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29 Nov 2014 (AFR) – China’s real collision course – building oversupply delivers unwanted kiss

(29 Nov 2014, AFR, p13, Lisa Murray AFR correspondent) ‘It has been described as a “kiss” or a “bump”, but residents of two Shanghai apartment blocks that tilted and hit each other last weekend believe the collision was far more serious. The government has declared the two 15-storey towers in Shanghai’s Pudong area, completed two … Continue reading

29 Nov 2014 (AFR) – Battered shares recover as fossil fuel joins price fall – Energy stocks lead ASX’s big drop

(29 Nov 2014, AFR, p40, Stephen Cauchi) – Equities ‘Australian shares withstood an alarming oil price drop and a continued weakness in iron ore miners to edge a little higher for the week, a comeback from the previous week’s 2.8 per cent drop. The S&P/ASX 200 index crashed 1.6 per cent on Friday to 5313.00 and its 0.16 per … Continue reading

29 Nov 2014 (AFR) – Energy stocks plunge on OPEC decision

(29 Nov 2014, AFR, p40, Yolanda Redrup) – Oil ‘Australian energy stocks were savaged on Friday, some falling more than 10 per cent, following the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ decision not to cut oil production. The heavy losses were in line with analysts’ expectations. Credit Suisse oil and gas analyst Mark Samter said the situation … Continue reading

29 Nov 2014 (AFR) – Batten the hatches for storms gathering abroad

(29 Nov 2014, AFR, p24, Karen Maley) Steady as she goes ‘Investors’ equanimity is likely to be sorely tested in coming months as the global economy struggles with sluggish growth and a dearth of demand. Although the US sharemarket climbed to yet another record high this week, analysts warn that any number of factors – … Continue reading

29 Nov 2014 (AFR) – Oil slumps as OPEC sits on its hands

(29 Nov 2014, AFR, p12, Stanley Reed) ‘The oil cartel OPEC has decided not to cut petroleum production, despite the plunge in prices in recent months that has indicated the diminishing clout of the organisation. On news of the decision by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Thursday, the price of Brent crude oil, … Continue reading

28 Nov 2014 (TheAge, SMH) – Business spending climbs in September quarter – Spending outside the miners raises economic hopes

(28 Nov 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p28, Mark Mulligan) ‘Business spending on new plant, equipment and buildings rose slightly in the September quarter, as investment in non-resource sectors continued to compensate for the downturn in mining-related infrastructure. The Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday that, seasonally-adjusted, total new capital expenditure rose 0.2 per cent … Continue reading

27 Nov 2014 (AFR) – Financial planners prepare for lawsuits amid FoFA changes

(27 Nov 2014, AFR, p22, Ruth Liew) FoFA reforms may be dead but grandfathering may survive Christopher Joye | No peace in financial advice wars ‘Financial planning professionals including advisers and lawyers are bracing for a potential spike in class action lawsuits from irate clients, due to open-ended requirements for planners to act in their clients’ … Continue reading

27 Nov 2014 (AFR) – US buoyant while others stuck fast – a bright spot in global economy

(27 Nov 2014, AFR, p14, John Kehoe AFR correspondent) ‘The United States is a rare bright spot on the global economic map, in the face of chronic gloom in other major regions across the world. The US economy weathered the global slowdown to expand at a robust annual 3.9 per cent pace in the September quarter, … Continue reading

27 Nov 2014 (TheAge) – Medibank slide irks institutions

(27 Nov 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p25, Vesna Poljak) ‘Fund managers have taken a dim view of the federal government’s pricing of the Medibank Private float, arguing it was too steeply priced for a market debutant. Medibank stock touched $2.08 on its second day as a listed company, before closing at $2.10. Institutional investors were … Continue reading

27 Nov 2014 (TheAge, SMH) – New mining projects at 10-year low

(27 Nov 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p24, Reuters) Iron ore prices to stay lower for longer, says ex-Rio chief ‘The number of Australian resources projects reaching financial commitment has fallen as sagging minerals and energy prices lead companies to tighten their belts, the government’s chief commodities forecaster said on Wednesday. In the six months to … Continue reading

