hockey will release his much-awaited tax paper on Monday to kick-start a national discussion on reform of Australia's taxation system. As it stands, Mr Hockey can't guarantee that spending will be cut in his second budget on May 12.

  • No change from Chevron exit, says Caltex AAP - 6 hours ago
    No change from Chevron exit, says Caltex

    Caltex Australia says it will be "business as usual" after US energy giant Chevron sold its 50 per cent shareholding in the local fuel refiner and distributor. Chevron announced on Friday it was selling its stake in Caltex Australia in a $4.6 billion block trade, the biggest in Australian history. The move was widely expected after Chevron signalled its intentions to revise its portfolio. Caltex managing director and CEO Julian Segal said on Sunday the move would make no operational difference to Caltex.

  • Hockey can't guarantee spending cuts AAP - 6 hours ago
    Hockey can't guarantee spending cuts

    Treasurer Joe Hockey can't guarantee that government spending will be cut in his second budget on May 12.

  • Bank tax is Bowen's idea: Hockey AAP - 8 hours ago
    Bank tax is Bowen's idea: Hockey

    Treasurer Joe Hockey has been quick to blame Labor for a potential bank tax, saying it was the shadow treasurer Chris Bowen's idea. Mr Hockey said when Labor was in government, the then treasurer Mr Bowen proposed a bank tax on deposits on the recommendation of all regulators. The planned five basis point fee on deposits is meant to pay for a potential bank failure and to pay for a government guarantee. "There are many things I don't like that I have to implement at the moment that have been a legacy from six years of bad Labor government," Mr Hockey told Network Ten on Sunday.

  • Joining China bank right: Hockey AAP - 9 hours ago

    Treasurer Joe Hockey says it is right for Australia to be joining a regional, multi-country bank to boost much-needed infrastructure in Asia. Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Sunday that Australia intends to sign-up to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the so-called China Bank. Mr Abbott said while there are some issues outstanding, good progress has been made on the bank's design, governance and transparency over the past few months. Mr Hockey said with more than 30 countries as its members acting in Australia's neighbourhood, it should be part of it.

  • Xi calls for development bank support AAP - Sat, Mar 28, 2015 9:59 PM NZDT
    Xi calls for development bank support

    Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on the world's nations to support Beijing's ideas for a new development bank and "economic belt" to serve Asia. The bank initiative was a focal point of the annual Boao Forum for Asia on the southern island of Hainan. "Facing the fast-changing regional and international landscapes, we must see the whole picture, follow the trends of our times and build a new regional order that is more favourable to Asia and the world," Xi told the delegates on Saturday. China will promote "coordinated development between the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and multilateral financial institutions like the Asian Development Bank and World Bank," he said.

  • Brazil's economy barely avoids recession AAP - Sat, Mar 28, 2015 7:10 PM NZDT
    Brazil's economy barely avoids recession

    Brazil's economy grew just 0.1 per cent last year, barely keeping the country out of a recession, the government's statistics bureau says. It was the worst result since 2009 and bad news for President Dilma Rousseff, whose popularity has plummeted along with Brazil's economic performance. To blame for last year's poor performance was a drop in investments, which fell 4.4 per cent from 2013. Still, most economists were expecting figures from the IBGE statistics bureau to show the country actually entered a recession last year.

  • Deposit levy would break no-tax vow: ALP AAP - Sat, Mar 28, 2015 6:53 PM NZDT
    Deposit levy would break no-tax vow: ALP

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the upcoming budget will contain some tough measures with one tipped to be a tax on bank deposits which will raise about $500 million a year. The Australian Financial Review reported on Saturday the government would go ahead with the bank deposits insurance levy, initially proposed by Labor in 2013, to raise revenue and as an alternative to requiring banks to hold extra capital as insurance against collapse. Under Labor, this was set at 0.05 per cent on deposits up to $250,000, starting in 2016. He said when Labor proposed such a measure, then shadow treasurer Joe Hockey described it as a "smash and grab" on the savings of Australians households.

  • US rate rise may come this year: Yellen AAP - Sat, Mar 28, 2015 1:12 PM NZDT
    US rate rise may come this year: Yellen

    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says continued improvement in the US economy means an increase in the Fed's key interest rate could come later this year. The Fed has kept its benchmark rate at a record low near zero for more than six years. She says that when the Fed does start raising rates, policymakers expect the increases to be "rather gradual" over the next few years.

  • Lab beef a reality in 10 years: scientist AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 10:03 PM NZDT
    Lab beef a reality in 10 years: scientist

    Laboratory beef could surpass the real thing within 10 years to solve environmental and animal welfare problems, while remaining just as tasty, a Dutch scientist says. Mark Post, Professor of Physiology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, 18 months ago oversaw the creation of the first "cultured beef" burger made of stem cells from cow muscle tissue. "They recognise the same problems, probably better than anybody else, and they see there could be alternatives," Professor Post told reporters in Darwin on Friday, where he was a guest speaker at the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association annual conference. Initially, it will be considered a luxury product, with an appeal to those with environmental and animal welfare concerns.

  • Chevron selling $5b stake in Caltex AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 8:41 PM NZDT
    Chevron selling $5b stake in Caltex

    US energy giant Chevron is looking to sell its $5 billion stake in Caltex Australia but says the decision won't affect its Gorgon and Wheatstone gas interests. Chevron expects shares in oil refiner and distributor Caltex will be sold to a range of Australian and global institutional investors. Executive vice president of downstream and chemicals Michael Wirth said Chevron's sale comes as part of a regular review of its portfolio and commitment to generate cash to support its long term priorities. The massive sale, reportedly at a slight discount to its market value, does not alter Chevron's focus on moving Western Australia's $US54 billion Gorgon project and the $30 billion Wheatstone liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects towards start-up, president of international products, downstream and chemicals Mark Nelson said.

  • Chevron selling 50% stake in Caltex AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 8:23 PM NZDT
    Chevron selling 50% stake in Caltex

    US energy giant Chevron is looking to sell its 50 per cent stake in Caltex Australia. Chevron expects shares in the oil refiner and distributor will be sold to a range of Australian and global equity market ...

  • $A falls as market gets nervous AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 7:44 PM NZDT

    The Australian dollar briefly fell below 78 US cents for the first time since the beginning of the week on falling iron prices and rising global political tensions. Easy Forex currency dealer Andreas Tjahja said traders were moving into safe haven currencies like the US dollar, which is putting downward pressure on the Australian dollar. At 1700 AEDT, the Australian dollar was at 92.97 Japanese yen, up from Thursday's close of 92.96 yen, and at 71.68 euro cents, up from 71.21 euro cents.

  • Aust bonds weaken after flat few days AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 7:13 PM NZDT

    The Australian bond market is weaker, as demand for the safe haven assets disappears following a flat performance in recent days. Commonwealth Bank head of debt research Adam Donaldson said the Australian ...

  • Bargain hunters drive share market rebound AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 7:06 PM NZDT

    The share market has clawed back some of the ground lost in Thursday's heavy fall as bargain hunters moved in. The market's final session of the week delivered a gain of almost 0.7 per cent, a surprising ...

  • EnergyAustralia fined for sales tactics AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 7:04 PM NZDT
    EnergyAustralia fined for sales tactics

    EnergyAustralia has been fined $1 million for the second time in a year over its aggressive salespeople. The Federal Court handed out a penalty of $1 million to the energy retailer for illegal false and misleading conduct carried out by phone salespeople. EnergyAustralia's telemarketers Bright Choice Australia illegally signed up consumers they phoned to contracts, after obtaining their details and offering to post information to them, the court found. EnergyAustralia was fined $1.2 million last April over the conduct of door-to-door salespeople.

  • Skydive company has sky high ASX debut AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 6:44 PM NZDT

    Skydive the Beach's founder believes social media is making the young and the very old want to jump out of a plane. Chief executive Anthony Boucaut has seen his tandem skydiving company reach for the sky with a spectacular share market debut, which saw its value surge by $10 million within the first 10 minutes of listing on Friday. "Everybody wants their experience recorded on social media, shown to their friends," Mr Boucaut told AAP. Mr Boucaut was inspired to start up a skydiving company during a holiday with his future partner Tamahra Prowse in Mexico, in 1997.

