The Economy

 

Crucial trade pact in 'grabbing distance'

Nick O'Malley   An ambition to create the world's biggest trading pact is at a crucial point and the result will have significant impact on Australia.

The negative gearing change that's already happening

Governments on both sides have been happy to let an erosion of negative gearing benefits flow into revenue.

Michael Pascoe   Joe Hockey may rule out changes, but the thin edge of the negative gearing wedge is already in the door.

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How Australia squandered the boom

After 24 years of growth, the question is: Has Australia had it too good for too long?

Michael Heath   Even for a country with a history of commodity booms, this one was gargantuan. Over the decade to 2013, Australia racked up $1.29 trillion in extra exports from the previous 10 years.

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RBA's May rate cut under doubt

To cut, or not to cut ... Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens.

Max Mason   A May rate cut looked like a sure thing - until this week. Stronger than expected inflation and a jump in iron ore has pushed some economists to forecast the Reserve Bank of Australia will hold pat for now.

RBA won't cut rates in May, NAB says

Trying to call the RBA's next move: NAB is the first major forecaster to back away from predictions of a rate cut next month.

Mark Mulligan   Trying to call the RBA's next move: National Australia Bank is the first major forecaster to back away from predictions of a rate cut next month.

Inspector-General to handle ATO gripes

Ali Noroozi, Inspector-General of Taxation, said it will be better for his office to handle tax complaints.

Nassim Khadem   Over 1300 individual complaints made each year about the Australian Taxation Office will now be handled by the Inspector-General of Taxation Ali Noroozi.

Lower inflation clears way for second RBA cut

Fuel price drops again helped drive inflation lower.

Mark Mulligan   Headline inflation eased to an annual 1.3 per cent in the March quarter, its lowest rate for nearly three years, as cheap petrol and post-Christmas discounting by clothes and footwear retailers gave consumers plenty to cheer about.

Hockey open to scaling back super tax breaks

"I don't like higher taxes, I am philosophically opposed to higher taxes": Treasurer Joe Hockey.

Nassim Khadem   Treasurer Joe Hockey has left open the option of scaling back superannuation concessions as part of the tax white paper process.

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Jobless rate headed for 7% this year: BlackRock

January marked the 11th straight month of job gains above 200,000 in the US, the longest streak since 1994.

Max Mason   Australia's unemployment rate risks hitting 7 per cent this year and could push higher in 2016, BlackRock warns.

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Jordan fires back at tech and mining giants on their evidence to inquiry

Google, Apple and Microsoft are among multinational companies being audited by the Australian Taxation Office.

Nassim Khadem   Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan has accused multinationals including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton of giving inaccurate evidence to the Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance

BlackRock sees massive flows into Aussie bonds

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Garfield Reynolds   The world's biggest money manager is seeing massive flows into Australian government bonds from overseas as quantitative easing by central banks in Japan and Europe boosts demand.

Rate cut works but Pimco finds rebalance slow

The February rate cut may be the start of a longer easing cycle but there are things beyond the RBA's control, money managers say.

Mark Mulligan   US-based bond fund manager Pimco has found the weaker Australian dollar and the Reserve Bank of Australia's monetary easing are working to create new growth drivers but headwinds remain.

Seven charts that explain why the government's got no cash

Dwindling royalties: Australia is expected to be $30 billion out of pocket in the next four years thanks to the collapsing iron ore price.

Luke Malpass   We are constantly being bombarded with reasons why the federal government has a revenue problem. But is it true, and if it is, what explains it?

No evidence of suspicious behaviour before RBA rate announcements, $A moves: RBA

Glenn Stevens says ASIC has been unable to find any evidence of behaviour that could have helped foreign exchange dealers pre-empt the RBA's announcements in February and March.

Gareth Hutchens   Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens says authorities have found no evidence of suspicious behaviour that could have contributed to sharp movements in Australia's dollar just seconds before the RBA's interest rate decisions in February and March.

The RBA must cut the cash rate, insists BT

The RBA has expressed concern that Sydney house prices "look rather exuberant".

Stephen Cauchi   The central bank is too focused on Sydney's exuberant housing market and not on the need of the wider Australian economy for the official cash rate to be slashed, says BT.