26 Nov 2014 (AFR) – Amateur traders feel ‘ripped off’ over Medibank delay

(26 Nov 2014, AFR, p6, Lucy Cormack and Liam Mannix) Chanticleer | Medibank’s doctor wields scalpel Street Talk | Offshore funds step up in early Medibank trade Medibank Private IPO ‘Many Medibank investors who wanted to sell on the first day’s trading were confused and angry when they learned they will have to wait more than … Continue reading

26 Nov 2014 (TheAge) – Economists tip two year rate freeze – ABE forecasts: Get set for a record run of steady interest rates

(26 Nov 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p36, Peter Martin) ‘Australia’s leading business economists are picking the Reserve Bank to leave its cash rate on hold for another six months, making it a record run of nearly two years without moves. Elected by their peers to the Australian Business Economists executive committee, the 18 forecasters work … Continue reading

25 Nov 2014 (AFR) – European Union (Juncker) plans fund to bolster EU economy, jump start investment

(25 Nov 2014, AFR, p12, Rebecca Christie) ‘The European Union is ­planning a €21 billion ($30 billion) fund to share the risks of new projects with private investors. The new entity is designed to have an impact of about 15 times its size, making it the anchor of the EU’s €300 billion investment program, according to two EU … Continue reading

25 Nov 2014 (AFR) – Cole critical of plans to axe building codes

(25 Nov 2014, AFR, p6, Lucille Keen) ‘Former building royal commissioner ­Terence Cole criticised plans by ­any government to abolish state or federal building codes – the policy of Victorian Labor Leader Daniel Andrews – saying it would entrench bad behaviour in the industry. The former judge told TheAustralian Financial Review that unions have long opposed … Continue reading

25 Nov 2014 (AFR) – CFMEU lawbreaking ‘gets worse’

(25 Nov 2014, AFR, p1, Joanna Mather and Simon Evans) Opinion | Why we have a sorry pattern of soaring construction costs ‘Lawlessness in the construction industry is worse now than a year ago and Adelaide has emerged as a new militant hotspot, the building regulator says. The Fair Work Building and ­Construction inspectorate has … Continue reading

25 Nov 2014 (TheAge,SMH) – To boost GDP, China may be making a mortgage bomb

(25 Nov 2014, The age, BusinessDay, p26, William Pesek) ‘The first Chinese interest-rate cut in more than two years is a stark recognition that the world’s second-biggest economy is in trouble. After years of piling ever more public debt onto the national balance sheet, it makes sense to have the People’s Bank of China take … Continue reading

24 Nov 2014 (AFR) – Why we have a sorry pattern of soaring construction costs

(24 Nov 2014, AFR, p43, Stephen Sasse) ‘Australia has achieved the highly dubious distinction of being the most expensive construction destination on the planet. If we accept the Productivity Commission’s view that “the efficient provision of infrastructure is the hallmark of a well-functioning economy”, then it is only fair to conclude that we fail the … Continue reading

24 Nov 2014 (AFR) – Strategists (Morgan Stanley) take a bearish view

(24 Nov 2014, AFR, p23, Anthony Macdonald) ‘It’s time Australian fund managers and sell-side analysts looked harder at their own backyard. And when they do, they might be surprised to see how hard it will be for many Australian companies to grow earnings as unemployment approaches the all-important 7 per cent mark and the housing-led east … Continue reading

24 Nov 2014 (AFR) – PBOC back-down sends sorry signal – Beijing’s interest rate cut evidence of economic, not real estate concern

(24 Nov 2014, AFR, p22, Karen Maley) Angus Grigg | China’s half-measure skirts debt problem ‘Global equity and commodity markets may have cheered the Chinese central bank surprise move to cut interest rates for the first time in more than two years, but more astute observers worry the move signals Beijing has become more anxious … Continue reading

24 Nov 2014 (AFR) – China’s half-measure skirts debt problem

(24 Nov 2014, AFR, p22, Angus Grigg) Karen Maley | PBOC back-down sends a sorry signal ‘If ever there was a moment where China’s vulnerabilities were highlighted, it was Friday night’s interest rate cut. The People’s Bank of China was a highly reluctant starter. Despite months of weakening data the central bank had resisted lowering … Continue reading

