Thursday, August 22, 2019

Hong Kong protests rattle Qantas as travellers change plans; 6.5pc fall in full year profit; CEO Alan Joyce unveils test non-stop flights to London and New York

Qantas has confirmed that escalating protests in Hong Kong are starting to hurt its business. 

The national carrier is now looking at sending smaller planes to Hong Kong as tourists and business travellers consider staying away. 

Qantas has reported a six percent fall in full year profit to 891 million dollars after its fuel bill surged by more than 600 million dollars. 

Chief executive Alan Joyce is also planning to trial non stop flights to New York and London as the airline navigates growing geopolitical turbulence. 

Mr Joyce speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan.

Gender discrimination on the rise as pay gap narrows. I speak with KPMG Australia chairman Alison Kitchen.

Rising gender discrimination is now the single biggest factor in driving a pay wedge between men and women, according to a report out today. 

Research by the advisory firm KPMG has found that "stubborn gender stereotypes" continue to harm the careers of women especially those who opt to care for children and elderly family members.

Read the online story

The study, conducted for the Diversity Council of Australia and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency suggests targets or quotas could be required to boost the number of women in leadership positions.

KPMG Australia chairman Alison Kitchen speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

BHP boss Andrew Mackenzie says US China trade tensions not hurting commodities "just yet"; Seven West Media chief executive James Warburton inherits $444.5 million full year loss

BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie says the US China trade war is not yet hurting demand for its commodities. 

But Mr Mackenzie says a prolonged trade dispute could have an impact, warning that nationalism was getting in the way of capitalism. 

Also today, Seven West Media post a loss of $444.5 million in the full year with writedowns the value of its TV licence and newspaper mastheads. 

Chief executive James Warburton said all options were on the table and did not rule out a merger with a major player such as News Corporation.

Here's my coverage from The World Today

Monday, August 19, 2019

Hong Kong on brink of recession as protests hit economy. I speak with Enda Curran, Bloomberg chief Asia economics correspondent in Hong Kong.

The escalating protests in Hong Kong - in addition to fallout from the US China trade war - are likely to take the special administrative region to the brink of recession. 

Hong Kong's economic growth contracted in the most recent quarter and the government has announced a US$2 billion stimulus package to keep consumers and businesses spending. 

With fears rising that China will intervene to break up the protests, Hong Kong businesses are making contingency plans raising the prospect that money could exit the local economy most likely to Asia's other financial hub of Singapore. 

Enda Curran, chief Asia economics correspondent with Bloomberg in Hong Kong , speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Seven West CEO Tim Worner in surprise resignation, career tainted by Amber Harrison affair

Seven West Media chief executive Tim Worner has unexpectedly resigned with chairman Kerry Stokes declaring "now is the time for change". 

Mr Worner, whose leadership at Seven was tainted by his affair with former executive assistant Amber Harrison, will be replaced by James Warburton a one time Seven executive who defected to be Network Ten managing director.

Read the story here

Listen to my analysis on The World Today

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Telstra profit dives, cuts dividend, $600 m NBN impact. I speak with Telstra chief executive Andy Penn

Telstra has reported a 40 per cent collapse in its full-year profit to $2.15 billion. 

But the result was roughly in line with market expectations given the ongoing $600 million hit to earnings caused by the NBN rollout. 

Telstra shares fell 1.4 percent with falls amplified by the broader sharemarket plunge. 

Telstra chief executive Andy Penn speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan.

NBN will be complete by mid-2020 and within $51b budget, says CEO Stephen Rue

The $51 billion National Broadband Network will be completed on time and within budget by mid-2020, according to the project's chief executive Stephen Rue. 

But Mr Rue is defying critics of the NBN with strong financial results for the year to June 30, which show the network is now 85 per cent complete compared to 75 per cent a year ago. 

Stephen Rue speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan.

READ the story here

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Hong Kong unrest risking "flight of capital" as Hang Seng plunges

The fast-moving events in Hong Kong have the potential to derail the region's lucrative economy and investors worried by speculation that China is poised to cross the border and intervene. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says Hong Kong's main share index has plunged eight percent since June amid rising concerns that money is leaving the region in "a flight of capital".

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

ASIC defeated in landmark responsible lending case against Westpac. ASIC commissioner Sean Hughes says regulator "takes it on the chin".

The Federal Court has dismissed ASIC's responsible lending case against Westpac and ordered the regulator to pay the bank's costs. 

ASIC had alleged that Westpac breached responsible lending laws on up to 262,000 home loan approvals made using an automated process that relied on the Household Expenditure Measure benchmark, rather than using each applicant's individually assessed living cost. 

