The Economy


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

James Eyers and Clancy Yeates 6:35 PM   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 12:41 PM   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?

8:56 AM   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.

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.

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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.

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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.

Politicians and media to blame for 'dumbing down' news

Ross Gittins

Ross Gittins   As intensified personal ambition has heightened competition between the parties, unwritten rules that certain subjects were off limits to the political contest have gone by the board.

News Corp shows it's all about how you present the numbers


Michael West   News Corp paid an average $32.6 million in income tax a year. If the government were to tighten the screws on multinational tax avoiders, it could start by looking at the way financial statements are prepared.

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Budget stripped $15b from families


Nassim Khadem   The combined impact of the two budgets for low and middle income people was "devastating", new analysis by the Australian Council of Social Service shows.

Middle Australia will suffer most from pension changes

Some times are better to have tricky chats.

Ruth Liew   The number of Australians expected to be worse off in retirement is set to boom, with some facing a 10 per cent cut to their overall income following the government's proposed pension changes.

Tax inquiry witness to advise government on tax

Ann-Maree Wolff.

Nassim Khadem   Rio Tinto's head of tax - who was recently hauled before a Senate inquiry into tax avoidance - will now be advising the government on how to improve the tax system and increase transparency.

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How to understand the topsy-turvy bond market

Prices for US Treasurys, German bunds and other securities on the multitrillion-dollar global bond market have been exceptionally volatile.

Neil Irwin   If you happen to trade bonds for a living, it is entirely understandable if you are feeling a little anxious these days: You could lose a fortune in an ill-timed toilet break. But what happens in bonds matters for the rest of us, too.

Latest PMI shows Japan just gets stronger

Japan's manufacturing index returned above the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion.

Japan's manufacturing follows GDP upward as the world's third-biggest economy continues to work its way out of malaise.

APRA has more tools to tackle house prices, says HSBC

So far, the Australia Prudential Regulatory Authority has taken an incremental approach to mortgage lending, said HSBC chief Australia economist Paul Bloxham.

Max Mason   Record low interest rates, which have put a rocket up Australian house prices, are forcing the regulator to shoulder more of the load and evolve its approach to the potential risk to the financial system, says HSBC.

Uber to mount legal challenge against ATO decision

"We disagree with the ATO's interpretation":   David Rohrsheim, Uber's general manager in Australia.

Nassim Khadem   Uber says the Tax Office decision that treats ride-sharing services like a taxi service and will force thousands of drivers to pay GST, will deter job growth in the industry.

Cohen & Steers CEO sees good infrastructure growth

Bob Steers, CEO of listed Cohen & Steers, which is the manager of the new Argo Global Listed Infrastructure entity.

Simon Evans   Bob Steers, CEO of Cohen & Steers says the financial crisis is still fresh in investors' minds and acting as a restraint on equity valuations even as global interest rates hit historic lows.

Cheap credit, budget lift consumer confidence

Wednesday's survey result appears to confirm the findings of  Tuesday's weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan survey, which spiked to its highest level since last November.

Mark Mulligan   Consumer confidence jumped more than 6 per cent in May, as a friendlier budget and cheaper credit buoyed spirits, according to the latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute survey.

McDonald's super-sized McRort

In 2013 McDonald's Australia reported that it earned $A154.5 million in service fees from franchisees.

Nassim Khadem   International fast-food giant McDonald's avoided paying half a billion dollars of tax in Australia over a five-year period by shifting profits through Singapore, a new report by a global coalition of trade unions says.

Abbott better but maybe not yet good: business leaders

Ultimately, it will be the voters who will decide if they've been served by a good government.

Simon Evans   Business leaders think that while Prime Minister Tony Abbott is now running a better government 100 days since his brush with political oblivion, he may still be some way off running a good government.

Consumers shopping, but it's not because of the budget

Shopping generic

Yolanda Redrup   Consumer confidence is up, but Melbourne shoppers are not thanking the federal budget.

No GST-free ride for Uber warns ATO

Uber drivers have been slapped with more charges for alleged breaches of the Taxi Act

Nassim Khadem   The Australian Taxation Office has confirmed that people who provide ride-sharing services such as Uber are providing "taxi travel" under GST law.

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The Sydney housing bubble to pop – but how?

Michael Pascoe

Michael Pascoe   The 2015 Sydney housing boom has achieved the dubious distinction of bubble status, replete with rampant FOMO (fear of missing out) and key parts of the market departing from gravity as values rise by hundreds of thousands of dollars in a few weeks.

RBA minutes confirm scope for further interest rate cuts

The RBA has confirmed it remains open to cutting the official cash rate further if required.

Mark Mulligan   The Reserve Bank of Australia remains open to further interest rates cuts, according to the minutes of the last board meeting.

Owner-occupiers may get cheaper loans due to APRA cap

House built on cash

Clancy Yeates   New lending rules could mean bigger interest rate discounts for borrowers who live in the home they are borrowing against.