Retail can thrive in online shopping shift

Original article by Glenda Korporaal
The Australian – Page: 13 & 19 : 23-Sep-20

More consumers have embraced online shopping due to the coronavirus pandemic, a trend that Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra expects to continue. He says the proportion of retail sales that are made online could rise to 20 per cent over the next 18-24 months, compared with about 10 per cent prior to COVID-19. Zahra warns that more physical stores are likely to close in coming years, but the shift to online will force retailers to adapt their business models. The pandemic has also prompted more consumers to support retailers within their local community.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN RETAILERS ASSOCIATION

States take tentative steps to reopen borders

Original article by Tom Burton, Finbar O’Mallon
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 23-Sep-20

The South Australian government has advised that New South Wales residents will be able to visit the state again, with border restrictions to be lifted from midnight on 23 September. The Queensland government will in turn expand its "border bubble" with NSW from 1 October, which will allow people in an additional five local government areas in northern NSW to travel to Queensland with a permit. NSW recorded two new coronavirus cases on 22 September, and the state has had no mystery cases for five consecutive days.

CORPORATES

Fitch tips 10pc fall in house prices as immigration weakens

Original article by Ben Wilmot
The Australian – Page: 15 : 23-Sep-20

Fitch Ratings has forecast that housing prices in Australia will fall by 5-10 per cent over the next 12-18 months. The credit ratings agency says the reduction in net immigration due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and the resulting impact on population growth will weigh on the residential market; it also warns that the restrictions are unlikely to be eased well into 2021. The National Housing Finance & Investment Corporation recently estimated that underlying demand for new houses and apartments could fall by up to 232,000 over the next three years as a result of the coronavirus.

CORPORATES
FITCH RATINGS LIMITED, NATIONAL HOUSING FINANCE AND INVESTMENT CORPORATION – ASX NFI

Give more help to borrowers: APRA

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 17 : 23-Sep-20

Repayments on more than 900,000 mortgage and business loans were deferred in late March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many borrowers are now facing the six-month anniversary of their deferral, and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has offered lenders a number of suggestions about how to handle customers who are slated to resume repayments. Amongst other things, APRA has suggested that lenders should contact borrowers via a number of channels in the lead-up to the expiry of their deferral period. National Australia Bank CEO Ross McEwan recently indicated that 20 per cent of these customers have failed to respond when it has contacted them regarding the issue.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

Lack of flexible work is keeping Australian women at home

Original article by
SBS News – Page: Online : 18-Sep-20

Industries that are disproportionately staffed by women have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus-driven recession, including retail and hospitality. Women have also have had to deal with most of the burden of remote learning and caring for family. Women who were made redundant are finding that a lack of flexible employment is forcing them to choose between returning to work and caring for their family. Adam Gregory, LinkedIn’s senior director for Australia and New Zealand, says the longer that women have to make this "impossible choice", the harder they will have to work in order to get back into the workforce.

CORPORATES
LINKEDIN CORPORATION

CSL signs deal to make two Covid vaccines

Original article by Jared Lynch
The Australian – Page: 15 : 8-Sep-20

Biopharmaceutical giant CSL has secured a $1.7bn deal with the federal government to produce 80 million doses of two coronavirus vaccine candidates. This comprises 30 million doses of the vaccine that is being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and 50 million doses of the vaccine that CSL is developing with the University of Queensland. Phase three clinical trials have commenced on the Oxford vaccine, while the home-grown vaccine is in phase one trials. The government will contribute $300m to the cost of upgrading CSL’s advanced manufacturing facility in Melbourne to produce the vaccines.

CORPORATES
CSL LIMITED – ASX CSL, OXFORD UNIVERSITY, ASTRAZENECA PLC

Stimulus sparks 15pc surge in company profits

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 4 : 1-Sep-20

Government stimulus measures such as the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme contributed to a sharp rise in gross operating profits in the corporate sector during the June quarter. Seasonally adjusted figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that operating profits rose by 15 per cent overall. However, sectors whose sales have been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic recorded much bigger growth in profits; these include hospitality (86 per cent higher than the March quarter), arts and recreation (up 84 per cent) and retailing (up 31 per cent). Economists had expected a six per cent fall in profits.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS

Working at home becomes flexible

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 1-Sep-20

Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross says the growth in telecommuting has been one of the most significant changes to working arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic. He notes that the majority of modern industrial awards do not expressly include provision for working from home. Ross has released a model flexibility schedule that could potentially be inserted in some awards. Amongst other things, employees would be able to ask to work the same hours over fewer days, ‘buy’ additional leave or take twice as much leave at half-pay. Meanwhile, casual workers would be able to request flexible working arrangements after six months of ‘regular and systematic’ employment.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

L-NP (54%) widens lead over ALP (46%) in mid-August as Victoria and NSW grapple with second wave of COVID-19

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 24-Aug-20

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says support for the L-NP Federal Government (54%) is at its equal highest since the 2019 Federal Election, now well ahead of the ALP (46%) on a two-party preferred basis. Support for the LN-P has risen strongly in South Australia, NSW, Victoria and Queensland. The second wave of COVID-19 which began in Melbourne with a breach of hotel quarantine in late May has led to a Stage 4 lockdown in the city since early August with mandatory mask wearing enforced throughout Victoria for all residents. The good news is that since the Stage 4 lockdown began new cases of the virus have dropped significantly and are now at their lowest since early July. Looking forward, the extension of the JobKeeper and JobSeeker support packages until March 2021 has provided certainty to businesses dealing with the ongoing impact of the pandemic, and the example of NSW over the last seven weeks shows that the virus can be successfully managed.

CORPORATES
MORGAN POLL, ROY MORGAN LIMITED, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Border closures could become illegal

Original article by Natasha Boddy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 24-Aug-20

Professor Catherine Bennett of Deakin University says a decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases could prompt a review of state border closures within weeks. Western Australia and Queensland are among the states that want hard border closures to be maintained, while Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews concedes that it will be some time before the state can argue the case for other jurisdictions to relax their border controls. Swinburne University’s Professor Bruce Thompson says the legality of border closures may be called into question if case numbers keep falling.

CORPORATES
DEAKIN UNIVERSITY, VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET, SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY