Health authorities brace for coronavirus’ spread from China

Original article by Eryk Bagshaw
The Age – Page: Online : 24-Jan-20

Australia’s chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, says health authorities are developing a one-step test for the pneumonia-like coronavirus. Chinese officials are preparing to seal off Wuhan, a city with 11 million people, in an attempt to contain the spread of coronavirus, with the last flight out of Wuhan to Australia arriving in Sydney on 23 January. Murphy says that if any passengers on the flight were infected, it could be weeks before they display any symptoms. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged Australians not to be too concerned; he noted that there have been no confirmed cases of the disease in Australia.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Australia among 21 nations where perceived corruption has worsened

Original article by Christopher Knaus
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 24-Jan-20

Australia has received a rating of 77 out 100 in Transparency International’s latest corruption perceptions index. This is unchanged from 2019, although the nation has risen from 13th position to 12th in terms of the world’s least corrupt nations. Australia has also been identified as one of 21 countries in which perceived corruption has significantly declined since 2012. Transparency International Australia CEO Serena Lillywhite says the nation’s ranking and trust in the government will continue to decline unless a proposed federal anti-corruption agency is established.

CORPORATES
TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL, TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL AUSTRALIA

Brazil struggles may prolong iron ore boom

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 21 : 24-Jan-20

Brazilian miner Vale will release a market update on 11 February, but several sources have suggested that its iron ore exports so far in January are significantly lower than previously. Vale had flagged lower shipments in the first quarter of 2020, although it has advised that export volumes would rise later in the year. Nevertheless, lower exports from Brazil could see the price of iron ore remain high in the near-term, which would boost the earnings of Australian producers and federal government revenue.

CORPORATES
VALE SA, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, RIO TINTO LIMITED – ASX RIO, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG

Kaufland exit helps Coles

Original article by Eli Greenblat
The Australian – Page: 17 : 24-Jan-20

JP Morgan analyst Shaun Cousins says Coles and Metcash have most to gain from Kaufland’s decision to abandon the $100 billion Australian grocery market before it had even opened a store. He says the gap in the market that the German retailer had sought to fill was not obvious, while Citigroup’s Bryan Raymond says Kaufland’s exit has removed a major risk from what he says has been a very rational grocery industry in the past 12 months.

CORPORATES
COLES GROUP LIMITED – ASX COL, METCASH LIMITED – ASX MTS, KAUFLAND STIFTUNG & CO KG, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED, CITIGROUP PTY LTD

Bauer chief determined to proceed with $40m Pac Mags deal with Seven

Original article by Zoe Samios
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 24-Jan-20

Bauer Media Australia CEO Brendon Hill has stressed that the group’s proposed acquisition of Pacific Magazines is in the interests of the magazine industry. He adds that Bauer and its German parent are fully committed to the $40m deal to buy Pacific from Seven West Media. He has rejected suggestions that Mercury Capital’s withdrawal of its offer to acquire Bauer Media Australia will affect the Pacific deal. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission expressed concern in late 2019 about the potential impact of the merger on competition in the magazine sector.

CORPORATES
BAUER MEDIA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, PACIFIC MAGAZINES PTY LTD, MERCURY CAPITAL PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, BAUER MEDIA KG

FWC ruling a win for casual workers

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 6 : 24-Jan-20

The full bench of the Fair Work Commission has ruled that a casual sales assistant at Bed Bath N’ Table is entitled to pursue an unfair dismissal claim against the retailer. FWC deputy president Amanda Man­sini had previously ruled that the employee was not covered by unfair dismissal laws, as her employment was not regular and systematic. However, the full bench rejected Mansini’s reasoning and ruled that the case can proceed.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, BED BATH AND TABLE

Rate cut odds sink with jobless fall

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 2 : 24-Jan-20

Official data shows that Australia’s unemployment rate fell to 5.1 per cent in December, its lowest level since April. The economy shed 300 full-time jobs, although this was offset by the creation of 29,200 part-time jobs. The underemployment rate was steady at 8.3 per cent; the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ chief economist Bruce Hockman notes that underemployment has remained unchanged over the last year. Financial markets have responded to the latest jobs data by pricing in a 25 per cent chance that the Reserve Bank will reduce the cash rate in February.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Homes not built to survive worst fires

Original article by Olivia Caisley
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 24-Jan-20

More than 2,800 homes have been lost across Australia during the current bushfire season, including 49 in Queensland. The state government has been urged to review the building standards for homes in bushfire-prone areas; the state has a fire danger index rating of just 40 for such homes, compared with an FDI-100 rating in Victoria and most parts of New South Wales. Professor Grahame Douglas, a fire danger expert from the University of Western Sydney, says Queensland should look at upgrading to an FDI-100 rating for areas that are at risk from bushfires.

CORPORATES
UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN SYDNEY

Bank bashing hurts economy

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 15 & 19 : 24-Jan-20

Former ANZ Bank CEO John McFarlane will succeed Lindsay Maxsted as Westpac’s chairman on 2 April. McFarlane has warned that continued criticism of the banking sector and policies such as the bank levy will affect the industry’s returns and ultimately impact on the economy via lower government revenue. His appointment follows Westpac’s alleged large-scale breach of anti-money laundering laws, which led to the departure of Maxsted and CEO Brian Hartzer.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE

Turmoil as Nats split on rorts deputy

Original article by Rosie Lewis, Geoff Chambers
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 24-Jan-20

The future of Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie remains under scrutiny in the wake of the so-called ‘sports rorts’ scandal. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated that he will take appropriate action when an investigation by top bureaucrat Philip Gaetjens is completed. However, National Party leader Michael McCormack has expressed support for his embattled deputy, although some Nationals MPs believe that McKenzie’s position is untenable. She was sports minister when the grants for community sports groups were allocated.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF AGRICULTURE AND WATER RESOURCES, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA