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30 Sept 2011 – Germany backs revamp of euro-zone bailout

(30 Sept 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p 10, David Gow, Stephen Castle) “THE German parliament last night approved enhanced powers for the euro zone’s bailout fund, allowing it to buy bonds of distressed states and offer emergency loans to governments.” “The plan, which passed with a substantial majority in Germany’s lower house, will lift the … Continue reading

27 Sept 2011 – EU doubt on Greek arsenal

(27 Sept 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p5, Athens) “GREECE’S Finance Minister has pledged to do whatever it takes to haul the country out of crisis, but European policymakers wary of a devastating default are pushing to deepen the region’s bailout fund.” “Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said in Washington that Athens would introduce measures to … Continue reading

27 Sept 2011 – Commodities get the wobbles

(27 Sept 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p1, Clancy Yeates) “EUROPE’S debt crisis has sparked cuts to forecasts for Australia’s top commodity exports as fears grow that Asian economies could be held back by the market turmoil.” “As a wave of pessimism dragged the sharemarket to a two-year low, economists at National Australia Bank yesterday pointed … Continue reading

27 Sept 2011 – Greece pledges firm commitment to the euro

(27 Sept 2011, AFR, p13, Howard Schneider, Washington) “Greece’s commitment to the euro is “firm and irrevocable”, the country’s Finance Minister said on Sunday as euro zone officials tried to press their case that the currency union will sticm together.” Read more at

26 Sept 2011 – Australia awash in cold, hard cash

[Comment – Now this is an interesting article. More cash is in circulation in our society…. an average of nine $100 bills per person (up from 8)…. I wonder where my nine have gone to?] (26 Sept 2011, The Age, p1, Peter Martin, Economics Correspondent) “FORGET the talk about a move to a cashless society. … Continue reading

26 Sept 2011 – EU plans $2.8trillion rescue plan

(26 Sept 2011, AFR, p1, Ben POtter, Washington) “Under mounting pressure from chaotic global markets, European officials have edged towards a multi-trillion-euro plan to insulate Europe’s biggest economies and banks from the threat of defaults in Greece, as well as other peripheral countries.” “The broad contours of the solution could allow the European Central Bank … Continue reading

23 Sept, 2011 – Regional business suffers digital lag

(23 Sept 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p6, Claire Kermond) “SMALL businesses in regional areas are lagging far behind their city counterparts in using the internet to manage their business and reach more customers.” “And Victorian regional businesses were particularly slow to embrace the digital world, falling behind most other states in terms of having either … Continue reading

23 Sept 2011 – Chinese manufacturing slows down

(23 Sept 2011, AFR, p46, Robert Guy, Shanghai) “Chinese manufacturing contracted in September, underscoring how tight policy weakness in major Western economies is hurting activity in factories in the world’s second largets economy.” “The HSBC “flash” manufacturing purchasing managers index fell to a two-month low of 49.4 in September, down from 49.9 in August, with … Continue reading

23 Sept 2011 – Greece vows to stay in euro

(23 Sept 2011, AFR, p24, Jill Treanor, London) “More jobs are to be cut, more taxes raised and bigger cuts made to spending, Greece announced on Wednesday night in Athens in its latest effort to avoid defaulting on its debts and potentially tearing apart the euro.” “Despite speculation that Greece would pull out of the … Continue reading

23 Sept 2011 – Let’s twist again, says US Fed

(23 Sept 2011, AFR, p22, Ben Potter, Washington) “Citing significant downside risks to the economy and strains in financial markets, the United States Federal Reserve adopted new measures to force long-term interest rates  lower in a bid to save America’s struggling economy from sliding back into recession.” “The Fed said it would sell $US400 billion … Continue reading

22 Sept 2011 – Fear is building as resources boom turns to bust

(22 Sept 2011, AFR, p33, Stephen Wyatt) “The resources boom is over. As the debt crisis in the developed world deepens and as unemployment continues to erode growth, the recent resilience of commodities is rapidly fading.” “Copper is testing $US3.70 a pound, a 10-month low and down more than 20 per cent from its February … Continue reading

22 Sept 2011 – Bullion vaults run out of space

(22 Sept 2011, AFR, p33, Chanyaporn Chanjaroen in Singapore, Nicholas Larkin in London and Debarati Roy in New York). “Jittery safe haven investors are getting physical.” “Deep in the three hectare Singapore FreePort next to Changi International Airport’s runways is the bullion valut of Swiss Precious Metals, behind massive steel doors built to survive a … Continue reading

21 Sept 2011 – Greece talks, world waits

[Comment:- S&P downgraded Italy’s credit rating, but this does not make the major headline today.] (21 Sept 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p1, Eric Johnston) “GLOBAL markets remained on edge last night as talks to rescue Greece from bankruptcy hit a critical stage, just as Standard & Poor’s cut Italy’s sovereign credit rating, opening a new … Continue reading

21 Sept 2011 – S&P cuts Italy’s creidt rating

(21 Sept 2011, AFR, p14, Jeffrey Donovan) “Italy’s credit rating was cut by Standard & Poor’s on concern weakening economic growth and a “fragile” government mean the nation won’t be able to reduce the euro zone’s second largest debt burden.” Read more at

19 Sept 2011 – All debts are off

(19 Sept 2011, TheAge, BusinessDay, p3, Alison Bell) “SMALL businesses are facing a debt repayment strike.” “Many consumers are trying to pay off debts, but others are determined to hold on to their cash – even by refusing to pay debts.” “And that could send many small businesses broke” “That’s the verdict of debt collection … Continue reading

