How Australia’s coronavirus stimulus stacks up against global competition

Original article by Matt Johnson
The New Daily – Page: Online : 3-Apr-20

The International Monetary Fund has called on countries to enact ‘wartime measures’ to rescue economies crippled by the impact of COVID-19. Measures announced by the Australian government include a $130 billion wage subsidy plan and a $20 billion loan scheme. The UK has announced it will subsidise employees’ wages up to a value of Stg2,500 ($5,086) a month, while the US has introduced a $2.2 trillion rescue package that includes a controversial $500 billion corporate bailout fund to help big business.

CORPORATES
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND

Super funds lose billions as crisis hits

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 15 & 22 : 25-Mar-20

The financial market turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic has weighed on asset valuations in the superannuation industry. AustralianSuper has slashed the value of its portfolio of unlisted assets by 7.5 per cent, while IFM Investors has cut the valuations of its Australian unlisted assets by an average of 7.6 per cent. Both group have exposure to a range of infrastructure assets, such as airports and toll roads. Other super funds are also reviewing the value of their unlisted assets.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIANSUPER PTY LTD, IFM INVESTORS PTY LTD

Miners told to keep digging as rivals halt

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 23 : 25-Mar-20

Rio Tinto and South32 are among the Australian-listed mining companies whose operations will be affected by coronavirus lockdowns in South Africa and the Canadian province of Quebec. Production at mines in Australia is continuing at present, although New Hope Corporation’s CEO Shane Stephan says it is too soon to know if the virus will force local mines to close. He adds that it would be naive to suggest that there will be no impact. BHP CEO Mike Henry says senior government officials have indicated that they are keen for the resources industry to keep operating, given its contribution to the economy.

CORPORATES
NEW HOPE CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX NHC, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP

Newcrest axes FIFO route into PNG’s Lihir mine

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 23 : 20-Mar-20

Newcrest Mining has responded to the coronavirus pandemic by suspending the use of Australian fly-in, fly-out workers at the Lihir gold mine in Papua New Guinea. The move will take effect within days, but Newcrest will continue to use FIFO workers at its mines in Australia. The company has noted that it primarily uses local workers at Lihir, rather than employees on FIFO arrangements. Australia’s gold, iron ore, copper, oil and gas sectors are particularly reliant on FIFO workers.

CORPORATES
NEWCREST MINING LIMITED – ASX NCM

Government relents on Newstart

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 20-Mar-20

The second phase of the federal government’s stimulus package will include an increase in the Newstart allowance for people who are currently unemployed. The Coalition had previously flagged a higher income payment than Newstart for workers who lose their job due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, it has long opposed an increase in unemployment benefits, arguing that getting a job is the best form of welfare. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has conceded that getting people off Newstart and into the labour market will be difficult over the next six months due to the economic impact of the pandemic.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Major hit, big job losses ahead: RBA

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

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe says the unemployment rate can be expected to rise in coming months, as the coronavirus is likely to result in "significant" job losses. However, he says the labour market should rebound quite fast if the virus’s outbreak in Australia can be contained. Lowe also said the virus and measures to combat its spread will have a "severe" impact on the economy, although he is hopeful that this will be temporary. Lowe has indicated that housing market activity is likely to be affected by the pandemic.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Criminal charges for food profiteering

Original article by Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 20-Mar-20

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton claims that some members of the community are profiteering from coronavirus-inspired demand for groceries. Dutton has warned that people who are found to be buying groceries in bulk in order to send them overseas or to sell them on the black market could face criminal prosecution. Agriculture Minister David Littleproud notes that Australia produces three times the amount of food that is consumed domestically, so there is no need for panic buying.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HOME AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF AGRICULTURE AND WATER RESOURCES, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Vale setback a boon for Australian iron ore producers

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 23 : 20-Mar-20

Vale’s iron ore distribution hub in Malaysia will be disrupted by the government’s efforts to contain the coronavirus. Vale expects work at the hub to be suspended until the end of March, which could reduce its iron ore shipments for the first quarter by an additional one per cent. The Brazilian miner had previously advised that its export volumes would be seven per cent lower than previously. The pandemic has affected mining operations worldwide, although it has yet to have any impact on Australia’s iron ore sector.

CORPORATES
VALE SA

Qantas to announce new cuts by weekend

Original article by Lucas Baird
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 : 17-Mar-20

Qantas has advised that the new quarantine rules for people travelling to Australia and New Zealand will force it to further reduce capacity on some routes. The airline recently cut capacity on domestic and international routes by five per cent and 23 per cent respectively in response to falling demand for air travel due to the coronavirus. A spokesman for Virgin Australia says the airline is still assessing its response to the new travel restrictions, while Air New Zealand has flagged redundancies and a looming 85 per reduction in international capacity.

CORPORATES
QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED – ASX QAN, VIRGIN AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX VAH, AIR NEW ZEALAND LIMITED – ASX AIZ

AFL cuts season, opener in doubt

Original article by John Ferguson, Tessa Akerman
The Australian – Page: 3 : 17-Mar-20

The Australian Football League has responded to the coronavirus crisis by reducing the 2020 home-and-away season from 22 rounds to just 17. The AFL has yet to decide whether to cancel round one or stage matches in empty stadiums. Delaying the start of the season until late May is also an option. CEO Gillon McLachlan has stressed that protecting the community is the league’s top priority. Reports have suggested that AFL players may be asked to take pay cuts of up to 20 per cent.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE