The Border Watch : January 7th 2014
BUSINESS Record number of cars sold SYDNEY: Australians bought a record number of motor vehicles last year, helped along by increasing demand for sports utility vehicles. More than 1.13 million vehicles were sold nationwide during the year, up from 1.11 million in 2012, motoring industry figures show. Passenger vehicles remained the most popular, accounting for nearly 50 per cent of all sales, though the strongest growth was in SUVs, which increased their market share from 27.6 per cent to 29.4 per cent. Toyota was the topselling car marker for the 11th consecutive year, with nearly 215,000 vehicles sold – almost twice that of nearest rival Holden. The company also had the most popular vehicle, with the Corolla notching up sales of more than 43,000, followed by the Mazda3 with 42,000 sales. Of the Australian-made cars, sales of Holden Commodore slipped 9 per cent to 28,000, while Toyota Camry sales were also down 9 per cent to 25,000 sales and the Holden Cruze suffered a 32 per cent decline to 24,421, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries said. Holden announced late last year it would close its local manufacturing operations from 2017, while Ford will close its Geelong and Broadmeadows factories in 2016. Toyota has yet to make a decision on its Australian operations. But the company’s Australian head of sales Tony Cramb said the company expected sales to remain strong this year. “Toyota is targeting in excess of 200,000 sales for the 10th time,” he said. AAP Iron ore earnings continue to soar IN BRIEF EPA grants Chevron conditional approval PERTH:Energy giant Chevron has received conditional approval to clear an additional 32ha of land on Barrow Island for the construction of Australia’s largest gas project. The WA Environmental Protection Authority recommended Chevron’s proposal for the Gorgon development be granted conditional approval to undertake clearing and earthworks on Barrow Island, an A-Class reserve off WA’s Pilbara coast. EPA chairman Paul Vogel said the authority had concluded that the conditions set out in the original development approval were effective in managing impacts and should be implemented for the additional development. Dexus takeover offer for CPA now open Report says Australia to rake in billions thanks to booming exports Striking while iron’s hot: A big increase in iron ore exports has Australia poised to earn more than $24 billion in the last three months of 2013. MELBOURNE: The size of Australia’s iron ore export earnings continues to soar despite concerns about an end of the mining boom, a new report says. Iron ore was also racing ahead of coal and is tipped to have generated more than double the latter’s revenue in the last quarter of 2013. The mining investment boom is generally considered to have peaked in Australia, but export earnings and the contribution to public revenue are not declining yet, according to East & Partners’ iron ore and coal index. It forecasts that Australia stands to earn $24.53 billion from booming iron ore exports during the last three months of 2013, compared to softening thermal and coking coal revenues of $11.3 billion. Based on figures from Australia’s export ports and official government data, the report predicts the 7.9 per cent revenue lift from Expats, investors could push up house prices PERTH: Expats and foreign investors could push residential property prices even higher this year as the falling Australian dollar prompts offshore buyers to enter the market. A combination of low interest rates, a weaker local currency and surging house prices in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth might set off another wave of buying in Australia’s major cities over the coming months, CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian says. “Australia’s starting to look a lot more attractive from a foreign investment perspective with the falling currency and that will “Australia’s starting to look a lot more attractive from a foreign investment perspective with the falling currency.” probably show up more in the property market than anywhere else,” Mr Sebastian said. “It will be more prevalent, especially with an improving global risk appetite.” He said foreign demand for Australian property was unlikely to wane, but it would take some time for enough new supply to come online. RP Data figures released 8 - The Border Watch, Tuesday, January 7, 2014 last week show that Australian home prices jumped almost 10 per cent in 2013, with house values in Sydney rising almost 15 per cent. Since April, the Australian dollar has fallen 14 per cent to about US89.5c. Mr Sebastian said that once rental yields were factored in, Sydney house prices were returning up to 20 per cent. AAP the previous quarter will come from a 6.3 per cent lift in iron ore exports to an all-time high of 161 million tonnes. The iron ore price was 1.3 per cent higher at $151 a tonne during the period. While coal shipments are also higher, that is not expected to be enough to offset a price that continued to fall during the quarter while costs remain high. Thermal Coal shipments are tipped to have risen 3.1 per cent to 50.1 million tonnes on the back of a strong performance at the port of Newcastle. Revenue is tipped to have fallen half a per cent to $4.49 billion. Metallurgical coal exports are expected to have trended 3.3 per cent higher to 44.1 million tonnes. However, a 3.4 per cent lower average price of $156 a tonne is tipped to cause revenue to fall 1.6 per cent to $6.8 billion. AAP Government told to sell off assets SYDNEY: National assets including Medibank Private and Australia Post should be sold, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has told the government. The ACCC has also urged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to push for the privatisation of state-owned energy companies. Chairman Rod Sims told The Australian Financial Review a root-and-branch review of competition laws should recommend the government relinquish control of long-held assets to ensure productivity and the greatest benefit to the public. “I think it would be the most important driver of how Australia improves its productivity,” Mr Sims said. “Of all the reviews going on, this will be the most important because it will be removing impediments to competition right across the country.” On the matter of energy assets, Mr Sims said consumers would be paying less for electricity if the assets had been in private hands. The ACCC boss said his priorities this year would include pursuing large penalties against major companies who breached consumer laws as well as closely monitoring petrol prices. Picture: AAP MELBOURNE: A joint takeover offer from the Dexus Property Group and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for the Commonwealth Property Office Fund is now open. The Dexus-CPPIB consortium making the takeover bid for CPA yesterday announced it had started mailing its bidder’s statement to CPA unitholders. “Accordingly, the Dexus offer is now open for acceptance,” Dexus said. Services industry’s struggles continue SYDNEY: Australia’s services industry finished 2013 on a sour note, with the sector contracting at a faster rate in December. According to the Australia Industry Group Performance of Services Index, employment, new orders and sales all contracted during the month. The retail sector also continued to decline, despite receiving a boost from Christmas sales. Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said the sector had shown signs of improvement since the federal election, but the latest figures showed the industry remained weak. Altona Mining makes early repayment AAP PERTH: Shares in Altona Mining are up more than 6 per cent after the company said it had made an early $11 million debt repayment following strong copper production results in Finland. Altona repaid $11.71 million, reducing the balance of its debt facility from $22.82 million to $11.16 million. Managing Director Alistair Cowden said strong performance of the Outokumpu Project had allowed the company to accelerate its debt repayments.
January 3rd 2014
January 8th 2014