The Economy


Struggling to pay your bills? You're not alone

Warren Barnsley 4:16 PM   Households are going without food and medicines and families are forced to cut back as cost of living pressures start to bite, welfare advocates say.

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China capital flows could reach $US400b, says RBA's Glenn Stevens

RBA governor Glenn Stevens.

Michael Heath 3:19 PM   Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens says capital flows in and out of China could reach $US400 billion a year and has urged Asia to develop its financial markets to absorb the potential influx..

Building approvals slide in June

The approval of new building dropped off more than expected in June.

2:07 PM   Building approvals have suffered their largest setback since September 2014 as the huge surge in high density dwellings eases.

The four points that will determine when the Fed will raise rates

Russian roubles, which have fallen 50 per cent in value this year, and a US dollar bank note sit together.

Jeanna Smialek 9:42 AM   Federal Reserve policy makers say they'll increase interest rates when the US economy gives signs that it's ready. Here are the key reports that will drive their decision.

Financially stressed? The stats say things are getting better

Fuel pumps

Peter Martin   Wages are climbing at their slowest pace this century, yet few Australians seem concerned.

Coal beaten, iron ore next – the sector driving export growth

Is tourism the reason more ex-miners aren't looking for work?

Mark Mulligan   After a sharp depreciation of the Australian dollar and a related drop in the price of key commodities, it looks like Australia's long-awaited transition away from mining-related infrastructure development is well under way.

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Australia on the 'wrong side of global growth'

Analysts say China's demand for iron ore is unlikely to pick up for a long time.

Rose Powell   Australia is in for a rocky ride as global growth slows and commodity prices plummet, with property the only bright spot, investors warn.

We are not playing dirty Uber tells ATO

Uber and the ATO have been at odds over whether uberX drivers need to pay GST like taxi drivers.

Nassim Khadem   Uber has dismissed comments by Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan that the Silicon Valley technology giant has been playing dirty in order win the media debate over a stoush on whether uberX drivers should pay GST.

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Pharmaceutical companies escaping court

While getting billions in subsidies from the federal government, pharmaceutical companies on average pay tax equivalent to just 1 per cent of their revenue.

Nassim Khadem   None of the pharmaceutical companies that are accused of profit shifting have been taken to court, the Australian Taxation Office has told the Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance.

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Over 50s want to work longer

FSC chief executive Sally Loane said: "The difference this year is that we have the emergence of Gen X-ers who are now entering the older work force, and they're bringing in new attitudes to the work force as well."

Ruth Liew   Three out of four people over 50 are willing to stay in the workforce longer to boost their retirement savings, reflecting workers' increasing concerns about their financial security.

Why RBA has gone soft on expected growth

Glenn Stevens

Peter Martin   Uncertainty over trends points to no rate rises, but tax hikes are in the mix.

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Time to look at super, negative gearing, GST: KPMG

KPMG's tax reform proposals include linking personal tax thresholds to average full time earnings to eliminate bracket creep.

Nassim Khadem   Superannuation benefits going to the wealthy should be restricted, KPMG says in its submission to the Abbott government's tax review.

Climate change hitting where it hurts: your wine

Michael Pascoe

Michael Pascoe   Spend a day at a wine grape growers' summit and, among many other things, you're left with no doubt about the reality of climate change.

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GST debate explained

generic thumbnail, money, Australian dollars, cash

Nassim Khadem   At the same time as government revenue is falling, demands to spend on areas such as health, education, welfare, and defence are rising. Does this mean we need a higher GST?

China's economy giving us a fair shake

Harold Mitchell

Harold Mitchell   There is a lot of talk about China's economy and sometimes it pays to go straight to the source.

Stoush between Uber and ATO on GST heats up

Uber drivers maybe forced to register for GST despite not earning more than the $75,000 turnover threshold.

Nassim Khadem   Uber has accused the Australian Taxation Office of being unduly influenced by the taxi lobby over its decision to require drivers using ridesharing services like Uber to register for GST.

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CBA hits housing investors with higher rates

CBA has raised interest rates for housing investors by 0.27 percentage points.

Clancy Yeates   The biggest bank in the country is jacking up interest rates for housing investors, as lenders act to rein in the boom in borrowing by landlord buyers.

Parliamentary gridlock could cost Australia its AAA credit rating, says Standard and Poor's

Treasurer Joe Hockey.

Peter Martin   Decisions on "politically sensitive" spending could put the AAA rating at risk.

Australia's AAA credit rating rests on tough budget measures, S&P says

Treasurer Joe Hockey's task may be complicated by parliamentary opposition to his budget plans and falling mining exports.

Benjamin Purvis   The country could lose its top credit rating if political wrangling or a further decline in commodity prices mean it fails to narrow its budget deficit, Standard & Poor's says.

Is the RBA finally happy with the $A? Here's why it seems so

Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens noted that although the high dollar had hitherto held back the non-mining recovery, the necessary adjustment to its value "seems to be occurring, with relatively little disruption, and is having an expansionary effect".

Mark Mulligan   RBA governor Glenn Stevens has now switched focus from the Australian dollar's value to more pressing matters.

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Abbott puts ASIC under microscope

ASIC boss Greg Medcraft doesn't think the bond market liquidity issue is as big a deal as hedge fund tsar Carl Icahn.

Jonathan Shapiro, James Eyers   The Abbott government will conduct the first full-scale audit of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission✓ in 17 years, laying the groundwork for a major overhaul in how the corporate watchdog is funded and operated.

Huge petrol price surge pumps up inflation

Pain at the pump: Petrol prices jumped more than at any time in the past 25 years in the June quarter.

Mark Mulligan   Headline inflation jumped from 0.2 to 0.7 per cent in the June quarter, as the biggest three-month surge in petrol prices in 25 years help push up the cost of a basket of goods.

Has unemployment peaked in Australia?


Stephen Cauchi   Unemployment could remain around 6 per cent for some time according to ANZ, a view at odds with those expecting the Reserve Bank to downgrade its forecasts.

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RBA warns Abbott budget faces sting in the tail

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 10:  Glenn Stevens speaks at an economic conference on June 10, 2015 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Photo by Glenn Hunt/Fairfax Media)

Gareth Hutchens   The head of the Reserve Bank of Australia has cast doubts over the figures used to underpin the Abbott government's rosy budget forecasts, warning projections for Australia's future economic growth may be too high.

Stevens signals Australia may need to rethink growth

RBA governor Glenn Stevens says the bank has been surprised by the underlying stability of the unemployment rate.

Mark Mulligan   Better than expected unemployment rates and signs business confidence had picked up suggest Australia may need to rethink the definition of trend growth.

Gen Ys and Gen Xers live better than baby boomers

Based on a measurement of disposable income, the younger generation has a much higher living standard than the older generation.

Nassim Khadem   Younger generations - that is those aged 18 to 35 - household living standards have grown more strongly than older generations, the SAS and NATSEM latest household budget report shows.

Business sector gets a sales boost

Nationwide spending in the year to June rose 7.6 per cent – the fastest pace in seven months and well above the decade-average trend of 5.3 per cent.

Stephen Cauchi   Australian businesses continue to respond well to Government stimulus measures, with June sales experiencing growth at a solid pace, according to the latest Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator (BSI).

Demand builds for Australian housing as China eases capital controls

"Don't discount the ability of Chinese money to flow offshore and push up global asset prices, even if the economy slows down more than expected." Colonial First State's Stephen Halmarick.

Mark Mulligan   Reforms in China that aim to free up the flow of money in and out of the country are expected to create greater interest in Australian assets.

Foreign demand for existing properties rises

Taking bids: Foreign buyers of existing housing are more prevalent in Victoria than in other states.

Mark Mulligan   Foreign demand for new apartments and houses in Australia eased in the June quarter, but it rose in the more restricted market for existing properties, according to the latest National Australia Bank property survey.