The Economy


Rich will pump money into property and shares if super tax changes

Nassim Khadem 5:56 AM   Limiting the rich from accessing super tax breaks won't work on its own if the wealthy are still allowed to use other concessions on property and shares, some submissions to the Abbott government's tax review say.

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Business expectations down despite business-friendly federal budget

Retail is one of the few industries that reported an improvement in expectations, albeit a minor one.

Rose Powell 1:00 AM   Business expectations have dropped further despite a federal budget widely designed to lift confidence and widely recognised as being pro-business.

No rate cut expected despite soft data


Mark Mulligan 4:58 PM   The Reserve Bank of Australia is almost certain to hold the cash rate at 2 per cent when the board meets on Tuesday.

Bubble trouble: Joe Hockey's budget Catch 22

Michael Pascoe

Michael Pascoe 2:49 PM   The smattering of snow wasn't the only wintry blast in Canberra on Monday.

Treasury boss John Fraser fears about investment in housing, points to home renovation shows

Treasury secretary John Fraser says low interest rates are creating risks in housing.

Gareth Hutchens 1:35 PM   Treasury Secretary John Fraser says Sydney's housing market is showing "unequivocal" signs of a housing bubble.

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Counting the cost in dollars of Australia not allowing gay marriage

A wedding cake topped with Lego men was part of an advertising campaign pitched at Australians wanting to get married in New Zealand.

Michael Koziol 12:19 PM   Almost 500 same-sex Australian couples have wed in New Zealand since that country legalised gay marriage, spending at least $1 million in the process (and likely much more).

Shifts in structural unemployment complicate policy settings, says Standard Life

The number of unemployed declined in March.

Mark Mulligan   Permanent changes to job markets may be masking shifts in what classifies as full employment, and this is complicating policy-making, says asset manager Standard Life Investments.

Hockey waiting on a tradie miracle

Michael Pascoe

Michael Pascoe   It's not even three weeks old, but after a happy birth, Joe Hockey's second budget has been sent to the sick bay by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

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Housing investor loan growth still breaching APRA limit

Investor housing credit growth exceeded APRA's 10 per cent cap in the year to April.

Clancy Yeates   The surge in lending to property investors continued in April, as the value of home loans held by landlords once again grew by more than the banking regulator's 10 per cent a year cap.

AAA credit rating: Markets don't care

The economy and markets 'won't really care' if Australia ends up part of the AA club.

Jens Meyer   The economy and markets 'won't really care' if Australia ends up part of the AA club.

The $9b waste that is Australia's solar industry

It's argued Australia should have taken a more industrial approach to solar power instead of pushing household subsidies.

Brian Robins   It's been dubbed 'middle class welfare' of the first order.

Greece confident of debt accord, IMF is not so sure

While representatives of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' government are confident of reaching an agreement on debt repayments, the IMF and other international creditors aren't so sure.

Eleni Chrepa, Nikos Chrysoloras and Andrew Mayeda   Greece has again expressed optimism that the country will reach a deal with creditors in the coming days, even as IMF and international creditors say they're not so sure it will.

Economic outlook bleak

A Chinese ship is loaded with soybeans at Port of Santos May 19, 2015.

Peter Martin   Two weeks after the budget, Australia's economic outlook is bleak.

Business investment falls off a cliff

Traders bet the Reserve Bank of Australia would have to cut rates further to stimulate non-mining investment.

Mark Mulligan   Business investment in Australia is contracting at its fastest rate in more than five years and won't improve any time soon, according to the grim results of the latest capital expenditure survey by the Australia Bureau of Statistics.

Abbott must stop letting lobby groups rule the tax reform debate: PwC

"Everything should be on the table – there are no sacred cows or panaceas - the whole tax mix needs to be reviewed,": PwC's advice to the Abbott government.

Nassim Khadem   The Abbott government must stop listening to lobby groups who are arguing for negative gearing and superannuation concessions to be left off the table for tax reform, says PwC.

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Does New Zealand have the key to cool the housing market?

Buying up apartments: Lending to property investors is near a record high.

Narayanan Somasundaram   The nation's regulators are flashing warnings. Banks are vowing to curb lending. But that may not be enough to damp Sydney's surging home prices, economists say. It may be time to look across the ditch.

Slash stamp duty to attract workers to the bush: KPMG

"We need to continually focus on how big …the Asian opportunity is." : KPMG Australian chairman Peter Nash.

Jared Lynch   Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey should consider slashing stamp duty to attract more people to regional areas and help Australia fully capitalise on the Asian dining boom, KPMG chairman Peter Nash says.

Bank clamp down only having a 'small' impact, says RBA

RBA deputy governor Philip Lowe: "My subjective assessment would be the level of risk in bank mortgage portfolios has risen over the past couple of years."

James Eyers and Clancy Yeates   Rising property prices, household debt and unemployment have increased the risks in bank mortgage books, says Philip Lowe, the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

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Construction data underwhelms, but dollar climbs

The total value of completed construction work in the March quarter dropped 2.4 per cent to $48.4 billion.

Mark Mulligan   House building and other construction is still failing to pick up the slack left by the decline in mining-related engineering works, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Can China tame rising debt with added stimulus?

Will added stimulus solve the debt problem?

China's ramped-up stimulus is fueling optimism that the nation can tame a rising tide of bad debt and banks' profits will rebound.

Tax reform is doomed, say KPMG bosses

KPMG chairman Peter Nash says the government needs to ignore the noise from lobby groups when reform is discussed.

Nassim Khadem   Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey should not be ruling out particular aspects of the tax system that could be reformed.

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Mining careers should be promoted in Dolly

Scholarship winner: Julie Shuttleworth at Cloudbreak ore processing facility.

Nassim Khadem   Julie Shuttleworth, the general manager of Solomon Mine at Fortescue Metals, has given herself five years in which to make it to a company board.

Ignoring the other half of the world

Invisible labour: Zimbabwean women and children fetch water from a well.

Katrine Marçal 11:45 PM   Women spend two-thirds of their working day on unpaid work. Men spend one-quarter.

Australia dumbs down as government bets on baristas over brains

"Cutting back on research is insanity.": Andrew Hughes, a lecturer at ANU.

Michael Heath   Australia is betting on plumbers and coffee- shop owners over scientists and researchers to drive the nation's next wave of economic growth.

Neil deGrasse Tyson's cure for innovation blues: a Mars space race

Neil deGrasse Tyson sees a role for space in stimulating our terrestrial economy.

Chris Zappone   In the search to find the high-paying jobs and industries of the future, Neil deGrasse Tyson has an idea for a novel solution. How about a militarised space race to Mars?

Tax reform would get more from rich targets

Staff at Centrelink and Medicare will strike on Monday

Peter Martin   Super fund concessions for the rich are gaining on the age pension in budget stakes.

Post-budget glow fades slightly, according to ANZ-Roy Morgan

Despite the slip, confidence is still up a cumulative 4.4 per cent over the past three weeks.

Mark Mulligan   Consumer goodwill generated by the Coalition's budget has faded slightly, according to the latest weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan sentiment index, which has slipped after last week's strong showing.

SMSFs fatten up on $20b in tax-free income

Tax breaks for self-managed super funds are putting increasing pressure on government revenue.

Nassim Khadem   The cost to the budget of giving tax breaks to self-managed super funds has soared in the past year.

Whose superannuation is it any way?

Michael Pascoe

Michael Pascoe   One minute Tony Abbott says my superannuation savings are mine, not the government's, the next Scott Morrison is telling me how I have to spend it.

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Low rates not enough to spur business investment

Persistent weakness in non-mining capital expenditure apart from housing, and constraints on public sector infrastructure investment, are among the main reasons for the RBA's loose monetary policy settings.

Mark Mulligan   Uncertainty about consumer spending and inflexible expectations of investment returns may have made Australian companies less sensitive to interest rate cuts than the Reserve Bank would like, research by Barclays has found.