ASIC commissioner Sean Hughes tells ABC's Peter Ryan the regulator takes the defeat on the chin but will continue to fearlessly pursue breaches of corporate law.

Source: Justice Nye Perram - ASIC vs Westpac ruling 13 August 19

Monday, August 12, 2019

"No retail recesssion yet" - JB Hi Fi boss Richard Murray upbeat but cautious

JB Hi Fi remains upbeat in the face of a "retail recession" with chief executive Richard Murray cautiously optimistic. 

The electronics and music retailer has posted a 7 percent growth in profit to $250 million on the back of $7.1 billion in sales. 

Mr Murray told ABC's Peter Ryan that consumers are spending despite caution in the leadup to the election.

Households saving not spending as financial comfort gauge shows stress

Sluggish wages growth and worries about a weakening jobs market are dragging down financial comfort levels in households, according to a report from ME Bank out today. 

Despite 28 years of unbroken economic growth, Australians are nervous about their personal wealth with the housing correction taking a toll on confidence. 

ME Bank economist Jeff Oughton speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Rates could to go zero, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe concedes

Reserve Bank governor Dr Philip Lowe has conceded that interest rates will stay lower for longer, and could even go to zero. 

Speaking at a parliamentary grilling in Canberra, Dr Lowe says Australia can't escape a world of falling interest rates which have already turned negative in Switzerland, Japan and Europe. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says Dr Lowe has warned wages should be recovering.

Packer share sale to Hong Kong gambling titan to be probed by NSW independent watchdog

James Packer's sale of Crown Resorts shares to Hong Kong gambling tycoon Lawrence Ho will be probed by the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority. 

Crown says it will "fully cooperate" with the inquiry. 

The investigation will examine whether Crown ensures casinos remain free from criminal influence or exploitation. 

Here's my report from this morning's AM.

Statement from NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority

Thursday, August 8, 2019

AMP in $2.3b first-half loss and asks shareholders for another $650m. I speak with AMP boss Francesco De Ferrari

The embattled wealth manager AMP has posted a $2.3 billion loss as misconduct revealed in last year's financial services Royal Commission continues to erode the company's once trusted reputation.

The half year loss comes as AMP continues to compensate customers hurt by misconduct, with three billion dollars in cash flowing out of the business as clients look for someone else to manage their money. 

AMP also announced a $650 million capital raising as part of a strategy to transform the company. 

ABC's Peter Ryan speaks with AMP chief executive Francesco De Ferrari.

Central banks cut rates as US China trade fears escalate

With the US China trade war biting into confidence, central banks are cutting rates as fears rise about a global recession. 

Central banks in New Zealand, India and Thailand have cut with the RBNZ governor suggesting rates could to to or below zero. 

Investors are now switching from risky shares to the safety of gold and US Treasury bonds. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says nerves are rising with no agreement in sight between the US and China.

Commonwealth Bank boss Matt Comyn warns on US China trade war fallout

Commonwealth Bank chief executive Matt Comyn says escalating trade tensions between the US and China are the troubling backdrop to the full year results from Australia's biggest bank..

The CBA's statutory profit is down 8.1 percent to $8.57 billion, mainly because of customer remediation from the banking Royal Commission, record low interest rates and the removal of a number of fees.

Matt Comyn remains positive but told me there's no escaping potential fallout as relations between the US and China deteriorate by the day.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

"Don't panic" - Josh Frydenberg intervenes as US China trade war escalates

As the trade war between the United States and China escalates, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has intervened this morning to shore up confidence in the domestic economy.

Mr Frydenberg says the escalation is "concerning" but hopes that "cool heads prevail". 

While Wall Street has bounced back from yesterday's steep losses, Mr Frydenberg told ABC's Peter Ryan that there are reasons to be concerned.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Stocks plunge as China ignites currency weapon in trade war with US

Australian shares plunged nearly three percent at the open of trade this morning after Wall Street suffered its worst day this year following a sharp escalation in the US-China trade war. 

China has ignited its currency as a weapon against US tariffs amid speculation that the Peoples Bank of China might consider selling down US Treasury notes in retaliation. 

ABC's Peter Ryan has been following the drama on markets.

Weak auditing could spark another Enron, warns former ASIC boss Greg Medcraft; cautious on Royal Commission criticisms about ASIC being too cosy with regulated companies

Former Australian Securities & Investments chairman Greg Medcraft warns that conflicts of interest in the auditing profession could result in corporate collapses on the scale of Enron. 

In his first broadcast interview since retiring as ASIC boss, Mr Medcraft said conflicts of interests and poor auditing standards risked another Enron, citing the US energy giant's spectacular implosion in 2001 after widespread fraud and corruption went unreported. 

Greg Medcraft, now a director at the OECD in Paris, speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Rates to stay on hold as RBA weights household debt

After back to back interest rate cuts, the Reserve Bank looks likely to hold fire when its board meets tomorrow.

As the RBA assesses the impact of reductions in June and July, analysts are questioning the rate cutting strategy and when its enough to stimulate a softening economy. 

Dr Timo Henckel, a member of the RBA shadow board at the Australian National University says lower rates risk rising household debt.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Retail sales climb but department store ' retail recession' endures

Retailers saw a pick up in sales in June across most categories and in most states, however department stores continue to suffer from the online onslaught. 

Sales rose 0.4 per cent in June, marginally ahead of market expectations. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says the data reflects consumer behaviour in the month after the first of the Reserve Bank rate cuts, but before the second in July and the arrival of tax cuts via people's tax returns.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

US rates cut as expected but investors upset it might be a one-off

The US Federal Reserve has delivered on expectations by cutting interest rates by a 0.25 percent. 

It's the first reduction in a decade when the Fed was slashing rates at the height of the global financial crisis. 

Wall Street stocks dropped in response when chairman Jerome Powell said the decision was not the start of a lengthy cutting cycle. 

ABC's Peter Ryan analyses the decision.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Stockmarket hits post crisis record, but can the surge continue? And how late payments can crush a small business.

The Australian sharemarket has hit a new high, surpassing the record set in November 2007 in the leadup to the global financial crisis. 

But with the economy softening, how sustainable is the market recovery? 

Also, ABC's Peter Ryan speaks with Greg Charlwood from Australian Invoice Finance on how the late payment of bills is hurting small businesses more than ever.

Huawei ramps up challenge to Australia's 5G ban, declares national security is safe. Communications minister Paul Fletcher spokesman says gov't "stands by decision".

Huawei is stepping up its campaign against the Federal Government after the Chinese telco giant was banned from supplying Australia's 5G mobile rollout last year.

A report by the tech consulting firm Ovum - commissioned by Huawei - says former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was wrong to ban Huawei on national security grounds.

Read my report here

Huawei's global chief security officer Andy Purdy is the latest to executive visiting Australia trying to overturn the decision and he says the report backs other evidence that 5G networks can be split to protect sensitive information being passed on to Chinese intelligence.

Andy Purdy spoke in Sydney with the ABC's senior business correspondent Peter Ryan.

Huawei chief security officer Andy Purdy (picture supplied by Huawei)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Nuclear should be option in future energy mix: new Minerals Council of Australia chair Helen Coonan

Newly-appointed Minerals Council chair Helen Coonan has become the latest business heavyweight to call for nuclear power to be considered as part of Australia's future energy mix. 

The former Howard government minister says the "nuclear option" should be on the table along with renewables as the resources industry edges away from fossil fuels in the coming decades. 

Ms Coonan has also defended the approval of the controversial Adani Carmichael mine and rejected a prediction that Adani's financial structure is "a corporate collapse waiting to happen". 

In her first broadcast interview as Minerals Council chair, Helen Coonan speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Facebook, Google market power targeted in ACCC landmark report

The market power of Facebook and Google has been targeted in a landmark inquiry into the dominance of tech giants in Australia. 

A landmark report by the the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission makes 23 recommendations including changes to merger laws, a strengthening of the Privacy Act and protections for local journalism and public broadcasters. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says the report has been anticipated by other regulators around the world.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Former RBA boss Bernie Fraser warns on lowering inflation target

Former Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser has rejected calls for the central bank's inflation target to be lowered given the persistently low inflation world. 

Mr Fraser who retired in 1996 says the current target isn't broken and has served the economy well over the past thirty years.

The inflation debate is hotting up with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yet to sign a new monetary policy agreement with the Reserve Bank. 

Here's my coverage from The World Today

Could Treasurer tweak to RBA inflation in low inflation world? I speak with EY chief economist Jo Masters

Debate is hotting up on the future of the Reserve Bank's current inflation target given persistent low inflation around the world. 

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is yet to sign a monetary policy agreement with RBA governor Dr Philip Lowe with a spokesman confirming he is taking advice from Treasury. 

ABC's Peter Ryan speaks with Ernst & Young chief economist Jo Masters.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

BHP boss Andrew Mackenzie warns climate change is an "existential" risk

The head of the world's biggest miner company has conceded that climate change is an "existential risk" to the planet. 

BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie warns that the world's dependence on fossil fuels is undeniable and presents the biggest threat since World War 2. 

In a message to the global resources industry and climate deniers, Mr Mackenzie said BHP would reduce its own emissions over the next five years and tackle pollution caused when customers use its products.

Here's my coverage from The World Today

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Rare interview with APRA deputy chair John Lonsdale as regulator proposes deferrals and clawbacks of incentives

Top financial executives may soon have to wait seven years to claim all their bonuses, as the banking, insurance and superannuation regulator moves to align pay with long-term performance. 

Read my story here

Under "far reaching" proposals from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, lucrative bonuses would be deferred with company boards handed the power to claw back incentives up to four years after they are paid out. 

In a rare broadcast interview, APRA deputy chair John Lonsdale speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan

Monday, July 22, 2019

Heritage Bank to challenge Big 4, exploits Royal Commission fallout

The federal government has been warned that cutting interest rates along won't be enough push wages higher. Advisory firm Ernst & Young says urgent action is needed to deal the skills gap in Australia and stubborn under-employment. 

Also ABC's Peter Ryan speaks with Heritage Bank chief executive Peter Lock who has announced the mutual is going national with bricks and mortar branches in Sydney and Melbourne, in a challenge to the major banks.

Friday, July 19, 2019

"No silver bullet" - new NAB boss Ross McEwan on salvaging bank's reputation

Veteran banker Ross McEwan has been appointed as chief executive at National Australia Bank. 

Read the story here

The former Royal Bank of Scotland boss replaces Andrew Thorburn who was forced to resign earlier this year after scathing criticism from the financial services Royal Commission. 

Mr McEwan - a one time top executive at the Commonwealth Bank - says there is no "silver bullet" in salvaging NAB's reputation but denies he has been handed a "a poisoned chalice". 

Here's my coverage from The World Today

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Liddell planned closure a factor in energy competition shakeup and ensuring supply, says government energy adviser

The Australian Energy Market Commission says the planned closure of the Liddell coal-fired power station in 2022 is a factor in a rule change to allow big commercial users to bypass retailers and compete for lower prices. 

In a sign of rising pressure on power generation, the Federal Government's chief energy advisor is urging rule changes to allow large commercial and industrial users to easily reduce their demand in peak periods and sell it back into the grid. 

ABC's Peter Ryan speaks with the AEMC's Suzanne Falvi and ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

Top Huawei executive Walter Ji says gov't "got it wrong" in banning telco from 5G rollout - "we are trusted, we are safe"

Huawei western Europe chief Walter Ji says the Federal Government got it wrong a year ago when it banned the Chinese telco giant from supplying equipment to Australia's 5G mobile network.

Read the story here

Asked by ABC's Peter Ryan if Huawei took any direction from the Chinese government or handed over sensitive intelligence data to Beijing, Mr Ji said: "of course not. We are trusted. Australia can trust Huawei and we are safe". 

Listen to the interview from this morning's AM

Walter Ji in the AM studio - by Peter Ryan

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

APRA accepts recommendations from scathing review, but says "show me the money"

The banking regulator APRA has responded to scathing criticisms about its culture, leadership and cosy relationships after an independent review called for urgent change. 

APRA chairman Wayne Byres says he supports the recommendations from a capability review but wants more government funding to become a feared enforcer. 

Here's my coverage on The World Today

APRA slammed as timid "behind the scenes" regulator with cultural problems

Source: APRA Capability Review

An independent review is urging the overhaul of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority slamming it for a poor culture and variable leadership.

In a proposed shakeup of the often secretive prudential regulator, a three member panel chaired by former competition czar Graeme Samuel says the prudential regulator needs tougher penalties, a greater focus on superannuation and the ability to veto the appointment or reappointment of company directors. 

ABC's Peter Ryan analyses the report on AM

Read my report on ABC News Online

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Reserve Bank cautious on apartment glut; raises plight of disadvantaged Indigenous Australians

The Reserve Bank has highlighted the plight of disadvantaged indigenous Australians and sustained living standards that are well below the rest of society.

The observations came after the central bank held it’s July board meeting in Darwin for the first time since 1968 where it decided the cut the cash rate for the second consecutive month to a new record low of one percent.

“Members observed that the broad statistics on the labour market for the Northern Territory masked the relative disadvantage of the Indigenous population,” according to the minutes from the meeting.

“Indigenous Australians were less likely to complete school and more likely to experience poor health.

“These measures of Indigenous disadvantage were particularly acute in remote locations where it is more difficult to deliver services.”

While the Northern Territory’s unemployment rate is below the national average,, the minutes say that employment has fallen due to a downturn in the mining cycle.

