The Economy


We need to start taxing pensions, not opening up super products to tax advantages

Nassim Khadem 5:40 PM   Rather than taxing private pensions once people hit retirement, the Abbott government may be about to extend the tax benefit.

GDP growth above expectations

A lift in mining export volumes helped expand Australia's gross domestic product in the March quarter.

Mark Mulligan 4:00 PM   Australia's economy expanded at a faster rate than expected in the March quarter, as a jump in mining export volumes and a build-up in producer and retail stock offset weak business investment.

David Murray calls for retirement incomes review

Financial System Inquiry chairman David Murray speaking at the Committee for Sustainable Retirement Incomes  Forum in Canberra.

Sally Patten and Sally Rose 12:28 AM   The architect of Australia's wide ranging financial system inquiry David Murray is ramping up pressure on the government to embark on an overhaul of the retirement incomes framework.

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Multinationals tax plan never costed

Finance minister Mathias Cormann says there were never any revenue costings carried out on the May budget measure to tax multinationals.

Nassim Khadem 6:29 PM   The revelation explains why costings were not given by Treasurer Joe Hockey when he announced the measure, or included budget papers.

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Rates are right – but they may not stay that way

Malcolm Maiden

Malcolm Maiden 6:14 PM   The Reserve Bank says it is happy where rates are, but that's a decision taken before it sees Wednesday's crucial numbers.

Ping pong tables, artwork for your business is tax deductible: ATO

Ping pong tables for your business may be eligible as a tax deduction under the budget small business package.

Nassim Khadem   The Tax Office is not worried about small businesses looking to rort the Abbott government's budget measure allowing small businesses to write off assets under-$20,000.

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Why the RBA can't just suit Sydneysiders

Michael Pascoe

Michael Pascoe   The Sydney housing bubble is real enough, everyone except the Prime Minister and Treasurer seem to agree, but that can't be the RBA's prime consideration.

RBA leaves rates on hold

Fears about a housing bubble have helped keep the official cash rate on hold.

Mark Mulligan   The Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday left the cash rate at 2 per cent, opting to hold rather than risk further stoking house price inflation in Sydney.

RBA, trade figures boost $A

Net exports will make a contribution of 0.5 percentage points to March-quarter gross domestic product.

The Australian dollar has traded higher after the RBA held rates steady and as economists upgraded their forecasts for Wednesday's quarterly GDP data.

Global tax system needs an update

ATO Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan.

G20 leaders and finance ministers will receive guidelines on tackling multinational tax avoidance from the OECD at meetings in Turkey later this year.

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

The rich could use other tax breaks such as negative gearing to minimise their tax, Abbott's tax review told.

Nassim Khadem   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   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   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   The smattering of snow wasn't the only wintry blast in Canberra on Monday.

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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   Treasury Secretary John Fraser says Sydney's housing market is showing "unequivocal" signs of a housing bubble.

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   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.

Level of risk in housing 'has picked up', RBA's Philip Lowe says

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 Jonathan Shapiro   Rising property prices, household debt and unemployment have increased the risks in bank mortgage books, said 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.