17 Sept 2011 – Consumers take a holiday

(17 Sept 2011, AFR, p26, Alan Mitchell, Economics editor) “The big surprise in the June quarter national accounts was the strength of consumer spending. It was up a strong 1 per cent after adjusting for inflation, about twice the increase economists were expecting. “But that was not the only surprising thing about the consumer spending … Continue reading

17 Sept 2011 – Online boom delivers too many goods

[comment:- this article provides some insight into the amount of online shopping that is taking place in Australia, which must to some degree be substituting for the lost retail sales in physical shops – but to what extent?] (17 Sept 2011, AFR, p10, Emily Parkinson) “The online shopping boom has created a major problem for … Continue reading

16 Sept 2011 – Central banks join forces to tackle debt crisis

(16 Sept 2011, The Age, World Business) “Leading central banks leapt into action to inject dollars into banks threatened by the eurozone’s debt mountain as EU finance ministers gathered for key talks to resolve the crisis. “The damage caused by the eurozone’s debt saga was laid bare by a European Commission economic forecast showing that … Continue reading

15 Sept 2011 – Stable rate increases consumer confidence

(15 Sept 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p2, Peter Martin) “GROWING confidence that interest rates are not going up has pulled consumers back from the brink. “The Westpac Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index bounced 8 per cent in September after sliding 12 per cent in the previous two months. “At 96.9 points, the index remains below … Continue reading

15 Sept 2011 – French banks downgraded on Greece exposure

(15 Sept 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p1, Eric Johnston) “EUROPEAN markets were on edge last night after two of France’s biggest banks had their credit ratings cut on concerns over their large exposure to Greece’s moribund economy. “Global investors had been fearing such a move over the past week as Greece has been inching closer … Continue reading

14 Sept 2011 – World waits on Merkel, but can she muster support?

(14 Sept 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p8, Nicholas Kulish, Berlin) “AS EUROPE struggles to reverse a plunge in financial confidence, the world waits for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to make a fundamental choice. “She, more than any European politician, will have to either summon the leadership to rescue the euro or concede that the political … Continue reading

14 Sept 2011 – Italy goes cap in hand to China

(14 Sept 2011, TheAge, BusinessDay, p5, Eric JOhnston, Chris Zappone) “TALK that Italy had approached China looking for a buyer for some of its €10 billion ($A13.1 billion) of bonds on offer helped stabilise global markets, but analysts warned the development is likely to give only a short-term reprieve to Europe’s financial problems. “Troubled global … Continue reading

14 Sept 2011 – Business loses faith

(14 Sept 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p3, Peter Martin) “BUSINESS confidence has slumped to levels not seen since the global financial crisis. “The NAB survey conducted in late August – the first since renewed turmoil on world markets – shows a slide of 10 points from plus 2 to minus 8 on an index where … Continue reading

14 Sept 2011 – Two-tier wages pay off

(14 Sept 2011, AFR, p17, Bill Vlasic, Detroit) “They are a cornerstone of Chrysler’s unlikely comback: 900 employees turning out a Jepp Grand Cherokee SUV every 48 seconds of the working day at a Detroit assembly plant.” “Nothing distinguishes them from other workers at the Jefferson North plant, except their pay cheques.” “The newest Chrysler … Continue reading

14 Sept 2011 – Obama delivers job creation bill

(14 Sept 2011, AFR, p17, Ben POtter, Washington) “US President Barack Obama presented the bill for his $US447 billion job creation package to high-income Americans, oil and gas companies and hedge fund and investment fund managers in the form of a massive series of tax increases.” “The American Jobs Bill continues the administration’s lukewarm attitude … Continue reading

13 Sept 2011 – Euro-zone chiefs fiddle while countries burn

(13 Sept 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p8, Paul Krugman) “ON THURSDAY Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank – Europe’s equivalent to Ben Bernanke – lost his sang-froid. “In response to a question about whether the ECB was becoming a ”bad bank” thanks to its purchases of troubled nations’ debt, Trichet, his voice … Continue reading

13 Sept 2011 – German minister raises orderly default for Greece

(13 Sept 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p7, Jonathan Sibun, London) “GERMANY has stepped up its rhetoric against Greece – warning that the debt-laden country could default on its debts – in a move that highlights the growing divisions at the heart of Europe. “Germany’s Economy Minister Philipp Roesler said an ”orderly default” for Greece could … Continue reading

13 Sept 2011 – Robust China powers on as demand strengthens

(13 Sept 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p6, Bloomberg, Hong Kong) “CHINA’S record imports and a rebound in lending signalled strength in demand that offers a bright spot in a global economy contending with Europe’s debt crisis and weakening US job gains. “Shipments from abroad jumped 30 per cent and new local currency loans were a … Continue reading

13 Sept 2011 – The debt dilemma: take the pain now or postpone social upheaval

(13 Sept 2011, The Age, BusinessDay, p2, Ian Verrender) “IT HAS been several thousand years since Athens held the world in such sway. Rather than ushering in a glorious era of democracy and enlightenment, however, this time around the Greeks are copping the brunt of international ire as the poster child for profligacy and economic … Continue reading

10 Sept 2011 – Construction takes tumble

(10 Sept 2011, AFR, p21, Michelle Singer) “Construction levels on the Gold Coast have fallen well behind approval rates as developers struggle to secure finance amid deteriorating consumer confidence. “Private certifiers have approved almost 4000 commercial and residential buildings to the end of August, of which only 26 per cent have started or been completed, … Continue reading