“This had been accompanied by large flows of people moving to other parts of the country,” the minutes say.

In continuing concerns about the global economy, the minutes say risks from trade tensions between the US and China “remain high”.

The minutes acknowledge that risks to global growth and subdued inflation have increased expectations that global central banks will easy monetary police.

The US Federal Reserve is on track to cut rates in the coming months and the Reserve Bank says markets have priced in a further easing.

Some economists are prediction an eventual cash rates next year as low as 0.5 percent.

“The Board will .. adjust monetary policy off needed to support sustainable growth in the economy, “ the minutes say.

The RBA’s caution comes as day after China’s economic growth in the three months to June came in at 6.2 percent, the slower pace one of the result of the its trade impasse with the United States.

China's economic growth slowest since 1992 as trade war bites

China's economic growth fell to its slowest pace in nearly three decades as trade tensions with the United States take an increasing toll. 

With a trade truce not imminent, Australian investors are becoming increasingly nervous with the Australian economy reliant on exports of iron ore and coal to the the world's second biggest economy.

Here's my analysis from this morning's AM program

Monday, July 15, 2019

Modern slavery, worker exploitation not just in China but also Australia says Ausbil advisor Mans Carlsson-Sweeny

Evidence of forced labour in north-western China has once again raised questions about Australia's links with companies which make their money out of modern slavery. 

I speak with Mans Carlsson-Sweeny head of ESG Research at fund manager Ausbil who advises investors about what they should invest in, and the major risks of financing modern slavery. 

Here's the interview from The World Today

"Canary in coalmine" - financial watchdog finds 85 systemic issues in Royal Commission fallout as complaints surge

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority is investigating 85 systemic issues across the financial services sector and has identified 16 breaches that are potentially "serious contraventions". 

Read the story here

As it deals with a deluge of complaints stemming from last year's financial services royal commission, AFCA says the potentially systemic issues include misleading conduct, processing errors, poor complaints handling and the conduct of employees. 

AFCA chief ombudsman David Locke speaks exclusively with ABC's Peter Ryan.

Source: AFCA six month report

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Eleven top lenders warned on dodgy consumer credit insurance; APRA tells NAB, ANZ, Westpac to hold $500m additional risk capital

ASIC has warned eleven major lenders of "significant enforcement action" after finding consumer credit insurance is "extremely poor value" and has consistently failed consumers. 

Also the prudential regulator APRA has told three major banks to put aside an additional $500 million in capital to deal with risk management issues and remediation stemming from the banking Royal Commission.

I speak with ASIC commissioner Sean Hughes and banking analyst Brett le mesurier.

Wall Street bounces on renewed expectations of US rate cut

US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell signals a rate cut is likely in comments to the US Congress:

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

"A bad deal for most workers" - Grattan Institute warns compulsory super increase to 12pc will slice into retirement savings

Here's my story from The World Today

Workers could be worse off in retirement despite the scheduled increase in compulsory superannuation to 12 percent in 2024, according to updated research out this morning.

The Grattan Institute warns the legislated increase in the superannuation guarantee from the current 9.5 percent to 12 percent would slice $30,000 from average superannuation savings because of reduced access to the age pension and lower wages.

The modelling suggests a 30 year old worker earning $58,000 today would get less than a one percent boost to retirement incomes by losing 2.5 percent of wages each year in additional superannuation contributions.

Grattan Institute director of household finances Brendan Coates warns that unless employers pick up half the cost of the scheduled increase workers are in for a "super shock".

"Raising compulsory super to 12 percent won't translate into higher retirement incomes for middle income Australians," Mr Coates said.

"They'd sacrifice higher wages in exchange for little or no increase in their retirement incomes. The best evidence is that higher super contributions are paid for via lower wages."

The research argues that higher super at retirement is offset by lower pension payments due to the pension assets test and that pension payments will also fall because the aged pension is indexed to wages which would be lower with higher contributions.

Mr Coates also suggests that higher compulsory superannuation will bite into future budget surpluses with taxpayers funding an extra $2 billion to $2.5 billion in tax breaks to high income earners.

"High compulsory super might be justified if it save the budget money. But in fact higher compulsory super actually costs the budget," Mr Coates said.

However, the Grattan Institute research has been slammed by the actuarial firm Rice Warner which describes the warnings as "an obfuscation of facts".

Senior consultant Nathan Bonarius says Rice Warner research has been "twisted" to suit the Grattan argument that opposes the increase in compulsory contributions from 9.5 percent.

In a statement, Mr Bonarius says the contribution level of 10 to 15 percent is necessary and reasobable to "more people self-sufficient in retirement". 