Extraordinary world conditions could spark 'abrupt' sell-off

In an address to the American Australian Association, Glenn Stevens said sovereign bond holders are not getting much compensation for risk.

Vesna Poljak   RBA governor Glenn Stevens says financial markets are at risk of a major shock linked to a capital flight from emerging markets that could take off just as assumptions about global liquidity are tested.

EXCLUSIVE

Rich investors get lion's share of tax breaks

Loophole: The richest 20 per cent of households get $8.3 billion in franking credits while the poorest 20 per cent of households receive just $164 million.

Tom Allard   Australia's $29 billion system of franking credits for investors is skewed heavily to the rich and is ripping a hole in the Budget, a new analysis has found.

Sydney house prices continued to weigh on RBA rates decision

Rapid house price rises in Sydney weren't necessarily seen in other part of the country, the RBA said.

Mark Mulligan   Sydney's overheated property market continued to weigh on the Reserve Bank of Australia's decision to hold interest rates steady at the April policy meeting.

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RBA governor says Sydney house prices are 'exuberant' but more rate cuts may come

 Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens said governments around the world were putting 'too much weight' on monetary policy.

Gareth Hutchens   Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens says it is hard to escape the conclusion that Sydney house prices "look rather exuberant" at the moment with "very easy" credit conditions, after prices have jumped by a third since 2012.

Surprise burst in growth seen - but unlikely to last

The surprise boost in the economy is unlikely to last.

Jens Meyer   The economy appears to have shot out of the blocks at the start of the year, Capital Economics says, but adds the burst won't last.

Central banks blamed for riskier investment

Monetary easing around the world has been slow to feed through to real economies, says US-based Janus Capital.

Mark Mulligan   Monetary easing around the world has forced marginal investors into riskier assets, US-based Janus Capital says.

Name and shame the 'worst offenders' dodging tax: Greens

Greens leader Christine Milne said Treasurer Joe Hockey's plan to set up a working group with the British government is just talk.

Nassim Khadem   Companies would be forced to reveal any arrangements used to avoid tax, and those not paying their fair share would be named and shamed on a "worst offenders" list, under a plan by the Greens

'Google tax' just a slogan, experts say

Wishful thinking?: Treasurer Joe Hockey is determined to get more tax out of multinationals engaged in profit-sharing.

Nassim Khadem   Treasurer Joe Hockey's plan to get more tax out of multinationals based on lessons from the UK's "Google tax" is just a political slogan tax experts say.

ACT economy shrouded by uncertainty

Chief Minister Andrew Barr says the Prime Minister's assurances at the COAG meeting underpin an optimistic outlook for Canberra.

Ross Peake   The ACT's economy is shrouded by uncertainty, with with some people deciding to "hit the Hume" to leave Canberra and the retail sector flagging, according to an economic report released on Monday.

The one question you shouldn't ask in a job interview

Of all the questions future employees hate, this one is perhaps the most dreaded.

Entire corners of the internet are devoted to helping people tiptoe through this minefield of a topic.

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Housing roulette: are you feeling lucky?

Michael Pascoe dinkus Dinkus

Michael Pascoe   How you perceive the state of the Sydney rental market depends on who you are. Sydney tenants might think rents are steady or rising, but they're falling for Sydney landlords.

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NZ inflation slows, prompting rates debate

Some traders bet Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Graeme Wheeler will cut borrowing costs before the end of the year.

Gyles Beckford   New Zealand's annual inflation rate hit its lowest level in 15 years in the first quarter as cheap oil prices fed through to petrol pumps, leaving analysts at odds over whether the central bank will keep rates on hold into next year.

$1m not enough to retire in comfort

$1 million doesn't buy much of a lifetime income according to Challenger's Jeremy Cooper.

Ruth Liew   Australians who believe that $1 million is enough for a comfortable retirement are in for a rude shock.

Time to merge Australia and New Zealand

Harold Mitchell

Harold Mitchell   I've always argued that the best leaders are those who plan a long way ahead.

Why Australia's still the world's most expensive place to live

The most expensive country in the world: Australia.

Patrick Begley, Luke Malpass   Australia - the football champion of Asia, recent victor of the Cricket World Cup - has just taken out a less-coveted gong: most expensive country. Again.