  • Stocks to watch at close on Friday AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 6:18 PM NZDT

    Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange at close on Friday: CBA - COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA - up 50 cents, or 0.5 per cent, at $94.34 A second Commonwealth Bank IT executive has been charged ...

  • Aust shares close higher AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 6:17 PM NZDT

    The Australian share market has closed higher, reflecting similar rebounds across Asian markets. At the close on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 40.8 points, or 0.69 per cent, higher at 5,919.9, ...

  • MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise as Fonterra Fund rebounds from low BusinessDesk - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 5:34 PM NZDT

    New Zealand shares rose, paced by Fonterra Shareholders' Fund as the stock rebounded from a record low. Outside the benchmark index, Hallenstein Glassons advanced after reporting a 40 percent jump in first-half profit. Within the benchmark index, 22 stocks rose, 19 fell and nine were unchanged. Units of FSF, which give holders access to Fonterra Cooperative Group's dividend stream, rose 1.1 percent to $5.56, rebounding from yesterday's record low close.

  • NZ dollar gains vs. Australian dollar on iron ore weakness; Yellen awaited BusinessDesk - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 5:30 PM NZDT

    The New Zealand dollar gained against its Australian counterpart on sliding prices for iron ore exported to China, that nation's biggest market, while traders await a speech by US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen on Friday in the US. Iron ore sank to a record low US$54.20 a tonne this week and has more than halved in the past 12 months amid a supply glut, according to Reuters, which reported today that capacity utilisation rates at small Chinese iron ore mines fell as low as 20 percent at the end of last year. Concern about weak iron ore prices weighed on the Australian dollar and also restrained the kiwi against the greenback, traders said. The drop in iron ore "is weighing on the Aussie, given that it's a key export," said Michael Johnston, senior trader at HiFX.

  • Failed Feltex case costs litigation funders $3.1M in costs, before disbursements BusinessDesk - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 4:57 PM NZDT

    Former directors of Feltex Carpets and promoters of its 2004 initial public offering have been awarded a scaled-up $3.1 million in costs after being found not liable for alleged disclosure failings in its prospectus. Once disbursements are included, total costs could rise to $5 million, before costs associated with the actual costs of the hearing. In a judgement last September in the High Court at Wellington, Justice Robert Dobson found in favour of the defendants on all of numerous causes of action. Feltex investor Eric Houghton had sued the former Feltex directors, owners and sale managers in a representative action seeking $185 million including interest for shareholders his suit said had been misled by the 2004 prospectus.

  • Economic slump presents chance for reform AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 4:45 PM NZDT

    One of the first economists to predict February's rate cut says the Reserve Bank should now put the razor away to avoid bursting what has already become a housing bubble. Steen Jakobsen, chief economist at Denmark's Saxo Bank, says the Australian economy has hit rock bottom and has a 50/50 chance of falling into recession this year. We've got a housing bubble on our hands, and our economy and political system are a mess, he says. Although the data suggest the economy is in freefall, things are starting to turn around, as February's rate cut and the lower exchange rate begin to take effect, he said.

  • Turkey wants trade opportunities with NZ Newstalk ZB - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 4:43 PM NZDT

    New Zealand businesses are being encouraged to look at opportunities in Turkey.

  • State gov't decisions risk investors: Robb AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 4:32 PM NZDT

    Decisions by state governments to scrap major projects and oppose foreign investment are putting jobs and wealth at risk, Trade Minister Andrew Robb says. Mr Robb, who is in Hong Kong with a business delegation, says some investors are now building in a "risk premium" because big infrastructure projects such as Melbourne's East West Link are being shelved. "We've got to think of our dependence for the last 200 years on foreign investment to help us maintain and grow our industries," Mr Robb told Sky News on Friday. Mr Robb said Chinese business leaders and officials are also bemused about the "xenophobia" of NSW Labor's election campaign attack on the potential for the electricity industry to be leased by Chinese interests.

  • NZ man charged in banking scam Newstalk ZB - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 4:25 PM NZDT

    A New Zealand man has been charged over a banking scam in Australia.