The warning about "a bad deal for workers" comes as the federal government considers a review of the $2.8 trillion superannuation sector which the Productivity Commission last year described as "an unlucky lottery for some".

Compulsory superannuation was established by the Hawke-Keating Labor government in the early 1990s with the current contribution set to rise to 10 percent in 2021 and 12 percent in July 2025.

Follow Peter Ryan on Twitter @peter_f_ryan

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

ASIC targets short term lenders and 990 percent loans to vulnerable Australians

The corporate regulator has announced a crackdown on short-term lenders who target vulnerable Australians with fees that can go close to a thousand percent of a loan amount. 

ASIC has targeted two firms, Cigno and Gold-Silver Standard Finance, under its new product intervention powers where consumers from low socio-economic groups can be hit with 990 percent interest on loans. 

The regulator has identified "significant consumer harm" where often desperate Australians take out high interest loans just to make ends meet

Here's my report from The World Today where I speak with ASIC commissioner Sean Hughes and Gerard Brody from the Consumer Action Law Centre.

Westpac refunds wrongly-charged mortgage customers

Westpac has been forced to compensate around 40,000 customers who've been ripped off on their mortgage repayments. 

In the latest fallout from last year's banking Royal Commission, Australia's second biggest bank is on track to shell out close to a $100 million after discovering the customers had been charged too much when their loans switched off "interest only" payments. 

Here's my report from this morning's AM program

Monday, July 8, 2019

Markets surge in low rates world. But could a correction be on the way?

Australian shares are set to hit a record high later this week as investors race to secure returns on their money. 

CMC Markets chief strategist Michael McCarthy says the stockmarket is an attractive proposition as central banks continue to lower interest rates.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Reserve Bank likely to cut rates again as experts warn on low rate risks

Money markets see a 70 percent chance that the Reserve Bank will cut rates at tomorrow's board meeting. 

But former RBA board member Prof Warwick McKibbin warns cutting rates too low leave too little firepower for a global shock. 

Warwick McKibbin speaks with the ABC's Peter Ryan.

Bankers face possible jail time despite tough new code, ABA boss Anna Bligh concedes. So hard will it be to change culture at banks?

Australia's banks have signed on to a tough new code of conduct which comes into effect today after some of the shocking revelations from last year's banking Royal Commission. 

Among the changes, banks no longer offer unsolicited credit-card limit increases or charge commissions on lenders mortgage insurance and sales commissions for retail staff will also end. 

But how hard will it be to change the culture at banks - as ASIC continues to investigate possible criminal breaches.

Australian Banking Association chief executive Anna Bligh speaks with the ABC's Peter Ryan.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Christopher Pyne post politics job fails the pub test, says Transparency International chief

Christopher Pyne's post-politics appointment as a consultant to advisory firm Ernst & Young fails the pub test according to Transparency International chief executive Serena Lillywhite. 

Labor strategist Bruce Hawker agrees there are perception problems even though Ernst & Young say Mr Pyne's work will be in the private sector rather than government. 

Here's my report from The World Today

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Nuclear energy an option to avert "climate disaster" report warns

The "nuclear option" has been raised as a real possibility to secure Australia's energy needs and to avert a "climate disaster" within fifty years. 

A report from Industry Super Australia says nuclear energy shouldn't be excluded and that a switch to renewables such as wind and solar won't be enough. 

Industry Super Australia chief economist Stephen Anthony speaks with the ABC's Peter Ryan.

Read the story here

Monday, June 24, 2019

Late payments holding up $7 billion in small business cashflow - I speak with Xero chief executive Trent Innes

Small and medium businesses are losing as much as $7 billion a year because bigger companies aren't paying their bills on time. 

A study of 150,000 conducted by the business software company Xero found late payments on invoices worth $115 billion create a "domino effect" by tying up cash flow. 

Xero chief executive Trent Innes speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Cash on the demise but not a collector item - yet

The demand for cash might be on decline but consumers will still require hard currency as a backup, according the editor-in-chief Angus Kidman. 

However, regional and remote communities that don't have access to digital payments still need to be served despite the demise of cash in metropolitan Australia. 

Angus Kidman speaks with the ABC's Peter Ryan.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Depositor pain considered in RBA rate cut decision, minutes show

The impact of lower interest rates on depositors - in particular older Australians - was a key consideration in the Reserve Bank's decision to to cut the cash rate to a new record low earlier this month. 

Read the minutes here

The minutes from the central bank's June meeting show the "implications of lower interest rates on household incomes" was discussed at length acknowledging that "changes in interest rates can have different effects on different groups of households". 

