China rejects call for probe of virus origins

Original article by Andrew Tillett, Michael Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 11 : 21-Apr-20

China’s Foreign Ministry claims that it has "serious concerns" about Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s call for an independent inquiry into the origins of COVID-19. A spokesperson for the Ministry has suggested that Australia should not "blindly follow other countries", and should instead focus on improving epidemic control and on improving its relationship with China. Australia-China Relations Institute director James Laurenceson says he does not think China would agree to such an inquiry; he notes that the global financial crisis began in the US, but that the US "did not open up its books" to show what happened.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE, CHINA. MINISTRY OF COMMERCE. DEPT OF FOREIGN ECONOMIC AND TRADE POLICY, AUSTRALIA-CHINA RELATIONS INSTITUTE

Bipartisan call to investigate China’s role in spread of virus

Original article by Richard Ferguson
The Australian – Page: 4 : 20-Apr-20

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has called for an independent investigation into how China and the World Health Organization handled the first stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the role of China’s wet markets in the virus’s creation. Shadow health minister Chris Bowen says Labor would support such an investigation, while Peter Jennings from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute says the G20 might be an appropriate body to conduct the type of investigation that the federal government is calling for.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIAN STRATEGIC POLICY INSTITUTE LIMITED, GROUP OF TWENTY (G-20)

Fast cash to calm virus storm

Original article by Simon Benson, Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 10-Mar-20

Cabinet’s expenditure review committee is set to approve the federal government’s economic stimulus package within days. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will use a speech on 10 March to argue that the stimulus must be targeted and position both the domestic economy and the federal budget to rebound when the coronavirus crisis is over. He will also urge large companies to support their employees, customers and suppliers, and to ensure that small businesses are paid promptly. National Australia Bank’s chief economist Alan Oster says the package must be worth at least $10bn and should include measures such as a business investment allowance and income tax cuts.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

Flash crash pushes Aussie to an 11-year low

Original article by William McInnes
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 33 : 10-Mar-20

The Australian dollar fell by 4.6 per cent to an intra-day low of $US0.6312 during a 20-minute period in local trading on 9 March. It was the currency’s lowest level since early March 2009, as growing concern about the coronavirus weighed on financial markets. Sean Callow of Westpac says the sell-off appears to have been driven by Japanese investors exiting their Australian dollar positions, with the ‘flash crash’ coinciding with a rally in the yen against the greenback. The Australian dollar rebounded to around $US0.6550 late in the local trading session.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC

RBA may need $30b in bonds for a shot at QE, says Deutsche Bank

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 10-Mar-20

Deutsche Bank economist Phil O’Donaghoe does not expect quantitative easing to be necessary in response to the coronavirus. He says another official interest rate cut in April and the federal government’s stimulus package should result in a 2019-20 Budget deficit of about 1.2 per cent of GDP. However, O’Donaghoe warns that if the Reserve Bank of Australia does resort to quantitative easing, it would need to purchase up to $30bn worth of bonds to generate the same macroeconomic stimulus as a rate cut of 25 basis points.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, DEUTSCHE BANK AG

World hunkers down for fight against virus

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 29 : 6-Mar-20

Investors have responded positively to the announcement of economic stimulus measures in Australia and the US in response to the coronavirus. Wall Street and sharemarkets across the Asia-Pacific region rallied on 5 March, while the yield on 10-year Australian government bonds rose six basis points to 0.78 per cent. Meanwhile, financial markets expect further official interest rate cuts in both Australia and the US in coming months.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, STANDARD AND POOR’S 500 INDEX, SHANGHAI COMPOSITE INDEX, NIKKEI 225 INDEX, HANG SENG INDEX, KOSPI INDEX, TAIEX INDEX

Jobs subsidy plan to bust recession

Original article by Phillip Coorey, Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 6-Mar-20

Treasury expects the impact of the coronavirus to reduce economic growth by at least 0.5 per cent in the March quarter, while the recent bushfires will cut growth by a further 0.2 per cent. The federal government’s stimulus package will aim to prevent economic growth from also being negative in the June quarter; it will include wage subsidies, a business investment allowance and tax breaks to assist with cash flow. Greens leader Adam Bandt says the stimulus package should also include an increase in unemployment benefits and financial assistance for workers who are not entitled to paid sick leave.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN GREENS, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

More capital raisings on the cards: Goldman

Original article by Melissa Yeo
The Australian – Page: 27 : 6-Mar-20

Matthew Ross of Goldman Sachs says the coronavirus outbreak is likely to prompt more listed companies to undertake capital raisings in coming months, particularly ones that are close to breaching their debt covenants. Ross notes that the supply chains of many companies will be impacted by the virus, given the high level of dependence on imports from China, especially in the consumer goods sector.

CORPORATES
GOLDMAN SACHS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Billions in stimulus to stop slump

Original article by Phillip Coorey, John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 5-Mar-20

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has warned that the coronavirus will have a "material impact" on Australia’s economic growth in the first half of 2020. Amid growing concern that the nation could go into recession for the first time since 1990-91, the federal government is set to announce a stimulus package that will hit the Budget bottom line. The package will focus on jobs, small business cash flow and capital investment; it is expected to include a business investment allowance that was to have been announced in the May Budget. The stimulus package is likely to result in a deficit for 2019-20.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FINANCE

Iron ore mining giants in virus vigil over fly-in, fly-out workforce

Original article by Brad Thompson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 22 : 5-Mar-20

Fortescue Metals Group has asked all employees who have travelled overseas to remain at home for 14 days before returning to work. One employee was quarantined at the Christmas Creek iron ore mine after reporting flu-like symptoms following a trip to Bali, and Fortescue has confirmed that they have tested negative for the virus. BHP and Rio Tinto are also actively taking measures to protect their workforces from the coronavirus at their iron ore mines.

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