24 Nov 2014 (AFR) – Building suppliers in for home construction boon

(24 Nov 2014, AFR, p17, Tim Binsted) ‘Building materials companies are set to capitalise on booming home construction, with builders expecting demand to accelerate next year after a record number of new housing starts in 2014. CIMB analyst Andrew Scott expects construction activity will continue to build momentum….’ Read more at (might need AFR … Continue reading

24 Nov 2014 (AFR) – Goldman in trouble again – Goldman Sachs told banker who raised Libya concerns: Don’t get involved

(24 Nov 2014, AFR, p12, James Titcomb ) ‘Bosses at Goldman Sachs castigated a junior employee for questioning a trade the bank conducted on behalf of Libya’s sovereign wealth fund, warning him that it was not his business to get involved. According to documents seen by The Telegraph, Youssef Kabbaj, the senior Goldman banker who … Continue reading

24 Nov 2014 (AFR) – Renovation lags record new-home builds

(24 Nov 2014, AFR, p9, Mercedes Ruehl) ‘More new homes will be built this year than in 20 years, but a high household savings rate and fears about the health of the domestic economy are discouraging home owners from renovating. According to a Housing Industry Association report, nearly 190,000 homes will be under construction by … Continue reading

24 Nov 2014 (AFR) – Sydney auction sales 4000 ahead – Auction volumes keep a lid on prices

(24 Nov 2014, AFR, p9, Mercedes Ruehl) ‘Auctioneers in Sydney have sold 4000 more homes so far this year, compared with all of last year, but the crowded auction scene is keeping a lid on price growth and clearance rates. A preliminary auction clearance rate of 67.7 per cent was recorded across capital cities this week … Continue reading

24 Nov 2014 (AFR) – China cuts rates for first time since July 2012

(24 Nov 2014, AFR, Angus Grigg and Lisa Murray Shanghai) Why it’s time to invest in China, India China manufacturing activity at six-month low: HSBC ‘China has cut interest rates for the first time in more than two years, suggesting growth in the world’s second-biggest economy is slowing sharply. The People’s Bank of China said on … Continue reading

24 Nov 2014 (TheAge, SMH) – Mining slowdown hits fly-in, fly-out air charter companies

(24 Nov 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p25, Matt O’Sullivan) ‘QantasLink has experienced a plateauing in demand in parts of the fly-in, fly-out market as iron ore prices hit a five-year low but has stressed its ability to respond to the changes. A slowdown in mining has hit Western Australia hardest, and, in turn, air charter … Continue reading

24 Nov 2014 (TheAge) – China rate cut, ECB stimulus boosts global equities markets

(24 Nov 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p23, Vesna Poljak) ‘The dual forces of the first interest rate cut in two years from China and a promise of bigger stimulus from the European Central Bank (ECB) have lifted global equities markets and stoked optimism that ultra-easy policy can alleviate a slowdown in global growth. Late on … Continue reading

24 Nov 2014 (TheAge) – AMP finds Australian banks ill-prepared for housing-induced crisis

(24 Nov 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p21, Jonathan Shapiro and Clancy Yeates) ‘One of Australia’s largest institutional investors says the main banks would have to raise billions more than most experts expect in a property crash that could wipe out the home equity of millions. AMP Capital’s head of credit markets, Jeff Brunton, said official … Continue reading

21 Nov 2014 (TheAge) – Plunge in iron ore prices – Mineral Resources considers putting mines in mothballs

(21 Nov 2014, The Age, BusinessDay, p25, Tess Ingram) ‘The iron ore price crunch could force Mineral Resources to put its mines on care and maintenance, managing director Chris Ellison says. The trigger price for such action was not far away, Mr Ellison said. The iron ore producer and mining services company would “turn off … Continue reading

20 Nov 2014 (AFR) – Orica warns of 20-year mining slowdown – sells chemicals unit to Blackstone for $750m

(20 Nov 2014, AFR, p23, Tim Binsted) ‘Orica chief executive Ian Smith said Australian mining is facing 20 years of weak growth as he sold his chemicals arm to private equity giant Blackstone for $750 million and announced 700 job cuts. Tumbling commodity prices have put miners under intense pressure and harmed explosives volumes and pricing power. … Continue reading