However, ABC's Peter Ryan says the RBA cut the cash rate regardless to lower the jobless rate towards 4.5 percent.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Uncapping university placements is driving enrolments — and drop-outs

A new report out today questions suggests extra university places for disadvantaged students has resulted in more dropouts. 

The Productivity Commission says 21 percent of students who entered under the current "demand driven" system that provides more spaces either failed their degrees or dropped out all together. 

Productivity Commission chair Michael Brennan speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan.

NBN scams on the rise as Australian fleeced of $500,000

Scammers posing to be from the National Broadband Network are fleecing consumers of an average $110,000 a month according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. 

ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard tells ABC's Peter Ryan that more than $500,000 has been scammed so far this year, an increase of 300 percent on 2018.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Adani approval against backdrop of growing concerns about coal exposure

The approval of the Adani mine comes as Norway's sovereign wealth fund receives approval to dump billions of dollars of stocks linked to fossil fuels. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says Adani has been forced to self-fund the project after banks in Australia and China declined to bankroll it.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Unemployment remains steady at 5.2pc despite an extra 42,300 jobs

Australia's unemployment rate remained stuck at 5.2 per cent last month, despite the creation of 42,300 jobs in May. 

The Bureau of Statistics figures show part-time employment increased by 39,800, while full-time employment only rose by 2,400. 

However, ABC's Peter Ryan says the jobs creation won't be enough to stop the Reserve Bank from cutting interest rates further this year.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Netflix the new barbeque stopper with streaming services on track to dominate

A report from the advisory firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers says video streaming services like Netflix and Stan are on track to outstrip free-to-air television and subscriptions to News Corporation's Foxtel. 

Increasingly popular streaming services are tipped to grow by 13.7 percent between 2019 and 2023 with subscription services like Foxtel falling 2.9 percent in the same period as the market continues to fragment. 

Read the report here

Report author and PWC partner Justin Papps speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Retail sector "clearly in recession" as economy slows: NAB survey

Australia's private sector is losing momentum, with business conditions "well below average" and weakening further, according to the National Australia Bank's monthly business survey. 

Chief economist Alan Oster tells ABC's Peter Ryan the retail sector is "clearly in recession".

Friday, June 7, 2019

ABC chair Ita Buttrose condemns AFP raid, vows to fight attempts to 'muzzle' broadcaster

ABC chair Ita Buttrose has "grave concern" about this week's Australian Federal Police (AFP) raid at the national broadcaster, which she says were "clearly designed to intimidate". 

The Afghan Files stories, by ABC investigative journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, revealed allegations of unlawful killings and misconduct by Australian special forces in Afghanistan and were based off hundreds of pages of secret Defence documents leaked to the ABC.

Here's my report from The World Today

AFP raids on ABC damage Australia's reputation, warns business lobby chief Innes Willox

Business is becoming increasingly concerned that this week's federal police raids on the ABC and News Corporation risks eroding confidence in Australia's reputation as a free and open democracy. 

Innes Willox - a former political advisor, diplomat and now chief executive of the Australian Industry Group - worries about the perceived politicisation of supposedly independent government departments and agencies. 

Mr Willox speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Australia's economy slows to levels last seen during the GFC

GDP is mired at levels last seen a decade ago, with year-on-year growth crashing to 1.8 percent as weak wage growth and anaemic household spending take their toll. 

But ABC's Peter Ryan says "growth is growth" and the economy's unbroken expansion is continuing.

Rate relief defiance by ANZ, Westpac a surprise given banking Royal Commission fallout says KPMG Australia boss Gary Wingrove

KPMG Australia chief executive Gary Wingrove is surprised that ANZ and Westpac did not pass on the Reserve Bank's interest rate cut in full to borrowers. 

A survey out this morning from KPMG says Australian chief executives are more upbeat than their global counterparts but see climate change and disruptive technologies as key risks. 

Gary Wingrove speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan.

Peter Ryan with Gary Wingrove. Picture courtesy of Whitney Fitzsimmons

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Monday, June 3, 2019

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker to crack down on migrant worker ripoffs; working with ABC on alleged underpayment of 2,560 casual staff

Fast food retailers, restaurants and cafes have been put on notice as the Fair Work Ombudsman turns up the heat on bosses who rip off their staff and exploit vulnerable migrant workers.

Ombudsman Sandra Parker says her office will use new powers to name, shame and take dodgy employers to court.

The crackdown comes after operators of three Tokyo Sushi outlets in regional New South Wales were fined more than 380-thousand-dollars for underpaying workers including junior employees and visa holders.