  • Evolution talks with Egyptian billionaire AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 4:24 PM NZDT

    Evolution Mining is in talks to buy Egyptian billionaire's gold mine in Kalgoorlie as it looks to take advantage of weak prices. Evolution said discussions were taking place with the Naguib Sawiris' private company La Mancha Resources regarding the Frog's Leg Gold Mine. Mr Sawiris, whose business interests are more geared towards telecommunications in the Middle East, paid nearly $500 million for La Mancha in 2012 for an exposure to gold. Gold prices are flat in 2015, hovering around $US1200 an ounce, and down $US100 from a year ago.

  • Barnett backs Twiggy's iron ore cap call AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 4:09 PM NZDT

    Andrew Forrest's call to ease iron ore production to boost its ailing price was careless - but the reaction has been over the top, the West Australian premier says. The Fortescue Metals chairman made the comment at a business function in China this week, prompting the competition watchdog to launch an investigation, concerned the call may be in breach of laws covering cartel behaviour. Colin Barnett said there had been an over-reaction to Mr Forrest's idea, including by Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh, who labelled it a "harebrained scheme" and "absolute nonsense". "I don't think Andrew Forrest ever used the word cartel and I think the response has been a little bit exaggerated," the Liberal leader told Fairfax radio on Friday.

  • Yahoo says it'll buy back $US2bn in stock AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 4:06 PM NZDT
    Yahoo says it'll buy back $US2bn in stock

    Yahoo says it will buy back $US2 billion ($A2.56 billion) in company stock as it prepares to spin off its stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. Investors were pushing Yahoo to use some of the proceeds from the Alibaba spinoff to buy back stock, and the company had said it would keep buying back stock to return cash to shareholders. The stock repurchase program will expire on March 31, 2018. Yahoo has $US726 million remaining on a previous stock buyback plan, which was approved in 2013 and expires at the end of 2016.

  • Ukraine industry feels conflict strain AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 4:01 PM NZDT

    Volodymyr Kuzovkin's office is less than 80 kilometres from the European Union, but for him and his factory, it's a world away. Despite Ukraine's desperation to integrate with Europe, a desire so strong it sparked the protests that ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, much of Ukrainian business remains wedded to Soviet-era practices even as it is buffeted by a very modern economic crisis. Ukraine hopes to improve links between its heavy industry and European markets to help the economy recover.

  • NZ crossbred wool falls to two-month low amid stronger currency, weaker demand BusinessDesk - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 3:50 PM NZDT

    New Zealand crossbred wool, which accounts for the majority of New Zealand's production, fell to a two-month low at the South Island auction yesterday amid a stronger local currency and weaker buyer demand. New Zealand's wool market is less competitive when the local currency rises. The New Zealand dollar touched a two-month high against the greenback this week and set new records against the Aussie and the euro.

  • Are slaves catching the fish you eat? AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 3:01 PM NZDT

    The Burmese slaves sat on the floor and stared through the rusty bars of their locked cage, hidden on a tiny tropical island thousands of miles from home. Here, in the Indonesian island village of Benjina and the surrounding waters, hundreds of trapped men represent one of the most desperate links criss-crossing between companies and countries in the seafood industry. They were brought to Indonesia through Thailand and forced to fish. Their catch was shipped back to Thailand, and then entered the global commerce stream.

  • $A higher in a volatile market AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 2:42 PM NZDT

    The Australian dollar has bounced back from a morning low as uncertainty over the timing of US central bank interest rate hikes drives "puzzling" market moves. At 1200 AEDT on Friday, the local ...

  • Market bounces back AAP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015 2:28 PM NZDT

    The Australian share market has rebounded after suffering its biggest fall in three months on Thursday. Quay Equities managing director David Reynolds said the recovery showed Thursday's sell-off had been over-done and conditions were still supporting investing in equities. "These QEs, free-flowing cash, low interest rates are really putting a rocket under this market ... who knows where it all ends and people are trying to ride it as long as they can," Mr Reynolds told AAP. The big banks were all higher after a mixed start to trading, with National Australia Bank adding 23 cents to $38.88, Westpac finding 42 cents to $39.37, Commonwealth Bank recovering to be up 86 cents at $94.70 and ANZ 36 cents better at $36.76.