In her first broadcast interview since being appointed last year, Sandra Parker spoke from Canberra with the ABC's senior business correspondent Peter Ryan.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Crown shares plunge after James Packer sells half casino stake

Shares in the casino company Crown Resorts have dived after billionaire James Packer sold half his stake to a Macau-based competitor for $1.76 billion. 

In the absence of a bidding war, Crown investors have been offloading their shares given that the $13 on offer looks like the best price they might get. A

ABC's Peter Ryan says there are some big questions remain about how gaming regulators might view the deal given ownership restrictions on Crown's Barangaroo casino project in Sydney.

James Packer surrenders control of Crown for $1.76 billion

After weeks of negotiations, the billionaire James Packer has sold almost half his stake in the Crown gaming empire for $1.8 billion. 

The sale to Hong Kong casino mogul Lawrence Ho means Mr Packer will lose his control of Crown for the first time. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says the deal comes as James Packer steps back from the corporate world citing mental health issues.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

China rattles trade war sabre, puts rare earths squeeze on bargaining table

In what could a major escalation in global trade tensions, China is preparing to use its rich resources of rare earths minerals to strike back at tariffs from the United States. 

Rare earths are a critical factor in everything from high-tech consumer electronics to military equipment and already the prospect that they might become a new bargaining chip in the trade war has seen the value of companies trading in the resource rocket. 

ABC's Peter Ryan speaks about the potential escalation in trade tensions with London analyst Russ Mould of AJ Bell.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Renewables on track to power 50pc of energy by 2030: report

Energy analysts Reputex says Australia will hit a 50 percent renewables target by 2030 as coal-fired power becomes uncompetitive. 

Reputex says the growing dominance of renewables will come despite the lack of a federal energy policy. 

Ernst & Young power and utilities leader Matt Rennie also sees a tipping point and consumers switch to cheaper renewable sources. 

Here's my report from The World Today

Monday, May 27, 2019

Five global banks face class action over exchange rate collusion

Five global investment banks are facing a potential class action after being accused of rigging foreign exchange rates to boost their own profits. 

According to a statement of claim filed this morning, the cartel activity involved the alleged use of secret chatrooms where traders colluded to manipulate rates at the expense of businesses and consumers. 

I speak with Maurice Blackburn principal lawyer Kimi Nishimura
From Maurice Blackburn statement of claim

Landmark week in monetary policy communication as RBA explicitly signals rate cut

ABC's Peter Ryan with Saturday AM presenter Thomas Oriti

Rates to fall to 0.75pc by years end as jobless rate rises, Westpac predicts

Westpac chief economist Bill Evans is predicting that the Reserve Bank's cash rate will fall to 0.75 percent by the end of the year. 

Mr Evans sees two following cuts in August and November with the RBA now almost certain to cut in June. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says economic headwinds are a major challenge for Scott Morrison who campaigned on a platform of prudent economic management. 

Friday, May 24, 2019

British pound in more Brexit falls as Theresa May clings on

The British pound has continued to fall on uncertainty surrounding the future of UK prime minister Theresa May who is under pressure to quit over her exit strategy. 

Foreign exchange strategist Jane Foley says nervousness about a potential "hard" exit from the European Union is hurting the economy demonstrated by this week's collapse of British Steel. 

Jane Foley speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan.

Kogan sued for misleading consumers with false discount offers; ABC's Peter Ryan on latest Huawei developments

The online retailer Kogan is being taken to court for allegedly offering fake discounts to consumers. 

The consumer regulator has accused Kogan of raising prices on certain products before running a misleading online discount promotion. 

Also ABC senior business correspondent Peter Ryan looks at the latest developments with Huawei with UK and Asia telcos pausing contracts on the Chinese telco's phones.

Here's my report on The World Today

Thursday, May 23, 2019

British Steel collapses amid Brexit uncertainty, US China trade tensions

Britain's second biggest steelmaker has collapsed and forced into liquidation as a partial result of Brexit uncertainty. 

A potential 25,000 jobs are at risk after British Steel failed to secure emergency government funding with potential buyers yet to emerge with a bailout. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says British Steel was hurt by Britain's looming exit from the European Union, high iron ore prices and investor jitters from US China trade tensions.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Analysts urge caution on deep RBA rate cuts and looser lending buffers from APRA

With interest rates almost certain to be slashed next month, the Reserve Bank is being warned to be careful in cutting too deeply below the already record low levels. 

Analysts say dramatic reductions would leave the RBA with less of a buffer to deal with a further deterioration in Australia's economy or a shock from China. 

The calls for caution come after the banking regulator APRA said it planned to loosen current restrictions on home loans to stimulate credit growth and ease the housing downturn.

Here's my report on The World Today